37 Homemade Food Gifts for Everyone on Your List

chocolate covered treats
Photo: Justin Walker

Handmade gifts are the best kind, particularly when they're edible. They're so much more personal, and no one can resist a homemade jam or truffle, especially when these gourmet goodies are prettily packaged. These easy-to-make ideas and recipes make thoughtful, delicious gifts.

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wrapped Christmas gifts and liqueur
Justin Walker

If you want to get creative with this year's gift giving, edible gifts are inexpensive to make, absolutely delicious, and perfect for everyone on your list. But as lovely as homemade food gifts are, it's important to think carefully before whipping up a treat for a loved one. Before delivering a batch of biscotti or fudge to your neighbors, make sure to be cognizant of allergies. If you're unsure if your family and friends have specific dietary sensitivities, tie a small tag on the outside of the package noting if the treat contains dairy, nuts, or gluten. Want to avoid food altogether to be on the safe side? Give the cocktail connoisseur in your life homemade Cherry-Cinnamon Liqueur or one of our other infused liqueurs. It's a present that encourages creativity; they'll choose whether they pair them with vodka, gin, or whiskey.

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Homemade Liqueurs

three infused liqueurs
Justin Walker

These infused liqueurs might be the hottest hostess gifts in town. Espresso martinis are back, and they're a lovely way to use our Espresso-Vanilla Liqueur. Kumquat-Tangerine Liqueur makes for a divine citrus drop, and it can be sipped on its own chilled like limoncello. And Cherry-Cinnamon Liqueur is fantastic in a spritz.

Each glass bottle (cork included) makes half a dozen cocktails. Use our free printable labels to customize them at home.

Shop Now: Ashland Mini Glass Bottles with Corks, $2.99 each, michaels.com. Lucky Lady Craft Studio Striped Grosgrain Ribbon, 3/8-inch, in Orange Cream (similar to shown), $2.39 for 3 yards, luckyladycraftstudio.etsy.com.

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Brown-Sugar Chocolate-Chunk Shortbread

homemade slice and bake cookies
Justin Walker

When everyone's drowning in holiday sweets and cookie swaps, you swoop in with the win: frozen cookie dough for friends to slice and bake whenever the desire strikes. The secret to this rich chocolate-chunk shortbread is a mix of sugars—brown for a caramel note, and confectioners' for melt-in-your-mouth texture. Wrap it tightly in freezer paper to keep it from drying out; then, when you're ready to give it, roll it in patterned waxed paper and secure the ends with twine. Our free printable tags make customizing them easy.

Shop Now: Pink Lemonade Party Food-Safe Waxed-Paper Sheets, in Pink With White Dot, $5 for 12; and Pink Gingham, $10 for 25, pinklemonadeparty.etsy.com. Reynolds Kitchens Freezer Paper, $5.29 for 75 sq. ft., target.com. Hemptique #48 Cord Spool, in Dusty Pink, $8.99 for 62.5 m, hemptique.com.

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Easy Pistachio-Cranberry Nougat

Easy Pistachio-Cranberry Nougat
Justin Walker

Nougat is a classic Mediterranean confection, made with egg whites, honey or sugar, and nuts, that requires fussing over a pot of molten sugar with a candy thermometer. Our express version is as simple as rice-cereal treats but so much more delicious. Nestle planks in a box lined with waxed paper so they don't stick.

Shop Now: RJ Displays Kraft Color Paper Cardboard Jewelry Box, 7 1/8" by 5 1/8" by 1 1/8", $12.95 for six, amazon.com. Reynolds Cut-Rite Waxed Paper, $2.29 for 75 sq. ft., target.com.

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Chocolate-Dipped Dried Figs with Anise Seeds

Chocolate-Dipped Dried Figs with Anise Seeds
Justin Walker

Everyone loves to receive a box of nuts and chews, and these fancy-looking bites—artfully arranged in a reusable balsa-wood box—are fun to make, too. Use dark-chocolate melting wafers if you want to skip the tempering. Start with dried figs dipped in dark chocolate and topped with a dash of toasted anise seeds and a crumble of crystallized ginger,

Shop Now:VerTerra Small Square Box with Attached Lid, 6" by 6", $17.83, verterra.com. Pink Lemonade Party Food-Safe Waxed-Paper Sheets, in Pink Stripes, $9.95 for 25, pinklemonadeparty.etsy.com.

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Date Bon-Bons with Pistachio Paste

Date Bon-Bons with Pistachio Paste
Justin Walker

Plump Medjool dates are stuffed with homemade pistachio paste that's oh so easy to make. Then they're dipped in dark chocolate. The result is a sublime bite that deserves a place in your holiday box of homemade confections.

