Sunday lunch is all about sharing classic comfort food with family and friends. And while catering for a group can sound overwhelming in terms of cost, this cherished tradition doesn't have to break the bank.

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We've gathered the best ideas for a budget-friendly Sunday lunch, including meat centrepieces, vegetarian winners and cosy desserts.

BBC Good Food’s Save Sunday Lunch campaign aims to keep this tradition alive with cost-effective, energy-efficient recipes. We'll be sharing ideas and dishes from Good Food’s diverse community of food lovers for everyone to enjoy.

Have you ever used cost-effective cuts of meat (such as chicken thighs or minced beef) in your Sunday dinner? Try bulking a cut of meat out by combining with veggies in a pie filling, or adding another protein like beans and chickpeas. Vegetarian dishes are also a great way to save on costs – affordable veggies like carrots and potatoes are a good place to start, or lentils and barley are a filling option, too.

We're also saving on energy costs with our clever slow cooker and air fryer recipe ideas, including a whole beef joint and decadent puddings.

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Discover more ideas with our Sunday lunch hub.

Meat centrepieces

1) Air fryer roast dinner

Air-fryer roast dinner on black plate

Skip the oven altogether and put your air fryer to work with this easy recipe, complete with tender chicken breasts, crispy potatoes, roast carrots and peas. To finish, make a simple gravy in the microwave.

2) Tomato & oregano orzo with beef koftas

Tomato & oregano orzo with beef koftas on dinner table

Try a new twist on a Sunday roast with a sizzling pan of beef koftas, sunk in a tomato sauce. Orzo helps stretch this one-pot to feed six people, especially when served alongside a fresh apple & feta salad and warm flatbreads covered in garlic butter.

3) Minced beef wellington

Minced beef wellington on wooden chopping board

You may think of beef wellington as a luxury dinner, but this simple minced beef version makes it affordable. Mix the meat with eggs, garlic and herbs, form into a sauce shape, cover with a layer of chopped mushrooms and ready-made puff pastry, then bake in the oven for 40 minutes.

4) Mustard & parmesan-crumbed chicken

Breaded chicken drumsticks with roast potatoes and green beans on plate

Chicken drumsticks are a more budget-friendly alternative to chicken breasts or a whole chicken. To make this flavourful main, dip the drumsticks in a mixture of natural yogurt and dijon mustard, then coat in a parmesan breadcrumb mix. Bake in a tray with baby potatoes to save on oven space.

5) Slow cooker beef joint

Sliced beef joint on wooden cutting board

Take the stress out of cooking a joint of beef by using your slow cooker. The meat will be beautifully tender and full of flavour. First, sear the beef in a frying pan and deglaze using white wine. Then cook the beef joint with carrots, onions, rosemary, bay leaves and garlic cloves on high for four hours.

6) Air fryer chicken thighs

Air fryer chicken thighs with roasted carrots and parsnips

Prepare some simple chicken thighs to go with a variety of classic sides. Our easy technique ensures a crispy skin, seasoned with a blend of paprika, mixed herbs and garlic.

7) Easy steak pie

Steak pie in tin on dishcloth

Stretch a cut of beef further by dicing and using in a hearty pie alongside storecupboard veggies and buttery pastry. The filling can be made up to three days ahead and frozen for up to three months – great for batch cooking.

8) Slow cooker leg of lamb

Slow Cooker leg of lamb on white plate

Roast a whole leg of lamb in the slow cooker to make Sunday nights a breeze. Serve with a generous helping of fluffy mashed potatoes and roasted veggies. Remember the rich gravy, made by straining the meat juices into a pan and simmering until thickened.

9) Lemon & herb chicken traybake

Lemon & herb chicken traybake with butter beans & potato wedges

Make this versatile traybake for a family roast dinner. Two cans of hearty butter beans really help bulk out the dish and make it extra filling. Serve with potato wedges or classic roasties.

10) Spicy chicken & chickpea curry

Spicy chicken & chickpea curry in pot

Dig into a comforting chicken curry for the cosiest of Sunday nights. Chickpeas (a cheap and filling protein) go so well with chicken thighs. This freezable recipe is a great batch-cooking option, too.

Veggie & vegan roast dinners

11) Make-ahead hearty hotpot

Make-ahead hearty hotpot

This veggie-friendly hotpot is loaded with root veg, beetroot, sweet potatoes, carrots, chestnut mushrooms and pearl barley. Cook the filling on the hob then cover in a pattern of sliced potato, sweet potato and beetroot for a stunning result.

12) Veggie loaf

Veggie loaf sliced on cutting board

Try this filling veggie loaf as a meat-free alternative to classic meatloaf. Combine chestnut mushrooms, puy lentils and brown rice for the base, then season with plenty of garlic and parsley. Got leftovers? Eat chunky slices for lunch during the week.

13) Mushroom, squash & caramelised garlic lasagne with crispy sage

Mushroom, squash & caramelised garlic lasagne with crispy sage

Who doesn't love a comforting plate of lasagne on a Sunday evening? This veggie version comes packed with butternut squash and mixed mushrooms, paired with creamy mascarpone.

14) Homity pie

Homity pie

Homity pie is one of our go-to veggie winners. Make your own pastry from scratch or take a shortcut with ready-made. This cosy pie is filled with thick slices of potato, leeks and mature cheddar cheese.

15) Slow cooker spiced root & lentil casserole

Slow cooker spiced root & lentil casserole in white pot

Warm up on a chilly Sunday evening with this vegan slow-cooker stew. It's full of chunky carrot and parsnip, and seasoned with curry powder, paprika and garlic. It's also freezable, if you have any left over.

Budget desserts

16) Microwave chocolate cake

Microwave chocolate cake

Baking a cake doesn't have to mean keeping the oven on for hours. This clever version is made in the microwave to save on energy costs, and is on the table in just 15 minutes.

17) Apple crumble

Apple crumble

There's nothing more comforting after Sunday dinner than a wam bowl of apple crumble. Top with fresh cream or vanilla ice cream for extra indulgence.

18) Lemon drizzle sponge pudding

Lemon drizzle sponge pudding

Try a new twist on classic lemon drizzle cake with our top-rated self-saucing pudding. Combining a simple, homemade lemon curd with fluffy lemon sponge, this dessert is sure to be a winner.

19) Slow-cooker sticky toffee pudding

Sticky Toffee Pudding

For us, a roast dinner just isn't complete without sticky toffee pudding. Simply mix the ingredients together and leave to cook all day, ready to serve in the evening.

20) Lemon & raspberry doughnut pudding

Lemon & raspberry doughnut pudding

Expect second-helping requests of this decadent dessert. Combine shop-bought jam doughnuts with lemon curd and custard, then top with fresh raspberries (or frozen berries for a budget-friendly alternative).

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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
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