20 Baby Shower Food Ideas on a Budget

It’s exciting to everyone around when someone is about to have a baby. That’s why people love to throw and attend baby showers. However, getting a lot of food for guests can add up quickly and hurt the budget.

Nobody wants their party to look tacky, so it’s tempting to pull out all of the stops to impress guests. It doesn’t have to be that way, as there are a lot of good budget-friendly ideas out there to make the shower a success. Keep reading for some fabulous budget-friendly party food ideas that are sure to make any baby shower a great time.

Strawberries covered in chocolate on a blue wooden table

Chocolate Covered Fruit

Chocolate-covered strawberries, cherries, and other fruit are always a big hit at parties. It also helps make things look a little bit fancier, but they tend to be expensive when purchased already finished. The good news is that there is always some delicious baking and melting chocolate in the baking section of the grocery store. Picking up a bag of a preferred brand and a few fruit packages does not cost much while also providing quite a few little finger snacks.

Some brands of chocolate don’t even need to be tempered to use. They just need to be melted down, and the fruit dipped into them. Therefore, they also make for a quick and easy treat to serve to guests.

Meat & Cheese Boards

Very little says fancy like a nice charcuterie board. Certain areas have even come to expect these sorts of trays to be served at gatherings to the point where it’s pretty easy to find them premade. However, the price can be cut down further by gathering the meats and cheeses separately and doing the work to cut them down. A few packs of deli meat and a few blocks of cheese can go a long way. Put them on top of a fancy platter or a slab of wood, and suddenly it all looks infinitely fancier.

Varieties of fruits as in small glass

Fruit and Veggie Spread

Just like a charcuterie board, fruit and veggie spreads are basically a necessity in certain areas. It also gives a nice, healthy option for guests and can be spiced up with a variety of different dips and sauces. Not to mention, it’s effortless to get a lot of little finger food out of just a few bunches of fruit.

Here are some tips to make the best fruit and veggie spreads without a lot of money or effort:

  • In-season is always cheaper.
  • Lemon juice will help fruits from changing color as they sit out.
  • Nesting plates and bowls with ice between them helps keep things both cool and cute.
  • Use and/or make a variety of dips and spreads.

The best part about these sorts of spreads is that they take minutes to put together, look nice, and are incredibly filling.

Devilled Eggs

Devilled eggs are practically icons of the budget party scene. They don’t take much money or effort to make, are delicious, and easily contain themselves into excellent little bite-sized snacks. Plus, everything they take to make can also be used in other parts of the food spread, can be simple or complex, and really help add a little bit of protein to the menu for the guests who might not be interested in more meaty dishes.

Salad Bar

There is nothing like some good salads when trying to cater to a bunch of people. They are simple to make and can easily be customized to individual tastes. What’s more, they don’t even need to be put together in advance. Just set up some bowls of greens, toppings, and dressings, and people are more than happy to put them together to their own specifications. 

Mini Sandwiches with Cheddar Cheese, Tomato, Cucumber and Cream Cheese. Snacks for parties and picnics.

Finger Sandwiches

Finger sandwiches are absolute lifesavers when it comes to feeding people. A regularly-sized sandwich can be cut down into halves or quarters to make it look like even more food is available. Or someone could even get mini buns, hoagies, or tortillas to make things look even fancier without much additional cost.

Delicious yet straightforward finger sandwich ideas include:

  • Tuna
  • Deli meat and cheeses
    • Ham
    • Turkey
    • Roast Beef
  • Cream cheese with preserves
  • Cucumber
  • Chicken salad
  • Pulled pork

Small sandwiches even help guests waste less food, especially if they aren’t too hungry to begin with. It also helps to limit the need for people to cut things apart to share themselves when they can just pick up something small to snack on.

Mini Cupcakes and Muffins

Mini cupcakes and muffins are fantastic for baby showers because they can easily be decorated for theming, and it looks like there’s a lot more when it’s the same amount of batter that regular cupcakes use. Not to mention that they’re usually pretty easy to find cheap in the bakery section for those who aren’t bakers themselves. 


There is nothing like serving a batch of cookies at a party. These can be any sort of cookie, from mini chocolate chips to a giant cookie decorated like a cake. They’re a huge hit even for people who aren’t big fans of sweets. Additionally, they’re easy to make from scratch. Cookie dough is not usually too expensive to buy premade, and fully premade cookies are always available in the bakery section.


Quesadillas fill the same niche as finger sandwiches as they can be cut down to smaller parts, picked up easily, carried around, and made into lots of different types. They don’t take a lot of ingredients or money to make and are typically pretty solid inclusions to the menu at a party. This is especially true if they’re able to be kept nice and warm.

Taco Bar

Tacos are the kings of cheap food. They’re easy to buy or make a lot of without a lot of money. A taco bar kicks that up a notch by letting people make their own tacos. Have a spread of different fillings and set out both hard and soft shells to make it an outstanding experience for everyone involved. Keep the meats warm if possible while also keeping the colder things over ice for good temperature control.

Delicious ice cream in bowl isolated in white

Ice Cream, Sorbet, and Smoothies

People love treats, and baby showers are perfect places for them. Something to bring out the inner child of guests is the inclusion of ice cream. This can even be kicked up or made healthier by adding in a selection of sorbets and smoothies. These items can go a long way and be made even more fun with some yummy toppings to go with it.

