There are some foods that you probably always buy from the grocery store or order at a restaurant. But there are other dishes that just hit different when they're homemade — maybe a recipe teaches you some valuable lesson about cooking or maybe it just tastes better from scratch. So redditor u/scarf_spheal asked, "What is something you believe every cook should make from scratch at least once in their life?" Here's what home cooks had to say — along with a related recipe for each in case you want to try any for yourself.
1."I think everyone should experience the taste of homemade tortillas, the kind that use lard for the fat. Make them with corn or flour. The taste is amazing, unlike anything you can get from a grocery store."
2."Tomato sauce. Once you experience the simplicity of the process and the delicious results compared to the stuff you can buy in a jar, it's life changing."
3."A good homemade chocolate chip cookie hits so much better than anything you could buy from a store, and it's something everyone should try."
4."Everyone should be able to cook a good homemade soup, regardless of what kind. Most soups are basically the same cooking process, and they vary only in terms of ingredients (vegetable vs. beef vs. chicken broth, seasonings, and the cooking time). Once you get the basics down, you can make a huge variety of soups."
5."Ice cream. Once you get to the point where you can make a decent ice cream at home, it opens up a ton of flavors that are hard to find otherwise. I have celiac disease, so I love making creative gluten-free ice cream flavors that I can't find at the grocery store."
6."Risotto. Perfecting this dish isn’t about following the recipe. Rather, it’s about constantly adapting to the texture and flavor. Any recipe that forces you to do that is a good teacher."
7."Dumplings. They're one of those homemade recipes you can make so quickly if you're practiced enough. And they taste so much better from scratch."
8."Curry. Learning to make curry is what taught me that improvisational cooking can be both fun and enlightening. Before that, I could easily cook anything if I had the recipe, but curry taught me how to cook by smelling, tasting, and determining what flavors go well together."
9."Homemade beans from dry. The flavors you can add make a massive difference, especially compared to bland canned ones. Canned beans have their place when you're in a rush, but beans from scratch are just so much tastier."
10."Homemade beef stock. The first time I made it from scratch it blew my mind. I will never, ever go back to store bought stock now. I like my beef stock deeply roasted, so I roast my meat, bones, and veggies beforehand."
11."Spaghetti carbonara. Making this classic Italian pasta taught me that I can cook a delicious meal quickly and from memory, not needing to rely on a recipe every time."
12."Sauerkraut, made from pickled cabbage, is silly easy to make. It takes three days to ferment, but that takes no effort. You'll spend ten minutes on prep, and the final result almost always tastes better than the deli stuff."
13."Tamales. Once you make them at home, you realize how labor-intensive they are and will appreciate them even more. They seem like such a simple dish, but they're really a lot of work."
14."A whole roasted chicken. Not only does it make a delicious meal, but it's a gift that keeps on giving. Use the bones to make a homemade chicken stock, then use the leftover chicken for anything from chicken soup to pot pie."
15."Cacio e pepe. It’s so basic: all you really need is Pecorino or Parmesan cheese, salt, black pepper, butter, and pasta. If you use fresh cracked black pepper, good pasta, and high quality cheese, this dish is so good. Making cacio e pepe taught me how minimalist dishes — when made with care — can be some of the best."
16."Chili. I think it's is the perfect dish to start with as a beginner home cook. It teaches you a lot of fundamentals like dicing vegetables, browning meat, and letting liquid reduce. You can also learn how to toast and grind spices or use a different cut of meat like short ribs instead of ground beef."
17."Gumbo. I made it for the first time last year, and it was the most labor-intensive meal I've ever cooked (so much stirring! — but It was also the best dish I've ever made. The gumbo got better as the night went on because it had been simmering on the stove for 10+ hours.
18."Bread. I don't even eat much bread, but when I make it from scratch I see how much love goes into the process. Warm from the oven and slathered in butter or dipped in olive oil, there's nothing like it."
19."Pie crust. Lots of people just buy pre-made pie shells. I used to buy store-bought until I realized just how much a homemade crust amplifies any pie."
20."Salad dressing. It doesn't need to be anything fancy. For example, try mixing together a blend of olive oil, Dijon mustard, apple cider vinegar, salt, and pepper. The results are so much better than any bottled dressing, and for any basic recipe, you probably already have all the ingredients sitting in your kitchen."
21."Mac 'n' cheese from scratch. Making this taught me the importance of making a good roux, how different types of cheese affect the final taste, and how adding properly cooked ingredients (shiitake, chorizo, etc.) can seriously enhance the overall flavor."
22."Croutons. When you make them at home with butter from really good, crusty bread, the store-bought version can never compare.
23."Meatballs! You can make a whole big batch at once and freeze the leftovers. Simmering them makes any sauce taste so delicious."
24."Homemade banana pudding. it can be time consuming, but the result is so much better than anything you can buy. I grew up on my mom's banana pudding, which she made from the recipe on the side of Nilla Wafers box. It's not too difficult, and the final result is outstanding."
25."Meatloaf. Store-bought meatloaf is usually a dry, over salted mess covered in bland brown gravy. When you make it from scratch, it's super juicy. Plus you can customize it with whatever ingredients you like best. I load my meatloaf with onions, herbs, and tomato sauce (not ketchup!)."
26."Pancakes. There's nothing better than homemade pancakes on a weekend morning, especially when they have those delightfully crispy edges."
27."Eggs cooked every way. Learning to cook eggs in general is so important because it's one of the most versatile foods and one of the most cost-effective proteins. It's worthwhile for any home cook to learn the ins and outs of preparing basic scrambled, hard-boiled, poached, and fried eggs. It's also very useful to learn to transform a few humble eggs into a proper French omelet and a frittata."
What's a dish that every home cook should make from scratch at least once? Tell us in the comments!