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5 Inexpensive Meals for Large Groups

When you’re feeding a lot of people, it can be tricky to find inexpensive meals for large groups. I have a handful of meals that we rotate through that are filling, don’t cost a lot and are, of course, delicious.

Feeding a large group of people and not sure what to make?  Check out these 5 inexpensive meal ideas that will leave everyone feeling happy and full!

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My husband and I have a lot of family nearby and we regularly get together with them for family dinner. This usually means 20+ people that need to eat. When we host dinner at our house, we are in charge of the main dish and with 20+ people to feed, that can get expensive! Check out these 5 easy recipes that can be scaled for just your family or bigger groups.

Baked Potatoes and Chili aka Baked Potato Bar

We love making baked potatoes and chili! It is truly one of the least expensive meals to make and it serves so many people. You can either make homemade chili or buy canned. Topping are also pretty inexpensive: butter, sour cream, salt, shredded cheese and bacon bits. We usually cook the potatoes in our crock pot rather than the oven so we don’t have to heat up our house. We have two big 8-qt crock pots that are perfect for the job. Here’s how to do it:

  • Wash potatoes.
  • Wrap them in tin foil.
  • Place them in the crock pot with 1/2 cup of water.
  • Cook on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours on high.
  • Poke with a fork to check if done.
Baked potatoes and chili is a great choice for when you need to feed a lot of people on a budget!

5-Ingredient Chicken and Rice Casserole

It only takes 5-ingredients to make this yummy chicken and rice casserole. Odds are you already have everything you need to make it. One of the (many) great things about this recipe is that you can scale it to feed just your family or make a couple pans of it and add more chicken. Anytime we have this chicken and rice casserole, there are rarely any leftovers (although those are delicious too).

This 5-ingredient chicken and rice casserole is great for feeding large groups of people or just your own family.  Plus, the leftovers (if there are any) are delicious!

Crock Pot BBQ Country Style Ribs

A few years ago, I bought some country style ribs at a BOGO sale at my grocery store. I had no idea what to do with them or how to cook them but I found a simple recipe for making them in in the crock pot. Since then, I’ve adapted the recipe and it’s pretty good if I do say so myself! It tastes great plain or on a bun/roll and the leftovers reheat really well. If this isn’t enough to convince you to try out making BBQ country style ribs in the crock pot, maybe this will help: this recipe won 3rd place in a contest at our local grocery store (Smith’s/Kroger) and the recipe was featured in the store. Additionally, it’s almost always one of the top 5 viewed posts on my blog every day.

Crock pot BBQ country style ribs are inexpensive to make and can easily feed a large group.  Serve them up on rolls or eat it as is.

Crock Pot Pork Roast

Pork roast is almost always cheaper than a beef roast, which makes it a great choice for feeding large groups. Since posting this recipe almost 3 years ago, it’s consistently in the top 3 viewed posts on my blog every single day. Besides tasting delicious, I love that it’s basically a one pot meal because you include the potatoes and carrots in with the roast. Everything comes out moist and full of flavor. And because this is a crock pot dish, you can make it any time of year without heating up your house.

Pork roast is a lot cheaper than beef roast which makes it a great choice for serving a large group of people.  Plus, all the veggies cook in the crock pot with the meat and you don't even have to heat up your house!

Crock Pot Minestrone Soup

This crock pot minestrone soup is hearty, filling and, of course, inexpensive. Pair it with rolls and a salad and you have a delicious meal to serve. Minestrone soup is a great broth based soup and because it doesn’t have any meat, it’s a good meatless meal alternative. I will usually start this soup in the morning and let it cook all day (about 8 hours). My house smells amazing and my family always gobbles this minestrone right up.

Crock Pot minestrone soup is a yummy meatless meal alternative that also serves a large group.  Plus the leftovers (if there are any) are delicious!

I’d love to hear what some of your favorite inexpensive meals for large groups!


Hi! I’m Shani,

A stay-at-home mom of 4 and wife. I love sharing easy to follow craft tutorials, kid activities, family-friendly recipes, organization, travel and motherhood. I hope you’ll feel uplifted and empowered by each post, regardless of what kind it is. Join me as I raise my little munchkins and share the sunshine in this beautiful, crazy thing called life! Read more...

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  1. YUM! You have me in the mood to cook now. And I love when there are inexpensive crockpot recipes specifically. Anything in the crockpot is so easy and saves me so much time. Thank you for sharing these different ideas!

  2. These meals look SO good! I love both potatoes and rice because they’re both cheap foods AND you can have them so many different ways so it never feels like you’re eating the same thing each night! Also, minestrone is easily my favourite soup ever 😋

  3. Gotta love that crockpot when you’re cooking for a crowd! I have a stroganoff recipe that we love to make in the crockpot and serve over rice!

  4. I don’t have a large family but we do like to have parties and gatherings with friends every once in awhile. The crockpot is amazing for that! I really like the idea of a baked potato bar too, I might have to do that for my husband’s birthday next month.

  5. So many awesome ideas for big gatherings. I have friends over a lot, so it’s handy to have these available when I need to make something for everyone!

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