Dining out with kids is hard enough—there’s the potential crying, mess-making, and temper tantrums to worry about, so sometimes eating at home is way less of a hassle. But if your kid’s meal is free? Well, that might just make the mayhem worth the risk. Given the rising costs of feeding a family, a day where you can score a free lunch, dinner, or special treat for your little one is always appreciated.
Now, let’s get a few things straight before we dig in: While some restaurants welcome you to walk in on specified nights and get a free kids’ meal with the purchase of an adult meal, others require you to join their mailing lists or download their rewards apps to access these sweet deals. (Worth it, though, no?)
And keep in mind that deals may vary by location, especially in the case of a franchise where individual spots may not participate. We advise calling ahead before going through the effort of getting everyone into car seats—just to make sure!
Lastly, every restaurant defines “kid” differently in terms of qualifying ages—so be sure to check before you convince your teen to tag along for a freebie.
(Psst: After all the free deals, we’ve included a couple very cheap deals for kids too—we’re talking $2 max. You’re welcome!)
Now that we got all of that out of the way, here are some of the best kids eat free deals for a budget-friendly family dinner out:
No need to remember which day of the week it is at IHOP, because kids under 12 eat free every evening from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Only available on dine-in orders, the littles can choose things the Funny Face Pancake—or get a little more adventurous with chicken and waffles.
2. Cody’s Original Roadhouse
Monday and Tuesday nights are the best times for families to visit this BBQ joint. Guests under 10 are eligible to get a free meal off the kids menu with the purchase of an adult entrée. They can indulge in a pulled pork sandwich, shrimp on a stick—or opt for traditional fare, like burgers and mac and cheese. All of the meals come with fries or apple sauce and a drink.
3. Ruby Tuesday
It won’t be hard to remember that Tuesday is the day when kids eat free all day here. Even better, diners under 12 can get this deal on Fridays, too, with the purchase of a full-priced adult entrée. Options include marinara pasta, crispy shrimp, chicken tenders, and more.
A free kids meal is included with the in-store purchase of an adult meal on Wednesdays. Only available at participating locations, visitors 12 and under are eligible to receive a cheeseburger, hamburger, or chicken strip meal—with sides and a drink.
Download the Bob Evans app to get free dinner for the kiddos on Tuesday nights. Once you spend $15, you’ll be eligible for a free kids meal, which could be breakfast for dinner. (You make the rules!) Kids will love the Little Piggy Pancakes (hotcakes with banana slices and sausage or bacon) or Tic-Tac-Toast (a spin on French Toast).
Join the Denny’s reward program, and kids under 12 can eat free on select nights with the purchase of an adult entrée over $6. Dates and restrictions depend on locations.
7. Famous Dave’s
Your child (under 12) can enjoy a Lil’ Wilbur meal for free on Tuesday nights, with the purchase of an adult meal. Available at select locations, choose from chicken strips, a rib dinner, or mac and cheese—all with a side and drink.
At select locations, children under 12 can get a free meal (with a purchase) on Tuesday nights—but you’ll want to call ahead, since these restaurants are independently operated and all offer different promotions. If the promotion is running, little ones can feast on a nugget meal with a side and drink.
Join My Chili’s Rewards, and you’ll get emails or texts about free meals for kids under 12 with the purchase of a regular adult entrée. Enjoy your baby back ribs while the littles eat faves like quesadillas, burger bites, or cheesy chicken pasta.
The famous wing spot occasionally runs specials that offer free wings (or other kid-friendly menu items, like chicken tenders or sliders) to children under 12, with the purchase of an adult meal.
It might seem unusual to go to a furniture store for dinner, but depending on your location, kids under 12 can eat free on Wednesdays and enjoy some of those signature meatballs. To top it all off, you can score free babysitting while you’re at it: Småland workers will watch your little ones for an hour while shop.
12. Marie Callender’s
Kids under 12 get one free meal with every adult meal purchased on Tuesdays and Saturdays. There’s a large menu to choose from, with options like buttermilk pancakes, burgers, and a soup-and-salad bar combo.
13. Miller’s Ale House
On Tuesdays, kids under 12 can snag a free dinner with the purchase of a $10 item. The popular pub-style spot serves faves like quesadillas, fried shrimp platters, and burgers for the little ones. (Heads up: There’s a limit of two per table.)
14. Moe’s Southwest Grill
On Sunday nights, diners under 12 get a free meal with the purchase of an adult entrée. There’s a burrito, quesadilla, or taco option—and each meal comes with chips, a drink, and a cookie.
This chain doesn’t have regular year-round deals, but they do occasionally run specials. Follow them on social media to keep track of when kids can eat free.
We can’t guarantee that your Fuddrucker’s location has free kids meals, but reach out to the one closest to you, as the chain says local spots offer regular deals for kids.
Follow On the Border on social media for kids eat free coupon codes—offered on select weekends and at specific locations. Sample menu items include enchiladas, tacos, quesadillas, chicken strips, and corn dogs.
Okay, it may not be a full meal—but who doesn’t scream for ice cream, especially when it’s free? Children under 40 inches can get a free baby cone anytime with a purchase at participating locations. (Your four-legged pup can also get a free doggie sundae with a purchase!)
While these aren’t totally free, they’re still pretty good deals, if you ask us:
On Wednesdays, kids under 12 eat for $1 all day long with the purchase of an adult entrée. They can choose from meals like soft or crispy tacos or the always popular mac and cheese.
Mondays at 4 p.m. is when you should head to kids night at Genghis Grill, where all the meals for guests under 12 are $1.99. This deal requires the purchase of an adult meal and only two are allowed per table. The kiddos can try things like teriyaki chicken, chicken fried rice, or chicken lo mein—but there’s also tried-and-true mac and cheese for pickier eaters.