Make Honey Boo Boo’s ‘Sketti’ recipe healthier and for 12% less

I wanted to unsee the homemade ‘sketti’ recipe whipped together by Mama June and her 7-year-old daughter Alana, the stars of TLC’s new reality TV hit Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.

For weeks I tried to pretend this likeable family livin’ on a tight $80 per week food budget didn’t really eat a microwaved ketchup and butter concoction dumped on spaghetti, calling the mess an “old family recipe”.

But no matter how hard I tried — and I really did try — I could not stop thinking about this so-called cheap recipe. Was it really that cheap for Mama June to nuke a few squirts of ketchup and call it dinner? Or is there a healthier ‘sketti’ recipe a family could enjoy and still stick to a tight budget?

Take a guess. Is it possible to cook something cheaper than Heinz on noodles?


I figured, if I could make a Starbucks Frappuccino for $0.32, create healthier Lunchables for 32% less, and stretch 1 organic chicken into 22 healthy meals for $49 bucks, then I could surly remix and squawkify Honey Boo Boo’s ‘sketti’ recipe into something tastier, healthier, and far more frugal. Right?

It all starts with a shopping list.

Recipes: Sketti vs. Squawketti

To squawkify Honey Boo Boo’s ‘sketti’ into a healthier and less expensive spaghetti dinner — which I’m calling it Squawketti — I went to Walmart for a little grocery shopping action. I figured Walmart would be a Mama June approved shoppin’ place, and I like Walmart too.

Attention Walmart Shoppers: I stuffed the cheapest spaghetti, Heinz ketchup, and margarine I could find into my shopping cart. I know Honey Boo Boo and Mama June rave about butter in their ‘sketti’, but if you watch the video clip closely, you’ll see they’re melting Country Crock margarine into their ketchup ‘sauce’. Yes, margarine. So I bought margarine to keep it real and make authentic ‘sketti’. This is serious journalism, people. SERIOUS! *cough*

Honey Boo Boo sketti ingredients

I figured a competin’ ‘sketti’ recipe would have to be made with store bought ingredients too. I don’t see Mama June growing her own herbs and tomatoes to cut costs. In my frugal world, I’d grow basil and heirloom tomatoes from saved seeds to really save money. But my world ain’t Honey Boo Boo’s, so let’s keep our Squawketti fully packaged and bought. Albeit, Squawketti does have a few fresher ingredients (basil) and foods with higher nutritional value (whole wheat pasta, tomatoes). Both recipes yield approximately 16oz (473ml) of sauce, which should feed a family.

Cookin’ Roadkill? Like Mama June, I’m a little light on fresh roadkill these days, so my spaghetti recipes are served without tire treads and deer caught in headlights. Sorry.

Honey Boo Boo’s ‘Sketti’ Recipe:

honey boo boo sketti

Sketti Ingredients:

  • ketchup: 8oz (240ml)
  • margarine: 8oz (240ml)
  • spaghetti: 1lb (454g)

honey boo boo sketti sauce

Sketti Cookin’ Instructions: Throw cooked pasta against a wall. If it sticks, that $hit is done. Dump ketchup and margarine into a plastic container. Without letting the container melt, microwave on high until ‘sauce’ melts together. Serve on pasta.

Squawketti Recipe:


Squawketti Spaghetti Ingredients:

  • 1 can of diced tomatoes: 14oz (414ml)
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • whole wheat spaghetti: 1lb (454g)
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • small bunch of fresh basil
  • pinch of sea salt, fresh ground pepper, chili pepper flakes

spaghetti recipe

Squawketti Preparation: Cook whole wheat spaghetti according to package instructions. In a large saucepan on medium heat add 2 teaspoons olive oil. Add chopped garlic and chili flakes. Stir. When garlic browns, add basil and canned tomatoes. Turn up heat to high and stir for a minute. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drain the spaghetti and transfer it to the pan with tomato sauce and stir. Serve. A similar recipe can be found in Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution, or in any dang cookbook written after 1968 (except those semi-homemade recipes by Sandra Lee).

