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A handaan spread featuring barbecue, pancit, chop suey, and garlic rice

8 Christmas Recipes Under ₱500

Handa na para sa handaan? Party season means you have a lot of menu planning to do. But as prices of ingredients continue to skyrocket, you might need to practice penny-pinching this year. That entails skipping takeout or deliveries from your favorite suppliers and preparing a full-on homemade lineup. Are you up for the challenge? Worry not because you can try wallet-friendly Christmas recipes to accomplish the task.

How much should you budget per dish? You can keep it below a thousand pesos if you expect around six to eight guests. Realistically, you don’t need to spend more than ₱500 per menu item! And that applies to many Filipino Christmas recipes, whether appetizer, main, heavy side, or dessert. Want to know how possible it is? Here are some handaan ideas (with costing!) to prove the good news.

Baked Tahong

A plate of baked mussels topped with melted cheese

Five ingredients, 20 minutes, and ₱350 – they’re all you need to make baked mussels for your party. This easy Christmas appetizer recipe is creamy and cheesy and features a unique twist thanks to pesto. Pop these in the oven right before guests arrive so you can serve them warm and fresh.


1 kg mussels – ₱200

50 ml water – ₱.25

3 tbsp pesto sauce – ₱35.50

1 cup Lady's Choice Real Mayonnaise – ₱97.50

¼ cup cheddar cheese – ₱16

Total: ₱349.25

Cream of Mushroom and Chicken

A bowl of cream of mushroom soup topped with fresh mushroom slices and parsley

Next is another heartwarming option to help your guests settle and feel comfy. A cream-based soup, which you can serve with garlic bread, helps fill tummies fast. Busog na kahit wala pa sa main event!


1 pack Knorr Cream of Mushroom Soup – ₱55

4 cups water – ₱4

500 g chicken breast fillets – ₱150

½ cup corn kernels – ₱8

½ cup carrots – ₱18

1 pc red bell pepper – ₱20

1 pc green bell pepper – ₱20

Total: ₱275

Fresh Lumpia

A platter of fresh lumpiang ubod with carrots, singkamas, and lettuce, topped with a brown sauce

Lumpiang hubad is a recipe you can customize easily – replace costly ingredients or add your guests’ favorite veggies. Serve it like a salad bar (don’t forget to include lumpia wrappers!) and let everyone create their own mix.

Costing (x2 of original recipe):

¼ cup cooking oil – ₱12

2 pcs onion – ₱10

6 cloves garlic – ₱1.50

4 pcs carrots – ₱36

4 pcs singkamas – ₱32

300 g ubod – ₱60

2 pcs Knorr Shrimp Cubes – ₱12

1 cup brown sugar – ₱14

2 cups water – ₱2

1 tbsp soy sauce – ₱1

2 tbsp cornstarch – ₱2

8 pcs lumpia wrapper (optional) – ₱18

Total: ₱200.50

Chicken Lollipop

A plate of golden chicken lollipops served with fries, soup, ketchup, and a creamy dip


Time for your main ulam! Your choice should appeal to all guests, including kids. Plus, it has to pair well with other menu items, use affordable ingredients, and still be effortless to prepare. What’s a better choice than chicken lollipops?

Costing (x2 of original recipe):

1 kg chicken wings – ₱220

8 cups water – ₱8

4 pcs Knorr Chicken Cubes – ₱24

2 heads garlic – ₱6

2 cups flour – ₱36

4 pcs eggs – ₱30

2 cups breadcrumbs – ₱60

oil for frying – ₱100

Total: ₱484

Sinigang na Bangus

A bowl of sinigang na bangus with tomatoes, red onions, kangkong, and green chilies

 Besides a Christmas chicken recipe, you should also prepare a seafood option. Who says you shouldn’t serve sinigang na bangus for the holidays? It’ll be a hit among balikbayans and anyone looking for something light.  


1 pc bangus – ₱270

1 pc tomato – ₱4

1 pc onion – ₱5

1 (11-g) pack Sinigang Sa Sampalok Mix – ₱7

1 bundle kangkong – ₱20

Total: ₱306

Baked Macaroni

A tray of classic baked macaroni with melted cheese

This classic Pinoy Christmas recipe stays within the ₱500 budget. You can also cut the costs further by swapping ground beef for pork or chicken. Or, open a can of corned beef – a quarter of the price of the fresh kind. How’s that for a tipid trick?


2 tbsp cooking oil – ₱6

1 pc onion – ₱5

4 cloves garlic – ₱1

500 g ground beef – ₱185

1 pc Knorr Beef Cube – ₱6

2 tbsp liver spread – ₱18

1 kg spaghetti sauce – ₱85

¼ cup cheddar cheese – ₱16

1 cup all-purpose cream – ₱60

500 g macaroni – ₱52.50

black pepper – ₱1

¼ cup mozzarella cheese – ₱45

Total: ₱480.50

Chinese Fried Rice

A bowl of Chinese fried rice with chorizo, scrambled eggs, carrots, and green onions

Are you left with a few odds and ends from preparing your Christmas dishes? Gather them to whip up a quick Chinese fried rice. You can add any protein, veg, and seasoning here. Extra components from your lumpia can also make a second appearance in this recipe.

Costing (x2 of original recipe):

8 cups rice – ₱32

4 pcs eggs – ₱30

2 pcs Chinese chorizo – ₱40

½ cup green peas – ₱16

½ cup carrots – ₱18

2 bunches spring onions – ₱10

1 pc Knorr Pork Cube – ₱6

2 tbsp olive oil – ₱8

6 tbsp oyster sauce – ₱28

oil for stir-frying – ₱12

Total: ₱200

Mango Float

Three glasses of mango float with layers of otap, mangoes, and vanilla ice cream

Don’t forget about dessert! No time to make leche flan or ube halaya? Prepare a version of mango float with otap in three simple steps: mix, layer, and chill!

Costing (x3 of original recipe):

12 pcs otap cookies – ₱36

3 pcs mangoes – ₱225

¾ cup all-purpose cream – ₱45

¾ cup milk – ₱18

6 scoops Selecta Super Thick Classic Vanilla Ice Cream – ₱66

Total: ₱390

Found the Christmas recipe to complete your menu? See, you don’t have to spend a fortune to make your celebration extra special. Take cues from these handaan ideas that don’t go over ₱500 ­– may sukli pa!

Note: Prices shown are from the fourth quarter of 2022.

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