Foods you should never bother cooking at home

Cooking at home is a good habit to get into — and a great skill to have if you're focused on the health or flavor of your food. But even so, there are plenty of things you just simply shouldn't bother cooking at home — for many different reasons. Save yourself the time and effort and just pick these foods up the next time you get a craving.

Puff pastry

While you certainly want to use high-quality puff pastry anytime you're making something that requires pastry dough (so it's best to read the labels of store-bought options), making it at home from scratch really isn't necessary. According to The Daily Meal, making puff pastry at home requires plenty of time for resting, chilling, and the like, not to mention lots and lots of butter. You can find store-bought options that are just as good as homemade, so there's no need to waste your time with all that rolling, folding, and chilling in your own kitchen.

Croissants

Flaky, buttery croissants are one of life's simple pleasures, to be sure, but there's absolutely no need to tackle that project in your home kitchen unless you're in the mood for a big-time project. Similar to puff pastry, croissants require a ton of butter and a whole lot of time. While your homemade ones are sure to be delicious, they just might be a little bit of a letdown after all of that work you put in to it. Picking up a box at your favorite bakery will be much simpler and just as tasty.

Jams and jellies

Homemade jams and jellies are delicious, there's no doubt about it, but unless you're a pro, you shouldn't bother making these at home. According to HuffPost, you should avoid making and canning your own jams and jellies in your home kitchen because of the potential food safety risk. If you don't can these items correctly, you could have an outbreak of botulism on your hands, which is potentially deadly. It's just not worth it if you aren't absolutely sure you know what you're doing.

Crackers

According to The Daily Meal, it's just not worth it to make crackers at home. While homemade crackers can be delicious, you have to make the dough, let it rest or chill, roll it thinly, cut the crackers into pieces, and bake before you can enjoy them. If you're looking to do something special, crackers might be the right project for you, but otherwise, just buy good-quality ones at the store and save the time.

Oysters

Oysters at home pose several safety issues, as HuffPost noted. For one, you have to be exceedingly careful whenever you're shucking oysters. They're notoriously tricky little buggers, and you can do some serious damage to your fingers and hands when trying to maneuver the knife. As if that weren't enough, there are also some food-borne illness issues, particularly in the summer months. You're likely better off ordering them from a place you trust instead, and doing your research to minimize and food-borne illness issues as best you can.

Pizza dough

Homemade pizza dough is tasty, sure, but there's really no reason for you to ever make your own at home. For one, you'll have to plan ahead because it'll have to ferment and rest, so it's not really a last-minute kind of a thing. But also, given that there are some really good store-bought options out there, making your own isn't a necessity. I, personally, prefer the possibility of a spontaneous pizza night thanks to the availability of high-quality options at both Whole Foods and Trader Joe's. Whether you're looking for a more traditional dough or you want something whole grain, whole wheat, or flavored, there's a store-bought dough out there for you.

Ice cream

While homemade ice cream can, if made correctly, be just about the best ice cream you've ever tasted, there's probably no real reason you have to make it at home. For starters, most recipes call for special equipment, as ice cream is often improved by a spin in the ice cream maker. Additionally, it's a bit of a time-consuming project, often requiring cooking, chilling, mixing, and chilling again. Given that there are some pretty high-quality options available at larger supermarkets (including lots of small-batch, artisanal options), there's no real reason to invest all that time and money in homemade ice cream if you're not going to make it regularly.

Pasta

Homemade pasta can be fun to make, but it's also kind of a pain. According to HuffPost, homemade pasta isn't worth making at home, for the most part. For one, making homemade pasta usually requires purchasing a pasta machine that'll let you roll and maybe cut the dough into the desired shape. Otherwise, you'll need the muscle to roll your pasta dough out to the required thickness. The pasta-making process is also a bit of a mess. Unless you're living somewhere where you somehow can't get pretty good quality fresh or dried pasta, there's probably no real reason you have to make it at home.

Mozzarella

Sure, making homemade mozzarella in your home kitchen can be a fun thing to do once or twice, but it's likely too much work to do regularly. According to the Food Network, all of the kneading and stretching required to make homemade mozzarella — in which you start out with curds — take too much time and effort to make cheese every single time you want grilled cheese or lasagna. You're much better off opting for a high-quality mozzarella from your local gourmet cheese shop or the cheese department at your grocery store.

Potato chips

It takes a lot of potatoes to make a halfway decent amount of potato chips. Given that they're kind of a lot of work, according to Food Network, it's not worth making them at home. They say a pound of potatoes makes about four ounces of potato chips. In order to make chips, you have to heat the oil, scrub the potatoes, slice them thinly, and cook them in batches so they'll fry correctly. You'll spend all day long making enough to make it worth it, meaning you're probably better off just picking them up at the store.

Jerky

Making jerky at home is a project with a capital P. It takes a lot of time and effort to get it right, which is why it's just not worth it to try to make it at home, as My Domaine noted. Between the slicing, marinating, and drying, making quality jerky is a labor-intensive process. Plus, there are some good artisanal offerings to be had at the store nowadays, making it unnecessary to DIY your own at home.

Pumpkin puree

I used to think that my pies, scones, cakes, muffins, and even pasta sauces would be better if I made my own pumpkin puree from scratch (like, a whole fresh pumpkin), rather than just grab a can opener and save myself some time and stress. I was wrong. As noted by My Domaine, it's truly a pain. You have to first roast and peel the pumpkin, then puree it. Frankly, there's just no need. That's what comes in the can and since you're going to be adding so much to it anyway, for the most part, you won't be able to taste the difference — which means no one will appreciate the hard work you've put in to get to the end result. While we're on the subject, if you're making a cake or muffins with butternut squash puree, you can go ahead and buy a can of that as well.

Candy

When you're considering what kinds of cooking challenges you want to take on in your home kitchen, leave candy off the list. There's really no need to ever make candy at home. According to HuffPost, given that it requires special equipment and is such a big mess to make, it's better to just stick to the store-bought stuff, which is fun rather than stressful.