32 Cheap and Easy Snacks to Serve When Your Teen’s Friends Come Over

You don't have to bust your grocery budget when your teen's friends come over... check out these cheap and easy snack ideas!

by Nancy Reynolds

This Post: 32 Cheap and Easy Snacks You Can Serve When Your Teen’s Friends Come Over

Co-Written By: Marybeth Bock and Nancy Reynolds

With the high cost of groceries these days, it’s not quite as easy as it used to be to feed a hungry group of teenagers. And, if you happen to be the favorite teen “hangout house” where your kids’ friends spend hours playing video games, streaming series, or giving each other makeovers, then you know just how often teens get hungry… constantly!

To keep your grocery bill in check – because let’s face it, feeding teens isn’t cheap – here are things you can do to keep costs down:

  • Load up on bulk items and staples at Costco, Walmart, or other big box/discount retailers, including foods like rice, pasta, canned goods, and big bags of chips, etc.
  • Keep your eye on weekly sales, take advantage of loyalty programs, and use coupons to save even more.
  • Download store apps to find the best deals and digital coupons.
  • Buy in-season fruit and veggies which are traditionally cheaper and freeze what you can. (Frozen grapes make a great summer snack and frozen strawberries can be used for smoothies.)
  • Make snacks, when possible. Things like prepackaged popcorn can be a lot more expensive than buying a big container of kernels and popping them yourself. Add flavorings to make them taste gourmet! You can also make your own trail mix and granola bars if time allows.
  • Buy store-brand snacks. Kroger, Publix, Aldi, and many other stores have much less expensive store brand options to keep costs down. 
  • Name-brand sodas and energy drinks can break the bank. Instead, buy the store brand or buy cases of water and let your teen and teens’ friends add in sliced fruit for flavor – it’s a much healthier alternative to sugary drinks.

32 Cheap and Easy Snacks to Serve When Your Teen’s Friends Come Over


Here are 32 cheap and easy snacks that are perfect for keeping your wallet AND your teen and teen’s friends happy!

1. Popcorn

When it comes to cheap and easy snacks, popcorn is king! Add seasoning to make it gourmet without ramping up the cost! You can buy kernels in bulk to save money. Just put a half cup in a loosely folded brown paper bag and microwave.

Check out these delish popcorn seasoning recipes at Andianne HERE!

Be sure to check out the Ranch/Parmesan Popcorn Seasoning Recipe (Main Image) HERE!

Image of popcorn flavors in bowls with text of ingredients listed beside each one. Gingerbread, spicy cheesy, italian parmesan, herb, spicy and cinnamon sugar.


2. Peanut Butter and Apples

Slice up a bunch of apples and serve them with peanut butter. It’s a tasty, crunchy, and filling snack with a good balance of protein and fiber.

3. Cheesy Garlic Pull Apart Bread

Other than the loaf of sourdough bread, you might have all the ingredients needed to make this Cheesy Garlic Pull Apart Bread! I’ve made it for my kids and their friends several times and they loved it! 

Check out Princess Pinky Girl for the recipe HERE!

cheesy pull apart bread hero image


4. Yogurt with Granola

Buy large tubs of yogurt and bags of granola. Serve them together for a quick and easy snack. Top with fresh fruit for a treat your teen’s friends will love! You can also freeze the yogurt in ice trays and blend it up for smoothie bowls with the granola sprinkled on top.

5. Homemade Muffins

Whip up a big batch of homemade muffins – chocolate chip muffins are always a hit! Serve them warm or freeze them so you have them on hand for later. WARNING: Feed your teen’s friends these delicious muffins and they may never leave! 

Check out this Bakery Style Chocolate Chip Muffin recipe HERE!

The Ultimate Chocolate Chip Muffins


6. Fresh Veggies and Hummus or Ranch Dip

Cut up fresh carrots, celery, cucumbers, and bell peppers ( which are affordable and healthy) and pair them with store-bought or homemade hummus or Ranch Dip. Try this delicious hummus recipe from Inspired Taste.

7. Frozen Chocolate Banana Bites 

Most frozen banana bite recipes require you to dip the bananas in chocolate. This recipe is easier… just drizzle the chocolate right on the bananas, top with any other toppings desired (like nuts, sprinkles, peanut butter chips, or fruit), and freeze. So easy!

Check out Good in the Simple for the recipe HERE!

