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7 Dollar Tree Lunch Ideas ($18.75 for the Week!)

Ever thought about eating lunch from the Dollar Tree? Use these Dollar Tree lunch ideas for budget lunches.

One thing I noticed while dashing in and out of our local Dollar Tree for inspiration + ingredients while creating a Dollar Tree Meal Plan?

woman in blue shirt filling lunch container, text overlay "1 week of dollar tree lunches"

Was the number of men coming into the store mid-workday.

You could tell they were trying to put together a lunch from whatever they could find: a giant pickle here, a can of tuna salad there, and usually some beef jerky.

As someone who used to browse the grocery store prepared food section for clearance items and one-offs during her own lunch breaks, I thought this was a brilliant idea.

So brilliant, in fact, that I wanted to create a bunch of Dollar Tree lunch ideas that could work for most of us.

Pro Tip: Did you know you can get cashback on what you buy at the Dollar Tree? That blew my mind. I was already using ibotta and Fetch to scan all my grocery store receipts in – and started doing that with my Dollar Tree food receipts, too! Remember – you can scan the same receipt into each of these apps to get more cashback.

Dollar Tree Lunch Ideas

Looking for budget lunch ideas that can go into a lunch box? These are the best Dollar Tree lunch ideas I could come up with, all using Dollar Tree lunch containers.

And the whole week of lunches costs just $18.75, or $2.68/lunch!

Psst: Looking for healthy options, too? Stick around – while I'm no nutritionist, I do show you why I made some choices over others, and the surprisingly healthy choices I could make from the Dollar Tree.

1. PB & J Pancake Tray Bake Lunch

serving of pB&J Pancake tray bake, maple walnuts package, and cheddar cheese package in container

Items from the Dollar Tree: Peanut butter and Jelly Pancake tray bake (find the recipe here – three ingredients), 4-ounce mild cheddar cheese (it’s real cheese), and Maple Walnuts (1.25 oz)

Personally, I’m a little leery of Dollar Tree lunch meat options.

That’s why I like this PB&J Tray Bake as a main dish – it’s simple to create, the peanut butter provides some protein, the raspberry preserves have no funky ingredients, and the pancake portion makes it filling.

You just:

  • Make the pancake batter according to package directions (I got the Hungry Jack box, which just takes water). Pour it into an 8 X 8″ pan (I thought this would bake over, but it stayed inside).
  • Heat up 1/2 cup peanut butter for 20 secs. in the microwave, then put four big dollops of it in. Measure out 1/2 cup jam, and put four big dollops of it near the peanut butter.
  • Take a knife and swirl the PB & J around.
  • Bake at 375° for 50 minutes.

Pair it with some real cheddar cheese (stay clear of the “cheese shreds” products you find there – here’s my article on is Dollar Tree food safe), and package of Maple Walnuts for a pretty yummy lunch.

2. Dollar Tree Lunchable

giant dill pickle, beef jerky, crackers, and cheddar cheese in 3-compartment dollar tree lunch container

Items from the Dollar Tree: 8 Crackers, 4-ounce mild cheddar cheese (it’s real cheese), 1 giant Dill Pickle, 1 mini-bag of beef jerky

I absolutely love the idea of lunchables…but not necessarily the way they’re packaged. Too many chemicals for my liking.

Instead, I like to recreate them.

That’s where the idea for this one came.

P.S. Okay…I had to cheat and put two rubber bands around this Dollar Tree lunch container to get it to close (due to the pickle) so that my husband could take it to work. Just keepin’ it real.

3. Tuna & Bagel Chips Lunch

bagel chips, tunafish salad, and mandarin oranges in 3-compartment green container

Items from the Dollar Tree: ½ bag of bagel chips, 1 can of tuna, 1 jar of sweet pickles, 1 container of mayo, ½ can of mandarin oranges

Did you know the Dollar Tree has bagel chips? I didn’t, either!

I was impressed to find a bag of garlic bagel chips (in the snack foods area), and thought how well these would go with some good ol’ tuna fish.

I could’ve chosen the small, single-serve, mandarin orange cups instead of dishing out half of a can of mandarin oranges. BUT the can yields me a bigger serving.

Also, I could’ve chosen a container of relish for the tuna fish. But I decided on a jar of sweet pickles because I like sweet pickles, and can pack one in future lunches as well. With relish, I would be limited to using it just to make the tuna fish.

4. Rice Sticks + Peanut Butter Lunch

two rice sticks, chocolate raisins, two sweet pickles, and small container of peanut butter

Items from the Dollar Tree: 4 tbsps. peanut butter, 2 rice sticks, ½ bag of chocolate covered raisins, 2 sweet pickles

The rice sticks dipped in peanut butter were surprisingly yummy. A side of chocolate raisins and sweet pickles finished things off.

5. PB&J Pancake Tray Bake, Take #2

PB&J pancake tray bake serving with beef jerky package, and package of apple sauce

Items from the Dollar Tree: Peanut butter and Jelly Pancake tray bake (find the recipe here – three ingredients), 1 applesauce cup, 1 mini-bag of beef jerky

I wanted to give you one more variation on the Pancake Tray Bake lunch.

6. Bagel Chips ‘n’ Peanut Butter Lunch

bagel chips, chocolate raisins, mandarin oranges and peanut butter in dollar tree lunch container

Items from the Dollar Tree: 4 tbsps. peanut butter, ½ bag of bagel chips, ½ bag chocolate raisins, ½ can mandarin oranges

Take the rest of that bag of bagel chips, and dip them in peanut butter (I realize I got garlic bagel chips…but I actually didn’t mind the garlic flavor with the peanut butter – they also have Everything Bagel chips).

7. Peanut Butter & Crackers Lunch

four homemade peanut butter and cracker sandwiches, and package of parmesan cheese whisps in container

Items from the Dollar Tree: 4 tbsps. peanut butter, 8 crackers, 1 pkg. parmesan cheese whisps

Ahhhhh – the last one. You're going to take the rest of the peanut butter and make cracker sandwiches with it. Pair it with some parmesan cheese whisps!

Dollar Tree Grocery List for these Lunches

  • 1 jar of peanut butter
  • 1 box crackers
  • 1 bag rice sticks
  • 1 bag chocolate raisins
  • 1 jar sweet pickles
  • 1 bagel chips
  • 1 jar mayo
  • 1 can mandarin oranges
  • 4-ounce mild cheddar cheese
  • 1 giant Dill Pickle
  • 2 mini-bags of beef jerky
  • 1 pkg. 4-applesauce cups
  • 1 jar jam/preserves
  • 1 pancake mix
  • 1 pkg. parmesan cheese whisps

I hope I've inspired you with these Dollar Tree lunch ideas (whether you're already eating lunches from there or not). And if you've got some of your own faves, please let me know in the comments below! Also, don't forget to check out these Dollar Tree dinner ideas.

collage of three dollar tree lunch ideas, text overlay "dollar tree lunches, $18.75 for the whole week"
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Amanda L Grossman

Personal Finance Writer and CEO at Frugal Confessions, LLC
Amanda L. Grossman is a writer and Certified Financial Education Instructor, Plutus Foundation Grant Recipient, and founder of Frugal Confessions. Over the last 13 years, her money work has helped people with how to save money and how to manage money. She's been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger, Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, Business Insider, LifeHacker, Real Simple Magazine, Woman's World, Woman's Day, ABC 13 Houston, Keybank, and more. Read more here or on LinkedIn.