I love saving money, and I bet you do too! I compiled a long list of my favorite grocery items that are easier (and cheaper) to make at home. Give it a shot! It is easier to DIY these than to buy!
We all have our own reasons for having an interest in making more of our own food. Usually, my motivator is saving a few pennies. But when I can save a few pennies, indulge in a healthier item and have the joy of making something myself, that’s just icing on the cake.
Many of these grocery store swaps featured below will either save you money, allow you to create a healthier product or offer convenience. Some hit on all three. And those are the jackpots!
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I could go on and on about why it’s such a great idea to make your own food at home. I wanted to point out a few of the reasons I always reach homemade before commercially packaged items. Let’s take a look.
- Frugal – I know you already know how much I love to save money. Being frugal allows me to be more in charge of what I spend my money on, so it doesn’t get wasted. When you create recipes at home for essential items like taco seasoning, you are going to be able to make a lot more for much less money. It’s a win all around.
- So Much Healthier – Commercially packed food typically has lots of preservatives, so that way it lasts longer. That can seem like a great idea, but those preservatives aren’t great for you. Fresh homemade food is so much healthier and can leave a lasting effect on your health.
- It’s Fun – Yes, you read that right! It can be so much fun to snag the kids and have them help you prepare food. I promise, there will be so many giggles and laughs along the way that you will want to do this over and over again. They will enjoy the memories too.
- It’s Easier To Make Smaller Portions – The more you eat, the more it costs! Take advantage of portion control when making your own supplies. You’ll be amazed by how large portions are versus what they should be. It’s a big difference, and making things at home gives you the freedom to prepare them in the correct servings.
Homemade Butter – Making your own homemade butter is absolutely divine! It’s creamy, rich, and delicious. Serve with homemade dinner rolls, toast, or add some to your veggies before roasting.
Homemade Coffee Creamer – I have a love for coffee like no other. Adding homemade coffee creamer is a must because I don’t really like it black. This coffee creamer can be made with just a fraction of the cost, and it’s incredible.
Homemade Ricotta Cheese via Shelovesbiscotti.com – If you cook a lot of Italian dishes, you know that ricotta is a staple. It can be expensive if you don’t find it on sale, so making it at home is a no-brainer. It’s super simple too.
Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk via Farmer’s Wife Rambles – We add sweetened condensed milk to a lot of desserts over a year’s time, especially during the holidays. I can’t tell you how many times I reached in the cabinet to get some out to find that I was out. This recipe has saved me many times!
🍽️ Kitchen Staples
Homemade Vitamix Almond Butter – I was shocked at how easy it was to make this alternative nut butter. It was a huge cost savings compared to the store bought version, and best of all, it used a whopping ONE ingredient!
Pistachio Butter – My almond butter turned out so well, that I tried my hand at pistachio butter. It was so awesome! I love having this on my toast in the mornings.
Homemade BBQ Sauce via Clarks Condensed – Jazz up all your favorite recipes with a little bit of barbecue sauce. It’s tangy and so yummy. Drizzle it on grilled chicken, dip your fries into it, or add it to your burger. There are no wrong answers here.
Homemade Peanut Butter via Thrifty NW Mom – I know it sounds crazy that you can make peanut butter at home, but it’s seriously amazing. The flavor and texture are unbeatable and is much healthier than versions loaded with sugars and other ingredients.
Homemade Marinara Sauce via Savvy Saving Couple – This marinara sauce recipe is fantastic for dipping garlic bread into, topping a pile of pasta, or adding to some toast. It’s much healthier and more flavorful than the jarred stuff.
Homemade Beer BBQ Sauce via Black & White Obsession – Okay, so this sauce is insanely good, and I could legit eat it with a spoon! Top all your favorite meats with it, and it will quickly become one of your new go-to sauces for everything.
Homemade Sauerkraut via Vohn’s Vittles – The tangy flavor of sauerkraut gets my taste buds so excited. Now, I can quickly and easily make sauerkraut without having to leave the house. Talk about a great idea!
Homemade Buttermilk Ranch Dressing via The Thrifty Couple – Do you put ranch dressing on everything at your house? We do too, and I am so thankful I stumbled across this quick buttermilk ranch recipe. You are going to love it.
