If you’re trying to save money, eat healthier or just prefer the deliciousness of homemade food, you need to check out these 35 foods to make from scratch! Many of them only take five to ten minutes to make too.
My interest in making homemade versions of store-bought convenience foods started years ago.
It began mostly because I wanted to save money on my grocery bill and I realized that making foods from scratch, was almost always cheaper than buying the store-bought alternative.
To my delight, I quickly discovered that most of the foods that I wanted to DIY were actually incredibly simple to make.
In fact, lots of them didn’t take more than 5 to 10 minutes of hands-on time. Totally doable for a busy work-from-home mom like me!
As time went on, I also started to become more conscious of what ingredients were in the foods that my family was eating.
It didn’t take me long to realize that many store-bought pre-made foods and convenience foods contained ingredients that I wasn’t crazy about us consuming large amounts of.
This only spurred on my interest in DIY food recipes and inspired me to keep figuring out what foods I could make from scratch instead of buying at the store.
And I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorites with you!
So whether you are looking to save money on your grocery bill, trying to eat healthier or just appreciate the better taste of homemade foods, I think this list will inspire you!
Foods to Make from Scratch
1. Refried Beans
These homemade refried beans are a regular staple in our house!
I mix up a batch and freeze whatever we aren’t going to use right away. So easy and super delicious…and of course way healthier than store-bought too!
2. Homemade “Bisquick” Mix
I’ve saved so much money by using my homemade Bisquick mix!
It’s super inexpensive to make and is ready in 5 minutes. Plus we think the things that I make with it taste better when I use the homemade stuff!
We eat loads of yogurt and this simple homemade yogurt has been a lifesaver for me! I love that I don’t need any special equipment to make it- just my oven. And it’s so creamy and delicious!
4. Bread Crumbs
Homemade bread crumbs are so incredibly simple to make! You can even use your own homemade bread to make them even cheaper.
And if you are trying to avoid specific ingredients to be healthier, it might interest you to know that the main name brand of store-bought bread crumbs actually has high fructose corn syrup in it! Just one more reason to make your own!
Note: You don’t even need to butter the bread as instructed in the recipe. Simply brown it, and then add the seasonings to the bread when you go to puree it.
5. Cream Soup
This healthier homemade cream soup has been a game-changer for me! A batch of the mix whips up in minutes and is ready to quickly make a “can full” of cream soup whenever you need it.
6. Healthier Alfredo Sauce
I love me some Alfredo sauce! And this homemade version is so delicious, you’re going to want to eat it plain!
It’s made with simple ingredients that make it not only cheaper than most Alfredo sauce recipes but healthier too!
7. Enchilada Sauce
This easy enchilada sauce is made with several simple ingredients and takes just 10 minutes to make!
To save time, I like to make a double batch and then freeze the extra to use in the future.
8. BBQ Sauce
Not only is this recipe delicious and simple to make, but it’s also sweetened with honey.
Definitely much healthier than the store-bought barbecue sauce that is either sweetened with high fructose corn syrup or loads of sugar!
9. Onion Soup Mix
This is one of those convenience foods that is way overpriced in the store! All you need is 4 ingredients to make this homemade version that is not only much cheaper but healthier too!
10. Taco Seasoning
I started making my own taco seasoning a couple of years ago to avoid the MSG that is found in most store-bought packets.
It only takes a minute or so to make and ends up being less expensive than most store-bought taco seasoning too!
More homemade foods that will save you money
11. Sloppy Joes
Skip the Manwich and make this healthier delicious homemade recipe instead!
12. “Rotisserie” Chicken
I love grabbing a whole chicken when they are on sale and making homemade rotisserie chicken! It’s so easy and delicious.
If you don’t have an Instant Pot, check out this oven Rotisserie chicken recipe!
13. Chicken Broth | Chicken Stock
Stop throwing out your chicken (or turkey) bones and use them to make deliciously rich, nutritious broth for just pennies instead!
14. Chicken Bouillon
Yup, you can actually make your own chicken bouillon and it’s way healthier too!
15. Shake and Bake
I love the crunchy flavor and the ease that store-bought Shake and Bake gives to making meat. But I don’t like some of the strange unhealthy ingredients that come along with it.
This homemade Shake and Bake take just a couple of minutes to mix together and is super frugal too. We love it!
16. Homemade Salad Dressing
Salad dressings are so easy to make and typically quite inexpensive too. This Mexican Dressing recipe is a favorite and we enjoy it on all sorts of salad combinations.
And of course, a quick Pinterest or Google search will find you lots of other delicious homemade salad dressing recipes as well!
17. Super Easy Granola
This basic granola recipe uses only simple pantry ingredients and takes just minutes to mix together.
Enjoy it as is, or customize it with add-ins to fit your taste. It’s perfect for a delicious healthy breakfast, snack or parfait!
18. Instant Oatmeal Packets
Who knew that making your own instant oatmeal packets could be so easy? And super inexpensive too! I also really love that you can control the amount of sugar in them.
These homemade pancakes are so incredibly light and fluffy. And of course, they are cheaper and healthier than store-bought pancake mix too!
Not only is making your own cornbread less expensive, but it’s also so much more delicious! And this recipe takes just 10 minutes to whip together….really not much longer than a pre-packaged mix takes.
More foods to make yourself to save money
21. Apple Butter and Strawberry Jam
We love homemade spreads and jams! And these are two of our favorites. Both are quite easy to make and have much less sugar in them than most brands that you’d buy at the store.
22. 100% Whole Wheat Bread
Homemade bread is one of those things that is super cheap to make and much healthier too!
This whole wheat bread recipe is our favorite and makes enough loaves that you easily have some loaves to put in the freezer too, so you can save time and not need to make bread nearly as often.
