Mason Jar Meal Recipes

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Mason jars are the perfect craft and décor accessory, and are often used as glasses for casual dining. Now you can put your mason jars to work in one more way by making your own mason jar meals: convenient recipes with ingredients that snuggly fit inside the jar. You'll find a Mason jar meal to suit just about any taste or occasion, making these the effortlessly convenient way to create and store lunch, dinner or a snack.

Mason Jar Meal Perks

Mason jars are one of the best food storage containers you can find, as that was their original intension. Although you'll have to take care to avoid breakage, you'll enjoy all these benefits when you prepare Mason jar meals:

  • Safety: Unlike many plastic containers, you don't have to worry about dangerous chemicals leeching into food.
  • Controlled portions: With the whole meal in one jar, you'll be less tempted to overeat.
  • Aesthetics: Mason jar meals look fresh and appealing.
  • Cleanliness: Jars wash sparkling clean, and don't stain or retain odors.
  • Visibility: You'll see exactly what's inside, without having to open the lid.
  • Sustainability: Mason jars can be washed and reused, which reduces waste and respects our environment. One pack of mason jars can last you and your family for many years.
  • Affordability: Jars are reasonably priced, and you can purchase jars and lids separately.
  • Ease of storage: Mason jars fit neatly in your fridge or cooler.

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How To Make Mason Jar Meals

Putting together Mason jar meals is easy! You don't have to worry about exact measurements, but you'll still need some planning and preparation. Here are a few tips to help you get the most from your experience:

  • Plan ahead: Clean, cut up and cook vegetables or meats needed for your next few meals in one session.
  • Chill out: Let cooked foods cool before arranging them in Mason jars to avoid them getting overly soft or wilting.
  • Choose your jars: Large jars work well for hearty dinners; while smaller ones are more appropriate for kids' lunches, light snacks or desserts.
  • Get the layered look: Layer your ingredients, one over the other for an attractive, almost striped effect.
  • Start with wet ingredients: To keep your meal fresh, make sure your dressing or any very wet ingredient are always your bottom layer. The most delicate and perishable foods should go in last.
  • Store meals safely: Mason jar meals aren't vacuum-sealed. Any foods that normally need refrigeration will still need to be refrigerated in Mason jars. Only keep meals as long as you would normally store their ingredients. Mason jar meals that contain mayonnaise salads, for example, should be eaten within a day or two, while other meals may keep for five days to a week. Also remember to always tightly seal the lid after preparing your mason jar meal.
  • Freeze with caution: Some Mason jar meals can be frozen for longer storage life, but only if they contain foods that normally freeze well.
  • Protect your meals: Always pack Mason jar meals in padded coolers when traveling with them to avoid breakage. Though convenient, mason jars are made of glass and could be dangerous if broken in a lunch bag, backpack or purse.

Mason Jar Meals: Salad Recipes

These Mason jar salads are perfect for a refreshing lunch at work:

Chicken and Bean Salad Recipe

  • One can of red kidney beans
  • Cooked, sliced green beans
  • Thinly sliced onion
  • Vinaigrette dressing
  • Cooked, seasoned chicken, cut in pieces
  • Sliced cucumbers
  • Baby carrots
  • Fresh lettuce
  1. Mix beans, onion and vinaigrette dressing in a small bowl.
  2. Spoon a layer of mean mixture onto the bottom of each Mason jar.
  3. Add a layer of baby carrots.
  4. Add a layer of chicken.
  5. Top with cucumbers and then lettuce.

Summer Spinach Salad Recipe

  • Fresh chopped spinach
  • Crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
  • Pine nuts
  • Mandarin orange slices
  • Raspberry vinaigrette dressing
  • Toasted croutons

Start with a layer of dressing, and then layer all other ingredients ending with spinach on top.

Mason Jar Meals: Lunch Recipes

These delicious Mason jar meals will keep you going through a busy day:

Pesto Pasta Recipe

  • Cooked pasta
  • Prepared pesto sauce
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Green peas
  • Sundried tomatoes
  • Fresh basil leaf

Start with a layer of pesto sauce at the bottom of each jar and then add layers of pasta, grated cheese and vegetables. Top with fresh basil.

Scandinavian Lunch Recipe

  • Sliced smoked salmon, herring or whitefish
  • Baby red potatoes, cooked and cooled
  • Asparagus tips, steamed and cooled
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Hard-boiled egg

Start with a layer of fish, follow with other ingredients and top with asparagus, salt and pepper.

Jar of Comfort

  • Brown gravy
  • Sliced turkey
  • Mashed potatoes, cooled
  • Buttered corn, cooled
  • Green beans, steamed and cooled

Start with a layer of gravy, and then add mashed potatoes, turkey and vegetables.

Mason Jar Meals: Breakfast Recipes

For a quick breakfast option, fill mason jars with this satisfying granola:

Pumpkin Pie Granola Recipe

  • 4 cups of old-fashioned oats
  • ¼ cup of chopped walnuts
  • ¼ cup of chopped pecans
  • ¼ cup of shelled pumpkin seeds
  • ¼ cup of shelled sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 cup of dark brown sugar
  • ¼ cup of maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup of vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ cup of golden raisins
  • ¼ cup of dried cranberries
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine oats, dried fruit and nuts.
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together sugar, spices, oil and syrup.
  4. Stir wet ingredients into dry ingredients to coat evenly.
  5. Spread mixture out on a greased baking sheet and bake for about a half hour, stirring occasionally until golden brown.
  6. When granola is cool, transfer to small mason jars.

Snacks and Sweet Treats

Mason jars are excellent for quick snacks and desserts on the go. You may enjoy:

  • Pudding Parfait: Layer your favorite pudding with whipped topping, chocolate sauce, chopped nuts and granola.
  • Mason Nachos: Layer salsa, corn chips, refried beans, jack cheese, tomatoes and lettuce.
  • Trail Mix: Layer cashews, peanuts, raisins, almonds, chocolate chips and chopped dates.
  • Fruit Jar: Layers of cut, fresh fruit are both beautiful and healthy.

If you're on the go or just looking for a quick meal, Mason jar meals are the perfect solution. When your stomach growls, dinner will be ready and waiting.

Last Updated: May 15, 2012
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About Roberta Pescow Roberta Pescow holds a bachelor's degree in communications from City University of New York, Queens College and is a freelance writer and editor in the NJ area. The author of "A Life In The Service" and "A Monster's Tears," she enjoys writing informative articles, personal essays, fiction and music.  Roberta is a proud mother of two. Her other interests include fitness, photography, sculpture and meditation. She is a voracious reader and holds a 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwan Do. Roberta enjoys decorating her hectic, but happy home and garden in original and affordable ways.  

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