Grocery Items You Can Make Better at Home
Air Fryer Strawberry Breakfast Tarts
Fruit-filled interior: check. Icing-drizzled pastry: check. It's official: These golden brown homemade breakfast tarts are everything you love about the store-bought version, and guess who gets to control the ingredients? That's right—you do. Plus they’re baked to perfection in your air fryer to keep your kitchen cool or your oven free for other recipes.
Spicy Almond Butter
If you think plain ol’ jarred peanut butter is a bit bland, we have your solution right here. A couple teaspoons of harissa, a North African chili paste, give this four-ingredient homemade almond butter its signature heat. Spread it on toast, add it to stir-fry, or thin it with coconut milk for an Asian-inspired sauce. It's deliciously versatile.
Mozzarella Cheese Sticks
Homemade Oatmeal Cream Pies
Because two cookies are always better than one, we tapped our Test Kitchen pros to re-create this classic brown bag lunch treat. Our homemade cookie cream pies feature ingredients you can actually pronounce—and probably already have in your pantry. Peanut butter, oats, and other baking staples star in the cookies, and fluffy marshmallow creme is the key ingredient in the luscious cookie sandwich filling.
Strawberry-Lemon Fruit Leather
With four ingredients and half an hour of your time, you can prep 16 servings of these sweet-tart and utterly addictive homemade fruit snacks. (And, psst, you don't even need a dehydrator.) Once you’ve mastered the original, try our variations that call for ginger, kumquats, and even fresh herbs.
Homemade Margarita Mix
Combine fresh fruit, lime juice, and honey to make the freshest margarita mix you’ve ever tasted. Then just add tequila! Come summer, we love to freeze a batch of this lower-sugar homemade cocktail mix in ice cube trays overnight. Then a frozen marg is seconds away; just add 4 cubes to a blender, pour in 2 ounces of tequila and ¾ ounce orange liqueur, and give it a whirl for a single-serving cocktail recipe that will (just about) transport you to the beach.
Frozen? Puh-leeze. These yeasty, salt-sprinkled soft pretzels trump anything you can find in a box in the freezer aisle. Our full how-to, from kneading and twisting to baking, will show you how easy it is to make homemade pretzels from scratch.
Cream-Filled Chocolate Cupcakes
If you get nostalgic at the sight of these chocolaty snack cakes, chances are you had an awesome childhood. And because we made them with honest-to-goodness ingredients, including milk chocolate, butter, and powdered sugar, you can have your cupcakes without all the processed ingredients of the purchased version. These homemade cream-filled cupcakes look just like the store-bought version—and taste even better if you ask us.
Fresh Marinara Sauce
DIY Cookie Butter
The original cookie butter that flew off supermarket shelves (we’re looking at you, Trader Joe’s!) was designed to taste like speculoos cookies. But our take on this luscious homemade cookie butter, which is dangerously easy to make from scratch, is intended to deliver the flavor of vanilla Oreos. It's irresistible on apples and toast … or straight from the spoon.
Raise a glass to a healthy gut. Fermented tea has gained quite the following in the last decade or so for its reported health benefits. Make a bottle of our five-ingredient basic homemade kombucha recipe, then try the ginger and orange variations to mix things up.
Chocolate-Peanut Butter Granola Bar
In need of some grab-and-go snacks to keep you well-fueled (without the energy roller coaster an hour later)? These chocolate-peanut butter granola bars have oats, crisp rice cereal, pretzels, and chia seeds. One bite will convince you that homemade snack bars are far superior to what you'd buy at the store.
All-Time Favorite Chile con Queso
Your next party menu needs this warm, homemade cheese dip. Since the onion- and chile-infused cheese dip is ready in a mere 20 minutes, it’s an ideal last-minute addition to the spread. All that’s missing are the tortilla chips.
Strawberry Margarita Dessert Sauce
Skip the freezer aisle and make curly fries yourself. That way you can use only the ingredients you need—potatoes, flour, salt, pepper, plus canola oil for frying—and zero preservatives. We speak from experience when we say these spuds are best devoured dunked into your favorite homemade ketchup recipe (and next to a juicy burger, of course).
Bloody Mary Mix
Leave the gigantic jug of red stuff on the liquor store shelf. This bold, citrusy concoction, flavored with horseradish and lemon juice, will turn brunch on its head. For a BYOB (build-your-own-beverage) bar, stir together a batch of this homemade Bloody Mary mix, then set it out with vodka, tequila, and garnish options like cooked bacon strips, olives, pickles, or even shrimp.
