25 Favorite Homemade Food Gifts Allrecipes Allstars Love to Share

homemade food gifts
Photo: Mackenzie Schieck

It's no exaggeration to say that everyone loves a handmade gift. The very fact that you put in time and effort gives it that element of heart that sets it apart from anything store-bought. I asked our Allrecipes Allstars — some of our most engaged and passionate community members — to share their favorite homemade food gifts they love to make and give for the holidays. Take a look — you're sure to find loads of recipes and inspiration for your own homemade food gifts this year.

01 of 26

Salted Caramel Sauce

salted caramel sauce with gift label
Allrecipes Magazine

Jennifer Baker likes to make Salted Caramel Sauce, filling 4-oz jars and decorating them for gift-giving. Tie a little spoon to each jar and you're all set.

02 of 26

Chef John's Apple Butter

jar of homemade apple butter
Chef John

Jennifer Baker says, "Last year, my guy and I made Chef John's Apple Butter." This slow cooker recipe will make enough to fill several gift jars (and your home will smell amazing).

03 of 26

Shorecook's Cashew Brittle

Shorecook's Cashew Brittle
Shorecook's Cashew Brittle | Photo by Christina.

Lindsay has made this easy homemade candy in her microwave many times. "Husband goes nuts for it," she says. To give as gifts, she puts it in decorative tins.

04 of 26

Cranberry Hootycreeks

cookie mix layered in a gift jar
Sarah

Both Lindsay and Jennifer Baker give out this popular cookie-mix-in-a-jar recipe, but Jennifer changes the name to Cranberries in the Snow. Tip: Remember to attach the baking instruction (you'll find them on the recipe) along with a gift label.

05 of 26

Vampire Breath Mints

homemade breath mints
Lindsay

Lindsay made these for her dog-sitter, using candy canes and colored sugar to make them Christmassy, and packaged them in a decorative tin. "She loved it!" says Lindsay.

06 of 26

Brown Sugar BBQ Rub

dry rub on ribs
DebbiSmirnoff/Getty Images

Here's one for the BBQ fan on your gift list. France C says, "I like to do homemade seasonings, such as my brown sugar BBQ rub, or a chili seasoning, or something similar. I like that it lasts throughout the year. I like to package in small jars tied with ribbon/string and a homemade label."

07 of 26

Cinnamon Roasted Almonds

cinnamon roasted nuts in a gift jar
Heather Azzarello

Liz Dalton makes homemade roasted nuts, and tailors them to what the gift recipients likes. "I feel it is a nice personal gift," she says. "My cousin loves cinnamon so I give him cinnamon roasted almonds or cashews. My brother likes cashews so he gets holiday spice cashews! I usually package them different containers like clear gift bags or fun tins. My dad likes rum balls and he gets those every year!"

08 of 26

Friendship Soup Mix in a Jar

dry soup mix layered in a gift jar
612jasonw

"I made these soup jars last year as gifts," says Mrs. Chef Esh. "I put the jars in a festive soup bowl and attached a soup spoon to go with it. Everyone loved the soup!"

09 of 26

Italian Limoncello

homemade limoncello
Kim

Adawndria Fisher says, "We've given chocolate-dipped Ruffles, limoncello, spiced pecans and brownies in tree shaped disposable pans. I try to do something ready-to-eat so there's less pressure for the person to complete it (except hot cocoa mix). I think it shows people that you're willing to give your time in a way that shows how much you appreciate them. The best homemade gift I've ever received was from a neighbor who made a bunch of tiny European-style cookies and put them in a pint-sized mason jar. She made so many flavors and they were all so small and I have no idea to this day how she was able to accomplish it."

10 of 26

Amaretto

homemade amaretto liqueur in a decanter
Helene Wilson

"Although I haven't made this for gifts I did make it for ourselves after receiving it as a gift from my hair dresser," say KGora. "It was so good! Why is it sometimes other people's 'food' tastes better than your own, though? Hers turned out better and this is the recipe she told me she used."

11 of 26

Habanero Pepper Jelly

pepper jelly in gift jars
Matthew Watson

"I have been doing this for years," says My Hot Southern Mess. "It started with teacher gifts. My kids had multiple teachers, aids and, therapists at school and I didn't have the money to buy everyone gifts. Over the years some of the favorites have been habanero pepper jelly, homemade marshmallows, homemade cocoa mix, peppermint bark, peppermint meringues, homemade peppermint patties, Buckeyes, and more. I have taken a break from full time blogging since moving to GA but every December I do a series of 12 days of Homemade Christmas."

12 of 26

The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies

The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies
The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies | Photo by augustmoon.

JARRIE says, "For a local friend, I double my own batches of cookie dough so that she can do cutout cookies and gingerbread cookies with her own kids. She's a teacher, and is in early and home late and does not always have time to make the dough and let it rest blah blah blah. I'm hoping I can inspire others to consider gifting cookie dough to the busy moms of littles that are within their community. I also do individually flash-frozen cookie dough in other flavors to be baked off in small portions all year. Chocolate chip, etc."

