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7 Best Websites for Easy and Cheap Meal Recipes

Family eating cheap meal recipes

When the U.S. economy took a plunge back in 2008, the amount of money Americans spent eating out took a parallel plunge. But since 2010, that number began to rise once again. In fact, it surpassed 2007’s previously highest dollar amount just 2 years later.

We get it. Eating out is convenient: there’s little planning, no clean up, and everyone can order what they like. Combine that with the fact that the number of dual-income households is once again on the rise, and eating meals prepared by someone else can seem like a recipe for success.

For most of us, however, it’s also a recipe for financial stress.

Thankfully, there are plenty of online resources to help us make simple, family-friendly, cheap meals. Browse the round-up of the best websites for easy and cheap meal recipes below, and consider challenging yourself to make one—just one—more meal at home each week.

(While you’re at it, check out these tips for frugal food shopping with our grocery store comparison and cooking on a budget for further inspiration!)


While this site has every recipe you can think of, from the fanciest fare to the cheapest of eats, their section on Budget Cooking Recipes is just right.

Taste of Home

Because Taste of Home’s Budget Recipe collection is helpfully organized into sections like “chicken,” “ground beef,” and “salad” you can browse according to what you have in the fridge. Click on Budget Dinner Recipes for one-dish wonders.

$5 Dinners

Erin Chase, also known as the “$5 Dinner Mom,” is a busy mother of 4 and one enthusiastic couponer! In addition to her $5 Dinner recipes, visit her site for meal planning inspiration, kicky blog posts, and to sign up for a weekly newsletter.

The Simple Dollar

Count on the Simple Dollar to deliver no-nonsense solutions like black beans and rice and grilled cheese and tomato soup. Itemizing each ingredient down to the estimated dollar amount, these are the kinds of meals made from ingredients that are already in your pantry.

Women’s Day

Leave it to Women’s Day to list inexpensive recipes perfect for weeknights (in other words, to make between walking the dog and driving your daughter to dance class). No fuss, no frills, no extra pots and pans.

Budget Meals

For continual reminders—uh, inspiration—follow BudgetMeals’ Facebook page to receive and share recipes from around the web. While not all of the recipes posted might fit your idea of cheap and easy, they will provide you with a sense of community and support. Meanwhile, their companion site BudgetMeals.info will give you plenty of cheap eats to choose from.

Cheap Family Dinners

The title says it all: cheap family dinners that cost $2 or less per serving. Think that can’t be beat? Try one of their 14 “dollar dinners” and spend less than a dollar per person.

Remember: big gains can result from small changes. Substitute one meal out each week with an easy, inexpensive recipe. With the money you save, consider dropping $20 into a rainy day fund, or spending just $5 on something that will add more value to your life than another meal out.