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9 Things You Should Never Buy At The Grocery Store

Pantry Staples

Looking to trim your grocery spending? While certain grocery items can be considered necessities, like fresh produce, basic cooking ingredients, and household supplies, there’s one category I’m sure we could all stand to cut back on—convenience foods.

I think of “convenience foods” as anything I would be capable of making or preparing at home. And so many of the pantry staples and cooking ingredients we buy at the grocery store fall under this definition!

When you buy these items at the store, you’re essentially paying for the convenience of not having to make them yourself. While that can be a worthwhile trade for some time-consuming or labor-intensive foods, many convenience foods are a snap to whip up right in your own kitchen!

So in the interest of saving money and embracing the spirit of resourcefulness, today we’ll be exploring some of those store-bought foods, pantry staples, and cooking ingredients that are easy to make at home. And as an added bonus, these won’t just save you money—they’ll have that delicious homemade taste too! :-)

Don’t Miss Part One!

This post is the second installment I’ve written so far about homemade pantry staples. If you missed the first installment, be sure to check it out by following the link below! You’ll learn how to make brown sugar, mayonnaise, pancake syrup, and much more for a fraction of the cost!

Related: 10 Pantry Staples You Can Make That Will Save You Money

9 (More) Pantry Staples You Can Make At Home

Pantry Staples

1. Peanut Butter

Not only can you make your own delicious homemade peanut butter, but you can make just about any nut butter you like! All you need is a handful of nuts and a suitably high-powered blender, like a Blendtec or Vitamix.

Once you’ve tasted homemade nut butters, you’ll never want to go back to the store-bought stuff! Get full instructions on making nut butters from my post at the link below.

Read More: How To Make Your Own Nut Butters

Pantry Staples

2. Strawberry Jam

Making delicious homemade jams is just one of many amazing things you can do with your Instant Pot. Strawberry jam has always been a personal favorite of mine, and it couldn’t be easier to make! Grab the recipe below.

Read More: How To Make Fresh Strawberry Jam In Your Instant Pot

Pantry Staples

3. Hot Fudge

Who couldn’t use a good old fashioned hot fudge sundae every once in a while? It’s good for the soul. And you simply can’t have a hot fudge sundae without some hot fudge! It’s easy and economical to make at home, and of course it tastes great too! Check it out by clicking below.

Read More: A Simple Homemade Hot Fudge Sauce

Pantry Staples

4. Chicken Stock

If you use chicken stock or veggie stock regularly in the kitchen, you can save quite a bit of money by making them yourself! And it’s a great way to use up food scraps that you would normally throw out. Find out how it’s done by reading the post at the link below.

Read More: How To Make Homemade Chicken (Or Veggie) Stock The Lazy Way

Pantry Staples

5. BBQ Sauce

The truth is that making a good homemade BBQ sauce isn’t rocket science. It’s quick and easy to do, plus it has a great homemade taste that the bottled stuff just can’t beat! Check out the post at the link below to grab the recipe for my mom’s “secret” BBQ sauce recipe (which I actually refused to reveal to my kids for several years!)

Read More: Crockpot Spareribs & Mom’s Secret BBQ Sauce

Pantry Staples

6. Yogurt

If you’re looking to save money, making your own yogurt at home is a great way to do it! All you need is your crockpot, a few basic ingredients, and most importantly, patience. (But as an impatient person myself, I can tell you that the results are more than worth it!)

Read More: This Amazing Crockpot Yogurt Is Surprisingly Easy To Make

Pantry Staples

7. Sweetened Condensed Milk

I’ve never kept sweetened condensed milk on hand because I don’t use it very often. So on the rare occasion I did need it, I would usually have to make a special trip to the store to get some.

But it turns out that I had everything I needed to make sweetened condensed milk all along! Now when I need some sweetened condensed milk, I just follow the simple recipe at the link below!

Read More: Homemade Sweetened Condensed Milk

Pantry Staples

8. Coffee Creamer

Fans of powered coffee creamer rejoice, because I have a recipe for homemade coffee creamer that is going to blow you away! I’m not much of a coffee drinker myself, but I think this stuff is delicious.

