Adding new dinners to your weeknight menu can be surprisingly challenging. Not only do you want a family dinner recipe that everyone will want to eat (not always an easy feat!), but you probably want something easy enough to prepare like make-ahead meals or quick air fryer recipes. Plus, finding inexpensive grocery items that won’t blow the budget can be another obstacle left to tackle. Luckily, we have taken the hard work out and are sharing some of our favorite cheap and easy dinner recipes that are here to save the day.
Many of these recipes come together using relatively few ingredients, or they come together relying on pantry staples like pasta, canned beans, and other affordable ingredients. But best of all, the majority of these recipes only take 30 minutes to throw together. Even if you're busy with work, school, and family, you can still put a healthy dinner on the table everyone will love. We even include kid-friendly dinner recipes like spaghetti and meatballs for your pickiest eaters to healthy dinner ideas for two when your next cozy date night happens.
The best thing about this cozy dish is that it can be modified depending on what you have in your pantry, making it an easy budget meal. All you need is some pasta, canned beans, stock, and whatever veggies you want to include.
Get the Pasta e Fagioli recipe.
Fire up the grill for this meal, which comes together in less than 30 minutes. You'll grill not only the chicken, but also the kale and the lemon.
This is a perfect weeknight dinner. It takes just 15 minutes to come together thanks to the air fryer, and it's packed with protein and veggies.
Get the Air Fryer Salmon Flatbread recipe.
Shake up your weekly pasta night with this easy recipe. It only requires five main ingredients and has fresh flavors thanks to the fresh basil and puréed corn.
Get the Creamy Corn Pasta recipe.
One way to cut down on costs (and prep time) is to add some meat-free meals into the rotation. This delicious protein-packed salad brings together chickpeas, crunchy vegetables, creamy feta and a flavorful dressing.
Not sure what to do with all the zucchini from your garden? This simple but elegant pasta dish is a super easy way to use it.
Get the Zucchini Linguine recipe.
A ball of store-bought dough is the easiest way to experience freshly made pizza without calling delivery. This pie layers in fontina cheese and shiitake mushrooms amid bright balsamic glaze and crunchy sprouts. It's a rustic 25-minute dinner you'll simply love.
Forget frying meatballs on the stovetop (so messy!) or baking them in the oven—air fryer meatballs are a cinch to make and even easier to clean up.
Bring your favorite takeout delicacy to your home kitchen with this family favorite recipe.
Get the Beef and Broccoli recipe.
With peppers, red chile, tomato, and green beans, plus a ton of herbs and spices, there’s no shortage of flavor in this one-skillet rice dish.
Get the Vegetable Paella recipe.
Chicken thighs are often left behind in favor of breasts; but these cheaper cuts can be quite flavorful in a bath of stock, creating a pan sauce you'll swear is ultra fancy (it's actually just wine!).
This version of chicken mole features succulent, dark-meat chicken simmered in a rich, savory sauce of onions, tomatoes, chili powder and a touch of chocolate (yes, really!).
Get the Chicken Mole recipe.
Lucky enough to have access to a grill all year long? Perfectly charred steak is ready in just 12 minutes, just enough time for you to boil farro for the whole fam.
Looking for even more dinner ideas? Our newest cookbook is available now. Easy 30-Minute Dinners is filled with 85+ easy, budget-friendly recipes for busy cooks, including special chapters dedicated to air-fried treats and one-pot dinners. Armed with this book, any home cook will be ready to pull off stress-free weeknights.
You just need 30 minutes to make this pasta dinner made with fresh peas and noodles. Skillet chicken joins the fun for a super zesty, creamy meal everyone will love.
Get the Creamy Lemon Chicken Pasta recipe.
How in the world can you turn freshly baked cod into a full meal in just 15 minutes? Easy: Pack a skillet full of roasted veg and a bit of water, and you have a perfect steamy situation.
Get the Mediterranean Baked Cod recipe.
This is the ultimate sheet pan dinner: Simply toss your veg in lemon juice and seasonings, and watch as it crisps to perfection in less than 10 minutes.
It's a weeknight classic for a reason: Ready in 30 minutes, insanely flavorful, and minimal work required! Armed with just six ingredients, you've got a classic Italian favorite.
Get the Chicken Parmesan recipe.
Creating a savory sauce using the drippings in your frying pan is key to a delicious chicken dinner on the fly. This marsala sauce is made better thanks to velvety mushrooms and a side of greens.
Get the Chicken Marsala recipe.
It's definitely an al fresco meal designed for summer nights. Orzo and zucchini (plus squash!) make for a delicious sidekick to chicken — in less than 10, no less!
Apple cider vinegar, mustard, olive oil and fresh parsley are whipped into a silky glaze for bone-in chops.
Get the Mustard Glazed Pork Chops recipe.
Get the Vegetarian Chili Mac recipe.
Rather than a bottled marinade, you'll use a few aromatic spices to dress these steaks up a few days beforehand. It'll burst with flavor alongside seasonal veggies.
Instant ramen has a bad rap among busy families, but this lightning fast bowl of glass noodles will easily change your mind. The fresh spinach is a 30-second addition that'll make the bowl that much better.
Get the Miso Spinach Noodles recipe.
Shrimp is impossible to mess up: A foil packet allows you to set the oven and simply walk away. Dinner goes from the fridge to the table in 25 minutes flat.
Because pork chops are delicate and thin, they become crispy in a hot pan of oil within just a few minutes — making this dinner a breeze to whip up.
Get the Crispy Sesame Pork recipe.