Homemade junk food (Approved by Michael Pollan!)

Unless you’ve been living under a Cheeto-dust-covered rock, you’ve probably heard of Michael Pollan. He’s the author and food activist behind The Omnivore’s Dilemma, In Defense of Food, and – most recently – Cooked.

As a 99% vegetarian (I eat chicken strips and bacon once or twice a year) I love Pollan’s pragmatic approach: “‘Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”  That, good sir, is a diet I can get behind.


And where does Mr. Pollan stand on the topic of junk food, you ask?  It’s okay to have it – as long as you make yourself. 

If you’ve ever made french fries, you have to wash the potatoes, peel the potatoes, you have to slice the potatoes, you have to fry them in a lot of oil, you have to spatter your entire stovetop, you have to clean up and then you have this pot of oil that you have to get rid of. I mean it’s really difficult and it’s a pain. They’re wonderful, but it’s a pain. And if you make them yourself, you’ll only eat them once every six weeks or two months because it’s too much work. But when you let corporations cook for you, it’s so simple and it’s so inexpensive and they’re really good that you will have them twice a day, as many people in America do. You see that the kinds of food you end up with, these labor-intensive foods and desserts, these special-occasion foods become everyday foods when we let industries cook our food. Eat anything you want, just cook it yourself.

Yes!  Yes.  I don’t know about you but I’m viewing this as carte blanche to explore the world of homemade junk food.  Here are six recipes that I plan to slave hour for hours. Click on photos for recipes.

What do you think – if you had to make all your junk food from scratch, would you eat less? And what’s your favorite junky recipe? Leave links in the comments!


Sarah M

I agree. What one can make at home usually knocks the store-bought out of the park. Not to mention saves a lot of money, and is almost always healthier.

Jennifer Scott

I've gotten slowly, steadily very good about cooking at home, even though I still occasionally have spectacular cooking failures and end up eating cookies for dinner instead. But I didn't realize just how much cooking from scratch had fundamentally changed my tastes until I went through the freezer section at the grocery store. I was like, "Yes, I'll get some freezer goodies to keep in case I don't feel like cooking to prevent me from getting takeout I don't need", thinking I was going to grab a bunch of Lean Cuisines and pizza rolls like I would have in high school, but when was looking for things that looked good to me, nothing did. I already knew they were going to be tasteless and unfulfilling, so I didn't end up getting anything. Sometimes I still get lucky in the Trader Joe's frozen food section, but mostly I've just decided it's not worth the disappointment. (And probably also the largely empty calories, haha.)


When I read that in Food Rules, I agreed immediately. It's unlikely that you would eat cookies or cake or ice cream every day if you had to make it yourself. And if you do make it yourself, you have all the control over what goes in it….and it tastes so much better. Never had a store bought cookie that tasted better than home made. Given in and make those Doritos!!


It makes a lot of sense to me too. I want to try those oreos!

Not sure about those butterfingers. I'm not American, but melted candy corn sounds really weird to me (also… maybe not really from scratch?).

Pearl - Pretty Mayhem

Yum! Those pizza rolls look SO good! I totally agree that homemade junk food tastes much better than the store bought stuff. I also like making homemade take-out food. 'Hello Giggles' has a weekly column called 'take out fake out' and the recipes are always mouth watering. x

Stacia, the Homey Owl

I haven't eaten nearly as many sweets since discovering I had a severe gluten intolerance. It meant that I had to either choose making them myself or paying 3-4 times what my friends were paying for desert if I want to eat something sweet while I'm out and about. I almost never eat out at all any more. I eat healthier and simpler, and feel so much better about my body. The sweets I make are really good, but it's impractical to go to all that effort very frequently when I'm the only one who wants to eat them.


Last year I began making my own pizzas at home instead of ordering take-away. Not only are they super-delicious, but I no longer get the "pizza thirsts" afterwards. (When you feel the urge to drink your body-weight in water after eating a pizza).

Jess the Reader

I think that eating anything you like, as long as you've made it yourself is a GREAT idea! I know that would really cut down on a lot of 'junk food' I eat. I think I might be adopting this rule!


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