"I Decided To Make It From Scratch, Yet Nobody Could Tell The Difference": People Are Sharing The Labor-Intensive And Tedious Foods That Just Aren't Worth Making From Scratch

·9 min read

People praise the idea of making elaborate meals from scratch, but sometimes, the effort of making a dish at home is simply not worth the end result. And in the words of Ina Garten: Store-bought is fine. So Redditor u/dead_neptune asked, "What foods are not worth making 'from scratch'?" Here's what people said.

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1."Croissants. They require SO MUCH butter that they're really expensive to make from scratch. They end up costing more than store-bought, and they don't really taste much different, IMO. Do it once for fun, but I'd say it's not worth the effort."

A person rolling croissants from dough.
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2."French onion soup. You have to cut up a ton of onions and then caramelize them for hours. And in the end, all you get is soup."

Caramelized onions in broth in a skillet.
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3."Pumpkin purée. The canned stuff is just as good and saves you the hours of prep work for a single cup of the freshly made version."

Pumpkin purée and other ingredients in small bowls.
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4."Strudel. I once tried making it and baked all day. The result was good, but then again, so is the stuff I can buy for a few bucks at the store."

Two fruit strudels on a wooden table.
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5."Pho. You could spend two full days and about $100 making your own pho at home, or you could just go get a bowl made for you for $10-15 at a Vietnamese restaurant. It's just not worth making it yourself."

A bowl of pho with beef.
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6."Puff pastry. It really is better...but unless you have a walk-in refrigerator, it's a huge pain."

Rolling out a piece of puff pastry.
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7."Dutch croquettes, which are breaded and deep fried balls of meat. My mother once found me struggling to make these. I tearfully asked her what her secret was, and she said 'Oh, I buy them pre-made downtown.' So there you go."

Deep fried croquettes.
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8."Ketchup. Heinz is magic."

French fries with ketchup.
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9."Pie crust. I usually make an apple pie for the holidays using the Pillsbury frozen pie dough. One year, I decided to make the pie crust myself, but of course, no one could tell the difference. I told everyone I made it from scratch."

A person preparing pie crust.
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10.“Pad Thai. I can order delivery pad Thai, or I can spend $45 on ingredients to make a worse pad Thai myself."

A plate of colorful pad Thai.
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11."Sushi. I think making it is a pain in the ass: You have to properly cook and season the rice and obtain all the ingredients (including fish and avocados, which are expensive). I'd rather pay $50 to go to a decent sushi place. I don't ever want to pay for anything that I can make better at home, but I certainly trust the sushi chef who spent two years of his life just washing and seasoning rice to become a master of the art."

A woman rolling sushi.
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12."Bagels. I went through a phase where I really wanted to make them from scratch. I made the dough, let it rise, shaped them, then boiled and baked them. They tasted really good for the first hour or so out of the oven, but they didn't keep well. I'm from NYC, so my bagel standards are admittedly high, but dare I say, I'd even pick a standard deli or even a Dunkin' Donuts bagel over making them from scratch again."

Fresh homemade bagels on a cooling rack.
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13."Cake from scratch. Boxed cake mix made with milk and butter in place of water and oil rivals any homemade cake, even one made from a cake shop. These mixes also contain ingredients that the average home cook can't buy, which makes for better baked goods."

Close-up of a bowl of batter with hand mixer.
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14."Really anything deep fried. You'll spend far more time cleaning up than you will cooking or eating whatever you're making. There are a few notable exceptions to this rule, but not many."

A person making fried chicken.
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15."Doughnuts. After burning my hands while frying and watching my kitchen turn into a horrible mess, I went ahead and ordered a box of original glazed from Krispy Kreme."

Making homemade donuts out of dough.
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16."As somebody who has made butter from scratch, I will tell you to buy it. Never again."

A person spreading butter on bread.
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17."This might be a hot take, but I find grocery store rotisserie chicken is always easier, cheaper, and just as good as making homemade roasted chicken. I buy a rotisserie bird for any recipe that calls for shredded or diced chicken. Plus, you can save the carcass for soup or stock."

Homemade shredded chicken salad with avocado.
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18."Ramen. I've made homemade tonkotsu (creamy pork ramen) once. It took about three days, and my entire apartment smelled like pork. The result was delicious, and I was extremely proud of myself for making it. That being said...I am probably never doing that again."

