"I Was Shocked At How Easy It Is": People Are Sharing Foods That Are Way Cheaper To Make At Home Than Buy In A Store

Recently, u/jeron_gwendolen asked people on the r/Frugal subreddit to share the foods that are cheaper (and even tastier) when they make them at home. In the replies, people shared lots of great ideas that had me taking notes. Here's what they had to say:

1."My partner and I just started making homemade pan pizzas in a cast iron skillet and calzones. So insanely good. And anywhere from 1/8 to 1/2 of the cost, even buying from Trader Joe's (expensive dairy there) and with premade dough."

man making a pizza in a cast iron skillet
man making a pizza in a cast iron skillet
man holding a pizza slice
man holding a pizza slice

Nick DiGiovanni / Via youtube.com


"Pizza is so easy, sauce and all, and it gives you complete control over ingredients and taste. I make one just about every Saturday and rotate through the different types — thin crust, deep dish pan, NY style, etc."


2."Cold brew concentrate. I bought one of those Amazon cold brew makers (basically a pitcher with a fine mesh sieve inside) and a bag of Lavazza beans. Makes about a quart. Must have saved myself almost $1,000 this summer not buying bottles of Grady’s cold brew every week."

man making cold brew in a cold brew pitcher

3."I just made bread for the first time, and holy moly it’s so easy and cheap. I’m not a huge bread person or baker, hence why I’m in my 40s and never made bread before, lol. I was going to make the only cookies that I ever make once a year for work — pumpkin chocolate chip — but bought bread flour instead of all-purpose flour. So I made bread instead!"

woman kneading bread dough
woman kneading bread dough
A person making bread
A person making bread

Liza's Delicious Recipes / Via youtube.com


"Congratulations! Now you can make cinnamon rolls, fry bread, pretzels, hamburger buns, doughnuts, and so many other things. Learning to make yeast dough will make your life better forever.

Also? You can use bread flour in some cookie recipes, and they actually come out better. Google can give you a better breakdown than I can."


4."Oat milk. It's, like, $5 at the store, and I can make it for pennies. Just water, oats, blend, and strain! I like to add sweetener like maple syrup and some vanilla, but it's up to the maker."

person pouring oat milk into a glass bottle

5."The only problem with homemade hummus is that I can’t seem to find a recipe that only makes a very little bit. Even a recipe that calls for a single can of chickpeas makes what seems like a gallon of hummus. I like it, but not that much."

woman making hummus at home in a food processor
woman making hummus at home in a food processor
Someone adding oil to their hummus
Someone adding oil to their hummus

Rainbow Plant Life / Via youtube.com


"If you go with dried chickpeas, you can definitely bring the quantity down. I like to cook 1 cup dried, use what I want, and freeze the rest of the chickpeas on a baking sheet in a single layer. Container them up and use for hummus. Bonus points 'cause you usually need to add less ice water to smooth it."


6."Air fryer chicken wings. OMG, these things are bomb! You have to do some experimenting at first with temperatures and such, but once you nail it down how you want, it’s the best!"

hand dipping chicken wing in ranch dressing

7."Greek yogurt."

Making greek yogurt in an instant pot

8."Espresso, if you ignore the sunk cost of the espresso machine."

espresso machine pulling two shots at once

9."Most food is much cheaper at home. I can cook a lot of basic Asian foods, and its easily 1/4 to 1/3 the cost for some dishes. I wouldn't bother with something that takes hours to make like ramen broth (and I doubt it'd be as good). But something like Japanese oyakodon costs $15 in a restaurant, and might take 15 minutes to make for $3."

bowl of oyakodon

10."Came here because I learned this year: 1. How fast basil grows and 2. How expensive pesto is, lol. I buy all the other ingredients, then once a week when my basil plant is uncontrollably growing, I get fresh pesto sauce. This is one of my favorite meals and never fails to make me smile. A very small jar of pesto can be between $10 and $20."

