Looking for some cheap dinner ideas? Sure, we all are—and we wholeheartedly believe that you can cook well while spending less. It just takes some clever techniques and inexpensive ingredients such as rice, pasta, beans, frozen produce, and chicken thighs.
Turn your stash into spicy one-pot kimchi and squash mac and cheese , the ultimate comfort food; pantry-staple pasta; or turmeric-infused red lentils and spinach. The cheap and delicious meal to begin our collection of cheap dinner ideas is comprised of mainly pasta and garlic.
Toasted nutritional yeast, full of umami, also pushes this easy recipe into a deeply savory, deeply tasty zone. The relatively long ingredient list—kidney beans, bell peppers, celery , parsley, rice—might not read as a budget meal, but the most expensive item is the andouille sausage.
Plus, you can feed six people with this one dish. These veggie enchiladas feature a charred tomatillo salsa verde, Cotija cheese, and, yes, creamy pinto beans.
That same filling would work well in burritos, too. If there happen to be leftovers, that meat and mozzarella and marinara make for a great sandwich the next day. Store-bought puff pastry and a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken are two very helpful shortcuts when it comes to this one-pot meal.
We also developed a soup version of chicken pot pie , just for fun. Giving chunky zucchini pieces a hard sear develops lots of texture and color while minimizing sogginess. The dilly sour cream provides a garlicky counterpart.
When you need a weeknight-friendly recipe that doubles as a cheap dinner idea, stir-fry is the answer. Is there ever a bad time for a quesadilla? This one is easy, cheesy, and a smart way to finish up that jar of kimchi hanging out in the fridge.
Although we and most of our readers love the mixture of nutritional yeast , garlic powder, and onion powder on these vegan nuggets, one commenter was less impressed. If you too crave something bolder, try the method with taco seasoning instead.
The humble onion is given center stage in this cheap meal. Seared, then gently roasted with paprika and tomato paste, these onions prove they have star quality. Transform a can of pumpkin purée into a near-instant pasta sauce—no slow cookers here— that delivers major fall feels.
Bonus: Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for two to three days. With a generous layer of caramelized onions and plenty of sharp Gruyère cheese, this tart packs the depth of French onion soup into every bite.
The tofu in this cheap recipe absorbs all of the flavors in the sauce—and there are a lot of them: shallots, ginger, garlic, cumin, red chile, turmeric, coconut cream , and peanut butter. It all becomes a sauce you have to make and see to believe. Crunchy fried onions transform a simple cabbage salad into a sensorial delight: hot and cold, crisp and soft, sweet and spicy.
Make sure to assemble it just before eating in order to capture those different textures. When the coffers are dry and so is the bread on the counter, this is the one. This cheap meal requires just a few other ingredients, most of which are already in your kitchen.
A garlicky mixture of ginger, soy sauce, brown sugar, and maple syrup cooks down until almost sticky in this riff on a Chinese-American classic sesame chicken. An untraditional but logical addition to the sauce: tahini. You might be surprised by just how flavorful a combination of chicken stock, celery, and chickpeas can be.
Garlic, red chiles, lemon, and fresh cilantro contribute to making it so—while still keeping it feeling clean. If you can swing it, add a big pinch of asafetida for an extra savory note.
Quick-cooking, budget-friendly, and pretty hard to screw up that dark meat is automatically juicier , chicken thighs are our default weeknight dinner—and this is our simplest way to prepare them.
These battered, oven-baked florets come out crackly before getting bathed in a sticky-sweet gochujang glaze. It means you have croutons.
Ground turkey is a lean protein that, when simmered with white beans, seasonings, and chipotle chiles in adobo and topped with Greek yogurt, delivers major body and richness.
The key to stress-free stir-frying is in the prep work. Be sure to chop, slice, and grate everything before even thinking about turning on the stove. Once you do, it comes together in 15 minutes.
A little bit of flour and butter, garlic, lemon juice, and capers , and you've got a super savory supper. Say that three times fast. This cheap recipe leaves out the smoked pork or turkey, which is typical in the American South, and goes heavy on garlic for flavor.
