Make Your Own Jar Mixes – Easy Recipes For Homemade Gifts

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Make Your Own Jar Mixes

Jar mix recipes can make inexpensive gifts that are more personalized and easier when you can’t find a good gift for someone. Save money and time with these homemade mixes and recipes for gifts in a jar.

Make Your Own Jar Mixes

This time of year, I feel like a snowball rolling down hill. Time keeps rolling by faster and faster as we approach the holidays. We all know we will be extra busy at that time. I don’t care how prepared you are and how many lists you have– it still seems to be hectic.

Even with the extra things that we have to do during the holidays, the laundry still has to be done, the house must be cleaned and of course meals have to be prepared. To help with the everyday meals or to get a head start on holiday gifts, here is something you can do to speed things up.

Right now. Don’t wait. Get out some of your favorite recipes: muffin, biscuit, cookie, or dessert recipes. Measure out the dry ingredients into a large plastic bag, label and store. If you have older kids, this is a great job for them to practice their measuring skills.

What you are doing is putting together your own boxed mixes like the cake mixes you keep in the cabinet. If you have a copy of Dining on a Dime, there is a big chapter on all kinds of jar mixes for you to use.

You don’t need to make jar mixes just for gifts. You can prepare them and store them to use for everyday use. Even better, while you have all the ingredients out and are already making a mess, make some both for your family to use and to give as gifts.

In addition to preparing for your everyday meals, measure out the dry ingredients for the Christmas cookies you usually make. Be sure to label the bags! Just having the dry ingredients ready will cut your preparation time in half later and, even better, will make clean up much easier.


Here are two recipes from Dining on a Dime to get you started:

Holiday (or anyday) Muffin Mix

3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cloves

Mix all items and place in 1 quart baggie or 1 quart jar..

To prepare muffins from the mix:

To 1 baggie or quart jar of dry ingredients add:
1 egg
1 1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 400°. Mix everything together until moistened. Do not over mix. Fill greased muffin tins (or use paper muffin cups) about 1/2 -2/3 full. Bake 10-15 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Makes 15-18 muffins.


The term quick and easy doesn’t always have to apply to baked goods. Try this:

Curried Rice Mix

1 cup long grain rice
1 chicken bouillon cube, crumbled
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. curry powder
1/4 cup raisins (optional)

When ready to use:

Bring 2 1/2 cups water and 1 Tbsp. margarine to boil in a medium sauce pan.
Add rice mix. Cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork.
This is delicious served with chicken. Makes 6 servings.

Like I said be sure to check out the Dining on a Dime Cookbook, which has a whole section about how to make delightful jar mixes for your own use or to give as gifts!



  1. Sortin'ItAllOut says

    I’ll have to try the curried rice mix, I’ve always wanted a good seasoned rice I could make at home, maybe this one will please the masses.

    Thank-you for a great blog and great recipe ideas!

    My Recipes to Try List

  2. Tori says

    Great idea! I just started doing this. It makes baking throughout the week sooo much easier. My 13yo wanted to help, so I put him in charge of making the cornbread mix and baking it. He used baking soda instead of baking powder by mistake….bad cornbread! But a great learning opportunity!

    God bless!

  3. says

    I was helping out at the local legion and they were making a fried rice dish for 68 but I will half this but the method was great.

    3 cups converted rice or reg long grain rice.
    6 cups of water
    1 package onion soup mix.
    soy sauce to flavour and colour.
    sweet peppers all colours chopped fine
    1 onion chopped fine.
    put into a shallow roaster pan.
    stir together cover with foil
    bake at 350 for about 1 hour.
    stirring half way through.
    It is really popular when groups come in to order for a meal for a large number.
    The workers say they take home the leftovers and they freeze it in small containers and it tastes just as good a week or two later.
    one pan to clean, it certainly isn’t expensive. Also if you have the oven on for other things so easy.
    They also made sweet and sour meatballs and lasagne and teryaki chicken breasts. The only on the stove cooking was for the perogies. After the meal and clearing the tables we were there washing dishes for about 1 hour for 68 people to eat.

