30 Foods That Are Better Bought Than Made From Scratch, As Experienced By Folks In This Online Group

Food is life, but it don’t come easy. Be it it don’t come cheap, or there is a rite of passage as you actually have to have some level of skill to make sure the food is ready and appropriate for human consumption.

Whatever the case, we now have a conundrum: we gotta invest something into making food happen. Dangit. Well, since we can’t avoid dusting off our hunter-gatherer skills and actually preparing the food, yet we can avoid it using monetary resources for it as much as we can, a good option is to make things from scratch.

But, beware, there are certain things folks online do not recommend prepping from scratch as it’s just not worth it. Yep, folks on Reddit have been listing all the foods, meals, and dishes that, either in their own or someone else’s experience, were regrettably not a good idea to do by sourcing and processing everything on their own.

Below you shall find a list of the best responses for the viral thread on r/Cooking, so scroll down, upvote, comment, and mayhaps share your own frustrations with playing the cooking game from square one.

More Info: Reddit


“Why would I order delivery pad thai when I can spend $45 on ingredients to make a worse pad thai?”

Image credits: RickMod19


Deep fried anything. You'll spend far more time cleaning up than you will cooking or eating whatever you've deep fried. There are but a few notable exceptions to this.

Image credits: Plonsky2


Maybe a hot take, but in my part of the world, grocery store rotisserie chicken will always be easier and cheaper than making chicken by roasting, boiling, etc. for any recipe calling for shredded or diced chicken, plus you can save the carcass for soup or stock.
Edited for clarity.

Image credits: felonlover


Baklava. I mean home made baklava is the best. Just get it from someone else.

Image credits: AvanteGardens


My mother walked in on me struggling with Dutch croquettes one time as a teenager and I tearfully asked her what her secret was and she said “oh I buy them pre-made downtown.” So there you go.

Image credits: CharlotteLucasOP


One of my biggest accomplishments in the kitchen was home made tater tots. You do a quick fry of the potatoes, shred them once they cool, mix in any herbs or spices you’d like, then form them into tots and fry a second time. They turn out well and are super tasty, but I’ll be damned if they aren’t 99% identical to the frozen ones you get at the store.

Image credits: KazakiLion


Puff pastry.

It really is better, but unless you have a walk in refrigerator it's a huge pain.

Image credits: zaranneth


Just buy flour. With the vagaries of the weather at the moment it's an absolute c**t to grow wheat.

Image credits: nirvanabuds


Donuts. I live in SoCal where we have a ton of mom & pop donut shops (fun fact if you're into food history, look up Ted Ngoy. TL;DR he's the reason a lot of Cambodian refugees here were able to make a living by opening donut shops, and is the inventor of the iconic pink box). Donuts are like $1 a pop, it's so much work to proof the dough and then fry it at home when you can get a much better and cheaper one at any donut place in my area.

Image credits: littleclaww


Another. Canned coconut milk. I tried making it from scratch to make an authentic Indonesian dish and all the indo cooks in the family laughed at me. They all use canned coconut milk.


Pho and Ramen. For the quality and price I grab some down the road, the time and effort is just not worth it for me.

EDIT: I should say I don't mean this to discourage anyone from giving both a go. I just happen to live adjacent to a "Chinatown" (really a mix of Chinese, Cambodian, Vietnamese, et cetera). It's as good as it is easy on the wallet so I prefer to leave it to the pros. I obviously consider myself lucky.

Image credits: anon


French fries. The cost of the potatoes, oil, the time to double fry, the mess and cleanup.. no way.

I mean, I roast my own coffee, make my own yogurt and granola, grow and can my own vegetables and tomato sauce, bake my own bread.. you name it. But if I want them, I'll buy a sack of frozen fries and call it a day.

Image credits: sonaut


I regularly make a sour soup called Sinigang. For years I tried to make it as much from scratch as possible, with frozen whole tamarind pods, with tamarind pulp, with tamarind concentrate. You know what? The knorr sour soup flavor packet is way better than anything I can make from scratch. It was very humbling when I admitted defeat and stocked up on the mix, but my soups have never tasted better!

