I recently asked the BuzzFeed Community for its favorite cheap recipes, and y’all didn’t disappoint.
Here are 36 recipes to keep in mind next time you’re cooking on a budget.
Lifetime / Via giphy.com
Eggs were a popular ingredient.
1.“Eggs, avocado, and a tablespoon of salsa for breakfast. Toss in spinach or cheese too and add a slice of toast, if you want.”
2.“Eggs. Take whatever cheap food you’ve got, plain buttered pasta, ramen, rice, whatever, slap a fried egg on top and you’ve got a fancy meal. Even a grilled cheese with a fried egg added feels more like a ‘meal.'”
3.“Ramen with a hard-boiled egg, and mix the flavour packet with soy sauce garlic powder, and tiny bit of orange juice.”
4.“Pancakes from scratch, not a box mix. I usually already have the ingredients on hand.”
Rice was another big staple.
5.“Beans and rice. Dirt cheap and delicious!”
6.“My husband and I have been eating a lot of rice bowls lately. Use a base of rice then top with whatever veggies and protein you have on hand. I always like to keep a bag of frozen stir fry veggies so we’ll just cook up whatever protein we’re having then throw some veggies in the wok and voila! I usually top with sliced avocado and green onions and a bit of sauce. It’s very versatile so we don’t get bored and you don’t need to use much protein if you load up on the rice and veggies to help keep the cost down.”
7.“When I was 21 on my own for the first time I’d go to the deli at Safeway. I’d get a roll, two slices of ham, one slice of cheese, and ask for a free BBQ dipping sauce. Zest the ham up in a pan with the BBQ sauce, toast the roll and melt the cheese on it then add the ham.”
8.“My go-to in college was always ramen and I add whatever I had so I could call it a meal. But a proper meal I put effort into was rice and lentils. It’s literally so simple and CHEAP.”
9.“Cook dried lentils and rice in the rice cooker (1:3 ratio of lentils to rice). Heat up chickpeas, tomato sauce, and any vegetables and spices you have on hand. Pour over cooked rice/lentil mix and enjoy.”
10.“One-pot rice. 1/4 cup dry rice, three cups water, veggies, seasonings, and one cup protein. All goes in the rice cooker.”
11.“Top Ramen with sour cream. Cook the top ramen (beef flavor) without the seasoning packet, once the noodles are cooked, drain them then add some sour cream and the seasoning packet and stir the ingredients until it’s like a creamy sauce. Viola! Poor man’s beef stroganoff!”
12.“Meatball subs: Take frozen meatballs, cook with marinara sauce, put in split hot dog buns, top with shredded mozzarella, and bake until the cheese is melty and the buns are toasty. The whole meal is dirt cheap and costs under $10, and keep feed around four people.”
13.“Chicken with Buffalo sauce in a crockpot. Shred and put on a baked potato. Can add cheese, green onion, ranch, etc.”
“Can boil and shred chicken in place of the crock pot, too.” —LizBeStressEating
14.“Bone-in chicken thighs are one of my favorite things for budget cookery because they’re pretty affordable (where I live I can usually get a package of four for roughly $3) and they don’t get as easily overdone and dry as the breast or drumstick meat can, although you could use any of them for really simple, satisfying meals.”
15.“Pinto beans with salsa. A bag of dry pintos is around $1 and you can get a 7–14 ounce can (not jar) of salsa for around $1. Look in the Mexican food section, not by the chips. It takes time because you have to soak the beans, but here’s the recipe:”
“Take 1lb dried pinto beans, soak for 8–10 hours in about 10 cups of cold water with a tablespoon or two of salt. Then rinse, cover with eight cups fresh water and add (these are optional if you have them) a few bay leaves and a teaspoon of oregano. Bring to a boil and put in a 300ºF oven for 75–90 minutes until the beans are soft. Then reduce the liquid on the stovetop, add your salsa, and if you have it 1–2 teaspoons garlic powder. Salt to taste. You can serve this over plain rice, add some fresh lime juice on serving, etc. The beans have protein and fiber and are filling. This can make 6–8 servings and if you include the rice is only a few dollars. Make it fancy by using oven-roasted garlic instead of the powder, or some pan-sauteed onion for extra flavor.” —marrok
16.“You can get a marinated pork loin for $6. I like to cook it in the air fryer because it’s quick and gets the outside crispy like it would on a grill. If you have a basket air fryer you can just cut it in half to fit. You can add sides of rice and frozen veg for $1 each. It’s generally enough to feed 3–4.”
17.“When I’m on a budget I get meat in large packages from a low-cost grocery store like Aldi. I usually get a marinated pork loin and make pulled pork in the crockpot. Usually, a large pork loin is $6 and a pack of three large chicken breasts is $6–9. Once I cook it all day while I’m at work I come home and divide it into freezer bags to have for later. It makes it so much easier for me to plan/afford meals during the last week of the month before rent and student loan payments are due!”
18.“Pork butt in a crockpot. (Pork butt is cheap, $1.75 to $4.50 per pound, depending on size and store.) Add cumin, chili powder, oregano garlic, and citric juice (lemon, lime, orange — pick two). Shred the meat and:”
19.“I’d say spaghetti with canned tuna and canned tomatoes. Assuming you have salt, pepper, oil, and spices, it’s easy to throw together.”
“Cook pasta as directed, save a bit of pasta water before draining, then drain the tomatoes and tuna, toss into the pasta pot and mix. If you DON’T have oil or spices, here are some hacks.
First, try to find tuna in oil, if it’s not too much more money, or get a couple cans of flavoured tuna because sometimes there’s oil in those. Also, you can get cans of flavoured diced tomatoes, typically next to the regular ones, often not much more. Add parmesan if you’re feeling fancy, and yes, this includes the cheap shaken stuff.” —monicah4
20.“My family’s budget meal was tuna fish and noodles. It was egg noodles, a couple cans of tuna fish, and a can of cream of mushroom soup.”
21.“‘Cheesy chicken casserole.’ Canned (yes canned) asparagus, cream of mushroom soup, shredded cheddar, chopped up chicken, and one package of egg noodles. Bake. Easy. Egg noodles stretch food a lot.”
22.“Baked beans and hotdogs yall. My dad grew up with nothing and by the time I was born he had made a good living and I never knew hunger. I was told by school friends that this meal was “poor people’s” food one time and was pretty offended. I’m 29 and do well for myself and I still make this regularly and it’s sooooo cheap, filling, and can last a long time. Bush’s baked beans have tons of different flavors and you can even add in ground beef and any other spices you want to flavor it up. But your basic baked beans and hot dogs are AMAZING. I could make a million a year and would still eat this.”
23.“UK here — cook Bolognese for two days in a slow cooker (generally with veggie mince or even brown lentils sometimes), then put a can of chickpeas or beans and about the same amount of frozen sweetcorn and some chilli powder in for two more days of chilli ‘non’ carne.”
“Bolognese = can of tomatoes, couple celery stalks, couple carrots, couple onions. Half a pack of mushrooms, quorn mince + pasta + seasoning
Then to turn it into chilli — few teaspoons of chipotle, corn, beans & some brown sugar or maple syrup + bit of cumin + rice.
A full slow cooker worth will usually do four days dinner and 2–3 days lunch.”