Cheap family meals: Budget recipes under £1 per head

It's easy to cook cheap family meals with our selection of budget recipes…

A selection of cheap family meals all budget recipes under £1 a head
(Image credit: Future)

From spaghetti Bolognese to fish and chips, from tuna pasta to risotto, our cheap family meals are budget recipes all under £1 a head. 

With the cost of living going up it’s getting harder to feed a family well on a budget. That’s why we’ve brought together this collection of cheap family meals that are all under £1 per portion. All of which are priced from a variety of supermarkets including Tesco, Morrisons, Asda, Sainsbury's, and Aldi. From kids' favourites like cottage pie to more adventurous choices like halloumi and tomato salad, there’s something for everyone looking to save money on food (opens in new tab).

Food prices are rising consistently, and by April 2022 they were 6.7% higher than this time last year, according to NationalWorld (opens in new tab)Planning is key to sticking to a budget, but don’t forget to be flexible too. Seasonal veg is usually cheaper, so adapt plans when you find good deals. Faith Archer, mum-of-two, personal finance journalist, and money blogger at Much More With Less (opens in new tab) says, “I try to keep food costs down by switching to less expensive alternatives, stretching pricey protein with seasonal veg or beans, and slashing food waste. For example, using chicken thighs rather than breasts, and frozen white fish rather than fresh cod.

“What really makes the difference is planning meals over a week or more, rather than focusing on a single recipe," she adds. "That way, if for example, I splash out on a pack of soured cream, bacon, or fresh coriander for one meal, I can make sure to use the rest in a different meal another day. Binning food is like setting fire to fivers.”

Cheap family meals: Budget recipes

How to make meatballs

A simple dish the kids will love making meatballs from scratch

1. Meatballs with spaghetti

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 96p | Total cost: £3.82

Priced at Tesco 

Ingredients:

  • 1 brown onion, 10p
  • 500g minced pork, £1.79
  • 1 garlic, 25p
  • Hearty Food Co. Spaghetti Pasta, 20p
  • 1 egg, from a pack of 6, 85p
  • Tomato Puree, 35p
  • 1 can Grower's Harvest Chopped Tomatoes, 28p

Meatballs are a great cheap family meal. A nifty trick is to bulk up mincemeat dishes using vegetables to make them go further. Adding an extra onion and a couple of finely chopped carrots would cost less than 50p. It would add another portion to the sauce and the 500g pasta will easily serve five.

Stay under budget by using dried herbs in this recipe and skipping the Parmesan and pesto, but use store cupboard ingredients to boost the flavour instead. Half a crumbled beef stock cube, for example. Tesco Classic Green Pesto is an extra £1 (for a 190g jar) but you only need a spoonful, leaving plenty for other meals. An opened jar will keep in the fridge for a couple of weeks.

Get the recipe: How to make meatballs (opens in new tab)

Farmhouse chicken braise

Swap the Sunday roast for this mouthwatering tray bake instead

2. Farmhouse chicken braise

Serves: 6 | Cost per person: 92p | Total cost: £5.53

Priced at Sainsbury’s

Ingredients:

  • 2kg British Fresh Chicken Skin on Thighs, £3.50
  • 500g carrots, 23p
  • 2 leeks, 60p
  • 150ml double cream, 75p
  • Hubbard’s Foodstore English mustard, 45p

Faith says: “I’m a big fan of using tasty chicken thighs rather than more expensive chicken breasts, and the creamy mustard sauce makes this dish special. It goes well with value range rice if you have hungry teenagers to fill up.”

Chicken breast is probably the nation’s favourite cut, but it’s expensive and it’s not nearly as tasty or tender as thighs. You can get a really good deal on this large pack, which portions out at two thighs per person. Remove the skin if you like, to keep the fat content lower but it's not necessary.

Get the recipe: Farmhouse chicken braise (opens in new tab)

Bacon and broccoli pasta salad

It takes just a handful of ingredients to make this healthy, filling recipe

3. Bacon and broccoli pasta salad

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 89p | Total cost: £3.57

Priced at Asda

Ingredients:

  • Smart Price Pasta Shapes, 32p
  • Butcher's Selection 12 Unsmoked Back Bacon Rashers, £1.75
  • Mild Tender Baby Spinach, 90p
  • Broccoli, 50p

This Slimming World recipe for bacon and broccoli pasta salad is not only cheap to make but healthy too. We've doubled the ingredients so it serves four. We swapped the Tenderstem broccoli for regular broccoli which is more affordable. When you prepare the broccoli, don’t discard the stem - you can cube it and use it in the pasta sauce too. It has a lovely texture.

We used back bacon here, but check the prices of the streaky bacon too as it’s often cheaper. Keep any bacon leftovers in the freezer and you’ll have some ready for next time.

Get the recipe: Bacon and broccoli pasta salad (opens in new tab)

The ideal recipe, on our cheap family meals list, for summer evenings

4. Courgette, garlic, and herb oaty crust quiche

Serves: 6 | Cost per person: 75p | Total cost: £4.50

Priced at Tesco

Ingredients:

  • Tesco Scottish Rough Oatcakes, 80p
  • Soft Cheese with Garlic & Herb, 90p
  • 3 courgettes, £1.20
  • 2 eggs (from a pack of 6), 85p
  • Sour cream, 75p

This makes a lovely, vegetarian-friendly Sunday lunch. With the homemade pie case, it does not feel like a budget dish at all. You can use any cream cheese with garlic and herbs, and we swapped the crème fraîche for sour cream as it works out a little cheaper. Butter is one of our store cupboard staple ingredients, but you do need a large portion for this recipe - about half a pack.

This recipe is great for sharing and as you've got a bit of budget leftover you could easily serve it with a salad for a summer meal. Leftovers also make the perfect lunch option the next day.

