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THE BIG LIST OF PANTRY STAPLES: THE ESSENTIALS YOU NEED FOR A WELL STOCKED PANTRY

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A well stocked kitchen pantry is the solid foundation you need from which to cook healthy family meals. So here is a big list of all the pantry staples you need for a well stocked pantry.

It may take you a little time to build up, but it is well worth it to know you have all the essentials you need to prepare a wide array of meals. 

You will also find it is easier to meal plan and to put together your grocery list if you keep your pantry well stocked at all times. 

THE BIG LIST OF PANTRY STAPLES

I’ve based this list of staples on the things that I use regularly from my kitchen pantry, the essentials I turn to on a regular basis to add flavour, use as an accompaniment, bake or make things for breakfast, lunch or dinner. 

I have created a printable version of the pantry staples list that you can download at the end of this post if want to use it as reference for one great big supermarket stock up on all the essentials.

It is also worth printing out the pantry staples list if you want to add a few items to your weekly grocery list.

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The staples you need in your pantry

THE ESSENTIALS YOU NEED FOR A WELL STOCKED PANTRY

It is good to have a selection of oils as part of your pantry staples. Oils have different flavours and different oils are good for different types of cooking. Some oils are also great for drizzling over salads.

It’s always good to have a selection of sauces and condiments to hand to add a little extra flavour on the side of meals or to add into homemade meal recipes.

1. PANTRY OIL, VINEGAR, SAUCES AND CONDIMENTS LIST

  • Olive oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Vegetable oil
  • Red wine vinegar
  • White wine vinegar
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Malt vinegar 
  • Mirin (rice wine) 
  • Tomato ketchup
  • Mayonnaise
  • Salad dressing (Caesar or French)
  • French’s mustard
  • Dijon mustard
  • English mustard
  • Horseradish 
  • Light soy sauce
  • Hoisin sauce
  • Worcestershire sauce
Essential herbs and spices to have in stock

2. PANTRY HERBS, SPICES AND SEASONING LIST

Herbs and spices are an essential part of any list of pantry staples.

Now the list of herbs and spices that I have put together is a long one. You don’t need to buy them all at once, but if you have a really good selection of different herbs and spices you will be able to turn your hand to making dishes from all around the world.

It is also amazing how the well chosen addition of a couple of herbs or spices can totally transform a plain meal into something mouthwateringly delicious. Having a good selection to hand is also really useful when it comes to meal planning.

Dried herbs are particularly useful to have to hand if you don’t have time to buy fresh or don’t want to buy a fresh bunch of herbs knowin that you will only use a fraction of it.

As this is such a big list of herbs and spices I’ve add a little detail about what each one is used for, so you can pick and choose the ones you’d like to start off with.

  • Salt – ideally sea salt as it has more flavour than table salt
  • Black pepper – ideally peppercorns that you use in a grinder
  • Mixed herbs – usually a mix of basil, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, sage and thyme, useful for adding to soups, stews and sprinkling over meat when you don’t have time to bother with individual herbs
  • Cayenne pepper – made from the cayenne chilli, used in Cajun, Indian and many other world cuisines
  • Dried chilli flakes – great for adding to stir-fries, Thai and other Southeast Asian cuisines
  • Garam masala – usually a blend of spices such as cinnamon, peppercorns, cardamom, mustard seeds, coriander seeds, cloves, mace, and nutmeg. Widely used in Indian cooking
  • Cinnamon – great to use in both sweet and savoury cooking. Great to add instead of sugar in things like stewed apples. Used widely in Moroccan and other North African cuisine. 
  • Dried coriander (cilantro) – a great ‘background’ flavour for sauces, stews, soups and marinades 
  • Ground cumin – used widely in Indian and Mexican cuisine. Great for using in salad dressings
  • Oregano – widely used in Mediterranean cooking, particularly Italian
  • Ground ginger – whilst fresh ginger is better for savoury food, ground ginger is great for baking
  • Mustard seeds – another essential for Indian and South Asian cuisine
  • Nutmeg – an essential for white sauces such as Bechamel sauce, great with baked fruit, in custard and other sweet sauces
  • Paprika – widely used in Spanish and Hungarian cooking, great for BBQ marinades 
  • Sumac – widely used in Middle Eastern cooking and great on Fatoush salad
  • Turmeric – great in stocks and sauces, often used in curry dishes and also great as a tea with lemon and fresh ginger
  • Bay leaves – great for sauces, gravy, stews and mac and cheese
  • Rosemary – an essential for a Sunday roast, also good with cooked cheese like baked camembert
  • Thyme – a relative of oregano, great in meat dishes, soups and pasta dishes
  • Sage – great for fatty meats and also with poultry (think roast chicken), also good over roast potatoes and in tomato based sauces
  • Tarragon – very popular in French cuisine, great for adding to pickles, vinegar, soups, meat dishes and fish. 
  • Basil – used in lots of Mediterranean cuisine, great with fish, meat and in tomato based sauces
  • Dill – great for adding to root vegetable soups
  • Vegetable stock cubes – for vegetable based stews, sauces and gravy
  • Chicken stock cubes – for chicken gravy, soups and stews 
  • Beef stock cubes – for beef gravy, soups and stews 

