Making the basics from scratch can often seem like a thrifty alternative to buying, but is that always the case? Does shop-bought hummus stand up to the homemade version? Is a DIY salsa a handy homemade hack or not worth the trouble? Our team put the basics to the test to see whether making these simple storecupboard recipes is really worth the effort.


Need inspiration for simple suppers? Take a look through our favourite storecupboard recipes.

DIY custard - to make or to buy?

Custard in jug and in bowl with dessert

Whisks at the ready - can you make a fresh custard from eggs milk and cream to rival one from a tin? our team investigates the costs, time and effort involved in making your own fresh custard at home. Watch our simple video tutorial on how to make custard and our most tempting egg custard recipes.

DIY hummus - to make or to buy?

Hummus on bread with tomatoes

This chickpea dip can be whipped up at home in minutes- but does it pass the taste test? This versatile sharing recipe is adaptable and simple to make at home, try one of our vibrant veggie versions. Our top hummus recipes are perfect for quick lunches or sharing dinner spreads.

DIY passata - to make or to buy?

Passata in jars on shelf

It sieving dozens of tomatoes really worth the hassle, or does it make a world of difference on the flavour front? Use jars of this simple tomato base in ragus, curries, soups and more.

More like this

DIY pastry - to make or to buy?

Pastry case in dish

We tackle shortcrust pastry to see whether a manual approach beats rolling out a ready-made supermarket block. You probably already have the makings in your kitchen cupboards and a block of pastry can be turned into a variety of delicious dishes. Make sure to check out our shortcrust pastry recipes for midweek meal inspiration and beautiful bakes.

DIY pesto - to make or to buy?

Pesto in bowl

This basil sauce requires luxury ingredients but poured over pasta makes for a meal in minutes. If you want to switch up the flavours, try making one of our twists on the classic pesto recipe and whip up a speedy pasta dinner. Try our 11 alternative pesto recipes for delicious sauce ideas.

DIY salsa - to make or to buy?

Salsa in bowl with tortilla chips

Our tester tries out a smoky tomato chipotle chilli to see whether it beats shop-bought dips. Get stuck into our top salsa recipes for plenty of flavourful dips, side dishes and sauces.

DIY chutney - to make or to buy?

Mango chutney in jars and pan

Whether you have a garden glut or lots of extra produce leftover from a particular recipe, chutney is an easy way to preserve fruits and veggies. Read up on whether making chutney at home is a cost effective project. Check out our chutney recipes for plenty of simple preserve ideas.

DIY stock - to make or to buy?

Stock in pan with ingredients on board

A handy base for soups and stews, making stock at home can be an easy, economical way to make your produce go further. Read our guide on whether to make or buy and recipe ideas to use up your stock.


Want to try making more basics at home? Check out our easy recipes below...

Homemade butter recipe
10 salad dressings you can make in minutes
How to make a herb garden
Pasta sauce recipes
Basic bread recipes
10 burger sauces you can make in minutes

Comments, questions and tips

Choose the type of message you'd like to post

Choose the type of message you'd like to post