Rising food costs have left many of us facing compromises in our weekly grocery shop. Rather than cutting back on your favourite recipes, the best way to save is by making easy swaps with everyday items.
Substituting key foods may take some getting used to, but once you tot up the reduction in your shopping bill over the course of the year it'll be worth the extra effort.
We've put together some simple swaps that, when followed weekly, can save money on your annual grocery spend. Variations in the marketplace, fluctuating ingredient availability and changing food prices will impact the affordability of some of the ingredients included.
Swap 1: Chicken breasts for chicken thighs
Chicken breasts are an expensive cut of meat, so swap them for cheaper chicken thighs. Boneless, skinless thigh fillets work just as well as breasts in one-pots, stir-fries and sauces. Find serving ideas in our chicken thigh recipes collection.
Try serving thigh pieces in our easy teriyaki chicken recipe.
Swap 2: Ready-made pizza bases for packet bread mixture
Packets of bread mixture make brilliant pizza bases, plus they last for ages in the cupboard so a tasty pizza is never far away. Just make up following pack instructions, roll out, top and bake straight away. There's no need to rise or prove the dough.
Try packet bread mixture in our tricolore pizza with basil oil
Swap 3: Smoothie cartons for a bag of frozen berries
Ready-made smoothies are delicious but expensive, so why not make your own? Bags of frozen fruit are cheap and packed with flavour, will stretch to making multiple smoothies and are a good way to buy fruit out of season. We have lots of homemade smoothie recipe ideas, or try using frozen berries in crumbles, birchers, cheesecakes and trifles. See our frozen berry recipes for inspiration.
Try frozen berries in our super berry smoothie recipe.
Swap 4: Granola for porridge oats
A bowl of porridge will fill you up until lunchtime for only a few pence. Or use it to make your own granola – it'll still work out cheaper than bought.
Try using porridge oats to make our good-for-you granola
Swap 5: Olive oil for vegetable oil
Olive oil tastes lovely in salad dressings but for frying and browning not many people will spot the difference if you use cheaper vegetable oil. Oil can also be used in place of butter in some baking recipes, including our basic muffins.
Try using vegetable oil to make our roast vegetable traybake.
Swap 6: Basmati rice for couscous
Couscous is cheaper and easier to cook than rice. In fact, it's not technically 'cooked', rather it's rehydrated, so all you'll need is a kettle of boiling water and a bowl rather than a pan and hob. Watch our how to cook couscous video for tips on the perfect fluffy finish. Serve as a side dish as you would rice and boost the flavour with spices, dried fruit and herbs.
Swap 7: Jar of tomato sauce for canned tomatoes
Ditch jars of ready-made tomato sauces that you'd use for pasta, pizzas and stews, and instead use canned tomatoes. They are cheap and turning them into a homemade sauce is easy. Our tomato and basil sauce recipe takes 10 minutes to cook.
Swap 8: Fresh cauliflower, broccoli, peppers, spinach and carrots for frozen versions
Most supermarkets have a wide variety of frozen vegetables and they can make a great alternative to fresh when used in the right recipes. As they're usually frozen very quickly after picking, so not many of the nutrients are lost along the way, although you can expect differences in texture. See our frozen vegetable recipe collection for serving ideas. We're big fans of frozen spinach – just make sure you give it a good squeeze to get excess water out.
Try frozen spinach in our spinach & goat's cheese puff recipe.
Swap 9: Fresh fish for tinned fish
Using tinned fish is a brilliant budget swap that can save you money in the long run. You can still create mouth-watering, nutritious dishes with tinned tuna, sardines or salmon. Make the most of a can of thrifty fish with our favourite sardine recipes, such as our healthy sardine pasta with crunchy parsley crumbs. Need a quick midweek meal fix? Try our storecupboard fishcakes, using tinned tuna.
Get some inspiration for tinned tuna recipes from our main collection.
Swap 10: Meat for poached or fried eggs
If you have the makings of a storecupboard dinner but it feels like it's missing something, a fried or poached egg could be the perfect speedy protein you're looking for. Try our mushroom hash with poached eggs for a nutritious family dinner, whip up our miso noodles with fried eggs for a quick supper or our comforting spaghetti with anchovies, chilli breadcrumbs & fried egg.
Share your top swaps below and visit our budget section for more money-saving recipes and tips.