30 Frugal Dinner Ideas

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These 30 frugal dinner ideas each cost less than $1 per serving. Add a few of these healthy dinner recipes to your next meal plan to help stick to your monthly food budget.

These 30 frugal dinner ideas each cost less than $1 per serving.

Many people struggle to provide their families with good food on a tight budget. I often hear from people who are looking for frugal, healthy dinner recipes to help keep their food spending in check. As a busy work-at-home mom, I get it.

Fortunately, homemade food is usually less expensive than its store-bought counterpart. If you make the commitment to cook most of your food from scratch, you’ll be able to zero in on a grocery budget that works for your family.

I’ve gathered a collection of frugal dinner ideas that each cost less than $1 per serving. By plugging one or two of these healthy recipes into your meal plan each week, you’ll bring down your monthly food budget and add some variety to your dinner menu.

Visit my post for detailed guidance about how to meal plan. Planning ahead is the key to enjoying frugal, healthy meals.

30 Frugal Dinner Ideas

These healthy dinner recipes include something for everyone. From hearty soups and salads to casseroles and Instant Pot recipes, this list will add lots of variety to your frugal dinner menu.

Cranberry Walnut Chicken Salad
This cranberry walnut chicken salad is a delicious light meal.
$.81 per serving
Click here for the recipe
Vegetarian Cassoulet
This Vegetarian Cassoulet is such a hearty meatless dinner recipe!
$.88 per serving
Click here for the recipe
This vegan cassoulet is such a cozy meal!
Healthy Crockpot Chili
This healthy Crockpot chili is such an easy vegan dinner recipe for a busy night. ($.69 per serving) 
Click here for the recipe
Healthy vegan slow cooker chili
Instant Pot Butternut Squash Soup
This Instant Pot butternut squash soup is a quick, easy recipe for fall.
$.89 per one-cup serving
Click here for the recipe
This Instant Pot butternut squash soup is a quick, easy recipe for fall. It’ll make the perfect healthy addition to your holiday table.
Vegetarian Enchilada Casserole
This vegetarian enchilada casserole is an easy, flavorful recipe for a busy night.
$.99 per serving
Click here for the recipe
This vegetarian enchilada casserole is such an easy dinner recipe!
Instant Pot Mac and Cheese
This Instant Pot mac and cheese is loaded with so much flavor! ($.57 per one-cup serving)
Click here for the recipe
Kids and adults love this loaded Instant Pot mac and cheese!
Instant Pot Detox Vegetable Soup
This Instant Pot Detox Vegetable Soup is an easy, healthy recipe for a light lunch or dinner. ($.86 per serving)
Click here for the recipe
Instant Pot Detox Vegetable Soup Recipe
Peanut Ramen Noodle Salad
This peanut ramen noodle salad is a healthy, delicious recipe for lunch or dinner.
$.92 per serving
Click here for the recipe
Peanut ramen noodle salad in a bowl
Peach Mango Burrito Bowls
These peach mango burrito bowls are so delicious for a light dinner. ($.85 per serving)
Click here for the recipe
These peach mango burrito bowls are so delicious for a light summer dinner. Sweet and savory flavors come together in this healthy recipe.
Instant Pot Pinto Beans and Rice
This Instant Pot pinto beans and rice recipe is such an easy one to make for a quick meal. ($.80 per serving)
Click here for the recipe
Crock Pot Taco Soup
This Crock Pot Taco Soup is a quick, easy recipe with just 7 ingredients. ($.98 per serving)
Click here for the recipe
Pizza Soup Recipe
This pizza soup is such a fun, easy dinner recipe. ($.96 per serving)
Click here for the recipe
Curry Chicken Salad Recipe
This curry chicken salad recipe is a healthy combination of savory and sweet flavors.
$.92 per serving
Click here for the recipe
Chicken Salad with Grapes and Almonds
Chicken salad with grapes and almonds is a classic potluck recipe that’s the perfect combination of savory and sweet. ($.80 per serving)
Click here for the recipe
Homemade Vegetarian Chili
This homemade vegetarian chili recipe is a healthy dinner full of vegetables.
$.93 per serving
Click here for the recipe
Homemade Chicken Soup
This homemade chicken soup is perfect for a cold day.
$.78 per serving
Click here for the recipe
American Chop Suey Recipe
This American Chop Suey recipe is a delicious, healthy alternative to Hamburger Helper. ($.97 per serving)
Click here for the recipe
Vegan Butternut Squash Chili
This vegan butternut squash chili is one of the best cozy dinner recipes for fall and winter. ($.58 per serving)
Click here for the recipe
Baked Pasta Casserole
This baked pasta casserole is a delicious, flavorful, frugal dinner recipe. ($.74 per serving)
Click here for the recipe
Rice Noodles with Peanut Sauce
These rice noodles with peanut sauce are perfect for a light vegan meal.
$.96 per serving
Click here for the recipe
Macaroni and Cheese Muffins
These single-portion macaroni and cheese muffins are a great healthy dinner for evenings on the go. ($.23 per muffin)
Click here for the recipe
Cauliflower Chickpea Curry
This cauliflower chickpea curry is such a delicious, healthy recipe for lunch or dinner.
$.86 per serving
Click here for the recipe
Cauliflower curry in a bowl
Smoky Red Lentil Stew
This smoky red lentil stew is delicious vegan comfort food.
$.62 per serving
Click here for the recipe
Pumpkin Macaroni and Cheese
This pumpkin macaroni and cheese is a healthy, kid-friendly meal that will add extra vegetables to your dinner table or lunch box.
$.68 per serving
Click here for the recipe
Pumpkin mac and cheese is a delicious, healthy fall dinner.
Chicken Pot Pie
This chicken pot pie is a delicious comfort food meal.
$.96 per serving
Click here for the recipe
Lentil Sweet Potato Casserole
This lentil sweet potato casserole is such a flavorful vegan dinner!
$.75 per serving
Click here for the recipe
Taco Salad
This taco salad is a healthy, kid-friendly dinner that's perfect for a warm summer night.
$.94 per serving
Click here for the recipe
Black Bean Soup
This black bean soup is a delicious vegan recipe full of flavor.
$.40 per serving
Click here for the recipe
Corn Chowder
This corn chowder is a delicious summertime meal featuring fresh corn and bacon.
$.69 per serving
Click here for the recipe

