Drop that Menu! These Homemade Takes on Takeout are Almost as Easy (and Taste Way Better)

By Jessica Colyer |

Photo: Christopher Testani

This piece originally appeared on MyRecipes.

Takeout is easy. Takeout is simple. But above all, takeout is also pretty damn good. That said, takeout also contains questionable ingredients, tastes pretty damn good because it has more salt and fat than anything you’d make at home, and consistently taking out can get pricey. But what’s most important to keep in mind when it comes to take out: it’s optional.

It’s great for an every now and again dinner fix, but ordering in doesn’t need to become a consistent mealtime solution. If we placed two dishes in front of you, one a greasy carton of takeout from down the street and the other, a plate of warm, home-cooked food made in your own kitchen… we’re betting you’d probably pick the latter. Which is why we’ve compiled some of our best (and by “best,” I mean simple, speedy, and damn good) homemade renditions of ordered favorites–the likes of which could sway even the most die-hard takeout dependent to run right back to their own kitchen.

Related: Solving the “What’s For Dinner?” Dilemma

1. Sweet-and-Sour Chicken

Some would argue that this is the epitome of takeout bliss. However, sometimes even the tastiest takeout version can be greasy,yet dried out, and packed with sodium. Opt for a consistently lighter and brighter version with this fast and delicious dinner.

2. “Spring Roll” Pot Stickers

You can achieve that perfect restaurant potsticker experience from your own kitchen–I promise. This easy-to-follow recipe for potstickers–filled with the flavors of a classic Vietnamese spring rolls–will land you with the perfectly crisped pockets you crave without a hitch. I’d even be willing to bet that you’ll have some fun making your own. And once you nail the technique, you can customize your homemade potstickers with whatever fillings you want.

3. Pizzetta 211 Margherita Pizza

There’s nothing quite like a from-scratch, authentic, fire oven pizza… but it’s not like that’s what you’re calling in for a “ready-for-pick-up” dinner in 15 minutes. And you can actually whip up a pretty phenomenal, and way closer to the real deal pizza at home with ease. Plus, it will make your kitchen will smell amazing. Take a trip to pizza heaven with a simple and satisfying Margherita pizza. I know it seems laborious, but making pizza crust from scratch really is all that (and can make for a fun activity with the family). That said, to cut own on the time/labor and make this dish a little more weeknight friendly, just grab a ball of fresh pizza dough from your grocery store’s deli (many stores like Trader Joe’s, Publix, and Whole Foods offer this). One last thing that will truly make all the difference in you DIY pizza–the pizza stone. Invest in this crust-crisping cookware and just see how often you find yourself wanting to pick up a to-go pizza (spoiler: it won’t be often).

Related: How to Eat Off a Pot of Tomato Sauce All Week Long

4. Indonesian Stir-Fried Noodles (Bakmi Goreng)

For lovers of noodle dishes, this flavorful stir-fry noodle bowl has much to be excited about. It takes just 35 minutes to whip up and contains both pork and chicken, making for a hearty and dynamic, one-bowl dinner.

5. Baked Egg Rolls

Of course, no takeout order is complete without a few of piping hot, crispy egg rolls. Egg rolls are typically fried and for many, considered a takeout treat–something you only get when you order from your favorite Chinese restaurant. However, crunchy egg rolls can absolutely be made at home with just a few simple ingredients. So not only can you enjoy them more often by making them yourself, you can do it lighter by baking them to crispness in the oven instead of deep-frying.

6. Stir-Fry and Wok Recipes

Stir-fried to crisp-tender glory, these easy and versatile dinner recipes will help you really rock your wok. Whether you’re making a quick meal for one or serving a crowd, these stir-frys are an ideal solution for resisting a takeout impulse because they satisfy the craving and can be prepared as quickly as you could call in an order and pick it up. Plus, going homemade give you control over the quality (and quantity) of veggies going into your meal.

Related: 9 Places You Should Put Pesto Other Than Pasta

7. Szechuan Chicken Stir-Fry

With the addictive kick of spice it offers at the end, I have to call this Szechuan Chicken Stir-Fry out from the other wok-rocking recipes above. Szechuan will typically designate a spicier dish, so be careful when serving to younger palates. But if heat is your jam, the deep flavors and warming balance in this speedy dish are so worth cooking at home for. You can see for yourself just how easy it is to pull together this stand-out stir-fry in the video below:


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