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Home » Food & Drink, Save Money, Summer of Saving

Cheap Meals: What are Your Favorite Cheap Breakfast Recipes?

Last updated by on 18 Comments

We’ve discussed how to lower the cost of food through cooking, a list of the best warehouse deals, your favorite cheap foods, and even the cost benefits of a vegetarian diet as part of the Summer of Saving series.

All good things, but even with all of this enhanced knowledge, there’s still one big thing missing: piecing it all together, and producing a delicious and healthy, yet cheap meal that inspires you to further embrace this lifestyle shift.

What better way to do that than for everyone to share a list of their favorite cheap meal recipes, with actual cost and instructions on how to make it?

Cheap Breakfast Recipes:

Lets start with breakfast in this post. Before we get to recipes, lets first discuss a little philosophy.

My philosophy on breakfast is to keep it simple (although one of the meals I will share with you may seem contrary to that, it’s pretty simple when you break it down).

I also like my breakfast to be quick, easy, healthy, and nutrition packed, so that I can make it to lunch without feeling starving and in need of a snack.

I know people who skip breakfast altogether, and while that might seem like the cheapest route on the surface, I don’t see it paying off. These people are usually a mess all morning long, are starving by 11 am, eat an early lunch, and then end up having to snack mid-to-late afternoon. If it works for you, great, but I do not believe in skipping breakfast.

Another cornerstone of my breakfast philosophy: whole foods only. If you are eating anything pre-made/pre-packaged for breakfast, you can bet that:

  1. It’s probably not healthy, and/or
  2. It’s probably not cheap

Lets move on to the recipes. I’ll share a few of my favorite cheap breakfast recipes and would love to see yours as well.

Note that I am 6’4″, exercise 10 hours/week and have a large appetite – so the cost/portion sizes are probably going to be ceilings for many of you. Try these portion sizes and adjust from there.

1. Apple & Peanut Butter Minimalist’s Dream

A minimalists dream. I love this meal because there is the absolute minimal preparation time that goes in to it, it’s cheap, and it’s super healthy. And it’s just filling enough to get me through to lunch. From a health standpoint, plenty of fiber and good carbs in both the apple and the peanut butter, and good fat and protein in the peanut butter. Very well balanced. I really load up on the peanut butter. You could also substitute almond butter for peanut butter if you want to get crazy.

cheap breakfastIngredients:

  • 1 organic honeycrisp apple ($0.83)
  • 4 Tbsp Trader Joe’s peanut butter ($0.26)

Total cost of meal per serving: $1.09

Preparation Instructions (total prep/cook time = 2 minutes):

  1. Wash the apple (and remove that annoying sticker, of course).
  2. Slice it up in to pieces.
  3. Smear on peanut butter.
  4. Eat it!

2. G.E’s Oatmeal

Skip the pre-packaged stuff. It is loaded with sweeteners and is overpriced. On a per serving basis, oatmeal is damn cheap. If I have all morning to sit around and wait for oatmeal, I’d go with steel cut vs. rolled oats, but that almost never happens.

cheap breakfast recipesIngredients:

  • 1/4 cup dry organic rolled oats ($0.09)
  • 1/4 cup Costco walnuts ($0.09)
  • 1/2 cup Costco frozen blueberries ($0.36)
  • 1 tsp ground flax seed ($0.08)
  • 1 tsp coconut ($0.08)

Total cost of meal per serving: $0.70

Preparation Instructions (total prep/cook time = 8 minutes):

  1. Microwave blueberries for 30 seconds to de-thaw.
  2. Bring 1/2 cup water (per serving) to a boil. Reduce heat and add 1/4 cup oats.
  3. Cover and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until water has mostly evaporated.
  4. Add blueberries, flax seed, and coconut.
  5. Eat!

3. G.E.’s Breakfast of Champions

I decided to save the best and most expensive for last.

I love this breakfast.

It isn’t the cheapest of breakfasts. But gosh darnit, it’s good. And compared to the prices of restaurant breakfasts or pre-packaged garbage, it’s an exceptional value. It packs a nutritious punch. The kind of punch you need when you’re about to embark on a 30 mile bike ride or 4 mile run. And you won’t even need to eat an energy bar sugar bomb mid-way through your adventure.