Get the recipe: Courgette, garlic, and herb oaty crust quiche (opens in new tab)

A bargain vegetarian curry priced at just 95p per portion

5. Lentil and spinach curry

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 95p | Total cost: £3.80

Priced at Asda

Ingredients:

  • 1 tin green lentils, 48p
  • Tinned spinach leaves, 75p
  • Smart Price peeled plum tomatoes, 28p
  • Red onion, 10p
  • Garlic, 25p
  • Pataks Madras paste pots, 99p (at Tesco or Aldi)
  • Fresh coriander, 50p
  • Smart Price Long Grain Rice, 45p

This veggie curry is a lovely weeknight supper. We’ve served it with rice rather than naan bread and chutney to keep the price down. Faith says: “This curry can be whipped up from store cupboard staples. Onion, garlic, rice, and tins all last for ages.

The tinned spinach and paste pots keep costs down for a single meal. But if you have the cash and might repeat the recipe, or cook other curries, Asda sells a jar of balti curry paste for £1.50 and an 850g bag of frozen spinach for £1.40. These would make at least four meals and be cheaper over the long run.”

Get the recipe: Lentil and spinach balti (opens in new tab)

This recipe is perfect for sharing at picnics too

6. Tomato tart

Serves: 6 | Cost per person: 84p | Total cost: £5.06

Priced at Sainsbury’s

Ingredients:

  • Cherry tomatoes (500g), £1.35
  • Green pesto, £1
  • Sainsbury Frozen rolled puff pastry, £1.30
  • Iceberg lettuce, 46p
  • Sainsbury’s balsamic dressing, 95p

One of our favourite cheap family meals that uses readymade pastry. Check the frozen aisle for readymade puff pastry, as it’s often cheaper than the chilled versions (though Sainsbury’s chilled puff pastry does go on offer at £1 from time to time).

This tart is quite big and serves six people. We’ve served it with a dressed salad here, which still comes in under £1 per person. The tart on its own is 61p per portion.

Get the recipe: Tomato tart (opens in new tab)

This recipe costs just 71p per serving - well under the £1 a head mark

7. Baked vegetable polenta

Serves: 6 | Cost per person: 71p | Total cost: £4.25

Priced at Asda

Ingredients:

  • Tropical Sun Fine Cornmeal Polenta (500g), 85p
  • Fresh flat-leaf parsley, 50p
  • Garlic, 25p
  • Farm Stores White Mushrooms, 50p
  • 2 leeks, 60p
  • Cherry tomatoes (325g), 80p
  • Asda Greek-style cheese, 75p

Polenta is ground corn that can be cooked to a thick, creamy consistency, or left to set, then you can slice it. It’s an Italian staple, and it’s cheap. If you’re not tried cooking with it before, this recipe is a delicious, filling way to start.

Fresh cut herbs are pricey and tend to only be good for 1-2 uses; you can use dried instead. Alternatively, it’s only 10p more to buy a parsley plant from Asda. You can use it for this recipe then plant it in the backyard or in a window box. It’s a really low-maintenance plant and should survive all summer, if not longer.

Get the recipe: Baked vegetable polenta (opens in new tab)

It takes just 6-7 ingredients to make this budget recipe

8. Courgette pesto pasta

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 98p | Total cost: £3.92

Priced at Tesco

Ingredients:

  • Green Pesto Sauce, £1
  • Hearty Food Co. Spaghetti, 20p
  • 2 courgettes, 80p
  • 1 onion, 10p
  • Cook Italian Grated Hard Cheese, £1.35
  • Fresh cut basil, 47p

Light yet filling, this spring courgette and pesto pasta dish is simple to make - you can have it on the table in just 20 minutes. You’ll use about half a jar of pesto here, leaving the other half for another meal (or to make this one again). Over two meals, that brings the cost down to 86p per portion.

If you want to jazz this recipe up, swap the regular pesto for red pesto instead. Leftovers can be easily reheated the next day and served for lunch or served cold with a leftover side salad from a previous meal.

Get the recipe: Courgette and pesto pasta (opens in new tab)

Bacon and onion make a delicious combo in this recipe

9. Smoked bacon and onion tart

Serves: 6 | Cost per person: 91p | Total cost: £5.43

Priced at Morrisons

Ingredients:

  • Everyday Value cooking bacon (500g), £1.49
  • 2 onions, 20p
  • Free Range Eggs (6), £1.20
  • British soured cream (150ml), 75p
  • Greenside Deli Mature Cheddar, £1.79

“This tart demonstrates how small amounts of cooking bacon and cheese can add loads of flavour, while still leaving lots to use in other meals," says Faith. "If you buy a larger container of soured cream, crème fraiche, or double cream it typically costs less per gram, and you could substitute the rest in the chicken braise or macaroni cheese. Plus, the tart tastes good cold too, so it works well for packed lunches or summer picnics.”

The original recipe serves eight but to give everyone a nice main portion, we’ve costed it to feed just six. There is enough room in the budget to serve it with an iceberg lettuce salad (an extra 55p).

Get the recipe: Smoked bacon and onion tart (opens in new tab)

Spaghetti bolognese

Spaghetti Bolognese is a firm family favourite - and a cheap family meal too

10. Spaghetti Bolognese

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 85p | Total cost: £3.39

Priced at Tesco

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium onions, 20p
  • Beef mince (500g), £1.79
  • Garlic, 25p
  • Mushrooms (90g), 32p
  • 1 can Chopped tomatoes, 28p
  • Tomato puree, 35p
  • Hearty Food Co. Spaghetti Pasta, 20p

Faith says: “Spaghetti Bolognese is one of my children’s favourite meals, and a budget favourite too. You can pick up value range spaghetti for just 20p and stretch the sauce with vegetables, such as the mushrooms or grated carrot, and finely chopped celery. I make Bolognese sauce in my slow cooker to save energy costs too.”

Make the meal go even further by adding up to another 250g of mushrooms (75p) and another can of chopped tomatoes (28p). This will make an extra two portions, and any leftovers can be stored in the fridge overnight - or even frozen for dinner another night.

Another great thing about recipes using canned food is when considering 'how long does canned food last? (opens in new tab)' the answer is indefinitely. As long as the can isn't damaged in any way, e.g. bulges, leakages or rust, they can remain good to eat for several years. Once opened, just pop in fridge in an air-tight container and consume within three-five days.