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Chocolate-and-Nut-Crusted Candied Orange

Chocolate-And-Nut-Crusted Candied Orange
Justin Walker

Another fancy chocolate-dipped treat that's actually a cinch to make. If you've got 10 minutes, you can make these.

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Mendiants (Chocolate with Dried Fruit and Nuts)

Chocolate with Dried Fruit and Nuts (Mendiants)
David Malosh

These French-style discs of chocolate look sophisticated but are easy to make and only take about 20 minutes to put together— plus 15 minutes to set. Balance the colors and flavors of the dried fruits and nuts you top the chocolate with for the best result.

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Peanut-Popcorn Balls

Peanut-Popcorn Balls
Justin Walker

For anyone who grew up loving Cracker Jack, Crunch 'n Munch, or Fiddle Faddle, our caramel-coated peanut-popcorn balls are like edible time machines. Wrap them in plain parchment and striped waxed paper for the full bon-bon effect. One taste, and you're a kid again, feeling the warmth of the fire and the pure joy of opening gifts.

Shop Now: Pink Lemonade Party Waxed-Paper Sheets, in Pink Gingham and Orange Diagonal Stripe, $9.95 for 25, pinklemonadeparty.etsy.com. Hemptique #20 Cord Spool, in Cappuccino, $6.49 for 62.5 m, hemptique.com.

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Fig and Ginger Granola

granola gift box
Anna Williams

Customize this breakfast favorite to surprise all your friends this holiday season. To package, place the granola in clear plastic gift bags and seal with a sticker. Pack the bag of granola in a box with honey or other favorite toppings if you like. We used handsome compostable wooden boxes lined with tissue.

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Butter Mints

red, pink, and yellow butter mints in tin box
Lennart Weibull

For the friend who is always asking if you have a mint to spare, put together an adorable tin of homemade butter candies. They're easy to prepare, and the colors can be customized (for example, blue and white for Hanukkah or red and green for true Christmas spirit).

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Tangerine and Lemon Marmalade

Tangerine and Lemon Marmalade
Hans Gissinger

Bring some sunshine to the holiday season with a gift of this easy marmalade. All you need are citrus fruits and sugar. Be sure to can the marmalade correctly so it can last up to year, though we're sure it will be gone before January!

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White Chocolate Fudge with Cranberries and Candied Citrus

White Chocolate Fudge with Cranberries and Candied Citrus
Lennart Weibull

Fudge is an old-fashioned sweet to give out around the holidays, so why not create this festive version? White chocolate lets ruby red dried cranberries and bright citrus pop in every single slice.

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Plum Pates de Fruits

plum pates de fruits
Louise Hagger

It doesn't get more sophisticated than these French fruit jellies! We used plum purée, but blackberry, raspberry, or even a combination of the three would be wonderful.

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Coconut-Pistachio Biscotti


Shredded coconut, lemon zest, dried cherries, and pistachios make a lovely quartet of flavors in these classic Italian cookies. Cornmeal gives them a pleasant crumbly texture. As for the packaging, give a plain box a seasonal makeover with fresh pine. Arrange the leaves in a small ring and glue together the stems before securing the delicate wreath with ribbon.

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Chocolate-Dipped Luxardo Cherries

chocolates wrapping box chocolate covered cherries
Chelsea Cavanaugh

Turn syrupy, aromatic Luxardo cherries into adorable truffles with a little tempered chocolate and some green cloth-wrapped floral wire for the "stems." Package with gold candy inserts and boxes.

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Anisette liqueur with coriander, fennel seeds and star anise
Addie Juell

A classic ending to a Mediterranean feast is this rich liqueur. It has a shelf life of about six months, so no need to finish the bottle during the New Year's Eve party.

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Whole Wheat Seeded Crackers


Whole-wheat flour and sesame seeds give these rustic crackers a nutty, earthy flavor that we can't get enough of. They would be a welcome addition to any cheese platter. To pack them up as a gift, find a small cheese board (we love the modern look of slate) and roll dough just a tad smaller than the board. Once crackers are baked and cooled, wrap them on the board with a tea towel, top with a spreader, and finish with a bow.

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Peppermint Fudge


We love the peppermint candies peeking out of these bite-size squares of rich fudge. Use parchment or colored plastic wrap to package, or visit a crafts store for shiny, colorful foil squares. Twist the ends for a candy-like look, then stuff some stockings!

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Seeded Honeycomb Brittle

Kate Mathis

Four kinds of seeds—pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, and poppy—give this crunchy candy extra oomph.

