Looking at all the posts on my site, there’s clearly one thing people are really looking for here, and that’s cheap, quick and easy keto meals – my number one post had 20 of them here. That’s why I’ve done some more research to bring you even more cheap keto meal ideas.
Is the Keto Diet Expensive?
People often think that diets, and in particular a keto diet, has to be an expensive way of eating. That certainly can be the case if you’re not paying attention, but it really doesn’t have to be.
I’ve been eating the keto diet for years now, and I honestly don’t think I spend any more now than I did before the switch. I’ve figured out what works for me, where I’m willing to spend a little extra and where I’m able to save to keep the keto diet affordable.
I try to stick to three principles to save money on the keto diet:
Buy in bulk – meat and fish in particular can be expensive in small portions, buy the whole chicken instead of just the breasts
Cook in bulk – If I try to cook 7 different types of dinner in a week, I end up buying dozens of different ingredients, and struggle to use them all up effectively. I tend to cook at least 2 meals worth of each dish (also, think of all the free time!)
Waste as little as possible – This is the key point, if it doesn’t get eaten, it’s the same as throwing the money in the bin. If you’re not sure you’ll use something, don’t buy it.
Starting off with a keto classic, you can't go wrong with keto meatballs. This recipe makes a fresh marinara sauce to accompany the meatballs though you could buy a pre-made sauce in the store - just check the labels to find one without added sugar (not the easiest thing to find!)
This is an ideal cheap keto recipe as you can mass produce these babies and freeze them for later, a great use for any ground beef you've bought in bulk! The recipe calls for grated parmesan, which can be a little expensive so subbing that out for more shredded mozzarella or omitting will reduce the total cost to keep this an inexpensive keto meal.
Who doesn't love Mac and Cheese?! Well this keto version can fulfil all those pasta carb cravings for you, but making use of cauliflower as your bulk ingredient instead.
This keto mac and cheese is perfect on its own as a main course or as a side. This dish uses four types of cheese for extra depth of flavor and texture, but if you're cooking keto on a budget I'd just go with whatever's affordable.
Simple stir fries are an easy win for keto, ready in minutes and able to use cheap ingredients to great effect, just like this ground beef keto stir fry from Kasey Trenum!
In this version Kasey uses Liquid Aminos instead of soy sauce for seasoning and flavor, ideal for those avoiding soy on the keto diet. It can be quite an expensive ingredient though compared to soy sauce so can easily be substituted.
This cheap keto meal would be great with ground pork too, even turkey/chicken. The key is to make sure you brown the meat well before adding all the other vegetables - try not to overcrowd the pan and cook it on a medium/high heat for good browning.
Chicken thighs are one of my favorite choices for a tasty inexpensive keto dinner, they're so versatile and are harder to overcook than chicken breast (and more flavorful!)
Just looking at this Jalapeno Popper Chicken dish from Northern Nester, you know it's going to taste good....like, really good!
Cheese, bacon, chili and more all combined for a perfect cheap keto dinner recipe. Throw a side of veg together to go with this for a delcious weeknight family meal.
Again, be sure to brown the meat well, and don't hold back on the cheese! The ingredient list for this isn't too complex or exotic, keeping costs down, chilli powder and cumin are two great spices to have in the cupboard and are used in lots of different cuisines so they'll definitely get used up.
These keto carnitas look incredible! Pork shoulder is generally a pretty cheap cut of meat, but with huge flavor potential. The key is to cook it low and slow.
As we're staying keto, you could accompany this with some keto tortillas (plenty of recipes for these online), some cilantro and some lime for acidity. Or if you aren't into making the tortillas perhaps some spiced cauliflower rice (use some of that cumin!)
With all that this would make a great keto party dish - most people won't even notice that its keto with some accompaniments.
When cooking keto on a budget it's worth familiarising yourself with the various inexpensive cuts of meat like this, pork belly, steak skirt etc. These cuts often have the most flavor, but need time to reach their potential!
If you're planning to do a lot of cooking of these sorts of cuts, get yourself a decent enamelled cast iron dutch oven. I got given one for my 22nd birthday and it's still going strong over a decade later, I use it almost every day.
Keto meals don't get much easier than this - quick and easy portobello mushroom mini pizzas.
Mushrooms make a great, inexpensive base for these keto pizzas, and as for the ingredients on top, just use whatever you feel like. Take a look in the refridgerator and go wild, these are great for using up leftover bits of cheese, sausage, bacon, veg - anything goes!
Ham and Cheddar, pepperoni and mozzarella, leftover chicken, blue cheese, so many things go well on top of these, making them an ideal way to reuce waste and therefore keep costs down as a perfect cheap keto dinner recipe.
