35+ Cheap and Easy Family Meals (Budget Recipes!)

Looking for some cheap and easy meal ideas? Here is a complete list of 35 delicious budget-friendly recipes. Perfect to feed your whole family on a budget! Cheap dinner ideas and recipes you can try this month!

Collage image of six cheap family meals

Cheap and Easy Recipes

Is it possible to make cheap meals for large families? This is the question I asked myself after realizing how much money we used to spend on food.

Trying to come out with cheap dinner recipes or affordable meals for a family was something that I needed to plan every week.

I usually do a meal plan for the whole week in order to save money and time. However, to do this, I realized that I needed to find and keep a list of cheap and easy meals to feed my family on a budget.

If you come from a large family, as I do, you know that food takes a great part of any budget.

In fact, According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average family spends over $7,900 per year on food. That’s a lot of money!

There’s no doubt that food is expensive these days, and its cost can really add up fast. In this case, you would either avoid overspending on food or just come out with some budget recipes and easy cheap meals you can make.

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Top of 20 Affordable Foods to Buy on a Low Budget

Before we jump into this list of easy and cheap family recipes, here is a list of versatile foods you can buy when money is tight. These foods can be used to create different meals that are nutritious without breaking the bank!

  1. Rice
  2. Beans
  3. Eggs
  4. Pasta
  5. Bananas
  6. Oatmeal
  7. Frozen Vegetables
  8. Peanut Butter
  9. Plain Yogurt
  10. Canned Tuna or Salmon
  11. Carrots
  12. Onions
  13. Cabbage
  14. Potatoes
  15. Apples
  16. Canned soups
  17. Flour
  18. Sugar
  19. Spices
  20. Bread

Keep in mind, that it’s always a good idea to plan your meals for the week.

Learning how to meal plan on a budget and cooking budget-friendly recipes will drastically reduce your grocery budget and save you tons of money.

Must-Have Tools to Help You Prepare Budget-Friendly Recipes

Here is the thing, if you really want to save money, you need to know some must-have tools to help you make cheap family meals while keeping your grocery bill low:

Have a Grocery Budget

This is a critical step if you are trying to cut costs at home. Having a grocery budget can help you avoid overspending, plan meals that fit your budget needs, and identify areas where you can cut back and save money.

If you need help creating a budget, I highly recommend this easy to use monthly budget spreadsheet. The spreadsheet was really a game changer for us as a family.

The budget template helps us take control of our finances and save more money. I really love the monthly budget spreadsheet because it has all the calculations done for you! Its accessibility is a plus too because you can update your budget on the go and in real-time.

You can check the budget spreadsheet here.

$5 Meal Plan

If you are looking for weekly meal plans with cheap and easy recipes, I recommend the $5 Meal Plan.

$5 Meal Plan is a meal planning service that sends you every week budget-friendly and easy meal plans including the shopping list for only $5 a month.

It is an option that will definitely save you a lot of money and worth looking into. Click here to learn more about the $5 Meal Plan.


This is my favorite money-saving app, and I use it whenever I go grocery shopping.

Ibotta allows you to get cash back for your regular purchases from grocery stores. They give you cash back for buying things such as potatoes, bananas, or bread. Things that most families usually buy when grocery shopping.

Last month, I was able to earn $180 by using Ibotta and recommending the app to some friends. I can’t recommend Ibotta enough, it saved me so much money and I use it on every shopping trip!

Bonus: Get a FREE $10 Welcome Bonus from Ibotta when you sign up through this link.

35 Cheap and Easy Meals to Feed Large Families on a Budget :

In this post, I gathered 35 easy cheap meal recipes that will help you save money. These cheap meal ideas include chicken, pork, pasta, and ground beef all the way to comfort foods and healthy recipes that are easy to make and affordable!

Below is a list of delicious budget recipes you can try this month. These quick, easy, and cheap meal ideas are perfect to feed your large family on a budget!

1. Healthy White Chicken Enchiladas

“These Healthy White Chicken Enchiladas are one of our family’s favorite main dishes. Easy to make and a total crowd-pleaser, they use yogurt instead of sour cream to make a creamy white sauce (with tangy green chilis). Everyone loves them!”