23. Dinner Rolls
I know homemade dinner rolls can be daunting, but this recipe is so easy and ready in just 30 minutes!
Yes, it’s a tad more work than buying the frozen rolls from the store, but it’s much cheaper and you aren’t dealing with any odd ingredients or preservatives either.
24. French Bread
There’s nothing like fresh homemade french bread! This recipe is simple and doesn’t take a lot of time to make either!
25. Pizza Crust
This 30-minute homemade pizza crust recipe makes it super easy for me to regularly put good quality, inexpensive pizza on the menu! And as you might guess, my kids are quite happy about that!
26. Frosting (Caramel, Chocolate and Vanilla)
In my humble opinion, you simply can’t beat homemade frosting! It’s just so much tastier than anything store-bought. And it’s so simple to make too!
27. Chocolate Cake
A homemade super moist chocolate cake that takes just 5 minutes to mix up? Yes, please! This cake honestly makes me wonder why anyone would turn to a cake mix!
28. Pie Crust
I know pie crusts can be intimidating, but this recipe is amazing! It handles well, doesn’t tear easily and doesn’t require any chilling time.
Plus it uses simple, basic ingredients too!
29. Graham Cracker Crust
Skip the store-bought graham cracker crust and make your own instead! This amazing recipe works for both baked and no-bake pies too.
30. Homemade Cool Whip
This is one instance where it might actually be cheaper to use the store-bought version.
But I still prefer to use homemade! Because not only does it just taste way better, it’s also much healthier too and made with just three simple ingredients.
And as with many of these items, it’s super easy to whip up too!
More foods that are better from scratch
31. Frappes (Caramel Frappe and Peppermint Mocha Frappe)
I’ve always loved coffee drinks, and especially enjoy frappuccinos. But they can quickly get expensive, plus it’s not always convenient to go to a coffee shop either.
So several years ago I created these two frappes so that I could enjoy my favorite treat at home whenever I wanted.
They’re so simple but so delicious and they’re made with just basic pantry staples too (no flavored coffee syrups), unlike many homemade frappes.
I also love this easy homemade vanilla iced latte too. So easy and delicious!
32. Sweetened Condensed Milk
Next time you are making a dessert that calls for sweetened condensed milk, try making your own instead! It’s way cheaper than store-bought and thankfully, it’s not difficult to make either.
33. Evaporated Milk
Did you know that evaporated milk is just milk that has some of the water “evaporated” out of it to make it a bit richer?
So it’s pretty easy to figure out that making your own is as simple as simmering some plain old milk for a bit! Super easy!
If you don’t have a crockpot, you can give this non-crockpot evaporated milk recipe a try!
34. Chocolate Syrup
We love this homemade chocolate syrup! It’s delicious on ice cream, used in coffee drinks and makes great chocolate milk! And it’s made with just five basic pantry staples.
35. Homemade Magic Shell
I discovered my friend Julie’s magic shell recipe last summer and oh my goodness! It’s amazing! All you need is two ingredients and about five minutes to whip it up.
More foods you can make at home to save money
If you know how to can foods, here are a few more items that are worth making yourself. I will say though, these foods may not actually be cheaper homemade unless you grow your own or are able to get the fruits or vegetables at a great price or in bulk.
But I did want to include them because as usual, homemade does taste better and is better quality too.
36. Diced Tomatoes
37. Tomato Juice
39. Canned Peaches
40. Green Beans
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Thank you so much. In this day and age, we have to save on fixed incomes, save on gas instead of driving around getting the pre-made. I love and plan on using as many of these made from scratch as possible. I have tried some and find they taste even better than store bought. Thanks again.
You are so very welcome! I’m delighted that these recipes are helping you out. And yes, I think in general the homemade versions are just much more delicious, which is a fun added bonus!
Do you have any recipes for making your own cake mixes? Enjoy your blog, I have always liked to make my own things as much as I can. It’s always fun to learn more!
Glad to have you here, Amanda! I don’t have any recipes on my site for making your own cake mixes, although I have thought of doing it. Basically, all you need to do is to take all the dry ingredients of your favorite cake and put them in a jar or Ziploc bag. Then when you are ready to mix it up, you will add the other ingredients like eggs, milk, butter/oil etc.
For recipes that call for a dry cake mix (like a dump cake recipe), you can just use the dry ingredients of your favorite cake recipe instead. That’s what I did for my dump cake recipes and it worked like a charm…and was healthier too! I hope that makes sense. If it doesn’t feel free to ask questions and I’ll be happy to try to clarify.
Great idea, thanks!!
Lovely website, thanks for sharing 👍
Glad you found it helpful, Debbie!
Ruth Ann Stoltzfus
I need to try that BBQ Sauce; haven’t found one yet that we like. Have you ever canned it? And do you know what kind of molasses is best to use?
I haven’t ever tried canning it, but I’m guessing you could. I wonder if it would change the taste at all? It sure would make it easier to always have on hand! As of now, I only use this homemade BBQ some of the time since I don’t always think of making it up ahead of time. The rest of the time I use store-bought versions that don’t have high fructose corn syrup in them and just pay the extra! As far as the molasses. I always just use baking molasses such this Golden Barrel version. It’s less strong tasting than black strap and I find we like the taste better. Hope that helps!
Super Mom - No Cape!
I prefer to make most things from scratch. They taste so much better and like you say are often much cheaper to make than to buy.
The Mexican Salad Dressing looks so yummy! I have been trying to make more homemade salad dressing recently not just to save money, but I feel like it is healthier without all the added junk in them. I can’t wait to try it.
Yes, I love that I know exactly what is in it! No strange ingredients that I don’t even know how to pronounce. 🙂
Glad you liked it, Mildred!
Would love to have your recipes
If you are looking for salad dressing, it’s number 16 in the list above.