How To Make Sour Cream

If you’ve run out of sour cream and don’t want to run to the store for more- you can make it at home with just two ingredients and a little upper body strength!

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There’s nothing worse than being in the middle of a recipe that calls for sour cream and opening up the tub only to find it’s almost empty or worse- there’s mold all over it. Luckily, if you’re out of sour cream, you can make your own! All you need is two ingredients and a lot of upper body strength. (I’m exaggerating about the need for muscle tone. I can do it, and I haven’t worked out since the 90s.)

What is sour cream?

First things first- there are two types of sour cream: cultured and acidified. Without getting too sciency, cultured sour cream is made with bacteria, while acidified sour cream is made with an acid. Fun fact: many store-bought sour creams aren’t made from cream at all. They’re made with milk that’s thickened with artificial ingredients. Homemade sour cream doesn’t have artificial thickeners so it will be a little runnier than what you’re used to, but the flavor will be spectacular!

Making Sour Cream From Scratch

Since you probably don’t have a vial of lactic bacteria in your pantry, you’ll need heavy cream and an acid. I like using vinegar, but you can also use lemon juice or buttermilk. You’ll also need a mason jar or another air-tight container. To make sure the container is squeaky clean, boil it for a few minutes, let it cool, and then add your cream and acid. Then cover and shake it (or blend it) until it thickens. That’s it. You’ve made sour cream.

To Ferment Or Not To Ferment

I’m a pretty impatient person, so if I’m using the sour cream for a batter or a dip, I add it a few minutes after I’ve made it because its primary purpose is to add creaminess and flavor. It’s not the star of the show; it’s a background singer. (Like the one chick in Destiny’s Child whose name no one ever remembers.) Now, if it’s the Beyonce of your dish, you’ll want to let it sit for a day on your counter to let the cream ferment and thicken and then refrigerate. To keep it 100, I usually skip fermenting it and just put it in the fridge to thicken overnight. It still tastes great.

How long does it last?

That depends on you. It’s best to store the sour cream in the back of your fridge, not the fridge door, where temperatures fluctuate. If you clean your container well and keep the sour cream at 40 degrees, it should last about two weeks. To keep it fresher longer, store it upside down so it isn’t affected by air. When the cream falls to the lid of the jar, it creates a vacuum, which slows down mold and bacteria growth. You can use this nifty trick on all dairy products that come in a container or a jar. I’m looking at you, cottage cheese.

Some of the things you can make with sour cream

Don’t limit your sour cream to just a topping for baked potatoes or a heap of nachos. It works magic in all sorts of dishes. You can use it in sweet and savory preparations to add tang, moisture, and tenderize. It’s the little cream that could.

Overhead shot of a wooden bowl with sour cream in it that's topped with chives and is surrounded by potato chips.

How To Make Sour Cream

If you've run out of sour cream and don't want to run to the store for more—you can make it at home with just two ingredients: heavy cream and vinegar!
Course condiment
Total Cost $1.42 recipe
Prep Time 5 minutes
Resting Time 12 hours
Total Time 12 hours 5 minutes
Servings 1 cup
Calories 812kcal
Author Monti – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup heavy cream $1.40
  • 1 Tbsp vinegar $0.02

Instructions

  • Add the cream to a mason jar or other airtight container.
  • Add the vinegar to the cream.
  • Close the container and shake it for a minute or two, until the cream thickens.
  • Use the cream right away or leave the jar on your counter overnight to ferment and thicken.*

Notes

*Leave it out on your counter overnight if you want tangier, thicker sour cream. I usually shake it and pop it in the fridge, where it will thicken in a few hours.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 812kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 86g | Sodium: 65mg

How to Make Sour Cream – Step by Step Photos

Add the cream to a mason jar or other airtight container.

Add the vinegar (or lemon juice) to the cream.

Close the container and shake it for a minute or two until the cream thickens.

Use the cream right away or leave the jar (with the mouth covered in cheesecloth or other lightweight cloth and secured with a rubberband) on your counter overnight to ferment and thicken.

Overhead shot of a wooden bowl with sour cream in it that's topped with chives and is surrounded by potato chips.

Now your deliciously fresh homemade sour cream is ready to use in your favorite recipe!

Here are some great recipes to use up your sour cream:

Looking for more easy how-to’s? Check these out:

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Banana Pudding

This mouth-watering, easy-to-make banana pudding has it all: honey-like fruit, velvety vanilla pudding, and the satisfying crunch of buttery wafers! And at under five dollars for four delicious servings, this is one dessert recipe you’ll reach for over and over again.

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Have you ever had your mouth water just looking at a dessert? Cause that’s what’s going to happen when you make this crazy-easy banana pudding. It has it all the things you could possibly want at the end of a meal: honey-like fruit, velvety vanilla pudding, and the satisfying crunch of buttery wafers. It’s a classic for a reason!

Side shot of banana pudding in a glass with a second glass in the background.

What is banana pudding?

Banana pudding is a Southern American dessert with layers of creamy vanilla pudding, fresh banana slices, and crunchy cookies. Sometimes it’s finished with a little whipped cream on top. It originated in the late 1800s when bananas went from exotic to everyday (like the internet did in the 90s. Do you remember dial-up? Kids these days don’t know the struggle. 😂)

How do you layer banana pudding?

There is a method to the madness when you’re layering banana pudding. Whether making a large bowl or individual servings, the foundation should always be cookies. That first layer of vanilla wafers will soak up that creamy vanilla pudding and transform into a cake-like consistency. Your second layer should be thin slices of ripe banana, so when you spoon the vanilla pudding over everything, it sinks into all the nooks and crannies. Then repeat. Holy cow. Don’t you want some RIGHT NOW?!?!

