10 Ingredients to Make From Scratch

Are you still using processed, pre-packed ingredients to make my "from-scratch" meals? Ditch them and make your own common ingredients from scratch!

Written by Erin Odom, Contributing Writer

When I first started cooking from scratch, it didn’t seem too hard. I gathered my ingredients and followed the recipes. But then one day it hit me: I wasn’t buying processed, pre-packaged meals anymore, but I was using processed, pre-packed ingredients to make my “from-scratch” meals. And these ingredients were just as additive-laden as any other store-bought meal. Yikes!

I decided right then and there that, little by little, I’d start learning how to make each ingredient at home. And although it is more time consuming than buying everything at the store, making your own food leaves a huge impact on both your health AND your pocketbook!

Without further ado, here are 10 easy ingredients I’ve learned to make from scratch. And I guarantee you can do this, too!

Homemade Cream of Chicken Soup

1. Creamed Soups

When we first married, my husband and I lived in the Deep Southern state of Mississippi. Creamed soup casseroles ruled the dinner tables, and I baked one almost every night! When I discovered that the canned creamed soups I had been buying were laden with MSG, soy and other additives, I decided they were one of the first things to go.

I started making my own cream of chicken soup, with slight variations for cream of mushroom and cream of celery. I was so glad to start making my creamy lemon pepper chicken again! It’s really quite easy to make up any creamed soup your recipe calls for!

2. Applesauce

When I think of applesauce, I think of pure, apple-y goodness. But most store brands contain high fructose corn syrup as a main ingredient, and the brands that don’t are far too pricey for my family’s budget. Not only do my girls enjoy eating applesauce by itself, but I use it in many baked goods, like Intentional by Grace’s Unbelievable Chocolate Applesauce Bars!

Making it at home won’t only better serve your health and budget, but you’ll also enjoy the sweet smell of warm apples wafting through your house! There are many methods to make it, but I use my crock pot!

3. Salsa

Although I’ve been making salsa off and on for several years, I have mostly bought it in clear jars at the store. All the chopping of onions and tomatoes and peppers seemed to take too long for my taste when I needed it for a recipe like enchiladas or chicken tortilla soup. Then, recently, I discovered Stacy’s pantry salsa from Stacy Makes Cents. Yes, it does use canned tomatoes, but sometimes we have to compromise. This method is quick, easy and oh-so-yummy!

Pantry Salsa

Image used with permission by Stacy Makes Cents

4. Spice Mixes

Spice mixes can get very pricey, and they are so easy to make from home! All it usually takes it combining a few single spices, and you’re ready to go!

I make my own taco seasoning, pumpkin pie spice and garlic salt (just 3 parts salt to 1 part garlic powder!). When I get really brave, I want to try my hand at homemade lemon pepper! I store my spice mixes in repurposed baby food jars, making it easy for dipping in the different-sized measuring spoons.

5. Pie Crust

OK, I will admit. I don’t make pies often. Actually, I only make them around the holidays, and this past Thanksgiving was the first time I tried my hand at a homemade pie crust. (It had scared me for years!) Don’t be afraid to try this yourself. Diana from A Little Bit of Spain in Iowa makes it so easy with her tutorial!

6. Pasta Sauce

This is a really easy one. I make a very simple pasta sauce with just tomatoes, garlic and a few spices in my crock pot. You can really make it as elaborate or basic as you prefer.

Chicken Broth

Image used with permission by Christian Mommy Blogger

7. Chicken Broth

You will not find a cheaper chicken broth anywhere… than in your own kitchen! I make mine in the crock pot, using bones I’ve salvaged from cooking whole chickens in the crock pot. After it cooks, I store my broth in glass jars in the freezer, leaving a little space at the top for expansion.

**Stephanie’s note: You won’t find a healthier chicken broth anywhere, either!

8. Bread Crumbs

From my hubby’s favorite “Almost”-Fried Chicken Tenders to my mom’s Cheesy Green Bean Casserole, I use bread crumbs fairly frequently. But, for a time, I stopped making my bread crumb dishes when I discovered the crumbs from the store contained some pretty nasty additives. I couldn’t believe how incredibly easy they are to make yourself! I will never, ever go back to bread crumbs from the store!

Homemade Bread Crumbs

9. Crescent Rolls

When my husband and I first married, one of his favorite desserts was apple dumplings. I used a basic recipe that used refrigerated crescent rolls, apples…and, get this, Mountain Dew!