Get the recipe: Spaghetti Bolognese (opens in new tab)

Using pork instead of lamb cuts the cost down on these kebabs

11. Pork kebabs in pitta

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: £1 | Total cost: £4

Priced at Sainsbury’s

Ingredients:

  • British Extra Lean Diced Pork Leg (425g) £2.45
  • Mary Ann's Dairy Low Fat Natural Yogurt 500g, 45p
  • Garlic 25p
  • Cucumber portion 35p
  • Value White Pitta (6) 50p

“Here’s an example where switching an ingredient, substituting chunks of pork for expensive lamb, brings the price right down," says Faith. "Investing in a big pot of natural yogurt means you can eat the rest with fruit or cereal, or add a cooling dollop to curry.”

Stuff the pittas even more with shards of iceberg lettuce for an extra 46p. This budget recipe makes a great family dinner option in the summer months - or a hearty lunch time dish at the weekends.

Get the recipe: Lamb kebabs in pitta (opens in new tab)

Macaroni cheese with peas

A portion of this cheap family meal is just 95p per serving

12. Macaroni cheese with peas

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 95p | Total cost: £3.79

Priced at Sainsbury’s

Ingredients:

  • Everyday Value pasta penne quills (500g), 58p
  • The Greengrocer garden peas (850g), 52p
  • J James cooking bacon (500g), 75p
  • Sainsbury's Mary Ann Dairy Mild Cheddar Slices 200g, 99p
  • British Creme Fraiche, 95p

This is such a great classic family meal, made even tastier with bacon and even healthier with peas. Faith says: “Adding the bacon and peas to macaroni cheese lifts it from a side dish into a main meal, and this recipe is easy to scale up if you have loads of kids to feed.

Using cooking bacon keeps the costs down. You end up with the same great taste, it’s just that rather than paying extra for neatly packaged rashers you get a mix of streaky and back bacon, some chunks and some slices, some with rind and some not.”

Get the recipe: Macaroni cheese with peas (opens in new tab)

The perfect Friday night dinner on a budget

13. Beer-battered fish and double-cooked chips

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 94p | Total cost: £3.74

Priced at Morrisons

Ingredients:

  • International Seafood Co Fish Fillets (450g), £1.89
  • 4 baking potatoes, 39p
  • Manns original brown ale (500ml) £1.10
  • 2 x Smart price mushy peas (300g), 36p

Faith says: “Rather than splashing out on a takeaway, save by making your own fakeaway fish and chips instead. Frozen white fish fillets are often much more affordable than fresh fish, and will last a lot longer in your freezer. Value range frozen peas are another of my freezer favourites, and if you get some for the macaroni cheese recipe above, you could substitute some of the rest of the bag for the mushy peas.”

You will need enough sunflower oil to deep fry your fish and chips. You can actually re-use oil around 10 times before you need to replace it so keep this in mind when cooking.

Get the recipe: Beer battered fish and triple cooked chips

pork goulash

This pork goulash is just 93per portion

14. Pork goulash

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 93p | Total cost: £3.71

Priced at Sainsbury’s

Ingredients:

  • Extra Lean British Pork stir fry 300g, £1.75
  • Onion, 15p
  • 1 red pepper, 48p
  • Tomato puree, 35p
  • Garlic, 25p
  • Hubbard’s Foodstore Chopped Tomatoes, 28p
  • Creamfields Low Fat Natural Yogurt, 45p

This hearty pork and pepper goulash recipe is flavoured with paprika and packed with veggies such as red onion, tin tomatoes, and roasted red pepper.

To save money we’ve used a fresh red pepper - you can roast it yourself in the oven in about 45 minutes. Chop it in half, place it on a baking tray lined with parchment paper, and bake for 40 minutes. The skin will be blackened and ready to peel off.

Get the recipe: Pork goulash (opens in new tab)

Turkey mince cottage pie

Turkey mince is much healthier than beef mince - and leaner too
(Image credit: TI Media Limited)

15. Turkey mince cottage pie

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 99p | Total cost: £3.97

Priced at Morrisons

Ingredients:

  • Turkey thigh mince, £2.25
  • Tomato passata (500g), 45p
  • Onion, 20p
  • Savers Marrowfat peas, 39p
  • Carrots (500g), 29p
  • 4 Potatoes, 39p

This warm and comforting potato topped pie is a perfect weekend supper for the whole family. It’s packed with meat, potatoes, and vegetables, a whole meal in one. Turkey mince is slightly more expensive than beef but it’s tasty and healthy - a lean source of protein.

This Woman's Weekly turkey mince cottage pie is perfect for Sunday dinner. We've used tinned peas instead of frozen to keep them cheap.

Get the recipe: Turkey mince cottage pie (opens in new tab)

tuna and brown rice salad

A portion of this filling salad is just 98p per person

16. Tuna and brown rice salad

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 98p | Total cost: £3.95

Priced at Asda

Ingredients:

  • 2 Onions, 20p
  • Smart Price Long Grain White Rice (1kg), 45p
  • Mild salsa dip, 79p
  • Black olives, 60p
  • Smart Price red kidney beans, 33p
  • 1 tin sweetcorn, 40p
  • 2 tins Smart Price Tuna in brine, 59p

This tuna and brown rice salad is not only cheap to make but nutritional too. The original recipe serves one so we’ve doubled the amount of onion and tuna, and quadrupled everything else to make it serve four in total. This is a great choice for those warmer summer evenings when you're looking for something filling but not too heavy.

Leftovers can easily be stored in the fridge and eaten the next day for lunch. If you want to cut the cost of this dish further, leave the salsa dip and enjoy a plain tuna and brown rice salad instead.

Get the recipe: Tuna and brown rice salad (opens in new tab)

Veggie burgers

A great vegetarian option at just 95p per burger

17. Bean burgers

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 95p | Total cost: £3.78

Priced at Morrisons

Ingredients:

  • KTC Red Kidney Beans (400g), 45p
  • KTC Butter Beans (400g), 45p
  • Spring onions 59p
  • Fresh coriander bunch 85p
  • Morrisons Sliced White Rolls (6), 79p
  • Onion 10p
  • Shredded Iceberg lettuce, 55p

Use the two spare burger buns to make breadcrumbs for the burgers and instead of binding them with egg, add a small splash of milk - just enough to bring them together.

