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10 Ways to Use Canned Meat to Save Money on Groceries

The Stay at Home Chef/ Spend with Pennies/ The Seasoned Mom

Let’s face it; meat is expensive. If you want to feed your family a decent meal these days, you’ll have to work those sale sections real hard to find a deal that won’t break the bank. Luckily, canned meat can help minimize costs.

The thought of canned chicken might not exactly thrill you like a freshly seared piece of chicken breast does, but some of these recipes might help change your mind. All we’re saying is, don’t knock it till you try it.

Canned Chicken: Chicken Pot Pie

a chicken pot pie made with canned chicken.
The Stay at Home Chef

Nothing says home-cooked like a hot chicken pot pie, fresh out of the oven. The Stay at Home Chef recipe provided is a great place to start if you’ve never made this tasty meal before, but if you have your own recipe, feel free to work with that instead.

The key here is to save money. So, instead of buying (and cooking) expensive chicken breast or taking apart an already-cooked rotisserie chicken, consider using a can or two of cooked chicken instead.

According to Healthline, canned meat and seafood are excellent (and inexpensive) protein sources. If you are concerned about texture, hiding bits and pieces in pot pies, soups, and casseroles is a great way to work around that apprehension.

Canned Clams: New England Clam Chowder

a bowl of clam chowder
Spend with Pennies

Oh, how we love the richness of a creamy hot chowder throughout the cold months of fall, winter, and spring. Don’t let the ingredients or complex appearance of this soup scare you off, it’s actually relatively easy to make, and it tastes fantastic with warm crusty bread on the side.

Using canned chopped clams, a few hearty root vegetables, and a little onion and celery, you’ll make an exceptional soup. You can even save a few extra bucks by opting to use canned potatoes. You won’t need to cook them up, so make sure to add them right at the end with the clams.

We love using canned potatoes to help save time and money. The best part? No one will ever know the difference if you purchase canned whole potatoes and roughly chop them yourself. The diced potatoes are super uniform and will give your secret away, so go for whole.

SPAM: Spam Fried Rice

A bowl of spam frried rice
Damn Delicious

Spam is known for being that weird mystery meat here in the US, but did you know that in some countries, like South Korea, it is considered a luxury item?

If you’ve never tried this salty snack, we recommend giving it a try at least once in your life. It’s delicious when added to stews and ramen noodles but also goes well in baked casseroles. Heck, you can even make air-fried fries out of them!

Next time you’re in the mood for flavorful fried rice, here’s your recipe! Just grab your rice cooker, and any veggies you have in your fridge, then stir fry it up.

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Canned Salmon: French Canadian Salmon Pie

a slice of canadian salmon pie
Grow a Good Life

Salmon pie might sound strange to some, but for French Canadians, the pie is a traditional meal enjoyed throughout the year. Filled with ingredients like mashed potatoes, onion, and cooked salmon, you’ll find this unique dish to come together quickly.

This recipe calls for freshly cooked salmon, but we always made it with canned salmon growing up. Not only will it save you money, but you’ll save time, and it tastes just as delicious.

Next time you find yourself with leftover mashed potatoes, save them on the side, mix in a can of salmon with some cooked onion, then tuck it between a few sheets of pie dough. That’s what we call a supah suppah!

Canned Chili: Chili Dogs

Chili cheese hot dogs
The Cozy Cook

While we wouldn’t recommend eating these on a weekly basis, chili dogs are one of those treats that we think everyone should enjoy every now and then.

You can make these with leftover chili or with the help of a can of chili! Either way, you’re in for a treat, and so is anyone else who gets to enjoy them.

Canned Tuna: Tuna Noodle Casserole

A tuna noodle casserole
The Seasoned Mom

Tuna noodle casserole is just about as homey as it gets! Filled with noodles, peas, canned tuna, and a creamy, oh-so-dreamy sauce to bring it all together! It screams comfort and really hits the spot.

You can save money by playing around with ingredients you already have at home. If you don’t have egg noodles, then use rotini, macaroni elbows, or shells if that’s what your pantry is packing. While peas are a classic in this dish, you can substitute them for broccoli and chopped carrots.

You can exchange fancy albacore tuna for canned chunk light tuna, salmon, or even chicken. That’s the fun part about cooking on a budget. Who knows, all these substitutions might lend to a new family favorite creation.

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Vienna Sausage: Spanish Rice with Vienna Sausage

a batch of rice
Latina Mom Meals

Vienna sausages make for a lovely addition to rice dishes, and this Puerto Rican arroz con salchichas (rice with vienna sausage) is an excellent example. Filled with flavor and little bursts of soft vienna sausages makes for a lovely little side dish or main entree.

Corned Beef Hash: Breakfast of Champions

A plate of hash with a baked egg over the top
The Spicy Apron

We love breakfast for dinner! It’s one of those things we decide on a whim when we don’t feel like cooking an extravagant meal. After a long day, nothing beats the simplicity of opening up a can of corned beef hash and cracking a few eggs over the top.

It’s cheap (except for maybe the eggs right now) and will fill tummys thanks to the meat and potatoes in every can. Serve this with something sweet like pancakes or fresh fruit, or offer up toast with jam as a simple side dish.

Canned Ham: Baked Mac with Diced Ham

Baked Mac
The Chunky Chef

Okay, remember when we said tuna casserole is as homey as it gets? We lied! Baked macaroni and cheese is definitely the coziest of all.

The best part is how versatile the dish can be. You can use whatever cheeses you have on hand and throw in whatever protein and cooked veggies you have. Diced ham goes really well with baked mac, so if you have a can of that, throw it in. Otherwise, spam, Vienna sausage, or canned chicken will go well too!

Anchovies: Homemade Caesar Salad

A caesar salad
Once Upon a Chef

For something on the healthier side, feel free to whip up a homemade Caesar dressing. The recipe calls for anchovy paste here, but if you already have a can of anchovies at home, you can make your own paste.

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To make anchovy paste, all you have to do is mince up a few anchovies, then mash them with a fork. It’s that simple. Then mix your dressing ingredients and enjoy it tossed in a crisp bed of romaine.

These canned meat recipes are sure to save you a few bucks, but courtesy of our friend Karla, here at LifeSavvy, we have a few meatless recipes that can save you some cash too! 

Emilee Unterkoefler Emilee Unterkoefler
Emilee Unterkoefler is a freelance food writer, hiking enthusiast, and mama with over ten years of experience working in the food industry. Read Full Bio »
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