Can I make it in advance?

You can make the banana pudding a day ahead, but you should do what you can to prevent your bananas from browning cause ain’t nobody got time for that. It’s as simple as making an acid water bath for your banana slices. You can use one cup of water and then add a tablespoon of any acidic juice. Lemon, orange, lime, and pineapple work just fine. In a pinch, you can even use vinegar. Dip your slices for about 10 seconds in the bath, dry them on a paper towel, and then layer away!

Overhead shot of banana pudding in three glasses with wafers scattered on the counter.

How long does banana pudding last?

Banana pudding doesn’t have a long shelf life. Not that it needs it, as it quickly disappears whenever you make it. TRUST. If you treat the bananas to a citrusy bath, your pudding should keep for two to three days before the bananas start to brown and the cookies start to get mushy.


What if there aren’t ripe bananas at the store?

You can ripen green bananas by wrapping the bunch in aluminum foil. Then place them in a paper bag with other ripe fruit, like apples or avocadoes. Put the bag in a warm, sunny spot for about 12 to 24 hours. When the skin has yellowed, remove the foil and separate the bananas. Next, place them on a baking sheet in a 300ºF oven for about ten minutes. Their skin will start to brown, but any remaining starches will transform into sugar.

Side shot of three glasses of banana pudding.
Side shot of three glasses of banana pudding.

Banana Pudding

This easy-to-make banana pudding has all the things you want in a dessert: honey-like fruit, velvety vanilla pudding, and the crunch of buttery wafers.
Course Dessert
Cuisine American
Total Cost $4.91 recipe/ $1.23 serving
Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes
Servings 4 1 1/2 cups each
Calories 761kcal
Author Monti – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Slice bananas in about 1/3 inch thick rounds. Place four glasses that hold about 2 cups each on your work surface.
  • Add about four vanilla wafers to each glass. If necessary, snap them in half to create an even layer. Top with 4 or 5 slices of banana.
  • Spoon about 1/4 cup of pudding over the bananas. Repeat the layering process a second and a third time. Serve!

Notes

*6 ounces of vanilla wafers is about half of an 11 ounce box.
*You can use homemade or store-bought instant pudding.

Nutrition

Serving: 1.5cups | Calories: 761kcal | Carbohydrates: 113g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 31g | Sodium: 434mg | Fiber: 3g
Overhead shot of three glasses of banana pudding with wafers on the counter and in a bowl.

How to Make Banana Pudding – Step by Step Photos

Side view of wafers and bananas in a glass.

Place four glasses that hold about 2 cups each on your work surface. Add four vanilla wafers to each glass. If necessary, snap them in half to create an even layer. Top with a 4 or 5 slices of banana.

Side view of banana pudding layered in a glass.

Spoon about 1/4 cup of pudding over the bananas. Repeat the layering process a second and a third time. Serve your banans pudding as is, or top with homemade whipped cream.

Overhead shot of three glasses filled with banana pudding with vanilla wafers next tot hem.

More Budget-Friendly Easy-To-Make Desserts

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Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothies are slightly sweet, super creamy, deliciously filling, and make a fast and easy snack or breakfast!

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Peanut butter banana smoothies have been a favorite snack (or dessert) of mine since I was a teenager. I usually always have the ingredients on have on hand, they’re ultra-creamy, just sweet enough to kill my sweet tooth, and filling enough to stand in for breakfast. Plus, they’re INEXPENSIVE. There are a lot of ways you can modify this simple banana smoothie if you want to make it your own, so if you haven’t tried this one yet, definitely put it on your list!

Peanut butter banana smoothie in a glass with a yellow striped straw.

Use any Nut Butter

I love the classic peanut butter-banana combo, but if you don’t like peanut butter or can’t have it for other reasons, feel free to substitute it with any type of nut or seed butter. Almond butter or Sun Butter would be awesome, and it would also be fun to experiment with flavored nut butters. The nut butter makes this smoothie extra rich and delicious, so don’t skip this ingredient!

Use Frozen Bananas for the Best Texture

The key to getting this ultra-creamy milkshake-like consistency is to use frozen bananas. Not only will frozen bananas make the smoothie extra thick and creamy, but they also keep it cold without having to add ice, which would water down the smoothie. So anytime I have bananas that are on their last leg, I make sure to peel, slice, and freeze them to use in smoothies and other desserts later.

Use Any Type of Milk

This smoothie recipe is incredibly flexible. You can use any type of dairy or non-dairy milk for this smoothie, keeping in mind that the creamier the milk, the creamier the smoothie will be. I like whole milk the best, but I think coconut would also pair nicely with these flavors!

What Else Can I Add?

As mentioned above, there are a lot of different things you can add to this smoothie to take it in a different direction. Try adding some of these ingredients to your banana smoothie:

  • Quick oats (about ¼ cup)
  • Coconut
  • Cinnamon
  • Ground flaxseed
  • Cocoa powder
  • Instant coffee
  • Chia seeds
  • Spinach
Overhead view of a peanut butter banana smoothie in a glass with cinnamon.
Side view of a glass full of peanut butter banana smoothie with a yellow striped straw.