Faith says: “Tinned beans are a good way to add protein for less, and your kids may be more willing to try them when shaped into these tasty burgers. This recipe is priced on using the two spare burger buns to make breadcrumbs, but if you have crusts of bread knocking around you could grate them into breadcrumbs and use the buns for a packed lunch.”

Get the recipe: Bean burgers (opens in new tab)

It takes just six ingredients to make this bacon and chilli pasta

18. Bacon and chilli pasta

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 91p | Total cost: £3.64

Priced at Sainsbury’s

Ingredients:

  • Hubbards Foodstore spaghetti (1kg), 40p
  • J James cooking bacon (500g), 75p
  • Imperfectly Tasty Mixed Peppers, 80p
  • Garlic, 25p
  • Hubbard’s Foodstore Pasta Sauce, 39p
  • Sainsbury's dried grated hard cheese, £1.05

This quick and easy bacon and chilli pasta recipe takes just 10 minutes to prepare. We’ve used ‘wonky veg’ peppers which usually come in a mixed bag of red and green, sometimes yellow. They don’t look as pretty as the standard peppers but you’re chopping them up here anyway, and they taste just as nice. Use dried basil to keep it under budget.

Get the recipe: Bacon and chilli pasta (opens in new tab)

Tuna pasta bake

A family favourite - one of our best cheap family meals

19. Tuna pasta bake

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 90p | Total cost: £3.59

Priced at Asda

Ingredients:

  • Asda Smart Price Tuna Chunks in Brine (145g), 59p
  • Red onion, 10p
  • Farm Stores White Mushrooms, 50p
  • Sweetcorn in Water (198g), 40p
  • Smart Price Peeled Plum Tomatoes, 28p
  • Tomato Puree, 40p
  • Smart Price pasta shapes, 32p
  • Single cheese Slices (200g), 57p
  • Lightly Salted Tortilla Chips, 43p

This tuna pasta bake is so tasty and delicious, it’s always welcome for dinner. The melty cheese topping is one of the best parts, but cheese is an expensive extra on a shopping list (starting at around £4.42 for the per kilo price). These cheese slices are a handy cheat - you can just place them over the top of the past bake before you put it in the oven and it will melt in place.

Scrunched-up crisps or tortilla chips make a nice crunchy topping. You can get a similar effect from breadcrumbs made from stale bread which may end up being cheaper too. And a nifty way to use up leftover bread.

Get the recipe: Tuna pasta bake (opens in new tab)

This budget sausages with kale mash is just 77p per serving

20. Sausages with kale mash

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 77p | Total cost: £3.08

Priced at Morrisons

Ingredients:

  • Sliced curly kale (200g) £1
  • 4 baking potatoes, 39p
  • Spring onions (100g) 59p
  • Woodheads Pork sausages, 80p (special offer, normally £1)
  • Savers gravy granules, 30p

“Sausage and mash is great comfort food," says Faith, "And value range gravy granules really help if you are tight for time mid-week. You can also ring the changes and shave costs by substituting half a savoy cabbage for a bag of chopped kale. Savoy cabbage lasts quite a while in the fridge, and you’d still have the other half to use in soups, stir-fries, and steamed as extra veg."

Make your own onion gravy if you prefer. Save the fat that comes off the sausages as they cook and use it to fry a sliced onion (10p). Don’t let it burn, but it should really soften and caramelise. Stir in a heaped teaspoon of flour, then pour in a beef stock cube melted in 150ml hot water and let it bubble until you get a nice thick gravy.

Get the recipe: Curly kale mash (opens in new tab)

A great budget dinner with one of your five-a-day included too

21. Beetroot risotto with horseradish

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 95p | Total cost: £3.80

Priced at Sainsbury’s

Ingredients:

  • Arborio risotto rice (500g) £1
  • 1 onion, 20p
  • Garlic, 25p
  • Sainsbury’s Cooked Beetroot vacuum pack (250g) 80p
  • Everyday Value horseradish sauce (160ml) 70p
  • G’s Little Leaves wild rocket (60g) 85p

This colourful, tasty beetroot risotto is packed with flavour. You may be able to save more by buying raw beetroot and cooking it yourself - check the price as it varies a lot depending on whether it’s in season or not. Otherwise, the cooked version is quicker and easier as you don’t have to peel it yourself (and probably get very purple hands).

Get the recipe: Beetroot risotto (opens in new tab)

22. Sausage omelette

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 96p | Total cost: £3.87

Priced at Tesco

Ingredients:

  • Herta Original Frankfurters (4), £1.45
  • Eggs, £1.29 for 15
  • Cherry tomatoes, 90p

This three-ingredient dish is a weekend brunch bargain. We’ve added cherry tomatoes to the recipe to add some nutrition to the dish. Use dried herbs to flavour it - as they're cheaper and go a long way compared to fresh herbs.

Buying 15 eggs means you can have them for Saturday and Sunday brunch. Instead of the four packs of sausages, buy the 10 packs for £2.30. Use five sausages each day (or freeze the extra two), use just seven eggs on one of the mornings but add 30ml milk, and use half the pack of tomatoes each time. That works out as a total spend of £4.49, or 56p per person per meal.

Get the recipe: Sausage omelette (opens in new tab)

Easy sausage and potato casserole

A hearty meal the whole family can enjoy together
(Image credit: TI Media Limited)

23. Easy sausage and potato casserole

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 71p | Total cost: £2.83

Priced at Tesco

Ingredients:

  • Onion 10p
  • Seasonal new loose potatoes, 86p
  • Green pepper 48p
  • Woodside Farms pork sausages (8 pack) £1
  • Hearty Food Co Tomato and Herb pasta sauce (440g) 39p

This sausage and potato casserole is so cheap you could buy fancier sausages and still keep it under £1 a head. Though there is a pepper in the sauce, you’ll probably want to serve with another portion of veggies to add to your five-a-day. Curly kale goes really well with the tomato-y sauce and a 180g bag (72p) would take the spend up to 89p per person.

