Do you have a BIG family to feed on a little budget? Does the phrase “cheap meals for large families” evoke visions of bland and boring dishes? If so, you’re in for a pleasant surprise … actually, 39 pleasant surprises. Here are 39 lip-smacking good cheap meals for big families! 🙂
Feeding a family on a tight budget is always a challenge. Luckily, thanks to the Internet (and awesome sites like Pinterest in particular), there are ways to come up with tasty and healthy cheap meals for large families. Get ready to be inspired (and possibly to drool)!
Note: These so called cheap meals for big families aren’t just for large families. Whether you need cheap meals for a family of 5 or 1, these recipes can be adapted to fit!
Also, there’s also no rule that says you have to use them to feed your family! Write your favorite cheap big meals on these free printable recipe cards and save them for your next office potluck!
Coming up with cheap meals for large families recipes does require a bit of creativity (thanks, Pinterest!) and occasionally the employ of some groceries shopping secrets, but it can be done! Here are 39 cheap meals for large families to get you inspired to eat well, live well, and save big! 🙂
Cheap Meals for Large Families: Crockpot Recipes
I love crockpot recipes. Seriously, next to the coffee maker, this is my favorite appliance! 😉
First off, crockpot meals don’t require a lot of hands-on time. I can just dump in the ingredients and then go about my day knowing a hot and delicious meal will be ready and waiting later. Second off, crockpots can make some absolutely delicious, we’re talking drool-worthy, cheap and easy meals for large families!
1. Banana Nut Oatmeal (Freebie Finding Mom) – Start the day off right with a delicious, nutritious, and filling breakfast that won’t break the bank. This definitely fits the “cheap summer meals for large family” category since you don’t have to turn on the oven and heat up the house to make this dish!
Bonus: This recipe is easily customizable. One person hates bananas? No problem; swap in a different fruit!
2. Beef Stew (Freebie Finding Mom) – If you’re on the hunt for hearty cheap meals for large families recipes, look no further! This beef stew is a classic comfort food that every member of your family is sure to enjoy.
3. Chicken Cacciatore (Freebie Finding Mom) – Tired of cooking the same old thing every week? Try something new like this yummy chicken cacciatore! This recipe is proof positive that budget meals for large families don’t have to be boring.
4. Chicken Marsala (Freebie Finding Mom) – With only 9 ingredients, this is not only a cheap but also an easy meal for large families. It’s a win for your schedule and your wallet!
5. Turkey Chili (Freebie Finding Mom) – Cut calories without cutting taste with this healthy turkey chili recipe. You could also use this recipe to make your next game day or tailgating event a little healthier. Need more inspiration? Here are 40 cooking for a crowd recipes!
Tip: Cheap large meals, like this one, can also be kept for leftovers for easy lunches the next day (or days). So whether your looking for cheap family meals for 6 or 1 person who wants to save money by not eating out, dish up this crockpot chili!
6. French Toast Casserole (Freebie Finding Mom) – Opting for cheap meals for large families doesn’t mean giving up all of your family’s favorite dishes. Don’t believe me? Just check out this French toast casserole recipe.
7. Chicken and Salsa (Freebie Finding Mom) – Add a little spice to your life with this super simple, super yummy large family meals crockpot recipe. In fact, all you have to do to “make” this dish is dice an onion and toss everything in the crockpot … you won’t even break a sweat.
8. Ham and Potato Soup (Freebie Finding Mom) – What makes these cheap meals to feed a large family even cheaper is the fact that many of them can serve as multiple meals. For example, serve up this soup for dinner and then take leftovers into the office the next day. It’s so good you won’t mind eating the same thing two days in a row.
Bonus: Packing your lunch is a great way to save money. It’s also probably healthier and tastier! Still skeptical? These 53 healthy cold lunch ideas for work are sure to make you a believer!
9. Sweet and Spicy Beef and Peppers (Freebie Finding Mom) – One of the biggest beefs (haha, get it? Beef and peppers … beefs?) people have with inexpensive meals for big families is that they’re “boring.”
A lot of times, as a big family on a budget, you can’t eat out, but there are recipes that can mimic your favorite restaurant foods … like this one. This tasty crockpot recipe combines cozy home cooking with exotic Chinese takeout. I know, it sounds a little bizarre but try it; one bite, and you’ll be hooked.
10. Breakfast Casserole (Freebie Finding Mom) – This crockpot recipe is proof that cheap and easy meals for large families can still be luxurious. I highly recommend you give this a try this weekend!
