cheap meal ideas to feed the family on a budget. Cheap easy dinner recipes when you aren't sure what to make that's affordable and yummy!

49 Cheap Dinner Ideas To Stay Within Your Meal Budget— Quick And Easy Dinner Recipes

 cheap meal ideas, cheap dinner recipes, cheap easy meals on a budget, Feeding the whole family can cost a ton if you don’t know how to create family meals on a budget.

Awesome cheap and easy meals like the ones on this list can help make feeding your family more affordable.

Especially if you’re trying to save money while you earn as much as you can.

As an extra plus, it makes it easier to make a decision on what to cook for dinner on any given day

. Related: 27 QUICK Dinner Ideas You Can Make In 25 Minutes Or Less!

After long days at work, sometimes the very last thing we want to do is decide what you’ll make for dinner. And that’s where time-saving shortcuts like the $5 meal plan can come in handy and save your meal plans!

I constantly use mine to save money on groceries and create delicious meals that I don’t even have to think about. Best of all they aren’t expensive and super affordable.

How To Get Fresh Grass Fed Meats At A Good Price

And lastly, as a money savings cherry on top, we all know the importance of eating healthy. I mean, who doesn’t love the peace of mind you get when you know the ingredients you are using to feed your family are organic and responsibly sourced?

Butcher Box is a great way to get responsibly sourced, grass-fed beef meats that use no antibiotics delivered monthly to your door. Once you sign up, you get a personalized box delivered to your door along with any special deals they might have on a particular item (for example they’ll send you FREE bacon with certain orders).

You get to choose the specific items in the box or you can let them surprise you with their own personalized pick each month!

✅ Try Butcher Box here and get your box shipped for FREE.

Now, let’s dive in and save your dinner plans for the week (and a ton of money!) with these cheap dinner ideas. Here are 15 awesome budget meals to feed the family for under $15 bucks.

Related: Slow Cooker Chicken Recipes: 37+ Tasty Chicken Recipes

Smoked Sausage and Rice Skillet

 cheap meal ideas, smoked sausage and rice skillet, easy dinner ideas, budget meals for large families Recipe Via All Things Mama

As soon as I laid eyed on this recipe my mouth started to water ( I had yet to eat dinner) and thought it was a great addition to the list of cheap easy meals. The sausage, broccoli, and rice all complement each other nicely and as you can see it doesn’t take too long to throw together. Check out the recipe to learn how to put it together.

Related: 21 Dinner Ideas For Two: What To Make For Dinner Tonight

Ramen Burrito

cheap meal ideas, dinner ideas on a budget, easy dinner ideas Recipe Via Hallmark Channel

Ever thought about making a burrito out of Ramen? Talk about cheap and easy all rolled into one (see what I did there?) If you don’t want to include the shrimp then you can definitely leave them out or replace them with a cheaper meat option (or no meat at all works too!) Check out the recipe and try it out at home as a cheap dinner option!

Mexican Shrimp Pasta

cheap meal ideas, dinner ideas on a budget, easy dinner ideas, mexican shrimp pasta Recipe Via Whats Gaby Cooking

I found this recipe while looking for a particular dish with a bit of seafood for all the seafood lovers out there. It’s a healthy recipe with pico de gallo (a delicious mexican mix of zesty veggies). It can make great a cheap meal for two. If it looks like it would be right up your alley, make sure you check out the recipe.

Avocado Egg Toast 

 easy dinner ideas, cheap meal ideas, cheap dinner recipes, avocado egg toast recipe Recipe Via Closet Cooking

This is a bit of a ‘breakfast for dinner’ twist. Who says dinner has to be meat and potatoes all the time? With some healthy avocado, some spices and some sunny side up eggs, you’ll be well on your way to creating a healthy and filling dish for your entire family. Learn about all the ingredients that go into making avocado egg toast successfully through the link below.

Related: Best Flan Recipe: How To Make Mexican lan With This Easy Flan Recipe!

