20 Budget-Friendly Meals You'll Want to Add to Your Regular Dinner Rotation
For less than the cost of prepared meals or takeout, you can put a fresh, satisfying dinner for four on the table. Try these recipes once, and we're sure you'll want to make them on repeat.
Whether you're trying to save for a home upgrade, new car, or just trying to be more budget-conscious in general, there are loads of ways you can cut costs at the grocery store and still eat plenty of delicious food. Our top tip? Familiarize yourself with these budget-friendly dinner recipes.
The only thing that isn't cheap about these affordable dishes is their flavor. The secret to putting a fresh, satisfying meal on the table for less than the price of a delivery pizza is two-fold: First, all of these recipes excel at making the most of affordable proteins like eggs, ground meat, tofu, and canned items like beans and tuna. Next, you'll find that our recipes seamlessly combine those proteins with affordable pantry and refrigerator staples like rice, pasta, barley and potatoes to go with them. The results are hearty, full meals that will never leave you feeling shortchanged and will have your family requesting them again and again.
As a way to really take these dishes over the top, we use budget-friendly extras that maximize flavor, like tomato paste, canned chipotle chiles in adobo, and Parmesan cheese. While these ingredients may seem like small details in the grand scheme of a full recipe, they contain umami, which has the power to bring downright luxurious flavors to an otherwise ordinary dinner.
Ready to start saving money while also enjoying tasty, healthy meals? Click through for our best budget-friendly dinner recipes, which prove that the most affordable meals can also be some of the most delicious.
Pork Meatball Skillet Bake
Cauliflower-and-Chickpea Pitas with Creamy Yogurt Sauce
Smoky Tofu Chili
No-Cook Tomato-Tuna Sauce with Spaghetti
An easy pasta dish like this one can be a great option for those times you feel like cooking, but when you also don't want to damage the weekly budget by ordering takeout. This easy and delicious no-cook sauce incorporates canned tuna with fresh tomatoes, garlic, and plenty of Parmesan.
Kielbasa and Lentil Rice with Spinach
White Fish Stew with Dumplings
Curried Steak with Scallion Rice and Peas
Chicken Barley Soup
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts aren't an economy cut, but you can get the most bang for your buck in this hearty grain-based soup that uses just two chicken breasts in a dinner that will make four hearty portions. Bolstered by fiber-rich barley, carrots, and spinach, this meal will leave both bellies and wallets full.
Braised Chicken Legs in Sauerkraut
Spanish Rice with Ground Beef and Eggs
For a very filling family dinner, try this update on tomatoey Spanish (or Mexican) rice using ground chuck and eggs.
Tuna-Noodle Casserole with Cauliflower
Escarole and Bean Soup
This deliciously filling soup uses both canned chickpeas and canned kidney beans, and comes together in just 25 minutes. Toasted bread is a must, which soaks up the tasty broth.
Tomato Soup with Poached Eggs
Hearty but not heavy, this soup makes a satisfying dinner anytime of the year. It uses canned tomatoes and swaps in water in place of the usual broth for an even greater savings. The eggs are cooked in the soup and supply an an economical, meatless source of protein.
Chickpea, Sausage, and Kale Pasta
Substantial and super-fast, this pasta dish has tons of appeal. It stretches a small amount of sausage by also using chickpeas and plenty of kale.
These tender, juicy braised chicken legs—and you know we love juicy, meaty chicken legs—in a classic Hungarian style taste like they were cooked long and slow, but the dish comes together in just 45 minutes. There's plenty of rich paprika-tomato sauce for the broad egg noodles.