Holiday Gifts: 8 Homemade Gifts in a Jar (with free printable gift tags)

Homemade gifts in a jar are a fun, frugal, and easy holiday gift to share with loved ones. Over the years I’ve made several homemade Christmas gifts in a jar for friends, family, and neighbors.

There are endless possibilities with what can be placed in a jar. Soup mixes are super for those who like savory ingredients. Jars containing layered mixes for cookies, muffins, and brownies are yummy for those with a sweet tooth. I’ve also given quality chocolates, bulk candy, and nuts in decorated jars. (For more inexpensive gifts, click Holiday Gifts: 10 Frugal and Homemade Gift Ideas.)


Gifts in a jar are easy to make. Just take a glass jar (canning jars, mason jars, or even recycled mustard jars), layer with ingredients, and then top with a gift tag. Combine a bunch of jars together to make your own gift baskets. How’s that for a frugal gift idea? To help you get your jar-on this holiday season, I’ve created several free printable gift tags for download. You supply the homemade goodness.

Here are 8 frugal holiday gift ideas (and recipes) in a jar:

1. S’mores in a Jar

Kids love to help make and eat S’mores in a Jar. If you’re into seasonal gift recipes, find some marshmallow Peeps to match your holiday.


Or get fun and use teddy bear graham crackers to line the jar for decoration.



Layer in a large wide mouthed 1 quart mason jar:

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs (one sleeve of crackers, crushed)
  • 1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows.
    • Or substitute with 8 Peeps and 1/2 cup miniature marshmallows for seasonal fun. Line the jar with Peeps facing out.
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips or mini Hershey Kisses or M&M’s
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar

Printable Gift Tags:

Download Printable Gift Tags: S’mores in a Jar (PDF)

2. Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies in a Jar

This recipe makes about 36 cookies.


Layer in a large wide mouthed 1 quart mason jar:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cups rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Mix flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Pour mixture into a 1 quart (1 liter) mason jar and pack down. Mix oatmeal in a blender. Pack on top of flour in mason jar. Add white sugar and pack down. Add brown sugar and pack down. Layer chopped nuts on top of brown sugar. Finish layering jar with mini or regular chocolate chips.

Printable Gift Tags:

Download Printable Gift Tags: Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (PDF)

3. Ultimate Chocolate Brownie Mix in a Jar

This recipe makes one pan of chocolate brownies.


Layer in a large wide mouthed 1 quart mason jar:

  • 1 cup all purpose unbleached flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 cups vanilla sugar
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Any combination of: mini chocolate chips, mini M&M’s, junior mints, chocolate candy bar
  • 1/2 cup almonds

Layer ingredients in 1 quart mason jar. Tap gently on the counter after each layer before adding the next. Add additional mix-ins to fill any small gaps if necessary.

Printable Gift Tags:

Download Printable Gift Tags: Chocolate Brownies (PDF)

4. Chocolate Chip Muffins in a Jar

This recipe makes a single batch of muffins.


Layer in a large wide mouthed 1 quart mason jar:

  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup chocolate chips, or substitute raisins, dried cranberries, or nut.

Combine sugar, flour, salt, and baking powder. Place in quart mason jar. Add chocolate chips.

Printable Gift Tags:

Download Printable Gift Tags: Chocolate Chip Muffins (PDF)

5. Chai Tea Mix in a Jar

This recipe makes 2, 6 ounce jars.


Layer in 2, 6 ounce jars:

  • 1 1/4 cup nonfat dry milk powder
  • 1/4 cup black tea leaves
  • 12 cardamom pods
  • 4 2 inch pieces of cinnamon stick
  • 2 tsp dried lemon peel

Divide all ingredients and layer equally between 2, 6 ounce jars.

Printable Gift Tags:

Download Printable Gift Tags: Chai Tea Mix in a Jar (PDF)

6. Chicken Noodle Soup in a Jar

This recipe makes a pot of soup.


Layer in a 1/2 quart (2 cup) glass jar:

  • 1/4 cup of red lentils
  • 2 tbsp dried onion flakes
  • 1 1/2 tbsp chicken bouillon granules
  • 1/2 tsp dried dill weed or dill seed
  • 1/8 tsp each celery seed and garlic powder
  • 1 cup medium egg noodles
  • 1 bay leaf

In a 2 cup glass jar, layer from bottom in the order listed above.

Printable Gift Tags:

Download Printable Gift Tags: Chicken Noodle Soup in a Jar (PDF)

7. Minestrone Soup in a Jar

This recipe makes a pot of soup.


Layer in a 1/2 quart (2 cup) glass jar:

  • 1/4 cup red lentils
  • 1/4 cup green split peas
  • 1/4 cup barley
  • 1/3 cup beef bouillon powder
  • 2 tbsp parsley flakes
  • 3 tbsp onion flakes
  • 1/3 tsp thyme
  • 1/3 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1/4 cup macaroni

In a 2 cup glass jar, layer from bottom in the order listed above.

Printable Gift Tags:

Download Printable Gift Tags: Minestrone Soup in a Jar (PDF)

8. Bulk Candy, Nuts, or Chocolate in a Jar

Choose your favorite bulk candy, nuts, or chocolates and layer in a glass jar of any size! Use any recycled glass jar to contain any amount of bulk candy confection! Once filled, decorate and add a pretty gift tag!


Free Printable Gift Tags: blank template

Download Printable Gift Tags: Blank Printable Gift Tags (PDF)

There you have it, holiday gifts in a jar. I hope this gives you some gift ideas for the holidays. All of these recipes are good last minute gift ideas as well. So get creative and see what you can come up with. Jar’s the limits!

