44 DIY Food Gifts for Cooks That Are Way Sweeter Than Store-Bought

jalapeno ginger pomegranate syrup in glass bottles
Photo: Andy Lyons

A tasty DIY food gift is the present everyone loves, and it's an especially thoughtful gift for cooking enthusiasts. We have fun food gift ideas for everyone on your list. From creamy chocolate truffles and Christmas cookies to hot sauce and flavored syrups, there are food gift ideas for cooks and foodie friends. And with our cute packaging ideas, these homemade edible gifts will be the prettiest (and tastiest) gifts under the tree.

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Roasted Red Pepper Soup in a Jar

Roasted Red Pepper Soup in a glass Jar with a metal spoon
Andy Lyons

What could be cozier on a cold day than a steaming bowl of soup? Share one of the most soul-warming homemade edible gift ideas: heat-and-eat soup. This red pepper soup recipe is gluten-free, fat-free, and low in calories (yet still full of flavor), so it's ideal for gifting. Package with a spoon for easy enjoyment.

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Cheddar Wafers

Cheddar Wafers in clear take out box
Andy Lyons

Leave the packaged crackers on the shelf. These easy cheddar crackers can be ready in less than an hour—and are possible to prep up to a week in advance. From a snack for the kids to a classy cheese board addition, these crackers are among the most crowd-pleasing food gifts available.

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Toasted Seasoning Salt

Toasted Seasoning Salt
Andy Lyons

Did you know that toasting salt in a skillet imparts a smoky flavor? Whip up a big batch of these savory seasoning blends. Meat-lovers can use it to season their steaks or burgers, and vegetarians can toss this DIY food gift with popcorn, nuts, or roasted chickpeas.

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Spiced Bourbon Cherries

Spiced Bourbon Cherries
Andy Lyons

Like old fashioned cocktails? Then you'll love these bourbon cherries! Pair this homemade food gift with a set of cocktail glasses for a fun gift combo. These spiced cherries are flavored with bourbon, vanilla, and pepper—making them a must-have for home mixologists.

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Candied Ginger-and-Orange Icebox Cookies

Candied Ginger
Andy Lyons

Our spicy-sweet candied ginger is a great food gift. Also known as crystallized ginger, this easy homemade Christmas treat makes a tasty addition to cookies, cakes, chocolate barks, and more. We suggest stirring it into tea, too!

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DIY Dip Seasoning Mixes

Dried Pepper Dip Seasoning in glass jars with red bow

This unique food gift is actually three presents in one! Create a pack of jars or bottles so your friends and family can season sour cream or plain Greek yogurt three tasty ways: Bloody Mary (tomato, celery, salt), Mediterranean (oregano, cumin, lemon), and Pesto (pine nuts, basil, garlic).

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Individual Brownie Trifles

Individual Brownie Cheesecakes in Jars
Jason Donnelly

No one will be able to resist these adorable snowman desserts in a jar. This simple trifle recipe uses purchased brownies and whipped cream. Just layer them together and add the lid. To decorate the jars, cut off the toe end from one baby sock and wrap the cut end with a length of twine. Glue tiny pom-poms to the twine ends. Slide sock hat over top of the jar lid, then dress up with pom-poms and ribbon.

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Pancake Kit

pancake mix gift basket
Andy Lyons

A tasty pancake kit can make a surprisingly thoughtful and creative Christmas gift. Package together purchased or homemade pancake mix (see the link above for our buttermilk blend), a container of milk, pure maple syrup, and fresh fruit. Make identifying tags from twine and cardstock; an unused guest check transforms into an adorable recipe instructions sheet.

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Christmas Macaroon Mix

Christmas Macaroon Mix
Blaine Moats

Candied cherries and orange peel spice up our coconut macaroons; pretty embellishments decorate their packaging. Place the disk lid on top of the filled jar, then place a scrapbooking paper circle on top and secure with the rim lid. Lastly, twist a white pipe cleaner on each end of a red pipe cleaner to complete this cookie food gift.

