Budget meals for large families

Planning budget meals for a large family can be tricky – try these low-cost recipes to freshen up your dinners and learn how to feed your family for less.

Discover the best budget recipes whether you have six, eight or more to feed. From classic cottage pie to a family-friendly curry, read our tips on how to buy cheaper ingredients and bulk out your cooking without compromising on flavour. We've picked our most popular recipes that are healthy, balanced and, best of all, purse-friendly!

Cheese & spinach penne with walnut crumble

Cheese and spinach pasta bake
A cheesy pasta bake is always a big hit at the dinner table – this one is packed with spinach and leeks, and is finished with a crunchy walnut topping. With enough to serve eight, all you need is a few cheap vegetables on the side such as peas or sweetcorn, or serve with salad. For more ideas, take a look at our best ever pasta bake recipes.

Cheese & spinach penne with walnut crumble

Minced beef Wellington

Minced beef wellington
This budget-friendly version of a classic beef Wellington is a great option for Sunday lunch and serves eight. It uses simple ingredients such as beef mince, mushrooms and shop-bought puff pastry to create a spectacular centrepiece packed full of flavour.

Minced beef Wellington

Chilli Marrakech

Healthy chilli con carne served with rice
One-pot cooking is a great way to feed a crowd. This popular chilli serves 10, so you might even have leftovers to freeze for later. Using storecupboard staples and chickpeas to bulk out the recipe, you could also swap the lamb for beef or turkey mince to make it more affordable.

Chilli Marrakech

Chicken, squash & pesto lasagne

Chicken, squash and pesto lasagne
Traditional lasagne will serve plenty of hungry tummies but can be a little time consuming – try this chicken, squash & pesto lasagne for a version that’s quicker, cheaper and healthier to boot. For an easy vegetarian option, try our recipe for roasted vegetable lasagne.

Sausage & bean casserole

Sausage and bean casserole in a pan

Bulk up with beans – they’re full of fibre and can make a dish go further round the table. This comforting casserole serves six and uses cheaper ingredients such as onions, canned tomatoes and beans to make the flavour from the chorizo and sausages last longer.

There’s no need to buy special or expensive beans. We love Jack Monroe's tip of using canned baked beans that have been rinsed under a cold tap – once the tomato sauce has been washed away, they become plain haricot beans.

Sausage & bean casserole

Courgette & tomato soup

A bowl of homemade courgette and tomato soup with fresh tomatoes

Knowing which vegetables are in season can also help to lower the cost of your weekly shop. Make a batch of soup depending on what you can find – this courgette & tomato soup is a great basic recipe to start with. Here’s our collection of soup recipes to help inspire you.

Creamy tarragon chicken & potato bake

Creamy tarragon chicken and potato bake in a pan on table
Combine chicken in a creamy sauce with crowd-pleasing mashed potato and you might have a new family favourite! This delicious recipe uses smoked pancetta and tarragon for a real depth of flavour and comfortably serves six.

Creamy tarragon chicken & potato bake

Vegetable curry for a crowd

Large pan of vegetable curry with red spoon
One-pot curries are a great budget meal idea – if you’re feeding little ones, you can halve the curry paste in this recipe so that it isn’t too spicy. The butternut squash, aubergine and courgette make it a healthy option, too. Or try our flavoursome pork & chickpea curry. Both serve at least eight.

Vegetable curry for a crowd

Easy fish pie recipe

Fish pie with potato topping with spoons

Buying a fish pie mix is an inexpensive way to provide your family with essential omega-3 in their diet. This simple and satisfying pie will serve up to six (more if you’re feeding toddlers), or you can easily double the recipe and make two pies.

Easy fish pie recipe

Cottage pie

Homemade cottage pie in a dish
For a guaranteed crowd-pleaser, you can’t go wrong with cottage pie. Serving 10, this meal is fantastic value for money and, if you’re short on time in the week, you can make it ahead and freeze. Vegetarians don’t need to miss out, with our Italian veggie cottage pie also a great option for large families.

Try more family meal ideas

Quick & budget family meals
A week of healthy & budget family suppers
Family traybake recipes
The best freezable family meals

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