137 inexpensive, handmade holiday gift ideas. Part 3: from the kitchen

Frosted Christmas cookies in gift bags, photo

Anyone who knows me, knows cooking is not my specialty. That’s why I’m not one of those bloggers who takes a picture of whatever masterpiece she made for dinner and shares the recipe. I can, however, bake quite well. Maybe it’s because I’m good at following the directions in a recipe. Anyway, food of (almost) any kind makes great gifts. Here’s a sampling of ideas. (This post contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something, I may earn a small commission. You can read my full disclosure here.)

Originally published August 30, 2010. Updated September 20, 2020.

Part 1: Home & garden
Part 2: Christmas-themed
Part 3: From the kitchen
Part 4: Jewelry & accessories
Part 5: Themed gift sets
Part 6: For children
Part 7: Media, service, cards & wrapping

Part 3: From the kitchen

38. Bake quick bread

Wrap the small loaves in parchment paper and tie on a recipe card with baker’s twine. Or try simple paper loaf pans or these cardboard ones with lids, then tie a ribbon around them.
How to bake in mini loaf pans
The best banana bread
Amish apple fritter bread
Zucchini spice bread
Cranberry sweet potato bread

39. Make a cookie box

Fill a basket or gift box with homemade candy or cookies.
How to assemble a showstopping cookie box
50 ways to package holiday cookies
Cookbook: Cookies (Sunset Creative Cooking Library) It’s a classic. I’ve made almost every cookie in this book. Delish.
Cookbook: Dorie’s Cookies

40. Mix jars of homemade salsa

Go Tex-Mex with jars of homemade salsa and a large bag of nacho chips all bundled up in a fiesta serving dish. Feliz Navidad.
Restaurant style salsa
Chipotle salsa recipe
Salsa verde recipe
How to can salsa

41. Give a cookbook & fixin’s

Bookmark a recipe in a cookbook. Place the cookbook and ingredients for the recipe in a basket. Try one of these:
The Silver Palate Cookbook
Jamie Oliver 5 Ingredients
Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust
Momofuku: A Cookbook
Plenty: Vibrant Vegetable Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi
The Complete Magnolia Bakery Cookbook

42. Frost sugar cookies

Decorate them with colored frosting and sprinkles. Perhaps include the recipe and cookie cutter with the gift.
Maple sugar cutout cookie recipe
5 secrets to making the best sugar cookies ever
Snowman sugar cookies
Snowflake sugar cookies
Christmas cookies galore
Cutout sugar cookies recipe

44. Fill a tin with candy

Whip up some homemade holiday candy or fudge, then package it in a festive tin or gift box.
28 homemade candy recipes
Creamy chocolate fudge
Maple fudge
Grandmother’s divinity candy
Peppermint bark
Holiday goody tin neighbor gifts

45. Make a giant gingerbread boy & girl

My mother has giant gingerbread boy and girl cookie cutters — as big as a plate. Every Christmas, we each got one cookie to decorate however we wanted. It took some of us a week to eat it. I’ve been hunting for those cookie cutters for years, and I finally found them!
Extra large gingerbread boy cookie cutter
Extra large gingerbread girl cookie cutter
Paula Deen’s gingerbread boys & girls recipe
Spiced gingerbread man cookies

46. Can or pickle fruit or vegetables

Fill jars of various shapes and sizes with homemade pickled vegetables, fruits, jams, or chutneys. Tie squares of holiday fabric with ribbon around the lids.
8 easy homemade jams & preserves
Canned fruit recipes
How to pickle: step-by-step pickling guide
Mixed pickled vegetables
How do I pickle…

47. Prep frozen meals

If you like to cook, and your friend/relative doesn’t have the time or inclination to fire up the stove, one of the best gifts you can give is some home-cooked meals. Prepare homemade soups or dinners that can be frozen for future use.
4o soups that freeze fantastically
The best freezer casseroles that are secretly healthy
15 actually easy freezer meals

48. How about them apples?

Bake an apple tart, apple galette, apple crisp, or apple pie. Include the recipe card and the dish with your apple gift.
Tarte aux pommes (apple tart) recipe
Best ever apple galette
The best apple pie
The best apple crisp

49. Tell their fortune

Make your own fortune cookies. Write the fortunes yourself, tailor-made to the person receiving them. Package them in colorful Chinese food take-out boxes. Wrap the cookies in plastic wrap first to maintain freshness.
Fortune cookie recipe
Colored paper Chinese takeout boxes with handles

50. Let them eat cake — in a tin

One of my aunt’s holiday specialties is giving carrot cakes baked directly in food-grade tins. Pound cake, chocolate cake, fruit cake — even cheesecake — work well.
The best carrot cake
Orange-pecan-spice pound cake
Chocolate dream cake in a tin (video)
World’s best fruit cake
Baked cheesecake in a can (video)

Family cookbook, photo


51. Compile a recipe book

Put together a book of favorite family recipes. Compile your own binder or book of recipes or submit the recipes to a professional-cookbook-printing service.
Here are some cookbook printers.
Create My Cookbook
Morris Press Cookbooks
Heritage Cookbook

52. Give cocoa in a jar

Layer the ingredients for a pleasing presentation. Or try my mother’s not-so-attractive-but-yummy hot chocolate recipe: In a large bowl, mix together 1 lb. Nestle Quick powder, 11 oz. instant creamer (dry), 1 lb. powdered sugar, and 25 oz. box of instant milk.
Classic cocoa
Mexican cocoa
Peppermint stick cocoa
Mocha cocoa

53. Make flavored vinegar

Flavored vinegars add zest to salads, soups, sauces, and stews. Give a food lover different flavors with herbs, edible flowers, fruits, or vegetables floating in the bottles.
5 homemade gourmet vinegar flavors to make easily at home
How to make herbal vinegars for cooking
DIY fruit flavored vinegar
Homemade flavored vinegars
Flavor infused vinegar with free printable hang tags

54. Print a menu

Create a menu of various appetizers, salads, entrées, and desserts, and let the gift recipient choose one from each category for you to make for them on their chosen date. Consider a global theme (e.g. Thai, German, or Italian food).
Printable menu template download
28 traditional Thai recipes
44 German Christmas recipes
Italian recipes

55. Make butters or chutneys

Fill jars with homemade spread, butter, sauce, or chutney. Attach a recipe for something they can make using your sweet or savory gift.
Tomato chutney
Orange honey butter
Spicy peach chutney
Slow-cooker pear and apple butter
Fig and onion spread
Best traditional mincemeat

Crafty Nest handmade holiday gift ideas, part 3, Pinterest image

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