Cooking in larger quantities a few times a month can add up to real financial benefits, like less waste and fewer expensive takeout nights. Let’s unpack the ways batch cooking can make your budget breathe a little easier.
Batch Cooking Isn’t Just a Time-Saver. Here’s 7+ Reasons why:
1. The Power of Bulk Purchasing.
Buying ingredients in larger quantities often comes at a reduced unit price, which saves you money in the long run.
Have some for dinner one night and divide the rest into meal-sized portions to freeze for later.
2. Waste Not, Want Not.
Cooking in bulk means you’re likely to use all of an ingredient rather than letting half of it spoil in the fridge.
Here are some common fridge-rot culprits:
- Leafy Greens: Think spinach or kale, which are often bought in large bags or bunches. They wilt quickly if not used up. Use up a ton of them at once with this 5-star Saag Paneer recipe.
- Dairy Products: Items like sour cream or buttermilk are often needed in small amounts for recipes, leaving the rest to spoil. My fav way to use up milk is with a pot of the best tomato soup ever. To finish up cream, I whip up a double batch of my Butter Chicken. Or for sour cream and buttermilk, I fill the freezer with Sour Cream Blueberry Muffins and these super-soft Apple Muffins, perfect for grab-and-go breakfasts.
- Vegetables: Think of half-used bell peppers, zucchinis, or heads of cauliflower. I can’t recommend these two soups highly enough and you can easily tap the “2x” or “3x” button in the recipe cards. Must try: Vegetable Orzo Soup and Potato Zucchini Soup
- Citrus Fruits: Sometimes a recipe calls for just a squirt of lemon or lime, leaving the rest to dry out. Make a big batch of this Lemon Yogurt Sauce for salads and bowls, or these Honey Garlic Lemon Pepper Chicken Thighs to last you the week.
- Tomato Paste: Many recipes call for just a tablespoon, leaving you with an open can that’s easy to forget. You’ll love this super-popular Beef & Vegetable Soup recipe that uses up a whole can in one shot.
3. Nix the Takeout Temptation
With ready-to-go meals in your freezer, you’re less likely to spend money on last-minute takeout or delivery options.
4. Savvy Shopping
Batch cooking requires planning, which can make your grocery shopping more efficient. This might prevent impulse buying or picking up items that aren’t on your list. Here’s my guide to meal planning in 3 easy steps.
5. Time is Money: The Indirect Savings
Although not a direct cost-saving, the time you save by batch cooking could be used for other productive activities, potentially income-generating ones.
Time is our most valuable currency, right?
6. Reduce Gas-Guzzling Errands
If you find yourself making fewer trips to the grocery store because you’ve batch cooked, you’re also spending less on gas, parking and/or public transportation.
7. Portion Control … for Your Wallet
By dividing your batch-cooked meals into portions means the food—and the money you spent on it—goes further.
My Favorite Budget-Friendly Recipes to Batch Prep
Crispy Potato Fish Cakes – A savvy way to stretch your seafood budget. Combine flaky fish with budget-friendly potatoes and pantry spices for a meal that’s easy on the wallet and can be frozen for later.
Madras Lentils – This creamy lentil dish combines the rich spices of Madras curry with protein-packed lentils. Cook in bulk and you’ll have hearty servings that freeze well, offering quick meals down the line.
Masoor Dal – My Indian mother-in-law’s recipe for red lentils simmered with spices. It makes for a cost-effective and nutritious meal. This dish is perfect for making in large quantities and tastes even better as leftovers, as the flavors meld together over time.
Marinated Chicken from these Chicken Street Tacos – Ideal for making in big batches, it’s a protein that can be repurposed in multiple meals throughout the week.
Ground Turkey Soup – A lean, mean, budget-friendly option that brings together ground turkey, veggies, and broth. It’s a one-pot wonder that’s great for cooking in bulk. Freeze individual portions and you’ve got a quick, affordable meal ready whenever you need it.
Any recipes you love to batch prep? Let me know in the comments!
Last Updated on September 21, 2023 by Jennifer Pallian BSc, RD