12 shipping-friendly food gift ideas for Christmas and beyond
A collection of my most shipping-friendly recipes for sending in the mail, with some options that need to be shipped quickly, and others that can survive a longer shipment time. You can send loaves of homemade bread, fancy nuts, cookies, cakes, scones, spice mixes, and more!
Over time I’ve become more and more inclined to send food as gifts. It always feels so personal and special because the person receiving the gift knows you put time into it.
Whether you’re mailing out food gifts for Christmas, Valentine’s Day, birthdays, anniversaries, or other special occasions, here are some sweet and savory recipe options that you can make and send to someone you love.
#1. Asiago Black Pepper Bread – I can say with 100% certainty that this is the recipe I’ll be shipping out to friends and family for Christmas this year. I posted this recipe recently and it has become my absolute favorite bread recipe on my site. The flavors are heavenly, it’s crusty on the outside, and fluffy on the inside. So far when I’ve given this to local friends, it has gotten nothing but raves and smiles!
How to ship bread: My family ordered bread from Zingerman’s for years, so I like to model my shipments after them. They ship the loaves frozen and pack it with dry ice. Finding dry ice takes some effort, but it preserves the bread so nicely. If you want to skip the dry ice, time your bread baking so that after the bread bakes and cools, you can pack and ship the same day and mail it overnight. For both options of shipping, first wrap the bread in a paper bag, then in a plastic bag, to prevent drying out.
Shipping speed for bread: Needs a quick shipment.
#2. Homemade Peanut Brittle – Talk about one of the best food gifts to ship! Peanut brittle is a treat that most people love (I do!!) and it ships beautifully, and keeps well.
How to ship peanut brittle: Break the brittle into pieces and layer in wax paper inside a tin or sealable plastic container. The airtight part is important, since humidity can ruin brittle. Pack in a padded cardboard box, and ship. Peanut brittle will keep at room temperature for several weeks.
Shipping speed for peanut brittle: You can pick the economy option.
#3. Sweet OR Savory Scones like English Style Scones, Zingerman’s Ginger Scones, Cheddar Chive Scones, or Bacon Cheddar Scallion Scones – Because scones are a more dry and sturdy baked good than other options, they tend to ship well.
How to ship scones: I like to stack them up in a cellophane bag and tie the top with a ribbon. You can also wrap them in wax paper and put them in a tin. You don’t need to overnight scones, but you shouldn’t pick the slowest option either, since they go downhill after a few days. Try to pick a shipping option that’s somewhere in the middle.
Shipping speed for scones: If adding an ice pack, a week is fine. Otherwise, no more than the 2-3 day shipping option for room temperature.
#4. Granola (including bars like Chocolate Chip Granola Bars) – Granola is great for snacking or for breakfast, and you can have so much fun customizing the mix-ins you choose. Splurge for more special fruits like dried cherries or blueberries instead of raisins or dried cranberries, to make extra special holiday granola.
How to ship homemade granola: Pack the prepared granola in well-sealed jars or containers of your choice, then place into a padded box. It will keep for a few weeks, and doesn’t need a cold pack inside the box.
Shipping speed for granola: You can pick the economy option.
#5. White Chocolate Peanut Butter – Peanut butter is a favorite food for so many, but relatively common place. You can make it feel special by adding some fun flavors to it, like white chocolate, maple syrup, or even some spices like cinnamon and a touch of cayenne. You can also switch up the nuts to make cashew butter, almond butter, and more.
How to ship homemade peanut butter: Pack the prepared peanut butter in well-sealed jars, then place into a padded box. As long as you’re only including shelf-stable ingredients in the peanut butter, it will keep for a few weeks, and doesn’t need a cold pack inside the box.
Shipping speed for peanut butter: You can pick the economy option.
#6. Dessert Bars like Millionaire’s Shortbread Bars, Trifecta Dessert Bars, Maple Pecan Bars, Strawberry Rice Krispie Treats, or Chocolate Peanut Butter Marshmallow Squares – These are more or less variations of cookies, which ship very well.
How to ship dessert bars: For optimal freshness, wrap the bars tightly in plastic wrap. You don’t have to do them individually, but try to stack them in groups of 3-4 so there’s not much air around them. Then place in an airtight tin or plastic tub, and ship in a padded box. You don’t need to overnight bars, but you shouldn’t pick the slowest option either, since they go downhill after a few days. Try to pick a shipping option that’s somewhere in the middle.