  4. says

    Salted Oven Pecans

    1 lb 4 cups pecan halves
    1/4 lb butter

    in a heavy skillet bake nuts with the butter at 250′ for about an hour.
    Stir occasionally. Cool and sprinkle with salt.
    Store in a covered container.
    These would be nice in a gift basket or as a hostess gift.
    But also just for munching on while watching a movie.

  5. Rachel Cross says

    Hello, I’m new to the mixing yourself area, how many baggies is each recipe suppose to yield? I’m trying to figure out how many jars will be needed for this(muffin mix)? Thank you.

    • says

      Rachel this makes 1 quart jar of mix or the mix will fit in 1 quart plastic bag. The wet ingredients is for 1 quart jar or bag of dry. So it makes 1 batch.

  6. Grizzly Bear Mom says

    Thank you for posting these money saving recipies and suggseting we use them as gifts. I’m tired of buying people things they don’t need.

    This year I was thinking about opening a college savings account for the children I gift and contributing on each gift ocassion (birthday, graduation, etc) to encourage them to attend and contribute themselves.

    I like the idea of telling what size bag to store the mix in.

  7. Peggy says

    Great idea for making a busy time LESS hectic. Thanks. I almost didn’t read this post as I was only thinking of “gifts in a jar” not about simplifying my prep time!

  8. says

    I do this with my pancakes. I was lamenting the time it takes to make the healthy wholegrain pancakes in the mornings compared to how quick it used to be with pancake mix. My Mom suggested that I measure out the ingredients into bags ready to speed things up! I now make a batch, and while measuring it into a bowl I measure the dry ingredients into 4 ziplock bags at the same time. Then the next 4 times we make pancakes I only have to add the wet ingredients and viola! We have healthy homemade pancakes in minutes.

    • says

      Deedee this is a great idea. As we get closer to the holidays don’t forget to do this for many different things. Mix all the dry ingredients for things like cookies, muffins, cakes and anything else so you can just that much done ahead of time. You can even keep bags or jars of these sitting in your pantry all year around.

      We have a huge section on jar mixes for all kinds of things in Dining on a Dime and even an e book Gifts in a Jar but you can really just take your regular recipes and just measure out the dry ingredients separate and have them ready to use.

  9. says

    I do the same thing when I make a batch of bread for my bread machine. Measure one set into the pan, then 5 or 6 quart-size zip bags. I put the liquid measurements on a 3×5 card and taped that onto the inside of the cabinet that my bread machine sits under. All I have to do is open cabinet door, read list of liquids, dump them into the machine pan along with one bag of mix. Turn it on, adjust the mix as needed and let it run.

  10. Busy Beekeeper mom. says

    When I was a kid, we would sit around the table on a rainy weekend and make up gallons and gallons of various mixes like the curried rice, or Spanish rice, enchaleda (sic) rice with dried broccoli & cheese powder, mashed potato flakes with dry roast seasoning mix for shepherd’s pie, or potato flakes with dried garlic flakes or dill, bulk boullion powder or various dry cheese mixes etc in them.

    Then we would assemble an army of pint sealing jars and fill them with enough for a mix for meal each. If there were dried vegetables to be added, we added them last. If it was already warm from baking in the house, we’d just seal the jars and put them in the pantry. If it was cold and damp, mom would roast them for about 15 minutes to take any damp out of the jars, or pack them into jars that had been pre-warmed in the oven.

    Having a pantry full of mixes saved money vs store bought, time, and avoided an unknown amount of preservatives that are added to store bought mixes.

    Stocked up, if we were going to get home earlier than mom, she could just leave a list of what was to be made for supper, and it was easy and dirt cheap for us to dump the jar into the amount of water marked on the lid (or that mom pre- measured out for us into another closed jar)for that recipe and start supper.