It doesn’t have any of the chemical aftertaste of the store-bought stuff, and it’s so easy to make. Grab the recipe by clicking the link below!

Read More: Make Your Own Cheaper & Better-Tasting Coffee Creamer

Pantry Staples

9. Pickles

Before I gave it try for myself, I had always assumed that pickling anything was a complicated process. It turns out that I was extremely wrong in that assessment, because making pickles is quite simple to do! If you love pickles, you definitely need to try making your own.

Check out the link below for the recipe and instructions! (Oh, and one more thing. The recipe calls for a pickling spice, which you can also make yourself if you’re so inclined! There’s a good pickling spice recipe at Taste of Home.)

Read More: Homemade Dill Pickles

Do you have a favorite homemade version of a “convenience food?”


Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.
I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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Food & Recipes

  • Another easy and cheaply made better for you food….make your own granola…lots of recipes online…I still use one found in Oprah’s magazine….premade granola is so expensive and full of chemicals and probably trans fat. Also shred your own cheese…again chemicals are used to keep it from molding and sticking together….and baby carrots…soaked in bleach….cut your own from a real carrot!

    • I make my own granola too, ever since I find the recipe for “Highly Addicting Granola Clusters” on Jilliee’s website. Thanks for the tip on the cheese and the baby carrots. I had no idea….

  • I never buy lemon curd or sauerkraut, both super easy and inexpensive to make. So much better than any pre-made you could purchase. Thanks for the great tips, Jillee!

  • My mom does occasionally make her own granola. When the cabbage is on sale usually in March we have a few customers who make their own sauerkraut.

  • I make my own rice pilaf. Saute a diced onion in 1/2 stick butter till transluscent. Add 1/2 cup orzo till slightly browned (about 2-3 minutes). Add 1 cup long grain rice and stir well to combine. Add 2 cups chicken broth or stock. Cover and cook on low for 20-30 minutes stirring half way. I get to control the salt here and everyone loves it.

  • Salad dressing is another item that’s better home made than store bought. Most store dressings have ingredients no one in their right mind would use at home, and even a simple vinagrette is 100 times better when freshly made.

    • Yes!!! The only one I can’t master is ranch. I do buy the dry ranch mix. I sometimes have Olive Garden dressing, which I ad mayo to for creamy Italian and if you add ketchup and mayo it’s almost thousand island. But for the most part I make dressing. Hubby likes honey mustard, French, Catalina and usually I have all ingredients on hand. Vinegar, onions, mustard, honey, ketchup, olive oil are staples in my house so salad dressing is close at hand. I can’t remember the last time I have bought bottled dressing other than Olive Garden. 10-15 years I think

  • Great post! I also make my own spice mixes — pumpkin pie spice, apple pie spice, taco seasoning, meat rubs. I make my own baking mixes (pancakes, waffles, biscuits and muffins), hamburger helper, soup mix, and chicken coating. I own a book from the seventies that is about making nearly everything — “Make Your Own Groceries”. I’m sure there are many more modern books out there that are similar, but this one is very thorough. Also, non-food items such as laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, and various cleaners which can be found right here on OGT! If you do a little at a time, you can stock up on almost anything pretty fully without a lot of effort or time. It has saved me tons of money!

  • I agree with your comments Carla. I like to keep things simple and that includes what I put in my body. The ideas presented here gives me a choice and yes I have to balance out my energy as well as time limits. I am 65 and even though I do have time and desire what sometimes stops me is finding the components where I live (GRO, MX) and then like you say there is the clean up. My sink is up and down steps, out the door, over a three month old puppy who wants to trip me and finally to my sink. There is only cold water. I sometimes laugh at what I have gotten myself into and sometimes I cry. My life is far from simple as is yours. So it all comes down to what are values are. Your values are spot on. If ever your values, interest change to be creative and a DIY you have many ideas at your disposal. Your children, family and friends appreciate your time with them.

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