Try these tender, lightly eggy noodles once, and you may never go back to boxed dried pasta again. And if you're hoping to dry and freeze the noodles, we include instructions for that, too. Ideal for soups or coated in sauce (we’re partial to a homemade Alfredo sauce or homemade spaghetti sauce), we suggest making a double batch of these marvelous meal-starters to use all week long.
Roasted Tomato Ketchup
After tasting the roasted tiny tomatoes used in this homemade ketchup recipe, everyone will be begging you for your secrets. (We’ll let you in on them now: Roasting the vegetables accentuates their natural sweetness, plus adding a jalapeño in the mix lends a “slow, pleasant burn,” according to one BH&G reader who raves about this beautifully balanced condiment.
Homemade Coarse-Ground Mustard
A homemade ketchup recipe isn’t the only condiment we suggest you stir together from scratch. You might slap your forehead after making this three-step homemade condiment recipe and wonder, “Why did I never make my own mustard before?” With enough punch to hold its own on hot dogs, sandwiches, cheese boards, and meat rubs, we BH&G food editors pretty much always have a jar of this in our fridges.
Single-Crust Pie Pastry
If you have 10 minutes, you have all the time you need to assemble a homemade piecrust. That’s probably quicker than it would take for you to get to your grocery store to buy one. Bring the pastry together in a bowl or food processor, then pile it high with any filling you crave to create your best pie recipe ever.
No-Bake Peanut Butter Oat Bites
Energy bites and granola bars might seem like a lengthy project for home cooks to tackle, but these easy no-bake goodies prove otherwise. The oat-based poppers are ready to chill after just 20 minutes of prep and are naturally sweetened with honey and dried fruit. No cane sugar here.
Sriracha-Honey Beef Jerky
Bet you never thought you'd be known for your artisan-quality beef jerky. But with a little steaming and marinating in a sweet hot sauce, this bold and tasty homemade jerky recipe will become one of your favorite high-protein snacks and win you acclaim. A dehydrator does most of the work for you.
Smoky Corn Tortilla Chips
Beef Bone Broth
Vanilla Coffee Creamer
Bottle running dry of your favorite flavor of creamer to add to your morning cup of joe? Don't worry; it's simple to make it yourself. Each flavor of this homemade coffee creamer recipe has the same two base ingredients, allowing for easy customization.
All-Purpose Baking Mix
Five ingredients and one simple step (stir), and you're well on your way to tender biscuits, muffins, waffles, or any other baked good your heart desires. Nonfat dry milk powder in the mix means most of the goodies you make require zero refrigerated milk. For a dose of whole grains, try our whole wheat flour variation.
Easy Half-Sour Pickles
Jazz up your next sandwich or charcuterie platter with homemade pickles. Simply soak cucumbers in a saltwater solution along with mustard seeds, dill seeds, fresh dill, peppercorns, and garlic. After about a week of pickling time, the tangy, sour, and crunchy pickles are a total treat.
Kansas City Barbecue Sauce
Ideal on ribs, shredded meat sandwiches, barbecue chicken pizzas, and so much more, you’ll be stuck on making your own barbecue sauce once you taste this rendition. The thick, tangy, perfectly balanced homemade BBQ sauce makes flavor magic out of a handful of familiar staple ingredients. Yep, we know horseradish, brown sugar, and apple juice sound like odd teammates, but trust us—the end product is blue ribbon-worthy.
Slow Cooker Vanilla Yogurt
Did you know you can make thick, luscious homemade yogurt in your slow cooker? (You know now.) Grab some milk, vanilla bean paste, and plain unsweetened yogurt, and we'll show you how it's done.
Everything Cracker Crisps
It’s tough to narrow down what we love most about these homemade crackers. How about everything?! Coated with poppy seeds, sesame seeds, and dried minced garlic and onion, these better-than-boxed everything bagel seasoning-inspired cracker crisps are irresistibly crunchy and flavor-packed.
Easy Chicken Stock
A generous drizzle of homemade caramel sauce is just the thing your apple pies, sundaes, pound cakes, and brownies have been missing. While the five-ingredient treat is great to gift, we always have a tough time not saving this silky and sweet sauce for ourselves. That’s why we include freezer instructions (admittedly, so we don’t eat the entire cup in one sitting!).