There’s nothing like a good recipe recommendation from a friend, and these 10 highly-rated budget recipes are’s most popular this year. With food costs continuing to rise, it can work out cheaper to plan meals in advance, which has the advantage of also helping to reduce food waste.


For more insights into which of our recipes are viewed the most at Good Food, see our guides to the most popular 30-minute meals, pasta recipes and cake recipes.

10. Spinach, sweet potato & lentil dhal

You can't go wrong with this iron-rich, low-fat, low-calorie budget supper. It tastes like it’s been cooking for hours, when in fact, all-in, it takes 45 minutes. Plus it freezes well. Good Food members suggest adding butternut squash, kale and cod.

See more dhal recipes.

9. Tuna pasta bake

A bubbling hot tuna pasta bake is a family staple for a reason, combining accessible, cheap storecupboard ingredients such as canned tuna and sweetcorn, as well as plenty of strong cheddar. This recipe is enough to serve six, so it's a great one for batch-cooking.

More like this

Check out more tuna pasta recipes.

8. Air-fryer salmon

Searches for air-fryer recipes have skyrocketed in the past few year, with this air-fryer salmon recipe proving the most viewed. As well as being energy efficient, air-frying salmon will cook it beautifully, made more delicious when coated in a herb seasoning. Serve with greens and quinoa or rice, if you like.

Discover more air fryer recipes.

7. Sweet potato & peanut curry

Talk about popular, this budget vegan curry boasts 908 ratings with an average of five stars. Personalise the curry by dialling up or down the peanut butter and spinach, or switch Thai red curry paste for green. Try making it in the slow cooker, adding the spinach at the end.

Try more vegetarian curry recipes.

6. Basic omelette

Master a cooking essential with this budget-friendly omelette recipe. Once you've made your omelette, feel free to add any filling of your choice – grated cheese, ham, fresh herbs, mushrooms and smoked salmon are favourites.

See more omelette ideas.

5. No-fuss shepherd's pie

The flavours of rich lamb mince and creamy mashed potato make this classic shepherd’s pie a firm family favourite. You can lower the cost of this recipe by bulking out the mince with a can of beans or two large handfuls of red lentils. Pay it forward by doubling the quantities and freezing the second pie.

Try more classic pie recipes.

4. Leek & potato soup

Of all the soup combinations, leek and potato is one of the most comforting and familiar. It's also one of our highest-rated soup recipes on the website, with almost 400 five-star ratings. This recipe serves up to eight, plus it's freezable, making it a batch-cooking winner.

Browse through more vegetarian soup recipes.

3. Chicken pasta bake

Considering the most popular searches on the website are for chicken recipes and pasta recipes, it makes sense that this chicken pasta bake is in the top three of the most popular budget recipes. To make this recipe more cost effective, increase the amount of pasta and just use two chicken breasts. Double the recipe and freeze one for a rainy day, or freeze any leftovers.

See more popular pasta bakes.

2. Slow-cooker beef stew

Slow-cooker beef stew is Good Food's number two budget recipe this year. Cheaper cuts of beef, such as braising steak or skirt make this stew a more affordable way to enjoy red meat, while using a slow cooker will keep your energy costs down. Add extra root vegetables, such as swede, or grains, such as pearl barley, to stretch the recipe and reduce the cost per portion.

Try more budget slow-cooker recipes.

1. Best ever macaroni cheese

The crispy breadcrumb topping, garlicky-mustardy white sauce and genius mix of cheddar with parmesan cheese all make this mac n’ cheese our most popular budget recipe this year. Good Food members recommend adding leftover sautéed mushrooms, spring onions and crispy bacon bits for extra depth of flavour.

Check out these twists on macaroni cheese.


Enjoyed these budget recipes? See more...

Top 10 healthy budget dinners
Budget family meal plan
Vegetarian budget meal plan
A week of budget-friendly meals
Budget batch-cooking recipes
Budget supermarket swap recipes

Comments, questions and tips

Choose the type of message you'd like to post

Choose the type of message you'd like to post