Looking for more holiday gift ideas?

Got any great jar ideas? Perhaps stuffing a glass jar with a toy or another gift? Go ahead, share your jarring gift secrets!

Your two cents:

  1. Jamie B. September 30th, 2011

    I LOVE these and love the printable tags too!!! I hope you don’t mind I’ve featured this in my hub:

  2. Jen November 26th, 2011

    These are great! 2 Quick Questions about the brownies . .
    1. What is Vanilla Sugar?
    2. When you say “Any combination of: mini chocolate chips, mini M&M’s, junior mints, chocolate candy bar” How much should it equal out to in order to fill the jar to the top? 1 cup? 1/2 cup?


  3. Gail November 27th, 2011

    Found your site while searching for recipes. I saw a bunch of these nicely packaged jars for sale at the store today and thought I can totally make this myself. Woot! Woot!

  4. Laura December 4th, 2011

    Probably Silly Question- for the S’mores recipe, it says 1 1/2 cup of crushed graham crackers but they say you can use teddy grahams for cuteness- would it still be 1 1/2 cups of teddy grahams? Just want to make sure 🙂 Thanks for any and all suggestions!

  5. Lyzz December 10th, 2011

    These are SO stinkin cute!!! I LOVE the chai tea recipe!!! I may be making all of these cute ideas this year! Thanks!
    PS Where can I find “cardamom” pods?

  6. Gail G December 12th, 2011

    I tested the S’more recipe and while it is really cute in the jar, it definitely does not make 12 servings. Any suggestions?

  7. Margie December 7th, 2012

    Same question as Laura, if using Teddy Grahams, how many would you need. Very cute idea. My grandkids will be making jar gifts for their parents, at my house. They love crafting so this will be a wonderful time for them, as they create these gifts. Thanks so much for all of your ideas! Three grandkids and two parents that will be 6 jars of fun!

  8. Lili@creativesavv December 22nd, 2012

    Our favorite in-a-jar gift is Chocolate-Chocolate Chip- Peppermint Stick Cookie Mix. It’s a chocolate dough with chocolate chips in it, all layered by ingredient. Then the top layer is separated by a piece of plastic wrap — crushed candy canes. Very festive for the season!

    Kerry, have a very Merry Christmas!

  9. Jules @ Lovely Las Vegas December 27th, 2012

    Very cool and creative! And I’m sure delicioso, too. : )

  10. marylee November 8th, 2013

    Wondering if there are recipe-card style recipes available for these jar ideas. Our Practical Application Life Skills students make and sell these type of items to staff and parents for Christmas. They follow step by step and use an assembly line system to fill the jars. It was a huge hit last year and we need more ideas and we start in two weeks!

  11. carole January 7th, 2015

    Our daughter-in-law and grandkids made us the soup in a jar this past Christmas. We were thrilled and I made the pot yesterday. I messaged her for the recipe and she linked me to your website. I will definately be using this site in the future. I love that you have included incredibly beautiful tags. Thank you!

  12. Andrea October 26th, 2015

    I love the idea of the soup jars but what do you do with the lentils? Wash and dry them? How do you dry them? Thanks!

  13. Mati October 29th, 2015

    As soon as I saw these, I immediately went to my pantry to see if I had the ingredients for some of these… I have enough supplies stockpiled that I can make LOTS of each of these (just need the jars!)…problem is, I don’t have enough friends for all I want to make…LOL! Thank you!

  14. sharon November 3rd, 2015

    I love this idea but I fail to see it as a complete in a jar treat if you have to use milk and eggs.. or any other liquid. I was wondering if you ever made any up that used powdered milk and eggs so the receiver only has to add water? Not everyone has milk and eggs on hand all the time. Just add water would be great for people on restricted incomes as well.

  15. Penny Toodlican November 17th, 2015

    looking for ideas for christmas and would like to try this with me students. I every year i do cookies with them but want to try something different.

  16. Joan Correll November 25th, 2015

    Thanks so much for the recipes and labels for the cookies in a jar. I save jars all year long and love giving this as gifts to neighbors, thank you’s when invited to a home for a meal. I run out of ideas and love the creativity of others.
    Have a Happy Christmas.

  17. Megan December 12th, 2015

    These are only frugal gifts if you have the stuff stockpiled already- There are no bulk stores where I live, so amassing the ingredients and canning supplies was expensive for me. Of course, I also bought dehydrated veggies to put in mine, cuz I felt like chicken buillon and noodles jn a jar was kind of a cop out. But the end result is delicious, and doing it was very fun

    @Sharon about the powdered eggs and milk- Baking with them isn’t quite the same as with the real McCoy, so you would need to tamper with the recipe a lot. If you can’t do the baked goods, soups are almost always good choices. You could even make it into a full gift basket and provide the family seeds and small tools to ‘grow your own noodle soup’! Celery can grow small bunches when the stalk is left in water, and short carrots can grow on a window planter, assuming low income=small living space.

  18. Cindy December 14th, 2015

    Im trying to assemble the S’mores in a jar and I can’t get everything to fit. I have the 1 quart jar and the measurements exactly as the recipe states. I packed the brown sugar and graham crackers at the bottom, the m&m’s obviously won’t pack and the marshmallows are busting out the top and I still have another half cup to go. Is there a trick to this?

  19. Robyn December 25th, 2015

    Omg! I’ve been searching for an hour for mason jar gifts with printables! Thank you so much!

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