Cooking homemade food is one of the best ways to ensure you’re eating something both nutritious and delicious. With infinite recipe possibilities at your fingertips, why wouldn’t you try your luck at making something for yourself? It usually ends up tasting better that way, too. But there are some exceptions. Certain foods, for better or for worse, just taste better made from a box.
Boxed foods typically have little to do with quality and a lot to do with convenience; but for one reason or another, these particular products are able to accomplish both. There are, of course, some grocery products you’d be better off making yourself. But not these items. Most of them taste better than the homemade versions and cost less when you add up all the ingredients. They’re also huge time savers — so don’t cook them yourself! These foods taste better right from the box.
Buttermilk biscuits made from a boxed mix will give you a better batch every time. You’re already going to the effort of cooking dinner — skip the biscuit recipe and just buy a boxed mix. Pop those in the oven and you’ll have delicious, flaky, golden-brown bread without fail. And if you want to get crafty, try cooking one of these innovative recipes that uses a tube of biscuit dough.
Duncan Hines’ Classic Yellow cake mix is, and will always be, the best thing to put in a birthday cake. Sure, you could slave over a hand mixer and splurge on all the separate ingredients that go into baking a cake. Or you could save your time (and money) and simply buy a box of premixed powder. Duncan Hines knows what they’re doing. Unless you’re a master baker or trying to bake something fancier, there’s no reason to go astray from a boxed mix. For even more fun, use confetti cake mix. There’s no better surprise than cutting open a cake filled with rainbow sprinkles!
Making cornbread from scratch can be time-consuming and is totally unnecessary. You’re probably making it on Thanksgiving, which is when most people eat cornbread (unless you’re from the South, in which case it’s practically a staple). Thanksgiving is a busy day, and you’re likely juggling the perfect timing on three to four time-intensive recipes already. Save the effort for the turkey and your favorite side dishes; buy cornbread mix from a box. It tastes better that way, anyway!
DIY granola bars are a popular meal prep hack attempted by people who are trying to eat healthy. And sure, some granola bars are loaded with sugar and chocolate and not much else. But other store-bought granola bars are loaded with nutrients — and won’t turn your kitchen into a sticky mess. Why mush together peanut butter, fruit, and oats on your own when a snack company will do it for you? Theirs will taste better, too.
This is quite controversial, but some say there’s nothing quite like the taste of Velveeta shells or Kraft Mac and Cheese. Unless you’re a cheese connoisseur, reserve your snobbery for other fancier dishes, like carbonara or fettucine Alfredo. Kraft Mac and Cheese is a reliably good time, and whatever’s in that cheesy powder is dang delicious. Why mess with a classic?
A recipe for homemade Oreos is a recipe for disappointment. Do not try to replicate the magic of store-bought Oreos at home. If you’ve ever tried a knockoff Oreo, you know that even huge food companies can’t recreate these classic cookies! If you must bake something yourself, try making other sweets and treats with Oreos as an ingredient. But to get your fix, you need to just go to the store and buy yourself a box.
OK, so this technically isn’t store-bought, but it does arrive at your door in a box! And delivery pizza from a reliable chain is way better than what you’re going to whip up in your oven. Even a frozen pizza will probably be a tastier choice! No matter how much “healthier” your at-home version is, unless you’re a dough-making master chef, leave pizza to the pros. It’s just not worth giving up the greasy, cheesy, delicious taste of real pizza.
Sure, you can try to season your popcorn yourself. But it’s hard to replicate that movie theater-style butter made of grease and chemicals. Yeah, it’s not the lowest-fat option out there. And a light dose of olive oil might be a healthier way to indulge in popcorn than the fatty, salty, microwaveable version that comes in a box. But there’s no matching the nostalgia of a bowl of popcorn that’s practically a butter-bomb.
Puff pastry is the ultimate secret ingredient for making great party food. Turnovers, tarts, pigs in a blanket… What can’t puff pastry do? And the freezer versions of puff pastry dough are so dang good that there’s no need to break a sweat trying to make it yourself. They’re buttery, flaky, and delicious. Just open up a store-bought roll and fool all your party guests into thinking you’re a master chef.
There are many recipes for making toaster pastries at home, but why would you? They are super labor-intensive. And Pop Tarts and Pillsbury Toaster Strudels offer all kinds of fun flavors that are too good to pass up. S’mores, anyone? And it’s not like the at-home versions are any healthier, anyway. Do yourself and your family a favor and pop some Pop Tarts in your toaster — not in the microwave. Bread of any and all kinds (with the exception of leftover stuffing) is one of those foods you should never put in the microwave.
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