10 Low-Effort, Cheap Snack Recipes to Cure a Snack Attack

Need a little nosh but low on dough? We've got you covered with easy, affordable homemade snacks that'll hit the spot.

Updated December 27, 2023
little girl on a chair looking in the cupboard

We've all been there... suddenly a snack attack hits on the day before payday. If you have the hungries but don't have a ton of money to fill your belly between meals, we have solutions. Our cheap snack recipes are super easy to make, use items you probably already have in your pantry, help you use up leftover foods, and taste really good.

Whether you're craving salty, sweet, crunchy, or cheesy, we have you covered. In just a few minutes, you'll be on your way to curing that snack attack without blasting your bank account. 

Spicy Popcorn

spiced popcorn

We love popcorn with fun toppings any time we're feeling a little munchy. This spicy popcorn doesn't cost much, but it provides lots of satisfying crunch and spice. It uses spices you probably already have in your cupboard, too. 


  • 4 cups popped popcorn
  • 3 tablespoons melted butter or vegan butter
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  1. Preheat your oven to 300°F.
  2. Pop the popcorn while the oven preheats.
  3. Drizzle popcorn with butter and toss with spices.
  4. Spread popcorn on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for about five minutes to crisp the corn. Serve hot.
Helpful Hack

Want it a little cheesy but vegan? We recommend adding a tablespoon of nutritional yeast with the spices and using a really tasty vegan butter like Miyoko's. 

Butterscotch Apples

butterscotch apples

Craving something crispy and sweet? This is the answer! Apples are a great snack by themselves, but when you add a sweet, gooey dip to the mix? Heaven! 


  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • ½ cup cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 apples


  1. In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter.
  2. Stir in the brown sugar and bring to a boil. Boil, whisking constantly, for three to four minutes.
  3. Whisk in cream, cooking and stirring until smooth.
  4. Stir in the salt and vanilla.
  5. Refrigerate until cool.
  6. Slice the apples into wedges, removing the seeds and core.
  7. Serve with the butterscotch sauce for dipping.

Baked Potato Chips

baked potato chips

Yum! Chips. Whether you dip them or just snack on them warm from the oven (or air fryer), these are easy, super cheap snacks, and they're incredibly versatile.

So if you have a leftover tater or two, make yourself some chips. Sprinkle with salt, herbs, or even nutritional yeast for a cheesy chip. I love to leave the peels on, but you can peel your potato, too. 


  • 1 raw potato, washed
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • Salt


  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F.
  2. Slice the potato into ⅛-inch thick slices.
  3. Soak the potatoes in ice water for 15 minutes. Drain and add more ice water. Soak for another 15 minutes. Drain the water and pat the potatoes dry with a paper towel. 
  4. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer on one or two rimmed baking sheets.
  5. Brush each slice with oil.
  6. Bake until the chips are crisp, about 15 to 20 minutes.
  7. Sprinkle with salt while hot.
Helpful Hack

Got an air fryer? Air-fry at 360° for 15-18 minutes, flipping once during cooking. 

Cheesy Ranch Quesadilla

cheese quesadilla

If you have leftovers from taco night, this is a great way to use up that single remaining tortilla. Quesadillas are so easy that even young kids can make them (with supervision). They're super simple to dress up with other ingredients (chopped onions, leftover chicken or taco meat, etc.), and you can use any cheese you want. I'm a huge fan of pepper jack. 


  • 1 tortilla
  • 3 tablespoons shredded cheese
  • Any other fillings you want to add
  • 3 tablespoons ranch salad dressing


  1. Place a tortilla in a 12" skillet over medium heat.
  2. Sprinkle with cheese over half the tortilla. Add any other fillings. 
  3. Fold the tortilla in half to cover the fillings.
  4. Turn the heat on to medium. Cook on one side until the cheese melts and the tortilla begins to brown, about two to three minutes.
  5. Flip the tortilla and cook until it begins to brown on the other side, another two minutes.
  6. Cut the quesadilla into wedges. Serve with ranch for dipping.

Pizza Bagel

pizza bagel

Down to the bottom of the bagel bag? Use that last bagel to make a personal pizza. All the ingredients for this quick snack are inexpensive and easy to find. You can use any type of leftover lunch meat or a few slices of pepperoni. You can also use leftover pizza sauce, jarred pasta sauce, or a tablespoon or two of tomato paste with some garlic powder and oregano mixed in.


