Frugal food staples that help stretch your meals further can be a big hassle to deal with because they tend to be a bit bland. From beans to rice and even oats there are so many ways to serve these filling staples but they get boring fast. The good news is that there are a lot of great frugal ways to add flavour to your meals to make them more appetising.

spices on teaspoons

Frugal ways to create more flavourful food

Garlic and onions

These aromatic vegetables are inexpensive and can be used to add flavour to almost any dish. Sauté them in oil or butter and add them to your soups, stews, or casseroles for a flavorful boost. You can easily use garlic and onions to make your whole home smell amazing and to make your dish more appealing from the moment your family walks through the door.

Herbs and spices

Herbs and spices are a great way to add flavour to your food without spending a lot of money. Common herbs and spices like cinnamon, basil, oregano, paprika, and cumin can be used to add depth and complexity to your dishes. Keeping a well-stocked spice rack is one of the best things you can do for flavorful frugal cooking.


Citrus fruits like lemons and limes are another great way to add flavour to your food. Squeeze some fresh lemon juice over roasted vegetables or add lime zest to your favourite marinade to give your food a bright and tangy flavour.

Stock or broth

Using stock or broth instead of water to cook your grains or vegetables can add a lot of flavour to your dish. You can make your own stock by simmering meat bones, vegetable scraps, or even shrimp shells in water for a few hours. You can make this yourself from food scraps to add flavour while saving money.

Soy sauce

Soy sauce is a versatile ingredient that can be used to add a savoury, umami flavour to your dishes. Use it in marinades, dressings, or stir-fries for a delicious and inexpensive way to add flavour to everything from rice to meat. The high salt also helps to tenderize your food making it more palatable.


Vinegar can be used to add a tangy flavour to your food. Use apple cider vinegar in your salad dressings or rice vinegar in your stir-fries for a unique and delicious taste. Try adding this to marinades for a rich, tangy, and tender meal.

Hot sauce or Sriracha

Hot sauce or Sriracha can add a lot of flavour to your food without adding a lot of calories or cost. A little bit goes a long way, so start with a small amount and add more as needed.


Mustard is another ingredient that can add flavour and depth to your dishes. Use it in marinades or sauces, or add a dollop to your sandwich for a delicious kick. The difference it makes in my gardener’s pie and leek and macaroni cheese is immense.

There are plenty of frugal ingredients you can use to add flavour to your food with a little creativity. The sky is truly the limit when it comes to finding new and unique combinations for flavorful and frugal meals.

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