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothies are slightly sweet, super creamy, deliciously filling, and make a fast and easy snack or breakfast!
Course Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Cuisine American
Total Cost $0.71 each
Prep Time 5 minutes
Total Time 5 minutes
Servings 1 (approx. 12 oz.)
Calories 461kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Equipment

Ingredients

  • 1 frozen banana, sliced $0.22
  • 2 Tbsp peanut butter $0.14
  • 1 tsp brown sugar $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract $0.13
  • 1 cup milk $0.20

Instructions

  • Add the sliced banana, peanut butter, brown sugar, vanilla extract, and milk to a blender.
  • Blend the ingredients until smooth. If the smoothie is too thick, add more milk. If the smoothie is too thin, add more frozen banana. Taste and adjust the sweetness to your liking.

Nutrition

Serving: 1smoothie | Calories: 461kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 25g | Sodium: 232mg | Fiber: 5g

How to Make a Peanut Butter Banana Smoothie – Step by Step Photos

Smoothie ingredients in a blender cup.

Add one sliced frozen banana to a blender along with 2 Tbsp peanut butter, 1 tsp brown sugar, and ¼ tsp vanilla extract.

Milk being poured into the blender cup.

Add one cup of milk. I use whole milk, but you can use the milk of your choice.

Blended smoothie in the blender cup, from above.

Blend the ingredients until smooth. If the smoothie is too thick, you can add more milk. If it’s too liquidy for your taste, you can add more frozen sliced banana.

Side view of a glass full of peanut butter banana smoothie with a yellow striped straw.

Try These Other Smoothie Recipes:

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How To Make Sofrito

Sofrito is the aromatic flavor base of many Caribbean dishes. It’s budget-friendly, easy to make, and pure magic in almost any savory recipe.

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Sofrito is the heart and soul of Caribbean cuisine and the knock-out flavor base of many of its dishes. It’s budget-friendly, easy to make, and pure magic in almost any savory recipe. If you want to kick up your cooking prowess a hundred notches with just one technique, THIS IS IT.

Overhead shot of green sofrito in a white bowl with a wooden spoon in it.

What is sofrito?

Sofrito originated in Spain, and the word refers to a technique where you fry aromatics to release flavor compounds. The sauce took on different forms as the Spanish colonized the Caribbean, and islanders recreated sofrito with available ingredients. In Puerto Rico, where I was born and raised, sofrito is called recaito, after recao, an herb that grows wild throughout the island and gives the puree its distinctive bright green color.

How do you make sofrito?

In its most basic form, sofrito is a mix of aromatics like peppers, onions, garlic, and herbs. Think of it like the Latin version of a mirepoix or the holy trinity. Except making it is as simple as busting out your blender or food processor. Of course, if you don’t have these kitchen tools, you’ll have to rely on old-fashioned elbow grease and mince the ingredients. Either way, the results will always be fantastic.

What’s in Sofrito?

The ingredient list for sofrito changes depending on the region. In Spain, the sauce includes tomatoes; in the Dominican Republic, it contains vinegar; in Puerto Rico, neither of those ingredients made the cut. Traditionally, Boricuas (i.e., Puerto Ricans) make sofrito with a sweet pepper known as ají dulce, garlic, onion, and, as I mentioned earlier, recao. This pungent herb is a distant relative of cilantro and is also known as Chinese parsley or sawtooth coriander. You can usually find ají dulce and recao at an Asian or Latino supermarket. When I can’t find these traditional ingredients, I sub them with green bell pepper and cilantro.

No matter what the ingredients, sofrito is usually the first thing to hit the pan, where it is lightly fried until your kitchen smells like heaven. (Am I the only one that thinks heaven will smell like something amazing’s cooking?) No matter your religious musings, I’ve seen many islanders get choked up at the first whiff of sofrito. TRUST ME. This sauce is powerful stuff.

How do you store sofrito?

A little sofrito goes a long way, so you’ll always have leftovers when you make a batch. Store it in an airtight container in your fridge for up to a month. Or do like every abuela (Spanish for grandma) does on the island: freeze any leftovers in an ice cube tray. Then transfer the cubes to a freezer-safe container, where they will stay fresh for up to three months.

How is Sofrito Used?

Honestly, many savory recipes would benefit from a few tablespoons of sofrito. Of course, it’s imperative that you use it in Caribbean dishes, like my recipe for Arroz con Pollo (Puerto Rican chicken and rice). But you should also try it in your favorite stews, soups, beans, and sauces. For example, a few tablespoons would be spectacular in this easy chili, this hearty vegetable barley soup, or this dreamy Spanish chickpeas and rice.

Side view of sofrito in a white bowl with a wood spoon in it and a black and white linen napkin next to it.
Close up of sofrito on a wooden spoon with the bowl in the background.

Puerto Rican Sofrito

Sofrito is the aromatic flavor base of many Caribbean dishes. It's budget-friendly, easy to make, and pure magic in almost any savory recipe.
Cuisine Latin
Total Cost $2.53 recipe / $0.36 serving
Prep Time 5 minutes
Servings 7 ¼ cup each
Calories 14kcal
Author Monti – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 yellow onion $0.37
  • 1 green bell pepper $0.79
  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro $0.89
  • 6 cloves garlic $0.48

Instructions

  • Peel the onion and deseed bell pepper, then quarter them. Rinse the cilantro and chop the bunch roughly.
  • Add the onion, bell pepper, cilantro, and garlic to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until a smooth, thick puree forms.
  • Use the sofrito in a recipe immediately, store in an air-tight container for up to a month in the fridge, or portion into ice cube trays and store in the freezer for up to three months.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25cup | Calories: 14kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 0.1g | Sodium: 2mg | Fiber: 1g
Close up of sofrito on a wooden spoon with the bowl in the background.

