10 Homemade Food Gifts To Get Started on Right Now

mini loaves of fruit cake dusted with confectioners sugar
Photo: Smart Cookie

Thinking about doing homemade for the holidays? It's not too soon to begin prepping homemade food gifts, especially the ones that need a little alone time for their full flavors to mature. Gifts from the kitchen always feel a little more special, and it will feel good to start checking off your holiday to-do list before the busy season takes over your life. Here are 10 homemade food gifts you can get started on now.

01 of 10

Limoncello | Ready in 3 to 4 weeks

bottles of homemade limoncello liqueur with gift tags
Elizabeth Nguyen

This bright, lemony Italian liqueur is such an easy DIY to make for a fraction of the cost of the store-bought stuff. Of course, you can mix it into cocktails and even use it to flavor cakes. Be sure to tell your lucky gift recipients to store it in the freezer so it's super-cold and ready to sip at a moment's notice.

Couple of tips: Many cooks make limoncello with Everclear instead of vodka. And, when you're peeling the zest from the lemon, be sure none of the white pith goes into the mix, otherwise you'll get a bitter flavor.

02 of 10

Coffee Liqueur I | Ready in 4 weeks

White Russian Cocktail

The Big Lebowski was onto something good, and now you can do your part to spread that abiding cheer among your friends with this homemade tipple.

Tip: Include recipe cards for White Russians and tiramisu with your gift bottles.

03 of 10

Homemade Chipotle Oil | Ready in 1 week

bottle of homemade chipotle oil and bowl of popcorn

Need a gift for someone who likes it hot? They'll love this chipotle-infused oil. bd.weld says, "The first thing I did was make popcorn with this and it made the perfect spicy popcorn." You can also use this simple method to make other spice-flavored oils. Try flavors like curry, turmeric, and ginger.

Watch the video to see how ridiculously easy it is to make. Store in a cool, dark cupboard until you're ready to get with the gifting.

04 of 10

Vanilla Sugar | Ready in 1 week

jars of homemade vanilla sugar and teaspoon full of vanilla sugar
Buckwheat Queen

Talk about easy and impressive! This make-ahead food gift is simply sugar infused with the heady aroma of vanilla beans. The recipe says to let it sit for a week, but the flavor and aroma really builds if you let it sit for a while longer.

Tip: This is so seriously easy to make, you'll have the time and energy to put into packaging it up in decorative jars. For an extra-schmancy touch, include a vintage teaspoon for scooping and stirring into coffee.

05 of 10

Herbed Vinegars | Ready in 2 to 3 weeks

small bottles of homemade herb vinegar with gift tag

Elevate plain white vinegar into aromatic bottles of herb-infused magic you'd have to pay big bucks for in fancy food stores.

Tip: After the infusion period is over, strain out the used herbs and slip new cuttings into the gift bottles before giving them away.

06 of 10

Smart Cookie's Fruitcake | Ready in 6 to 7 weeks

mini loaves of fruit cake dusted with confectioners sugar
Smart Cookie

Fruitcake has to be the most infamous of all make-ahead food gifts, partly because it needs a good, long, boozy soak to bring out all the flavor. You just might have time to get this one under the wire if you start now. I mean NOW.

07 of 10

Manhattan Cherries! | Ready in 2 weeks

jar of cherries for manhattan cocktails

Fill little jars with dried cherries and top them up with bourbon, and in a couple of weeks you'll have take-along hostess gifts for all the holiday parties from now through New Year's Eve. Tip: These are not as sweet as the usual maraschino cherries you'd find in a classic Manhattan cocktail.

08 of 10

Fresh Pineapple Rum | Ready in 1 week

glass jar full of homemade pineapple rum

If you can't spring for a ticket to the tropics, you can still send your beloved on a taste trip to paradise with this homemade pineapple-infused rum. Tip: Save the strained pineapple to make boozy cupcakes or to serve over ice cream.

09 of 10

Homemade Vanilla Extract | Ready in 3 weeks

Homemade Vanilla Extract
The Gruntled Gourmand

This one's for the bakers on your list. Tip: You don't have to use top-shelf vodka for this recipe, and some cooks prefer bourbon over vodka. Read this review by What's for dinner, mom? to get her thoughts on the bourbon question, plus a smart prep tip for the vanilla beans.

10 of 10

Blueberry Liquor | Ready in 2 weeks

glass jar full of homemade blueberry liquor

I can hear you saying, "But blueberry season is over! How can I make this now?" Good news: This recipe works best with frozen blueberries. Now you can share a taste of summer in the depths of winter.

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