Melissa Biggs | 

TikTok's Trending Cheap Dinners Make Weeknights Easy

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With prices on everyday groceries rising, the need for budget-friendly ingredients that equate to cheap dinners is real. Factoring in back-to-school season and the return of extracurriculars, we could all use an easy family meal plan fast. And yes, free restaurant meals are great during your birthday freebie month, but you still need to feed the rest of your brood.

TikTok has been the place to find affordable dinner recipes that feed a household of four (it’s like TikTok made me buy it meets TikTok made me cook it). These frugal TikTokkers know a thing or two about creating flavorful dishes utilizing cost-effective ingredients and pantry staples you likely already own.

Here are five of our favorite cheap dinner ideas found on TikTok. The prices included are based on a New England grocery chain, so they may not perfectly match your local market, depending on location.

Bonus: If you make all of the meals in this plan, you can share ingredients to further reduce costs, including repeats of garlic, heavy cream, and sun-dried tomatoes.

Total cost for this week of dinners rings up at $113.13, and quantities will feed a family of four.

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Cheap Weeknight Dinners Trending on TikTok

Feeding four people seven days a week can be a challenge. We’re always looking for recipe ideas that can work for each member of the family, right down to the pickiest eater. On top of that, we want them to be nutritious and contain easy-to-find ingredients. We think the following five dinners check all of the boxes for your next weeknight meal plan.

Cheap Dinner Idea for Monday: Chicken and Orzo


One of my fave one pot meals! Recipe: @halfbakedharvest #onepotmeals #orzo #chickenthighs #sundriedtomatoes #onepot #recipe

♬ Good News – Mac Miller


Creamy and packed with flavor, this is a great dinner option because it comes together pretty simply. If you don’t already have orzo in your dinner rotation, this is the perfect time to add it. Orzo is a rice-shaped pasta that is super versatile.

Ingredients you need:

  • Onion: $1.09
  • Oregano: $0.99
  • Paprika: $1.99
  • Chicken thighs: $9.72 (approximately 3.25 lb)
  • Garlic: $0.99
  • Orzo: $1.69
  • Chicken broth: $2.89
  • Sun-dried tomatoes: $3.39
  • Heavy cream: $4.59
  • Spinach: $3

Pantry staples needed:

  • Olive oil
  • White wine (use leftover vino or snag a pack of four small bottles for $6.69)
  • Butter
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Salt
  • Pepper

Total cost: $30.34
Meal cost per person: $7.58



Cheap Dinner Idea for Tuesday: Lentil and Veggie Fritters with Pork Loin


Wanna know my secret spice blend? Here are some cheap and easy pakora inapired lentil and veggie fritters @Alex Mac 🍱 Cooking Cheap 101 i teach people how to cook simple meals on a budget #secretrecipe #cheapmeals #cheapfood #meatlessmeals #lentilrecipe #howtocook #cheapandeasyrecipe #whatsfordinnertonight

♬ original sound – Alex Mac 🍱 Cooking Cheap 101

Talk about a protein-packed meal! Between the pork tenderloin, lentils, and eggs, this dinner will help keep you feeling full so nighttime snacking will be less of a temptation. With zucchini and carrots in the mix, you’re also getting a nice helping of veggies. If you’re dealing with kids who aren’t totally sold on vegetables, fritters are a fun way to squeeze them into a meal.

Ingredients you need:

  • Zucchini: $0.85 each (recommend two)
  • Carrots: $1.79 for a 2-lb bag
  • Eggs: $3 for a dozen
  • Lentils: $1.59 for a bag
  • Pork tenderloin: $12.48 for approximately 2.5 lb

Pantry staples needed:

  • Olive oil
  • Flour
  • Spices

Total cost: $20.56

Cost per person: $5.14

Related: Cheap Fast Food Deals


Cheap Dinner Idea for Wednesday: Chicken Sausage Bowls


Calling this one my 5 minute chicken sausage bowls! #easymealprep #macrofriendlymealprep #highproteinmealprep #macrorecipes #macrofriendlyrecipe #macrofriendlymeals

♬ original sound – Krista Pool

We’re not sure when the “bowl” really took over the kitchen arena (probably when people starting cutting carbs and bread), but this Chicken Sausage Bowl is a winner. First of all, the fact that you can use frozen veggies quickly from your freezer to whip this up is a win. There’s no chopping involved. And a bag of broccoli slaw can be a real kitchen hero at times, easily mixed into a number of different dishes like a stir fry.

Ingredients you need:

  • Chicken sausage: $4.49 for a 4-count
  • Broccoli slaw: $2.99 for 12-ounce bag
  • Frozen veggies: $2.89 for a 10-ounce bag

Pantry staples needed:

  • Olive oil
  • Spices

Total cost: $10.37
Cost per person: $2.59


Cheap Dinner Idea for Thursday: Hungry Lady Chicken Taco Salad


Reply to @chesca1386 This Chicken Taco HLS with Creamy Cilantro Dressing needs a spot for Cinco de Mayo.

♬ El Cinco de Mayo (Mariachi) – David Peña

There’s no need to grab takeout from a Mexican restaurant when you can whip up your own Chicken Taco Salad. It has all of the fixings you want from a tostada, like the veg, the grilled chicken, black beans, and pepitas. But the real start of the show here might be the super simple dressing.

Ingredients you need:

  • Grilled chicken: $3.33 for a 6-ounce bag, recommend purchasing two
  • Red peppers: $1 each, recommend purchasing two
  • Romaine lettuce: $3.99
  • Red onions: $1.31
  • Cucumber: $1
  • Black beans: $1.25
  • Pepitas: $4.99


  • Avocado: $1.66
  • Garlic: $0.99
  • Cilantro: $1.49
  • Lime juice: $0.60

Pantry staples needed:

  • Olive oil
  • Salt

Total cost: $24.94
Cost per person: $6.23


Cheap Dinner Idea for Friday: Marry Me Chicken


Marry Me Chicken 🔥#easyrecipe #fypシ #foryoupage #weekendvibes #chicken #viral #marrymechicken #AFairShotWithBlock

♬ Just a Cloud Away – Pharrell Williams

A week doesn’t go buy without chicken cutlets being added to our grocery cart. We’re always looking for new ways to work with the protein staple and this is such a flavorful option. The creaminess of the sauce is so comforting after a busy weekday, and the cooking process will make your whole home smell divine.

Ingredients you need:

  • Heavy Cream: $4.59
  • Parmesan Cheese: $5.49
  • Chicken Cutlets: $5.49 (thin-sliced 4-count)
  • Garlic: $0.99
  • Chicken broth: $2.89
  • Thyme: $1.99
  • Sun-dried tomatoes: $3.39
  • Pasta: $2.09

Pantry staples needed:

  • Olive oil
  • Butter
  • Flour
  • Red pepper flakes

Total cost: $26.92
Cost per person: $6.73

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