How to Make Puerto Rican Sofrito- Step by Step Photos

Overhead shot of cilantro, green bell pepper, yellow onion, and garlic in a food processor.

Prep and quarter the onion and bell pepper. Rinse and chop the cilantro. Add the onion, bell pepper, cilantro, and garlic to the bowl of a food processor or blender.

Overhead shot of blended sofrito in the bowl of a food processor.

Pulse until the ingredients transform into a smooth, thick puree. If the blades get stuck cutting through the ingredients, add a little olive oil to move things along.

Sofrito being portioned into an ice cube tray.

You can use the sofrito immediately, store in an air-tight container in the fridge for up to a month, or portion into an ice cube tray and freeze. Place the cubes into a freezer-safe container and store for up to three months.

Overhead view of a bowl of sofrito with a wooden spoon.

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Loaded Hummus Pitas

Loaded hummus pitas are a quick and easy no-cook meal for summer, and a great way to use up leftovers in the fridge.

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When it’s WAY too hot in the kitchen, fill up and stay cool with these easy-to-make, no-cook, loaded hummus pitas. Though this summer recipe is Mediterranean-inspired, pita bread and hummus are a blank canvas. So if you have any leftover veggies in the fridge, add them to the mix to create a delicious lunch in a snap!

Loaded hummus pita on a plate surrounded by ingredients.

Do I have to use pita bread?

No, you don’t HAVE TO use pita. Naan is a great substitute. In fact, any sturdy sliced bread you have on hand will work great. This is also a great recipe to use up the last of those tortillas you’ve had hanging out in the back of the fridge for the last three weeks. (Is that just me?) The key is to use bread you don’t have to toast. Though if you WANT TO toast your bread, go for it. You can warm up a pita (or naan or tortillas) on the stove, in a dry pan over medium heat, or in a 350-degree preheated oven.

Do I have to use hummus?

For the ultimate convenience, reach for creamy store-bought hummus. Or if that’s not in your budget, you can always make your own. I’ve got some great hummus recipes that will only take you five minutes to whip up. If you’re not a hummus fan, try Greek yogurt or mashed avocado.

What else can I add to Loaded Hummus Pitas?

This recipe is endlessly customizable, which is music to my ears when it’s close to the end of the week and I’m trying to use up leftover odds and ends. Do you have some greens left over from yesterday’s salad? Use them! Do you still have some of the sliced radishes and raw diced onions from a take-out taco adventure? Go for it! Also try adding:

  • Roasted summer vegetables
  • Chopped cauliflower florets
  • Chopped broccoli florets
  • Sliced, pitted olives
  • Sliced radish
  • Sliced sweet peppers
  • Pickled onions
  • Artichoke hearts
  • Shredded carrots
  • Asparagus ends
  • Chopped cold cuts
Close up of loaded hummus pita.
close up view of loaded hummus pita.

Loaded Hummus Pitas

Loaded hummus pitas are a quick and easy no-cook meal for summer, and a great way to use up leftovers in the fridge.
Course Lunch
Cuisine Mediterranean
Total Cost $7.70 recipe / $1.93 each
Prep Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 4 pitas
Calories 345kcal
Author Monti – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cucumber $0.53
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes $1.08
  • 1/4 red onion $0.09
  • 8 kalamata olives $0.75
  • 1 Tbsp chopped parsley $0.10
  • 2 oz. feta, crumbled $0.82
  • 4 pitas $1.99
  • 1 cup hummus $2.20
  • 2 tsp olive oil $0.11
  • 1 pinch salt $0.01
  • 1 pinch pepper $0.01

Instructions

  • Dice the cucumber into small ¼-inch pieces. Slice the grape tomatoes in half. Dice the red onion. Roughly chop the parsley and crumble the feta.
  • To assemble the pitas, spread ¼ cup hummus over the surface of each pita. Top with cucumber, tomato, red onion, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Finish with a little crumbled feta, chopped parsley, and a light drizzle of olive oil.

Nutrition

Serving: 1pita | Calories: 345kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 13g | Sodium: 814mg | Fiber: 6g
Close up of hand holding loaded hummus pita.

How to Make Loaded Hummus Pitas – Step by Step Photos

Overhead shot of ingredients, including pitas, diced onions, sliced kalamata olives, crumbled feta, sliced tomatoes, and chopped parsley.

For this recipe, you’ll need four pitas and a cup of hummus. You’ll also need to small dice half of a cucumber and a quarter of a red onion, slice a cup of grape tomatoes into halves, chop a tablespoon of fresh parsley, crumbled two ounces of feta cheese, and slice about eight kalamata olives.

Pita with a quarter cup of hummus spread on it.

Spread about a quarter cup of hummus on each pita.

Pita topped with chopped cucumber, onion, and tomatoes.

Add the chopped cucumber, onion, and tomatoes to each pita, then add a pinch of salt and pepper.

Pitas loaded with feta cheese, kalamata olives, and a sprinkle of chopped parsley.

Top each pita with a half-ounce of feta cheese, two kalamata olives, and a sprinkle of chopped parsley.

Finishing loaded hummus pitas with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, and pe

Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and enjoy!

close up view of loaded hummus pita.

Cold, crunchy, delicious, and filling! 🙌

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Creamy Cucumber Salad

This simple Creamy Cucumber Salad is the quintessential side dish of summer. It’s light, fresh, and so quick to prepare!

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I don’t know if there’s any salad that says “Summer” more than a simple creamy cucumber salad. This salad is so light and fresh, and it only takes minutes to make, so it’s the perfect side dish for all of your summer meals.

Close up front view of a shallow bowl full of creamy cucumber salad.