Image credits: anon


Honestly? Sushi. I think it's a pain in the a*s, to properly cook and season the rice, to obtaining all the ingredients (avocados here are notoriously expensive), the fish is pricey.. I'd rather pay the $50 to go to a decent place. And I'm of the mind that I don't ever want to pay for anything that I can make better at home and I love discovering new sushi and Japanese joints, so we trust the guy who spent 2 years of his sushiprenticeship just washing and seasoning rice to be our master.

Okonomiyaki on the other hand, that I make like a boss at home on the regular.

Image credits: yycluke


My mom who was great at a lot of things but was a terrible cook. Had a few passable recipes but not a great execution. Used to make "Mexican lasagna" basically chips, cheese, ranch style beans, canned chilli, all layered like lasagna then baked. I always thought it was a pretty low rent meal but it was a hit with my brothers. Easy enough to feed a bunch of people and reheats well I can see the appeal. I was feeling nostalgic so I decided to see what it would be like if I made it from scratch with high end ingredients. Pulled out all the stops, made my own chips, beans, chilli with 3 different kinds of meat high end cheeses the whole 9 yards. Spent an inordinate amount of time and money only to find out it basically tastes the exact same regardless of the quality of the ingredients I put in. I expected so much more quality improvement, but it was negligible at best. Now if I ever decide to do it again it's cheap and easy all the way.


Curry paste. A number of my legit Thai cookbooks have the recipes for them and straight up tell you it's not worth it, and that store bought is just as good.

Image credits: Lanzenreighter


Apparently crackers are never made from scratch because I have never in my life encountered a home-made cracker, or even come across one in a cookbook.

Image credits: barrett-bonden


It's mostly going to depend on what you have available near you.

For example I have several good bakeries around me that make very high quality bread fresh everyday in their industrial steam ovens for a couple of bucks. Doesn't make any sense for me to make the same thing for the same price from scratch. But some people have trouble buying good bread for any price and definitely benefit from making it themselves.

Image credits: Picker-Rick


Ketchup. Heinz is magic.

Image credits: Ulthir


Shawarma, it really needs to be cooked on the vertical spike. And I'm sure most people don't have that. They're super cheap at the restaurants too.


Vietnamese pho. You could spend 2 full days and about $100 dollars making your own bowl at home, or just go get a bowl made for you for $10-15 at a pho restaurant. Not worth it to make yourself.

Image credits: barshrockwell


Maybe croissants, my friend tried and it took up her whole kitchen for two days. It could just be because she had never done it before though


Puff pastry or dim sum pastry a lot of Asian ingredients like chili paste or oyster sauce. Thai currys because it’s way more expensive and almost impossible to find the right ingredients.

Image credits: rubenblk


Strudel. One day I worked all day to make some. The result was good, but so is the stuff I can get for a few bucks at the store.

Image credits: ggchappell


Marshmallows!!! Omg the clean up and they stick to EVERYTHING

Image credits: yensid78


Tortillas. I straight up did not have a good time making them

Image credits: GeorgeBaileysDeafEar


Fruit leather. Way too much work to yield so little.


Ice cream, unless you're making a unique flavor, because of how much space it takes in your freezer.

Wonton wrappers. I tried making them once and it was fun, but also a pain and super messy. I didn't find much difference between mine and store bought.


Cesia_Barry said:
Cured meats, unless you're super into the science and technique.

Lo-Fi_Pioneer replied:
I'm one of those who's super into technique. I love curing, fermenting, etc. I also manage a shop where we make all that sort of stuff, so it's a natural fit for me. I can see why it wouldn't be worth it for your average person, though. It's a lot of waiting and certain things can take up a lot of space.

Image credits: Cesia_Barry


Resentful_in_Dayton said:
I’ve heard this about perogies.

pyro_rocki replied:
I grew up making them. I like to make them because it's usually a fun group activity like making tamales. And I do all sorts of fillings. I definitely think store bought are fine though considering the amount of work that goes in to them.

AdjunctFunktopus replied:
They’re not any worse to make than any other filled dough I’ve tried. Which is to say, they’re time consuming with a lot of components, but not really hard.

I’ll happily make them again, should the mood strike.

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