There’s nothing like a good recipe recommendation from a friend, and these 10 highly-rated budget recipes are’s most popular this winter. 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.


10. Air fryer baked potatoes

Searches for air fryer recipes have skyrocketed in the past few months, with this air fryer baked potato recipe proving the most viewed. As well as being energy efficient, air frying potatoes results in a crisp skin and a fluffy centre. Top a humble spud with cheese, baked beans or leftovers.
Recipe: Air fryer baked potatoes recipe

9. 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.
Recipe: Sweet potato & peanut curry

8. Slow-cooker sausage casserole

This perfect winter warmer uses chunky pieces of carrot and sweet potato alongside chipolata sausages for a cheap, filling meal. The natural sweetness of these vegetables makes this casserole a hit with kids, and if you want to vary the mix try white potatoes, turnip or courgette. Stretch the dish further with a side of pasta, rice or mashed potatoes.
Recipe: Slow-cooker sausage casserole

7. 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.
Recipe: Spinach, sweet potato & lentil dhal

6. Basic omelette

It’s no surprise that a speedy, easy omelette is up there with the most popular budget recipes. Once the eggs have set in the pan, scatter over cheese, sliced ham or cooked mushrooms for a meal in minutes. As eggs are so high in protein, omelettes will fill you up for a good few hours.
Recipe: Basic omelette

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.
Recipe: No-fuss shepherd's pie

4. Leek & potato soup

Make the most of cheaper seasonal vegetables with this popular winter soup. Good Food members report back that it’s the best leek & potato soup they’ve tried, with 341 ratings giving it an average of 5 stars. Reduce the cost and a few calories by switching out the cream for extra milk.
Recipe: Leek & potato soup

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.
Recipe: Chicken pasta bake

2. 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 live up to its name. Good Food members recommend adding leftover sautéed mushrooms, spring onions and crispy bacon bits for extra depth of flavour.
Recipe: Best ever macaroni cheese

1. Slow-cooker beef stew

Slow-cooker beef stew is BBC Good Food's number one budget recipe this winter. 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.
Recipe: Slow-cooker beef stew


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