11 Grocery Store Items You Could Be Making at Home

July 25, 2014

It's always more fun to DIY. Every week, we'll spare you a trip to the grocery store and show you how to make small batches of great foods at home.

Today: With eleven easy DIY recipes, you can make headway on your ever-growing grocery list, right from the comfort of your kitchen.

Basil Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

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Unless you've just survived the Trader Joe's checkout line at 8:30 PM on a Sunday, do not expect to be congratulated on your trip to the grocery store. Unlike your parents and your parents' parents -- those brave souls who harnessed the dinosaurs and rode them to the spice bazaar -- it's easy for you to zip to the supermarket and pick up everything you need. 

But if you're in that mid-summer slump and looking for a reason to self-congratulate, try making a few of the items that normally end up on your ever-growing grocery list from scratch. Not only will the homemade versions save you money, but they'll taste better and be better for you, too.

More: Goodbye, Hidden Valley -- make your own Basil Buttermilk Ranch Dressing at home.

We know that at this time of year, you'd rather be in the pool than the kitchen, so we've gathered our most hands-off DIY recipes. You'll still feel the thrill of having accomplished something, and you can even add your own fancy labels

Pickled Ginger by molly yeh

Pickled Ginger


Sweetened Condensed Milk by stephanie le

Sweetened Condensed Milk


Barbecue Sauce by PhoebeLapine

Barbecue Sauce


Chocolate Syrup by Cara Eisenpress

Chocolate Syrup


Peanut Sauce by PhoebeLapine

Peanut Sauce


Pizza Dough by amber wilson | for the love of the south

Pizza Dough


Homemade Nutella by Carey Nershi

Homemade Nutella


Curry Paste by petitbleu

Curry Paste


Vanilla and Lavender Extracts by Trisha Jones

Vanilla and Lavender Extracts


French Onion Dip by Sarah Coates

French Onion diP


Coconut Milk by Tieghan

What are your favorite grocery store staples to DIY? Tell us in the comments below!

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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Princess Bling
    Princess Bling
  • Shelley Matheis
    Shelley Matheis
  • Tammy,Kimbler
  • M
  • fijiproduce
I used to work at Food52. I'm probably the person who picked all of the cookie dough out of the cookie dough ice cream.


Princess B. July 1, 2015
I make my own butter. It is so much better fresh than the store bought!
Shelley M. July 1, 2015
My own cured salmon. Delish.

It's funny. One time I tried homemade ricotta; and didn't notice much difference from the store bought.
Cheri M. April 14, 2016
Tell us more Shelly, this should be shared ricotta Mmmmmm!
Tammy,Kimbler July 1, 2015
Yogurt!! Such a shame to buy yogurt. Homemade whole milk yogurt is the best thing ever.
M January 30, 2015
am trying yogurt this weekend, and cottage cheese is after that. Also, anything pickled is a snap
fijiproduce January 30, 2015
this is new information on new grocery items
Max S. December 23, 2014
Hummus has got to be the easiest thing in the world to make. And it is MUCH more cost effective to make your own. After all, you can find a can of chick peas/garbanzo beans for less than $1! Drain and rinse them (2x) and toss them into a food processor along with a little tahini, good olive oil, a bit of lemon juice, dash of garlic powder, salt and pepper. Pulse until smooth. Feel free to add in whatever you like, if you like other flavors of hummus: roasted (red or yellow) bell peppers, black olives, pine nuts, sun-dried tomatoes, etc. Just keep an eye on the consistency -- you want it to be smooth and spreadable.
Max S. December 23, 2014
Plum Sauce, Fish Paste, Teriyaki Sauce (how is this different from Soy Sauce?), Oyster Sauce, and Duck Sauce. Can you tell I like to stir-fry :) ?
kendra December 7, 2014
Granola,applesauce,almond butter,almond milk,all salad dressings,hummus,pesto,kombucha,sauces. I need to make yogurt next, oh and preserved lemons.
russelllewis December 7, 2014
I have completely stopped buying sour cream. Making homemade crème fraîche is easy (if not fast) and you can control the "sour" and the consistency. Best of all, you can cook with it without the fear of it separating while cooking. And since only a very small amount of the buttermilk in a carton is used, then there is an excuse to make fried chicken.
Princess B. July 1, 2015
I make butter. How do you do the sour cream?
SherryMarie August 19, 2014
I DID make a pickled ginger that was perfectly serviceable for homemade sushi. Just stir some sugar into a little vinegar (regular or rice). Shave store bought ginger into it. Refrigerate.
Mummierose R. August 18, 2014
Brown sugar
Preesi U. August 18, 2014
NO, you cannot make homemade PICKLED GINGER! The ginger at the store is NOT the right kind
Cheri M. April 14, 2016
What kind of ginger is that I thought it was all ginger!
Jane G. July 29, 2014
Carrot Ginger Dressing (Japanese);postID=3035921075640063588;onPublishedMenu=posts;onClosedMenu=posts;postNum=21;src=postname
Linda July 28, 2014
I buy small Roma tomatoes at the produce stand, halve them and roast them. Flavor them with salt, pepper and any other seasonings you prefer. Slow roast on parchment paper, 250 degrees for around 2 hours or until the tomatoes start to dry out. Let cool a bit and put whole cookie sheet of tomatoes in the freezer. When frozen, remove from freezer and put them in a Ziploc freezer bag. Grab a few at a time, to cook with.
David B. July 28, 2014
We make some of these at home, but never mind all that... Where did those bagels come from?
SherryMarie July 28, 2014
A great book is 'Make the Bread, Buy the Butter' by Jennifer Reese. It's a hilarious read, as well as very practical as she works through many things that you can make at home and which are worth the time & effort. Her complaint about butter is that unless you have a cow, most of us don't have access to cheap cream, therefore it doesn't make sense to make your own.
leslie July 28, 2014
Infused oils like chili and rosemary are great to have on hand and very easy to make.
Cheri M. April 14, 2016
Tell us more leslie
Meg I. July 27, 2014
Yogurt, yes! (less than half the price, and no plastic containers to recycle or accumulate), granola, bread, mustard, Ketchup, bbq sauce, salad dressing, jam....for a while there we were loving brewing all our own beer.... but with 2 kids and 2 jobs, that seems to be the thing that we just can't manage. but yogurt? yes you can do that!
Marcella H. July 27, 2014
Marcella always made mayonnaise at home. It took her 7 minutes. We never had the kind from a jar except at the home of ill-advised friends.
Lisa July 27, 2014
And check out Alana Chernila's wonderful book "The Homemade Pantry" for more recipes of things you could be making at home. Check out her site and buy this book. It's changed lives:)