Black Bean Stuffed Sweet Potatoes

easy meal ideas for dinner, Black Bean Stuffed Sweet Potatoes, easy dinner ideas Recipe Via Food With Feeling

Not only is this cheap dinner idea good for your wallet it’s a much healthier option than a bowl of pasta (though one of those once in a while doesn’t hurt either). These bean stuffed sweet potatoes look super good and filling. As a dinner option, they’re most definitely worth a try.

Crock Pot Creamy Lemon Chicken

cheap dinner ideas, crock pot creamy lemon chicken, easy dinner ideasRecipe Via Life In The Lofthouse

This creamy lemon chicken looks to die for delicious. You bet your socks any crock pot recipe is going to be easy to make and more budget friendly can a regular full course meal. This recipe is worth trying, especially if you have some chicken sitting around that you don’t quite know what to do with.

Teriyaki Turkey Teriyaki Rice Bowl

easy dinner ideas, cheap meal ideas, Easy ground turkey recipe Recipe Via Yellow Bliss Road

This Teriyaki bowl of ground turkey (some of the cheapest meat you can get out there) definitely has great potential to become a favorite cheap dinner idea for tonight. It could even be a cheap dinner idea for two if you want to fix something GOOD and quick.

P. F. Chang’s Garlic Noodles

easy dinner ideas, P.F. Chang's Garlic Noodles are a quick and easy Chinese noodle dish copycat dish you can make without the heavy flavors of a chow mein and as the perfect base for your favorite stir fry meals. Recipe Via Dinner Then Dessert

Why go out and spend loads of money on PF Chang’s when you can make your own version at home? This recipe makes for the perfect cheap dinner idea that can save your weeknight cooking plans and that doesn’t have to eat a big hole into your grocery budget. If you’re looking for a budget friendly meal to feed the whole family, this is it.

South West Chicken

 cheap meal ideas, cheap dinner recipes, southwest chicken, easy dinner ideas Recipe Via All Recipes

South West Chicken sounds like some good old soul food for dinner. Cheap meal ideas come as easy as this South West Chicken recipe served over some aromatic Jasmine rice. Get the recipe here.

Classic Stuffed Shell Recipes

cheap and easy meal ideas, stuffed shells in scoop, easy dinner ideas Recipe Via Spend With Pennies

Stuffed shells can be an easy alternate to making a full on lasagna. And if you create it as a side instead of the main dish then you don’t have to spend making as much. If you’re feeling for cheese and tomato sauce then this recipe is worth a try.

Seasoned Rice Pilaf

Cheap food ideas, Seasoned Rice Pilaf, easy dinner ideas Recipe Via Good Cheap Eats

Rice pilaf is a great cheap meal option because it doesn’t take too much of anything at all to make. All you need is some chicken broth, butter, rice, and some seasoning for some expertly cooked rice that doesnt’ come out of a box. Cheap and easy!

Easy Cheese Bomb Bread

cheap dinner ideas for your budget, Easy Cheese Bomb Bread, easy dinner ideas Recipe Via Avery Cooks

This cheese bomb bread might look fancy and expensive but its really easy to make and tastes amazing! There are lots of things you can combine the bread with, like tuna patties for example, or a chickpea salad. Totally your call. Check out the recipe over at Avery Cooks.

Spanish Spinach With Chickpeas

cheap meal ideas, Spanish Spinach with Chickpeas Recipe Via Simple Vegan Blog

Chickpeas are a cheap dinner option that can be incorporated with a lot of things, including meats if you aren’t a vegan. If you’re trying to watch what you eat more closely or are trying to transition into veganism to save money on meat, then this is a cheap and easy dinner idea you must try!

Cheesy Chicken Broccoli And Rice Casserole

easy dinner ideas, cheap meal ideas, This Cheesy Chicken Broccoli and Rice Casserole is sure to become a new family favorite! | MomOnTimeout.com | #casserole #chicken #dinner #recipe Via Mom On Time Out

If you’re really looking to save money with your dinner recipes one great way to do that is with casseroles. You can create casseroles out of almost anything imaginable and if you know to mix it with a few key ingredients, they can come out pretty tasty. This particular recipe includes rice and chicken, which makes it extra hearty and filling.

