What Frozen Dinners Look Like All Around The World

The concept may have begun in the U.S., but the convenience of frozen dinners is something that is now found in many countries around the world. What modern diner doesn't love coming home to a meal that needs only a blast in the microwave or a quick warm-up in the oven to be fully finished? The fact that you can find just about any cuisine in frozen dinner form only makes the prospect all the more enticing. No interpreting a recipe and trawling through the grocery store for a bunch of ingredients, and no having to learn any complicated preparation or cooking techniques to make it the way you want. You can head straight for the freezer aisle and find pretty much anything you're hungry for, practically ready to eat. 

The frozen dinner industry is an American standard, but what do frozen dinners in other countries look like? Are the options abroad as robust and representative of tasty dining as the domestic possibilities you know and love and depend on to make meal prep easier come supper time? The delicious truth is that the options found around the world reflect the tastes of regional eaters, and while the TV dinner may be a kitschy retro phenomenon, frozen dinners are alive and well around the world, offering convenience in many different ways. Take a look at how other countries capture the satisfaction of late-day dining in frozen form.


For hungry Brits, frozen dinners aren't just a comfortable convenience; they've become a cost-saving necessity. As in the U.S., increases in cost-of-living expenses have drawn shoppers to affordable options like heat-and-eat meals — often called "ready meals" in the U.K. — as cost-effective, sustainable dining when budgets and salaries don't line up. While TV dinners don't seem to be on the menu, Cameron's British Foods provides English frozen versions of regional bites like banger rolls and meat pies, hearty favorites that bring pub-style dining to home tables. Premium possibilities from Cameron's include two-packs of steak and haggis pies, priced slightly higher than a family four-pack but still in the realm of possibility. These multi-pack meals let families enjoy a hot dish with minimal trouble while keeping spending in check.

If special occasions call for a group dinner, frozen shepherd's pies are available to serve a crowd. Packed with meat and veg in a fluffy mashed potato crust, it's a dish that brings your entrée and sides together in a single morsel, ready to heat and plate for guests who favor authentic English eating. Outlets like British Food Club make it easy for anyone interested in stocking up on frozen dinners to order to their hearts' content rather than making regular trips to the market ... one might call that easy-freezy.


The market for frozen dinners in Ireland is one of the most robust in Europe. Though nutritionists may not be ecstatic at the idea of food taking a less-than-fresh turn, consumers seem to be enthralled by having boxes of ready-to-go dinner options in their freezers, even if the balance tends more toward frozen pizza than frozen veggie ensembles. Convenience is certainly attractive for busy diners who arrive home hungry and in a hurry, and for every food artisan offering organic frozen meals, there's a brand-name package of ham and cheese pockets pulling shoppers in the other direction.

Frozen dinners aren't all fun and games on the Emerald Isle, however. Healthful options that take heat-and-eat dining in nutritious directions are also available, thanks to food producers like MyProtein. The company's high-protein, low-fat frozen meals found exclusively at Iceland grocery stores take the headache out of mindful dining, replacing repetitive meal prep with frozen specialties that include beef lasagna and Bolognese pasta. Customers might not be entirely sold on them, but it's a step in the right direction, at least. Meal prep company Amazing Food – claiming to offer "the best frozen food in Dublin" — packages whole meals in vacuum-sealed freezer packs for home delivery to freshen up the dinner hour. Even pizza start-ups like Slice of Life are taking the hint and aiming to make healthier versions of convenient frozen dinners for Irish eaters to indulge in.


France is undisputedly one of the ancestral homes of gourmet dining, and somewhere that takes its food very seriously. Is it possible that a country so passionate about good food could have frozen meals delicious enough to keep the populace satisfied? Bien sûr! The idea of an all-frozen food grocery store like Picard is a fairly unique offering in the international food world. Even Iceland, a European grocery chain that specializes in affordable frozen goods, offers fresh offerings as well. There's no fresh food to be found at Picard; every fixture is a freezer stocked to the gills with dinners, hors d'oeuvres, and desserts meant to make meal prep simpler for those with modern sensibilities. Picard itself is a top-notch provider of frozen food, so filling an entire store with its products is a natural next step.