Get the recipe: Easy sausage and potato casserole (opens in new tab)

Similar flavours to the peri-peri chicken we all know and love

24. Peri-peri chicken

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 96p | Total cost: £3.85

Priced at Morrisons

Ingredients:

  • British Chicken Wings (1kg), £1.75
  • 2 x Morrisons Cook It Piri Piri Seasoning, £1
  • Morrisons Wholefoods Couscous (500g) 70p
  • Savers Marrowfat peas, 39p

A kilo of chicken wings at Morrisons is on offer this summer at £1.75 (until mid-July, normally £2.80). If you have a spicy rack at home you can make up your own Piri Piri seasoning using chilli, garlic, oregano, paprika, and lemon, but these sachets are good value and two will be enough to cover these wings.

To make it a full meal, we’ve served this with couscous mixed with a tin of marrowfat peas. Make the couscous even tastier by using a chicken stock cube to make it.

Get the recipe: Peri-peri chicken (opens in new tab)

A delicious one-pot meal with tender chunks of chicken

25. Tomato-baked chicken

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 93p | Total cost: £3.73

Priced at Asda

Ingredients:

  • Asda Farmstores chicken thigh portions (1.1kg), £1.94
  • Smart Price Bolognese sauce (440g) 39p
  • Asda Growers selection baby potatoes (1kg) 90p
  • Asda Farms Stores White Mushrooms, 50p

For this recipe, we’ve used our favourite cut of chicken: tender and juicy thighs. Even though they taste better than chicken breasts, thighs are always cheaper, making them a complete bargain.

The original recipe calls for mozzarella on the top as an optional extra. If you would like to include this you can buy a ball for 70p. To keep the per head price down you can make two meals worth. Buy the chicken mushrooms and sauce twice, and use all the potatoes and 1 ball of mozzarella over the top. This would work out as 91p per person per meal. You can keep the second portion in the fridge overnight and reheat it the next day.

Get the recipe: Tomato baked chicken (opens in new tab)

Cauliflower curry

A mouthwatering vegetarian option that you'll want to make time and time again

26. Cauliflower curry

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 96p | Total cost: £3.85

Priced at Sainsbury's

Ingredients:

  • Imperfectly tasty cauliflower head, 80p
  • 3 onions, 60p
  • TRS Mild Madras curry powder 60p
  • Coconut milk 85p
  • Bag of spinach (100g) £1

This cauliflower curry is a great alternative to a classic meat curry. Swapping meat for vegetables is a great way to keep your meals cheap and on a budget - plus it’s fabulously healthy.

If you think you’d make this lovely curry twice, upgrade the bag of spinach for a 1kg bag of frozen spinach for just £1.50. It will last for ages with no chance of leaves going soggy in the bottom of the salad drawer.

Get the recipe: Cauliflower curry (opens in new tab)

Sausage, squash and onion toad-in-the-hole

A hearty toad in the hole studded with nutritious butternut squash
(Image credit: TI Media Limited)

27. Sausage, squash, and onion toad-in-the-hole

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 96p | Total cost: £3.85

Priced at Tesco

Ingredients:

  • Woodside Farms pork sausages (8 pack) £1
  • Butternut squash £1.20
  • 2 brown onions, 20p
  • 3 British eggs (from a pack of 6), 85p
  • Whole milk 1 pint, 60p

Toad-in-the-hole is a great classic family dinner, packed with sausages floating in a sea of Yorkshire pudding. We’ve updated this version with some lovely chunks of butternut squash and sliced onion. It's a budget recipe at just 96p per serving.

Normally we count milk as a store cupboard staple ingredient, but since this recipe contains quite a large amount, so we’ve costed it into the budget. If you want to cut the cost of this dish you could leave the butternut squash, however, we think it adds a delicious texture and sweetness to this cheap family meal.

Get the recipe: Squash and onion toad-in-the-hole (opens in new tab)

Soup is the perfect winter warmer that can easily be frozen and eaten at a later date

28. Sausage and bean soup

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 90p | Total cost: £3.59

Priced at Asda

Ingredients:

  • Grower’s Selection Shallots (300g), 75p
  • Farms Stores pork sausages (8 pack), 86p
  • Garlic, 25p
  • Carrot, 8p
  • Pinto beans in water (400g), 50p
  • Savoy cabbage, 65p
  • Fresh flat-leaf parsley, 50p

This warming sausage and bean soup can be a filling meal on its own, but you can serve it with an Everyday Value garlic baguette (32p for 170g). That brings the spend per serving up to 98p. We left the wine out of the soup recipe - it makes it slightly less rich but doesn’t affect the taste dramatically.

Get the recipe: Sausage and bean soup

Penne pasta arrabbiata

Swap the penne for any type of pasta you prefer

29. Penne pasta arrabbiata

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 93p | Total cost: £3.71

Priced at Sainsbury’s

Ingredients:

  • Hubbards Foodstore Pasta Shapes (1kg), 58p
  • Onion 20p
  • 2 x Hubbards Foodstore Chopped tomatoes, 56p
  • Garlic, 25p
  • Sainsbury’s Pitted Black olives, 60p
  • Fresh basil, 47p
  • Sainsbury's dried grated hard cheese, £1.05

A classic Italian dish, this penne pasta arrabbiata has a rich and simple tomato-based sauce. This recipe takes just 15 minutes to cook and serves four. We’ve stayed under budget by swapping the fresh chillies in this recipe for dried ones from our store cupboard.

At 426 calories per serving, this dish is great if you're trying to eat a little healthier or you're calorie counting. It's a great lunchtime meal too as its super quick to prepare and cook.

Get the recipe: Penne pasta arrabbiata (opens in new tab)

Weight Watchers cheese and bacon gnocchi bake

A creamy, luxurious gnocchi bake at just 392 calories per serving

30. Weight Watchers cheese and bacon gnocchi bake

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 89p | Total cost: £3.57

Priced at Tesco

Ingredients:

  • Tesco Gnocchi (500g) 90p
  • Fresh spinach (250g) 93p
  • Woodside Farms Cooking Bacon, 75p
  • Creamfields Mild Cheese Slices, 99p

You can make your own gnocchi with flour and potatoes. If you make a large batch and freeze some, it would work out cheaper. Still, for ease here, we've opted for ready-made potato gnocchi. This dish is filling and bursting with flavour from the bacon and cheese.

If you don't already have mustard powder in your store cupboard, add normal mustard to taste. If you don't have any, pick up a jar of English mustard (190g) for 50p.