2. Chicken Breast in Sour Cream Sauce

“Chicken breast in sour cream sauce has an amazing rich flavor with a smooth and creamy texture. You’ll feel like you’re eating a dinner made in a fine restaurant right in your own home.”

3. Healthy Buffalo Chicken Chili

“This Healthy Buffalo Chicken Chili (with creamy white beans!) is easy and healthy – and a fun twist on traditional chili.  It’s comfort food that’s quick enough for a weeknight dinner, and it’s freezer-friendly too!”

4. Meatball Casserole Parmesan

“If you are looking for a new family dinner this easy Meatball Casserole should be it. Juicy, flavorful meatballs baked until golden and then covered with tomato sauce and cheese.”

5. Mexican Tater Tot Casserole

Mexican Tarter Tot Casserole
Source: Dear Crissy

“This delicious taco-inspired tater tot casserole recipe is chock-full of black beans, corn, ground beef and a whole lot of flavor.”

6. Fajita Bowl

“Combining black beans, rice, and perfectly seasoned chicken together you will find this dish to be a quick and easy dinner idea that works every time. “

7. Ham and Scalloped Potato Casserole

“Ham and Scalloped Potato Casserole – the addition of ham cubes in this delicious potato casserole makes it worthy to serve as a meal with a side vegetable.”

8. Crispy Chicken Thighs – One Pot Meal

“A super easy one-pan meal. A simple spice blend gives tons of flavor to the crispy skin and moist, juicy thigh meat. This is in the oven in just minutes for a delicious and budget-friendly main dish.”

9. One Pot Pepperoni Pizza Pasta

“This one Pot Pepperoni Pizza Pasta Meal comes together in no time at all and was a perfect meal for my larger family. “

10. 5-Ingredient Easy Apricot Chicken

“This easy oven-baked apricot chicken recipe is a dream come true on those days when you have little to no meal inspiration and/or don’t want to hit the grocery store. It’s a one-pot meal that requires very little effort and uses staples from your pantry. “

11. BBQ Turkey Biscuit Casserole

bbq turkey biscuit casserole
Source: DIY Candy

“Try this easy and delicious ground turkey casserole recipe, with a buttery biscuit crust and savory BBQ flavor. The family will ask for this biscuit casserole again and again!”

12. Ham and Gruyere Melt Sandwich

“A gourmet ham and cheese sandwich featuring the very best cheese for ham — Gruyere! Chopped ham, gruyere, and green onions all come together to make the best-grilled ham and cheese ever! A quick and easy dinner time fix”

13. Classic Stuffed Shells

“This Classic Stuffed Shells Recipe couldn’t be easier to put together! Made with Ricotta, spinach, and Italian herbs and seasonings, they are luscious and comforting.”

14.  Sloppy Joes Burgers

“These quick and easy paleo sloppy joes can be made, from scratch, in just 20 minutes. This clean-eating, kid-friendly recipe is the perfect weeknight meal and is guaranteed to please the whole family.”

15. Lentil and Kale Soup

“This spicy lentil kale soup is a hearty, delicious and pretty budget friendly. Made on one pot for easy clean up, it’s like a little bowl of goodness for your tummy.”

16. Creamy Mushroom and Spinach Spaghetti

“This Mushroom and Spinach Spaghetti recipe has the most amazing and easy creamy sauce – Conveniently vegetarian and packed with nutrients, it comes together in just 15 min!”

17. Turkey Taco Casserole

“This turkey taco casserole recipe is quick and delicious, perfect for our weeknight dinners! “

18. Cheeseburger Soup

“This Cheeseburger Soup is perfect for a cold day! Add a little bacon, top it with cheese, green onions, or anything else that you’d like and you can change it up each and every time you cook it!”

19. Healthy Creamy Pasta Salad with Ham and Peas

“This healthy creamy pasta salad is a great choice as a meal in itself, or as a side dish for some grilled chicken, pork chops or steaks.”

20. Chili Mac and Cheese Recipe

“This simple, hearty, homemade chili mac and cheese is a regular on our family’s dinner menu. We love this recipe and think it’s the best! You’ll enjoy the flavor of the spices, cheese and pasta blending together perfectly.”

21. Pizza Chicken

“This homemade pizza chicken breast recipe is quick enough for a weeknight family dinner and kid approved! It’s also gluten-free, but full of flavor with tomato sauce, spices, cheese, and mini pepperoni! 

