23 Delicious 5-Ingredient Frugal Meal Ideas To Make Tonight

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Having a good list of frugal meals in your master recipe list is one of the best way to save money on your grocery budget. Below is a full list of delicious frugal meal ideas with 5 ingredients or less!

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What’s for dinner?

Okay, unless you’re reading this late at night, you probably already have an idea of what’s for dinner tonight.

But if you’re trying to stick to a strict food budget, you’ll need frugal meals in your master recipe list.

And since it’s frustrating to find meal ideas at the last minute, I’ve put together a handy list of frugal meal ideas that are all 5 ingredients or less!

(Those 5 ingredients don’t include herbs or staples you might already have in your fridge or cupboard).

Related reading: Grocery Shopping on a Budget: How to Save Some Serious Cash

Having a list of frugal meals in your recipe list is a great way to save money on your grocery budget. Check out our list of delicious frugal meal ideas with 5 ingredients or less!

23 5-ingredient frugal meal ideas to add to your recipe book

Skillet tortellini bake | This Pilgrim Life

Image courtesy of This Pilgrim Life

Talk about cheesy goodness!

This is a super simple dinner to whip up on a weeknight. We had this for dinner recently and had it made and on the table in less than 30 minutes.

It’s super simple to add some power greens (we love adding cooked spinach) to your marinara to pack a healthy punch in your meal too.

AND, if you want to save even more, make your own marinara and skip the bottled stuff! I’m no Italian, but like to use 2 cans of crushed tomatoes, add oregano, basil, parsley, and garlic powder, and call it good. Plus, no nasty fillers.

Savory Pasta with Onions, Bacon, and Greens | Don’t Waste the Crumbs

My whole family loves this savory pasta with onions, bacon and greens. It's an easy recipe that's ready in just 30 minutes, and costs less than $4 to make! And it's so delicious! Definitely a keeper in our house! :: DontWastetheCrumbs.com
Image courtesy of Don’t Waste the Crumbs

How about a BLT in pasta form?

If you want a healthier option while keeping the number of ingredients down, switch out white pasta for a whole wheat pasta and use turkey bacon instead of bacon.

Garlic White Bean Soup with Kale | Don’t Waste the Crumbs

Make a pot of garlic white bean soup with kale and your house will smell like Tuscany! Four basic pantry ingredients make this affordable yet super healthy. :: DontWastetheCrumbs.com
Image courtesy of Don’t Waste the Crumbs

If you’re like me, you probably thought that vegetarian options don’t have as much protein, and therefore aren’t as filling.

This soup calls for a cup of dry navy beans, which is about 28 grams of protein. That, with about 10 grams of protein in the chicken broth, and you’ve got yourself a hearty soup for dinner.

Instant Pot Honey Garlic Chicken | Don’t Waste the Crumbs

White bowl of hot rice, broccoli and chicken on a table with chopsticks. Text overlay Instant Pot Honey Garlic Chicken.
Image courtesy of Don’t Waste the Crumbs

I absolutely LOVE using our Instant Pot. It cooks your meal perfectly, it’s fast, and most times, you prepare everything entirely in the Instant Pot. So no extra mess to clean up!

We’ve made a variation of this dish in our Instant Pot SO many times (used bone-in chicken thighs instead of boneless), but the idea is still the same: little ingredients, quick and delicious dinner.

We either pair it up with rice or steamed broccoli, depending on what we have and how healthy we want to be.

Cheesy Taco Penne Ziti | This Ole Mom

Cheesy Taco Penne Ziti
Image courtesy of This Ole Mom

A delicious variation for Taco Tuesday!

If you want to save even more money, you could try your hand at making your own taco seasoning. You likely have many of these spices in your cabinet already!

A healthier version would be to use ground turkey and whole wheat pasta instead of beef and white pasta.

Quick and Easy Tuna Pasta | Recipes for Men

Quick and Easy Tuna Pasta
Image courtesy of Recipes For Men

This meal takes as long as it takes you to cook your pasta and saute your onions (so no time at all!).

Even though it’s a five-ingredient meal like the others on this list, it’s definitely on the cheaper end of the list.

Orchard Chicken Salad | Good Cheap Eats

A plate of Chicken Salad Wraps
Image courtesy of Good Cheap Eats

This meal looks so crisp and good, it’s hard to pass up. This chicken salad would be amazing during the summertime!

And even better: it’s got some pretty wholesome, great ingredients (except the mayo, but something has to hold it all together).

Turkey Sloppy Joes Recipe | The Cookie Rookie

turkey sloppy joes pinterest collage
Image courtesy of The Cookie Rookie

When is the last time you had Sloppy Joes?! It has been a WHILE for me. I can’t say I haven’t craved them from time to time, but just never got around to making them.

And along came this 5-ingredient recipe for healthier, homemade Sloppy Joe’s. It’s definitely been added to my master recipe list.

Crockpot Teriyaki Meatballs | The Cookie Rookie

Teriyaki meatballs in crockpot.
Image courtesy of The Cookie Rookie

These teriyaki meatballs not only call for very few ingredients but couldn’t be any easier to make.

All you have to do is throw everything in the crockpot (frozen!), stir it around to coat, and let the crockpot do all the work.

Serve over a steamed vegetable, rice, or pasta for a complete dinner.

Crockpot Sweet and Sour Chicken | The Cookie Rookie

photo collage with the steps of the recipe in the crockpot
Image courtesy of The Cookie Rookie

Here’s another good crockpot meal to throw your ingredients in and come back to a delicious meal.

Throw over some brown rice or cauliflower rice (be sure to use the juice from the crockpot on your rice!), and you’ve got yourself a delicious meal.

