Looking for a way to feed a crowd that doesn't totally blow your budget?! We can help! These inexpensive meals for large groups are the perfect way to keep guests AND your wallet happy.
Feeding a crowd can be stressful. For one, it can be soooo dang expensive. But also, what on earth can you serve to a large crowd that will make everyone happy?! Well, fret no more, Freebs.
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We've got a list of great inexpensive meals for large groups that will satisfy the masses and keep your wallet in check! Trust us, follow these tips and you'll be the hostess with the mostess in no time. Let's get to it!
LET THEM CONTRIBUTE
First of all, it is more than okay to let your guests bring something to contribute to the meal. Everyone loves a good ole fashioned potluck, right?! Ask guests to bring a side dish, dessert or even a beverage to share. Either way, guests are usually more than happy to bring something which will ease some of the financial burdens off of you.
Not sure how to make the request? Send a simple text like this: “Dinner at our house. Bring a side, your kids, and let's party!” Trust us, nobody will get offended by that!
MAKE A PASTA BAR
Pasta is one of the cheapest and most filling pantry staples you can buy, and that's exactly why it's the perfect food to feed to a crowd! Plus, everyone loves a good pasta dish. Grab yourself a buffet server warming tray so you can pop your cooked pasta inside and keep it warm all evening long!
WHAT TO SERVE ON A PASTA BAR
The possibilities are absolutely endless! Here are some of our favorite dishes to serve on a pasta bar!
- Meatballs – We have a delicious meatball recipe that's a breeze to whip up!
- Spaghetti – Spaghetti is so cheap and easy to make which makes it perfect for a crowd! Try our super simple homemade spaghetti sauce to save even more moo-lah.
- Alfredo – This five minute Alfredo sauce is incredible and a major time saver!
- Baked Ziti – This baked ziti recipe is perfect for a group and is super versatile.
- Lasagna Roll-Ups – These lasagna roll-ups are mmm mmm good. Want a more traditional layered lasagna? Grab our crock pot lasagna recipe!
- Macaroni and Cheese – Use our yumm-o-licious crock pot mac and cheese recipe! Toss in some ground beef, crushed red pepper, or some chopped veggies to give it some extra flair. Better yet, have optional add-ins on the side so they can make it how they want!
- Garlic Bread – Trust us, your friends won't be able to keep their hands off this garlic bread recipe! Just save some for us, okay! 😉
Pro Tip: Once you drain your pasta, make sure to toss it with a healthy dose of olive oil so it doesn't all stick together. Also, spray your food buffet warmers with cooking spray before putting anything in them so nothing sticks!
HOT DOG BAR
Hot dogs can be very inexpensive and are a great way to satisfy your meat-loving friends! Grab some cheap buns and value-sized condiment bottles and let everyone make their own dog how they like it! Here are some of our favorite condiment options.
- Sweet Relish
- Grated Cheese
Toss a few bags of chips out, heat up some baked beans, or whip up some of our tasty southern potato salad as a side. Don't forget, ask your guests to bring a side so your wallet doesn't take a hit! Psst..check out this post for creative ways to use up leftovers from a party!
SOUP BUFFETS ARE SOUP-ER
Feeding a group in the cold weather months? Warm up a crowd with a buffet of different soups! Soups are typically very affordable to make and stretch a long way. Pair with cornbread, french bread, and crackers for a cheap way to fill everyone up!
Here are some of our easiest and most affordable soups to make! Toss the soup in a crockpot and set it to warm for the perfect serving vessel.
- Potato Soup – This loaded baked potato soup recipe is dreamy, creamy, and soooo good.
- Tuxedo Soup – This tuxedo soup recipe is extra filling because it includes bowtie pasta! YUM!
- Curried Sweet Potato Soup – Mhmm. This curried sweet potato soup spells instant comfort.
- Taco Soup – You cannot go wrong with this taco soup recipe. It's a crowd favorite!
- Greek Lemon Chicken Soup – This Greek lemon chicken soup is so cheap to make and is super filling because of the rice!
Create a topping station with the works like cheese, jalapeños, nuts and seeds, and whatever else you may like to throw on top of your soup. That way everyone can mix and match and make their soup exactly how they want it.
MORE INEXPENSIVE MEALS FOR LARGE GROUPS
Here are even more ideas to help you feed a crowd on a budget!
- Baked Potato Bar – Potatoes are cheap and filling! Get more details on how to make a potato bar in this post!
- DIY Pizza Station – Have pizza crust made and ready to top and let people make their pizzas how they like! Just be sure you're able to cook them all.
- Breakfast Buffet – Whip up some of our amazing pancakes and have breakfast for lunch or dinner, too. Make a breakfast casserole to go with it and give people options!
- B.Y.O.M. BBQ – Host a bring your own meat BBQ and take the pressure off!
And there you have it friends—inexpensive meals for large groups that are easy, too! See, we told you there were lots of ways to feed a crowd on the cheap!
What is your favorite way to feed a crowd on a budget? Tell us in the comments below!
Want more affordable party ideas?
- These cheap party foods will help you keep the party going without breaking the bank!
- Don't throw that leftover party food out! Use these creative ideas to reuse it.
- We've got some great birthday party ideas, too!