Learn How to Cook Everything from Scratch

From condiments to homemade mixes, you can make it all at home

Real food tastes better, costs less and usually doesn't take any longer to make. Learn how to cook virtually everything your family eats from scratch, and discover what you've been missing.

Make Your Own Baked Goods

Close up of hands shaping bread dough
Ross Woodhall/Getty Images

Keep flour, sugar, yeast and a few other ingredients on hand, and you'll have everything you need to make breads, pies and all other manner of baked-from-scratch treats. Learn how to make your own  hamburger buns.

Whip Up Your Own Dairy Products

Fresh soft cheese in muslin
Maximilian Stock Ltd./Getty Images

Believe it or not, cheese, yogurt and sour cream are not difficult to make, and they're fun and satisfying to make, too. Just imagine having people compliment you on your sour cream or butter, and watching their faces when you announce that you made them yourself.

Here are recipes for homemade versions for some of the most commonly eaten dairy products:

Dry Your Own Foods

Drying Strawberries
Drying Strawberries. Photo © Erin Huffstetler

To dry your own foods, it can help to have a dehydrator. Yes, the best dehydrators are expensive, but you'll find your dehydrator pays for itself once you've used it to preserve summer fruits and vegetables, make your own spices, and create foods like jerky and raisins. Here's more information on home-drying foods. Learn how to dehydrate ​fruits and vegetables.

Prep Your Own Meats

Hands forming meatball
GretaMarie/Getty Images

B​uy your meat pre-cut, pre-formed or pre-cooked, and you're sure to pay a premium for it. It costs money to have someone else do all that work. But if you're willing to roll up your sleeves, you can produce family-sized portions of favorite meats, including hamburgers, chicken nuggets and even pepperoni, yourself from the raw materials. Here's how to make your own ​chicken nuggets.

Get into Canning

Home-made raspberry jam
Gregoria Gregoriou Crowe fine art and creative photography/Getty Images

Canning is a great way to preserve the fruits (and vegetables) from the summer's harvest ... not to mention, it can save you lots of money. Canning lets you buy green beans cheaply when your favorite farm stand has them by the bushel, and use them throughout the cold months, when your local store is selling them at four times the price you paid.

Canning also lets you make your own condiments, which can save you plenty (and allows you to use the best, freshest ingredients). Invest in some canning jars, and start making your own jams, pickles and salsas. You can have your pantry filled in no time:

Sip on a Homemade Beverage

Iced Tea
Iced Tea. Photo © Flickr user House_of_Sims

If you're dropping $4 a day or so at your local coffee bar, it's time to start making your own beverages. Creating drinks from scratch is easier than you probably think, and before long, you'll be a skilled barista. Here's what you'll need for homemade versions of some favorite beverages:

Treat Yourself to a Scratch-Made Dessert

Making of lavender flavored granita
Lucy Lambriex/Getty Images

Forget about frozen pies and packaged cookies. A homemade dessert wins every time. Try making these homemade ​popsicles!

Nosh on Homemade Snack Foods

Pretzels
Pretzels. Photo © Flickr user donovanbeeson

Snack foods like potato chips and pretzels may seem like they'd be difficult to make from scratch, but once you've mastered them, you'll never go back to store-bought versions. You'll love this  Kettle Corn recipe.

Make Your Own Condiments and Spices

Homemade Ketchup
Homemade Ketchup. Photo © Flickr user chatirygirl

Have you looked at the ingredients lists on your favorite condiments and spice blends? You might think you're buying something made with tomatoes, when, in fact, the top ingredient is high-fructose corn syrup. The solution? Make your own. These condiments and spices will impress you (and everyone else you cook for):