Healthy Dinner Cost Analysis

Your cost may vary based on the ingredient prices in your area. Check out my price chart to see typical prices in my area of Massachusetts. I use these amounts to calculate the cost per serving in each recipe.

30 healthy dinner recipes, each less than $1 per serving. It pays to make your dinner from scratch! Great resource for frugal meal planning.

Check out this post for more frugal recipes to add to your meal plan.

15 Comments

  1. Thanks for all the great links. WIll be trying some of these recipes and sharing them with my readers (link to your website)l Thanks.

  2. Annemarie,
    What a great selection of dishes! You’ve got something for every eating style and season here.
    Thanks!

  3. I am about as frugal as they come in the kitchen. I HATE food waste, so am always looking to be creative with bits of this and that which are leftover. This is a great round-up!

  4. Feed two for 50¢ in the summer. Pasta salad: spaghetti pasta, 1/8 green pepper diced, 1/8 onion chopped, 1/4 tomato diced, sliced olives (about 10), 1/8 cucumber sliced, and about 2 TB Italian dressing.
    2 slices of bread toasted with garlic powder and butter.

  5. Thanks so much for this list! I aim to make pretty much all my recipes for $.85 or less per serving, and it’s so nice to have the math done for me! 🙂

  6. I’m excited to find this link! To think I can make my own ricotta cheese! I’m psyched. My fiance and I realized we’re cutting it very close on our wedding budget, so I found your site in an effort to cut my grocery budget (which already knew we would need to do once we live together). I’m making a couple of these recipes tonight and freezing a lot of what I make so I can still have easy freezer meals during all the chaos!

  7. This is a fantastic resource for affordable meals. I am pinning and recommending this!

  8. I hear that a lot, too. People don’t realize that you’re paying so much extra for all that packaging. Great list!

    1. Thanks, Amy. So true about the cost of packaging, not to mention factory production, shipping, etc. DIY is the way to go. 🙂

  9. Hi Annemarie! I think this is a great list of healthy but still affordable meals! Definitely sharing this one! I noticed you are involved with The Recipe ReDux. I just got accepted this month and can’t wait to start 🙂

    1. Thanks for sharing, Christine! And welcome to the Recipe Redux. It’s a great group with lots of fun opportunities. I’ll look for your post next month. 🙂

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