11. No-Boil Crockpot Baked Ziti (Thrifty Jinxy) – One way to save money on groceries is to forgo meat once in a while. This crockpot ziti recipe is a perfect example of how delicious a vegetarian dish can be.
Tip: Slash your groceries bill by introducing meatless Mondays in your home! Here are 18 meatless meals to get you started. Psst! Most of these can work as “cheap large meals.”
12. Meatloaf (Cincy Shopper) – Go back to the basics with cheap meals for family of 5 (or more!), like this one for meatloaf. I love that this meatloaf can be made in a crockpot, saving you time and effort. Plus, it comes with built in sides (carrots and potatoes)!
13. Vegan Barley Stew (Mama Likes to Cook) – Here’s another meatless cheap meals for large families recipe. All you need is a few minutes of prep time, and the slow cooker will take care of the rest!
Bonus: Here’s another heaping helping of easy and cheap vegetarian meals!
14. Chicken Tortilla Soup (Happy Deal Happy Day) – You’ll be shocked at how easy it is to make this large family meal. Literally all you have to do is dump the ingredients in the crockpot. No, seriously, that’s it! 😉
15. Black Bean Chili (Totally the Bomb) – Just because you’re a vegetarian (or opting for meatless meals once in a while to save money), doesn’t mean you have to give up your favorites like mouthwatering chili. In fact, this is an example of meatless budget meals for large families that are sooo good your family might not even notice the meat is missing! #wheresthemeat
16. Chicken Noodle Soup (Simplistically Living) – Whatever is ailing you, whether it’s a summer cold or an empty wallet, is no match for this hearty homemade soup! Add a salad and some bread and this classic comfort food easily becomes a cheap meal to feed a large family.
Bonus: Slow cooker recipes are awesome for whipping up cheap meals for big families! If you’re ready for a second helping, here are even more cheap slow cooker recipes for large families!
Cheap Meals for Large Families: Chicken Recipes
If you’re trying to improve your physical health without sacrificing your financial health, you’ll definitely want to check out these chicken based cheap meals for large families. Chicken is often the cheapest meat at the grocery store, which is why I love it for creating cheap meals for big families.
17. Grilled Chicken (Freebie Finding Mom) – This is perhaps my absolute favorite chicken recipe. It’s a copycat recipe based off of grilled chicken from Versailles Poultry Days which is held in my hometown! If you ever get the opportunity, you simply must swing by Versailles Poultry Days—but if not, this recipe is a close second!
18. Southwest Skillet Chicken and Rice (Living Sweet Moments) – This one pot meal is fast and easy from start to finish. That, plus the fact that it’s an inexpensive meal for big families is sure to make it a week night staple in your home.
19. Honey Garlic Chicken Thighs (Cincy Shopper) – Chicken is a foundational ingredient in many cheap large meals, so it can get a little repetitive. However, this sweet and savory recipe is a great way to make chicken more flavorful.
20. Homemade Chicken, Mushroom and Green Bean Casserole (Equipping Godly Women) – Recipes for cheap meals for family of 5 (or more!) don’t have to be used strictly for your family. Take this simple yet scrumptious crockpot recipe … it’s perfect for church carry-ins or office potlucks!
21. Best Ever Chicken (Totally the Bomb) – You can whip up this large family meal for roughly $1 per person. Not bad, right?
22. Leftover Chicken Pie (Gav’s Kitchen) – One way to save money on groceries is not to waste food. I know, it sounds simple, but in practice, it can be hard … especially when it comes to using up leftovers. I love that this recipe offers up an easy and tasty way to use leftover chicken or turkey!
Bonus: Chicken is a delicious and nutritious source of lean protein. If you’re looking for even more creative ways to cook chicken for dinner, here are 36 more easy cheap chicken recipes.
Cheap Meals for Large Families: Pasta Recipes
A list of delicious cheap meals for large families wouldn’t be complete without a few pasta recipes. (Pasta is inexpensive and easy to make.) Try not to drool all over your computer as you explore these tasty options!
23. One Pot Pepperoni Pizza Pasta (Cincy Shopper) – Does your family love pizza? Mine too; unfortunately, my wallet does not! Sure, I could buy frozen pizzas, but they just don’t seem healthy … that’s where this one pot pizza pasta recipe really comes in handy.
