24 Pantry Staples That Are Healthier & Cheaper Homemade

Everything tastes better homemade, and it’s usually cheaper and healthier too. These pantry staples can be easily made at home.

Yogurt

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Homemade yogurt is easy to make, cheaper, and tastes much better. My preferred method to make it is by using an Instant Pot. You can add fruit and other ingredients if you want, and you’re not limited to plain yogurt. Unlike store brands, you have the option to add high-quality ingredients without any strange additives.

Recipe: Instant Pot Yogurt Recipe

Bread

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Baking your bread allows you to control the ingredients, avoiding unnecessary preservatives, additives, and high fructose corn syrup commonly found in store-bought bread. Making bread at home costs only a fraction of what artisan bakeries charge, providing both health and financial benefits.

Each $50 bag of bulk organic flour I buy can make 50 loaves of sourdough bread at $1 per loaf.

Where I live, a loaf similar in size and quality in bakeries costs anywhere from $8 to $10 or more, meaning that 50 loaves of store-bought organic sourdough bread would cost my family $400 to $500 in stores.

Learn More: 9 Beginner Sourdough Bread Recipes

Mayonnaise

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Making mayonnaise at home takes a few minutes and allows you to choose high-quality oils over the highly processed seed oils used in commercial mayo. You can also add a personal touch with garlic, herbs, or lemon zest, creating a condiment that’s both healthier and more flavorful without the added rancid oils, sugars, and stabilizers.

My favorite oil to use is neutral liquid coconut oil, but avocado oil is also very popular — just make sure you’re using a high-quality brand that’s 100% real avocado oil.

Recipe: Homemade Mayonnaise

Bone Broths & Stocks

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Homemade bone broths and stocks are a game-changer, turning kitchen scraps into a rich, flavorful base for soups and sauces. Unlike store-bought versions that often contain high levels of sodium, MSG (because they don’t taste good otherwise), preservatives, and more, your homemade stock can be a tastier and more nutritious broth packed with the natural goodness of collagen.

Store-bought stocks also typically are not made with bones, which means you’re not even getting the benefits of collagen.

Recipe: Chicken Feet Bone Broth {Stove Top or Instant Pot}

Beans

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Canned beans can be quite pricey, particularly when it comes to organic types. You can actually save a lot of money by soaking and cooking dried beans instead. Not to mention, there are more options to choose from when it comes to dried beans. Since they can be stored for a long time, buying in bulk is a wise decision.

If you have a pressure canner, you can cook large amounts of dried beans at once, then store them cooked and ready to use in countless meals in your pantry.

Recipe: Old-Fashioned Leftover Ham Bone Soup With Beans

Tortillas

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Homemade tortillas are easy to make and so much tastier. Requiring only a few simple ingredients, none of them being the preservatives and hydrogenated oils found in commercial tortillas, you can enjoy a fresher, healthier version that complements many dishes.

Recipe: Homemade Tortilla Recipe

Hummus

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his creamy dip is not only easy to make but also allows for customization in flavor and the use of quality ingredients like tahini and fresh lemon juice. Homemade hummus is free from the preservatives and excess seed oils often found in store-bought versions, making it a healthier, tastier, and cheaper alternative.

Recipe: The Best Smooth Hummus Recipe

Salad Dressing

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I don’t know why anyone buys salad dressings, especially if they’ve read the ingredients. Store bought dressings are massively overpriced and one of the worst things for you.

Just make your own with simple ingredients.

Read More: 11 Homemade Salad Dressings Better Than The Bottled Stuff

Fresh Pasta

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I love to clear a whole day and dedicate it to fresh pasta making. Those few hours will result in a year’s worth of fresh pasta. This is not “easy” per se, but it is simple. With a few tools and high-quality ingredients, you can create your own year’s supply of delicious fresh pasta for drying and/or freezing. Stuffed pasta like ravioli makes for quick dinners right from the freezer.

Recipe: Easy Homemade Egg Noodles (Perfect For Soup)

Dumplings

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There are delicious dumpling recipes across the globe spanning every culture and corner of this earth. From pierogi to pelmeni to wontons to spaetzle and countless more. Some are stuffed, some are like enriched noodles.

Store-bough dumplings are generally over-priced, low quality, nowhere near as tasty as their homemade counterparts, and nearly always full of unnecessary ultra-processed ingredients and oils. Like fresh pasta, you can dedicate a half-day to crafting homemade dumplings for freezing that can be enjoyed for many, many months.

Recipe: Authentic German Spaetzle (Easy)

Pancake Mix

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Why is anyone buying pancake mix? A homemade pancake mix tastes better and can be made with better flours and less (or no) sugar. This boosts the nutritional profile and gives you a quick and easy breakfast option that’s ready to go.

Recipe: Homemade Pancake Mix

Granola

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When you bake granola at home, you control the sweetness and can opt for healthier fats, making it a nutritious alternative to the often overly-sugared store-bought varieties. Plus, you can customize it with your favorite nuts and seeds for added health benefits.