Get the recipe: Weight Watchers cheese and bacon gnocchi bake (opens in new tab)

Pasta, potato and bacon salad

It takes just six ingredients to make this tasty cheap family meals

31. Pasta, potato and bacon salad

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: £1 | Total cost: £4.02

Priced at Asda

Ingredients:

  • Grower’s Selection Baby potatoes, 90p
  • Spring onions, 40p
  • Mild Baby Spinach, 180g, 90p
  • Soured cream, 75p
  • Farm Stores cooking bacon (500g) 75p
  • Smart Price pasta shapes, 32p

This flavour-packed meal serves four and makes a lovely lunchtime meal, especially if it’s warm enough to eat outside. The soft new potatoes, salty bacon, sour cream, and spring onions pack this dish full of flavour. Toss in the pasta shapes and serve.

Pasta, potato and bacon salad is also a great BBQ side dish - ideal if you're throwing a cheap BBQ (opens in new tab). If you want to cut the cost of this meal further, leave the pasta out of the recipe or leave the potato out and choose a potato salad or pasta salad instead.

Get the recipe: Pasta, potato and bacon salad (opens in new tab)

It takes just 15 mins to make this frittata

32. Bacon squeak frittata

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 96p | Total cost: £3.84

Priced at Tesco

Ingredients:

  • Woodside Farms Cooking Bacon, 75p
  • 2 parsnips, 26p
  • 2 potatoes, 50p
  • Onion, 10p
  • 2 carrots, 8p
  • Spring greens (200g) £1.30
  • British eggs (6) 85p

You can make this delicious bacon squeak frittata from leftovers. The original recipe calls for just one potato, carrot, and parsnip, but we’ve used two of each to make sure no one goes hungry. Add a good splash of milk to the eggs as well, to make them go further.

The great thing about this frittata is that it's made mostly with vegetables - which are cheap compared to meat. The bacon adds a saltiness to the recipe so there's no need for extra seasoning.

Get the recipe: Bacon squeak frittata

It takes just 88p per pie - a great budget recipe

33. Vegetarian bean and pea pies

Makes: 6 | Cost per person: 88p | Total cost: £5.27

Priced at Tesco

Ingredients:

  • Grower’s Harvest Frozen Peas (900g), 55p
  • Frozen broad beans (650g), £1.50
  • Tesco puff pastry (500g), £1.25
  • Spring onions, 37p
  • British double cream (150ml), 75p
  • 2 eggs (from a pack of 6), 85p

These bean and pea pies are easy to make and so tasty. We've used frozen peas and broad beans to keep it cheap too - both come in bags of larger quantities than you will actually need (so you can make more if you want to).

This is another good recipe for making in double portions. Two make 12 pies, buy the Jus-Roll puff pastry in a double pack for £2.35 (15p cheaper than two Tesco ones), a larger pot of cream (35p cheaper than buying two small pots), and another bunch of spring onions. You will have enough eggs, peas, and beans leftover from the original batch. Freeze any pies you are saving uncooked, then cook from frozen whenever you are ready to eat them. The total cost will be £7.14 (or 60p per pie).

Get the recipe: Vegetarian bean and pea pies (opens in new tab)

A great one-pot meal ideal for the whole family on a budget

34. Pasta alla norma

Serves: 4-6 | Cost per person: 98p | Total cost: £3.93

Priced at Asda

Ingredients:

  • 2 aubergines £1.50
  • Fresh basil (31g) 55p
  • 2 x Grower's Harvest Chopped Tomatoes, 56p
  • Smart Price pasta shapes, 32p
  • Garlic, 25p
  • Asda Greek-Style Cheese, 75p

You can use Parmesan, ricotta, or feta cheese in this quick, simple pasta alla norma recipe. We've used Greek-style feta cheese as it's cheaper but still full of flavour. The recipe serves 4-6 but we’ve costed it up for as 4 generous servings, which is still under £1 per person.

Get the recipe: Pasta alla norma (opens in new tab)

Tuna and potato layer

It costs just 93p to make this tuna and potato layer

35. Tuna and potato layer

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 93p | Total cost: £3.73

Priced at Asda

Ingredients:

  • Grower’s Selection Baby potatoes (1kg), 90p
  • Colman’s Cheddar Cheese sauce mix (40g) 65p
  • 2 x Asda Smart Price Tuna Chunks in Brine (145g), £1.18p
  • Asda Sweetcorn in Water (198g), 40p
  • 1 pint Graham’s Whole Milk, 60p

This layered potato bake is packed with sweetcorn and tuna. We’ve taken the cheese out of the original recipe and used a cheesy sauce instead, to give the flavour for less cost.

Normally milk comes under our store cupboard staples, but since this recipe uses a large amount (300ml) we’ve included it in the costings.

Get the recipe: Tuna and potato layer (opens in new tab)

Sausage and chickpea stew

A vibrant, flavour-packed dinner packed with tender sausage and soft chickpea

36. Sausage and chickpea stew

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 89p | Total cost: £3.57

Priced at Tesco

Ingredients:

  • Woodside Farms 8 Pork Sausages, £1
  • Onion 10p
  • Celery, 46p
  • Garlic, 25p
  • 2 large potatoes, 50p
  • Grower’s Harvest Passata (500g), 39p
  • Summer Pride Chickpeas in water (400g) 40p
  • Fresh cut thyme (25g) 47p

This warming sausage and chickpea stew can be prepared in just 10 minutes and then just left to bubble. You can also make passata by pureeing a 400g can of chopped tomatoes and adding 2 tbsp of tomato puree.

We’ve used fresh thyme but you can simply use dried to reduce the cost further. Add dried thyme when you add the sausages back into the dish to give it plenty of time to infuse.

Get the recipe: Sausage and chickpea stew (opens in new tab)

A sausage rigatoni pasta bake served in a dish.

