20 Pantry Staples That Are Cheaper and Healthier Homemade

Homemade Pancake Mix
Photo: magicallydelicious

You can often save money and eat better by making everyday pantry staples yourself instead of buying them at the store. Making your own means you get to control the ingredients to suit your taste and dietary needs, too. Take a look at 20 DIY recipes for foods you probably keep in your pantry at all times.

01 of 20

Chicken Stock

two mason jars filled with golden brown stock
Baking Nana

Here's a thrifty way to use up chicken necks, backs, and wing tips. Make and freeze stock in pint- and quart-size batches.

02 of 20

3-Ingredient Slow Cooker Sweetened Condensed Milk

low angle looking at a line of jars of sweetened condensed milk

"This turned out way better then I thought before it cooled. I must say I used this in my coffee this morning and can't wait to try it in other things. It is thick and cream with a wonderful flavor. The time it took to make this was well worth it." —CoOkInGUT

03 of 20

Light or Dark Brown Sugar

low angle looking at a spoonful of light or dark brown sugar with a jar full behind
Buckwheat Queen

"Making your own brown sugar is so simple and easy and it tastes exactly like store-bought! You'll never run out of brown sugar if you keep two simple ingredients on hand: white granulated sugar and molasses." —JillH

04 of 20

Chef John's Homemade Mayonnaise

Chef John's Homemade Mayonnaise
Chef John's Baking Nana

"Homemade mayo is one of those indescribable culinary pleasures. If you have a stick-style or regular blender you can make your own mayo! It's so much cheaper and way more delicious. You also get to decide what kind of oil you want: a nice fruity olive oil; a lighter vegetable oil; or your own secret custom mix." —Chef John

05 of 20

Flavored Baking Chips

looking at three piles of different colored flavored baking chips

"I put this recipe together out of necessity to make raspberry cheesecake cookies. Raspberry chips were not available in my local stores. Any flavor you desire is possible by changing the extract and food coloring. This recipe allows you to have as many flavored morsels as there are extracts for a fraction of the cost. Enjoy!" —SHORECOOK

06 of 20

Confectioners' Sugar

looking at a sifter of confectioners's sugar with some dusted on a pastry

"It never fails, you run out of powdered sugar and forget to restock it!?!? Update: since having to make my own powdered sugar, I have not bought any!!! I make it ALL the time now!" —Life is Good

07 of 20


Garlic Croutons

Never waste stale bread again. Bread cubes can be toasted in butter or olive oil, and flavored with your choice of salts and herbs. Store in an airtight container.

08 of 20


Sarah's Applesauce in a white bowl

Make it on your stove top or in a slow cooker, and adjust the sweetness, spices, and texture to suit your taste. You can peel and core apples, or just chunk them up and use a food mill to strain out solids after cooking. Cook down the applesauce even more to make sweet, thick apple butter.

09 of 20

Pancake Mix

Homemade Pancake Mix

Reach for this handy mix when you're too sleepy in the morning to measure out all the dry ingredients separately. The recipe tells you what wet ingredients to add to make it into a batter.

10 of 20

Pasta Sauce

Spaghetti Sauce II

Make and freeze, people. Make and freeze. Then you'll always have pasta sauce ready to go for super-quick dinners.

11 of 20


side view of a square white bowl of basil pesto garnished with a basil leaf, with on-the-vine tomatoes in the background

Store-bought pesto can't touch this stuff. Freeze leftover pesto in ice cube trays to throw into sauces.

12 of 20

Fresh Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

Fresh Raspberry Balsamic Vinaigrette

Keep a clean jar and lid in your pantry to shake up fresh dressings in seconds. So easy, so impressive.

13 of 20

Onion Soup Mix

high angle looking down at onion soup mix

"Way cheaper to make it yourself than buy the packets. This recipe makes the equivalent of one packet of soup mix. If you're adding this to a liquid, the bouillon cubes don't need to be crushed." —Kitty Johnson

14 of 20

Self-Rising Flour

Self-Rising Flour

Do not spend money on a bag of self-rising flour when all you have to do is add a couple of everyday ingredients to regular flour. You can do this!

15 of 20

Spice Blends

Taco Seasoning I

Taco seasoning, chili mix, seasoned salts. How many times have you spent big on these? Now's the time to mix up your own.

16 of 20

Homemade Shake and Bake Mixture

overhead angle looking at a spoonful of shake and bake mixture with a bowl full under it
dotdash meredith food studios

Home cook DCEJ says, "Truly excellent. I was about to make dinner when I realized that I had forgotten the coating mix for the chicken. This is great. It's less expensive and has less sodium than the boxed stuff."

17 of 20

Vanilla Extract

Homemade Vanilla Extract
The Gruntled Gourmand

Vanilla beans and vodka. How easy is that? If you don't want to make a big batch, scale the recipe down to 20 servings; you'll need only one vanilla bean and 1/8 of a liter of vodka. (And you don't have to use premium spirits.) Just a note: Don't mistake this for vanilla extract made commercially - this is more like a vanilla infusion and does enhance flavor. But it's not true vanilla extract.

18 of 20

Homemade Poultry Seasoning

high angle looking at a bowl full of poultry seasoning

"Outstanding. I forgot to purchase poultry seasoning for my cornbread dressing. I made this one and it is far better than anything I could buy. I can see many uses for this recipe!" —cindygah

19 of 20

Hal's Wine Mustard

high angle looking at a jar of hal's wine mustard

"OMG! Nothing could be easier! I cut the sugar down to a little less than 1/2 cup at my husband's request and added 1/2 tsp. salt. I almost devoured an entire jar dipping pretzels in it." —Denise Kasz Willmarth

20 of 20

Homemade Ketchup

Homemade Ketchup
Image Credit - Chef John. Chef John

"This ketchup does come close to those name brands in terms of taste, texture and color. I've never had a tomato paste-based ketchup that I liked, so I decided to cook down crushed tomatoes instead. By using the slow cooker, we take most of the labor out of the process." —Chef John

Was this page helpful?
You’ll Also Love