The best budget cookbooks
Need help cutting food costs or cooking great food while watching your wallet? We've found the best budget cookbooks full of wallet-friendly inspiration to help you cook smarter
Food can be one of the biggest outgoings from your spending each month, and with bills and food costs rising, it's natural to be keeping an eye on what you spend. But sticking to a food budget doesn't have to mean basic or boring meals. We've chosen our favourite budget cookbooks that are filled with wallet-friendly recipes to help you shop and cook smarter and cheaper.
Each of our budget cookbook picks approaches budget differently and tackles different needs. Whether you're looking for family-friendly recipes to feed the kids, trying to ditch the takeaway habit by cooking at home or looking for budget baking inspiration. Alongside tempting recipes, you'll also find plenty of practical tips to help you stay on budget – whether that's advice on meal planning (check out our family budget meal plan as a starting point), batch cooking, using energy-saving appliances such as slow cookers and air fryers, or making the most of your storecupboard.
For more cookbook inspiration, head to our cookbooks hub for all our reviews, including the best air fryer cookbooks, best baking cookbooks, best Indian cookbooks, the best cookbooks for kids or the best vegan cookbooks, plus plenty more gift guides in our tried and tested reviews section. Looking for a special personalised gift? Build a customised My BBC Good Food cookbook filled with your pick of our triple-tested recipes. These are ideal to give to a foodie friend or use in your own kitchen.
Best budget cookbooks at a glance
- Best sustainable budget recipes: Green One Pound Meals by Miguel Barclay, £9.60
- Best for baking: Small Batch Bakes by Edd Kimber, £18.99
- Best for budget seasonal cooking: Use It All by Alex Elliott-Howery, £17.05
- Best for gluten free cooking: Quick & Easy Gluten Free by Becky Excell, £15.73
- Best for slow cooking: Foolproof Slow Cooker by Rebecca Woods, £11.69
- Best for storecupboard cooking: Tin Can Magic by Jessica Elliott Dennison, £15
- Best easy budget cooking: 5 Ingredients by Jamie Oliver, £15
- Best budget cooking for a family: Eat Well for Less by Jo Scarratt-Jones, £8.54
- Best for comfort food: Fakeaway by Chris Bavin, £11.89
- Best vegan cooking on a budget: Broke Vegan by Saskia Sidey, £12.99
Best budget cookbooks to buy 2023
Green One Pound Meals by Miguel Barclay
Best sustainable budget recipes
Known for his £1 meals, Miguel will help you to do your bit for the planet at the same time with his ‘green’ recipes, designed to be good for you and the environment. There are veggie options and ideas to cut food waste, and all recipes just serve one so you can scale up as needed. Brilliant for midweek inspiration, you’ll find curries, pasta, one-pots and pies. We love the sound of the roasted cherry tomato paella.
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Small Batch Bakes by Edd Kimber
Best for baking
Celebrate the comfort and greedy enjoyment of eating with Edd Kimber, Bake Off’s first-ever winner – his latest book is a delight. The recipes are not specifically designed to be budget, but are perfect for smaller households of one or two. Rather than spending money making a whole cake, the small-batch recipes will help you minimise food waste and only use the ingredients you really need. Known for his biscuits and playful flavour combinations, Edd presents standouts here like cacio e pepe stuffed rolls and brown butter miso banana bread – just the sort of thing for whiling away a couple of hours in the kitchen.
Use It All by Alex Elliott-Howery and Jaimee Edwards
Best for budget seasonal cooking
Alex Elliott-Howery is co-founder of Cornersmith, a Sydney based café and cookery school with a focus on sustainable cooking. She’s teamed up with co-worker Jaimee Edwards to create a book that helps reduce food waste by structuring it around weekly seasonal shopping. They provide clever ideas for mains and sides, plus ways to preserve any leftovers. Give the spinach and ricotta dumplings in lemon butter sauce recipe a go for cosy comfort food.
Quick & Easy Gluten Free by Becky Excell
Best for gluten-free cooking
Author Becky Excell has been gluten-free for ten years and packed everything she’s learnt into over 100 gluten-free recipes. The focus is on quick and easy 30 minute meals (from quick fish pie to sticky jerk chicken), but there’s plenty in here to appeal to budget cooks. Becky includes recipes using a slow cooker, air fryer and pressure cooker – all appliances that can help you save on bills by not heating your whole oven. Plus, there is advice on storecupboard ingredients to stock up on, meal planning and easy alternatives to more expensive gluten-free products.
Foolproof Slow Cooker by Rebecca Woods
Best for slow cooking
If you’ve invested in slow cooker (or if you’re yet to, check out our guide to the best slow cookers and how to use them) but aren’t sure where to start, this book will help you unlock the potential of your new gadget. It has plenty of tips and instructions on how to use your slow cooker plus 60 recipes, so you won’t need to turn your oven on to cook dinner. Familiar slow-cooker ideas are found in the meat chapter with recipes for barbecue brisket and sausage hotpot, but there is inspiration for fish, grains, veg and even desserts, too. For more like this, check out our full round-up of the best slow cooker cookbooks.
Tin Can Magic by Jessica Elliott Dennison
Best for storecupboard cooking
Dig out the tins you’ve got lurking at the back of the cupboard and you might not need to do a food shop at all. Tinned food is often highly affordable and there’s more out there than just tinned tomatoes. This book shows you how to turn these staple purchases into tempting meals, from crispy coconut milk pancakes with prawns to whipped butter bean dip, plus plenty of puds, too. We also like that each recipe has a 'substitutes' list showing you what ingredients you could swap, making recipes even more versatile.
5 Ingredients by Jamie Oliver
Best easy budget cooking
Keep shopping lists short and save wasting money on unnecessary ingredients or long complicated recipes. These recipes maximise each ingredient used, often using one ingredient several ways in a recipe, to show how to make the most out of your shop. Bake the chocolate orange shortbread at the weekend and whip up the vivid green spaghetti for a quick midweek meal and twist on a classic pesto.
Eat well for Less: Family Feasts on a Budget by Jo Scarratt-Jones
Best budget cooking for a family
You might have watched the accompanying television series that this book originated from, dedicated to showing families how to cook and eat well on a budget. It has over 80 family-friendly recipes, from classics such as toad-in-the-hole and crumble to breakfasts and lunch ideas. There is plenty of practical information too – advice on meal planning, food storage, making the most of your microwave (avoiding higher bills using your oven) and batch cooking.
Fakeaway by Chris Bavin
Best for comfort food
If you find yourself blowing your budget by reaching for a takeaway every weekend, this is the book for you. Replicate all your usual comfort food favourites at home with these clever recipes designed to be much cheaper than ordering in and make the most of affordable and easy-to-find ingredients. Plus, there’s an emphasis on health with clever tips on how to make familiar dishes healthier for that comfort food fix that will still be good for you and your family. Think grilled chicken katsu curry, healthy scampi and lamb jalfrezi meatballs.
Broke Vegan by Saskia Sidey
Best vegan cooking on a budget
Aimed at students but with recipes that will appeal to all ages, recipe developer Saskia Sidey has created more than 100 plant-based recipes that won’t break the bank. Lots of vegan recipes use niche or expensive ingredients, but these recipes prove that doesn’t have to be the case. We particularly love the chapter on batch cooking (with a crowd pleasing ‘chilli con veggie’ recipe) but there is also 'ready in 20', tips on how to feed a crowd on a budget and breakfast and dessert ideas. Check out more of our favourite vegan cookbooks for more inspiration.