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These copycat recipes for boxed or canned foods are easy to make, delicious, and less expensive than their packaged versions.
As a newlywed, all I knew how to make was boxed or packaged food. Rice-a-Roni, Hamburger Helper, and Wheat Thins were on our shopping list nearly every week.
After a surprise layoff at the company we both worked at, we had to really stretch our budget. Our grocery budget was $25 a week! That was the beginning of my journey into cooking from scratch.
I was happy and surprised to learn that homemade recipes taste better and are far less expensive than boxed foods, even when those packaged foods are on sale. Plus we didn’t have to read labels for hidden ingredients like MSG or preservatives.
Here’s a collection of my favorite copycat recipes for packaged foods. Give them a try–you’ll love them!
20 Copycat Recipes for Packaged Foods
These are the best homemade granola bars out there. My kids LOVE them, and they only have 7 ingredients (Quaker Chewy has 28+). Ditch the mystery ingredients and make your own snacks with this easy recipe.
Don't let yeast bread scare you! If you can bake cookies, you can bake bread. For less than 50 cents a loaf, you can make rich, hearty sandwich bread that stands up to all the sandwich fixins' you can pile on.
This delicious, homemade spaghetti sauce cooks itself in your Crock Pot. So easy and your kids can help make it, too.
Make your own delicious, homemade Hamburger Helper recipe--it's as quick as the box and tastes SO much better. This one's a family favorite!
Make your own healthy, homemade taco seasoning mix. No fillers, MSG, or weird chemicals--and you can make it as hot or mild as you like.
Make copycat rice-a-roni from scratch, just as fast as the kind in the box. Plus this secret ingredient puts your homemade version over the top on taste.
This Panda Express Orange Chicken copycat is ready in minutes. Enjoy the bright, fresh orange sauce in this easy recipe that's healthier than the original.
Make your own caramel corn without using corn syrup. This easy recipe comes together in no time, with ingredients you already have in your kitchen.
These soft pretzels are a snap to make, and so much tastier than the ones at the mall. They're amazing dipped in cheese sauce or grainy mustard.
This creamy nacho cheese sauce is ready in 5 minutes—without Velveeta!—and is delicious with chips, pretzels, vegetables, or pasta.
It's easy to make copycat Cracklin' Oat Bran cereal. This homemade version is filling, nutritious, and so much cheaper than the box. A favorite crumbled over ice cream!
These savory copycat Red Lobster Cheddar Bay biscuits mix up in one bowl, with ingredients you already have in your kitchen.
Kids love this copycat natural Kool-Aid! It’s easy to make in several delicious, fruity flavors and is sweetened with honey, not sugar.
Your taste buds will flip over this easy, homemade cinnamon bread. It's amazing toasted with butter or made into a PB&J.
These tasty waffles are made with healthy ingredients, and they're hearty enough to fill up toddlers and teenagers (where DO they put all that food they eat, anyway?).
It's so easy to make apple butter in the slow cooker! 5 ingredients make a flavorful spread for toast, english muffins, or best of all--turkey sandwiches.
This easy Honey-Garlic Chicken recipe transforms simple ingredients into a sticky, sweet sauce that's just as delicious as your favorite Chinese restaurant.
An easy recipe for basil and garlic pesto with a secret ingredient that cuts the cost in half! Includes bonus recipes and freezing tips too.
Learn how to make homemade hot sauce in 20 minutes with this easy recipe. Go mild with Banana Pepper Hot Sauce or feel the burn with Carolina Reaper Hot Sauce.
This delicious, homemade lemonade recipe is a burst of tart and sweet flavors--without corn syrup, artificial flavors, or dyes.
Love cooking from scratch? Check out Off The Shelf: Homemade Alternatives to the Condiments, Toppings, and Snacks you Love. It’s chock-full of recipes for even more pantry staples, made without chemicals or preservatives!