Cooking on a budget

As the cost of living continues to rise, many households will be looking for ways to make nutritious meals for the cheapest price.

On this page you will find a variety of tips and resources to ensure you are able to both eat and save well.

Meal ideas and recipes

The following resources can help you find recipes for the best value, plus extra tips and advice:

The following tips from The Association of UK Dieticians are also helpful in getting the most out of cooking on a budget:

  1. Use less meat and bulk up on stews, soups, chilli and curries with canned pulses like kidney beans, butter beans and mixed beans
  2. Shop smart
  3. Add grated veg to your mince to make it go further
  4. Switch fresh fish for canned or frozen fish
  5. Add pasta or rice to your soups to make them go further
  6. If you buy bulk packs of meat or fish, separate them into portions and freeze the ones you know you won’t use before the use-by date
  7. Before you go shopping, check your cupboards and fridge to see if there may be ingredients you could use up first
  8. Cook in bulk and freeze leftovers in portions once they are completely cold

Energy-efficient cooking

The more energy-efficient you are in the kitchen can have a significant impact on keeping your bills down. The following tips can help you achieve this:

  1. Use the microwave wherever possible as it is generally the most efficient way to heat up and cook food
  2. Use the kettle to boil water quickly and transfer to a pan on the hob for steaming and boiling vegetables or pasta
  3. When using water to boil anything in a pan, make sure that you only use as much water as is needed to cover the amount of food you’re cooking
  4. Slow cookers are an energy-efficient cooking appliance, using just a little more energy than a traditional light bulb
  5. Cook as much as possible in the oven in one go to make sure all the space and heat is being used.
  6. Keep the oven door closed while you're cooking as each time you open the door, the oven loses heat and requires more energy to get back up to temperature
  7. Defrost frozen food in the fridge overnight or while you’re at work during the day as defrosting food in advance not only typically halves the cooking time but also means that you don’t need to use the energy of a microwave to defrost more quickly
  8. Know how long your oven takes to preheat
  9. When cooking potatoes, boil them in a saucepan before roasting them to reduce the cooking time in the oven
  10. Use glass or ceramic dishes in the oven as they retain heat better than metal

For more of these tips and further information, please visit Uswitch Energy-efficient cooking.