Homemade Ketchup via Little House Living – I will admit that I eat way more Ketchup than what an average person should, but what can I say? It’s delicious! French fries, onion rings, and hamburgers all taste amazing with this homemade Ketchup!
Homemade Cooking Spray via The Thrifty Couple – Why spend tons of money on aerosol cooking spray when you can make a batch in minutes at home. It works great and will keep your foods from sticking to the pans without any problems.
Homemade Pizza Sauce via Table for Seven– We often have a pizza night on Fridays. It’s a fun little tradition that we all enjoy. Making pizza sauce is an affordable way to have fresh sauce any time we want it.
Homemade Mayo via Little House Living – Eating sandwiches is something we do regularly. They are cheap and taste great, especially when topped with this homemade mayo! Try it and see how great it is.
Homemade Biscuit Mix via Food Storage Moms – I realize you can buy boxes of baking mix, but have you noticed the prices lately? They are insanely expensive, and this homemade mix is just as scrumptious.
Homemade Vanilla Extract – If you bake very much at all, then you know that there is a significant difference in store-bought vanilla and the stuff you can make at home. The homemade versions taste so much better and will take your baked goods to the next level.
Homemade Taco Seasoning via Suburbia Unwrapped – Taco night is going to be a whole lot tastier with this seasoning. You most likely already have the ingredients needed in your spice cabinet right now!
DIY Dry Onion Soup Mix via Stockpiling Moms – Onion soup is a must in so many of my soups and recipes. It gives you an explosion of flavor, and it’s even more incredible when made at home.
Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice via The Nerd’s Wife – You can sprinkle this pumpkin pie spice on your coffee, in cakes, or any other desserts. It tastes great and can be made with a fraction of the cost of traditional pumpkin pie spice.
Homemade Bake-Ahead Eggs – Adding protein to your diet is easy when you eat eggs! They are yummy, but also great for you. Save yourself tons of time by making them ahead of time.
Homemade Crockpot Yogurt You will go wild for this crockpot yogurt. I have been making it for years to add to smoothies, overnight oats, or just to eat by itself.
Home Cured & Smoked Bacon via Kitchen Laughter – I will admit that I am in love with bacon. Being able to cure it at home is a big money saver because it’s so expensive normally.
Homemade Strawberry Jam via Stockpiling Moms – This jam is so amazing, and I could sit around and eat it with a spoon. Yum! Add it to your oatmeal, toast, or biscuits to get it the full effect.
Homemade Granola Bars via Clever Pink Pirate – When you are heading out the door and need a quick breakfast or snack, these granola bars are there to rescue you. They taste impressive, and everyone will devour them.
Cranberry Peanut Butter Granola – I make this granola often, and it’s always one of our favorites. We never get tired of it because it’s so flavorful. It’s crunchy and tasty!
Homemade Air Fryer Nutella – We love making this version as it’s fresh and clean with no additives while still keeping that creamy, dreamy taste and texture.
🧊 Freezer Convenience
Homemade Lean Cuisines – Even when Lean Cuisines are on sale, they are still pretty pricey. If you want to save money, but also have great flavors, consider making them at home. You’ll be impressed by how much better they are.
Homemade 59¢ Smoothie Freezer Packs – One of the reasons why so many of us head out to a drive-thru is because it’s convenient. But, these smoothie packs make your breakfast easy, fast, and convenient too! Skip the drive-thru!
Homemade Breakfast Burritos – We eat these burritos for breakfast, of course, but they are also fabulous for lunch and dinner too. Warm them up and devour!
How to Freeze Pancakes – Buying a box or bag of frozen pancakes may seem like a great idea, but you are spending so much more money when you do this. Save yourself some dollars by making them yourself.
Homemade Oatmeal Packets – Make up these quick and easy packets that are already portion controlled and you can add in the fruits/nuts you want to each one. Then in the mornings, you can grab one and make oatmeal in about 2 minutes.
🍿 Snacks & Misc.
Homemade 12¢ Microwave Popcorn – I will admit that this is one of the easiest recipes I use to replace store bought pantry items. Microwave popcorn is normally so expensive and unhealthy. This gives you a fantastic option to eat it without the worry.
Homemade Cheese-Its via Little House Living– Crackers are great when you are on the go or when you want something crunchy in your soup. Try these, and I am certain you will be a fan.
