Save Money On Food With These 12 Cheap Recipes

nevena313 on Pixabay

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If you’re looking to save money on food and lower your weekly grocery bill, you’re in the right place. These low-cost recipes not only taste good but are good for your wallet. By avoiding eating out and taking advantage of delicious recipes with affordable ingredients, you can reach your savings goals much faster.

Minimizing your monthly cost of meals is one of the best ways to save money on food. You might not have realized that the average person spends over $4,000 per year on food costs. A traditional four-member family spends about $11,000 a year on food.

Eating out can get really expensive. Although a $10-$20 meal outside the home may not seem like a lot, it can quickly add up and become one of your largest expenses. Eating out less and preparing cheap dinner recipes in order to save money is an awesome way to get started on money-saving goals. On top of that, cooking at home means you know exactly what’s going into your food!

Cooking recipes are a great way to spend your time and can be a fun way to hang out with your friends or loved ones without spending money.

If you’re looking to cut costs, preparing tasty and cheap recipes might be the most effective option for you. You don’t have to sacrifice taste with cheap and easy recipes!

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12 Cheap Recipes To Save Money On Food

1. Mexican Stuffed Peppers

cooked mexican stuffed peppers

NGi on Pixabay

Cooking Time: 30 Mins


  • 6 medium bell peppers sliced in half lengthwise with their tops and cores removed
  • 12 oz can of black beans
  • 1 cup of salsa
  • 3 cups of cooked brown rice
  • 2 cups of shredded Pepper Jack cheese

With just five ingredients, it’s clear that this recipe isn’t going to break the bank. Additionally, this recipe is vegetarian so anyone can make it whether or not they eat meat!

So, after you’ve decided to save money on food and buy the ingredients for this recipe, you can get started. Simply preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and place your peppers on a lined baking tray so that the cavity side is facing upwards.

Next, in a large mixing bowl combine the black beans, salsa, and brown rice and 1 cup of shredded cheese. Stir this mixture until it is well combined. After your filling is complete you can fill the cavity of each bell pepper with the rice mixture. When each pepper is filled you can top them with the remaining 1 cup of shredded cheese.

Finally, bake the peppers in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes. The peppers should be soft and the cheese should be completely melted when they are ready to eat. Make sure that you serve the peppers immediately after adding any additional toppings that you desire. Although these ingredients are not part of the original recipe you can also add additional toppings like sliced avocado, sour cream, cilantro, and extra cheese. When it comes to cheap dinner recipes, this one is very customizable.

2. Zucchini Bolognese

Cooking time:  4 Hours


  • 2 chopped onions
  • 10 chopped medium zucchinis
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • ½ cup of water
  • 2 bouillon cubes
  • juice of half of a lemon
  • 1 cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • ¾ lb of your pasta of choice

This recipe is one of my personal favorite ways to spend money on food. I make this whenever I want to avoid buying meat at the grocery store because it can get so expensive. The best part about this recipe is that you will always have leftovers of the sauce that you can save in the freezer and defrost whenever you’re hungry for more.

This zucchini bolognese recipe is extremely easy to make and will quickly become a fan favorite for anyone looking to save money on food. In addition, this recipe is meatless but the sauce is so delicious and hardy that no one will be able to tell that there wasn’t meat in it.

The first step in making this yummy and cheap dinner recipe is to heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Once the oil is hot you can add the cooked onion until it becomes soft and golden brown. Then stir in the water, bouillon cubes, and the zucchini.

After that, you will simply turn the heat down to low and cover the pot. The sauce will cook for four hours and make sure you stir it every once in a while until the zucchini is falling apart and becomes sauce-like.

When the sauce is nearly done, you can boil a pot of water and cook your pasta according to the instructions on the box. Put half of the sauce in a container in the refrigerator to save for later in the week or put it in the freezer if you plan on eating it within the month. When the pasta is drained, combine the pasta and the remaining sauce in the large pot and add the lemon juice and shredded parmesan. Serve immediately.

3. Lemon Butter Fish

lemon butter fish on chopping board

Spencer Selover on pexels

Cooking Time: 30 Mins


  • 1 pound of the fish
  • ¼ cup of melted unsalted butter
  • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
  • garlic salt
  • pepper

When you think of cooking fish you may associate it with being very expensive, but it’s actually one of the greatest ways to save money on food. However, if you top your fish with the right ingredients, it doesn’t have to break the bank. If you’re looking for ways to save money or just want to make sure you have enough to pay rent, cooking up a cheap recipe like lemon butter fish is a great option that is sure to impress.

The key to this recipe is buying the right fish. This recipe will work with almost any white fish so you have some options when selecting your fish. For example, you could choose Dorade which is typically less than $10 a pound and much cheaper than buying cod.

Catfish also have a known reputation for being a cheap but delicious white fish option for people. Catfish is also a very sustainable fish option because it is typically an invasive fish. Another fish that is not only cheap but also easy-to-cook and sustainable is Skate Wing.

When cooking lemon butter fish, you will need to preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit and grease baking dish that’s big enough to fit your fish filets without overlapping. Then, combine your butter and lemon juice in a small bowl with a whisk.