What’s in Creamy Cucumber Salad?

This classic summer salad is made with cucumbers, onions, and a simple creamy dressing. The dressing can vary from recipe to recipe, but it’s usually either a sour cream or yogurt base with some sort of acid (lemon juice or vinegar), a little sugar, and dill. It’s simple, fresh, and delicious!

Can I Use Fresh Dill?

Creamy Cucumber Salad is often made with fresh dill, but since fresh dill can sometimes be hard to find or more expensive, I made the version below with dried dill. You can certainly use fresh dill if you have access to it. I’d use about 2 Tbsp chopped fresh dill in place of the dried dill listed below.

To Peel or Not to Peel the Cucumbers

It’s totally up to you whether or not you want to peel the cucumbers. I love the contrast of color the peel provides, but some people experience digestive upset with cucumber peels, so peel them if you prefer. You can also scrape out the seeds if those bother you as well.

How Are the Leftovers?

This salad is best when freshly made because the salt in the dressing will draw the moisture out of the cucumbers and cause the salad to get watery if refrigerated for a day or more. Luckily, this salad is really easy to scale down, or, if you know you plan to eat the leftovers for a few days, you can salt the cucumbers ahead of time to draw out the excess water. But salting the cucumbers will make them softer, which is why it’s not my personally preferred method.

To pre-salt the cucumbers, place the sliced cucumbers in a large colander and toss with ½ tsp salt. Let the cucumbers drain for about ½ hour, then pat dry with a paper towel. Since the cucumbers will already have some salt on them, skip adding salt to the sour cream dressing and just add salt to taste once the salad is assembled.

Close up overhead view of a plate full of creamy cucumber salad.
Close up overhead view of a plate full of creamy cucumber salad.

Creamy Cucumber Salad

This simple Creamy Cucumber Salad is the quintessential side dish of summer. It's light, fresh, and so quick to prepare!
Course Dinner, Lunch, Salad, Side Dish
Cuisine American
Total Cost $2.31 recipe / $0.58 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 4 1 cup each
Calories 74kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup sour cream $0.55
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice $0.08
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill $0.05
  • 1 tsp sugar $0.02
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1 large cucumber $1.49
  • 1/4 red onion $0.10

Instructions

  • To make the dressing, combine the sour cream, lemon juice, sugar, dill, and salt in a bowl. Set the dressing aside.
  • Peel the cucumbers, if desired. Slice the cucumbers and thinly slice the red onions.
  • Combine the cucumber, red onion, and dressing in a large bowl and stir to combine.
  • Let the salad sit for 5-10 minutes, give it another stir, then serve.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 74kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 6g | Sodium: 302mg | Fiber: 1g
Close up side view of creamy cucumber salad in a bowl.

How to Make Creamy Cucumber Salad – Step by Step Photos

Sour cream and dill dressing in a bowl with a red spatula.

Make the dressing first. Stir together ½ cup sour cream, ½ tsp dried dill, 2 Tbsp lemon juice, 1 tsp sugar, and ½ tsp salt.

Sliced cucumber and red onion on a cutting board.

Peel the cucumbers, if desired. Slice one large cucumber and thinly slice ¼ of a red onion.

Combine cucumber, onion, and dressing.

Add the cucumber, onion, and dressing to a large bowl.

Finished cucumber salad in a bowl with a spatula.

Stir to combine. I like to let the salad sit for about 5-10 minutes before serving just to let the flavors combine a bit. Give it a good stir again before serving.

side view of a plate of creamy cucumber salad.

Enjoy this super fresh summer salad immediately!

Try These Other Cucumber Salads:

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Lemony White Bean Salad

This simple Lemony White Bean Salad is an expensive, light, and fresh option for summer meals or your weekly meal prep.

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I’ve been leaning on canned beans a lot lately because they’re just super fast and easy to make things with, and, as grocery prices continue to climb, they’re an inexpensive way to fill my belly. I made this super simple Lemony White Bean Salad the other day for meal prep and it was too easy and too good not to share. It makes a great side dish, or you can add a few more ingredients to make it a meal!

Overhead view of lemony white bean salad in a bowl.

What’s in this White Bean Salad?

I love simple food, and this bean salad is a great example. It’s just white beans, thinly sliced red onion, a little parsley, and a quick homemade lemon vinaigrette. Quick, simple, delicious, and FRESH.

What Kind of White Beans Are Best

For this salad, you want a bean that is fairly large and firm so they don’t fall apart when the salad is stirred together. I used cannellini beans, but butter beans would also do well. I would avoid using navy beans or great northern beans for this recipe.

What to Serve with White Bean Salad

I served this salad as part of my weekly meal prep along with some Garlic Marinated Chicken, and a few triangles of pita. It would also go great with Mediterranean Turkey Burgers, Baked Cod, Chimichurri Chicken Kebabs, or as an addition to a Hummus Lunch Box.

What Else Can I Add?

Because this recipe is so simple and basic, there are a lot of ways to dress it up and make it into something new! So browse your fridge and pantry for ingredients that might need to be used up, because chances are you can add them to this salad! Here are a few ideas:

  • Fresh or sun dried tomatoes
  • Crumbled feta
  • Fresh spinach
  • Any fresh herbs (scallions, chives, basil, tarragon, cilantro, rosemary)
  • Cucumbers
  • Sautéed kale
  • Tuna
  • Grilled chicken
  • Thinly sliced radishes
  • Diced avocado
White bean salad in meal prep containers with chicken and pita.
Shown with pita bread and Garlic Marinated Chicken.
Overhead view of a bowl of lemony white bean salad.

