Best Reliable Cheap Birthday Dinner Ideas to Keep in Mind


I love birthdays. I love the presents, the songs sung by waiters (when it’s my birthday), and I even love the cake. Still, one thing that always makes me uncomfortable is how much money people feel obligated to spend on birthdays. And food is one of the most expensive parts.

Don’t get me wrong: I don’t hate fancy dinners or being treated to them every now and again, but when it comes to celebrating birthdays with friends or family, I prefer something more low-key. Celebrations are about being together and having fun rather than breaking the bank on a large meal.

It’s just a lot of pressure—and takes a lot of work—to make a nice dinner yourself, have a meal catered, or get a reservation at a nice restaurant.

Here are some inexpensive, easy ways to do each type of birthday meal.

What are the most inexpensive birthday meals to make yourself?

Baked Tortellini

Baked tortellini is a tasty meal that can be made in advance and reheated before serving. This makes it ideal for parties, since all you need to do is set out the food and let your guests serve themselves.

Baked tortellini is served warm with a side of garlic bread or salad, cheese, marinara sauce and/or meat (such as ground beef). It’s great when served with fresh vegetables such as broccoli or carrots on the side.

You can find the recipe at Salt & Lavender.

Slow Cooker Pork Carnitas Bowls

The slow cooker is your friend for parties because you can toss everything in and walk away, then come back to shredded pork that’s ready to use in a bowl with tortilla chips, beans, and guacamole.

You can find the recipe at Blogger Bests.

Tortellini Soup

Tortellini soup is a classic favorite that’s sure to please everyone. It’s easy to make, and it can be prepared in large batches so you can use it as the main dish of your birthday dinner or lunch. You can also use this as an appetizer for an upcoming party and bring along some breadsticks to go with it!

The best part about serving tortellini soup for your birthday is that all of your guests are going to love it because there isn’t just one way of making it—you can customize the recipe according to what type of tortellini you want (cheese, chicken, etc.) and how spicy you want them to be.

You can find the recipe at Gal on a Mission.

One-Pot Pasta

One-pot pasta is a fantastic inexpensive, easy birthday dinner idea. t’s basically a one-stop shop for dinner, and it can be adapted for any number of people. You don’t even have to cook everything separately; you can just throw everything into a pot and simmer it until the noodles are done.

You can find 5 recipes at Kitchn.


The pizza is a great option because it is easy to make and can be customized to match your guests’ tastes. Pizza can also be an excellent dish that you serve at a birthday party because it is a crowd-pleaser, which means everyone will enjoy the food. Finally, making pizza is convenient because there are many different ways you can make it and you do not need very many ingredients (just flour, water, yeast, salt and olive oil).

You can find 25 recipes at Bread Booze Bacon.

Burgers and Chips

Who doesn’t love burgers? This classic combination can be prepared from beef patties from the store or make them yourself. To keep costs low, opt for homemade condiments such as ketchup, mayonnaise and mustard instead of buying store-bought ones.

You can find the best burger secrets at A Mind “Full” Mom


Casseroles are some of the easiest dishes to make, serve, and clean up. They can be prepared in advance, frozen until needed, and reheated easily on the day of your party. A casserole is also a great option if you’re looking for something cheap as it can feed many people at one time without breaking the bank.

You can find 30 delicious casserole recipes at Taste of Home.

What are the best inexpensive restaurants for a birthday dinner?

Chain Restaurants

If you’re looking for a great deal on a restaurant meal, it can be hard to find one that doesn’t charge an arm and a leg. Luckily, there are some chain restaurants that offer cheap dinner options to meet your needs.

Places like Chili’s, Applebee’s, or Denny’s often have 3 course meal deals or discounted sharable options. Additionally, kid’s meals are often less than $5!

Sandwiches (Walmart, subway, Costco)

Sandwiches are the best cheap birthday dinner idea. They’re easy to make and can be eaten right away, so you don’t have to worry about cooking anything if your guests arrive late.

The best deals for sandwiches are Walmart, Costco, and Subway. You can get an especially good discount if you are purchasing for a large group of people!


You don’t have to break the bank for a birthday dinner. Whether you make it at home or go out to a restaurant, a good meal can be inexpensive and still taste delicious.

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