This all-star easy dinner recipe will work long after corn has gone out of season. In the winter, just sub in shaved cauliflower or torn kale. This soup packs in all the ingredients that would make your doctor happy—lentils, sweet potatoes, leafy greens—but the fiery Thai green curry paste keeps things interesting.
This Haitian meal consists of sos pwa nwa, black bean sauce enriched with coconut milk, served alongside mayi moulen, a creamy cornmeal porridge flavored with garlic and herbs. Nothing is cozier. This family-friendly weeknight dinner takes a cue from Japanese grilled chicken meatballs called tsukune as well as the glossy, sweet-and-sour sauce that comes with them.
A classic Italian pesto , this is not. Spinach, cilantro, and miso come together for this uber-green sauce, which dresses, of course, springy ramen noodles. In this brothy beans recipe, caramelizing fennel, shallots, and lemon builds a base layer that is sweet, tangy, and bright.
Tinned sardines add protein and a briny flavor. A beloved Hong Kong dish with approximately one billion variations, this soup—which relies heavily on fridge and pantry staples—is meant to be a little sweet and a touch sharp. Its silky texture comes from blended potatoes and broccoli stalks rather than heavy cream.
Well, this is the salad version, with noodles in addition to pink radishes , orange carrots, purple cabbage, and green cucumbers. One head of cabbage goes a long way. This recipe, where wedges are bathed in turmeric-accented coconut milk until meltingly tender and sweet, uses just half of one to feed four.
The soul of this recipe comes from the ginger and tamari marinade that gives crispy tofu a sweet and savory glaze. We like to turn leftover tofu into tacos, for some Japanese-Mexican fusion. Toss roasted sweet potato wedges in a sweet and nutty tahini dressing for this quick vegetarian weeknight dinner.
And no, it will not break the bank. This budget meal is about turning leftover side dishes into something totally new. Nearly any roasted vegetable or cooked grain could be worked into a frittata using this method.
Daily Harvest. All ingredients are fresh, organic, and vegan, making it a perfect vegan meal delivery service. Plus, the more you order, the more you save. The meals range in difficulty on a scale of one to three, with gourmet dishes such as mahi mahi piccata and butternut squash agnolotti with kale.
And if your kid is on a dairy-free or gluten-free diet, Yumble has options for that too. Availability: Most of the East Coast, Texas, and parts of the West Coast and Midwest.
Home Chef. You choose from around a dozen meals each week with menus set five weeks ahead of time , and those fresh ingredients and recipe cards ship to your door. In about 30 minutes or less, you can whip up delicious dishes that cater to picky eaters and anyone with dietary restrictions including vegetarian, dairy-free, nut-free, soy-free, and more.
The service offers gourmet meals such as tomato risotto, shrimp scampi pasta, farmhouse fried chicken, and more. And if you love the sound of these meal kits but want to skip the meal prep, Home Chef has five-minute oven-ready lunches and dinners too.
Blue Apron. Developed to keep cooking and prep time for meals down to an average of 45 minutes, the recipe card directions are easy to follow and ingredients are sourced from sustainable farms. Splendid Spoon. Mosaic Foods. Mosaic Foods makes frozen, ready-to-heat vegetarian and vegan meals that use fresh, nutritious, and affordable ingredients, with offerings of veggie bowls, soups, oats, and more.
Availability: New York, Washington, D. SELF does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Any information published on this website or by this brand is not intended as a substitute for medical advice, and you should not take any action before consulting with a healthcare professional.
Fitness Food Health Love Beauty Life Conditionally Shopping. Video Challenges Workouts Newsletter Signup. Save this story Save this story. Shop at Little Spoon. Availability: Nationwide, excluding Alaska and Hawaii. Shop at Dinnerly. Availability: Nationwide, excluding Montana, North Dakota, Alaska, and Hawaii.
Shop at EveryPlate. Availability: Nationwide. Shop at HelloFresh. Shop at Yumble. Shop at Home Chef.
Blue Apron A quick look at Healthline's picks for the cheapest meal delivery services ; Most affordable: EveryPlate | Skip to review ; Best for families Missing