Recipe: Homemade Granola

Crackers

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One of the worst things to buy; laden with preservatives, oils, and all sorts of things I don’t want to feed my family. Homemade crackers are surprisingly easy to make and can be seasoned exactly to your liking. Without the need for preservatives and artificial flavors, you can enjoy a crisp, savory, healthier, and more cost-effective snack.

Recipe: Easy Homemade Crackers in 5 Minutes

Sauerkraut

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Where I come from, it is customary to make sauerkraut each autumn. Large earthenware crocks or wooden barrels are utilized, and enough sauerkraut is made to last a family for the entire fall and winter months. This versatile ingredient is eaten fresh to liven up heavier winter meals and cooked in countless traditional recipes.

The high-quality lacto-fermented sauerkraut I see in stores is wildly expensive; it makes sense to make your own and requires two ingredients: cabbage and salt. You never know; you may find yourself pricing out fermentation crocks and filling them with 20 heads of shredded cabbage next fall.

But you can start with a mason jar and take it from there.

Recipe: Traditional European Sauerkraut Recipe

Brown Sugar

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Brown sugar is just sugar that has not been processed to remove the molasses. If you look at your local prices, you may find it is cheaper to buy bulk white sugar and molasses just to make your own brown sugar — this was true for us. Molasses is a versatile ingredient that can be used in many ways, too.

This doesn’t really require a recipe. Just use 1 tablespoon of molasses for every 1 cup of white sugar, and voila—you just “made” brown sugar.

Croutons & Breadcrumbs

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There is no such thing as a bread failure if you see it as an opportunity to make your own breadcrumbs and croutons.

Recipe: Homemade Croutons & Breadcrumbs

Onion Soup Mix

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A homemade onion soup mix, made from dried onion flakes, garlic powder, and herbs, is free from the MSG and excessive salt of its commercial counterpart and allows you to adjust the flavor profile to your liking.

My biggest issue with MSG is that it allows food manufacturers to use lower-quality ingredients because it’s a chemical that makes everything taste better.

Recipe: Homemade Onion Soup Mix

Pasta Sauce

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Cooking up a batch of pasta sauce allows for the use of fresh tomatoes, herbs, and garlic, avoiding the added excessive sugars and preservatives found in jarred sauces. Plus, homemade sauce can be made in bulk and frozen, offering convenience and time savings. Your homemade sauce will also taste much better while costing much less.

Recipe: Homemade Tomato Sauce

Soups & Stews

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Preparing soups and stews at home means you can pack them with nutrient-dense ingredients, control the ingredients, and avoid the preservatives and additives of canned versions. It’s also an economical way to use leftovers and ensure you have a healthy meal to feed your family.

Store-bought soups are incredibly expensive for what you get and never taste as good as homemade ones.

Recipes: 20 Homemade Soup Recipes Good For The Soul

Fancy Salts

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I love smoked and herbed salts, but there is no need to buy them, especially as this premium product is priced at a premium, too. Just make your own.

Recipe: Smoked Salt Recipe

Pesto

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Nothing beats the flavor of fresh, homemade pesto. The jarred versions are just meh or downright gross. Homemade pesto, made with fresh basil, quality olive oil, and Parmesan cheese, not only tastes more vibrant than store-bought versions but also avoids preservatives and can be made with nuts that are cheaper than pine nuts.

Recipe: Traditional Mortar & Pestle Basil Pesto

Spice & Seasoning Blends

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Why are seed oils an ingredient in this seasoning blend? I found myself asking this question while standing in the aisle of a grocery store. Why. High-quality brands are way more expensive, and it’s much cheaper to buy ingredients separately (or grow them) and then make your own blends.

Ketchup

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Ketchup: Homemade ketchup allows you to dial back on the sugar while maximizing flavor with quality tomatoes and spices. It’s a healthier, tastier alternative to commercial ketchup, often containing high fructose corn syrup and artificial flavors. I make mine with tomato paste and other simple pantry ingredients.

Recipe: Homemade Ketchup From Fresh Tomatoes

BBQ Sauce

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Crafting your own BBQ sauce means you can achieve the perfect balance of flavors without relying on the high sugar and preservative content of store-bought versions. It’s a simple way to elevate your grilling with a personalized touch.

Recipe: Healthy BBQ Sauce (No Ketchup)

It only takes a little extra work and some organization to make many of these staples. Don’t get overwhelmed—start with one change, like making your sourdough bread, and then move on to something else once you’ve mastered it. Keep lists and spreadsheets, and in no time, you will be running your own from-scratch kitchen full of amazing foods.

Curious About Milling Your Own Flour?

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Learn More: Milling Flour at Home: Everything a Beginner Needs to Know

Homemade Salad Dressings Made Easy

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Get The Recipes: 11 Homemade Salad Dressings Better Than The Bottled Stuff

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