Delight Friends, Family, and Hostesses With These Homemade Food Gift Ideas

BBQ Rub
Photo: Jennifer Davick

Whether you're on the hunt for the perfect hostess gift or simply want to bring a smile to a neighbor's face, homemade gifts are always well received. You can bake that iconic cake you're known for or create small containers filled with jelly, seasonings, or syrups. We've even been known to create sampler gift boxes, baking several different flavors on one theme. Shortbread cookies and cheese straws work particularly well in a mix-and-match package. No matter what type of treat you're looking to make or the occasion, we've got the recipe you need. From food Christmas gifts to birthday treats, these Southern homemade food gifts, complete with charming packaging and thoughtful details, will put a smile on anyone's face.

01 of 25

Pecan-Toffee Shortbread

Pecan-Toffee Shortbread
Southern Living

Buttery shortbread and sweet toffee and chocolate make a delicious combination in this treat. Package some up in a dazzling container for a great, personable gift.

Recipe: Cracker Toffee
Recipe: Pecan-Toffee Shortbread

02 of 25

Shortbread Cookie Sampler

Shortbread Cookie Sampler
Iain Bagwell

Buttery bites make for well-received packages. We used a 9- × 6-inch box and inserted individual white treat boxes as dividers.

03 of 25

Mexican Hot Chocolate Mug Cake

Mexican Hot Chocolate Mug Cake
Hector Manuel Sanchez; Prop Styling: Karin Olsen; Food Styling: Kellie Gerber Kelley

Mini cake mixes, wrapped individually in 12-ounce microwaveable mugs, make adorable gifts.

Recipe: Mexican Hot Chocolate Mug Cake

04 of 25

Homemade Soft Pretzel

Benne Seed Soft Pretzel
Becky Luigart-Stayner

For a new twist on a hostess gift, try these buttery knots inspired by the Lowcountry. Pack pretzels in a decorative box or basket that the hostess can reuse, and line it with fabric. Mini country Dijon mustard jars round out the gift. Secure our custom label to a small wooden spreader.

Recipe: Homemade Soft Pretzel

05 of 25

Apple-Pie Infused Bourbon

Apple-Pie Infused Bourbon
Photo: Jennifer Davick

Turn a plain bottle of hooch into a top-shelf indulgence, infused with sweet autumn flavor. At 7 ounces, these cute corked bottles are the perfect size for gifts. You can also use mini mason jars or any other food-safe glass container with a lid.

Recipe: Apple Pie-Infused Bourbon

Download the Infused Bourbon Labels

06 of 25

Cheese Straw Sampler

Cheese Straw Sampler
Photo: Iain Bagwell

Wrap these savory bites in a fabric-lined 9- × 4 1/2-inch box. Make dividers out of corrugated paper or lightweight cardboard.

07 of 25

Sweet Potato-Cranberry Scones with Molasses-Orange Butter

Sweet Potato-Cranberry Scones with Molasses-Orange Butter Recipe
Hector Manuel Sanchez; Prop Styling: Karin Olsen; Food Styling: Kellie Gerber Kelley

These scones look great and travel well when tucked in a bowl wrapped up in a large (30 inches or more) kitchen towel or pretty linen.

Recipe: Sweet Potato-Cranberry Scones with Molasses-Orange Butter

08 of 25

3 Fresh Spring Vinaigrettes

3 Fresh Spring Vinaigrettes
Photo: Hector Sanchez

This season's best-dressed salads start with a trio of versatile vinaigrettes that serve double duty as sauces and marinades.

Recipe: 3 Fresh Spring Vinaigrettes

Download the Custom Labels

09 of 25

Bottomless Vanilla Extract

Bottomless Vanilla Extract
Photo: Hector Sanchez

Easy homemade vanilla extract is the gift that keeps on giving. Choose bourbon or vodka as your base, then let the vanilla bean do the work. The longer it steeps, the better the flavor.

Download the Custom Labels

10 of 25

Hoppin' John Soup

Hoppin' John Soup
Photo: Johnny Autry

Bestow good luck with a New Year's Day soup of good-for-you peas and collards shot through with smoky flavor.

Download the Custom Labels

11 of 25

Pecan-Pumpkin Bread

Pecan-Pumpkin Bread
Photo: Jennifer Davick

For a charming fall gift that's more inspired than a bottle of wine, wrap a loaf of our moist Pumpkin Bread in a pretty fall-inspired tea towel.

Recipe: Pumpkin Bread

12 of 25

Pineapple Craft Cocktail with Lime Sea Salt

Pineapple Craft Cocktail with Lime Sea Salt Recipe
Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Prop Styling: Karin Olsen; Food Styling: Kellie Gerber Kelley

When poured into a glass bottle, this tangy mixer makes a fantastic hostess gift, especially when it's packaged with a batch of Lime Sea Salt and a bottle of tequila.

Recipe: Pineapple Craft Cocktail with Lime Sea Salt

13 of 25

Peppermint Pinwheel Cookies

Peppermint Pinwheels
Iain Bagwell

Fill inexpensive metal containers from crafts stores with Peppermint Pinwheel Cookies for a gift your neighbors and friends will love.