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Pecan Pie Bars

Pecan Pie Slabs
Scott Little

Reuse a plastic cookie tray from a cookie package to gift our delicious pecan pie bars with ease! Line the bottom of the tray with 3.25 x 2-inch mini paper loaf liners ($1, Wilton). Fill the liners with bar cookies and don't forget a decorative sticker to ID the pie-inspired flavor.

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Hot Chocolate Mix

Hot Chocolate Mix
Blaine Moats

Cute for kids and grown ups alike, this hot chocolate mix makes the perfect last-minute homemade edible gift. It calls for only five ingredients and can be made in 15 minutes flat. Instruct recipients to mix with water and voila: A hug in a mug!

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Cookie Decorating Kit

Sugar Cookie Cutouts
Blaine Moats

A cookie decorating kit is the perfect food gift for a family to use together on Christmas Eve. Make a batch of our classic cutout cookies, and package them with sprinkles and frosting. Print out cheery labels for a sweet DIY holiday food gift.

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Candy Crunch White Bark

Dark Chocolate Candy Bark
Karla Conrad

A candy-lover will chow down on this rich chocolate bark. Customize the recipe for your loved one by using their favorite candy bar in the filling. Finish off this sweet food gift with an adorable pup silhouette and lid liner.

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Spiced Apple Tea Mix

Spiced Apple Tea Mix
Blaine Moats

Meet our top pick for a food gift to give to a holiday host, your friends at the office, or fellow book club members. This cozy tea mix features ginger, cloves, and dried apple chips, giving it the taste of apple pie in a cup. Craft a tea kit with paper cups, tea filters (from $4, Etsy), and our cute printable tags.

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Pizza Night Kit

Pizza Night Kit
Jason Donnelly

Delight a neighbor or friend with a make-at-home dinner for the evening. Use our recipes for pizza dough and sauce, and tie up bundles of classic pizza toppings. To package this creative gift, use a pizza box and stick on a cute custom label.

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Triple-Pepper Hot Sauce

Triple Pepper Hot Sauce
Andy Lyons

Spice up your (er, their) life! Three kinds of chile peppers make this hot sauce a perfect food gift for the daredevil diners in your circle. Print out custom labels and tie mild dried chiles to the bottles to hint at the heat inside.

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Savory Herb Salt Rub

Savory Herb Salt Rub
Karla Conrad

A master griller will love our herb-infused custom salt rub, and it's a cinch to make. Package the seasoning mixture in glass bottles, then glue twine in a spiral for a cool top. Wrap burlap and a label around each bottle for a custom finish to this DIY food gift.

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Triple-Chocolate Truffles

clear stackable containers with decorated truffles
Kritsada Panichgul

Delight all the chocolate-lovers with a batch of decadent truffles. Plastic boxes, candy cups, and festive fabric are all you need to package these luscious treats. It's really all about the decadent milk chocolate-covered truffles inside, anyway.

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Potato Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon Roll Twists
Amy Allen

Great for a post-holiday breakfast, this wholesome cinnamon roll recipe features moist potato dough, a brown-sugar filling, and a luxurious cream cheese icing. Bake the twist in a disposable foil pan, then add the lid and color to your gift with a wide, festive ribbon.

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Lemon-Lavender Cookies

Lemon-Lavender Cookie Sandwiches
Karla Conrad

Delight a foodie friend with these delicate lavender cookies. We made cookie sandwiches for easy packing, but you also can spoon the sweet sugar frosting on top. To wrap the cookies, stack them in a paper-lined roll of corrugated cardboard. Place a round of cork at each end and tightly tie the tube with ribbon.

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Apple-Berry Pie in a Jar

Apple-Berry Pie in a Jar
Karla Conrad

We're starry-eyed about these sweet mini pies that taste as good as they look! Bake the pie in a 1-cup, wide-mouth canning jar ($13 for 12, Ace Hardware), then place the cooled pie in a pint-size wooden berry basket. Wrap the basket with red yarn and add a personalized label to complete the all-American food gift.