Lemony White Bean Salad

This simple Lemony White Bean Salad is an expensive, light, and fresh option for summer meals or your weekly meal prep.
Course Dinner, Lunch, Side Dish
Cuisine Mediterranean
Total Cost $2.53 recipe / $0.42 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 6 ½ cup each
Calories 151kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil $0.32
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice $0.04
  • 1/2 Tbsp red wine vinegar $0.05
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard $0.06
  • 1 clove garlic, minced $0.08
  • 1/8 tsp salt $0.01
  • 1/8 tsp freshly cracked black pepper $0.01
  • 2 15oz. cans Cannellini beans $1.78
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced $0.08
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley $0.10

Instructions

  • Make the vinaigrette first. Whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, Dijon, minced garlic, salt, and pepper.
  • Rinse and drain the cannellini beans. Thinly slice the red onion and roughly chop the parsley.
  • Place the beans, onions, and parsley in a bowl, then pour the vinaigrette over top. Stir to combine. Taste and adjust the salt or pepper to your liking.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 151kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 5g | Sodium: 373mg | Fiber: 7g
Close up side view of Lemony White Bean Salad in a bowl.

How to Make Lemony White Bean Salad – Step by Step Photos

Lemon vinaigrette in a bowl.

Make the Lemon Vinaigrette first so the flavors have a few minutes to chill. Simply whisk together 2 Tbsp olive oil, 1 Tbsp lemon juice, ½ Tbsp red wine vinegar, 1 tsp Dijon mustard, 1 clove of minced garlic, ⅛ tsp salt, and ⅛ tsp freshly cracked pepper.

Cannellini beans draining in a colander.

Rinse and drain two 15oz. cans of cannellini beans.

Salad ingredients being combined in a bowl.

Thinly slice about ¼ of a red onion and roughly chop about 2 Tbsp of parsley. Add the beans, onions, and parsley to a bowl, then pour the vinaigrette over top.

White bean salad stirred together in a bowl.

Stir the ingredients together until well combined. Taste and adjust the salt or pepper to your liking.

Overhead view of a bowl of lemony white bean salad.

You can serve the salad immediately or let it chill in the refrigerator for a while. It will be good for 3-4 days and the flavors will blend more as time goes on. Always give it a good stir to redistribute the flavors just before serving!

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Guacamole

The fresh flavor of homemade guacamole can’t be beat! This simple avocado dip is creamy, zesty, and so deliciously fresh.

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Chips and guac are my weakness. Like, just give me that as a meal because I don’t want anything else. 😅 But guacamole at restaurants is expensive and buying a container of pre-made guacamole at the store is usually not very delish. So when that guac craving hits, I’ve got to whip up a batch myself. Homemade guacamole only takes a few minutes to make and the fresh flavor is so good. Plus, I love using it to top just about everything else I eat, so it never goes to waste.

overhead view of a bowl of guacamole surrounded by chips.

What’s in Guacamole?

Guacamole is a Mexican dip or condiment made with mashed avocados. In its most simple form, it just has mashed avocado and salt, but many recipes include additional ingredients. I love the traditional combo of lime to brighten the creamy mixture, cilantro for freshness, jalapeño for a spicy kick, and a little tomato and onion for color and texture.

What Else Can I Add to Guacamole?

There are so many fun ingredients that you can add into guacamole. If you want to get a little funky with your guac, here are a few ideas:

  • Pineapple
  • Tajín
  • Roasted corn
  • Sour cream
  • Garlic (fresh or roasted)
  • Chipotles
  • Mango
  • Bacon
  • Cotija cheese
  • Radishes

How to Store Guacamole

IF you happen to have leftovers, here’s how you can store them without the guacamole turning brown. Guacamole turns brown when exposed to oxygen, similar to apples or bananas. So, to prevent this simply eliminate the exposure to oxygen. Transfer your guacamole to an air-tight food storage container, then place an extra layer of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the guacamole, making sure there are no air bubbles trapped under the plastic. Seal the container and refrigerate for 4-5 days.

How to Use Guacamole

If you do happen to have som guac left over, here are some ways that I love to use it:

close up side view of a bowl full of guacamole.
close up of guacamole in the bowl with a chip.

Guacamole

The fresh flavor of homemade guacamole can't be beat! This simple avocado dip is creamy, zesty, and so deliciously fresh.
Course Appetizer, condiment, Side Dish
Cuisine Mexican
Total Cost $6.70 recipe / $0.67 serving
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 10 ¼ cup each
Calories 101kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 fresh lime (2 Tbsp juice) $0.89
  • 2 Roma tomatoes $0.44
  • 1 jalapeño $0.09
  • 1/4 red onion $0.11
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro $0.15
  • 3 medium avocados (or 4 small) $5.00
  • 1/2 tsp salt $0.02

Instructions

  • Prepare the guacamole add-ins first. Juice the lime. Finely dice the tomatoes, jalapeño (remove seeds), and red onion. Roughly chop the cilantro.
  • Remove the peels and pits from the avocados. Place the avocados in a bowl, then mash them with a fork.
  • Add the diced tomato, onion, and jalapeño to the mashed avocados, along with the chopped cilantro, about 1 Tbsp of lime juice and ¼ tsp salt.
  • Stir the ingredients together, then taste the guacamole. Add more lime and salt to your liking. I usually end up adding about 2 Tbsp lime juice and ½ tsp salt total. Serve and enjoy!