This cheap family meal serves four and costs just 98p per serving
(Image credit: Getty Images)

37. Sausage rigatoni pasta bake

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 98p | Total cost: £3.92

Priced at Tesco

Ingredients:

  • Woodside Farms 8 Pork Sausages, £1
  • Onion 10p
  • Garlic, 25p
  • Red pepper 48p
  • Tomato puree, 35p
  • 2 x Grower’s Harvest Chopped tomatoes, 56p
  • Penne, 75p
  • Creamfields Mozzarella (125g) 43p

This hearty sausage pasta bake serves four, and the budget includes garlic and tomato puree. You’ll have plenty of both of these leftovers so you can add them to your store cupboard staples.

We've skipped the wine to keep this cheap but if you have any leftover, add a splash or two. We also dropped the cheddar cheese in favour of using twice as much mozzarella. Slice it thinly and place it over the top of the bake so it oozes into the tomato sauce. Feel free to use cheddar as well, or instead.

Get the recipe: Sausage rigatoni pasta bake (opens in new tab)

A portion of this dish counts as one of your five-a-day

38. Pasta with juicy cherry tomatoes

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 89p | Total cost: £3.55

Priced at Asda

Ingredients:

  • Asda Spirali (500g) 75p
  • Garlic, 25p
  • 4 x Asda Farm Stores Cherry Tomatoes, £2
  • Fresh basil bunch (28g) 55p

You need a lot of cherry tomatoes for this fabulous pasta dish - a whole kilo. But it’s really worth it. The tomatoes get roasted down in herbs, oil, and sugar to really concentrate the flavour and the sweetness. Then you just toss them in the cooked pasta with plenty of torn basil and hey presto. A brilliant summer pasta supper that feels anything but budget.

Get the recipe: Pasta with juicy cherry tomatoes (opens in new tab)

Winter vegetable soup with crispy bacon

This is one of our cheapest family meals priced at just 45p per serving

39. Winter vegetable soup

Serves: 6 | Cost per person: 45p | Total cost: £2.71

Priced at Asda

Ingredients:

  • Asda Scratch Cook Frozen Casserole Root Veg Mix (1kg),  £1
  • Asda Farm Stores Cooking Bacon (500g), 75p
  • White cabbage 96p

Start this week with a bowl of this deliciously filling winter vegetable soup, serving six. It’s so simple to make - just 10 minutes to prep and then about three-quarters of an hour to cook. It’s also one of our cheapest dishes at 45p a portion. It freezes well, so you can batch cook it too.

To make more of a meal, serve with two Asda Smart Price Garlic Bread Baguettes, 32p each, taking the per portion to spend up to 56p.

Get the recipe: Winter vegetable soup (opens in new tab)

It takes just 15 minutes to prepare this impressive, hearty family meal

40. Root vegetable layer bake

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 79p | Total cost: £4.74

Priced at Tesco

Ingredients:

  • Onions, 20p
  • Garlic, 25p
  • Celeriac £1.16p
  • Parsnips 26p
  • Carrots 12p
  • Baking potatoes 75p
  • 2x Woodside Farms pork sausages (8 pack) £2

This root vegetable layer bake uses dried herbs to keep it under budget. Rather than 24 chipolata sausages (4 per person), we’ve gone for regular sausages and allowed for 3 per person.

If you want to make it vegetarian, skip the sausages and top with cheese instead such as British Mature Cheddar Cheese, £1.65 for 220g. Making this dish vegetarian will also cut the cost per person.

Get the recipe: Root vegetable layer bake (opens in new tab)

5 michelle butternut penne

The butternut squash adds a soft, sweetness to the recipe as well as nutritional benefits too

41. Butternut spaghetti

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 99p | Total cost: £3.95

Priced at Sainsbury's

Ingredients:

  • Butternut squash, £1.25
  • Onion, 20p
  • Garlic, 25p
  • Fresh sage, 60p
  • Hubbards Foodstore Pasta Shapes (1kg), 58p
  • Mary Ann’s Dairy Greek Style Salad Cheese, 75p
  • Sainsbury's cashews, 50p

With fresh sage, onion, and sweet tender butternut squash, this butternut and cheese penne pasta dish is really filling. We’ve made a few changes to the recipe to keep it under budget. We used cashews instead of pine nuts for crunch, Greek sheep’s cheese instead of goat’s, and served it with plain spaghetti instead of pasta shapes.

It's a really simple budget recipe that takes just 10 minutes to prepare and 20 minutes to cook. It's a healthy dish, that will keep you fuller for longer.

Get the recipe: Butternut and cheese penne (opens in new tab)

Grilled lemon chicken with potatoes

Chicken thighs are a much cheaper cut of chicken compared to breast

42. Lemon chicken and potatoes

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 96p | Total cost: £3.96

Priced at Asda

Ingredients:

  • Asda Farmstores chicken thigh portions (1.1kg), £1.94
  • Smartprice British small potatoes (1kg) 90p
  • Lemon 25p
  • Farm stores green beans (200g) 87p

Grilled lemon chicken with potatoes is a really great one-dish family meal that is quick and easy to prepare with very little washing up afterward. If you use cheaper cuts of meat like chicken thighs instead of breasts, you can stay under budget. We left out the optional olives. This is one of our favourite cheap family meals as it's so simple to prepare, and cook and costs just 96p per serving. An all-around winner.

Get the recipe: Grilled lemon chicken with potatoes (opens in new tab)

It costs just 89p to make this delicious recipe

43. Leek and egg salad

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 89p | Total cost: £3.57

Priced at Sainsbury's

Ingredients:

  • 4 loose leeks £1.20
  • Basics mixed sizes barn eggs (6) £1
  • Hubbard’s Foodstore English Mustard, 45p
  • Fresh tarragon bunch (20g) 60p
  • Stamford Street Single Garlic Baguette, 32p

Keep it light with this tasty leek and egg salad served with garlic bread. If you don't have mustard, buy Basics English mustard (180g) for 35p. This is a really simple dish that takes just 25 mins (10 mins to prepare and 15 mins to cook). It's a great summer option, particularly if you've had a heavy lunch. A portion of this recipe is just 230 calories per serving.