Ham and Pineapple Sliders

easy dinner ideas, Hawaiian Ham and Pineapple Sliders, cheap easy meals on a budget, cheap meals for large families Recipe Via The Recipe Rebel

Pineapple ham subs are a great spin to pineapple ham pizza and are a lot easier to make. You can throw these together after a long night and have a satisfied family. They’re also kid friendly and easy to serve.

Dump And Bake Chicken Broccoli Casserole

cheap meal ideas, chicken broccoli rice casserole with a wooden spoon, easy dinner ideas Recipe Via The Seasoned Mom

A good old chicken and broccoli casserole never hurt anyone, especially your budget. The best part is you can basically dump it all in and have it ready to go in no time. Save money and save time. A total win-win.

Stir-Fried Chinese Egg Noodles

 cheap meal ideas, stir fry chinese egg noodles, easy dinner ideas Recipe Via My Recipes

If you’re feeling like having Chinese but don’t want to spend the money necessary to order takeout, try making your own dish of stir-fried noodles. It’s actually not too hard to make Chinese at home that actually tastes good and is right on budget. Yes, cheap meal recipes can also get a little fancy with some creativity. It’s also a winner in the cheap easy meals for two category that a lot of us are after! Check out the recipe for full directions. Get the recipe here.

Chicken Enchilada Soup

easy dinner recipes for people on a budget, chicken enchilada soup, easy dinner ideas Recipe Via Skinny Taste

Add a twist to the traditional chicken enchilada by making it a soup! The ingredients you need are cheap and a lot of them can be found in the canned or dried section. Best of all its a crock-pot recipe that takes no time at all to put together and can be ready by the time you get back home from work. A double win-win for a cheap meal idea.

Quick and Easy Chili

cheap dinner ideas, easy chili recipe, easy dinner ideas Recipe Via Cheat Sheet

You really can’t go wrong with good old Chili. Its definitely a filling recipe and it makes great leftovers for a couple of days after. You can even add some cornbread to it to complete the meal. The best part is that it doesn’t take forever to put together, and you can even leave it simmering in a crock-pot throughout the day. Sometimes it can take a little digging to create cheap dinners. but its doable for sure!

Easy Tuna Patties

Easy Tuna Patties - Family Fresh Meals Recipe, easy dinner ideas Recipe Via Family Fresh Meals

Tuna patties can be a great easy dinner idea that can bring some much needed change to your kitchen (and taste buds). They go great with a little spritz of lemon and you can have them with a side salad or some fresh rice. Easy, right?

Adult Cobb Grilled Cheese

cheap food ideas, Cobb Grilled Cheese. easy dinner ideas Recipe Via Foodie Crush

Try creating adult grilled cheese as an easy meal option. Who said grilled cheese only has to be cheese and bread? Add some avocado, tomato, and bacon to it!

Poached Eggs With Spiced Lentilseasy dinner ideas, cheap meal ideas and easy dinner recipes for people on a budget, lentil and pouched eggs

Recipe Via Serious Eats

I used to hate lentils until my mother showed me how to spice them so they didn’t taste like cardboard. This dish, with a sunny side egg on top, can be a tasty recipe to keep your family healthy that gets anyway from the norm. Try something new and try some well-prepared lentils for dinner.

Taco Melts

cheap meal ideas and easy dinner recipes, taco melts, easy dinner ideas Recipe Via Pillsbury

These are great, easy, and tasty because you don’t even have to make the dough to put it together (it’s a pillsbury dough recipe). These tacos look too good to pass up and it flips the conventional tortilla tacos on its back and uses flour dough instead. Try this twist on the original taco. Get the recipe here.

Kielbasas and Potato Skillet

 cheap meal ideas, cheap dinner recipes, kielbasa, easy dinner ideasRecipe Via Carissa Shaw

I remember making this type of recipe while on a college retreat. We were on a tight budget and were in need of easy cheap meal ideas that wouldn’t put us in the overspending on food zone. Needless to say the meal was a success and everyone ended up with happy and filled tummies. This meal idea is particularly cheap and easy on your food budget. If you head over to the recipe, they estimate about 0.84 cents per servings. That’s a lot of savings if you ask me! Get the recipe here. 

