Dinner, Faster

40 Inexpensive Meals That'll Keep You (And Your Wallet) Full

August 17, 2017

I know cooking at home is supposed to be less expensive than eating out, but sometimes when I get my total at the checkout line, a three-figure cost makes my eyes bulge a little. But not every meal needs Parmigiano-Reggiano, $15 almond butter, or Madagascar vanilla beans you’ll use once a blue moon. In fact, some of the most delicious meals I’ve made feature humble pantry staples like chickpeas, peanut butter, or eggs.

Maybe you’ve spent the summer adventuring in mountains and funds are low. Or perhaps you’re trying to squeeze one more beach trip in before Labor Day. You could simply just want to save a few bucks. Whatever your reason, here are 40 budget-friendly meals, sides, and desserts that just make sense.

High Flavor, Low Cost Mains

Thrifty Side Hustles

Sweet Savings

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Jen Smith
    Jen Smith
  • Lazyretirementgirl
Katie is a food writer and editor who loves cheesy puns and cheesy cheese.


Jen S. September 8, 2017
Oh yes, I think I'll be cooking my way through this one!
Lazyretirementgirl September 3, 2017
This is one of the best "round ups" ever. Great choices. Thanks.