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8 Chicken Dinner Recipes That Cost Less than $20 and Are Easy to Make

Healthy Homemade Chicken Breast and Rice with Broccoli

8 Chicken Dinner Recipes That Cost Less than $20 and Are Easy to Make

With rising food costs, it is becoming more difficult to feed your family well while also sticking to your grocery budget. If your family enjoys chicken, we have eight budget-friendly dishes that cost less than $20 to make and are perfect for busy weeknights or lazy weekends. Moreover, most of these dishes require minimal cleanup time. In many cases, these dishes yield leftovers that can feed the family again, saving you even more money.

In addition to providing you with carefully selected and tested recipes, we also offer detailed tips and strategies for planning affordable and delicious chicken dinners. Our goal is to help you make the most of your budget by maximizing the value and flavor of your meals.

The Best Money-Saving Tips for Chicken Dinners

When planning budget-friendly family meals, follow these general guidelines to stretch your money. Here are some of the best money-saving tips for preparing delicious chicken dinners on a budget.

  • Buy family packs of meat and freeze them in individual bags. This method is more cost-effective than buying smaller packages of chicken. You can store any leftover chicken in freezer bags. A whole chicken can be stored for up to one year, while chicken pieces like cutlets will last in the freezer for up to nine months. Ground chicken can be safely stored for up to three months.
  • Later in the day, supermarkets often discount rotisserie chicken for a quick sale before closing, so try to buy them at the end of the day.
  • Cutting up a whole chicken can help you save money, as whole chickens are typically cheaper per pound than chicken breasts.
  • You can always substitute the type of chicken in the recipe with whatever is on sale at the supermarket that week. For instance, using thighs instead of chicken breasts will not dramatically affect the taste of the recipe.
  • Keep meals simple by preparing easy dishes like baked chicken and rice. Purchase vegetables that are on sale, as out-of-season veggies tend to be more expensive.
Man buying food products in the supermarket shopping
If you are looking to save money, buy family packs of chicken and freeze extra portions instead of purchasing smaller packages.


Cheesy Bacon BBQ Chicken Bake

This inexpensive one-pan recipe is incredibly easy to make, perfect for a quick weeknight dinner. Since it only requires one pan to make, the cleanup is also quick. While this barbecue bake can be a meal in itself, cole slaw, baked beans, or French fries are easy and inexpensive sides you can serve with this meal.

For this recipe, if preferred, use boneless, skinless chicken thighs or tenders. Onions are optional but will add flavor. Furthermore, season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and your favorite barbecue sauce. Finally, top with cheddar cheese, crispy bacon, and optional green onions.

Easy Chicken Enchiladas

These chicken enchiladas require only eight ingredients and can be prepared in just 30 minutes. All you need is red chile sauce, shredded chicken, cheese, and onions. In about 20 minutes, they bake in a 9×13 casserole dish and come out golden brown and delicious. If you like, you can garnish your enchiladas with cilantro and serve them with an inexpensive side dish like refried beans.

Creamy Ranch Chicken

This Ranch Chicken recipe is a quick skillet dish with a creamy sauce and zesty Ranch seasoning. Serve it over baked potatoes for an especially delicious experience, although this dish is also great with a side of vegetables.

Moreover, it is important to use Ranch seasoning mix for this recipe, not Ranch dip mix, as they taste different and have different uses. For a bacon ranch chicken dinner, you can also add bacon and cheese to this meal.

This dish is so delicious that you probably will not have any leftovers. However, if you do, you can store them in an airtight container for up to three days or freeze them for up to three months.

Easy Chicken Quesadillas

Chicken quesadillas are quick and easy to make. First, you cook the filling, then place it into a tortilla and fold it over to cook in the pan. If you are in a big hurry to make dinner, you can use store-bought rotisserie chicken and save even more time. Furthermore, many inexpensive sides pair well with chicken quesadillas, including rice, refried beans, or salsa.

Mexican quesadilla with chicken, cheese and peppers on wooden table.
Not only are chicken quesadillas filling, they are an inexpensive way to feed the entire family.


Easy Orange Chicken

This simple orange chicken recipe requires affordable ingredients: one bag of frozen popcorn chicken, one jar of orange marmalade, one cup of barbecue sauce, six tablespoons of soy sauce, and your choice of white or brown rice.

