The average cost per serving on this list of dirt cheap meal ideas.
And nope, not talking instant ramen here. We’ve got healthy, cheap meals that put good ingredients in your body.
You could also call these easy, cheap meals because ain’t nobody got time to make everything from scratch to save a pretty penny.

Best of all, we consider these cheap meals for the family because the most important factor to making this saving money on food thing worth it is if you can make food that suits the taste buds of the entire family, picky kids (or spouses) included.

In this post, you will find:

  • Budget-friendly meal ideas (snack and dessert included!)
  • Cost per serving, many of which are under $1
  • Easy, healthy meal ideas for the family that demonstrate that you don’t need to sacrifice your food budget for quality of food or variety of flavors

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easy, cheap meal ideas that taste delicious


Calculating the cost per serving is pretty meticulous work. But thanks to one of our favorite blogs on cheap meals out there, Budget Bytes, that hard work is done for us with the cost per serving already indicated in the recipes.

Cheap, Easy Meal Ideas for Breakfast

Cranberry Orange Cream Scones

Cost per serving: $0.11 each
An easy breakfast food to throw together. Get the recipe here.

Almond Apricot Biscotti

Cost per serving: $0.13 each
Get the recipe here.

Golden Milk Overnight Oats

Cost per serving: $0.40
Perfect for day-before meal prep. Get the recipe here.

Triple Berry Oat Muffins

Cost per serving: $0.48 each
A simple way to incorporate some antioxidants in your diet. Get the recipe here.

5-Minute Microwave French Toast Mug

Cost per serving: $0.84
A warm and toasty treat to great you in the morning. Get the recipe here.

Ultimate Southwest Scrambled Eggs

Cost per serving: $1.53
A favorite for weekend breakfast. Get the recipe here.

Cheap, Easy Meal Ideas for Lunch

Sweet Potato Tortilla Soup

Cost per serving: $0.69
A soup that’s pretty popular with kids. Get the recipe here.

Make Ahead Bean and Cheese Burrito

Cost per serving: $0.87
This is a go-to for an easy lunch at work. Get the recipe here.

Curried Tofu Salad

Cost per serving: $0.87
Spice up your salad with curry seasoning. Get the recipe here.

Garden Vegetable Quinoa Soup

Cost per serving: $0.86
A surprisingly hearty soup to try. Get the recipe here.

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Garlicky Kale and Ricotta Pizza

Cost per serving: $0.90
If kale is not your thing, easily substitute with spinach. Get the recipe here.

Roasted Vegetable Couscous

Cost per serving: $0.98
If you’re not familiar with couscous, it’s like a fluffy quinoa. Get the recipe here.

All You Can Eat Cabbage Soup

Cost per serving: $0.99
What makes this all-you-can-eat is the amount of veggie goodness at a pretty low price so you won’t feel guilty for your stomach or your budget. Get the recipe here.

Loaded Sweet Potato with Chipotle Lime Crema

Cost per serving: $1.39
Another filling lunch that incorporates a wide variety of healthy ingredients. Get the recipe here.

BBQ Tofu Sliders

Cost per serving: $1.44
I’ll admit, although they’re meant to be more bite-size portions, you’ll probably eat one or two (or three) more extra. Get the recipe here.

Thai Coconut Carrot Soup

Cost per serving: $1.12
This soup is vibrant in color and flavor. Get the recipe here.

Sweet and Spicy Tempeh Bowls

Cost per serving: $1.48
Quick bowls are also a convenient way to prep quick and portable meals for lunch. Get the recipe here.

Broccoli Salad with Honey Yogurt Dressing

Cost per serving: $1.54
One sneaky way that people unknowingly consume more calories than they intend is through heavy dressings. You can be rest assured that this refreshing one is light on the stomach line. Get the recipe here.

Winter Lentil Stew

Cost per serving: $0.64
Lentils are the way to go to put some hearty protein that’s really easy on the wallet. Get the recipe here.

Caramelized Onion Artichoke and Flatbread

Cost per serving: $1.65
Here’s a delicious pizza that uses ingredients that you may otherwise not get in your typical diet. Get the recipe here.

Creamy Lemon Dill Greek Pasta Salad

Cost per serving: $1.73
This type of salad tends to have more expensive ingredients so it’s worth checking out this budgetized version. Get the recipe here.

Cheap Meal Ideas for Family Dinners

Teriyaki Noodle Bowls

Cost per serving: $1.60
A perfect, fresh substitution for frozen or instant noodle bowls. Get the recipe here.

Slow Cooker Lentil Chili

Cost per serving: $0.77
Here’s a meal you can get marinating at the start of your day so you come home to delicious heartiness. Get the recipe here.