Shipping speed for dessert bars: If adding an ice pack, a week is fine. Otherwise, no more than the 2-3 day shipping option for room temperature.
#7. Homemade Sea Salt Caramels – You can buy soft caramels at the store, but they never taste as good as the homemade stuff, made with real butter and cream. Caramels are a great “slower ship” item because they will keep for several weeks at room temperature
How to ship homemade caramels: Wrap each caramel piece individually in wax paper, then place into an airtight container, like a plastic tub, for shipping. You don’t need to pack a cooler with it as long as it’s not shipping in the blazing heat of summer. Homemade soft caramels will keep at room temperature for a few weeks.
Shipping speed for caramels: You can pick the economy option.
#8. Homemade Chocolate Bark – Chocolate bark has always been one of those foods that I don’t think gets enough love. Sure, it just looks like chocolate with a bunch of ingredients on top (and I guess it is), but I always enjoy eating it.
How to ship chocolate bark: Break the chocolate bark into pieces and layer in wax paper inside a sealable plastic tub, then ship in a cardboard box. If you’re not shipping in the summertime, you don’t need any coolers for the package, and you can pick a slower shipping option. In the summer when melting is an issue, you will need to pack with dry ice, and ship quickly. Chocolate bark keeps for at least a month at room temperature.
Shipping speed for chocolate bark: In the summertime, you need a quick shipment. In cooler times of year, you can pick the economy option.
#9. Homemade Seasoning Mixes – Package an assortment of seasoning mixes into a jar, and ship! Everyone loves this Sazon Seasoning, but other great options are Everything Bagel Seasoning, Cajun Seasoning, Taco Seasoning, and Fajita Seasoning.
How to ship homemade seasoning mix: Pack into sealable jars, then pad them well inside a cardboard box. Since all the ingredients are shelf stable, there is no need to cool anything, and the mix will last for several months at room temperature.
Shipping speed for homemade seasoning: You can pick the economy option.
#10. Fancy Nuts like Rosemary Olive Oil Marcona Almonds, Quick Stovetop Candied Pecans, or Maple Pecans. Nuts are a great gift for shipping because they keep so well, and they usually don’t get roughed up during shipping! Something about fancy nuts always feels very holiday and special occasion to me.
How to ship homemade nut mixes: Pack into jars or desired airtight containers, and ship in a cardboard box. No need to pack coolers with the packages, and the nuts will keep for at least a month at room temperature. As with all nuts, your recipient will have to watch for rancidity if the nuts aren’t consumed within a few weeks.
Shipping speed for nut mixes: You can pick the economy option.
#11. Cookies of all kinds, like Lavender Shortbread Cookies, Florentine Cookie Bars, Peanut Butter Cookies, Shortbread Cookies, Chocolate Chunk Cookies, Orange Cranberry Biscotti, etc (see all cookies in my Dessert Recipes section). I’m not sure I even need to say much about shipping cookies, since this is quite possibly the thing that people ship the most for food gifts. Some cookies ship better than others, but as a recipe group, they usually ship very nicely.
How to ship homemade cookies: For optimal freshness, wrap the cookies tightly in plastic wrap. You don’t have to do them individually, but try to stack them in groups of 3-4 so there’s not much air around them. Then place in an airtight tin or plastic tub, and ship in a padded box. You don’t need to overnight cookies, but you shouldn’t pick the slowest option either, since cookies really go downhill after a few days. Try to pick a shipping option that’s somewhere in the middle.
Shipping speed for homemade cookies: Somewhere between overnight and economy. Pick a shipping option that’s not longer than a couple days.
#12. Cream Cheese Pound Cake – A lot of cakes are too soft to ship well, but this is a sturdy option. A big pound cake baked in a bundt pan, you can ship the entire thing whole for a very large gift. The cake freezes well, so if the recipient doesn’t want to serve or eat all at once, some of it can be frozen for later. It also has a very dense crumb, so it won’t fall apart during shipping.
How to ship pound cake: Try to find a box or container that’s close in dimension to the whole cake. To preserve the look and also keep the cake moist, do not slice the cake. Wrap the cake in wax paper before placing into the box or container, and use extra wax paper to try to pad the empty spaces. Place in a padded cardboard box for shipping. Leave the confectioner’s sugar glaze off the cake, and the cake will survive a few days of shipment just fine.
Shipping speed for pound cake: Somewhere between overnight and economy. Pick a shipping option that’s not longer than a couple days.