Cut the cost of convenient mixes by at least 50%

Make Your Own Mixes and Save

by Mindy Gordon

Want to cut the cost of convenient mixes by at least 50 percent? Make your own delicious bread, cake, muffin, frosting, salad dressing, sauce, cookie, and pancake mixes without sacrificing your budget, time, or tastebuds. Preparation and cleanup time is a snap. And it's so easy even the kids can do it!


Commercial dry mixes use dehydrated products such as butter, eggs, cheese, milk, shortening, etc. You can use these same ingredients at home by making your own mixes. Many grocery or health food stores are starting to carry the basic dry ingredients. However, they are usually quite a bit more expensive than if you purchase from companies who sell bulk dehydrated foods. You might just find many of the ingredients on your home food storage shelf collecting dust. Once you learn how easy it is to use these basic dry ingredients, you'll never want to return to "old-fashioned" cookin' again!

How To Make Mixes

There are two ways to make mixes: 1) put all ingredients together in a large electric mixer; cover tightly and mix well, or 2) shake all ingredients in a large container with a lid or in a plastic bag sealed tightly. If the recipe contains dehydrated whole egg, first combine the egg with one cup of flour in the bag, then add the remaining dry ingredients, close and shake. If a dry ingredient becomes hard or lumpy, break into pieces and process in a blender just long enough to make it a fine powder again.

Try our Pancake Mix for fun:

Pancake Mix

  • 8 cups white or whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cups shortening powder
  • 3/4 cups powdered milk
  • 3/4 cups brown or white sugar or 1/3 cups fructose
  • 2/3 cups dehydrated whole eggs
  • 1/3 cups baking powder
  • 1 scant Tablespoon salt

Family Favorite Pancakes

  • 1 scant cup Pancake Mix
  • 1 cup water

Stir together. Let stand a minute and cook on a hot oiled griddle. Turn when bubbles break on top. Makes six 4" pancakes.

Apple Pancakes


  • 1 cup Pancake Mix made without sugar
  • 1 cup apple juice

Mix-A-Meal Cookbook, by Deanna Bean and Lorna Shute, p. 36.

Storing Mixes

Store in covered container in cool dark place for optimal shelf life, preferably 40-68 degrees. If you want a longer shelf life for your mixes, put your flour in the freezer for two days before making mixes.

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Taste and Health Benefits

Homemade mixes taste better and are better for you. You can eliminate or significantly reduce preservatives in your foods. Need to make modifications for special diets? No problem! You can use fructose in place of sugar. Just use approximately one-third to one-half as much and adjust to satisfy your own taste. Need a no-salt diet? In place of salt try dehydrated orange flavoring for breads and rolls and dehydrated butterscotch flavoring for cookies. Or, you could reduce or leave out salt entirely if you need to. What about fat? The big secret in making mixes is you use half as much dehydrated shortening, butter, or margarine in the mixes as non-dehydrated. Who couldn't benefit from a lower fat diet? The recipes will turn out light and fluffy! For a non-fat alternative use applesauce in place of oil. A lactose intolerant individual can use dry soy milk powder in place of powdered dairy milk. You'll never know the difference. Dehydrated egg white and dehydrated whole egg can be used interchangeably in most recipes according to dietary needs and taste. Butter or margarine powder can be used interchangeably.

Other Applications

Making your own mixes is also ideal for camping, unexpected company, emergencies, or gifts. Useful homemade gift baskets are always appreciated for bridal showers, birthdays, Christmas, and more.

Try It. You'll Like It!

Go ahead, try a mix and see for yourself how easy it really is. Then let the kids try and have some fun shaking everything together! Once you understand the proper ratios for using the basic dry ingredients, you can convert many of your regular recipes into mix recipes for great taste and convenience. Here's a fun Cheese Sauce for nacho chips, macaroni and cheese, cheese and broccoli or topping for a potato bar.

Cheese Sauce Mix

  • 4 1/2 cups dehydrated cheese sauce
  • 2 2/3 cups powdered milk
  • 2 2/3 cups dehydrated butter powder or margarine powder
  • 2 2/3 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder

If you want to try a smaller mix first to see how you like it try a Mini-Mix instead:

Cheese Sauce Mini-Mix

  • 1/3 cups dehydrated cheese powder
  • 3 Tablespoons powdered milk
  • 3 Tablespoons dehydrated butter powder or margarine powder
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 1/8 teaspoons onion powder

Cheese Sauce


  • 1 cup hot tap water
  • 1/2 cup Cheese Sauce Mix (above)
  • Bring to a boil stirring with a wire whisk -- it only takes a minute! For a touch of color add a few parsley flakes (optional).

Mix-A-Meal Cookbook, by Deanna Bean and Lorna Shute, p. 46.

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Reviewed October 2017

Take the Next Step

  • Take the TDS Pantry Challenge. Clean out that pantry, fridge and freezer and see how much extra cash you can free up this month!
  • Better than coupons. Shop smart with great cash back offers on your favorite brands at your favorite grocers. Join Ibotta today.
  • Once you trim the grocery budget, don't waste that extra money! Consider opening a savings account to start an emergency fund or save for some other financial goal.
  • Join those who 'live better...for less' - Subscribe to The Dollar Stretcher newsletter, a weekly look at how to stretch both your day and your dollar! Subscribers get a copy of our ebook Little Luxuries: 130 Ways to Live Better...For Less for FREE!

Mindy Gordon learned from firsthand experience many skills of self reliance as the fourth of ten children.

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