Tip: Combine something with “pizza,” and my experience is that even the pickiest little eater will give it a try! If you have a “selective” eater on your hands, here are 34 healthy recipes for picky eaters that may pass muster. 😉
24. Homemade Chef Boyardee Beeferoni (Eat Thrive Glow) – This cheap family meals for 6 (or more) is perfect for a throwback Thursday dinner! Reminisce about your childhood and eating Chef Boyardee while serving your family this tasty homemade meal.
25. Baked Pasta with Ricotta and Spinach (Living Sweet Moments) – This frugal recipe is a yummy way to sneak some vegetables into your husband and little one’s diet. I love that this recipe only calls for 5 minutes of prep time, which makes it not only an inexpensive meal for big families but also a quick meal!
Bonus: This recipe would be perfect for a hectic weeknight; if you’re looking for more like it, check out these quick and easy dinner ideas.
26. One Pan Pasta and Meatballs (Living Sweet Moments) – This cheap meal to feed a large family has a lot to brag about. In addition to being inexpensive, it can be prepared in 20 minutes or less, you’ll only need 1 pot to make it, and it’s so good your family will ask for seconds! Seriously, what’s not to love?
27. Spaghetti with San Marzano Tomato and Meat Sauce (Living Sweet Moments) – Spaghetti again? If your family is getting a little fed up with this dish, give your spaghetti a robust makeover with this yummy recipe. Or check out some of these 56 cheap and easy family meals; they’re all terrific budget meals for large families!
28. One Pot Chicken Broccoli Pasta (Cincy Shopper) – During the summer, I like to make dinners that are simple and light and this is one of my go-to cheap summer meals for large family dinners! The pasta is filling, but since there’s no heavy sauce it isn’t overwhelming.
29. Macaroni Pizza Casserole (Ann’s Entitled Life) – Here’s another way to cure your family’s craving for pizza without the cardboard box!
30. Tuna Noodle Casserole (Become a Coupon Queen) – You’ll only need 4 simple ingredients to put together this cheap meal for large families: Egg noodles, cream of mushroom soup, tuna, and peas.
31. Pesto Pasta with Avocado, Parmesan, and Tomatoes (Happy Deal Happy Day) – Summer is the perfect time to make this dish because you can score fresh tomatoes and basil which really take this cheap meals for big families recipe up a notch! 🙂
32. One Pot Parmesan Pasta (Mama of 3 Munchkins) – This cheap meal for large families is perfect for the family on the go. You can make it in one pot in just over 30 minutes.
Cheap Meals for Large Families: Rice Recipes
Rice is another great option for cheap meals for large families. Sure, rice can sound boring, but there are so many different ways to dress it up. Here are some of my favorite recipes:
33. Instant Pot Chicken and Rice (This Old Gal) – An instant pot is another great tool for making cheap summer meals for large families, and this is one of my favorites! You don’t have to use the oven or stovetop at all, so your house will stay nice and cool. Plus, at the end of it all, you’ll have a tasty rice, veggie, and chicken dish that is sure to be a hit!
34. Easy Mexican Rice Casserole (Thrifty Jinxy) – Customize this cheap meal for big families to your family’s tastes by experimenting with different spices and quantities.
35. Rice and Beans (Happy Deal Happy Day) – 15 minutes of prep time is all you need to get this delicious dish underway. I love it when cheap meals for large families don’t require hours in the kitchen!
More Cheap Meals for Large Families
Feeling full? So am I, but here are a few more of my favorite cheap meals for large families:
36. Mexican Quinoa (Freebie Finding Mom) – This dish can be made in large quantities, frozen, and re-heated on those nights when you literally have no time to cook.
Tip: Have a kid in college? Since this dish can be frozen and re-heated, send a batch back to campus with your co-ed. And while you’re at it, check out this batch of cheap healthy meals for college students.
37. Breakfast Pizza (Freebie Finding Mom) – Pizza for breakfast? You bet! Everyone in your house will love this cheap meal for large families. Get creative with the “toppings” and customize them to your family’s tastes.
38. Simple Oven Tacos (Simplistically Living) – Oh, wait, you mean it isn’t Taco Tuesday? Oh well, tacos are great anytime! Use ground turkey or chicken and lots of fresh veggies to make these tasty tacos a little healthier.
39. Cauliflower Chowder (Simplistically Living) – Low in calories and carbs, loaded with vegetables, and so good you’ll want to drink it straight from the bowl, this cheap meal for big families is sure to be a family favorite.
There you have it, 39 cheap meals for large families that are fun, frugal, simple, and scrumptious. Bon Appétit!
If you tried any of the recipes above, I’d love to hear how it went! Also, feel free to leave a comment with your favorite cheap meals for large families.