10 Budget Recipes and Cheap Easy Meals You Should Try

Food is one of the largest expenses a family can have each month, which is why I’m a big believer in and lover of weekly meal plans. If you are looking for some new budget recipes to start making for you and/or your family, then you’ve come to the right place. According to the United…

Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Last Updated: May 25, 2023

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Looking for budget recipes? Here are 10 cheap easy meals that you should start making. Yes, these are cheap meals that are delicious! These healthy meal and dinner ideas for families or even just for two or one are easy and delicious, and some are even vegetarian and vegan!

Food is one of the largest expenses a family can have each month, which is why I’m a big believer in and lover of weekly meal plans. If you are looking for some new budget recipes to start making for you and/or your family, then you’ve come to the right place.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the average family of four spends around $700 to $1,000 a month on food. That’s a lot of money, especially considering that most families waste around 40% of their food each month!

Related content: 10 Budget Lunch Ideas and Cheap Easy Meals You Should Try

If you want recipes that are budget friendly and delicious, don’t worry, it is possible! The recipes included in this budget recipe roundup are affordable, easy, and you may already have many of the ingredients in your home!

I have all of these recipes in my current meal plan, and I’m excited to make all of them.

Note: If you’re looking for easy weekly meal plans, full of budget recipes, I recommend $5 Meal Plan. $5 Meal Plan is a meal planning service that sends you a delicious meal plan and shopping list every week for just $5 a month.

Other helpful content to read:

Here are 10 budget recipes and cheap easy meals you should try:

 

1. Better Than Chipotle DIY Chicken Burrito Bowl

Get the recipe here.Looking for budget recipes? Here are 10 cheap easy meals that you should start making. Yes, these are cheap meals that are delicious!

 

2. Bean Burrito Casserole

Get the recipe here.

Looking for budget recipes? Here are 10 cheap easy meals that you should start making. Yes, these are cheap meals that are delicious!

 

3. One Pot Chicken and Dirty Rice

Get the recipe here.

Looking for budget recipes? Here are 10 cheap easy meals that you should start making. Yes, these are cheap meals that are delicious!

 

4. Spinach Artichoke Rice Bowl With Vegetables

Get the recipe here.

Looking for budget recipes? Here are 10 cheap easy meals that you should start making. Yes, these are cheap meals that are delicious!

 

5. Classic Beef and Tomato Macaroni Soup

Get the recipe here.

Looking for budget recipes? Here are 10 cheap easy meals that you should start making. Yes, these are cheap meals that are delicious!

 

6. Black Bean Chili

Get the recipe here.

Looking for budget recipes? Here are 10 cheap easy meals that you should start making. Yes, these are cheap meals that are delicious!

 

7. Vegetarian Quinoa Lasagna Casserole

Get the recipe here.

Looking for budget recipes? Here are 10 cheap easy meals that you should start making. Yes, these are cheap meals that are delicious!

 

8. High Protein Broccoli White Bean Mac And Cheese

Get the recipe here.

Looking for budget recipes? Here are 10 cheap easy meals that you should start making. Yes, these are cheap meals that are delicious!

 

9. Mascarpone, Mushroom, and Spinach Salad

Get the recipe here.

Looking for budget recipes? Here are 10 cheap easy meals that you should start making. Yes, these are cheap meals that are delicious!

 

10. Sweet Basil And Corn Chowder

Get the recipe here.

Looking for budget recipes? Here are 10 cheap easy meals that you should start making. Yes, these are cheap meals that are delicious!

 

After writing this, I decided to add a few more, so now there are 13 budget recipes!

11. Hamburger and Macaroni

Get the recipe here.

 

12. One Pan Cheesy Chicken, Broccoli, And Rice

Get the recipe here.

 

13. Green Bean & Potato Curry

Get the recipe here.

What are your favorite budget recipes right now? Share them in the comments below!


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Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Author: Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Hey! I’m Michelle Schroeder-Gardner and I am the founder of Making Sense of Cents. I’m passionate about all things personal finance, side hustles, making extra money, and online businesses. I have been featured in major publications such as Forbes, CNBC, Time, and Business Insider. Learn more here.

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  1. Yum! Those look like good recipes! I may have to make the potato green bean curry this weekend. My family stopped eating meat at home this year, and it has been incredible for our health and wallet (spending $100 less per month on food for the two of us). I love how half of these would work for us!

  2. Mustard Seed Money

    My wife and I are huge fans of anything we can throw into a crock pot and then go on with the rest of our days. So we enjoy a lot of pot roasts with mixed veggies πŸ™‚

  3. Paige @ Fixing My Finances

    These all sound so good!! I just prepped at home burrito bowls to take for my lunches this week! I am a big fan of one pot meals because of how easy they tend to be (and my husband is a fan because he is normally on dish duty)

  4. Ember @ An Intentional Lifestyle

    My family is obsessed with rice, so you hit the nail on the head with some of these!! I am in need of a few new recipes to rotate in too, so this was good timing!! They look so good too! Thanks for the recipes!

  5. Good morning Michelle,

    I’m glad you’re discussing a topic like this today. To talk about food and budgets, one thing that came to mind for aspiring side hustle entrepreneurs is if they’re looking to save money while striving to eat nutritious food, they should hold off on spending money on eating out at buffet restaurants and buying big ticket items at supermarkets like Shrimps and other seafood items. Reason being is because most aspiring side hustlers are just starting out and they need to save their money for things like making sure their hosting bill is paid on time, real world bills are paid, and some money put away just in case they have to run a few PPC ads “pay per click advertisements.” Running paid online advertising adverts from time to time is also good for business, as some webpreneurs may need to put money away for that and watch their food budgets.