My only regret is I didn’t start making this until last year, which is quite sad.

best breakfastIngredients:

  • 2 Trader Joe’s cage-free eggs ($0.50)
  • 1/2 avocado ($0.50)
  • 2/3 cup Trader Joe’s frozen kale ($0.36)
  • 1/4 cup graded cheese ($0.15) – personal favorite is Trader Joe’s grass fed, organic white cheddar
  • 1 TSP of Kirkland (Costco) extra virgin olive oil ($0.03)
  • 1 TSP Cholula sauce (from Costco) ($0.05)
  • salt & pepper, to taste ($0.02)

Total cost of meal per serving: $1.61

Preparation Instructions (total prep/cook time = 5 minutes):

  1. Un-thaw Kale by spreading out on a plate and microwaving for 1 minute.
  2. Crack 2 eggs in to bowl, add in salt and olive oil, and whisk for 1 minute.
  3. Heat pan, spray bottom, add in eggs.
  4. Scramble eggs for 1 minute, or until they are no longer runny (but before the get brown).
  5. Put eggs on top of kale, shred cheese on top.
  6. Add sliced avocado, then cover with pepper and Cholula.
  7. Eat!

Your Favorite Cheap Breakfast Recipes?

The goal of the entire Summer of Saving series is to have everyone contribute to create a resource for others.

So please share your favorite breakfast recipes, ingredient lists, cost of ingredients, and how to make the meal so that we can all benefit and share in your awesomeness!

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18 Comments »
  • David says:

    My go-to breakfasts are either scrambled eggs, fat free Greek yogurt blended with fresh fruit (usually blueberries), steel cut oats and berries cooked in my rice cooker, or homemade almond flour waffles which I make ahead of time and freeze (beats the hell out of Eggos any day). In my opinion breakfast is by far the easiest meal to make at home and keep relatively healthy without spending more than $1 per serving. There is zero excuse to eat breakfast out of a box or a bag.

    • Vanessa says:

      I second the Greek yogurt + blueberries suggestion.

      2 32 oz. containers at Costco @ $6.99/8 servings = $0.87/serving
      1 4 lb bag of wild blueberries at Costco for ~$10/~20 servings = $0.50/serving

      = $1.37 for a quick breakfast packed with protein. I leave a container of yogurt in the work fridge and let the berries thaw overnight in the fridge, so it’s definitely convenient.

      If you like something sweeter, you can add a bit of honey or use fruit preserves.

  • Jake @ Common Cents Wealth says:

    These are great breakfast ideas. I don’t normally have breakfast (I know, that’s terrible), but my wife has recently liked having apples with peanut butter. It seems like a healthy and somewhat cheap breakfast.

    • Mike F says:

      I don’t eat breakfast either. If I do, I am always starving by 10:30am.

      When I don’t eat breakfast, I can easily make it to my 12:30pm or 1pm lunch before being hungry.

      To anyone who says “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” I disagree with one of three angles–depending on how much of a smart ass I am at that instant. Either a) this is what works for me, you are welcome to do what works for you b) I have reviewed the relevant scientific literature and happen to disagree with your conclusion. Do you have any studies that support that statement, I’d love to read them. c) If I only eat lunch and dinner then doesn’t that mean that one of those meals becomes most important?

  • Sara S. says:

    Oh man, my absolute favorite breakfast (just finished it, actually) is a poached egg on top of oatmeal with some salt and pepper. I learned it from a coworker and at only 175 calories (I don’t eat a full serving of oatmeal ), it fits in nicely with my diet.

    Oatmeal: 1/3 c, $0.25
    Egg: 1, $0.15
    Salt and pepper: $0.02
    Total cost: $0.42

    I usually add a banana for a serving of fruit (not to the oatmeal itself, just on the side).

    • G.E. Miller says:

      Egg? Good. Oatmeal? Good. Egg on top of oatmeal? I’m not so sure the whole is greater than the sum of the parts, but I might give it a try to prove you right or wrong.

      • Sara S. says:

        My coworker had to tell me about it repeatedly for MONTHS before I finally broke down and tried it, and now I eat it nearly every day. It’s the salt and pepper that really elevate the dish. (And if it wasn’t clear, you mix the poached egg into the oatmeal – makes it deliciously creamy.) And look at that price tag! Hard to beat.

  • Ja'Quan says:

    I usually cop a box of corn flakes for $1.49 and a half-jug of milk for $1.79 at Aldi. Them joints be mad cheap.