As the popcorn chicken heats up in the oven, mix the orange marmalade, barbecue sauce, and soy sauce in a medium-sized saucepan. Heat the mixture on medium-low until everything combines and the marmalade is completely melted. This process takes about five minutes. Once the popcorn chicken is done, pour the sauce over the chicken and mix well. Finally, serve this easy orange chicken over rice or with some inexpensive veggies.

Mexican Street Corn Chicken

This one-pan chicken dinner is incredibly inexpensive and easy to make. You can prep this Mexican street food dish and have it in the oven in as little as 10 minutes. Furthermore, the protein and the vegetables are combined in a single casserole dish. This combination not only enhances the overall flavor of the meal but also simplifies the preparation process. Finally, clean-up is a breeze since you only have to clean up one pan.

You can serve this hearty meal on flour tortillas or even on chips with salsa and guacamole. This chicken dinner also pairs well with Mexican rice, black beans, sautéed onions and peppers, or a side salad.

One Pot Cheesy Chicken Broccoli and Rice

This cheesy chicken broccoli and rice dish is a straightforward one-pot dinner recipe that can be effortlessly prepared on the stovetop. It requires only five simple ingredients: tender chicken, broccoli, rice, a flavorful chicken broth, and cheddar cheese. By combining these ingredients, you can have a satisfying and comforting meal on the table in just 30 minutes.

This recipe is also very adaptable. You can make it spicier by adding shredded pepper jack cheese. You can also add chili powder or cayenne pepper with the salt and pepper. Other great options include garlic powder, onion powder, diced onion, or fresh garlic.

Oven Baked Chicken and Rice

We love one-pot dinners that can be baked in the oven. This family-friendly one-pot dinner features tender, flavorful chicken baked with fluffy butter rice. Even better, it requires very little prep time and is a breeze to clean up.

While this meal is substantial enough to be served on its own, plain natural yogurt or Greek yogurt is an amazing addition to chicken and rice. Additionally, pairing a simple leafy green salad with a basic vinaigrette is perfect for this dish. Finally, consider roasted vegetables such as broccoli, asparagus, or green beans as possible side dishes.

Baked Chicken With Crispy Parmesan and Tomatoes
One-pan chicken recipes are a great way to feed the family and minimize clean-up time.

©Michael Kraus/Shutterstock.com

In Summary

These eight chicken dishes are perfect for families who enjoy chicken and want to stick to a budget. Each dish is affordable, costing less than $20 to make, even if you decide to include additional side dishes. Furthermore, these recipes are easy to prepare and require minimal cleanup, making them ideal for busy families. Even if you are on a tight budget, you can still prepare delicious and healthy meals for your family with our suggestions, even when you are on the go.

Recipe Card

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Chicken Meat, Parmesan Cheese, Baked, Cheese, Chicken Breast

Chicken Parmesan

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  • Author: MomsWhoThink.com
  • Total Time: 40 minutes


Units Scale
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
  • 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • 1/3 cup oil
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese


  1. Trim the fat from the chicken breasts and remove the white tendons running through the tenderloins.
  2. Place each breast between two sheets of wax paper and gently pound with a meat mallet until less than ¼ inch thick.
  3. Dust the chicken with the flour until well coated on all sides.
  4. Stir together the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, basil, oregano, salt and pepper in a shallow bowl.
  5. In another shallow bowl, use a fork to beat the egg with the water.
  6. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat until very hot but not smoking.
  7. Dip the chicken in the egg mixture, then roll in the seasoned bread crumbs until well coated, patting to make the crumbs adhere to the chicken.
  8. Use tongs to place the chicken into the pan. Continue adding more chicken pieces until the pan is full but not crowded.
  9. Fry until golden brown, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove the cooked pieces and drain well on paper towels. Repeat until all the chicken is cooked.
  10. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly oil a 9×13-inch baking dish.
  11. Spread ½ cup of sauce in the baking dish. Arrange the chicken pieces in the dish, overlapping as needed. Spoon the remaining 1 ½ cups sauce on top.
  12. Sprinkle the mozzarella on top. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until the cheese is melted and the chicken is hot.
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Main Course
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Italian
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