Best Budget Food Recipes & Tips That Don't Compromise on Flavour
So, you’re looking to save some money on your food shopping? Food costs can add up, and introducing a budget is the best way to stick to a plan and only spend what you need. There are many great ways to cut your cooking costs, and you can still enjoy lots of delicious and filling recipes while spending less.
Big Flavours, Small Budgets – A series of tips and recipes from leading chefs, brands and foodies that show how to create delicious food on a budget.
Top five tips for saving money on food
1. Make it speedy
The less time you spend using your oven, the less energy you’re using. Focus on making easy budget recipes that use minimal heat. If you’ve got an air fryer, even better. These save loads of time and energy, so they are the most cost-effective way to cook.
2. Cook to temperature
Another great way to cut down on your energy usage in the kitchen is to cook to temperature, not time. Packet instructions and recipes often overestimate the amount of time it takes to cook a dish to ensure it’s safe to eat. But by quickly and easily checking the temperature, you can be confident that it’s ready to remove from the heat as soon as it’s done.
Not only this, using a thermometer for cooking your meat will also ensure you don’t spoil costly ingredients. Meat isn’t cheap, so the last thing you want is to accidentally make it overdone and dry.
3. Keep it simple
Easy recipes with few ingredients are great for smaller budgets. Carbs like potatoes, rice and pasta are cheap as chips, so load up on those. And add budget-friendly vegetables like broccoli, carrots and frozen peas.
For protein, chicken is always a great choice. Cooking a whole chicken and using it up over the week for different dinners and lunches is great for saving. Just make sure to cool and reheat it safely. You could also visit your local butchers and try some different cuts of meat that you wouldn’t usually go for, and they can recommend budget-friendly cuts and advise how to cook them.
4. Plan ahead
One of the most important things to do is to plan ahead. Know what you’re cooking each night, and organise it so that you can use up your ingredients before they go off. For example, if you need half a container of yoghurt for your whole roast chicken and another half for your skewers, make sure to cook them close together so you can use up your yoghurt before it goes off. If a recipe calls for half a pot of fresh chicken stock, can you think of another recipe to make that week to use it up? Use your ingredients wisely.
5. Leftovers, leftovers, leftovers
Cooking in bulk and saving leftovers is great for saving both money and time. Pre-portion your leftovers before sitting down to eat. That way, you won’t be tempted to dig into them at your current meal. If you’re not going to eat them within a few days, make sure to freeze them. And if you get bored of eating the same thing, turn your leftovers into a different meal or pair them with alternative sides.
Just make sure when you’re cooling and reheating hot food that you do it safely, using temperature as your guide.
Our five favourite cheap and easy recipes
Check out our top five budget-friendly recipes that are cooked to perfection and full of flavour. We've got budget chicken recipes, budget family recipes and easy budget recipes.
The costs of these recipes were estimated when checking the prices at four UK supermarkets in January 2023.
Fragrant, succulent chicken thighs with rice and pak choi make a really simple and healthy meal. This wholesome dish contains only 10 ingredients and is perfect for a filling lunch or light dinner.
Cost: £1.97 per serving
Juicy sausages and Yorkshire pudding make such a filling and comforting dish over winter. Add a generous serving of buttery mash and lashings of gravy to make it even more satisfying.
Cost: £1.82 per serving
This sumac budget chicken recipe is one of our favourites. Filled with delicious Moroccan flavours, it’s bound to be a hit with the whole family.
To cut the cost of this recipe even more, we recommend pairing back the salad by dressing some leaves and peeled carrots with lemon, olive oil and salt.
Cost: £1.68 per serving
You can never go wrong with cheeseburgers. Fun to make with the kids, this budget family recipe is a fun weekend treat that won’t break the bank.
Cost: £1.47 per burger
This is a great budget recipe for protein lovers. Plus, it makes incredibly versatile leftovers. If you’re left with lots of chicken, you can use it to make sandwiches or salads, whilst the dhal will go perfectly with rice or naan.
To make this recipe super cheap, we suggest leaving out the paneer.
Cost: £1.73 per portion