These 5 Tasty Seafood Recipes Cost Less Than $2 Per Serving

tuna salad recipe in a bowl
Photo courtesy of Morgan Pritchett

Growing up, my parents would always take me to fancy seafood restaurants where we would indulge in lobster, scallops, oysters and the like. As a child, I never worried about how the delicious food was paid for; I just ate as much of it as I could.

As an adult — with a good amount of debt — I tend to pay attention to my restaurant bills on the rare occasion I eat dinner at a restaurant.

If you’re like me and experience insane cravings for seafood but either don’t have the cash to spare or live somewhere inland where seafood is way overpriced, not to worry! I’ve found these five delicious, affordable and easy-to-make seafood recipes.

Quick Lemon Garlic Fish

lemon garlic fish recipe on a plate
Photo courtesy of Morgan Pritchett

This recipe from Budget Bytes surprised me because, as somewhat of a seafood snob, I was hesitant to cook tilapia with so few ingredients. Generally, the only time I go with tilapia is when it’s within a corn tortilla and paired with more overpowering flavors. But because these ingredients were simple, yet tasty, this recipe was surprisingly delightful.

I plan on saving the sauce recipe for use on a chicken version of this dish. It was very easy to make with my small food processor, and cleanup was simple. While I cooked the fish in a skillet on the stovetop instead of grilling it, it was still slightly browned, moist and flaky.


2 2-ounce tilapia filets: $1.72

¼ bunch fresh parsley: 22 cents

1 medium lemon: 50 cents

1 clove garlic: 6 cents

1 tablespoon olive oil: 10 cents

⅛  teaspoon salt: 2 cents

⅛ teaspoon pepper: 2 cents

Total: $2.64

Cost per serving: $1.32

Salmon Burgers with Lime Mayonnaise

salmon burger on a plate with garnish
Photo courtesy of Morgan Pritchett

I’m a huge fan of crab cakes, so I was intrigued when I saw this recipe from BHG for salmon burgers with lime mayonnaise. Combining the ingredients reminded me of making meatloaf or meatballs, and I stored that tidbit in my head for potential future meal ideas.

With just three ingredients listed for the lime mayonnaise, I decided to add a clove of minced garlic for an extra burst of flavor. This is another simple side-sauce recipe I will save for a future dish.

When it came to cooking, I used vegetable oil instead of olive oil to give the patties a crispier exterior. I tried baking a second batch of the burgers in the oven, but they came out way too soft and crumbly, so be sure to stick to the stovetop to keep the patties together.

Servings: 4

1-pound salmon fillet, skinned and cut into chunks: $3.17

¾ cup panko bread crumbs: 75 cents

2 green onions, thinly sliced: 11 cents

2 tablespoon fresh cilantro: 9 cents

2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger: 4 cents

1 garlic clove, minced: 6 cents

2 eggs: 12 cents                                                                                                                   

2 tablespoon soy sauce: 13 cents

1 tablespoon lemon juice: 5 cents

2 tablespoon vegetable oil: 15 cents

¼ cup mayonnaise: 24 cents

2 tablespoons red onion, minced: 23 cents

2 teaspoons lime juice: 3 cents

Total: $5.17

Cost per serving: $1.29

Mexican Cod and Potato Stew

mexican cod potato stew recipe
Photo courtesy of Morgan Pritchett

I’m not going to lie, when I read that this dish would be made in the microwave, I was very hesitant. But it was a recipe from Martha Stewart, so I decided to give it a try, and I was honestly not disappointed. The microwave method made everything very soft, so if you prefer to add a bit of crunch to the potatoes and shallots, I suggest cooking everything on the stovetop.

While most of the ingredients are fairly bland, the cumin and cilantro add that extra pop of flavor without being too overpowering. Again, as a bit of a garlic fanatic, I added a few chopped up cloves to the potato-and-shallot mixture before popping it in the microwave.

Servings: 4

1 pound skinless cod fillet, cut into chunks: $3.59

1 can diced tomatoes: 89 cents

¾ cup corn kernels: 59 cents

½ teaspoon ground cumin: 7 cents

¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped: 8 cents

1 pound red new potatoes, sliced: $1.39

2 large shallots, thinly sliced: 50 cents

1 teaspoon olive oil: 4 cents

Salt and pepper

Total: $7.15

Cost per serving: $1.79

Tuna Salad with Lemon Aioli

tuna salad recipe in a bowl
Photo courtesy of Morgan Pritchett

Fair warning, this recipe from Southern Living yields eight servings, so be prepared to feed your whole family, and then some. Since tuna usually doesn’t keep for very long, I suggest cutting it into thirds if you fly solo. Plus, no one eats that much tuna.

The most tedious part of this recipe was cutting the Granny Smith apple into tiny cubes, but it was well worth it. The sweet crunchiness of the apple balanced the savoriness of the tuna perfectly. While enjoying this, I thought I could have added some halved red grapes, as I’ve done with chicken salad in the past.

Servings: 8

3 12-ounce cans of solid white albacore tuna, drained and flaked: $11.07

½ English cucumber, cut in half-moon shapes: 90 cents

1 large Granny Smith apple, diced: 91 cents

¼ cup minced red onion: 23 cents

½ cup mayonnaise: 48 cents

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley: 22 cents

2 teaspoons lemon zest 5 cents

2 tablespoons lemon juice: 5 cents

1 garlic clove, pressed: 6 cents

½ tsp pepper: 8 cents

Total: $14.05

Cost per serving: $1.76

Blackened Tilapia

blacken tilapia on a plate
Photo courtesy of Morgan Pritchett

I’m lucky enough to work in a place with an on-site cafeteria that serves a variety of food each day. Every once in a while, we’ll be blessed with “fish market day,” which includes selections of salmon, tilapia and shrimp. Blackened is my fellow employees’ favorite cooking method, regardless of the type of seafood.  

Since I usually go with blackened salmon at work, I decided to try the same cooking style on tilapia at home. This is the simplest recipe, since you just combine all the spices, rub them on the fish and cook it on the stovetop. The Genius Kitchen recipe instructs you to cook the fish for three minutes on each side, but I increased this to four or five minutes to get a crispier exterior while maintaining moisture inside.

Servings: 4

3 tablespoons paprika: $1.08

1 tablespoons onion powder: 66 cents

1 pinch garlic powder: 5 cents

1 teaspoon white pepper: 16 cents

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper: 20 cents

1 teaspoon dried oregano: 8 cents

½ teaspoon celery seed: 41 cents

1 teaspoon dried thyme: 10 cents

1 tablespoon salt: 48 cents

1 lemon, cut into wedges: 50 cents

1 tablespoon vegetable oil: 8 cents

4 3-ounce tilapia filets: $3.44

Total: $7.24

Cost per serving: $1.81

Morgan Pritchett enjoys pounds and pounds of crab legs while also dabbling in other tasty seafood options at the dinner table. As a child, she was the weird kid that ordered a tuna sub with black olives from the local sub shop.