10 top tips for making Sunday lunch on a budget
Cut costs while making Sunday lunch with our cookery experts' smart tips for a budget-friendly weekend feast that's no less special than a traditional roast dinner.
Depending on your preferences, Sunday lunch can be an expensive meal to prepare. Particular cuts of meat can eat up a lot of your budget on their own, and multiple sides may require further ingredients, flavourings and storecupboard supplies. But, there are plenty of low-cost, high-flavour ideas for Sundays that are guaranteed to please a crowd.
Here, we share expert advice for making a traditional Sunday lunch a little more cheaply, plus ideas for new dishes to introduce to your repertoire, from impressive one-pots, to comforting pie recipes. Read on to discover smart cheats, cost-saving tweaks and game-changing advice for keeping your budget in check at the weekend.
For more like this, see our budget recipe hub, plus check out our Save Sunday Lunch campaign – we are keeping the spirit of Sunday lunch alive amid rising energy bills by bringing you creative, lower-cost ideas for weekend dining. See our slow-cooker Sunday lunch recipes, budget Sunday lunch recipes and no-oven Sunday lunch recipes.
10 tips for making Sunday lunch on a budget
1. Use cheaper cuts of meat
A Sunday lunch doesn’t have to include a prime piece of meat or whole chicken. Cheaper cuts, like pork belly or lamb shoulder, are just as impressive, and a whole chicken can be swapped for roasted chicken thighs – these require less time in the oven, and everyone gets their own piece.
2. Try out a new recipe
Does Sunday lunch have to be a roast? A stew or pot roast can fit the bill just as well, and they still pair well with all the trimmings. Plus, you get meat and gravy all in one. Or, try a classic mash-topped cottage pie or shepherd's pie.
3. When it comes to sides, less is more
Rethink how many sides you need to serve and only make those that will bring more to the plate. Two thought-out sides will always win over lots of plain boiled or steamed veg.
Mustard seed new potatoes
Butter poached asparagus, leeks & peas
Burnt butter cabbage
Creamed leeks with bacon & thyme
Sautéed potatoes with bacon lardons & persillade
Balsamic shallots & carrots with goat's cheese
Punchy spring greens
4. Be flexible
If you go shopping with a meal planned, but find another ingredient is on special offer or much cheaper, simply type that ingredient into the search bar on bbcgoodfood.com to find an abundance of recipe ideas that will allow you to rethink your lunch.
Visit our recipes hub page to explore more.
5. Use your off-cuts
Hold on to all your vegetable trimmings. You can use these off-cuts to make your gravy, and potato peelings can be tossed in a little olive oil and seasoning, then roasted until crisp for a snack. If you're having guests over, ask them to bring some containers, so you can share out any leftovers you may have.
6. Give your potatoes a long life
Spuds are a hardy veg, and if you store them properly, they will have an even longer shelf life. We recommend keeping your potatoes in the fridge – the cool temperature will maintain the freshness and help you cut food waste.
7. Love your leftovers
Sunday lunch often yields leftovers, so freeze them quickly to avoid spoilage and food waste. Check out our guide on what foods can be frozen, or if you don't have a freezer or want to eat the leftovers the following day, read our guide on how to reheat leftovers.
8. Prepare your meat for roasting
For the best results and to save on cooking time, take your meat out of the fridge to come to room temperature before roasting. This will ensure the meat cooks evenly while using less energy. For more advice on how to roast meat to perfection, see our cookery guides and videos on how to roast beef, how to cook pork belly and how to roast a chicken.
9. Make the most of your microwave
One of the most energy-efficient modes of cooking, the microwave is also incredibly versatile. Utilise this convenient appliance to cook staple sides like peas, carrots and broccoli. You can even use your microwave to make dishes usually cooked in the oven, like cauliflower cheese.
Microwave cauliflower cheese
Microwave honey & fennel glazed carrots
Microwave brussels sprouts
Microwave caraway & pomegranate red cabbage
Microwave squash colcannon
Microwave crushed creamy celeriac
10. Swap the oven for your slow cooker
Another versatile appliance, slow cookers have cost-saving and convenience credentials. Start your prep on Saturday by tipping the ingredients into your slow cooker, then let your main course simmer away. Find ideas in our collection of slow-cooker Sunday lunch recipes. Your slow cooker can also make excellent desserts – find rice pudding, steamed sponges and more in our slow-cooker pudding recipes.
Slow-cooker beef pot roast
Slow-cooker vegetable stew with cheddar dumplings
Slow-cooker leg of lamb
Slow-cooker roast chicken
Slow-cooker sticky toffee pudding
Slow-cooker treacle sponge
Slow-cooker spiced apples
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