    No measuring, no mess, no nightly wasted time measuring out spices again and again.

    You can also “dry-can” these, and anything else like cereal, oatmeal, pancake mix, grains, anything that may have flour beetle eggs in it. Put the jars in a cold oven, loosely capped, bake a 200 degrees for an hour, and let cool on their own. You can take them out and hand tighten while they are hot, and they will even vacuum seal.

    The heat kills the eggs, which are present in basically all grain products, and the cereals or mixes literally last years. No more wasted buggy bags of flour in the pantry, and no bags of flour or mix etc taking up your freezer space!

    • says

      Catharine I love you ideas. One thing too I might mention is for those of you with illnesses like FM or CFS this is really good for you to have these types of things on hand. I was going to make up several packages of things like this for Tawra to have for when she was to sick to cook. I also have dehydrated and packaged up a bunch of hash brown potatoes and it is so nice and easy because when I don’t feel good I just grab a hand full out of the jar and cook in just a few minutes. No peeling or grating. So thank you for some more things to make up plus I have never heard of heat the things in the oven like that. Really good idea.

  11. Maggie says

    If I wanted to make chocolate muffins, how much chocolate and what kind should I add to the muffin mix. I guess I could just add chocolate chips but could I add cocoa powder or would that make them too dry. Increase the milk a little?

    • says

      You should be able to add just 1/3 – 1/2 cup of cocoa pwd. and not have to adjust the milk or liquid. You maybe could add an extra 1/4 cup of sugar but you don’t have too. Also you may not want to use the nutmeg or cinnamon but you maybe already knew that. Add the chocolate chips too if you want for double chocolate muffins.

  12. Maggie says

    Hit send too soon. My dear friend loves chocolate but doesn’t do much baking because she doesn’t like to mess up her kitchen with flour and such. I thought I could just make her some mixes and it would be so easy for her to make a batch of muffins for she and her husband. I’m always cooking something so could make up several batches, some for her and some for me, both with and without chocolate.

  13. Maggie says

    I’ll try them this weekend and let you know how they turn out.
    By the way, Donna B and I are communicating and I sent her some 6″ blocks. Thank you for helping us.

    • says

      Oh good Maggie. Have you made a quilt yet from your block? Wish we did pictures so I could see it when you were don’t but we can’t I’m afraid. I’m in the middle of trying to decide what kind of a quilt I will do next. The hardest part for me is deciding on a design and what to do next. There is just so many pretty things out there.

  14. pati says

    I have a great book called Make Your Own Groceries” I have had it for over 30 yrs and there are more things than you can use in that book. Just found out theres another called “Moe Make Your Own Groceries” and yep I ordered it. Had to go to to find it and they have great prices. I have canned my brains out this year and am getting ready to start on the mixes that I use the most.Groceries are out of site in the south and I refuse to pay it this winter.

    • says

      This is my all time favorite cornbread. It is from Dining on a Dime for those of you who have it and want to look it up in there. I love cornbread but most of my life I have always had to pour syrup and lots of butter on most that I have eaten until I found this recipe. It is so good and not dry like many. I have eaten it with no butter or syrup. Of course it calls for a whole stick of butter in the recipe. You will not be satisfied with any other once you have tasted this one. Don’t be fooled by the baking mix (Bisquik) because at first I thought anything with that in it might not taste very good. Boy was I wrong. I like to melt a little bacon grease in a cast iron skillet, get it hot in the oven, pull it out and pour the batter in then bake it but this is good enough you can put it in any pan and grease with anything. Hope you enjoy it.


      2 cups baking mix
      1/2 cup cornmeal
      1/2 cup sugar
      1/2 cup butter, melted
      1 tsp. baking powder
      2 eggs
      1 cups milk
      Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all together. Pour in a greased 8×8 inch pan and bake 30 minutes.