Nutrition

Serving: 0.25cup | Calories: 101kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 9g | Sodium: 121mg | Fiber: 4g
Close up of guacamole on a chip.

How to Make Guacamole – Step by Step Photos

Guacamole ingredients.

For this simple version of guacamole you’ll need 3-4 avocados (mine were small, so I used four), 2 Roma tomatoes, 1 jalapeño, 1 lime, ¼ red onion, ½ tsp salt, and a couple tablespoons of chopped cilantro.

Chopped vegetables on a cutting board with a bowl of lime juice.

Prep all the add-ins first. Finely dice the tomatoes, red onion, and jalapeño. Roughly chop the cilantro, and juice the lime.

Peeled and seeded avocados in a bowl.

Remove the peels and pits from the avocados, then place them in a bowl.

Mashed avocado in a bowl.

Mash the avocados. Leave them a little chunky or mash them completely smooth. It’s up to you. I like them a little chunky.

Other ingredients added to the mashed avocado in the bowl.

To the mashed avocado add the diced tomato, diced red onion, diced jalapeño, chopped cilantro, lime juice, and salt. Start with about 1 Tbsp lime juice and ¼ tsp salt, then add more after tasting.

Mixed guacamole in the bowl.

Mix everything together well, then give it a taste and adjust the salt and lime to your liking. I usually end up using about 2 Tbsp lime juice and ½ tsp salt total.

Guacamole in a bowl with plastic wrap for storage.

To store your leftover guacamole without it turning brown, make sure to add a layer of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the guacamole. Press out as many of the air bubbles as possible to prevent browning. Seal the container closed and keep for 4-5 days, refrigerated.

close up of guacamole in the bowl with a chip.

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Apple Pie Overnight Oats

These Apple Pie Overnight Oats are an easy and delicious make-ahead breakfast with no added sugar that you can enjoy either hot or cold.

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The weather is starting to warm up outside, so that means it’s officially overnight oats season in my house! When the weather gets hot, I switch from big bowls of warm oatmeal to chilled jars of overnight oats in the morning. Overnight oats are fast and easy to make and the flavor possibilities are endless. This week I made these Apple Pie Overnight Oats that have no added sugar, yet somehow, magically taste just like an apple pie. Yes, please!

Originally posted 6-8-2016, updated 4-13-2022.

A jar of apple pie overnight oats with apples and nuts in the background.

What are Overnight Oats?

If you’re looking for a super simple breakfast meal prep to make mornings fast and easy, overnight oats are it. They’re basically just oats that have been softened by soaking in a liquid for hours, rather than being briefly boiled in the liquid. And when you add all sorts of fun extra ingredients, they will absorb all those flavors as they soak, too! Great, right? Well, it’s even better when they’re apple pie flavored and don’t need any extra sugar to be scrumptious. #winning

Do You Eat Overnight Oats Hot or Cold?

You can eat overnight oats hot or cold. In the summer I love overnight oats cold, but if you prefer a hot breakfast, simply microwave the oats for 60-90 seconds until heated through. They’re great either way!

What Kind of Oats Should I Use?

Old-fashioned rolled oats are my favorite for overnight oats because they soften overnight, but maintain a good deal of texture. Quick or instant oats will soften quickly as well, but they have a lot less texture and will give a more mushy result. While you can do a variation of overnight oats with steel-cut oats, they require a more liquid and a longer soaking time, so they can not simply be swapped into the recipe below.

What Kind of Containers Should I Use?

You can use any type of resealable container for overnight oats. the blue-top Ziploc containers are great if you’re on a tight budget, but mason jars or glass meal prep containers also work great. For the recipe below you’ll want a container that holds 1-1.5 cups. I used 8oz. jars.

What Kind of Dried Fruit to Add

You have a few options here, which will allow you to use the ingredient that is most affordable or accessible to you. I used dried cranberries today because that’s what I had on hand, but you can also use raisins, dried currants, or chopped dried dates.

Overhead view of a bowl of apple pie overnight oats.

Shown garnished with fresh apples and walnuts.

Overhead view of a bowl of apple pie overnight oats.

Apple Pie Overnight Oats

These Apple Pie Overnight Oats are an easy and delicious make-ahead breakfast with no added sugar that you can enjoy either hot or cold.
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Prep Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours
Servings 4
Calories 306kcal
Author Beth - Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats $0.24
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon $0.05
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger $0.02
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves $0.02
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts $0.60
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries $0.44
  • 1 1/3 cups unsweetened applesauce $0.62
  • 1 1/3 cups milk $0.27

Instructions

  • Add ⅓ cup oats each to four resealable containers. Also add ⅛ tsp cinnamon, a pinch of ginger, and a pinch of cloves to each container.
  • Add 2 Tbsp chopped walnuts and 1 Tbsp dried cranberries to each container.
  • Finally, add ⅓ cup applesauce and ⅓ cup milk to each container.
  • Close the containers and refrigerate overnight or up to four days. Stir the contents of the container before eating.

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving | Calories: 306kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 14g | Sodium: 35mg | Fiber: 5g

Four jars of apple pie overnight oats from above.

How to Make Apple Pie Overnight Oats – Step by Step Photos

oats and spices added to jars, from above.

Add ⅓ cup old-fashioned rolled oats to each container. Also, add ⅛ tsp cinnamon and a pinch of ground ginger and ground cloves to each jar.

Walnuts and dried fruit added to the jars, from the side.

Next, add 2 Tbsp chopped walnuts and 1 Tbsp dried cranberries to each jar.

milk being poured into the jar.

Finally, add ⅓ cup unsweetened applesauce and ⅓ cup milk to each jar.

