Dinners for two isn’t always easy, so I’ve rounded up over 25 posts from blogs all over the web with dinners made with two servings.
Cooking for an entire family has challenges when no one can agree on what they want. But cooking for two has its own set of challenges, and many recipes aren’t written for only two servings. Unless you plan to eat a lot of leftovers, it leaves you with way too much food.
Why would you need to cook for two? There are so many scenarios when you would want a meal for two: date night with your significant other, having a best friend over for dinner, you’re a couple with no children to cook for, you need easy weeknight dinners because some won’t be home, etc.
Yes, you can try to cut a recipe in half, but that doesn’t always work very well, either. You either end up with recipes that don’t come out as you expect or, even worse, you have odd amounts of ingredients or leftover ingredients that you don’t know what to use on.
For this reason, I collaborated with other bloggers to put together a list of recipes that are perfect meals to cook for two. Find an easy recipe on this list of cheap meals that will help you quickly get food to the dinner table.
Originally Published On: September 18, 2018
Last Updated On: February 10, 2023
Start by purchasing some easy and simple ingredients for basic meals. Here’s my list of cheap ingredients or bulk ingredients that you can separate to make cheap dinners:
Chicken Breasts – buy in bulk and separate before freezing
Tilapia/Swai/Salmon or other frozen fish
Grocery Store Tips
I always recommend making a grocery list before you go shopping. Having a list is a great way to make sure you aren’t purchasing foods you don’t need but also getting everything you do need. When you have to run back to the store for a forgotten ingredient, there’s a good chance you will “find” other things you need thus spending a lot of money again.
Look for things that are on sale. Sometimes you can find cheaper cuts of meat to work with or meat that needs to get in the freezer right away. Check sales ads for your local grocery store to see if they have any good deals, especially when you’re on a tight budget. For example, Publix often has a lot of buy-one-get-one sales.
Buy in bulk if you can. Yes, it sometimes costs more upfront, but if you compare costs it usually is an easy way to save money in the long run. Of course, only do this for things that you know you’ll use before they go bad. For example, we eat a lot of chicken in our house. We buy the large 10-lb package of chicken breast and separate it when we get home into individual mason jars. Those go in the freezer and we pull out what we need two days ahead and put it in the refrigerator to thaw.
The best part of cooking for yourself is making a favorite meal just how you want it. You have the option to add or subtract anything. Tyler won’t eat anything that has any bit of green bell pepper so I don’t add those. I won’t touch a cucumber or mushrooms, even though I will eat meals with cream of mushroom soup in them.
Make sure you also have some appliances that make cooking for two easier. We use our air fryer almost daily. It’s perfect for making small amounts of food. And there are so many things you can cook in the air fryer. The great thing about the air fryer is that it cooks quicker and doesn’t use as much energy.
We also use the slow cooker often for easy meals that are ready to eat when we are. I get something started early in the morning and we can eat when we get home from school and work.
Even if you are cooking easy dinners made for only two people, there’s a chance you’ll have leftovers. Get some good containers to save the food. So many leftovers make a great lunch the following day.
Personally, we use a lot of glass storage containers. I don’t like putting hot food in plastic and don’t like reheating it in plastic, either. Having glass dishes means I can reheat the food right in the container if I bring it to work the next day.
Recipes for Simple Meals
Instant Pot Lemon-Garlic Chicken
The Instant Pot pressure cooker makes meals easy. Try combining the bold flavors of lemon and garlic with chicken for a delicious dinner.
Healthy Asian Ground Turkey Lettuce Wraps (PF Chang’s Copycat)
Do you love the Asian lettuce wraps at PF Chang’s as much as I do? Then you have to try these delicious, easy, and healthy Asian Ground Turkey Lettuce Wraps. Garnish with some chopped green onion and a drizzle of store bought Yum Yum sauce for an extra yummy and super beautiful fresh dinner.
Tortilla Pizza: All the Pizza Flavor with Way Less Carbs!
