Making mincemeat from scratch

Christmas is a time for getting loved ones around the table to enjoy good food, good company and to toast the season. But this festive feast can quickly get costly.

Never fear: our handy budget-friendly tips for Christmas cooking will help you out, proving you don’t need to sacrifice quality to save the pennies. Good food doesn’t have to bust the budget, and even small changes to your routine can make all the difference. Batch cooking, the gift that keeps on giving, will help you plan ahead, as will making the most of your freezer and putting your leftovers to good use. 

Explore our tips for cooking on a budget to help you shop smart, cook clever and waste less this Christmas.

PLAN AHEADImage of a turkey crown on a place. How to debone a turkey leg feature

Planning ahead and making what you can in advance (and using the freezer wherever possible) is a smart way of saving by buying ingredients when they’re cheaper, and reducing food waste. Gravy, Christmas cake and Yorkshire puddings can all be made well ahead of Christmas Day, making cooking the festive meal less stressful, too.

Buy a bigger turkey – It’s often cheaper per kilo to buy a larger bird, then put those leftovers to good use by making them the star of the show in the days after. For more inspiration, check out our Christmas leftover meal ideas.

Increase your veg quantities — roasting double the amount of veg and planning the meals for the week ahead around this can cut food waste and save energy by taking advantage of your oven being on.

LOVE YOUR LEFTOVERSLeftover turkey burger

Most of us will wake up on Boxing Day with a fridge packed full of leftover meat, cooked veg and dessert. Make sure you enjoy every last mouthful by checking out our creative ways to use up your remaining food with our gorgeous leftover recipes.


Getting organised before you do The Big Shop can really help you cut costs. Checking your cupboards before you leave the house, so you know what you already have, will save you money and reduce food waste. Writing a shopping list of what you need and sticking to it is a great way to budget — it sounds simple, but it makes all the difference!

EMBRACE YOUR FREEZERHow to prep food for your freezer

Do food shopping in advance and freeze what you can. This will help spread shopping costs over a couple of months. 

Many dishes can also be made ahead and then frozen, saving you space in the fridge. Mince pies are a great one to make and freeze, then simply bake from frozenú. Get-ahead gravy is another that you can make and freeze, as is my Tiramisù.


Swap in more affordable alternatives, such as smoked mackerel instead of smoked salmon, pot-roast or pork loin instead of rib or roast beef tenderloin. In fact, opting for cheaper cuts of meat can be a great way to lower costs.

BAKE YOUR OWN11 mince pies with star pastry topping and icing sugar

Making your own festive treats can help you save, and give you tastier and fresher food. Making your own mince pies and gravy is not too time consuming, super fun and can work out much cheaper than buying them.


Consider vegetarian alternatives to turkey — not only is it cheaper, but gorgeous festive mains like our stuffed roast squash and mushroom & squash vegetarian Wellington are relatively quick to cook compared to roasting a whole bird. And we know saving time and hassle is always a win on what is often a busy day! 

Hungry for more? Visit our budget-friendly hub for our top tips and tricks for keeping costs down in the kitchen