Overnight oats after soaking, one jar stirred.

You can either stir each jar before soaking, or just add the lid and soak as-is, then stir just before eating. Either way, let your oats soak overnight (8 hours) or up to four days. Give them a good stir just before eating, and enjoy.

Overhead view of a bowl of apple pie overnight oats.

You can add more toppings to your overnight oats, like fresh apples, after soaking, if desired.

Try These Other Overnight Oats Recipes:

No Sugar Added Apple Pie Overnight Oats are the perfect healthy and delicious make-ahead breakfast for summer. BudgetBytes.com

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Double Chocolate Overnight Oats

Double Chocolate Overnight Oats make your morning routine fast and easy. Just grab and go with a jar of these delicious chocolate oats!

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Spring has sprung here in Nashville and I’m feeling motivated to get back into a routine. Making a meal prep breakfast, like these Double Chocolate Overnight Oats, definitely makes sticking to a routine a lot easier. Overnight oats are so great for making a morning routine because the whole batch only takes minutes to make and then you have a grab-n-go breakfast for the next few days. And I promise you, when you make double chocolate overnight oats, you’re going to look forward to eating them every day.

Overhead view of a bowl full of double chocolate overnight oats with toppings
Shown topped with peanut butter, bananas, coconut, and chocolate chips.

How Do You Eat Overnight Oats?

This is the question I get most frequently when I post an overnight oats recipe. And the answer is there are no rules! You can eat overnight oats cold, heat them up in the microwave, eat them plain, or make them fancy by piling on the toppings! It’s totally up to you. Soaking the oats overnight basically takes the “cooking” part out of the equation.

What Kind of Oats to Use for Overnight Oats

Old-fashioned rolled oats are the best type of oats to use for overnight oats, in my opinion. They soften quickly but still have a ton of texture so the mixture doesn’t get too gloopy. Instant oats have very little texture once soaked, so your overnight oats will turn out very mushy and gluey. Steel-cut oats require a longer soak time and may need more liquid.

Toppings or No Toppings

When I’m having a super busy morning, I’ll just grab a jar of my overnight oats and dig in. But if I’ve got a little more time on my hands I like to look into my pantry to find something fun to add on top. Here are some fun topping ideas for your overnight oats:

  • Nut or seed butter
  • Sliced bananas
  • Coconut
  • Walnuts, pecans, or almonds
  • Fresh berries
  • Raspberry or strawberry jam

How Long Do Overnight Oats Last?

Overnight oats will stay good in your fridge for about 4-5 days, so I always limit my batches to 4 servings just to give myself a little wiggle room.

Don’t Like Chia Seeds? No Problem.

I added some chia seeds to my overnight oats because I love the extra dose of fiber, but I know a lot of people aren’t a fan of the somewhat gooey texture that chia can create. If you don’t like chia you can simply leave them out. The overnight oats will not be quite as thick, but they’ll be every bit as delicious!

Overhead view of four jars of chocolate overnight oats, each with a different topping
Overhead view of four jars of chocolate overnight oats, each with a different topping

Double Chocolate Overnight Oats

Double Chocolate Overnight Oats make your morning routine fast and easy. Just grab and go with a jar of these delicious chocolate oats!
Course Breakfast
Cuisine American
Total Cost $1.58 recipe / $0.40 serving
Prep Time 1 day 10 minutes
Total Time 1 day 10 minutes
Servings 4 ¾ cup each
Calories 268kcal
Author Beth – Budget Bytes

Ingredients

  • 1 1/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats $0.024
  • 2 Tbsp chia seeds (optional) $0.44
  • 2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder $0.07
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar $0.08
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips $0.32
  • 1/4 tsp salt $0.02
  • 1 1/3 cup milk* $0.27
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract $0.14

Instructions

  • Combine the oats, chia seeds, cocoa powder, brown sugar, chocolate chips, and salt in a bowl.
  • Add the milk and vanilla extract, then stir to combine. Allow the mixture to sit for about five minutes.
  • Divide the oat mixture between four resealable containers. Close the containers and refrigerate overnight or up to five days.
  • Stir the oats just before enjoying. Eat cold or warm it up in the microwave.

Notes

*Use any type of dairy or non-dairy milk.

Nutrition

Serving: 0.75cup | Calories: 268kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 9g | Sodium: 193mg | Fiber: 6g
Side view of four jars of overnight oats with a spoon in one.

How to Make Chocolate Overnight Oats – Step by Step Photos

Overnight oats ingredients in a bowl, milk being poured on top.

Add 1 ⅓ cup rolled oats to a bowl along with 2 Tbsp chia seeds (optional), 2 Tbsp cocoa powder, 2 Tbsp brown sugar, ¼ cup mini chocolate chips, and ¼ tsp salt. Add 1 ⅓ cup milk (any type of milk you like) and ½ tsp vanilla extract.

Mixed overnight oats in a bowl

Stir the ingredients together to combine, then let the mixture sit for five minutes. The mixture will thicken slightly in that time making it easier to get an equal ratio of solid and liquid when you divide the mixture into containers.

Overnight oats divided into jars

Divide the mixture between four containers (about ¾ cup each). Close the containers and refrigerate overnight.

Overnight oats that have been soaked overnight.

After soaking overnight, the mixture will be much thicker.

Stirred overnight oats in the jars.

Stir the oats just before eating to redistribute the cocoa powder throughout. Then enjoy that chocolatey goodness!

A bowl of chocolate overnight oats topped with bananas, peanut butter, and coconut.

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