Get the recipe: Leek and egg salad (opens in new tab)

Pappardelle with tuna sauce 

A portion of this pasta works out at just 585 calories

44. Pappardelle with tuna sauce

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 88p | Total cost: £3.51

Priced at Asda

Ingredients:

  • Asda Tagliatelle (500g), 75p
  • Onion, 10p
  • Garlic, 25p
  • Farm Stores salad tomatoes (6), 72p
  • Asda Smart Price Tuna Chunks in Brine (145g), 59p
  • Asda pitted black olives (180g), 60p
  • Fresh parsley (31g), 50p

There's lots of flavour in this pappardelle with tuna sauce dish. We've used tagliatelle pasta instead as pappardelle isn't always available and often only comes in the premium varieties. We also skipped the capers to keep it under budget, but if you’d like to include them, Melis capers in brine are £1 a jar (180g) and you would only need 1 tbsp for this recipe.

Get the recipe: Pappardelle with tuna sauce (opens in new tab)

Choose a strong cheese so you only have to use a little bit in the recipe

45. Cheese sausage batter

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 96p | Total cost: £3.87

Priced at Asda

Ingredients:

  • Asda Cheesy Singles, 95p
  • 1 egg (from a pack of 6), £1
  • Asda Farm Stores 8 Pork Sausages, 86p
  • Broccoli (approx 170g) 50p
  • Baking potatoes (4) 45p

This cheese sausage batter uses items from your store cupboards like flour and milk. We’ve made it into a full meal by adding potatoes for mashing (or baking) and a healthy portion of broccoli. With the additional sides, this cheap family meal is still just 96p under the £1 a head budget which is perfect if you're trying to keep the costs down.

Our recipe for cheese sausage batter serves four and uses just five ingredients. It's the perfect Sunday lunch alternative. Toad in the hole with a cheesy twist.

Get the recipe: Cheese sausage batter (opens in new tab)

This cheap family meal certainly counts towards your five-a-day

46. Broccoli, red pepper and cheese frittata

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 96p | Total cost: £3.87

Priced at Tesco

Ingredients:

  • Eggs (6) 85p
  • Loose broccoli 52p
  • Red pepper 48p
  • Mlekovita Mazdaamer Cheese Slices (150g), £1.10
  • Hearty Food Co 2 Garlic Baguettes, 69p

This simple, healthy broccoli, red pepper, and cheese frittata serves four, and to make it even better we’ve served it with half a garlic baguette per person. Cheese is one of the most expensive ingredients in budget cooking, but look out for special offers, especially if your supermarket has a deli section. You can ask for small portions to keep meals within budget, and pre-cut deli portions are often reduced towards the end of the day.

Get the recipe: Broccoli, red pepper and cheese frittata (opens in new tab)

Slimming World's Spanish-style tortilla

This Slimming World recipe is just 76p per serving
(Image credit: Gareth Morgans)

47. Spanish-style tortilla

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 76p | Total cost: £3.03

Priced at Morrisons

Ingredients:

  • Wonky Potatoes (1kg), 69p
  • Free-range eggs (6), £1
  • Onion 10p
  • Garlic, 25p
  • Morrisons Salad Peppers, 99p

Spanish omelettes are filling and healthy as they're made with spuds and peppers. Try this simple Spanish-style tortilla recipe for a weekend lunchtime. There’s enough money left in the budget to get a packet of salad tomatoes (75p) alongside. Slice them up on a large plate, season with salt and pepper, and drizzle a little olive oil over the top to make a pretty tomato salad.

Get the recipe: Spanish-style tortilla (opens in new tab)

Any pasta would work for this dish - just make sure its within budget

48. Linguine with creamy lemon and mint dressing

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 88p | Total cost: £3.55

Priced at Morrisons

Ingredients:

  • Garlic & herb soft cheese (250g) £1.10
  • Linguine or tagliatelle (500g) 80p
  • Greek-style natural yoghurt (200g) 50p
  • Lemon 30p
  • Fresh cut mint leaves (28g) 85p

Sounds fancy but this linguine with creamy lemon and mint dressing is really cheap and easy to make. It makes a lovely light, fresh weekend lunch or dinner, especially on warm summer days. If you have a couple of slices of stale bread, make them into breadcrumbs and toast them in the oven for a couple of minutes. Add sprinkle over the pasta as you serve for a bit of added crunch.

You could serve this pasta with a fresh side salad as it's still under the £1 a head budget.

Get the recipe: Linguine with creamy lemon and mint dressing (opens in new tab)

The perfect dish for kids - easy to make and full of healthy, homemade ingredients

49. Spaghetti and meatballs

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 89p | Total cost: £3.54

Priced at Tesco

Ingredients:

  • Beef mince (500g), £1.79
  • Onions, 20p
  • Garlic, 25p
  • Grower’s Harvest Chopped tomatoes, 28p
  • Hearty Food Co. Spaghetti Pasta, 20p
  • Fresh basil (31g), 47p
  • Tomato puree (142g) 35p

This classic spaghetti and meatballs is a budget dinner. This recipe is also part of our special 'cooking with kids' collection so that you and the kids can make it together. It’s a great way to get them involved in the kitchen and teach them cooking skills for life.

You can save more money by using dried herbs here and it will still taste nice, but we’ve included fresh basil here because it makes it even more delicious.

Get the recipe: Spaghetti and meatballs (opens in new tab)

One of our best cheap family meals priced at just 80p per serving

50. Tomato risotto

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 80p | Total cost: £3.20

Priced at Morrisons

Ingredients:

  • Savers Long Grain Rice (1kg), 45p
  • Onion, 10p
  • Tomato passata (500g), 45p
  • Cherry tomatoes (250g), 85p
  • 15 Cheesy Slices (15), 88p
  • 2x Savers garlic frozen baguettes, 60p

Make this tasty tomato risotto with just a few simple ingredients. This is a cheaper version of a classic dish using basic rice instead of Arborio rice to cut down the costs. Created by our mummy blogger, it’s a great recipe for kids’ teatimes and makes a lovely change from pasta.

Swap the cheese for any other kind you prefer. If your supermarket has a deli counter you should be able to purchase smaller portions than you can find packaged on the shelves, to stay under budget. You could also try crumbling a Greek-style cheese (75p) over the top.

Get the recipe: Tomato risotto (opens in new tab)

It takes just four ingredients to make this family meal

51. Spicy pumpkin or swede risotto

Serves: 4 | Cost per person: 96p | Total cost: £3.85

Priced at Sainsbury’s

Ingredie