22. Southwest Skillet Chicken and Rice

“This Southwest Skillet Chicken And Rice is cheesy, kind of sweet, savory and full of flavor. It tastes just like the filling of a fajita. In fact, you can even serve some warm tortillas alongside and roll them up.”

23. Grilled Chicken Fajita

grilled chicken fajita flatbread wraps
Source: The Mommy Mix

“These Grilled Chicken Fajita Flatbread Wraps are cheesy, crunchy & so delicious!”

24. Kidney Beans Burger

kidney beans burger
Source: VegAnnie

“The BEST & simplest Kidney Bean Burgers! Made with only 6 simple, wholesome ingredients. Vegan, gluten-free, oil-free, and low-fat!”

25. Broccoli Cheese Soup

Broccoli Cheese Soup
Source: Wholesome Yum

“This easy, creamy low carb broccoli cheese soup is probably the easiest recipe you’ll find. It’s also gluten-free, healthy, and can be vegetarian by substituting vegetable broth for the chicken broth.” Only 5 ingredients!

26. Chicken Soup

Photo Credit: The Forked Spoon

I don’t know about you, but to me, nothing beats a simple comfort food such as chicken soup! Get some flavorful broth, onions, carrots, celery, and shredded chicken, and you can have a delicious and cheap meal to feed your whole family!

27. Pasta e Fagioli a.k.a Pasta and Beans

pasta and beans
Photo Credit: Christina’s Cucina

This is a healthy and budget-friendly meal to make. You can try this meatless recipe and get a delicious and nutritious meal that your whole family, including kids, will enjoy!

28. Lentil Shepherd’s Pie

Served Lentil Shepherd's Pie in three small containers
Photo Credit: Strength & Sunshine

This is a healthy and budget-friendly comfort food that your whole family will love! A cheap vegan recipe that includes simple pantry staples that together can make a delicious meal on a budget!

29. Baked Ravioli

Photo Credit: Drugstore Divas

I love the idea of baked ravioli! Can you believe this cheap recipe only requires 4 ingredients? It is super easy to make and perfect for when you need a quick meal.

30. Cheese Bean and Rice Burrito

Image of two bean and rice burrito hold by a hand
Photo Credit: Megan vs Kitchen

I love Mexican-style food, and this bean burrito recipe will be perfect for a quick dinner. It is cheap and easy to make, and it includes a creamy jalapeno sauce that, as Megan says, “…takes this humble burrito to the next level”.

31. One Pot Rice With Pork And Veggies

Bowl of food made of rice and vegetables
Photo Credit: Coking With Lei

This one-pot rice recipe is the perfect dish packed with protein and vegetables. It is an amazing and tasty way to get your kids to eat more veggies at home!

32. Sloppy Joes Casserole Recipe

Photo Credit: Ann’s Entitled Life

This delicious sloppy Joe casserole can be a great addition to your dinner recipes. Love the idea of adding biscuits to the sloppy Joe! Definitely an amazing comfort meal casserole that your whole family will love!

33. Burger Steak Recipe

Burger steak with mashed potatoes served on a red plate.
Photo Credit: Thrifty Northwest Mom

This is an affordable recipe that uses hamburger instead of steak. This steak burger recipe is budget-friendly, and it makes the perfect addition to any meal.

Love the idea that you can make these ahead of time and freeze them! You will not only save money but also time!

34. Tuscan Chicken with Sundried Tomatoes and Spinach

Perosn holding a pot with Tuscan chicken with sundried tomatoes and spinach
Photo Credit: Nutmeg & Vinagar

Although the name of the recipe sounds fancy, this is an easy and cheap recipe that only requires 5 ingredients! It is a one-pot meal that you can make in 30 minutes, perfect for a busy weeknight dinner!

35. Canned Tuna Pasta

blue bowl with pasta and tuna and cilantro on the side
Photo Credit: Ambitious Foddie

If you don’t have too many ingredients in the pantry, this tuna pasta recipe is the perfect quick recipe to feed your family on a budget! A cheap recipe that is super simple to make, and it can become a staple on your dinner menu.

More Cheap Easy Meals on a Budget:

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35 Budget Recipes-Cheap and Easy Meals for Large Families on a Budget

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