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Spicy Lime Pistachio Nuts

Spicy-Lime Pistachio Nuts
Adam Albright

Pistachios lend seasonal green color to this nut mix, but you could easily sub in almonds or cashews. To package, layer two muffin liners to make a sturdy container and add your favorite nut mix. Punch circles from cardstock. Fold down the flaps of the liners to cover the mix, then use a dab of hot glue to seal with a cardstock circle. You could also use round stickers to secure the paper.

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Pistachio-Cranberry Baklava

Cherry, Apricot and Pistachio Baklava
Kritsada Panichgul

Take their taste buds on an International tour with this flaky pastry treat. Baklava makes the perfect food gift because it offers a unique twist on the concept of Christmas cookies. Package the baklava triangles in a holiday tin topped with a magnetic clip and a note from you.

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Black-and-White Twists

Black-and-White Pretzels
Jason Donnelly

Double-dipped chocolate and vanilla pretzels are a salty-and-sweet food gift that anyone will love. For the packaging, glue scrapbook paper around a potato chip can. Adhere a homemade label to the can using glue, then wrap the can with twine.

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Oatmeal Spice Cookies

Cinnamon and Fruit Cookies
Karla Conrad

Gift this classic childhood favorite with a grown-up twist for the holidays. A bold dose of cinnamon and dried fruit adds some sophisticated flavor to oatmeal cookies. To package, line a small burlap gift bag with brown parchment paper. Tie the filled bag with ribbon and add a tag.

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Little Peppermint Cakes

Petite Peppermint Petits Fours
Scott Little

Need a last-minute gift? Don't fret. These French-style peppermint cakes have a trick up their sleeve: A frozen pound cake base allows you to put them together in just 30 minutes. Dress them up with paper candy cups and a gift box.

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Hazelnut Rocky Road Brownie Mix

Hazelnut Rocky Road Brownie Mix
Andy Lyons

Our homemade brownie mix in a jar recipe features rich cocoa powder, gooey marshmallows, and a layer of crunchy hazelnuts. Pour the ingredients into the jar one by one, and then decorate it for the season. (We used velvet stickers to jazz up the sides.) For the flower topper, layer a paper tag, a vintage foil flower, and a large button; adhere them together with a few dabs of hot glue.

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Hazelnut Truffles

Sweet Cherry Truffles
Blaine Moats

A light dusting of powdered sugar, cocoa powder, and nuts completes these decadent truffles. The chocolate-lover in your life will swoon over them! Package these treats using small paper candy cups and a gift box tied with a festive ribbon.

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Breakfast Basket

Person carrying a basket gift
Andy Lyons

Heading to a friend's home for dinner? You'll nearly guarantee a return invite if you leave breakfast behind as a thank you. Fill a food gift basket with homemade pancake mix, granola, coffee, and jam. Finish it off with fresh fruit and a bouquet of flowers.

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Vanilla Bean Liqueur

Vanilla Bean Liqueur
Jason Donnelly

For a make-ahead Christmas food gift your friends will love, combine vodka, sugar, and vanilla beans, then store for a month in a cool, dark place. Copy your favorite drink recipe onto a cute card and attach it to this luscious liqueur for a personal touch.

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Butterscotch Brownies and Deep Chocolate Brownies

Butterscotch Brownies
Blaine Moats

This two-in-one brownie food gift looks lovely in a pretty confection box ($4, Joann). Alternate brownie squares for a fun checkerboard effect. With a look as appealing as its taste, this food gift idea is a sure winner.

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Homemade Marshmallows

homemade marshmallows
Kritsada Panichgul

Light-as-air homemade marshmallows are a treat to give. Recipients can add them to hot cocoa on a chilly night or to ooey-gooey s'mores. Wrap the marshmallows in a cellophane bag topped with a small chalkboard gift tag (available at crafts or hobby stores).

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Egg-and-Bacon Breakfast Casserole

casserole in Towel Wrap
Jason Donnelly

Here's one food gift that's a meal and a kitchen gift in one! A savory bacon-and-egg casserole goes mobile in a baking dish the recipients will love to add to their stash. Wrap the dish with a festive holiday towel and ribbon, and tie on wooden utensils.