Among the well-chilled aisles of Picard, the beloved croque monsieur – a sandwich usually served open-faced — gets a freezer-friendly facelift with a second slice of bread topped with cheese. A Valencia-style paella packs the plate with rice, calamari, shrimp, and fish, all heated straight from the icebox for an international dinner that doesn't require a visa. For fish lovers who prefer an entrée of sliced cod, Picard provides a box of 8 breaded strips sprinkled with healthy grains for added texture. Other French specialties like chicken cordon bleu and ratatouille are available as Picard frozen dinners as well, giving locals a range of homeland delights that come together quickly and easily for just about any occasion.

South Africa

The options for frozen dinners in South Africa are more reflective of the region's blended culinary influences than other countries. Muslim dishes like tomato beef bredie are available in frozen form, preserving the taste and heritage of long-held traditions while providing an easy product for modern home cooks to prepare. The dish is a favorite in Cape Malay, a region filled with colorful culture specific to its location in Cape Town. Wildsprout's tray-sized supper selections let shoppers enjoy hearty helpings of Butternut, Chickpea & Cauliflower Curry, and Chilli Non-Carne (a vegetarian version of the popular chili dish), proving that convenience can be nourishing, even in the world of frozen dinners.

For even more deluxe options, whole-food kitchens like Gia's Kitchen provide flash-frozen homemade meals for home diners around Cape Town for a more comforting supper that takes less labor to prepare. Ethically sourced ingredients and home delivery make it easy to add these iced elements to the dining roundabout. There are also vegan and vegetarian options that let meat-free eaters get in on the chill-to-thrill goodness, too. While selections found in other regions seem to embrace a looser attitude toward nutrition, South Africa's frozen dinners make sure families can enjoy healthy fare on the dinner table, straight from the freezer.


It may take a while for frozen dinner trends to make their way across the globe, but eventually, even far-reaching cultures come around. In India, the idea of ready-to-eat meals stored in the freezer has been catching on as an add-on to heat-and-eat dinners like ramen. Though the idea of saving time has always been important, the expansion of options that fit regional tastes has helped convince residents that freeze-for-ease is a viable choice to add something new to their dishes.

With authenticity holding an important status in the dining lives of Indian people, locals need to have convenience without sacrificing heritage. Diners in India can enjoy frozen takes on beloved traditional favorites like chicken seekh kebabs and vegetable biryani, heritage recipes that make viable stand-ins for dishes ordinarily made from scratch. This shift toward frozen dinner convenience allows urbanized eaters to maintain a sense of tradition as well as sampling Western brands like McCain and Birds Eye while making their weeknight dining lives a whole lot easier.


The frozen meal section of Woolworths, one of the top grocery outlets in Australia, offers a variety to satisfy the appetites of everyone from singletons to expansive families. Similar to the American frozen dinner market, there's a remarkable array of familiar cold-storage dishes here; there are even U.S. brands like Lean Cuisine and McCain offering hearty meals that unfreeze with ease. Plant-based dinners like pad Thai from Plantry and dishes for carnivorous cravers like Strength Meal Co.'s Pulled Beef Lasagne show a predisposition for international dining from the frozen dinner set, a win for lovers of variety when it comes to having simple-to-fix meals on hand.

Any Australians looking for a more native dining experience can try the Pub Favorites line from On The Menu, an array of full meals like Slow-Cooked Lamb or Beef Rissoles, a regional beef patty surrounded by sides like an old-fashioned TV dinner from the States. With Aussies as eager as others worldwide to keep their bank accounts intact, frozen meals provide affordable dining solutions that don't force a compromise with taste.


Innovation is a key aspect of the Japanese culture, extending into the frozen food market enough for frozen options in general to be named the island country's Dish of the Year in 2022. This is a big change from previous winners, expanding beyond the kingdom of the grocery store freezer aisle and into restaurants flash-freezing their offerings as deluxe frozen dinner possibilities. Taking frozen meals so seriously shows the value modern Japanese diners place on the flexibility that ready-to-heat dining offers.