Cost and Calorie Comparison:

Shop around and you can often find lower prices on tomatoes, spaghetti, margarine, or any other ingredient. For a fair comparison, all ingredients were purchased at regular price in the same stores. My price and nutritional comparison use these serving sizes: Spaghetti 85g (3oz), Sauce: 120ml (0.5 cups).

honey boo boo sketti calories

Bottom Line: Priced at 12% more, Honey Boo Boo’s ‘sketti’ has over twice the calories, nearly nine times the fat, and almost one-third the fibre of my Squawketti recipe.

Don’t believe me? Here’s the ingredient cost breakdown. My recipe is less expensive — I squawk you not.

honey boo boo sketti cost

Bottom Line: For the same serving of food, my Squawketti spaghetti recipe is $0.09 cheaper — that’s a 12% savings — compared to Honey Boo Boo’s so-called budget ‘sketti’.

So where am I going with this?

Eating cheaply doesn’t mean you have to eat poorly. Sure, you need to watch your food budget and aim to stock up on staples when they’re on sale. But adding foods with higher nutritional value and preparing more wholesome meals on a tight budget is easy if you use your dang noodle. Don’t get me started on the roadkill.


Your two cents:

  1. Ron Smyth August 7th, 2013

    I just found your website because I heard of this revolting recipe and wanted to see the video — and you popped up first! I learned to cook on the cheap in the early 70s when my room mate and I had $7/week to live on. Plenty of chicken necks and backs for soups, delicious and really really cheap smelts (fried), vegetables from the market at the end of the day, etc. I have no more money worries but I still don’t waste food or eat crap. However, in defence of ketchup, I keep a bottle on hand because it is basically a sweet and sour sauce that you can use in small quantities in all sorts of recipes, and is often used in quick homemade Chinese food. I’m a university professor and am astounded at the fact that our students say they can’t afford to eat on the student loans they get. On student said “Do you have any idea what a wrap costs at the restaurant across the street?”. To which I replied “Do you have any idea how to make a delicious sandwich for a dollar?”.

  2. Eliza August 22nd, 2013

    Late to the party and maybe it’s already been mentioned, but your cost is per serving. I’d like to see the cost for the TOTAL amount of ingredients. It’s hard to tell the package sizes from the pictures, but it looks like the Sketti ingredients could make more servings than the Squawketti.
    Also: 807 calories with 50 grams of fat will make you feel fuller a lot longer than 367 calories and 5.7 grams of fat. That means you’ll probably want to eat again sooner.

  3. Timothy October 7th, 2013

    “It’s been a while since I done had roadkill in my belly.” I cannot believe that anybody would watch this show for real. You could not pay me to watch an entire episode of these inbred neanderthals. Did that little girl just call her father Sugar Bear? Ha ha ha, I am completely astonished at what I just watched….sketti and butter LMFAO!

  4. Olivia December 26th, 2013

    I used to eat sketti when I was a kid, and it was good. I still think it tastes good. I can cook a mean fresh tomato pasta (or from canned tomatoes) now, too. Try adding a squirt of honey in your sauce. Judging by your recipe, that sauce is probably just a bit bitter. You need to add a bit of sweetness to improve the flavor of canned tomatoes. And there’s no shame in sketti.

  5. Karen March 1st, 2015

    I have seen other needy people eat worse. Example bacon fat or lard and salt on toasted bread. Not that I am defending sketti but I have also worked at a food bank handing out food packages and have come to understand that many people cannot cook from scratch and have little or no understanding of nutrition. That is the school systems fault. I pulled my diabetic grandson from foods class in B.C. because all they were learning was how to make muffins,squares and loaves that were not whole wheat and loaded with sugar and fat. When I took home economics in Ontario in the 1970’s I was taught what foods contained what vitamins and minerals and balanced menus as well as budget shopping. We learned to bake bisquits,breads,soups and family dinners and desserts using fruits. My Grandmother was an institutional cook in hospitals and showed me a little on special diets. Many people also do not know portions or substitutes for missing ingredients. When I married my husband his mother came from a project housing in England and had never eaten squash and many other common vegetables. She told me most of the protein she had as a child was bangers(sausage) or eggs. Poverty can really limit life in the city. Teach don’t judge. By the way my husband loves squash with nutmeg and cinnamon and butter oven roasted.

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