Remember to pre-bake the mushrooms a little as they like to release a lot of liquid, pre-baking allows you to drain some of that off before adding toppings.
Crack chicken?! This creamy concoction from Diethood of chicken, bacon, cheese and ranch dressing makes for a pretty indulgent, inexpensive keto meal, packed full of satisfying flavors.
This can be prepared ahead of time, if you're cooking for a group, or can be frozed fr later, perfect for keto on a budget. You could also try experimenting with chicken thighs instead, these tend to cost less, and have a higher fat to protein balance.
Another simple baked dish - see a pattern forming? These zucchini chicken bakes look great, and get some much needed vegetables into the dish! Zucchini is pretty inexpensive most of the year and lightens up the dish which otherwise is packed with cheese and bacon.
The recipe calls for parmesan as well, which whilst undeniably tasty, is also fairly expensive. If you're going to cut something out of this to make sure this is still and inexpensive keto dinner, the parmesan has to go first.
Ready in 25 minutes, cooked in one pot...only 8 ingredients, this is a great cheap keto dinner recipe!
Bulked up with cauliflower rice this won't feel like you're restricting yourself, with a hearty richness from the cheese sauce. Be sure to get plenty of broccoli in there too as it's a great source of nutrition.
If you're vegetarian you could proably omit the chicken too, swapping out the chicken stock as well. The cheese however, is non negotiable in this dish.
Adding avocado brings plenty of healthy unsaturated fats, as well as fibre and vitamins. Depending on where you live avocados can be expensive but they're just such a good source of nutrition. If you can get them affordably, definitely don't cut them out.
This salad can be put together in no time as a great low cost keto meal. Wrapping the salad mix in large lettuce leaves is a great idea to make the meal go further, ideal as a work lunch perhaps (storing the lettuce separately until you're ready to eat (no soggy wraps please!)
If you have time to make you're own mayonnaise too, that's a great way to level up this meal even further. A lot fo store bought mayonnaise has added sugar and chemicals to extend its shelf life. Making your own is pretty easy and much tastier - check out youtube videos for how to make it, you won't regret it!
These quick and easy tuna melts from House of Yumm are a great way of using canned tuna for a delicious cheap keto snack or meal.
Canned tuna can be a really economical way of getting some healthy protein and fish into your diet, jut be sure to check your tuna has been responsibly caught.
The great thing is the cans will keep for a very long time before being opened - if you see a good offer or deal in the store, stock up! One of the best ways to keep food costs down is to buy things on offer where possible (although never buy something if you're not sure you're going to use it, otherwise it all goes to waste)
Wholesum Yum produce some great recipes, ideal for cooking in bulk and therefore potentially keeping things pretty affordable.
This tuna egg salad recipe woud be great at a party, for the family, or to prep in a smaller batch for a couple of lunches.
Again this makes great use of canned tuna, making this a great cheap keto meal candidate. Eggs aren't too expensive either. The spiced mayo in this is a great touch, with some pickles added for some acidity to cut through the fat in the fish and mayo.
This would go great in a wrap, either a keto wrap or some sturdy lettuce leaves (i'm always using lettuce leaves for stuff nowadays!)
This creamy cauliflower casserole looks great, but more importantly is super simple and inexpensive to make!
The recipe mentions using 'light' sour cream, personally I'm not a fan of low fat dairy products (staying keto...) so I'd recommend going full fat!
Cauliflower is such a great keto ingredient, it brings some bulk to meal which helps to fill the gap left by carbs. As always, bacon adds tons of flavor, but doesn't need to be the star of the show, adding flavor moreso than substance (and keeping things cheaper!)
This meatball soup from Eatwell 101 looks like the perfect meal for a winters day. Throw in some cauliflower rice on the side perhaps to bulk it out if you've got a lot of mouths to feed.
Turkey doesn't get as much attention as it's chicken cousins. The meat is much leaner and so can often be dry. Braised like this though it can be delicious, and importantly pound for pound turkey is almost always cheaper than chicken.
Mixing some shredded mozzarella into the meatball mix ensures they don't dry out, I'd try not to cut that out if you're looking for ways to cut the cost of this meal. Instead I'd try to bulk out the dish with cauliflower rice or similar, making use of all that lovely sauce to be soaked up!
Keeping on the turkey theme, we have this keto turkey skillet from Step Away From the Carbs. This one pot dish makes great use of ground turket, a really cheap meat and ideal for making up a cheap keto dinner.
Spicing it up with paprika and cumin, this will go great in one of those lettuce wraps I keep going on about!
Keto, without breaking the bank
So there you go, 20 more cheap keto meals to keep you going until next time!
I hope you’ll experiment with these, and work out what works best for you and your budget whilst staying keto.
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