Tray of frozen bananas drizzled with chocolate

8. Cheese and Crackers

You really can’t go wrong with cheese and crackers. Buy a big box of crackers (look for a store brand to save money) and buy a few blocks of cheese to top. Cheeses such as Cheddar, Provolone, Monterey Jack, and Mozzarella are always a hit. 

9. 3-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cheerio Bars

Not only will your teen and all their friends love eating these, but they’ll also love making them! And, with just three ingredients, they come together in minutes!

Check out the recipe at the Lazy Dish HERE!

3 Ingredient No Bake Peanut Butter Cheerio Bars - A healthy snack or treat made with honey, peanut butter and Cheerios! A quick and simple kids snack idea. The Lazy Dish #thelazydish #snackideas #cheerios #peanutbutter


10. Pita Bread and Dip

Serve pita bread with dips like hummus, tzatziki, or salsa. Need a good tzatziki recipe? Try this one from Love and Lemons.

11. Healthy Trail Mix (Budget-Friendly Style)

Trail mix can get expensive since we all know nuts aren’t cheap. But if you buy bulk nuts at Costco or keep your eye out for sales, you really can whip up a great trail mix for relatively cheap. 

Check out this Budget-Friendly Trail Mix HERE!

trail mix


12. Everything Bagel Stuffed Celery

Who doesn’t love Everything Bagel seasoning? Just cut up fresh celery and fill with cream cheese (you can add a bit of yogurt, too, if you like but my kids don’t) then top with a healthy sprinkling of Everything Bagel Seasoning… it’s THAT easy and THAT delicious!

Check out this Everything Bagel Stuffed Celery recipe HERE!

Close up of Everything Bagel Stuffed Celery Snacks.


13. The Easiest Pretzel Bites EVER

Most teenagers love pretzel bites – you know, the ones that smell so incredibly good at the mall. These delicious Pretzel Bites are so easy to make, even your “clueless in the kitchen” teen can whip these up in a jiffy.

Check out the recipe at Budget Savvy Diva HERE!


14. Rice Cakes with Toppings

Rice cakes are cheap and very versatile. Top them with peanut butter, cream cheese, cottage cheese, or mashed avocado for an easy, tasty, and low-budget snack.

15. Easy Sheet Pan Nachos

Buy a big bag of taco chips, spread them on a cookie sheet, and top with cheese and other toppings including ground beef, shredded chicken, refried beans, black olives, corn, and onions (to name a few) and then toss them in the oven! When it comes out of the oven, you can other toppings, too, like sour cream, tomatoes, and guacamole. Easy enough for your teen to make when their friends are over. 

Check out this recipe for Easy Sheet Pan Nachos HERE!


16. Parmesan Ranch Snack Mix

Shake up your snack game with this Parmesan Ranch Snack Mix! Made with sweet potato chips, cheese crackers, and mixed nuts, (but you can use whatever type of crackers you have on hand!) and ranch seasoning mix and you’ll have an irresistible (and budget-friendly) snack your teen and their friends will love.

Check out the recipe for this Parmesan Ranch Snack Mix HERE!

Parmesan Ranch Snack Mix #parmesan #ranch #snackmix #snack #recipe #potatochips #pretezels #seasoned


17. Homemade Cheesy Breadsticks 

With the rising cost of well… everything, it can be expensive to spring for Domino’s (or other pizza places) cheese sticks for a bunch of hungry teenagers. But if you make them yourself, they’re much less expensive. 

Check out this easy and delish breadsticks recipe HERE!

Close up of cheese breadsticks.


18. Smoothies

A lot of teenagers are focusing on healthier foods so smoothies will be a big hit with your teen’s friends! And, since there are tons of variations to choose from, you’ll never run out of smoothie recipe ideas! 

Check out this post for lots of great smoothie recipes!


19. Garlic Knots Made with Pizza Dough… SO EASY!

Who knew garlic knots could be THIS easy? Pair them with marinara sauce and your teen’s friends will go nuts! And, of course, since you’re already buying the Pillsbury Pizza Dough, you can whip up cheese pizza as an alternative!

Check out this Garlic Knot Bites Recipe HERE!


Overhead photo of a bowl filled with garlic knots on a wooden table.


20. Watermelon with Tajin Seasoning

If you haven’t sprinkled Tajin seasoning on watermelon, man… you’re missing out! Just cut up a fresh summer watermelon into wedges and let your teen and friends sprinkle a little OR a lot of Tajin seasoning on it. Refreshing, easy and cheap!