Mexicali Tostadas 

 cheap meal ideas, cheap dinner recipes, mexican tostadas, easy dinner ideasRecipe Via My Recipes

If your palate is asking for something Mexican, try these delicious tostadas. You can either make with or without meat and it’s an easy cheap meal idea you can make on any type of budget. I usually like to make mine with beans, a cheap easy and filling alternative to expensive meats (though meat is always an option too). Then you can always top off with your favorite blend of veggies and spices, cilantro, for instance, goes great with the bean and cheese combination. Get the recipe here.

Slow Cooker Smothered Chicken

easy dinner ideas, cheap meal ideas and easy dinner recipes for people on a budget, slow cooker smothered chicken Recipe Via Pillsbury

Slow cooker recipes are absolutely convenient for families that want to enjoy a nice meal after a long day. Slow cooker smothered chicken sounds like the perfect recipe for a Friday night quick dinner. Make sure you check out the easy recipe. Get the recipe here.

Faux Cubano Grilled Cheese

 easy dinner ideas, cheap meal ideas, cheap dinner recipes, faux cubano grilled cheese Recipe Via Serious Eats

For dinner, try a twist on the classic grilled cheese. Yes, they are mostly mentioned as dinner meals, but if you make these hearty ham and pickle grilled cheeses they become more filling (not to mention super tasty). If you’re thinking of cheap food ideas, a hearty grilled cheese always takes the cake (no pun intended). When I make mine I like to add a slice of tomato to each half. Get the recipe here.

Chili Cheese Fritos Salad

cheap dinner recipes, Chili Cheese Fritos Corn Salad, easy dinner ideas Recipe Via Lets Dish Recipes

This fun and cheap salad can be a light dinner pick me up that you can mix and match with a lot of different sides. If you love the crunchiness of Fritos and the sweetness of corn then you’ll love this easy and cheap salad recipe!

Easy Potato Bacon Soup

 easy potato bacon soup, cheap meal ideas, easy dinner ideas Recipe Via Plated Cravings

Who says you can’t have soup for dinner? Especially this potato-based soup, that is particularly filling. I tried making some potato bacon soup for the first time this year, and I’ve been making it ever since. It is absolutely delicious, cheap to put together, and super satisfying. Make sure you take a peek at the recipe for another great cheap and easy dinners idea. Get the recipe here.

Vegetarian Spaghetti

easy dinner ideas, cheap meal ideas, cheap dinner recipes, cheap easy meals on a budget, dinner ideas for tonight Vegetarian spaghetti with mushrooms and spinach makes an easy, healthy one pot pasta dinner that’s ready in 25 minutes! Recipe Via Family Food On The Table

Of course, as part of the mission to feed your family on a budget, I had to include a vegetarian dish. This means savings on meat products (which can be the biggest wallet drainers on our grocery list). Cheap dinner meals CAN be delicious and healthy, a win-win for a meal on a budget. Get the recipe here.

Three Bean Casserole

easy dinner ideas, cheap meal ideas, cheap dinner recipes, cheap easy meals on a budget, dinner ideas for tonight Recipe Via BHG

When putting together a meals list, you can’t leave out the casseroles. They are time savers more than anything, and they also make great leftovers for reheating or taking to work. This one is great when it comes to cheap dinner ideas for 2. This three bean casserole is nothing short of awesome. The cheese on top brings it all together and its a super healthy meal to put together. Get the recipe below. Get the recipe here.

Macaroni And Cheese With Cauliflower And Tuna

Easy And Cheap Meal Ideas, Mac and Cheese with Cauliflower, Tuna, easy dinner ideas Recipe Via An Edible Mosaic

We’ve all heard of mac and beef but have we heard of mac and tuna? It’s definitely cheaper than beef and can be just as filling with a new twist on flavor. Make sure you check out the recipe over at An Edible Mosaic to get the full recipe.

