Cheap Christmas Dinner Ideas: $20 to Feed a Family of 5

All Things Mandy
by All Things Mandy

You can have a fantastic Christmas dinner on a budget, and I will show you how. If you need cheap Christmas dinner ideas, I'm cooking Christmas dinner to feed a family of five for only $20. It was delicious, a ton of food, and I even got dessert there.

How to do Christmas dinner on a budget

Shopping list

This is what I got for around $20:

  • a huge ham for $7.05. 
  • steamable red baby potatoes. 
  • a box of elbow macaroni
  • Velveeta cheese sauce 
  • an eight-ounce block of sharp cheddar cheese
  • frozen green beans
  • crescent rolls
  • two pie crusts
  • chocolate jello pudding

I'm going to put all this together, and I'm going to make a Christmas dinner for around $20. 

Cook the ham

Cook the ham

I'm going to put the ham in my casserole dish, add a little water, and cover it with foil to ensure it does not dry out. It's already fully cooked, but I need to heat it. It will take about an hour and 45 minutes in my oven at 350 degrees.

Red skinned potatoes

Red skinned potatoes

I have a bag of baby red-skinned potatoes. It says to steam it in the bag for 8 minutes; then, I'm going to turn these steamed baby red-skinned potatoes into garlic and parsley smashed potatoes.

Christmas dinner on a budget


I bought two refrigerated pie crusts. I'm going to take my pie dish, and I am going to use both of these. I laid one pie crust in the bottom of my buttered pie dish, and once I got to looking at it, the sides weren't as deep as I wanted the pie to be. 

I took the second pie crust, cut it, and added it to the sides of my pie dish so that the pie would be deeper because I wanted to put chocolate pudding inside. 

My ham is in the oven at 350. The pie crust called for 425, so I just 

I decided to put it in the oven at 350, and it will take a few more minutes. 

Making the pie filling

Pie filling

While my pie crust is cooking, I have the pudding package. I'm going to put that in my bowl, and I'm going to add two cups of milk. I'm going to whisk this; then, I will set the pudding mixture in the fridge to thicken while my pie crust is baking.  

Green beans for Christmas dinner

Green beans

I have added the frozen package of green beans to a saucepan, and I'm going to cover those with some water. 

I'm going to add some garlic powder and onion powder, and then I'm going to add some vegetable oil. 

I'm going to put this on the stove and let it boil, then lower the temperature so it can simmer. Once the liquid is cooked out, my green beans are finished. 


Now I'm going to start prepping my baked macaroni and cheese. I have a box of elbow macaroni that I will be boiling in some water according to the package directions. 

Smashed red potatoes

Smashed potatoes

I've got those red potatoes coming out of the microwave, and I will also work on those. 

Melt a stick of butter and add some garlic cloves. I am chopping the garlic cloves into my melted butter because I want that garlic flavor to infuse throughout the butter. 

I'm adding dried parsley flakes to this melted garlic butter mixture for super yummy smashed potatoes. 

I have that bag of steamed potatoes in the microwave. I'm going to put them on a cookie sheet, and I'm going to take a coffee mug and smash them.

Then I'm going to be taking a cooking brush, and I'm going to be spreading that garlic and parsley melted butter all on my red smashed potatoes. I will be placing those back in the oven to get some crispy bits and let that gorgeous garlic buttery flavor infuse throughout the potatoes.

Baked macaroni and cheese

Baked macaroni and cheese

I am ready to make my baked macaroni. I have cooked my elbow macaroni noodles, the whole pound, in a pot of salted boiling water. I'm now putting that into my casserole dish.

I'm also going to be adding in different cheeses. I took an eight-ounce block of sharp cheddar cheese and grated that onto my cutting board. I also have a package of Velveeta cheese sauce. 

I bought the three-pack, which was at my local grocery store, and it was about $3.20. You can get one pack of this Velveeta cheese sauce at Dollar Tree for $1.00. 

I'm just putting one pack of that Velveeta cheese sauce and a handful of my shredded cheddar cheese into my elbow macaroni noodles. I want it to be very creamy. I put a little bit of the starchy water that the noodles cooked in into the dish so that I could have something for the cheese to melt into. 

I stirred in a little bit of my shredded cheddar cheese and one package of that Velveeta creamy cheese. I also added salt and pepper and stirred this together to combine.  

Now that I have my macaroni and cheese mixture combined, I am covering the top of that mac and cheese with my shredded, extra sharp cheddar cheese, and I'm going to pop this in the oven. Bake until browned.

Dessert assembly

Dessert assembly

My pie crust has cooled, and my pudding has thickened, so I'm just taking that chocolate pudding I had made, and I'm putting that inside my pie crust. I'll add whipped cream to the top to serve the chocolate pie.

Cheap Christmas dinner ideas

Cheap Christmas dinner ideas

This is our Christmas dinner plate. Once everything was out of the oven, this was delicious and had a lot of food. The ham, the mac and cheese, the roasted smashed garlic potatoes, and those green beans were delicious. We served it with a crescent roll on the side. The chocolate pie topped with whipped cream was yummy.

This made an enjoyable Christmas dinner feast for only $20. I hope my cheap Christmas dinner idea will help you to have a filling, delicious Christmas dinner on a budget. What are your favorite Christmas dinner foods? Share in the comments below!

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2 of 9 comments
  • Clergylady Clergylady on Dec 16, 2023

    I used sliced, diced, and ground ham in many dishes and sandwiches. Kids liked ground ham, mayo, and pickle relish mixed as a sand which spread. I often cook the ham bone with meaty bits on it in a pot of pinto beans but it’s also good cooked in a soup with lots of veggies and some tomato. I add diced ham to Mac n cheese, omelets, split pea soup, in green beans, even a shepherds pie with gravy, ham, veggies, in a Prebaked pie crust topped with mashed potatoes.

  • Christine Christine on Dec 16, 2023

    Thank you for the great tips. Merry Christmas to you and yours.