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Snowball Truffles

snowball truffles
Louise Hagger

You only need five ingredients to make these festive truffles: roasted cashews, shredded coconut, white chocolate, heavy cream, and salt. Package in paper candy cups. If you really want to lean into the winter wonderland theme, add some paper snowflakes.

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Fruitcake Cookies

fruitcake cookies
Louise Hagger

You don't have to be a fruitcake lover to fall for these oh-so-elegant bites covered in chocolate with edible gold leaf.

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Citrus Salt

Citrus Salt jars
David Meredit

Gift a jar or two of these salts infused with the essential oils of lemons, limes, oranges, and grapefruits. They boast a bright flavor and can be used for finishing everything from dark chocolate to pastas, salads, and roasted vegetables.

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Hazelnut Puppy Chow


Give everyone reindeer food for Christmas this year! Also known as muddy buddies, our grown-up version calls for doctoring toasted rice cereal with Nutella, bittersweet chocolate, powdered sugar, and cocoa powder. Box 'em up in gold takeout containers to make the treat feel extra-special.

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Caramel Candies

Christopher Testani

Want an edible gift that feels extravagant? These buttery, salty, and deliciously chewy confections are just the thing. They're easy to make and fun to give away—that is, if you can stand to part with them!

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Gingerbread Loaves


Molasses, buttermilk, vanilla, candied ginger, and a trifecta of spice—cinnamon, allspice, and cloves—give this holiday quick bread its complex flavor.

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Chocolate Tortoises

Johnny Miller

How adorable are these? Our turtles have cashew legs, hazelnut heads, and a delicious shell made of chocolate, caramel, and pecans. Package in colorful paper cupcake liners, then box them up and add some festive baker's twine.

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Meyer Lemon-Orange Bitters


Crafting these intense cocktail elixirs is like undertaking a fun science experiment. Vodka, citrus zest, spices like fennel seed and coriander, and the bitter root gentian steep in a jar for a few weeks, resulting in a heady, complex flavor. To make yours truly gift-worthy, pour bitters into dropper bottles and garnish with citrus zest. Label with a white paint pen and tie at the neck with a ribbon.

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Dark Chocolate Vegan Truffles


These rich truffles are as good as anything you'd get from a chocolatier. Even more amazing: They're vegan. (Coconut oil, not heavy cream, gives them their buttery richness.) Finish with cocoa powder or roll in toppings like crushed pistachios, Marcona almonds, and shredded coconut. Mini cupcake liners are just the right size to cradle these little flavor bombs. Pack the finished product in a shallow box to keep them from rolling around.

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Bacon Jam


A heavenly sweet-savory mixture; brown sugar, bourbon, maple syrup, shallots, and vinegar help transform a pound and a half of bacon into approximately 10 gifts. Add a gift tag with serving suggestions: spread on a burger, stir into a dip, or eat straight off a spoon.

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Chocolate-Almond Wood-Grain Bark


White chocolate meets bittersweet in this striking faux-bois (a wood-grain pattern, for the uninitiated) bark. Wrap in cellophane and tie with a ribbon for a gift that'll really stand out beneath the tree.

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Caramelized Sesame Chickpeas


A delicious, tree nut- and peanut-free alternative to the typical candied nuts. These salty-sweet treats are made without any sugar and are a healthy treat. Pack them in individual bags tied with ribbon.

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Rocky-Road Bites

chocolates wrapping box nuts
Chelsea Cavanaugh

Once you master tempering chocolate (it's easier than it seems) all you have to do is add almonds, marshmallows, and pretzels to make these crowd-pleasing treats.

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Seasonal Fruit Leathers


These are so much better than the snack you ate as a kid, we promise! All you need is fresh fruit (we used pineapple, mango, and persimmon), honey, and a couple of hours in the oven. Roll each piece of leather in a strip of parchment of equal size and then in a larger parchment square. Seal with printed tape and tie with baker's twine.

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Nut Brittle

holiday handbook 2011 brittle
Joseph De Leo

Use any variety of nuts that tickle your fancy—or even a nutty combination—to make this family-size slab of brittle. Wrap the finished brittle block with cellophane and include a small hammer and bow.

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Lavender-Fleur de Sel Caramel Sauce


Take it from us, fancy caramel is always in vogue. We elevate ours with lavender and fleur de sel—it makes a delectable topping for cakes, ice cream, you name it. To make it a gift worth giving, tie lavender sprigs around the jar with twine or ribbon to hint at the unexpected floral essence within.

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Candy-Cane Marshmallows

Lisa Hubbard

We can't think of anything more festive for your hot chocolate than these peppermint marshmallows. They're also delicious on their own—pack them in clear bags with red string for a crowd-pleasing holiday gift.

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