Beef Wellingtons

easy dinner ideas, cheap meal ideas, cheap dinner recipes, cheap easy meals on a budget, dinner ideas for tonight Recipe Via This Is Not Diet Food

Beef Wellingtons are some of my favorite recipes to make! I fell in love with them from the first time I tried them and they’re definitely on the list of cheap dinner ideas for 4. All you need are basic ingredients like puff pastry, which you can find at almost any convenient store. Wellingtons are a yummy cheap meal idea option for eating in. Get the recipe here. 

5-Ingredient Broccoli Cheese Soup easy dinner ideas, cheap meal ideas and easy dinner recipes for people on a budget Recipe Via Gimme Some Oven

This one is for all the cheese lovers out there that want to have their cheese and easy and cheap recipes at the same time. This is a classic broccoli cheese soup that makes for some hearty dinner nights with the whole family. get the awesome recipe below. Get the recipe here.

Easy Fried Rice

 easy dinner ideas, cheap meal ideas, cheap dinner recipes, cheap easy meals on a budget, dinner ideas for tonight Recipe Via The Wicked Noodle

Fried rice is three things: delicious, filling, and easier to make than you think (just go to any hibachi restaurant). It can make a great cheap meal for two and can pack a flavorful punch if you sautee it with the right ingredients (that are cheap and don’t cost a ton of money). Learn how to make this easy recipe below! Get the recipe here.

Key West Grilled Chicken

easy dinner ideas, cheap dinner recipes, key west grilled chicken Recipe Via Grocery Budget 101

This grilled chicken is delicious and a perfect summer staple. You can even pair it with the previous fried rice recipe for a complete meal. The recipe calls for spicy jalapeno peppers so this is perfect for you if you can put up with the heat along with a nice hint of lime. Again, a cheap and easy budget meal that can go with so many other things on this list, or by itself. Get the recipe here. 

Easy + Inexpensive 5-Ingredient Bean Soup

 cheap meal ideas, easy and inexpensive five ingredient bean soup, easy dinner ideas Recipe Via Coley Cooks

Beans are a great source of protein, complex carbs and fiber. They make for a great hearty soup and can be delicious if paired with flavor enhancing spices. This particular recipe is easy to make and doesn’t cost much at all. A perfect cheap meal idea especially for colder evenings. Get the recipe here.

Quick + Cheap Jambalaya 

 cheap meal ideas, quick cheap and easy jambalaya, easy dinner ideas Recipe Via McCormick

Jambalaya is a Southern soul food perfect for hungry stomachs that want something a little more substantial. This meal is easy to prepare and can get you out of a crunch if you’re in a hurry to fix something good and cheap to eat. Get the recipe here.

Poor Man’s Lasagna cheap meal ideas, poor man's meal, easy dinner ideas

Recipe Via Fabulessly Frugal

If you have some canned tomato sauce and some cheese to spare, try whipping together some poor man’s lasagna! It’s a dinner classic and it makes great leftovers to take to work the next day or to reinvent for another meal. It’s cheap to make and doesn’t take long to prepare. All you have to do is remember to put the ingredients on your meal planner the next time you go shopping.

Italian Grilled Cheese Sandwiches  cheap meal ideas, italian grilled cheese sandwich, easy dinner ideas, budget meals for large families Recipe Via Living On A Dime

Make your grilled cheese “Italian” grilled cheese by adding a few tasty key ingredients along with some melty cheese. Get the recipe here.

Asian Shepperd’s Pie

 cheap meal ideas, Asian Shepperd's Pie, easy dinner ideas, budget meals for large families Recipe Via Snap Guide

Ever heard of ‘Asian’ Shepperds Pie? Neither had I until recently. Apparently, you can make some bomb Shepperds pie with some cheap (seriously cheap) ramen noodles. Make sure you check out the recipe for this cheap and easy budget meal. Get the recipe here.

Cheesy Chicken Recipe

 cheap meal ideas, cheesy chicken recipe, easy dinner ideas, budget meals for large families Recipe Via Kraft Recipes

If you pair two of the tastiest (and pretty affordable) ingredients around you get this simple yet genius idea: Cheesy Chicken on rice. It’s two things: Affordable and the perfect dinner idea for two (or more). Get the recipe here.

