20 Affordable Fast Food Treats That You Can Try at Home

Who says you can’t enjoy your fast food favorites without the drive-thru? Making these treats at home not only saves you money but also lets you control the ingredients. Curious to see how you can whip up these goodies in your own kitchen?

1. Classic Cheeseburger

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A homemade cheeseburger can be both healthier and more wallet-friendly. Opt for ground beef with a lower fat content and your choice of fresh toppings. This way, you’re looking at a cost of about $2 per burger, compared to $4 at a fast food chain.

2. Crispy French Fries

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Skip the deep fryer and bake your fries in the oven. Coat your potato sticks with a light drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of sea salt for that perfect crunch. This method reduces your calorie intake and can cost less than $1 per serving.

3. Chicken Nuggets

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Make your chicken nuggets using breast meat, bread crumbs, and spices. Baking them instead of frying cuts down on the grease and you know exactly what’s going into your food. It’s a healthier choice that costs mere cents per nugget.

4. Fish Tacos

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Using fresh fish like tilapia or cod, create tacos that surpass anything from a fast-food joint. Add cabbage, a homemade sauce, and a squeeze of lime for a fresh meal that feels gourmet at a fraction of the cost.

5. Milkshakes

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Blend up your own milkshakes with real ice cream and fresh milk. It’s not only delicious, but you can also customize flavors and control the sugar level. Homemade versions can be under $1 per glass, significantly cheaper than the $3-4 at restaurants.

6. Breakfast Burritos

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A robust breakfast option that’s easy on the pocketbook—scramble eggs, add some sausage or bacon, wrap it in a tortilla with cheese. Freeze extras for a quick breakfast that beats the drive-thru on busy mornings.

7. Apple Pie

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Nothing beats the aroma of a baking apple pie. With apples, ready-made pie crusts, and a few spices, you can make a pie that’s better than what most fast food outlets offer, with the cost being around $5 for the whole pie.

8. Grilled Chicken Salad

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Forget the limp, overpriced salads. Grill up some chicken, toss it with greens, nuts, and a vinaigrette of your choice for a fresh and satisfying meal. It’s cheaper and fresher than the $7-9 salads at fast food chains.

9. Iced Coffee

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Brew your coffee at home and chill it for an iced version that’s just as good if not better than what you buy. Add your own milk and sweeteners and save nearly $3 compared to your local café.

10. Veggie Pizza

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Make pizza night a health and budget win. Use a pre-made crust, or go homemade, and top it with a plethora of veggies. A large pizza costs about $3 to make at home, slicing the price and boosting the nutrients.

11. Onion Rings

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Bake onion rings instead of frying for a less greasy alternative. A simple batter and breadcrumb coating can turn basic onions into a crispy treat. This switch not only cuts down on calories but also on costs—about $1 per batch.

12. Sliders

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Mini burgers make great snacks or light meals. Use dinner rolls as buns and a small amount of meat per slider. It’s fun and you can add various toppings. This home-cooked version can save you about 50% off the fast-food price.

13. Mozzarella Sticks

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Make them at home by wrapping string cheese in wonton wrappers and baking until crispy. It’s less oily and you control the cheese quality. A batch of 10 costs less than $5, half the price of eating out.

14. Barbecue Ribs

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Slow cook ribs in your oven or grill. With homemade barbecue sauce, this dish becomes irresistibly tasty and remarkably cheaper than restaurant offerings, costing around $10 for a family-sized serving.

15. Smoothies

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Blend fruits, yogurt, and a splash of honey for a refreshing smoothie. This healthy alternative to fast-food versions saves you money and additives. Typical cost per serving? Under $2.

16. Hotdogs

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Go gourmet with your hot dogs at home. Use high-quality sausages and load up on condiments. The price per hot dog at home is about half what you’d pay at a stand.

17. Loaded Nachos

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Pile high with beans, cheese, jalapeños, and homemade salsa. It’s a crowd-pleaser that’s cost-effective and customizable. The entire platter can come together for about $5, far cheaper than any sports bar.

18. Mac and Cheese

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Create this comfort food with real cheese and a touch of mustard powder for depth. It’s a rich, creamy side that outdoes boxed versions for just cents per serving.

19. Falafel

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These vegetarian delights are cheap to make and packed with protein. Serve with tahini or yogurt sauce for a Middle Eastern treat that’s both satisfying and light on the wallet.

20. Beef Tacos

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Season ground beef with homemade taco spice, serve with fresh toppings on corn tortillas. This can be a fun family meal that saves money and adds a healthier twist.

Easy Does It: Tasty, Healthy, and Economical

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Who knew that whipping up fast food favorites at home could be so simple and economical? Not only are you cutting costs, but you’re also tailoring each dish to be as healthy as you desire. Start experimenting today and enjoy both the process and the savings!

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For transparency, this content was partly developed with AI assistance and carefully curated by an experienced editor to be informative and ensure accuracy.

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