Cheap dinners collage, top left pasta and bacon on a white dish, top right fried rice in a blue and white bowl, bottom left pizza casserole in a dish, bottom right soup topped with lemon in a white bowl.

16 Crazy Cheap Dinners That Taste Like a Million Bucks

These cheap dinners are full of flavor and will make your tastebuds and wallet happy.

Just because you’re on a budget doesn’t mean you have to eat bland food or live off of ramen packs.

These meals are truly budget-friendly, every one of these dinners on this list has one or more of the following:

  • Inexpensive ingredients
  • Pantry staples you may already have in your kitchen
  • Short ingredient list

16 Cheap Dinners That Taste Like a Million Bucks

Bacon and mushroom carbonara on a white plate.
Photo Credit: Sweet Tea and Thyme

One bite of these cheap dinners will make you forget you’re even on a budget, they’re that good!

Bacon and Mushroom Carbonara

Skip the expensive Italian restaurant and make this delicious bacon and mushroom carbonara for way cheaper at home.

Get the Recipe: Bacon and Mushroom Carbonara

Pizza Casserole

Pizza casserole in a casserole dish.
Photo Credit: The Cookin Chicks

This pizza casserole is made with premade biscuits and only takes ten minutes to prep.

Your family will love this cheap and easy dinner, plus you can customize the toppings to their tastes.

Get the Recipe: Pizza Casserole

Honey Soy Chicken

Honey soy chicken with garnish.
Photo Credit: Chew Out Loud

This honey soy chicken is made with just four simple ingredients (not including salt and pepper).

This recipe uses drumsticks, which are typically a cheaper cut of chicken than boneless skinless thighs or breasts.

Get the Recipe: Honey Soy Chicken

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos

Tacos displayed on a grey plate.
Photo Credit: Savvy Honey

These yummy and filling sweet potato and black bean tacos are an easy budget meal ready in only 25 minutes.

Meat can get expensive, so opting for a meatless dinner even just one night a week can add up to big savings.

Get the Recipe: Sweet Potato and Black Bean Tacos

Million Dollar Spaghetti

Million dollar spaghetti on a white plate.
Photo Credit: I Heart Eating

Since this is a list of cheap dinners that taste like a million bucks, I had to include this tasty million dollar spaghetti recipe.

Pasta is always a budget-friendly option but having it too often can get boring fast.

If you want something different, try this creamy spaghetti casserole loaded with cheese and other yummy ingredients.

Get the Recipe: Million Dollar Spaghetti

Lemon Lentil Soup

Lemon lentil soup in a white bowl.
Recipe Photo Credit: Chew Out Loud

A bag of lentils costs under $2 at many stores and this cheap ingredient is the star of this lemony soup.

Make a huge batch and freeze the rest so you can get a ton of cheap dinners out of it.

Get the Recipe: Lemon Lentil Soup

Chinese Pasta

Chinese pasta in a black bowl.
Photo Credit: Cooking with Lei

Instead of getting costly Chinese takeout, make this easy ground beef and bell pepper pasta recipe filled with Chinese flavors.

Get the Recipe: Chinese Pasta

Sweet Potato Curry

Sweet potato curry in a white bowl.
Photo Credit: Little Sunny Kitchen

Frugal and full of flavor, this sweet potato curry dish is made with wholesome ingredients and couldn’t be easier to make. It’s perfect for busy weeknights.

Get the Recipe: Sweet Potato Curry

Sheet Pan Honey Garlic Pork Chops

Honey pork chops and roasted vegetables in a sheet pan.
Photo Credit xoxoBella

Made with basic ingredients and pantry staples, this easy honey garlic pork chop and roasted vegetable dinner will save you on hectic weeknights.

This recipe uses frozen vegetables, which will save you some prep time.

Get the Recipe: Honey Garlic Pork Chops

Sausage and Peppers Foil Packs

Sausage and peppers in foil.
Photo Credit: xoxoBella

It doesn’t get much easier than throwing this foil pack of smoked bratwurst and buttery peppers on the grill.

Bratwurst is a cheap protein source and is incredibly yummy with grilled bell peppers.

Get the Recipe: Sausage and Peppers Foil Packs

Butter Beans

Butter beans with tomatoes in a bowl.
Photo Credit: Life As A Strawberry

These butter beans are cooked in a flavorful broth filled with fresh herbs and this dish is heavenly served with warm bread.

If you have some veggies that you need to use up to avoid food waste, you can throw them in the soup too.

Get the Recipe: Butter Beans

Slow Cooker Jerk Chicken

Jerk chicken over rice on a grey plate.
Photo Credit: Whiskful Cooking

Eating on a budget doesn’t have to be bland, this flavorful jerk chicken is made with pineapple and spices. 

This four-ingredient slow cooker chicken is quite versatile too, you can use it to make tacos or serve it with inexpensive sides like rice and potatoes. 

Get the Recipe: Slow Cooker Jerk Chicken

Chorizo Tacos

Chorizo tacos on a brown background.
Photo Credit: In Krista’s Kitchen

Mexican chorizo is one of the cheapest meat choices out there, a pack costs only $3 or less, with the cheapest price I’ve seen being $1.37.

These chorizo and homemade salsa verde tacos are a great way to get your Mexican food fix without eating out.

Get the Recipe: Chorizo Tacos

By the way, one of the cheapest (and most delicious) budget breakfasts is chorizo and eggs, yum.

Potato Soup

Potato Soup in a white bowl with a cutting board in the background.
Photo Credit: Bless This Meal

Made with four inexpensive ingredients, this soup will save you before payday when you need to stretch every penny.

Get the Recipe: Potato Soup

Spam Fried Rice

Spam fried rice in a bowl.
Photo Credit: Beyond Kimchee

Spam first came about during the Great Depression and became popular during World War II and beyond. It’s an economical ingredient that if prepared correctly can taste amazing.

This tasty spam fried rice can be made with leftover rice and will be a hit with your family.

Recipe reviewer Brian said, “Wow!!! This was fantastic!!! Easy, quick, and satisfying. Great for midweek.”

Get the Recipe: Spam Fried Rice

Chili Recipe

Chili in a white bowl with a spoon on a light background.
Photo Credit: The Slow Roasted Italian

Many chili recipes have 10 to 15 ingredients or more, which can get pretty expensive. Luckily, this chili recipe only has five ingredients (not including salt). 

It is the cheapest and quickest chili recipe out there and unlike other recipes, it’s ready in just 15 minutes.

Get the Recipe: Chili Recipe

About the Author

Annie Brown is a frugal living expert and the founder of Savvy Honey.

Her expert advice has also been featured in Buzzfeed, MSN, Yahoo Finance, GOBanking Rates, Woman's Day, The Spruce Crafts, and more.

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