Place your fish in the baking dish and season them with salt and pepper to taste. Then you can coat your fish with the lemon butter mixture. If you bought a lemon and did not use bottled lemon juice, you can place two lemon slices on top of each filet.

Finally, place your fish into the oven and bake it uncovered for 30 minutes. When you take the fish out over the oven it should flake easily with a fork.

4. Curried Lentil Soup

Cooking time: 4-5 hours


  • 2 cups of diced carrots
  • one diced medium yellow onion
  • 3 minced and peeled cloves of garlic
  • 6 cups of chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon of curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • salt & pepper

Now onto the next of our cheap recipes. There is nothing more satisfying than a big warm bowl of soup at the end of the day of long, hard work. And the soup will taste even better knowing you didn’t break the bank on ingredients.

To get started on this recipe you will need to add the carrots, onion, garlic, chicken stock, curry powder and cumin powder to the slow cooker. Once the ingredients are added make sure you thoroughly stir it to combine the ingredients. Then, simply set the slow cooker to cook on high for 4-5 hours.

After the soup is done simply stir in the lemon juice and add salt and pepper to taste. Make sure you serve the soup warm and you can add lemon slices as a garnish to the soup if you wish.

5. Broccoli Quinoa Salad

Cooking time: 15 minutes


  • 1 cup of cooked quinoa
  • 1 pound of broccoli
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 minced cloves of garlic
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup of grated parmesan cheese
  • salt & pepper

This is a healthier at-home recipe option to save money on food.

First, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli to the boiling pot for 3 minutes and remove it with tongs and drain the broccoli. Make sure you get rid of as much moisture as possible and then chop the broccoli into small pieces.

Then, heat the oil in a large pan over medium heat until it is hot. Head the garlic in the pan for 1 minute. After that, you can add the chopped broccoli and salt. Keep stirring the broccoli for 5 minutes until it is more tender. Finally, you want to add the broccoli and the oil from the pan to a large bowl. Combine the broccoli with the lemon juice, and grated parmesan cheese. Stir to combine then add salt and pepper to taste. Serve this warm or at room temperature.

6. Ground Beef and Cabbage Stir Fry

Cooking time: 15 minutes


  • 1 pound of ground beef
  • 9-ounce bag of coleslaw mix
  • 2 scallions that are thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of sriracha
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil

This last recipe is a great one if you want to save money on food but still make a filling, delicious and cheap meal. Additionally, the recipe only requires 5 minutes of food prep time and 15 minutes of cooking time. You can save your money and save your time by adding this ground beef and cabbage stir fry to one of your weekly rotations of cheap recipes.

Luckily, many of these ingredients such as the soy sauce, sriracha, and olive oil are typical household ingredients that you may already have on hand in your home. This is a huge added benefit because it means you will not need to spend any additional money when you want to make this cheap dinner recipe.

Making ground beef and cabbage stir fry only involves a few steps. First, you will need to stir together the sriracha and the soy sauce in a small bowl. Then, you should heat a large pan on medium heat. You can add the oil and ground beef to the pan and cook for around 5 minutes or until it is brown. Continuously stir the meat and break it apart. After that add your coleslaw mix to the pan and cook it for around 6 minutes until the cabbage is soft and tender. Then, turn the heat down to low and add the soy sauce and sriracha mixture to the pan and stir until it is well mixed. Take the pan off of the heat and stir in the scallions. Serve immediately.

7. Kimchi Fried Rice

kimchi fried rice with egg

sharonang on Pexels

Cooking time: 10 mins


  • 3 cups steamed rice
  • 1 cup chopped kimchi
  • ¼ cup kimchi juice
  • ¼ of cup water
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 3 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1 chopped green onion

This delicious recipe is so cheap and easy to make. And the best part is that you don’t have to buy the ingredients!

The first step for cooking this recipe is to heat up a large pan with the olive oil. Then you can add the kimchi and cook it for one minute before adding the rice, kimchi juice, and water. Then you can combine the ingredients by stirring and cook for 7 minutes. Finally, add the sesame oil to the rice mixture and take the pan off of the heat. You can then add the chopped green onion to the top of the kimchi fried rice and serve immediately.

8. Strawberry French Toast

Cooking time: 15 mins


  • ¼ cup strawberry jelly
  • 8 slices of bread
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¼ cup of 2% milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • sliced fresh strawberries
  • maple syrup

Who doesn’t love breakfast for dinner?! It is not only delicious but it also one of the simplest cheap recipes that you might already be prepared to make. With such common ingredients like jelly, bread, eggs, milk and butter, it’s likely that you already have all of the ingredients and won’t need to spend a dime! By eating breakfast for dinner once a week you can save time and money! Breakfast recipes and this French toast recipe in particular tend to be quick to make but still great tasting!

The first thing you need to do in order to make strawberry French toast is to spread the strawberry jelly over four slices of your break. Then top those pieces of bread with your remaining bread as if you were making jelly sandwiches. Next, whisks eggs and milk until combined in a medium and shallow bowl.