Recipe: Peppermint Pinwheel Cookies

14 of 25

Milk Chocolate-Peppermint Bark

Milk Chocolate-Peppermint Bark
Jennifer Davick; Styling: Buffy Hargett

As if milk chocolate morsels and peppermint candies weren't perfect enough a mixture, we added rich cream-and-mint-filled chocolate sandwich cookies and salty pretzel sticks to our peppermint bark. This recipe is great for giving as gifts, but be sure to save a few pieces as a holiday treat for yourself.

Recipe: Milk Chocolate-Peppermint Bark

15 of 25

Lemon-Poppy Seed Zucchini Bread

Personal Loaves
Photo: Erin Adams

These little loaves freeze (and thaw) wonderfully, so keep them on hand by the bushelful for last-minute gifts. Package the bread in a pint-size wood berry box for rustic charm. Add high style for low cost by wrapping the loaves with fabric scraps. (We used a Bed, Bath & Beyond curtain panel, torn and frayed at the edges.) Tie on our downloadable gift tag with embroidery thread for a pretty finish.

Recipe: Lemon-Poppy Seed Zucchini Bread

Download the Zucchini Bread Gift Tag

16 of 25

Blackberry Syrup

Blackberry Syrup
Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

Recipe: Blackberry Syrup

It's summer in a bottle! Bonus: In small jars, this signature sweet becomes a memorable party favor.

Download the Blackberry Syrup Gift Tag

17 of 25

BBQ Rub

BBQ Rub
Jennifer Davick

Prepare batches of this spicy gift and divvy it up by the cupful. It's the perfect base for pork butts, ribs and more. And these small jars make charming gift wrap—they come with a wooden spoon, just right for dipping out spices. Find them at Hobby Lobby ($2.67 each).

Recipe: Smoky-Sweet BBQ Rub

Download the BBQ Rub Gift Tag

18 of 25

Coffee Cake Pound Cake

Coffee Cake Pound Cake
Becky Luigart-Stayner

Resolve to think beyond a ho-hum box of chocolates for a food gift. Instead, pass on this sweet treat, which marries two Southern specialties, coffee cake and pound cake, to create one buttery, best-of-both-worlds dessert.

Recipe: Coffee Cake Pound Cake

19 of 25

Cornbread Madeleines

Cornbread Madeleines
Photo: Jennifer Davick

This delicate Southern twist on the traditional French sponge cake is one of our favorite food gifts. Light and airy, and not too sweet, they'd have Proust swooning "Lawdamercy." Package your homemade madeleines with charming materials from Box & Wrap; boxandwrap.com.

Recipe: Cornbread Madeleines

20 of 25

Vidalia Onion & Peach Relish

Vidalia Onion & Peach Relish
Photo: Iain Bagwell

You will need a canner, jar lifter, and canning rack. Look for a 9- or 12-piece canning kit, which will include all of these pieces and more.
Get this look by using decorative craft paper and homemade gift tags. They add a touch of charm to canned gifts—slip a serving spoon into the twine for extra thoughtfulness.

Recipe: Vidalia Onion & Peach Relish

21 of 25

Sweet Sendoff

Sweet Sendoff
Photo: Iain Bagwell

Because a good Southerner doesn't let guests leave empty-handed. Recycled cardboard drink containers make perfect car carriers for the ride home—just stash a cellophane-wrapped snack in each slot. We gave our container a coat of white spray paint, glued on scrap fabric, and affixed a custom "Happy Trails!" label to the front.

22 of 25

Blueberry Streusel Muffins

Blueberry Streusel Muffins
Southern Living

Bake several batches of these delightful Blueberry Streusel Muffins or your favorite muffin or quick bread. Wrap them up with tea bags and mugs for a complete tea-time present. For added flair, use festive muffin wrappers.

Recipes: Blueberry Streusel Muffins

23 of 25

Hot Honey

Hot Honey Recipe
Photo: Hector Manuel Sanchez; Prop Styling: Karin Olsen; Food Styling: Kellie Gerber Kelley

Delicious drizzled over biscuits and fried chicken or whisked into a vinaigrette, this chile-infused honey will make a welcome addition to anyone's pantry. Present it in a cute jar jazzed up with washi tape.

Recipe: Hot Honey

24 of 25

Crunchy Pecan Pie Bites

Crunchy Pecan Pie Bites
Jennifer Davick

With just seven ingredients and 15 minutes of hands-on time, creating multiple jars ready for gifting will be easier than you think. For extra decoration, add ribbon to the rim of your jars or festive red doilies to the base or top.

Recipe: Crunchy Pecan Pie Bites

25 of 25

Fudgy Pecan Bourbon Balls

Fudgy Pecan Bourbon Balls Recipe
Hector Manuel Sanchez; Prop Styling: Karin Olsen; Food Styling: Kellie Gerber Kelley

These decadent little delights are a cross between bourbon balls and chocolate truffles. Nestle each one in a mini baking cup, and place them in cardboard jewelry boxes wrapped in holiday paper before delivering.

Recipe: Fudgy Pecan Bourbon Balls

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