With the frozen food sector thriving in Japan, busy residents are presented with a slew of savory choices to stock their freezers. Simple pleasures like pork gyoza make a perfect small-bite supper, while soy and garlic-seasoned fried chicken karaage and takoyaki, or fried octopus nuggets, provide more stylish selections to fill dinner plates. Having familiar regional dishes makes tossing together a well-received dinner without laboring in the kitchen an easy feat for busy home chefs.


With such a lush landscape and rich indigenous dining available, what could frozen dinners possibly add to the culinary lives of South American citizens? Plenty, as it turns out. In Brazil especially, freezer-based features like vegan burgers and stuffed rolls with a gourmet twist have begun taking up residence in grocery chains in the region. These dinners are sumptuous additions to the diets of eaters looking to reduce their meat consumption in favor of more plant-based possibilities. But it's not just convenience that drives the Brazilian frozen dinner market; the idea of being cautiously conservation-minded with food by freezing it fresh and making it last underpins the efforts to expand freezer meals to local eaters.

Rede Lanchão Brasil, a company operating several dining chains in Brazil, has begun offering these cruelty-free boxed meals as an extension of dishes provided on their restaurant menus. For shoppers in Brazil, the increased interest in frozen foods in general began climbing during the COVID pandemic, with home cooks turning to healthier options in a form that's easy to store and simple to prepare. In the post-pandemic world, the trend continues in an upward fashion.

New Zealand

Convenient freezer-kept meals made with local ingredients give home diners fresh, flavorful choices, and New Zealand company Mike & Anna's Tomorrow's Meals has gotten the formula for frozen dinners down to an art. Fresh ingredients that don't stray far from the comfort of Sunday supper feature prominently in these meals, whether it's BBQ pork with steamed veggies or beef casserole with mashed potatoes. The sturdy balance of protein and plants offers familiar comfort rather than delving into the more specialized area of global tastes or gourmet creations, a sensible move to attract families in need of a quick dinner fix at the end of a long day.

For moments when eating is a fleeting pleasure and filling food simply needs to be available in its most easily prepared package, there are plenty of fast eating selections as well. Single-serving frozen cottage pies offer boxes of tasty potential filled with flavor familiar to New Zealanders. There's also chicken schnitzel and Italian options such as a ragù pappardelle to add a touch of international style to the table.


The idea of eating frozen food in Thailand is similar to wearing a tuxedo to a McDonald's: The setting and the image are strikingly opposed to one another. Most of what the dining sphere knows of Thai cuisine is fresh, wholesome ingredients transformed into sensational dishes that intrigue the hungry from the first bite to the last. A bit of cross-cultural goodwill in 2018 brought Boston Market's Western-style frozen dinners to the country, a thawing of frosty relations between the U.S. and Thailand that had existed in preceding years. But what could the frozen food industry ever offer a culture so renowned for its superior culinary gifts?

The connecting factor seems to be ease and availability. Would you believe that some of the best frozen dinner offerings in Thailand are sold at local 7-Elevens? Fish with red curry sauce and rice, chicken and sausage fried rice, and even spaghetti with tomato sauce and chicken are available at the ultimate convenience shop. The selections are so mind-boggling, that YouTubers have taken to sharing videos of their phenomenal finds. It seems that more than just American cuisine has made its way into this Asian-Pacific gem; the notion of quick eating from the freezer aisle has become an export that many are willing to embrace as well.

South Korea

The modern vibe of South Korean life signals the contemporary eater as a prime subject for frozen dinners, ready to toss into the oven and eat on the fly. Indeed, frozen foods on the whole have experienced an incline in consumer popularity that turns the prospect of preparing fresh, homemade options into a total side dish. Thanks to rising prices for dining out, the trend of frozen rather than fresh food has made the country a ripe spot for frozen meal options to flourish.

TikTok reviewer JohnsFoodReviews took to video to explore his top-ten favorite possibilities for frozen dinner foods in South Korea, showing off items like breaded mozzarella sticks that look more like lumpy corndogs, kimchi pancakes, and meatless flat dumplings that heat up in a frying pan rather than a microwave for a bit of added homestyle magic. The possibilities shown, while not in the range of feeding a family in one go, allow South Korean home cooks the option of heating something already available when the urge to cook just isn't there — the best reason for having frozen dinners available.