By Allrecipes Magazine

All in for the Win

The hustle and bustle of back-to-school days can make it seem like there's no time to cook dinner, let alone socialize. Enter the meal-prep party! It lets you get a head start on several meals while catching up with friends. Invite three friends to make these four recipes with you, and you'll each go home with four dinners for four.

We'll share everything you need to make the meal-prep party come together, from recipes to make and snack ideas for the cooks to shopping lists and helpful meal-prep gear.

Photo: Kim Corenlison

Meal-Prep Party Recipes

BONUS: Download free printable recipe labels for the make-ahead meals you and your friends prep at the party. Be sure to scroll down this page to get ideas for meal-prep storage containers.

1. Make-Ahead Manicotti

"I have used this basic principle and adapted it to make stuffed shells and lasagna. If making lasagna, I buy a second, smaller jar of spaghetti sauce. I always feel like I need a bit more. Merry Manicotti!" —Sandir

Photo: Brie Passano

2. Black Bean-Sweet Potato Burritos

"Once you've had one, you'll want another. The recipe is a little different from most burrito recipes, but I've had many, many requests for it. Serve these with sour cream, chopped green onions, and salsa." —Karena

Photo: Brie Passano

3. Teriyaki and Pineapple Chicken

"This is a real yummy recipe. Serve it over a bed of rice. The leftovers go nicely in a whole wheat pita the next day for a warm delicious lunch. Hope you all enjoy!" —HEZZZ1223

Photo: Brie Passano

4. Sausage and Zucchini Soup

"Easy and yummy. Serve with cornbread for a nice warm meal on a cold evening." —Trina

Photo: Brie Passano

Cooks' Snacks

Just a little something for the cooks to nibble and sip while they rock the kitchen.

Party Pinwheels

These appetizers made a big hit at a dinner party I gave last week (the guests even asked to take home the leftovers I had!) I used sun-dried tomato tortillas - made the appetizer look really festive. A definite party pleaser - highly recommended if you want to get lots of compliments! —TYMAR

Photo: Brie Passano

Berrylicious Sangria Slush

"This boozy, fruity frozen sangria is an adult version of the icy slushies we slurped down as kids. So refreshing on a hot summer night. Cheers!" —foodelicious

Photo: Brie Passano

Meal-Prep Party Timeline

1. Two Days Ahead
Prepare grocery list. Shop for or order groceries for delivery tomorrow.

2. One Day Ahead
Clear out some fridge and freezer space. Organize groceries and round up supplies. Make pinwheels and sangria slush, if desired, for party snacks. Ask guests to bring any supplies you lack.

3. Day Of

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Set out supplies.
  2. Cook pasta shells for manicotti and set aside on a greased tray. This will free up your 8-qt. pot (and a burner) for soup.
  3. Ask one team of two people to prep the sweet potatoes for the burritos and get them roasting, while the other team of two preps the ingredients for the soup.
  4. Have the first team move on to making the manicotti filling and assembling the pans of pasta. Ask the second team to move to the stove to finish the soup recipe.
  5. Ask the first team to finish the burrito recipe. Team two can then focus on the pineapple chicken recipe.

But First, We Shop…

You can tackle grocery shopping two ways:

  1. Ask each person to shop for groceries for one recipe. Save receipts, tally totals, then settle up so everyone pays the same amount.
  2. Have one person do all the shopping. This can be helpful when multiple recipes call for the same ingredients. Plus, many large grocery stores provide online ordering and home drop-off. Then you can have all groceries delivered to the host and split the bill four ways.

Supply List

Guests can bring anything the host doesn't have.

For the Manicotti:

  • Large (8-qt.) pot for cooking pasta
  • Four 8x8-inch or slightly larger foil pans or four 2-qt. Rectangular baking dishes
  • A few gallon-size zip-top plastic bags for piping filling into shells
  • 1 very large bowl

For the Burritos:

  • 2 rimmed baking pans for roasted sweet potatoes
  • Large skillet

For the Teriyaki Chicken:

  • Wok or very large skillet
  • 2 large bowls

For the Soup:

  • 1 very large (8-qt.) Dutch oven
  • Slotted spoon


  • Cutting board and knives
  • Measuring cups and spoons
  • Foil for lining/covering pans and wrapping burritos
  • Freezer-safe containers (freezer bags or reusable glass or plastic storage containers) for soup and teriyaki chicken

Helpful Meal-Prep Gear

You'll want to make sure the party's geared up for all that prepping, cooking, and — most importantly — bringing home the meals. These items should come in handy:

Rosti Retro Green Melamine Mixing Bowl Set

Tight lids, non-skid bottoms, ergonomic grips, and built-in spouts make these nesting bowls ideal for mixing, pouring, and storing. $40 at

Photo: Allrecipes Magazine

Anchor Hocking TrueSeal Containers

These roomy 2.75-qt. containers are ideal for freezer-to-oven meals. The tempered glass bases can go in the microwave, oven, freezer, and dishwasher. Compression lids press air out for a vacuum-tight seal. $16 each at

Photo: Allrecipes Magazine

Avery Striped Mixing Bowl Set

Recipe prep is more fun with these cheerful earthenware bowls from Portugal. Bonus: They're safe for both dishwasher and microwave. $30 at

Photo: Allrecipes Magazine

Staub Olivewood and Silicone Spatula or Spoon

The hand-sculpted Italian olivewood handles are as comfortable as they are beautiful, and the heat-resistant silicone heads pull off for dishwasher cleaning. $25 each at

Photo: Allrecipes Magazine

Pyrex Ultimate Glass Set

Just right for soups, this trio of 2-cup containers features bases and lids that are made from durable Pyrex glass. Silicon rims on the lids provide a leakproof seal. All pieces can go in the microwave, oven, freezer, and dishwasher. $28 at

Photo: Allrecipes Magazine

Joseph Joseph Nest Lock Containers

Perfect for small kitchens, this neatly nesting set includes sizes from 1 cup to 121/2 cups with colorful snap-tight lids. The BPA-free plastic is also freezer-, microwave-, and dishwasher-safe. $30 for 10-piece set at

Photo: Allrecipes Magazine

Better Homes & Gardens Brunch Pitcher and Glass Set

With a 21/2-qt. pitcher and six highball glasses, this slender set is ideal for sangria or other pitcher drinks. $25 at

Photo: Allrecipes Magazine

Related: Check out our collection of Meal-Prep Recipes.

Each product we feature has been independently selected and reviewed by our editorial team. If you make a purchase using the links included, we may earn commission.

This article originally appeared in the August/September 2019 issue of Allrecipes Magazine.