A bowl of creamy ramen soup.
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19."Bread. I have several good bakeries around me that make very high-quality bread, baked fresh every day in their industrial steam ovens. A loaf costs me just a couple of bucks. It doesn't make any sense for me to make the same thing from scratch."

A woman kneading dough.
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20."Dumplings. They are delicious, but the effort and time to make the fillings, fill the wrappers, and steam them isn't worth the mere seconds it takes to eat them."

A person filling dumpling wrappers.
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21.Tater tots. One of my biggest accomplishments in the kitchen was making them myself. You quickly fry the potatoes, shred them once they cool, mix in any herbs or spices, form them into tots, and fry them for a second time. They turned out well and were super tasty...but even the best homemade tots are identical to the frozen ones you can just buy at the store."

A close up of cooked tater tots.
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22."Marinara sauce. Don't get me wrong, a proper homemade is better than store-bought, but the whole pick, score, blanch, crash, peel the tomatoes routine feels like an eternity. Is homemade better? Yes. Is it that much better? I have a hard time thinking so."

Cooking tomato sauce in a pan.
Michael Moeller / Getty Images/EyeEm

23."Empanadas. It's so much work to make the filling and the dough, then even more work to assemble and fry them. The recipe I used yielded eight empanadas, which my teenage sons and husband devoured in a single, brief sitting."

Empanadas ready for baking.
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24."Mole sauce. Really any variation of this Mexican sauce calls for around a zillion ingredients."

Mexican chilaquiles and mole.
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25."Fried chicken. It takes forever, you make a mess of your kitchen, and your living space smells like oil for days. Whenever I crave some, my local supermarket deli sells it for cheap, and it's absolutely delicious."

Fried chicken on a serving plate.
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26."Beans. It's too much effort to sort, soak, and cook beans like black, pinto, navy beans, etc. Personally, I'd just crack open a can."

Black beans with rice and shredded chicken.
Elizabeth Fernandez / Getty Images

27."Pesto. Buying the basil and pine nuts and the rest of the ingredients becomes so much more expensive than buying fresh pesto from the store. Plus, you need so much basil to make a decent amount of pesto."

Fresh ingredients for homemade basil pesto.
Natalie Board / Getty Images/EyeEm

28."Tortillas. Unless you’ve been making them regularly for years, your handmade tortillas will be incredibly underwhelming. Just buy a good brand version from the market."

A dinner table topped with shrimp taco ingredients.
Istetiana / Getty Images

29."Ice cream. I've tried a few times, and each time, it gets a little better. I've experimented with different flavors and add-ins, but even my best homemade ice cream doesn't hold a candle to a pint of Ben & Jerry's."

An ice cream maker filled with vanilla ice cream.
Robert Kneschke / Getty Images/EyeEm

30."Aioli. I made my own chipotle aioli after having a sandwich in a restaurant and falling in love with the sauce. I whipped out my food processor and added eggs, oil, and seasonings. After some trial and error, I ended up with a pretty good sauce (albeit a lot of clean-up). But then, I later learned the restaurant just mixes chipotle powder into Hellmann's mayo..."

Potato wedges with two types of aioli.
Naomi Rahim / Getty Images

31."I made Chinese pork buns once. It took ages to make a dish that came out so crappy. They just didn't look right. Then I realized my local Asian supermarket sells them: $2.50 for six buns."

Stuffing steamed bun dough with pork.
Owngarden / Getty Images

32."My aunt was a professional baker for a long time, and she swears by Costco's cheesecake. According to her, if you shop at Costco, you should never attempt to make cheesecake from scratch because their pre-made version is that good. I can confirm that Costco cheesecake is, in fact, the bomb."

A slice of cheesecake.
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33."Tamales. As a Texan, I eat a whole lot of tamales, but I never realized why they're so darn expensive — until I tried to make them myself. The recipe and ingredients are easy, but you need at least four arms to deal with sticky masa and assemble the damn things."

Preparing corn tamales.
Nancybelle Gonzaga Villarroya / Getty Images

34.Sourdough. For me, personally, I don't want to have to maintain a sourdough starter for something I will not make very often. Let the bread gurus have their thing. I'm perfectly content with my quick breads."

A loaf of homemade sourdough bread.
Ana Rocio Garcia Franco / Getty Images

What's something that you'll always buy store-bought over homemade? Or what's a food that is actually worth making from scratch? Tell me in the comments!