This delicious tortizza has all of the flavor of your favorite restaurant pizza, but without all of the extra carbs. Pick a low carb barbecue sauce for even fewer carbs. Toppings can be easily customized depending on preference. Try pepperoni and cheese or roasted vegetables and goat cheese. Enj…
Creamy Cajun Pasta Recipe with Chicken [EASY] – Masala Herb
Comforting creamy cajun pasta recipe based on as simple alfredo pasta sauce and enriched with a quick homemade cajun seasoning. Can’t get enough of this easy to prepare Pasta sauce with fresh cocktail tomatoes and chicken. Serving suggestions & learn how to make this awesome creamy Cajun pasta recip…
Quesadilla Burger: Juicy burger topped with spicy jalapeno and creamy avocado ,stuffed inside a crispy quesadilla. Quesadilla + Burger = The Ultimate Mashup I love biting into a thick and juicy hamburger with fresh fixings. Top it off with a flavorful sauce and I’m a happy girl. You can make almost…
Meatloaf Pizza aka Meatza: Flavor meatloaf ‘crust’ with all your favorite toppings. Your 2 favorite foods, in one great bite! So everyone’s all like… Check out my gluten free, vegan cauliflower pizza crust. And I’m over her like oh hey I just made a crust out of MEAT! If you think this is a gre…
Need an easy & healthy fish recipe? Try this pan-seared mahi-mahi (a neutral-tasting white fish) topped with fresh pineapple salsa. Serve it with your favorite sides for a quick weeknight meal in less than 30 minutes.
15 min Shrimp chow mein nutritious weeknight meal. Comfort food easily prepared and so delicious! Prepare this one-pot meal for dinner after a long day at work. Learn how to prepare & and stir-fry shrimp chow mein (prawns) efficiently + effortlessly. With useful step by step recipe inc short video t…
This Lemon Garlic Shrimp recipe is one of those pescatarian recipes that everyone will love! Keto, paleo, gluten free, and nut free, it is one of the main meals that you can add to your weekly meal plan.
27 thoughts on “20+ Cheap Dinners for Two and Cooking on a Budget”
Spicy Tuna Stack has me DROOLING for SURE!!! YUM! 🙂
There are lots of delicious recipes in this list – will have to try a few when it’s just me and hubby (which unfortunately doesn’t happen very often!)!
These all look amazing!! I definitely need to try those lettuce wraps soon
Your gorgeous images of these meals are seriously making my mouth water! We are down to a family at 3 at my house – so close! 🙂
Spicy Tuna Sushi Stack with Wonton Crisps and Lemon Chicken and Couscous are totally things I would try! We are pretty lucky here, there’s a local store that does meat cuts designed for two people, so we do that four to five meals out of the week and then just have to come up with sides, usually salad!
Wow! So many yummy recipes that I can not wait to try! These would be great to try at a party.
Lovely recipes! I love lemon chicken and having it on my dinner plate makes my day.
It can sometimes be so difficult to cook for two. This roundup is so very helpful for those nights where everyone is not home.
Just been looking for new meal ideas. I like the sound of the Vegan Pinto Bean Tacos – just yummy and ideal for a delicious dinner x
Oh my, that’s a gorgeous recipe collection! Everything looks delicious and I think there is something for everyone! I need to try them! Thanks for sharing!
The shrimp and chicken meal looks so delicious! I can’t wait to try them
All these meals look so good! My kids only want to eat plain pasta most of the time, so cooking for two is something I do a lot.
These meals so fantastic, especially the sushi roll. I’ve never even thought of making sushi at home but I’ll give it a try.
I so rarely cook for just two that when I do, I still end up making enough to feed 6!! At least there are leftovers!
This is my type of reading. I’m an empty nester and most recipes make enough food for a family, I need smaller portions.
These are amazing recipes and perfect for us, it is only the two of us lol…Thanks a lot.
Lots of inviting meals. I would pick the Grilled Shrimp Skewers cause they sound great
I can’t wait to try some of these!
That tortilla pizza is calling my name! I love this round-up. It has so many great ideas for dinners for two that my hubby and I would adore. Thanks.
great round-up! I will save this page for later. I cook from time to time and always try to make it special. (we do eat homemade meals mostly, but it’s my partner who makes it most of the time)
Some of these recipes look so amazing! I am going to have to try them out for our weeknight meals.
Yum yum they all look so delicious.
This is a great resource for cooking for two – and on a budget! It’s just my husband and I – so this is beyond helpful. The thanksgiving sheet pan recipe looks like the first I’d like to try.
These all look very good. I’m planning to cook a nice meal this Valentine’s Day for my husband and I, and I think a few of these are perfect.
It’s like you wrote this post for me and my husband. Wow, what an amazing and resourceful blog post! Cooking for two can be a challenge but with this list, anyone can whip up delicious and budget friendly meals in no time. Some of these look really yummy and I need to try right away. Thanks for the great work in putting together this list and providing so much value! I’m going to bookmark this for future reference as well.
I am a huge Seafood fan. So those shrimp and fish dinners would be perfect.
Nnnniiiiccceeeeee….thank you, most certainly, for the pork and chicken recipes! I will most definitely make the most use, of those.