13 of 26

Aunt Teen's Creamy Chocolate Fudge

Aunt Teen's Creamy Chocolate Fudge
Picture: Aunt Teen's Creamy Chocolate Fudge | Photo by My Hot Southern Mess.

RainbowJewels says, "I do fudge & cookies, hot cocoa mix in mason jars with homemade marshmallows, and canned goods that I've preserved throughout the year."

14 of 26

Red and Green Christmas Jalapeno Jelly

three jars of homemade Red and Green Christmas Jalapeno Jelly decorated with raffia ties for food gifts
TheBritishBaker

"This one is great too," says Staci Purvis Maddox. "You can whip it up late summer when you have a bumper crop of jalapenos or other peppers. I love that this recipe doesn't call for food color, so you can really see the red and green peppers in it. It's so pretty poured over a block of cream cheese."

15 of 26

Tangy Mustard

Tangy Mustard

"I have done this mustard before,: says Staci Purvis Maddox. "I love that it's great for leftover turkey sandwiches. It takes at least two weeks to 'get right,' so you do have to plan ahead."

16 of 26

Basic Truffles

Basic Truffles rolled in cocoa powder and nested in candy cups
larkspur

Stella Marie likes to make these for her friends and family. She adds, "Just swap out the vanilla for any other extract (peppermint was fantastic!) or liqueur (raspberry, orange, amaretto, port wine, etc), and you can easily roll out, coat, dip, and decorate to give everyone a dozen little bites of pure indulgence."

17 of 26

Caramels

plate of homemade Caramels recipe
CookinBug

"I started making these in 2003, and have been gifting them to my and my husband's co-workers every year since. I shop for Christmas tins or boxes AFTER Christmas, when they are dirt cheap, and then put them away for the following year." — Kim's Cooking Now!

18 of 26

Peppermint Meringues

Peppermint Meringues
Peppermint Meringues | Photo by Amy.

"These are so addictive!" says Paula. "I fold crushed peppermints into the mixture before baking. Sometimes I just give them in a pretty little tin. Other times as part of a cookie tray." She adds, "I've made them at the beginning of Dec and they're still crispy for Christmas. I keep them in a Christmas tin. The problem is having them last that long!"

19 of 26

Coquito II

eggnog drink with rum over ice
Colin Rudolph

"I give out bottles of Coquito (Puerto Rican eggnog)." says fabeverydayblog. "I package them in bottles from Ikea and add a simple but festive detail with a sprig from my Christmas tree and cinnamon stick tied around the bottle with twine.

20 of 26

Pretzel Turtles

homemade pretzel turtles candy
France C

"Another treat I give in tins or on cookie trays. I've found that kids prefer topping with M&M's but adults seem to like the pecan halves," says Paula. She adds, "I use a Christmas tin, or I put them in those Christmas cellophane bags and tie with red/green ribbon."

21 of 26

Chocolate Spoons

spoons dipped in chocolate
Christina

"I put chocolate spoons in a Christmas mug along with individual hot chocolate mixes and instant coffee packs like Starbucks Via. Then I wrap it in clear see-through Christmas wrap and tie with ribbons. I also add peppermint candy flavoring to some of the chocolate spoons." — Paula

22 of 26

Eileen's Spicy Gingerbread Men

decorated gingerbread men
Kim

"Christmas baking is my jam!" says Kim. I always make cookie platters for gifts! I send a lot through the mail to friends and family too. If I'm mailing them, I package them in the "goodie" bags, and then wrap them in bubble wrap and pretty tissue paper. Looks nice and festive, but keeps the cookies safe too! If I'm not mailing them, I have nice tins that I line with cupcake liners (or those square liners), and fill each with a different cookie or candy. For the past two years, I've made the cookies starting in early November--and then freeze them until they're ready to be mailed or given away. Allows you more time to make stuff, and they still taste fresh too!" Favorites include Eileen's Spicy Gingerbread Men, Beth's Spicy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies, Chocolate Crinkles, and The Best Rolled Sugar Cookies.

23 of 26

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Homemade Vanilla Extract
The Gruntled Gourmand

"I love making homemade vanilla," says the daily gourmet. You can even do this last minute if you have an Instant Pot. It just takes quality vanilla beans and vodka! 3 vanilla beans split and 2 cups vodka poured into a mason jar (place the lid loosely on the jar set jar on a trivet) 1 cup water poured into pot - 30 minutes on high pressure and voilà vanilla extract. I found some cute jars and poured my extract into the jars. They were the perfect gift!"

24 of 26

Papa's Seasoning Salt

seasoning salt mix
etienne voss/Getty Images

This is a quick and easy salt mix you can whip up in 10 minutes. Then all you have to do is spoon it into gift jars for the spice-lovers in your life. Bibi says she made up a batch of this for homemade gifts.

25 of 26

Strawberry Freezer Jam

strawberry jam in gift jars
FoodFan

Diana says, "Every summer I make a ton of artisan jams from in-season fruit, and I wrap up my canning during Hatch Chile season with my super-secret green-chile-pepper jam (or relish). I use these as gifts for the Holidays for co-workers, neighbors and friends! They are such a hit, we used them as some of the favors for my daughter's wedding reception."

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