Mini Foods are Always Big Hits

There is not much like going to a party and seeing all sorts of tiny little foods to pick from. That makes it so many different things can be tasted while not feeling like it’s Thanksgiving dinner. They also often come in cheap packages, usually in the frozen foods section, and make for great appetizers or snackable foods throughout the party.

Some mini food ideas include:

  • Quiches
  • Bagel bites
  • Bruschetta
  • Muffins
  • Cupcakes
  • Cookies
  • Pigs in a blanket
  • Taquitos
  • Sliders
  • Rice Krispy Treats

Basically, if there is anything that can be big, it also probably has a small variant. Small is associated with being cute, like a baby, so it fits the theme pretty well.

Loaded Potato Skins

They might not be a new idea, but they are definitely getting a lot of traction recently. That’s because they are easy to pick up, taste great, and make for some incredible party foods. Plus, the pulled-out potato insides can then be used to make mashed potatoes or potato cakes, giving these already cheap foods even more useful possibilities.

Grilled vegetable and chicken skewers with  bell peppers, zucchini, onion and mushrooms on white background, top view, copy space. Meat and vegetables kebabs on skewers.


There really is something about a bunch of food on a skewer when it comes to appetizing and cheap party foods. These can be grilled over a fire pit or be an interesting twist for a fruit or vegetable spread. They’re easy to pick up and move around with, so they make for superb party additions. They are super budget-friendly, as a whole lot can be made with not a lot of stuff.


Candies often come in big packages or can be ordered in bulk, making them perfect for serving guests when you are on a budget. Some companies will even do custom orders for events involving colors or even adding words to things. Plus, they’re pretty easy to use in order to make the space look a little more inviting.

Some budget-friendly candies to consider are:

  • M&Ms
  • Butter mints
  • Mini peanut butter cups
  • Chocolate chips
  • Chocolate mints

There are also almost always knock-off brands of the big-name candies that taste just the same if not better that are totally worth the drop in cost. Always check out party and baking sections and the big bags of fun-sized candy bars for some great options.


If there isn’t anyone attending with a nut allergy, there’s nothing like a whole bunch of nuts. They’re healthy options with many different flavors and roasts. Some are covered in chocolate which is always a good time. Plus, they’re easy to put into cute bowls and give lots of choices from, just like when putting out fruit and vegetables for guests.

Smores station with large white marshmallows at the party.


S’mores are one of those things that get heavily associated with camping and outdoorsy things, but they can also make excellent treats for baby showers on a budget. They’re fun to make with friends and are really tasty. They’re perfect ideas if the whole party is meant to happen outside or even later in the day when people have finally gotten home from work.

Decorate a Simple Cake

Decorating cakes is a fun activity. Even if there are not many baking or cake decorating skills available in the friend group, a little bit of creativity goes a long way. Picking up even a little bare-bones cake can be a good start and can then be easily customized without much effort.

Some ideas to decorate a cake:

  • Gel food dye makes for easy writing and simple designs.
  • Sprinkles are everyone’s best friend.
  • Get something special as a cake topper like
    • Baby bath toys
    • Party section plastic baby things
    • Plastic dolls or figurines

If there are other kids already in the family, there’s nothing like letting a kid decorate the cake. It might not look like a stellar piece of art, but it will fit the overall theme while also letting them help with the preparations.

Make it a Potluck

Pretty much everyone knows that parties are expensive, and even more people know that there’s a lot to get prepared for when expecting a new baby. Therefore, most people should understand that a baby shower should be a fun time for everyone involved and not try to make it all about the costs. Babies are expensive, and most of the new parents’ money should be going towards preparing for them with diapers, food, bottles, and everything else.

That means there isn’t much shame in asking guests to bring a little something to eat and make it a potluck. Potlucks are fun and can even help a guest who is struggling financially themselves feel like they are contributing. Not to mention, it really helps ease the budget when everyone’s pitching in a little bit to make sure there are food and drinks.

pregnant woman holding a pink bunny

Other Ideas to Help Budget A Baby Shower

Food might be one of the most critical parts of any party, but it’s by far not the only thing that can put a crimp in the budget. Therefore, it’s also essential to think of other aspects of the budget when planning a baby shower and coming up with other budget-friendly ideas.

Such budget-friendly ideas include:

  • Don’t plan the shower during a mealtime.
  • Avoid alcohol.
  • Make things by hand.
  • Don’t hire a caterer.
  • Find a co-host to split the costs.
  • Hit up party sections and dollar stores for décor.
  • Get thrifty.
    • Go to sales
    • Budget stores
    • Dollar stores
    • Thrift stores
    • Clip coupons.
    • Order online well in advance.
  • Pick a free venue
    • Park
    • Backyard
    • Community space

Things don’t have to look or taste cheap to be cheap, either. Thrifty individuals can make amazing parties for astoundingly cheap while making it look like they spent a small fortune. DIYers can have a field day making things with just a little bit of work, and friends often want to be able to help friends in their endeavors.


There is nothing like a baby shower. It’s a time where people can get together to celebrate the newest inclusion of a family, have an excuse to bring presents, eat good food, and spend time with people who are about to have a whole lot less time to do so. However, wherever there is a gathering of people, there needs to be food, which can take a bite out of the budget. The good news is that there are tons of budget-friendly ideas to make the best baby shower possible while also keeping some funds in the pocket for other needs.

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Kristen is the founder and content creator at Mom Managing Chaos where she teaches busy moms how to simplify and organize their life and finances. She writes about frugal living, budgeting, productivity and organization.