10 Foods Worth Making at Home

Making food at home rather than buying the pre-made stuff won't just make your wallet happy, but your taste buds too.

The supermarket is a mecca of convenience foods that are theoretically supposed to make life easier — but tastier or better for you? Well, that's up for debate. With so many prepared items at our fingertips, healthy or otherwise, it's all too easy to get into the habit of reaching for a jar or pre-packaged product. It can also be difficult to decipher what is actually worth making at home and what you should simply dish out the extra cash for (because yeah, convenience has a cost). Taking the from-scratch route definitely involves a bit of effort, but if it also allows you the opportunity to cut out chemicals and preservatives, make adjustments that better suit your palate and even save a few bucks, why not go for it? Scroll on for a list of 10 foods you're better off making than buying.

1. Salad Dressing: Store-bought salad dressings are filled with less-than-appetizing additives and unhealthy ingredients. Making your own salad dressing is almost as fast as shaking up a bottle and the taste is undeniably superior. Not to mention, doing so will help cut down on fridge clutter since you can control how much you make — kiss all those barely used bottles goodbye.

2. Nut, Seed and Grain Milks: Almond, rice, oat and a host of other non-dairy milks are easy to find in grocery stores, but they can't compare to the homemade variety. Flavor and texture are typically better when made from scratch and, if you buy your ingredients (nuts and seeds) in bulk, cheaper too.

3. Granola: Though made with relatively simple ingredients, granola gets quite the market at the grocery store. Ditch the added sugar and save some serious cash by whipping up a batch at home instead. And while you're at it, make your own granola bars too.

4. Hummus: A can of chick peas goes for less than $1 for a 15-ounce can, but a tub of hummus costs at least threes that. Make it at home in minutes with a few fresh ingredients for added flavor and the help of a food processor or blender.

5. Popcorn: When you think popcorn, Orville Redenbacher or another microwave-ready variety probably comes to mind. But these varieties are often full of chemicals and don't exactly deliver when it comes to taste. It's easy to make your own at home and maybe takes only an additional two minutes. All you need are kernels, a pot with a lid and a few tablespoons of coconut or olive oil.

6. Stock: After tasting your first batch of bone broth or homemade vegetable broth you'll never look back. Bullion cubes and the boxed stuff can't even compare to their complex, fresh flavors. And while making your own is a rather time-consuming affair, you don't need to stand over the pot to get great results.

7. Nut Butter: If you love adding a spoonful of peanut butter to your morning smoothie or couldn't imagine toast without a healthy helping of almond butter, listen up. Making your own nut butter is incredibly easy and the homemade variety has about half the amount of sugar and salt. Have fun with it by testing out unique flavor combinations.

8. Sauces: Pesto, salsas, tomato sauce — you name it — most sauces just flat out taste better when you make them from scratch. Fresh ingredients are really what make pesto and salsa shine and flavor is definitely lost in translation (or manufacturing) when it comes to the bottled varieties. Jarred sauces are also laden with stabilizers, preservatives and additives that you could simply do without and a simple pasta sauce doesn't take more than 20 minutes to make and leftovers can be frozen.

9. Spice Blends: Spices are an expensive pantry item and eclectic spice blends you'll only use once or twice aren't always worth the $5 price tag. Most blends use spices (Italian seasoning, pumpkin pie spice, Chinese five-spice) you likely already own, so use up ones close to their expiration date to make them or start buying spices in bulk.

10. Bread: Okay, making your own bread isn't as scary as it's made out to be. And with a bit of practice you'll be churning out stellar loaves in no time. The benefits are obvious — making your own isn't just cheaper, it's phenomenally better tasting and there are far fewer additives — plus, who doesn't like fresh-out-of-the-oven bread?

Feature image via Cocoon Cooks

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