Quiche

 cheap meal ideas, cheap dinner recipes, cheap easy meals on a budget, dinner ideas for tonight Recipe Via Good Cheap Eats

For your quest on finding cheap delicious meals try Quiche! Everybody loves Quiche! And if you have a bunch of leftovers that you aren’t sure what to do with (along with a few eggs) then this might just be your dinner idea for tonight. This dish is not only great for breakfast but it can also be a perfect fit for a nice quick dinner idea. Quiche-licious! Get the recipe here. 

30-Minute One-Pan Salsa Verde Chicken

  cheap dinner ideas, One Pan salsa verde Chicken and Rice, easy dinner ideas, budget meals for large familiesRecipe Via Lexi’s Clean Kitchen

Let’s get one thing out of the way: Salsa Verde Pork is absolutely delicious…but if pork is too out of your budget range, you can always replace it with chicken chunks. Remember, when you’re looking for cheap family meals, you can still use a delicious recipe and just replace with pricier ingredients with substitutes. This recipe shows you just how to do it so you end up with some finger licking good cheap dinner that’ll cost you next to nothing.

Veggie Cheesy Bread

 cheap meal ideas,veggie cheesy bread, easy dinner ideas, budget meals for large families Recipe Via Real House Moms

If you’re wanting to have another healthy meal idea that doesn’t necessarily involve meat, try this cheesy veggie bread. It can be done in a matter of minutes and can be oh so filling! If you’re on the lookout for cheap quick meals then this one is definitely one to put on your to do list. You can always choose your favorite type of bread (like pita or naan) and make it your own. Get the recipe here.

Sweet Potato Zoodle Bowl

 cheap meal ideas, sweet potato zoodles, easy dinner ideas, budget meals for large families Recipe Via Ambitious Kitchen

This Sweet Potato Zoodle Bowl is perfect for when you want to have an awesome explosion of flavors in your mouth! While it’s not your conventional noodle soup, you can still cook this meal while on a budget and enjoy something new (and not to mention absolutely tasty!). Get the recipe here.

Classic Stuffed Peppers

 cheap meal ideas, cheap dinner recipes, classic stuffed peppers, easy dinner ideas, budget meals for large families Recipe Via Feast and Farm

Stuffed bell peppers can be a great healthy meal idea if paired with low-fat meat and cheese ingredients. They’re a great new recipe to try if you’re tired of eating the same things. Once you make them, you can freeze a portion and leave it for a later date. How’s that for an easy meal idea? Get the recipe here.

Baked Ziti (5-Ingredient and Freezable)

 cheap meal ideas, cheap dinner recipes, baked ziti, easy dinner ideas, budget meals for large families Recipe Via Cooking With Libby

This is a great cheap meal for large families due to the ingredients being so cheap. Ziti is not only delicious but pretty easy to make and you can personalize it with the ingredients and spices you and your family prefer. Get the recipe here.

Delicious Meals On A Budget Are Possible

There are endless easy meals to make that won’t break the bank. The problem is, sometimes you just forget or are at a loss for inspiration on how to come up with your inexpensive dinner ideas. Hopefully, this list gave you some awesome ideas and gets you out of the same dinner rut (and keeps you from needlessly having to overspend).

Budget meals don’t have to be a pain when you get a little internet recipe savvy and start saving money on food along the way. If you know of any cheap food recipes worth mentioning, make sure you mention them below.

Looking for more money saving meal ideas and recipes? Here is a roundup of the best food related posts:

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Best Flan Recipe: How To Make Mexican Flan With This Easy Flan Recipe!

How To Save Money On Groceries- 29 Ways To Drastically Lower Your Bill

Cooking On A Budget: 13 Smart Ways To Save Money When You Cook

45 Healthy Snacks Ideas to Lose Weight and Satisfy Your Cravings

10 Healthy Smoothie Recipes to Super Charge Your Day

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The Beginner’s Guide to Meal Prep

23 Easy Meal Prep Ideas For When You Don’t Know What To Make

How To Make The Best Hot Chocolate: The Best Hot Chocolate Recipe With Cocoa Powder

Weekly Meal Plan: What To Make For Dinner Tonight And This Week

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