Do you find yourself in charge of cooking for large groups but scratching your head at how to do it while staying within a budget? You are not alone! Being in charge of feeding hungry people can be daunting, especially if you’re on a tight budget. But don’t despair — we’ve got the tips and tricks to help make meal prep for groups both easy and affordable.
So, let’s get started! Here is a great selection of inexpensive meals that can feed large numbers without draining your wallet dry.
24 Inexpensive Meals For Large Groups
Inexpensive meals for large groups can be both delicious and satisfying without breaking the bank. Here are 24 ideas for the best meals for large groups:
1. Ground Beef Tacos (Main Dish)
Ground beef tacos are an inexpensive meal for a large group. Cook a big batch of ground beef (seasoned) and spread tortilla chips, shredded cheese, sour cream, and other delicious toppings. Guests can build their own tacos, making this a fun and interactive dinner party experience. Don’t forget the guacamole.
2. Hearty Chicken Soup With Egg Noodles
Chicken soup is a comfort food and absolutely delicious that’s perfect for feeding large groups. Add egg noodles to the mix for a more filling and hearty meal. Prep ahead and serve with crusty bread and a simple salad for a complete meal that’s sure to please.
3. Salad Bar Extravaganza
A salad bar is a fantastic option for an inexpensive meal, especially for large groups with various dietary restrictions. Set up a buffet-style salad bar with a variety of greens, veggies, proteins (like grilled chicken), and salad dressings.
Add gluten-free options for those with special dietary needs. This allows everyone to customize their own plate, making it a crowd favorite.
4. Garlic Bread Pizzas
Use garlic bread as the base for a fun twist on traditional pizza. Top the garlic bread with tomato sauce, gooey cheddar cheese, and your favorite toppings. Kids love This quick and easy meal, which can be prepared easily before the guests arrive.
5. Hot Dog Bar
Hot dogs are an inexpensive option for feeding a big crowd. Set up a hot dog bar with various toppings like chili, cheese, onions, and relish. Guests can customize their own hot dogs, making this a fun and interactive meal.
6. Baked Macaroni And Cheese
Baked Macaroni and Cheese is a crowd-pleasing classic that’s ideal for serving as an inexpensive meal for large groups. Combining budget-friendly ingredients like pasta, cheese, and milk, this dish creates a warm, comforting, and satisfying experience for your guests.
Easily prepared in large quantities, baked macaroni and cheese can be customized with various add-ins like broccoli or jalapenos to cater to different tastes.
7. Crock Pot Pulled Pork
A slow cooker helps prepare inexpensive meals for large groups. Cook a large pork shoulder in the crock pot with your favorite BBQ sauce until tender and easily shredded. Serve on buns with coleslaw for a delicious and easy meal.
8. Grilled Chicken Fajita Bar
Grilled chicken is a versatile and cost-effective protein option for large groups. Set up a fajita bar with grilled chicken, peppers, onions, and fixings like sour cream, guacamole, and salsa. Guests can build their own fajitas for a customizable and fun dinner party experience.
9. Baked Beans And Rice
Baked beans are an affordable and tasty side dish that you can turn into a main course by adding rice. Prepare a big batch of rice and mix it with baked beans, chopped veggies, and your choice of protein (like grilled chicken or ground beef) for a hearty casserole that’s sure to please.
10. Tender Meat And Mashed Potato Bowls
Cook a large batch of tender meat (such as pulled pork or shredded chicken) and serve with creamy mashed potatoes.
Add a side of veggies for a well-rounded and satisfying meal perfect for family reunions or gatherings with extended family.
Pasta is a versatile and budget-friendly choice for easy meals for large groups. With countless shapes, sauces, and ingredient combinations, pasta dishes with melty cheese can cater to various tastes and dietary preferences.
The pasta’s simplicity and quick cooking time make it ideal for serving a crowd without causing stress in the kitchen.
12. Veggie-Packed Stir Fry
Stir fry is an easy and quick meal that can be customized to suit various dietary preferences. Cook up a large batch of veggies with a protein (such as tofu, shrimp, or chicken) and serve over rice or noodles.
13. Chicken And Rice Casserole
A chicken and rice casserole is an easy and filling option for feeding large groups. Combine cooked chicken, rice, veggies, and your choice of condensed soup (cream of chicken), then bake until bubbly and golden.
14. Cheese Recipe
Cheese-based dishes are a fantastic option for budget-friendly meals that cater to large groups. From gooey mac and cheese casseroles to cheesy enchiladas or stuffed shells, these recipes are delicious, satisfying, and easy to prepare in large quantities.