  15. Marlene Clapper says

    I love your site and cost cutting ideas.
    I have your book The Tightwad Gasette II, 1995, by Amy Dacyczyn. Made my own index for when want to look something up. Keep up the good work.
    I also borrowed your book Living on a Dime form library.

  16. says

    Thanks for the cornbread recipe. I will be trying it very soon. I ordered your book, but havent had time to go through it completely. Thanks again, I love your site. You have saved me a lot of money. (smile)

  17. Tommienell Ellis says

    I enjoy your ideas—-they are for real people. When I cook rice, I like to brown the raw rice in. butter before adding all the other ingredients. Just brown to golden color. This gives rice a great nutty flavor. It is an extra step—-definitely worth your time. I am anxious to try the curried rice mix. Tommie

  18. Mary Jane says

    I often used homemade mixes for biscuits, pancakes and muffins when we went camping or on holidays over the summer, to use in our camper. I often bumped up nutritional values by adding powdered milk, a bit of wheat germ, or bran. Whatever I needed to add to make the recipe (usually just water and eggs) was clearly printed on the top of the plastic covers of my mix tubs. You will never look at these mixes in the grocery stores again, without thinking about how over-priced they are.

  19. Debby White says

    Just discovered your website. Can’t wait to read more. Have just begun dehydrating this past year, and husband and I love it, in addition to canning. Have been vacuum sealing for a few years and have learned to reuse some of the expensive sealer bags. Discovered, too, that the heavier waxed inner bags of cereal boxes can be used on the sealer unit. Washing out and reusing the “ziplock” bags from so many products saves on buying the brand name or even store brand kinds. Appreciate the ideas about mixes/meals in a jar. You’re keeping us busy and thinking of how to use stuff that’s already on hand. I find myself constantly thinking of how I can repurpose something I would previously automatically thrown out. Thanks.

  20. Denise Stathatos says

    Every fall my church women’s group assembles gifts in a jar to be sold at our annual bake sale that takes place the second weekend in December. the proceeds go to purchasing the supplies for our Lenten Fish Dinners.
    The baked goods are donated by the parishioners. We assemble these recipes in mason jars and peanut butter jars. I will review some of these recipes to bring to our next meeting.

  21. Christy Gentle says

    Hi Jill & Tawra,
    What an amazing idea these jars are! I used to bake quite regularly before I went back to full-time work, but now I can’t seem to find the time. I think this method will help me to get back into it as the pulling out of ingredients, measuring, tidying up and packing away is what deters me. This solves all of my problems actually, because we also have a very large extended family and we need cheap gifts to give for Christmas. Homemade is always best. Thank you, thank you, thank you!! :-)

  22. Mrs. D. says

    I’ve done this before, but never thought to do it in preparation for Christmas! Duh!! Thanks, as always, for the good (and timely) advice. :)

  23. Brenda says

    I love your newsletter and website. I recently purchased a Living on a Dime cookbook for my niece, who is getting married in about 2 weeks. I’ve been trying and trying to decide what to get her and her soon-to-be-husband to go with the cookbook and it just hit me as I read this article – DUH! I will make up several of the mixes and get a couple of basic baking and casserole pans and this should make a wonderful wedding gift. I believe I’ll get some nice bookmarks to mark the pages (or the section) that I pulled the mixes from. Have a blessed day!

    • says

      Good idea Brenda. I will never forget that for my wedding shower a lady got me a 9×13 pan for a gift but what made it unique was she had baked some cinnamon rolls and put them in the pan along with the recipe. The jar mixes is along the same ling. Love that idea.

  24. donnab says

    these are not only handy, but making them yourself, you can control the ingredients, such as the bullion cubes can be the low salt ones, for those of us watching salt. I try, but I admit, I’m a salt fiend!

  25. donnab says

    forgot to post my question: where do you find the “cheese powder” that goes into some of the mixes. I admit I’ve never seen them, either in New Jersey or Massachusetts.


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