Delicious food doesn’t need to cost a fortune – our kitchen hacks, recipes and easy ideas will help you stick to a budget. From bigging up batch cooking and embracing leftovers to making the most of your oven and store cupboard, we’ve got you covered on the food front. Shop smart, cook clever and waste less with our top tips and tricks for cooking on a budget.
Looking for more tips to save money in the kitchen? Head to our budget-friendly recipe hub
GET BATCH COOKING
It really is worth embracing batch cooking – you’ll save money, cut down on waste and make your ingredients go further. Plus, it’s a great way to get ahead for those days when you’re short on time; by cooking in bulk, you’ll stock up your freezer with fuss-free meals, saving you time and energy in the long run. Jamie’s 50/50 Bolognese and wholesome Minestrone soup are the gifts that keep on giving – stash any leftover portions in the fridge or freezer to treat your future self.
LOVE YOUR LEFTOVERS
Reduce food waste and keep costs down by putting your leftovers to good use. And there are so many ways to do this. After cooking this Mushroom risotto, prolong the life of leftover herbs by wrapping the stalks in damp kitchen paper and popping them in the fridge. If you rustle up Jamie’s Energy-saving chicken roast and end up with leftover roasted veg, make the most of it by turning it into Bubble and squeak or whizzing it into a simple soup. Any leftover tinned tomatoes from this No-oven pizza are perfect for an easy pasta sauce. And when you defrost frozen berries (like for this Frozen berry & apple crumble), don’t chuck away the juice! Turn it into a lovely syrup or cordial – check out the tips section on the recipe to find out more.
MAKE EASY SWAPS
Swapping whatever ingredients you already have into your favourite recipes is one of our favourite kitchen hacks. Making simple swaps will save you going out and buying more ingredients, as well as helping you get creative in the kitchen and become a more confident cook! Mix up Jamie’s Cauliflower cheese spaghetti by taking the principle method of the sauce and swapping in your favourite veg. Try carrot, broccoli, or whatever you fancy. Knowing how to tweak recipes so they’re suitable for vegetarians is also a great skill to have up your sleeve. Give it a go in this Cheesy pancake stack; simply swap the ham for a handful of chopped-up tomatoes – delicious!
CELEBRATE STORE-CUPBOARD HEROES
When it comes to maximising flavour without splashing the cash, your store cupboard is your best friend! Boost flavour and make dishes sing by stocking up on a few key essentials – think dried herbs, spices, jarred pastes and preserves. The mixed spice you’ll need to make this Giant veggie puff roll is a great investment – it will last for months and can be used in marinades, dressings, broths, and more. It’s simple to boost flavour in these Meatball kebabs by adding a pinch of smoked paprika, which is fantastic rippled through yoghurt or houmous.
MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR OVEN
At a time when energy costs are on the rise, using the oven to its full potential is a no-brainer. If you choose to turn on the oven, make the most of it with this simple cooking hack – fill it up with not just one, but two dishes. Cook once and eat twice by roasting a whole squash while you’re cooking this Cajun chicken traybake – you can then use cooked chunks of squash in soups, pastas, fritters, curries and salads.
BIG UP YOUR MICROWAVE
Microwaving is one of the most energy-efficient ways to cook. Jamie’s Microwave chilli con carne – one of the delicious recipes he created in response to the growing demand for energy-efficient meal solutions – is made entirely in the microwave. It’s packed with flavour, full of lots of lovely veg and couldn’t be easier to rustle up – give it a go.
MORE: Microwave recipes
Reducing your meat intake isn’t only kinder on your wallet, it’s kinder on the planet, too. Make any meat you buy go twice as far by bigging up beans and pulses. They’re affordable, versatile and a great source of protein and fibre. Jamie uses half lentils and half minced meat in this 50/50 Bolognese, but it’s 100% delicious!
Looking for more ways to keep costs down in the kitchen? Our budget-friendly recipes and tips have you covered.