A happy, busy chef. Generated by Stable Cascade
A happy, busy chef. Generated by Stable Cascade

Tips for Cooking on a Busy Schedule

I love cooking and eating home cooked meals. But, I’m busy. And that’s why I love every kind of tip I can find to fit cooking into my busy schedule.

So I wanted to write about some tips that help fit in delicious, home-cooked meals into a busy working schedule:

Big Batches

Cooking a dish has a large fixed-time component. It takes a stew X minutes to cook, regardless of if you make 2 servings or 10. So, why not make 10!

To make this work, you need enough freezer space to store leftovers. And it pays to buy a large set of matching containers. That way your freezer & cabinet looks like this…

A nicely organized kitchen cabinet. Generated with Stable Cascade
A nicely organized kitchen cabinet. Generated with Stable Cascade

Splitting into Chunks

Most recipes come with step-by-step instructions. But I mean something different here.

Specifically, split the recipe into separate sections. That is: sections that can be completely separated with an unspecified amount of time in-between, sometimes multiple days.

This allows you to fit these steps into your schedule and then put them aside for later. And, it often allows you to make larger batches to prepare multiple recipes at once.

For example, I took a cooking class recently that revolutionized the way that I’ll be making most stews, curries, and soups. So many recipes involve first cooking a base layer of sauteed vegetables. The base varies by culture, but some examples include:

The teacher told us that she often makes the recipe up until the sauteed onions are done and then freezes it for later. This is amazing, because it means you can have the dish halfway done.

But, there are many other examples:

But, think about the your recipe. Find parts where you can just stop and pop everything in the fridge for later.

Prepare Ahead

This follows naturally from finding separate chunks. The fridge and freezer are your friends here. Make everything you can ahead. Do things on your schedule and then they’re all ready for final assembly come dinner time.

For example, I’ve found myself very heavily relying on making things overnight in the fridge.

These are all things that are quick to just throw together and put in the fridge. Then the next morning, you’re all ready and the fridge did most of the work.


It’s definitely an investment in effort and time to make nutritious, home-cooked meals on a tight schedule. But, these methods have saved me a ton of time!

It depends a lot on the meal. Some dishes are just tough to split into chunks and do ahead. But, those can be for special occasions!

In the mean time, you can have a home cooked meal ready every night this way and not get overwhelmed.

If you know about other tips to save time, I’d love to hear about them.

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