italian grandmother making pesto at home
italian grandmother making pesto at home
Pesto in a blender
Pesto in a blender

Buon-A-petteti / Via youtube.com


11."Spaghetti sauce. Instead of buying that expensive name-brand spaghetti sauce, do the following. Get a big can or jar of tomato paste. Add fried onions, garlic, oregano, olive oil, salt, pepper, sugar. If you want, add ground beef, or textured soy. Options for mushrooms, bell peppers, even seafood, basil, condensed milk, liver, sausage, wine, etc., etc. Make a huge batch and freeze the leftovers. Much better than the crap you find in the grocery, and a fraction of the cost."

man making marinara sauce at home

12."Definitely anything related to meat. Where I live for example, a good steak is usually around $40–$80 in a restaurant. Whereas if I buy USDA choice ribeye/New York steaks and reverse sear them, I’m instantly saving a minimum of 50% of the cost and tastes very similar."

pan seared to oven cooked steak

13."German Pancakes (Dutch Babies). They are so easy to make at home. There are only a few breakfast places that make them, and I just checked, they charge $19.59. The basic ingredients only cost $1.18."

german pancake topped with berries

14."Salad dressing. It’s so much better tasting than bottled dressing, it’s cheap, and can be made from items I already have on hand. I will say that sometimes I buy the Italian dressing mixes. They’re cheap, quick, and tasty."

jars of various homemade salad dressings

15."Tuna salad from the deli. This is so easy to make yourself. I use an immersion blender to get it as finely textured as the deli."

mixing a bowl of tuna salad

16."Flavored water kefir. It's a hobby I got into during the pandemic, and I've been at it for about three years now. I see bottles sold at the local farmer's market for an arm and a leg, and I love that I can make it at home in the flavors I love for a fraction of the cost."

woman holding a bottle of homemade water kefir

17."Kimchi. A small 16-ounce jar at Jewel costs $13. That will last me a week. For $13 of ingredients, I can make three 60-ounce jars that can last me one to two months each. Plus, I have my kimchi recipe down to a perfection. *chef's kiss*"

woman making kimchi at home

18."Martinis and gin and tonics."

man pouring gin into a cocktail mixing jar

19."Omelette. Can be whipped up in a very short amount of time for a fraction of the price that it costs at a restaurant. A restaurant charges $10–$15 for what is really about $1 in ingredients since the price of eggs has fallen. Most breakfast foods are like this."

person making an omelette

20."Corn bread and tater tots. When I was younger, I always thought these were delicacies because they charged so much for them when eating out. As an adult, I was gobsmacked when I saw how cheap and easy to prepare they actually are. It pretty much started my habit of eating out as little as possible after I realized how overpriced everything is and how much healthier it is to cook at home."

cornbread in a cast iron skillet

21."Tallow and bone broth are almost free to make at home, but so expensive at the store! Very simple to make, very little effort or processing time, and you're using what you might normally throw away!"

stirring bone broth while it cooks

22."I’ve recently learned how to make our own bread, pickles, pickled banana peppers, mayonnaise, taco seasoning, and tortillas. We grew a ton of cherry tomatoes and are gonna make pasta sauce and then ketchup. Just small things, but I think it really makes a difference! Sure, you have to buy some ingredients, but if I can use them to make multiple batches of something, it’s really worth it."

making mayonnaise at home with an immersion blender

23."Creme fraiche. They want $6 for a tiny jar in the store. Take a cup of cream or half and half, stir in a tablespoon of buttermilk, and let it sit on the counter overnight. Delicious magic."

man making creme fraiche at home using heavy cream and buttermilk

24."Soda pop. I was gifted a SodaStream. I just use the syrup and make my pop. It's made with real sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup (which causes additional sweet cravings) and is less calories overall, even with using the amount they claim in directions."

person using a sodastream device to make soda at home

Are there any foods that you like to make at home to save money? Tell me which ones and share your tips for making them taste amazing in the comments!