21. Quick & Easy Fruit Pizza

Made with a cookie dough base and layered with cream cheese, marshmallow cream, and fresh fruit, this yummy snack is the perfect remedy for teens who just have to have their “sweet fix!

Check out this Easy Fruit Pizza Recipe at The Gingham Apron HERE!


22. Homemade Potato or Zucchini Chips

Slice potatoes or zucchini thinly, season, and bake or air-fry for a healthier alternative to store-bought chips. 

Check out this Zucchini Chip Recpe at Wholesome Yum HERE!

Air fryer zucchini chips in a bowl.


23. Cheese Quessadillas

Easy to whip up in a jiffy and always good and hearty! Keep it simple with just cheese or go all out with extra add-ins!

Check out this Cheese Quesadilla recipe HERE!

cheese quesadillas


24. Pigs in a Blanket

It might be an old-fashioned snack, but it’s stood the test of time because it’s just so good! These are glazed with a delicious homemade sauce that makes them even better!

Check out this Glazed Pigs in a Blanket recipe HERE!

Platter of Glazed Pigs In a Blanket Image


25. The BEST Banana Pudding EVER (Only a Few Ingredients!)

If your teen wants to whip up a yummy (and easy) dessert, check out this recipe! 476K shares on Pinterest so it’s tried and tested.

Check out this BEST Banana Pudding recipe HERE!

Banana pudding being poured over banana slices in a foil pan.


26.  Roasted Chickpeas

Season canned and drained chickpeas with herbs and seasonings like lemon pepper and garlic salt. Roast them in the oven for a crunchy, protein-packed snack. 

Check out this easy Roasted Chickpeas recipe HERE!

Roasted Chickpeas


27. 3-Ingredient Rotel Dip

I think this might be the simplest and most well-known (and liked!) game day dip there is. But it’s also great for feeding a bunch of hungry teens! And, since it’s just a few ingredients, it comes together in minutes.

Check out this Rotel Dip recipe from Julie’s Eats and Treats HERE!

Dipping chip into rotel dip


28. Chips n’ Salsa, Guacamole or Queso

No one says you have to “make” something. We’re talking teenagers here – they’ll eat practically anything! In my house, chips and salsa are a staple and so is a container of guacamole. Always a hit!

29. Mac n’ Cheese (Store-Bought OR Homemade)

The perfect go-to food for teens who need something hearty to fill them up. Of course, the boxed store-bought Mac n’ Cheese will work fine, but homemade is always best if you have the time. 

Check out this easy Mac n’ Cheese recipe HERE!

baked pasta in blue teal bowl next to blue striped napkin. White casserole dish and forks in the background.


30. Ramen Noodles

It’s cheap, easy, and super quick to make. Add long green onions or any other ingredients your teen fancies for a simple and cheap snack teens love. 

31. 5-Ingredient Cannoli Dip

This is one of those cheap and easy snacks I’ve made more than a few times and it’s always a BIG hit! The best part is, that it’s SO incredibly easy to make! Serve with broken waffle cone pieces, strawberries, graham crackers, or vanilla wafers.

Check out this Easy Cannoli Dip recipe HERE!

A bowl of cannoli dip topped with mini chocolate chips, and a sprinkle of confectioners sugar. Bowl is surrounded with butter waffle cookies and berries.


32. Totally Addicting 5-Ingredient Crack Dip

This crack dip recipe is perfectly named – it really IS addicting. With an amazing blend of sour cream, Ranch Dressing Mix, bacon (seriously, bacon makes everything taste better), scallions, and plenty of cheese, it doesn’t get more delicious or easy! It’s the perfect easy snack for all those “always hungry” teens.

Check out What the Fork Food Blog for the recipe HERE!

These cheap and easy snacks are budget-friendly, nutritious (most of them, anyway), and a breeze to make for all those hungry teenagers who pop over unexpectedly! 

Marybeth Bock, MPH, is a Mom to two young adults and one delightful hound dog. She has logged time as a military spouse, childbirth educator, college instructor, and freelance writer. She lives in Arizona and thoroughly enjoys research and writing – as long as iced coffee is involved. Her work can be found on numerous websites and in two books. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram.


If you enjoyed reading, “32 Cheap and Easy Snacks to Serve When Your Teen’s Friends Come Over,” check out these posts you might like!

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Share your ideas, parents! What cheap and easy snacks do you serve your teen and friends?

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