  • 1 plain bagel, halved
  • 2 tablespoons pre-made pizza or pasta sauce (or 2 tablespoons tomato paste mixed with ¼ teaspoon each garlic powder and oregano)
  • Several slices of pepperoni or some other lunch meat
  • ¼ cup grated cheese


  1. Toast the bagel halves until lightly brown.
  2. Spread each half with 1 tablespoon of sauce.
  3. Top the sauce with pepperoni slices.
  4. Top with grated cheese.
  5. Broil until the cheese melts, 2-3 minutes.

Veggies and Dip

veggies and dip

Use any fresh veggies you have on hand and dunk them in this super yummy dip. If you don't have cottage cheese, you can replace it with sour cream. It'll keep in the fridge for up to four days.


  • 1 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • ½ packet ranch dressing mix
  • Cut up vegetables


  1. Combine the cottage cheese, mayonnaise, and ranch dressing mix.
  2. Dip the veggies into the dip.

Crescent Roll Wraps

taking a pan of crescent rolls out of the oven

When my kids were small, I made these for them as snacks, and they loved them. I would make my own crescent roll dough, but this works just as well with crescent rolls in a tube or even tube biscuit dough.  It's a great way to use leftover lunch meats.


  • 1 roll unbaked crescent rolls
  • Several slices of deli ham or your favorite lunch meat
  • ½ cup grated cheese
  • ¼ cup butter, melted


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Separate crescent rolls into individual triangles.
  3. Cut the lunch meat into rough triangle shapes to fit onto each roll.
  4. Place the lunch meat on the dough and sprinkle with cheese.
  5. Roll into a crescent and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.
  6. Brush the rolls with melted butter.
  7. Bake until golden brown, about 11 to 13 minutes.
  8. Serve warm or cold.

Ants on a Log

ants on a log

It's the go-to snack for moms everywhere... but it offers something for everyone. Crunchy, nutty, salty, and sweet, ants on a log may be the perfect cheap snack. While peanut butter and raisins are standard, pick any nut or seed butter and dried fruit you have on hand. I'm a fan of cashew butter and dried cranberries. 


  • 2 stalks celery, washed, dried, and cut into thirds.
  • ¼ cup nut butter or seed butter
  • Several raisins, dried cranberries, or another dried fruit


  1. Spread each celery piece with the nut or seed butter.
  2. Place raisins or dried fruits in a row on top of the nut butter.

Garlic Bagel Chips

bagel chips

Don't throw away those stale bagels. Turn them into crispy chips. Eat them by themselves or dip them into salsa, hummus, or whatever other dips you have in your fridge. 


  • One or two stale bagels
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • Sprinkling of salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  2. Using a serrated knife, cut the bagels into thin slices.
  3. Place the bagels in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  4. Melt the butter and stir in the garlic.
  5. Brush half the garlic butter on the tops of the bagel slices and sprinkle with salt.
  6. Bake for 10 minutes.
  7. Flip the bagels, brush with the remaining garlic butter, sprinkle with salt, and return to the oven.
  8. Bake for an additional 10 minutes.
  9. Serve warm or cooled.

Frozen Banana Smoothie

choco-banana smoothie

We have the best intentions to eat the whole bunch when we buy bananas, but it seems like there are always stragglers that get overripe quickly. So, if you have an overripe banana that's not quite ready for banana bread yet, make it into a smoothie. This is a great way to avoid food waste because you can peel the overripe bananas, cut them into chunks, and freeze them until you have a snack attack and want something chocolatey. 


  • 2 ripe bananas, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 tablespoons nut or seed butter
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons instant chocolate milk powder (or chocolate syrup)


  1. Peel the bananas and cut them into chunks.
  2. Freeze the bananas in an airtight container until you're ready to use them.
  3. Place all ingredients in a blender.
  4. Blend on high speed until smooth.
  5. Serve immediately.

Cheap, Tasty Snacks

Boy, do we love a snack! And a cheap one? Yes, please. Our affordable snacks are great ways to use up leftover food, avoid food waste, and fill your belly with something delicious. So next time hunger strikes, forage through your fridge to see what you can make with the leftovers. 

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10 Low-Effort, Cheap Snack Recipes to Cure a Snack Attack