    Per Serving
    Cereal: .15 (1/10 box)
    Milk: .18 (1/10 carton)
    Total Cost: .33

    If the milk runs out.. Add water dawg! (fo free)

  • sphinx says:

    I like steel cuts more than any other form of oats and they are supposed to be the healthiest. So for cooler months steel cut oats with a little bit of milk and brown sugar and some nuts and berries.
    I use the lazy way of cooking steel cut oats. Boil water, then add oats and let boil for a minute more, turn off heat and cover and leave overnight. Ready in the morning, just reheat in microwave or stove top. I make it in batches for a week at a time.
    Berries are whatever is in season via the csa or farmers market or if nothing is available I add some prunes from Costco.
    For warmer months it’s yogurt, granola (I make both at home) with berries.

  • Stephanie says:

    My favorite breakfast is waffles. All you need to do is mix a half cup milk or milk substitute (I use almond milk), a half cup whole wheat flour, 1 egg, 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp vanilla, and a dash of cinnamon and cook in a waffle iron for 6 minutes. I don’t know the exact cost, but it’s definitely very cheap!

    You could also just make pancakes if you don’t have or want to buy a waffle iron.

  • Darrell says:

    We just made a batch of these “at home egg McMuffins” last evening – they are very delicious and quick. Some are frozen, some are in fridge.

    http://allthingshomie.blogspot.com/2011/10/easy-breakfast-sandwiches.html

    The ingredients & cost (per item):

    Thick sliced ham: .59
    English muffin: .58
    Free range egg: .24
    Cheese: .25

    Total per sandwich: $1.66

  • In our family, we understand the importance of a healthy breakfast so we make sure we eat breakfast everyday. And these are healthy and really good choices.

  • I look forward to trying the breakfast of champions! I usually eat oatmeal since it fill’s me up and holds me over for quite a while. Yogurt and fruit are also a cheap and healthy way to start the day.

  • Megan E. says:

    I’ve stumbled onto the jar oatmeal going around – basically you add oatmeal, yogurt, water, fruit, flax seeds (or chia seeds) and let sit in a glass jar overnight in the fridge – eat cold or heat in the morning for 2-3 minutes (dump into bowl if doing this, it may spill out). Cheap, yummy, and tons of flavors just by changing up what you put in (I just did blueberry and maple syrup, I also like walnuts, cranberries, and a bit of brown sugar).

    My second favorite – eggs (don’t scramble, make an omelet but nothing in it, then fold into 1/4s), place on top of bagel or english muffin, add 1 slice canadian bacon, freshly grated cheese (swiss or cheddar is best) and a leaf or two of fresh basil – microwave for 20-30 seconds to melt cheese – yum! (less than $2, don’t know exact cost, depends on ingredients).

  • bcarney says:

    Doing the low carb diet right now (so I’m eating all the stuff you’re not, G.E.) but when I wasn’t I enjoyed making Indian lentil recipes for breakfast – here is a Monsoor Dal disk that is great warmed up the next day: http://blog.billcarney.com/mansoor-dal-split-orange-lentils/

    The key thing is to break away from the “it’s breakfast, it needs to be eggs, cereal, or fruit” mindset. Like that bug eater on TV, Andrew ZImmern says, “if it looks good, eat it!”

  • Chris says:

    One recent breakfast food that I was exposed to was this simple flourless pancake concoction:

    2 eggs ($.20 more or less)
    1 banana ($.20 more or less)
    ____
    Total = $.40 per serving, making two good-sized pancakes

    Combine ingredients above in a mixing bowl. Mash up the banana with a fork or a bean smasher (it doesn’t have to be pureed, a little chunky is fine) and mix the eggs as if you were going to scramble them. At this point, I usually add a scoop of protein powder and some pumpkin pie spice/cinnamon. Pour the pancake mix in a frying pan and cook slowly.

    This, my friends, makes the simplest pancakes that refrigerate well so you can quickly warm them up in the morning. Try these pancakes with peanut butter and fresh fruit on top, you will thank me later.

  • I’ve been on an omelette kick for the past three months. Best part is you can mix up the filling each week to keep your taste buds interested. I usually use 3-4 eggs and it keeps me filled up past 1PM if I eat around 7AM. My only unmustachian vice is that I buy the prepackaged shredded cheese for convenience, but from what I’ve seen at my local grocer the blocks aren’t that much cheaper so I sleep easy at night ;-)

  • Elena says:

    Oats are great! I eat them every weekday for breakfast. And the best form of oats is actually oat bran, not oatmeal. It is creamy and deliciously nutty in flavour. Just add hot water. And it keeps you full for hours.

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