Cooking for one may sometimes seem tricky when you’ve got to calculate the right portion size. When money is an issue, too, you want to make sure you get things right. That's why we've put together a selection of simple, low-cost dishes that allow you to make the most of storecupboard and freezer ingredients without having lots of leftovers. From a comforting ham pie and buttery linguine to healthy dhal and ramen, you'll have plenty to choose from.


Check out these wallet-friendly solo suppers below, then take a look at our main collection of budget recipes and browse our budget recipes for two for meals which can easily be halved. You can find even more inexpensive recipes and cookery advice in our budget section.

Budget meals for one

1. Dhal with garam masala carrots


This nutritious and warming red lentil dhal makes a great budget vegetarian option and is also low in calories. Toss the carrots in garam masala for a hint of spice and serve with a little Greek yogurt for a luxuriously creamy texture.

Dhal with garam masala carrots

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2. Pea & ham pot pie


Who says baking a pie isn't viable for one person? With a few affordable ingredients and frozen veg, you can easily knock up this beauty and have it all to yourself. Using a ready-made soffrito is a cheap and easy way to create an extra layer of flavour. Freeze the remaining puff pastry to use in another recipe – you'll find plenty of ideas in our puff pastry collection.

Budget tip: Given the recent rise in fuel prices and the implication for oven usage, it would be more cost-effective to batch cook this pie and store multiple servings in the freezer.

Pea & ham pot pie

Try more of our perfect pie recipes.

3. Super-quick sesame ramen


Serve up a comforting bowl of healthy fast food in a flash, using just a handful of ingredients. This easy noodle dish is low-fat and low-calorie yet makes a filling meal which you can have on the table in just 15 minutes. Using dried noodles instead of ready-made will take a bit longer but is more cost-effective.

Super-quick sesame ramen

4. Baked ginger & spinach sweet potato


All good things come in small packages, and this is certainly true for our flavour-packed ginger and spinach sweet potato. This satisfying, spicy veggie meal makes a cheap and low-calorie lunch.

Budget tip: As baking in the oven is a more energy intensive cooking method, it's best to batch cook several of these jacket potatoes at the same time, then store a few in the freezer for future. See our guide for easy baked potato filling ideas to mix up your dinners. To save on energy, you could also use a microwave to cook the baked potato instead - pierce the skin several times with a fork and microwave for around 5 minutes, or until soft.

Baked ginger & spinach sweet potato

Get more filling inspiration with our collection of baked potato recipes.

5. Brown butter linguine


Sometimes, there is little more comforting than a bowl of buttery pasta topped with grated cheese. Browning the butter gives the dish a wonderfully nutty flavour and we've also added crispy breadcrumbs to soak up any extra sauce.

Brown butter linguine

Find more budget-friendly pasta recipes.

6. Chorizo hummus bowl


Combine hummus with flavourful chorizo, chickpeas and kale for a protein-packed dish that won't break the bank. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil and flatbread for a simple, speedy lunch which is ready in just 15 minutes.

Chorizo hummus bowl

7. Microwave shakshuka


Whip up our microwaveable shakshuka in just 10 minutes. The rich tomato sauce, topped with a runny egg is perfect for dipping pieces of warmed pitta bread into. Both healthy and hearty, this Middle Eastern-style meal in a mug is sure to be a student staple.

Microwave shakshuka

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8. Sardines & tomatoes on toast

A plate of sardines and cherry tomatoes on toast with parsley and watercress

Tinned sardines are a cost-effective way to get more heart-healthy oily fish in your diet, so it's worth keeping a few cans in the cupboard. Here, we've combined them with juicy cherry tomatoes, watercress and parsley on toast for a speedy no-cook supper.

Budget tip: Using regular wholemeal bread instead of sourdough will make it more budget-friendly – we've got plenty more leftover bread recipes to use up the rest of your loaf, too.

Sardines & tomatoes on toast

9. Quick & spicy nasi goreng

Bowl of nasi goring stir-fried rice and cabbage topped with a fried egg

Rustle up this veggie stir-fry in just 20 minutes using simple yet wholesome ingredients such as brown rice and cabbage. It's great for using up other leftover veggies you have, which you can just grate or chop in. Serve this nasi goreng with a fried egg on top and a drizzle of sriracha chilli sauce for a satisfying supper.

Budget tip: Use Savoy cabbage for a cheaper option than Chinese leaf.

Quick & spicy nasi goreng

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10. Miso, mushroom & tofu noodle soup

Bowl of miso noodles with veg

If you're looking for a lighter supper option, this healthy miso noodle soup is super satisfying but low in calories. Stir-fried mushrooms and tofu help to bulk up the dish, while a scattering of spring onions provides a crispy topping.

Miso, mushroom & tofu noodle soup

We've got plenty more noodle recipes and budget soup recipes.

Find more budget recipes and meal ideas...

Meals-for-one recipes
Healthy meals-for-one recipes
A week of healthy budget meals
Student recipes
Budget recipes
10 dinners and leftover lunches
5 of the best budget superfoods
12 ways to cut your food costs
Easy budget meals for two
Budget dinner party ideas


What other budget meals for one do you like making? Leave a comment below...

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