How to Prepare for a Power Outage with Easy Meal Ideas

by Tonya Staab
Published: Updated:

Are you expecting bad weather? Know how to prepare for a power outage. Prepare meals ahead of time or cook outdoors with our tips.

Last week we had an ice storm, this week we are expecting between 6-12 inches of snow. We live in a very small town so know that we may have to go for days at a time without being able to leave the house. There is also the possibility of trees that are heavy with ice and snow coming down on power lines. The last time this happened the power was out (I was told) for 10 days.

Thankfully with the weather being this cold, food will not defrost quickly in the freezer or go bad quickly in the refrigerator as long as the doors stay closed as much as possible. We still like to prepare as much of the meat as we can so that we can just defrost meals and reheat as needed.

Freezer tips for a power outage

Get these for cooking outside during a power outage

  • Grill (it doesn’t have to be big or fancy) – don’t forget the gas tanks
  • Fire-pit (make sure you have plenty of wood, kindling, and a lighter)
  • Campfire stove
  • Cast-iron skillet
  • Aluminum foil

I actually have the Weber grill above, it’s what I used in our tiny backyard in California. If you can afford it though I highly recommend a Blackstone grill with air fryer attachments. Imagine the meal possibilities and being able to use up a lot of freezer food before it goes bad. We are currently working on getting one, but a lot of our family members already do and swear by it.

Don’t forget metal skewers for making s’mores with the kids. Just because you don’t have power doesn’t mean you can’t make it an outdoor ‘camping’ adventure, even if it is cold outside.

Food to prepare for a weather power outage

Here are some of my favorite recipes to make to prepare beforehand or cook during a power outage. Make sure you put together your grocery list and don’t buy anything unnecessary that won’t be used or could go bad and need to be thrown out.

Slow cooker shredded chicken

shredded chicken in a yellow bowl

Slow cooker chicken is a staple. We can use it in sandwiches, cook quesadillas or pizzas on the grill, or prepare soup and chili ahead of time that we can reheat in a pot on the campfire stove. You can find my recipe for slow cooker chicken at Make and Takes. You can even freeze it in bags and defrost when you are ready to use it.

Skillet flatbread

Did you know that you can make bread in a skillet on the grill?

flatbread that's been cooked in a skillet

You can find my recipe to make skillet flatbread at Make and Takes. This recipe only used four ingredients which you will most likely already have on hand. Use it to make grilled pizzas, enjoy with hummus or dips, or even for breakfast with eggs and bacon cooked on the grill too.

Cornbread is another bread you can cook in a skillet on the grill. It’s perfect to pair with reheated chili, or to enjoy warm with a little butter or honey on top.

15 bean soup

a 15 bean soup with turkey and carrots in a green soup bowl

This 15 bean soup recipe can be made ahead of time in a slow cooker and frozen. However, if your power is already out and you haven’t made it, cook it on a campfire stove, or even in a pot on the grill, just keep the heat down and cook it slowly. I made this one with turkey, but substitute the turkey for the shredded chicken I made (above). You can add almost anything to it so use up some of the bags of frozen vegetables before they thaw out.

Grilled English muffins

English muffins cooked on a grill with pizza toppings

Did you know you can cook English muffins on the grill? This is a great item to purchase when you are doing your last-minute food shop. Not only can you make English muffin pizzas, but you can use them for breakfast too and cook eggs, bacon, or sausage on the skillet for a delicious hot breakfast.

Rice substitute

cauliflower rice in a bowl

You might have a hard time cooking rice without electricity, but a delicious substitute for that is cauliflower. I know that you are think this just won’t fly, but trust me, it’s delicious. Don’t worry if you didn’t have time to blend your cauliflower florets before the power went out, you can chop or grate it. You can even freeze them and then defrost when needed. Cauliflower rice is perfect to pair with grilled meats. I make a citrus one with orange rind and parsley in it and it’s amazing. Just cook it on a skillet on the grill or campfire stove until heated through.


Whether you have a firepit, grill, or campfire stove you can make s’mores.

a banana filled with marshmallows and chocolate chips

Here are a couple of our favorite ways to enjoy s’mores. Even without electricity your kids will love thes delicious treats.

Salmon foil packets

If you have salmon (or white fish), make delicious foil packets on the grill with vegetables, like our orange-ginger salmon. This is a delicious healthy meal that everyone will enjoy. We have tips for grilling white fish at Make and Takes.

salmon and vegetables in foil packets on the grill

Cast-iron skillet meals

If you can cook it in a cast-iron skillet, then you can cook it on a campfire stove or on the grill. There are many one-skillet meals out there, but here are a couple of our favorites.

ground turkey and vegetables cooked in a cast-iron skillet

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