Herb-Rubbed Pork with Squash and Grapes
Budget dinner price: $2.26 per serving
Pork tenderloin is a lean, affordable, quick-cooking cut, making it perfect for cheap one-pan dinners. This simple sheet-pan recipe stars butternut squash, grapes, onion, and a handful of spices. We love the way the juicy grapes double as a sweet sauce as you cut into them.
Skillet Turkey and Spinach Lasagna
Budget dinner price: $1.78 per serving
Lasagna in less than an hour, in one pan, for less money than a cup of coffee per serving? Yes, please! Egg noodles—one of our favorite pantry staples for one-pan recipes—mimic lasagna sheets without needing that separate boiling step. Serve this alongside a simple green salad tossed with a basic vinaigrette, and you’ll still fly under the $3-per-person limit.
Chicken with Ricotta Dumplings
Budget dinner price: $2.84 per serving
This Mediterranean meal features many Italian favorites in one easy casserole: olives, tomatoes, ricotta, Parmesan, oregano. And it still comes in under budget.
Artichoke and Cheese Chicken Breasts with Rosemary Baby Carrots
Budget dinner price: $2.74 per serving
It’s true that chicken breasts aren’t as cheap as legs and thighs. But they can make the grade for budget one-pan dinner recipes if you buy them in bulk and freeze whatever you don’t need right away. (Be sure you know how to safely thaw chicken when you’re ready to use it.)
Big-Batch Korean Pork Tacos with Broccoli Slaw
Budget dinner price: $1.93 per serving
Big-batch cooking is a brilliant budget strategy because you can buy in bulk. Stock up on 3 pounds of pork tenderloin to slow cook and serve inside corn tortillas in these fresh tacos. If you're not serving a crowd—this slow cooker recipe serves 12—refrigerate or freeze leftovers for a no-effort meal on busy weeknight.
Budget dinner price: $1.60 per serving
When pricing out ingredients for one-pan dinner recipes, meat is often the deal-breaker. For this grilled burger recipe, we extend 12 ounces of ground turkey (and add nutrition) by mixing in shredded carrot before forming the patties. Because the turkey burgers and hamburger buns are so affordable, you can afford to splurge on a variety of vegetable toppings and condiments. Try spiralized zucchini, tomato, lettuce, and a fancy aioli or mustard.
Smoky Beef Stroganoff with Cremini Mushrooms
Budget dinner price: $2.17 per serving
Beef Stroganoff has been on the home cook’s list of great one-pan recipes for decades. So, what’s new here? Smoked paprika (rather than regular) adds an irresistible smoky element, and cremini mushrooms have a deeper flavor than traditional white mushrooms. Is it still a budget dish? Yes! The sirloin steak and mushrooms are major investments, but the noodles, beef broth, herbs, and spices keep the recipe in budget.
Cilantro-Ginger Bulgur with Shrimp
Budget dinner price: $1.79 per serving
Lots of one-pan recipes bulk up a seafood dish by pairing it with pasta. That’s a budget-friendly move we can appreciate. However, this recipe one-ups the strategy by using big-flavored bulgur instead of pasta to stretch the shrimp. Add fresh herbs, jalapeño peppers, and ginger, and the dish tastes as good as (or better than) a seafood dish you’d pay $20 for at a restaurant.
French Chicken Dinner in a Pot
Budget dinner price: $2.91 per serving
Serving a whole roast chicken is easier and more affordable than you think. For this Dutch oven option, the herb-rubbed bird cooks for a little more than an hour on a bed of potatoes, carrots, and onions for maximum flavor infusion. A splash of white wine or chicken stock further boosts flavor.
Skillet Taco Pie
Budget dinner price: $2.03 per serving
When kids want to invite a friend or two for dinner, a taco party can be great fun. But have you ever noticed how shells, meat, cheese, seasoning, salsa, and loads of toppings can add to the prep time and expense? (Not to mention the mess.) Keep costs in check by cooking a finite supply of taco-topping ingredients in one skillet for one of the most kid-friendly one-pan recipes in our files.
Cheesy Chicken-Chile Quesadillas
Budget dinner price: $1.24 per serving
For wraps, tacos, enchiladas, or quesadillas, tortillas are a budget-friendly starch that are handy for busy weeknights. Grab your grill pan and stuff those tortillas with chicken, chiles, and two types of cheese (cheddar and Monterey Jack) for this crowd-pleasing Mexican meal. Because you have more than half of your $3 budget left to play with, snag ingredients to mix up some beans and rice or a taco salad while the peppers and chicken grill.
Dutch Oven Italian Pork Dinner
Budget dinner price: $2.20 per serving
Yes, a hearty roast can be a budget-friendly dinner. Pork shoulder, potatoes, and carrots come in right around $10. All you need beyond that comes out of your tap or spice cabinet. Start this Dutch oven recipe midafternoon, and it will infuse your home with an amazing aroma until dinnertime.
Quinoa and Chicken Tabbouleh Bowls
Budget dinner price: $2.38 per serving
You can afford to invest in fresh, healthy produce when you round out one-pan recipes with budget-friendly and low-fuss ingredients. For this Mediterranean meal, the quinoa and chicken slow-cook together, giving you ample time to prep the cucumbers, tomatoes, and herbs.
Tuna Melts with Olives and Lemon
Budget dinner price: $2.42 per serving
Most recipes made with canned tuna or salmon are affordable, easy, and packed with protein. But few are packed with as much flavor as these cheesy open-face sandwiches. Olives, lemon, Dijon-style mustard, and cornichons in the tuna make this easy treat a go-to one-pan recipe you’ll whip up often.
Lemon-Thyme Roasted Chicken with Fingerlings
Budget dinner price: $1.99 per serving
Potatoes are great for inexpensive one-pan dinner recipes. For a little class, this dish swaps the usual russets for fingerlings. Flavored with garlic, lemon, and thyme, the chicken and potato recipe will bring plenty of “wows” for the price.
Test Kitchen Tip: The key to keeping this recipe under $3 is to use the small chicken breasts (4 ounces or so) called for in the recipe. If you can’t find this size, cut two larger, thicker breasts in half horizontally.
Pork Pot Roast in Cider
Budget dinner price: $2.77 per serving
Before dishwashers, cooks were pros at making one-pan recipes that cooked the meat, veggies, potatoes, and even the gravy together. This succulent pork recipe proves that the strategy is by no means a lost art. Keep in mind that pork sirloin roasts usually weigh in at 3 pounds or more. You’ll only need 1½ pounds for this recipe, so freeze the rest of the meat for another inexpensive meal.