When it hit me how unhealthy these were, I literally went years without making them.Then, one day, I decided to conquer my fears and try to make homemade crescent rolls–just to be able to make these apple dumplings again!They were a success on my very first try, and I even tweaked the dumpling recipe to make them with orange juice instead of the soft drink!

10. Powdered Sugar (sucanat)

When I started trading my refined white sugar for healthier sweeteners like honey and sucanat, I realized that I didn’t have an alternative for powdered sugar to make cake frostings and other desserts. Stephanie’s recipe for homemade powdered sucanat was such a relief! And it can’t be any easier. All you have to do is use your blender to grind the sweetener into a fine powder!

This list doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of all kind of ingredients you can make at home. I have a long list of ingredients I still want to try–like homemade vanilla, homemade yogurt and homemade nut butter.

What are some homemade ingredients that you make from scratch?

Top photo by Bill Holsinger-Robinson

10 Ingredients to Make From Scratch

About Erin O

Erin is a follower of Jesus, wife to Will and mommy to three little redheaded girls (born in 2008, 2010 and 2012). She is a life-long, professional dreamer and recovering overwhelmed homemaker. Her mission is to encourage, educate and empower her readers at The Humbled Homemaker to live a grace-filled, natural life. She is the author of a 200+-page eBook all about cloth diapering-- Confessions of a Cloth Diaper Convert: A Simple, Comprehensive Guide to Using Cloth Diapers.

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  1. Doreen Aery says:

    This is so helpful. Where do you find sucanat and how does the flavor compare to regular white granulated sugar? I make homemade buttermilk by just using regular milk from the fridge and either vinegar or lemon juice. 1 tbsp of either vinegar or lemon juice per 1 cup of milk. I’m still working on homemade stuff. I have made my first stick of deodorant that seems to work for one particular family member so far and shampoo for fine hair which has worked out great. This is a whole new world of homemaking that I would love to try.

  2. I found this post most interesting for several reasons. I live in UK and like most women of my age was taught to cook at my mother’s knee. Everything was made from scratch then and still is in the majority of households, processed and packets mixes are expensive and as you have found , full of additives and unwanted chemicals. I often look at American recipes and shake my head because everything always includes a processed packet mix of some kind regardless. This does seem to be the norm in USA, which is sad.
    Well done to you to ‘finding’ ways to make things from scratch though, carry on the good work

  3. I like to make rice and beans and i used to use the store bought sazon packets. One day i looked at the ingredients and was horrified. I had been feeding my family MSG and red #40. So i gooled how to make it yourself and it was not only simple, it tasted better than anything i could have bought at the store. Just a few spices I already had on hand in the cabinet and violia!

  4. I have just recently made homemade vanilla for the first time. Given how much I love to bake, I was spending a mint on real, organic vanilla at the store (as opposed to “imitation vanilla” – what is that?!). It’s easy and MUCH cheaper. For the price I would have spent on a few tiny bottles, I am getting several cups of extract! I totally recommend it!

  5. Brenda Lynn says:

    I use my dehydrator alot to make pita chips, bagel chips. Whenever we have pita that looks like it’s on it’s last days I slice them in triangles, spray a quick spray canola oil and then sprinkle salt/ garlic powder on them. Dehyrdate for an hour and there you have healthy low fat pita chips. Also my husband gets bagels for his work once in awhile and has left overs so I slice them up and do the same thing and make bagel chips. I also make my own vegetable broth. I juice veggies to drink, save the pulp, boil for a min then simmer then strain and save for soup. I usually make soup right away and if I don’t I’ll make the broth and freeze it or freeze the pulp for later. :)


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  12. […] Erin says, ” When I first started cooking from scratch, it didn’t seem too hard. I gathered my ingredients and followed the recipes. But then one day it hit me: I wasn’t buying processed, pre-packaged meals anymore, but I was using processed, pre-packed ingredients to make my ‘from-scratch’ meals [emphasis hers].”  …Yeeeeaaaah. I can relate to that. I’ll probably keep relying on convenience foods ingredients a lot of the time, but I’m totally going to try some of her easy from-scratch ingredients! First up: creamed soups and spice mixes. (I already make homemade chicken broth; I’ll do a post on that soon) Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. Tagged links […]