With a variety of cheese options available, you can easily customize these dishes to suit different tastes and preferences.
So, gather your friends and family, or help the large communities of the poors and enjoy the mouthwatering flavors of these cheese-centric meals without breaking the bank.
15. Sheet Pan Nachos
For a fun and interactive meal, create a giant sheet pan of nachos using tortilla chips, ground beef, black beans, shredded cheese, and other delicious toppings. Bake until the cheese is melty, then let guests dig in.
16. BBQ Chicken Drumsticks
BBQ chicken drumsticks are a crowd-pleaser and affordable for feeding large groups. Grill or bake the drumsticks with BBQ sauce and serve with baked beans and coleslaw.
17. Meatball Subs
Meatball subs are a filling and budget-friendly meal option. Make a big batch of meatballs in tomato sauce, then serve on crusty rolls with melted cheese.
18. Vegetable Curry
A vegetable curry is a flavorful and inexpensive meal that you can prepare in large quantities. Serve over rice with naan bread for a complete and satisfying meal.
19. Stuffed Bell Peppers
Stuffed bell peppers are an affordable and delicious meal option for large groups. Fill the peppers with ground beef, rice, black beans, and tomato sauce, then bake until tender.
20. Kids-Friendly Options
When planning easy meals for large groups, it’s essential to consider kid-friendly options to keep the little ones happy and satisfied.
Crowd-pleasing dishes like mini pizza bagels, chicken nuggets, or mac and cheese bites are budget-friendly and cater to the tastes of younger guests.
Incorporating these fun and familiar options into your menu ensures a successful gathering where kids and adults can enjoy the delicious food and create lasting memories together.
21. Breakfast For Dinner
Breakfast for dinner is a delightful and budget-friendly option when planning meals for large groups. By serving popular morning dishes like pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon, and hash browns, you can create a fun and comforting atmosphere that guests of all ages will enjoy.
This unique twist on dinner not only adds an element of excitement to your gathering but also takes advantage of inexpensive breakfast ingredients, ensuring a satisfying and memorable meal without putting a strain on your wallet.
22. Sloppy Joes
Sloppy Joes are just what you need for an inexpensive and delicious meal that caters to large groups. With a tasty mix of seasoned ground beef and tangy sauce, guests can build their own sandwiches, making it a fun and interactive dining experience.
This classic comfort food will surely be a huge hit among your guests and provide more ideas for future budget-friendly gatherings.
23. Tuna Noodle Casserole
A tuna noodle casserole is a classic comfort food perfect for serving as an inexpensive meal for large groups. Combining budget-friendly ingredients like canned tuna, egg noodles, and condensed cream of mushroom soup, this dish is both filling and easy to prepare in large quantities.
Simply bake the casserole until bubbly and golden, then serve with a side salad or steamed vegetables for a well-rounded and satisfying meal. Your guests will appreciate this timeless dish’s delicious flavors and comforting warmth without breaking your budget.
24. Baked Potato Bar
Bake a large batch of potatoes and set out a variety of toppings like chili, cheese, sour cream, bacon bits, and green onions. Guests can build their own loaded baked potatoes for a customizable and fun meal.
Effective Tips When Planning Inexpensive Meals For Large Groups
Feeding a large group on a budget can be a bit challenging, but here are some effective tips to help you plan inexpensive meals for large groups:
Accommodating Dietary Needs And Efficient Cooking Methods
Remember, when planning meals for large groups, it’s essential to remember any dietary restrictions and preferences your guests may have.
Include gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan options whenever possible to ensure everyone has something to enjoy.
Additionally, prep time and hands-off cooking methods like using a crock pot can be a lifesaver when preparing food for a large crowd.
Presentation Matters: Organizing A Buffet-Style Meal
When hosting a dinner party or gathering for a large group, don’t forget about the importance of presentation. Set up buffet-style meals invitingly and organized, with clear labels for each dish and any available utensils.
Enlisting Help For A Smooth And Memorable Event
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Enlist friends or family members to assist with the preparation, cooking, and cleanup. This will not only make the preparation task more manageable, but it will also provide an opportunity for bonding and creating lasting memories.
Feed A Crowd On A Budget With These Inexpensive Meals For Large Groups!
In conclusion, hosting a large dinner party or gathering doesn’t have to be expensive. By utilizing budget-friendly meals for large groups and following useful tips, you can easily create a memorable event that everyone will enjoy.
From one-pot dishes and crock pot recipes to potluck dinner parties and build-your-own bars, there are plenty of delicious and budget-friendly meals to choose from. So the next time you’re looking for inexpensive meals for large groups, remember these great ideas and start planning your event!