Next, heat up the butter in a pan or skillet over medium heat. As the butter melts, dip both sides of the jelly sandwich into your egg and milk mixture. When both sides are soaked, put the sandwich on the pan and cook on each side for 2-3 minutes until each side is brown. Repeat those steps with the remaining sandwiches. Then, top the French toast with fresh strawberries and serve with syrup!

When finding ways to save money on food, classic recipes like this are a no-brainer.

9. Slow Cooker Teriyaki Chicken Thighs

Cooking time: 4 Hours


  • 3 pounds of boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • ¾ cup of sugar
  • ¾ cup soy sauce
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 4 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 4 teaspoons cold water
  • ¾ teaspoon ginger

This is another delicious and cheap recipe that will leave you with leftovers for days. Additionally, because you can make it in the slow cooker, you don’t have to do much other than place it all in the cooker and wait for it to be done. This recipe is perfect for the person who wants to save money on food but is always short on time. Because you end up with so much yummy teriyaki chicken after this, you can pack it in your lunch for work and save even more by not eating out!

First, you will need to place the chicken in the slow cooker. Then, in a small bowl combine the sugar, soy sauce, garlic, and ginger. Once the sauce is combined you can pour it over the chicken. Turn the slow cooker on and have it cook on low heat for 4-5 hours or until the chicken is cooked through and tender.

When the chicken is done you should remove the chicken from the slow cooker and keep it warm. Then, put the liquid left in the slow cooker in a small saucepan and bring it to a boil. While that is boiling, combine cornstarch and cold water in a small bowl and keep stirring until the mixture is smooth. Then you can stir the cornstarch mixture into the boiling juices and return it to a boil and cook for 1-2 minutes until it has thickened. Then, drizzle the sauce over the chicken and you can serve the meal over rice if desired.

This chicken dish is one of the most sweet and savory cheap dinner recipes out there!

10. Cheeseburger Cups

Cooking time: 30 mins


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon mustard
  • 1 12 oz tube of refrigerated buttermilk biscuits
  • ½ cup of cubed Velveeta cheese

This cheeseburger cup recipe is great for anyone who spends too much eating fast food and wants to save money by cooking cheap recipes without sacrificing their favorite food. Additionally, if you are cooking for a family while on a budget, making cheeseburger cups is sure to have kids and adults excited to eat!

The first thing you’ll need to do to make these cheeseburger cups is to cook the beef in a parget skillet over medium heat. Continue cooking the beef until there is no longer any pink. Then, stir in the ketchup, brown sugar and mustard into the beef. Once the ingredients are well mixed you can remove it from the heat and set it aside.

Next, preheat the oven to 400 degrees and grease a muffin tin and press each biscuit into the bottom and sides of the muffin tin cup. After that, you will spoon the beef mixture into each of the biscuit cups. Finally, you can top each cup with a few cubes of Velveeta cheese and bake them for 14 to 16 minutes. Once they are looking golden brown you can serve them immediately with toppings like pickles or lettuce and tomatoes.

Putting a twist on a classic recipe is one of the most fun ways to save money on food!

11. Corn Quesadillas

cheese and corn quesadilla

nevena313 on Pixabay

Cooking time: 15 mins


  • 4 flour tortillas
  • 1 cup of shredded pepper jack cheese
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 3 thinly sliced green onions
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • guacamole (optional)

If you’re trying to save money on food, corn quesadillas are a great meal when you’re hungry after a long night out on the town or just as a mid-day snack. This meal is so versatile and can save you from spending significantly more if you ordered a quesadilla at a restaurant or food truck.

First, you will combine the cheese, corn, sour cream, and green onions in a large bowl. Then, brush the tops of two tortillas with half of the olive oil and turn them over so they’re lying flat on a large dish or plate. After that, you can top the tortillas with the cheese mixture. Then, place the remaining two tortillas on top of the cheese mixture and brush them with the remaining olive oil.

To cook the corn tortillas simply place them on a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook one quesadillas at a time for 1-2 minutes on each side or until the cheese is melted and they appear golden brown. Once cooked, cut each quesadilla into six wedges and serve with sour cream and guacamole.

12. Garlic Lemon Shrimp

Cook time: 20 mins


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound of peeled and deveined uncooked shrimp
  • 3 cloves of thinly sliced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon lemon
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • hot cooked pasta

This final recipe may be the best of the cheap recipes. Depending on where you live and how many of these ingredients you already own this recipe will cost you under $15 and keep you full for days to come if you have leftovers. This shrimp recipe is one of the best ways to save money on food that doesn’t sacrifice flavor.

The cooking instructions for this are also relatively light and you will have delicious garlic lemon shrimp in no-time at all! First, heat up the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Then, add the shrimp and sauté them for 3 minutes. Once the shrimp are done you can add garlic, lemon juice, and the salt. Stir those ingredients into the shirt and cook until the shrimp turn pink. Remove the shrimp from heat and serve with hot cooked pasta.

It’s one of the tastiest cheap dinner recipes you’ll find!