16 Affordable Dinner Party Recipes to Help You Plan a Fabulous Meal

They’re impressive—without breaking the bank.

July 07, 2023

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Host a Dinner Party on a Budget

Hosting friends for dinner can get expensive. That’s why we love these simple, affordable recipes that help you curate an impressive dinner party without breaking the bank. From easy appetizers to creative cocktails, there’s no shortage of budget-friendly party food ideas out there, and each of these options prove that hosting doesn’t have to be expensive. Ready to start planning your next get together? When it comes to serving an impressive dinner, you can count on roast chicken to deliver crowd-pleasing results. This timeless dish screams elegance, and we love that it’s versatile enough to take on different flavors or seasonings. This recipe highlights the simplicity of roast chicken by pairing it with roast vegetables and a few flavorings like thyme, lemon, garlic and freshly-ground black pepper.

Get the Recipe: Perfect Roast Chicken

White Sangria

Sangria is one of the easiest cocktails to whip up when you’re serving a group. It’s best served when batched in advance and served in a pitcher, so you don’t have to spend time mixing individual glasses. This recipe calls for only a few simple ingredients like apples, berries and apple liquor, so it’s affordable and easy to whip up.

Get the Recipe: White Sangria

Warm Marinated Olives

When it comes to affordable appetizers, it doesn’t get much easier than a plate of marinated olives. This recipe uses garlic, fennel seeds, orange zest and thyme leaves as the flavorful accents for Kalamata and Cerignola olives. Serving them warm makes the whole dish feel a little more elevated and elegant.

Get the Recipe: Warm Marinated Olives

Buffalo Popcorn

Popcorn is one of cheapest snacks you can serve, and it doesn’t take much effort to jazz it up a bit. This recipe uses store-bought kettle corn that gets seasoned with Buffalo sauce and blue cheese to create a sweet, salty and spicy snack that’s perfect for a dinner party or potluck. Blue cheese powder is the secret to topping it off with cool, tangy flavor.

Get the Recipe: Buffalo Popcorn

Arugula Salad with Olive Oil, Lemon, and Parmesan Cheese

This salad is one of the easiest ways to feed a crowd. It requires just five simple ingredients, and takes a total of ten minutes to come together. It’s perfect for serving with a special entrée like roast chicken, but it pairs just as well with some grilled burgers and hot dogs. Garnish with freshly ground pepper and a few shavings of Parmesan cheese.

Get the Recipe: Arugula Salad with Olive Oil, Lemon, and Parmesan Cheese

Stuffed Mushrooms

Stuffed mushrooms are a great recipe to feed a crowd because they’re easy and affordable, but they look and taste impressive. In addition to the mushroom filling, this recipe also uses spinach and tomato to pack in nutrients and hearty vegetables. Grated Pecorino Romano adds tangy, cheesy flavor.

Get the Recipe: Stuffed Mushrooms

Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are perfect for a party—they’re irresistible, affordable and a total crowd pleaser. This fun spin on the classic recipe uses goat cheese to add tangy flavor and creamy texture. Serve with an extra sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese.

Get the Recipe: Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes

Spinach Alfredo Pasta Bake

Alfredo is one of the heartiest, most indulgent pasta sauces out there, and we love that this recipe incorporates it into a casserole. Packed with filling yet affordable ingredients like sliced mushrooms, spinach, ricotta cheese and heavy cream, each bite is perfectly coated in cheesy, flavorful sauce. Serve with a simple salad and a sprinkling of toasted breadcrumbs.

Get the Recipe: Spinach Alfredo Pasta Bake

Chicken Enchiladas

Whether you’re hosting a game day tailgate or a sit down dinner, chicken enchiladas are a versatile crowd pleaser that’s sure to be a safe bet any time of year. They’re cheesy, saucy, hearty and packed with flavor. You can serve them on their own, or pair with a light side salad for a complete meal. Either way, they’re easy and affordable to make, and your guests won’t be able to resist a second helping.

Get the Recipe: Chicken Enchiladas

Mini Cheese Balls

These cheese balls make an adorable appetizer. Better yet, they’re super affordable and easy to whip up. Simply mix cream cheese with Worcestershire sauce, lemon zest and a hard cheese of your choice, then season with salt and pepper. Form the balls with your hands then let them harden in the refrigerator for four hours. Serve with a skewer and cocktail napkin, or roll in a fun and colorful topping like crushed almonds, paprika, chopped chives or crumbled bacon.

Get the Recipe: Mini Cheese Balls

Greek Salad

Greek salad is great for a dinner party because it’s easy and affordable to whip up, and your guests will love a serving of bright, fresh vegetables to pair with dinner. In this recipe, cucumbers, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, red onions and feta get tossed with a homemade vinaigrette. The simple salad delivers bright, fresh flavor in a simple, approachable salad that complements just about any entrée.

Get the Recipe: Greek Salad

Yogurt-Marinated Chicken Skewers

These chicken skewers pack a ton of flavor in every bite thanks to dry rub that’s made of spices you probably already have in your cabinet. A quick marinade in plain yogurt adds extra tangy flavor and tender texture, and we love that the skewers are versatile enough to act as an appetizer or full meal.

Get the Recipe: Yogurt-Marinated Chicken Skewers

Perfect Pot Roast

Nobody can resist pot roast—this hearty dish is tender and flavorful, and it pairs with a ton of different side dishes. If you’re looking to feed a big group without spending too much money, pot roast is an affordable dish that’s totally impressive. It takes a few hours in the oven, so this is a great dish to make in advance so you can enjoy your party while it’s keeping warm in the oven.

Get the Recipe: Perfect Pot Roast

Pasta Bake

Pasta is a crowd-pleaser no matter how you serve it, and it’s also one of the most affordable ingredients to buy in bulk. This recipe is perfect for a dinner party because it’s hearty, flavorful and can be made in advance and frozen for later use.

Get the Recipe: Pasta Bake

Popcorn Balls

For an easy dessert that’s super affordable and feeds a crowd, turn to a snack you probably already have in your pantry—popcorn! Peanut butter and milk chocolate combine to turn this salty snack into a sweet treat. Each ball is dotted with mini marshmallows for extra chewy texture, and a dusting of confectioner’s sugar makes them extra sweet.

Get the Recipe: Popcorn Balls

Roasted Root Vegetables

Roasted root vegetables are great for a cheap dinner party because they’re easy to buy in bulk and are super affordable. In this recipe, carrots, celery and parsnips get tossed with butter and salt and pepper, then roasted to perfection until tender. This hearty side dish is perfect for pairing with roast meats like chicken or short ribs, and it can be adapted to different flavor profiles by swapping in fun herbs or spices.

Get the Recipe: Roasted Root Vegetables