Easy Baked Ziti | The Cookie Rookie

creamy baked ziti recipe
Image courtesy of The Cookie Rookie

I cheated a little. This recipe technically has 6 ingredients and doesn’t include simple spices you might have in your cabinet.

But since I like to cheat a little to save money, I would personally substitute the fresh basil called for in the recipe for a smaller amount of dried basil that I already have in my cupboard (have I mentioned I am not even close to a chef?).

Sticky Chicken | Best Recipes

Sticky chicken
Image courtesy of Best Recipes

I love that this recipe only calls for 4 ingredients, half of which you likely already have in your cupboard!

It’s a super simple chicken dish to serve up quickly on a weeknight.

Easy Potato Chicken Bake | Best Recipes

Easy Potato and Chicken Bake
Image courtesy of Best Recipes

Forewarning: this is a very creamy dish, so it’s not for the lactose intolerant!

If you’re good with dairy, this meal is the ultimate comfort food.

Slow Cooker Meatless Lasagna | Don’t Waste the Crumbs

My kids love this slow cooker meatless lasagna, and my husband doesn't even miss the meat! This recipe still boasts tons of protein and since it cooks in the slow cooker, I don't have to even be in the kitchen to cook dinner! This slow cooker dinner is on our meal plan almost every week! :: DontWastetheCrumbs.com
Image courtesy of Don’t Waste the Crumbs

Anyone else love a good slow cooker meal? It can’t be any easier: throw the ingredients in, turn it on, and return to a delicious, hot meal. Plus, when it cooks all day, your house smells AMAZING!

This delicious lasagna couldn’t be easier. There’s no cooking beforehand, you literally just throw the ingredients in and turn on your slow cooker.

If you want to add some protein, you could always throw in some hamburger meat. But it’s also delicious all on its own!

BBQ Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes | Kristen Boehmer

Barbecue Chicken Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
Image courtesy of Kristen Boehmer

In our house, we love barbeque chicken and sweet potatoes, so this recipe is hard to pass up.

This recipe is also great if you’re looking for a good paleo option!

Beef and Vegetable Stir Fry | The Spruce Eats

Beef and Vegetable Stir Fry
Image courtesy of The Spruce Eats

Oh, how I LOVE stir fry! It’s easy, packed with protein and vegetables, and is filling all on its own.

If you want a healthier option, you could always use chicken breast instead of beef.

Vegetarian Bean and Rice Burrito | The Spruce Eats

Vegetarian rice and beans recipe
Image courtesy of The Spruce Eats

We made these recently and they are delicious! We did have to add some salt to the recipe, but it was very flavorful just on its own too.

Depending on what is in your cupboard, there may be more than 5 ingredients you will have to purchase for this recipe.

Simple Chicken and Rice Dinner | Frugal Farm Wife

simple chicken rice dinner is even easier than takeout!
Image courtesy of Frugal Farm Wife

Here’s another hearty comfort meal at its finest. It’s packed with the healthy goodness of chicken and brown rice with the help of flavorful onion and mushrooms to round it out.

Breakfast Pizza | Weelicious

Image courtesy of Weelicious

If you don’t like breakfast for dinner, we can’t be friends.

Oh, I’m only kidding. Of course we’re friends.

How delicious does this breakfast pizza look though? And so simple. That’s my kind of dinner.

Lazy Chicken Parmesan Baked Spaghetti | The Lazy Dish

Easy Chicken Parmesan Baked Spaghetti Casserole (a quick and easy dinner idea for large families!) This budget friendly meal is so simple to throw together, it's prefect for busy week nights. An easy casserole dish made with just 5 ingredients. #thelazydish #easydinner #chickenparmesan
Image courtesy of The Lazy Dish

I like having a few options in the freezer for days that I forget to put something out to thaw.

Enter, this chicken parmesan spaghetti bake.

It uses pre-cooked, frozen chicken patties instead of having to cook chicken for this recipe.

4-Ingredient Healthy Chicken Enchilada Casserole | The Seasoned Mom

An overhead shot of a chicken enchilada casserole in a white oval dish
Image courtesy of The Seasoned Mom

This enchilada casserole can’t be any easier, since The Seasoned Mom has you using pre-cooked (like a rotisserie) chicken.

So you throw everything together, stick it in the oven, and come back to a delicious enchilada casserole!

Top with your favorite toppings (tomatoes, guacamole, lettuce).

Creamy Crockpot Chicken Stuffing and Green Beans | Family Fresh Meals

Creamy Crockpot Chicken Stuffing and Green Beans served on a white plate
Image courtesy of Family Fresh Meals

I am a SUCKER for green beans and stuffing! This casserole looks incredible.

You’ll need to use your crockpot for this meal, so be sure to have your chicken thawed and ready to go.

Creamy Chicken Ritz Casserole | Midnight Baker

Creamy Chicken Ritz Casserole | bakeatmidnite.com | #chicken #casserole #ritzcrackers
Image courtesy of Midnight Baker

Here’s another hearty chicken casserole that is easy to whip up.

Pair with some steamed veggies (since it’s a heavier casserole) for a complete dinner!

Barbecue Chicken Tostada Recipe | Cupcakes & Kale Chips

Barbecue Chicken Tostadas drizzled with BBQ sauce on a baking sheet
Image courtesy of Cupcakes & Kale Chips

These have got it all: crunchy, sweet, salty, and a good bit of protein. And if you make a little extra of the barbeque chicken, you could easily have a quick meal ready by just topping them with cheese and cooking them in the oven.

That’s 23 quick 5-ingredient frugal meal ideas to add to your recipe list!

Do you have any recipes that are quick and have only a few ingredients?

I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

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