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Chocolate Slab

Chocolate Slab Food Gift
Adam Albright

Customize tempered chocolate with your favorite candies (we love the salty-and-sweet combo of pretzels and peppermint). To package, cut a circle just smaller than the jar lid from about 25 layers of holiday-color tissue paper. Use a double-threaded needle to make one stitch in the center of the stack; knot. Snip around the circle at regular intervals. Pull the tissue-paper petal shapes up and toward the center and use a glue dot to adhere the flower to the jar lid.

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Pomegranate-Herb Syrup

Pomegranate Syrup Food Gift
Adam Albright

Drizzle this tangy syrup over pound cake or ice cream, or add a dash to cocktails. To package, wrap washi tape around the top or bottom of an apothecary bottle for a quick embellishment. Tie a gift tag to the neck of the bottle with twine.

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Chocolate-Cherry Banana Bread

Chocolate-Cherry Banana Bread
Adam Albright

Standard banana bread gets dressed up for the holidays with cocoa and amaretto-soaked cherries. To package, bake the bread in parchment paper. When cool, set it inside a wooden basket and slip it into a clear bread bag. Wrap the bread with red velvet ribbon and secure with hot glue. Use a thin-tip permanent marker to write on a wooden tag, and tie the tag to the package with hemp twine.

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Gingerbread Cutouts

Peppered-Orange Gingerbread Cutouts
Adam Albright

Spice up these classic cookies with cinnamon, ginger, clove, and nutmeg. To package, cut scrapbook paper to fit the interior of a petal envelope and adhere using double-stick tape. Use glue dots to attach buttons to the flap, a half inch from the opposite fold. Wrap twine in a figure eight around the buttons to close.

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Hazelnut-Mocha Sauce

Hazelnut-Mocha Sauce
Kim Cornelison

Cook chocolate pieces and chocolate-hazelnut spread with evaporated milk and sugar for 8 minutes, stirring frequently, and this rich dessert sauce is done! Pour it in a glass jar and refrigerate until serving or until you're ready to give it as a food gift to your friend with the biggest sweet tooth.

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Cranberry-and-Pepper Shortbread Bites

Cranberry and Pepper Shortbread Bites
Adam Albright

Peppercorns give these buttery sweet treats an unexpected bite. To package, cut scrapbook paper to fit the box lid and secure with double-stick tape. Layer two ribbons of different widths in a band around the closed box and hot-glue them in place. Dip the stems of punched leaf shapes in hot glue and press onto the ends of hemp twine; knot around the box on top of the ribbon.

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Cracker Pizzas

Everything Cracker Crisps
Andy Lyons

This snack is for the pizza-lovers out there. We've borrowed the cheesy, saucy flavors of a delicious slice and transformed them into a crisp cracker. Share this DIY food gift in a reusable glass jar to make your recipient's mouth water.

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Chicken Noodle Soup with Vegetables

Chicken Noodle-Vegetable Soup
Blaine Moats

Mom's classic recipe makes a great gift and looks tasty in a quart jar wrapped with a flour-sack towel and seasonal ribbon. Tuck it in a basket with a warm loaf of bread for a cozy, comforting food gift.

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Cranberry-Orange Relish

Chunky Cranberry Relish
Jason Donnelly

Cranberry and orange zest add pizzazz to this delicious relish, which can be made up to a week in advance. Decorative jars, topped with a cute wooden spoon and personalized note, make ideal packaging. Gift it around Thanksgiving—or any time of year!

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Marinated Feta Cheese and Olives

Marinated Feta and Olives
Jason Donnelly

We're going Greek with this DIY food gift idea! It's a ready-to-devour appetizer of feta cubes, kalamata olives, green olives, roasted peppers, and onion wedges marinated in an herb vinaigrette. A piece of scrap fabric dresses up screw-top jars, which are personalized with a homemade label.

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Sweet Maple Mustard

Sweet Maple Mustard
Andy Lyons

Want to give a gourmet food gift but short on time? This easy maple mustard is a snap to make, thanks to a microwave cooking technique. Suggest the recipient tries it with soft pretzels or on sandwiches.

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