    I’m an advocate for stocking up good food in the freezer by purchasing low-priced prepackaged meals from the supermarket. Another thing I really like doing to save money is buying large bags of vegetables like corn and mixed vegetables and sometimes other types of vegetables so I stay on track right and saving money from spending at the buffet. That chicken burrito bowl looks pretty nutritious with sliced avocado and mixed veggies.

    Eating expensive food shouldn’t be a priority for entrepreneurs just starting out in online business. They should focus on consuming quality food on a budget while building their side hustle businesses from the ground floor up. As long as they get a healthy meal in that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg, that should keep them inspired to continue on with building their side hustle Internet business. The expensive food will always be there. Thank you for this thought-provoking post on food budgeting for entrepreneurs. πŸ™‚

  6. What a delicious-looking post! I’ve tried some of the dishes above but never made any at home.

    I’m Vietnamese, and my husband is Chinese, so we just eat lots of rice at home with veggie and meat dishes every day. I’d love to have real American food for dinner every once in a while, but my husband just loves his Chinese food maybe too much >_<

  7. I shouldn’t read posts like this when I haven’t eaten yet! Now I’m starving.

    The green bean and potato curry looks so good! I’m going to have to try that one. I might add a few of these to my list. My kids love anything with macaroni noodles in it. πŸ™‚

    I love using beans because they’re so budget friendly. The only problem is that 3/5 of my household members don’t really like them. I might have to try the mac and cheese with beans, maybe the kids who don’t like beans won’t notice. My husband definitely would though, he hates beans.

    I think that meal planning is the best way to save money on groceries. I struggle with this SO MUCH. I need to get better at it. Our biggest way to save on groceries is shopping at Aldi. I love getting a huge cart of groceries for $100.

  8. Love budget meals! What a great list you put together!

  9. These look so good! I’m always looking for cheap meals to make on the boat, especially ones that don’t require many pots and pans πŸ™‚ Thanks for posting!

  10. I have always believed that my grocery shopping is the easiest budget line to control. I love being able to find meals that only cost a couple dollars to make. I almost consider myself the queen of cheap meals that still taste great.

    This is a great list that goes past just eating beans and rice. Many of these recipes can be used to disguise small bits of leftover meats and vegetables, too, in order to reduce food waste.

  11. Lovely ideas, thanks for sharing!

  12. These all look awesome! I’m totally going to try a few of them in the next week or two! Always looking for some fresh ideas. Thanks!

  13. All of these look really good. I love recipes that are quick, easy on the wallet and also allows for a quick clean up. Uses one pot sign me up!

  14. Mrs. Picky Pincher

    Love the burrito bowl idea! My favorite budget-friendly recipe is homemade tortellini soup. We broke down the cost per serving once and it’s under $1 per serving. πŸ™‚ And it tastes uh-mazing.

  15. Melanie, Mommy Finance

    I’m getting hungry by just looking at all of them. I think I would try #4 and #9 myself. I also use $5 Dollar Meal Plan and it’s the best service I could get for myself! I don’t have time to search up recipes and guess how much time I’ll be cooking. This service definitely does the thinking for me lol.

  16. An easy way to save even more money is to eat vegetarian or vegan. Here are two of my favorite recipes:

  17. I just pinned a number of those recipes for future reference. I am in the process of taking a hard look at my food budget and finding cheap, but still yummy options is a must for me right now!

  18. James @ Penny Wise Dollar Wiser

    Thanks for sharing these recipes. Will definitely need to try some of these out soon – my wallet thanks you.

  19. These look awesome!

    One of my favorite inexpensive veggie meals is this black bean burger recipe by Chef Joy Crump. Its a video recipe and its fun to watch.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOBlMLNOkFY

  20. K

    Any low budget meal ideas for those on restricted diets? My husband and I both have autoimmune diseases that require us to eat low carb, which means no rice, beans, pasta, potatoes, or bread. Right now our budget is $1000 a month for the six of us and I’d love to get it down.

  21. We’re all about the Chipotle Portobello Oven Fajitas from BudgetBytes this year – they’re frugal, healthy and taste *awesome*: https://www.budgetbytes.com/2016/06/chipotle-portobello-oven-fajitas/

  22. David Kuss

    Great Meal ideas. I am sure adding a cheap meal planner to your blog would not be too hard.
    Here are two of my specials that are pretty healthy and also inexpensive to build.
    Growing up with 6 brothers and sisters on a teachers salary we had to make the most food possible for the the least amount of money. Quick Spanish Rice. prepare 2 cups of rice. We like long grain and brown rice. Cook 8 or so slices of bacon. We use either turkey or regular bacon. Make it kind of crispy. Add crumbled or cut bacon to your rice. Add 2 cans of Rotel or diced tomatoes and peppers to your rice. Add ketchup or salsa to the rice and stir when it looks pretty red it is ready to eat.

    Beano is something I came up with as we always have some beans around the house to work with. Cook either chicken, beef or pork in a fry pan we cut ours up into bite size chunks and fry it with a little olive oil. a pound or so works pretty good. Cook 2 cups of beans we mix white and darker beans for a cool look. You can also use three different kinds of canned beans the more colorful the better. Add 2 cans of Rotel or tomatoes with peppers and a cup or two of Salsa.
    heat in your fry pan until warm and enjoy.

  23. Thanks for sharing these delicious recipes! I’ve pinned this πŸ™‚

  24. Angel

    What I took from all of these recipes is use your own spices to make a taco flavour, some noodles are better than others, so use them.
    Some people like dairy, but it not being such a good choice, use something else in it’s place.
    I think it would be common sense?
    And one person was right, sorry I forgot who, but this stuff is a heck of a lot cleaner than a lot of other recipes, already prepared, and restaurant foods