Pot Pie Skillet with Cheddar Biscuit Topping

Cost per serving: $0.82
Find easy substitutions to make this recipe quick. Get the recipe here.

Hoisin Tofu Lettuce Cups

Cost per serving: $1.53
In addition to being budget-friendly, it’s conscious on the carbs with the substitution of lettuce for a wrap or grain. Get the recipe here.

Rice Cooker Mac and Cheese

Cost per serving: $0.79
Yes, you read that right. Made in a rice cooker. Get the recipe here.

Weeknight Enchiladas

Cost per serving: $0.84
This recipe is just 3 ingredients that you can easily whip together in no time. Get the recipe here.

Cauliflower and Chickpea Masala

Cost per serving: $1.03
For something a little more playful on the taste buds, try this flavorful fare. Get the recipe here.

Shepherd’s Pie

Cost per serving: $0.98
This version has lots of vegetables and a tasty, rich gravy sauce. Get the recipe here.

African Peanut Stew

Cost per serving: $1.06
Don’t let the title make you think this recipe’s full of exotic ingredients you’ve never heard of. Just prepared to be surprised by how these flavors weld together for a delicious stew. Get the recipe here.

Kimchi Fried Rice

Cost per serving: $1.21
Try this Korean dish for a little spice in your evening meal. Get the recipe here.

Sun Dried Tomato, Kale, and White Bean Skillet

Cost per serving: $1.40
Here’s a recipe that’s packed with fiber. Get the recipe here.

Pesto Stuffed Shells

Cost per serving: $1.56
A basic recipe with marinara sauce and cheesy filling that even the pickiest eaters will find delicious. Get the recipe here.

Spicy Coconut Stir Fry

Cost per serving: $1.48
The combination of spice with refreshing coconut gives a good balance to this quick recipe. Get the recipe here.

Balsamic Roasted Mushrooms with Herby Kale Mashed Potatoes

Cost per serving: $1.79
A wonderful medley of ingredients and flavors that will fill you up. Get the recipe here.

Soy Marinated Tofu Bowls with Peanut Sauce

Cost per serving: $1.82
A bowl-style recipe that’s easy to make, serve, and clean up. Get the recipe here.

Cheap, Healthy Meal Ideas for Snack

Homemade Tortilla Chips and Cowboy Caviar

Cost per serving: $0.20 + $0.58 = $0.78
In case you’re wondering what cowboy caviar is, it’s a cross between a bean salad and salsa, which means lots of tasty ingredients together.

Get the tortilla recipe here.

Rosemary Pepper Drop Biscuits

Cost per serving: $0.21
A better-tasting, fancier version of regular biscuits. Get the recipe here.

Scallion Herb Cream Cheese Spread

Cost per serving: $0.20
Nothing beats a creamy and savory dip when you’re looking for something to hold you over to the next meal. Get the recipe here.

Pita Chips and Homemade Hummus

Cost per serving: $0.31 + $0.37 = $0.68
These recipes come with a little extra flair, namely cinnamon for the chips and 4 ways to make the dip.

Get the pita chip recipe here.

Zucchini and Orzo Salad with Chimichurri

Cost per serving: $1.63
The chimichurri is a beautiful Argentinian sauce that pairs perfectly with zucchini and orzo. Get the recipe here.

Cheap Meal Ideas that Taste Good for Dessert

Applesauce Cake

Cost per serving: $0.25
At just a quarter a pop, it’s an easy excuse to have seconds (or more). Get the recipe here.

Mini Dark Chocolate Pecan Pies

Cost per serving: $0.44
A decadent, bite-size treat that’s great for holiday parties. Get the recipe here.

Peanut Butter Brownie Baked Oatmeal

Cost per serving: $0.63
A tasty way to incorporate fiber into your dessert. Get the recipe here.

Strawberry Shortcake

Cost per serving: $1.11
This recipe’s not short on flavor, that’s for sure. Get the recipe here.

Mango Coconut Chia Pudding

Cost per serving: $1.20
A ridiculously easy and healthy recipe that my husband and kids love. Get the recipe here.


These cheap meals prove that you can eat delicious, wholesome meals for under $2. Leave the gobbling to your food and not your wallet!



stacy trinh aka aunty chang headshot


STACY, aka AUNTY CHANG, is a personal finance blogger set on a mission to show people that there's more to money than just the numbers. With two rental properties and a six-figure 401k by her 30's, she's on track to retire early without sacrificing work-life balance to get there. She wants to teach others how to identify their goals and use money to make them happen. Dual income, no kids, based in Hawaii.

Hangs out on Keeping Up with the Changs: Facebook | Twitter