Homemade Pita Chips via Thrifty Jinxy – Eat them with chicken salad, in your soup, or with some dip. It doesn’t matter how they are served because they will be a hit.
Homemade Nutella via Around My Family Table – Where are all my Nutella fans at? Have I got the best deal for you! You can easily make your own Nutella at home for a fraction of the cost of store-bought.
DIY Caramel Sauce via Thrifty NW Mom – Add this creamy caramel sauce to some freshly cut apples or add it to a big bowl of ice cream. No matter how you eat it, it’s insane how good it is.
Homemade Chocolate Syrup via How to Have it All – I am a huge chocolate fan, so keeping some chocolate syrup on hand is a must. This is an efficient way to have it around.
Homemade Uncrustables Sandwiches via Mission to Save – I will never buy store-bought Uncrustables again! The savings from making them at home is incredible, and they taste just as good if not better.
Homemade Whipped Cream via Frosting and a Smile – You can use this whipped cream for so many recipes and as a topping to ice cream or other treats. It’s creamy and smooth too.
DIY Applesauce via The Forked Spoon – The children will go wild for this homemade applesauce. It’s way better than what you can buy at the market too.
🧽 Non Food Items
Homemade Fabric Softener – Make this super easy and awesome to use fabric softener for under 2 cents per ounce! It takes just under 5 minutes to make a jar full of it so you would be crazy to not try it.
Homemade All Purpose Cleaner – Using an all purpose cleaner in your house is going to save you so much money and you can control the harmful substances that are exposed to your family. It is really easy to make!
Homemade Wax Melts – We all love our homes to smell amazing and with these easy to make wax melts, you can do that for pennies!
Homemade Frozen Dog Treats – Your pup is going to love that you can pull these out of the freezer in the summer for a fresh and cold treat!
Whew … that was a long list! I’m certainly inspired to try my hand at making more of my own grocery items with these recipes. Which one are you going to try first?
Brown sugar: 1 cup regular white sugar to 1 Tablespoon molasses. Stir together with a wooden spoon. Incorporate the clumps by crushing and sort of rubbing the back of the spoon on the clump against the bowl. I give this task to my kids. I usually make 5-8 cups of brown sugar in bulk at a time. It’s so fresh and pillowy, and CHEAP :0)
I made the ricotta today and it was awesome! Great post! I’m excited to try more!
I love this list. Not just to save money, but to avoid eating too many processed foods.
sheryl pieroni says
fantastic post. thank you 🙂
My husband loves popcorn. Instead of microwave bags from the store he uses my cast iron dutch oven. With just some oil and popcorn.
Great list. I agree that there are many things that can be made at home instead pf buying them already prepared to save your family money.
Jazmin Rode says
Thank you, Trish!
Rosemarie Groner says
rted frezeer cooking. I can’t get over how much better I like it when it’s DIY!
Jazmin Rode says
yes DIY is definitely the way to go in my opinion!
Lavende & Lemonade says
Love this concept – when you make it at home you know EXACTLY what is going in and don’t have to worry about preservatives and the rest of it! Thanks for sharing these fantastic recipes…and thanks so much for including my Granola in the list – how cool!
Thanks for including my tip! This is a great selection!
Mary from Mission: to Save says
Thanks for including my uncrustables. Lots of great ideas to try on this list!
Vohn's Vittles says
Wow – that is some impressive list! The variety of foods we can make at home with a little time and effort is truly amazing and a great way to gain control of our diets and cut out all the nasty additives. Thanks so much for including my Sauerkraut recipe! 🙂
Hi there, great post. However, I cannot access the marinara sauce recipe 🙁 something about security…
Could you please check the link?
Jazmin Rode says
Hi Eva, I double checked the marinara sauce link and it seems to be working on my end. Sorry for the inconvenience! Hopefully a direct link will help: http://savvysavingcouple.net/2013/04/22/how-to-make-fresh-chunky-marinara-sauce/
Deirdre Henry says
Great post. There are so many things to make oneself especially Ranch Dressing. My daughter brought me on my first trip to America last October and I tasted ranch Dressing for the first time. I was hooked. So now I can make my own.
Plenty to try. Thank you for taking the time to share with your readers.