3. PANTRY BAKING SUPPLIES LIST

If you’ve got a good stock of essential panty baking supplies you will always be able to quickly bake something when you need a last minute cake or biscuits.

  • Baking powder
  • Bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • Cornflour (corn starch)
  • Dried yeast
  • Self-raising flour
  • Plain flour
  • Vanilla extract (you can use vanilla essence, but extract is more pure and more delicious)
  • Almond extract 
  • Golden (or white) caster sugar
  • Light brown sugar
  • Dark brown sugar (Muscovado) 
  • Icing sugar (confectioners sugar)
  • Agave syrup or golden syrup
  • Honey
  • Cocoa powder
  • Cooking chocolate
  • Chocolate chips
  • Raisins

4. PANTRY CANNED FOOD LIST

Baked beans are an absolute staple in our house, they are the bean we turn to when we want a super quick, but not too unhealthy lunch.

I’ve lost count of the number of ways you can use tinned tomatoes, so it is always worth having at least a tin of them in the pantry.

Anchovies are a great food essential for adding flavour to sauces or for using as a pizza topping or in Caesar salads. Meanwhile coconut milk can be used to make the most delicious southeast asian and south asian meals.

  • Baked beans
  • Kidney beans
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Whole tomatoes
  • Tuna
  • Anchovies 
  • Sardines
  • Coconut milk 
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Dry goods to have in your kitchen food cupboard

5. PANTRY DRY GOODS LIST

Dried food is the real heart of the well-stocked pantry. Pasta is such a basic, if you have pasta, you are half-way to having a meal. The same goes for rice.

Oats are great for porridge, but also for thickening smoothies and for baking.

I always have Panko breadcrumbs to hand for coating homemade chicken or fish goujons.

  • Spaghetti
  • Assorted dry pasta
  • Brown rice
  • Basmati rice
  • Puy lentils (French green lentils)
  • Panko breadcrumbs
  • Oats
  • Breakfast cereal
  • Crackers
  • Popcorn kernels
  • Nuts
  • Sesame seeds
  • Taco shells

6. DRINKS

This is a list of the very basics for hot drinks. If you’re British it is practically the law that you have tea to hand at all times.

  • Ground coffee or coffee beans
  • Black tea
  • Green tea
  • Hot chocolate 

7. STORAGE SUPPLIES

It’s one thing buying everything you need on the big list of pantry staples. It is quite another having the right things to store them in.

So it is a good idea to always have a ready supply of things you can use to store food, either food that needs to marinade or be made in advance, or for storing leftovers to avoid wasting anything.

  • Aluminium foil (aluminum foil)
  • Baking or parchment paper
  • Freezer storage bags
  • Stretch silicone lids – these are just so unbelievably useful for leftovers
  • Glass or plastic food storage containers – these Igluuu glass storage jars are my absolute favourites

HOW TO DOWNLOAD YOUR PRINTABLE VERSION OF THE LIST OF PANTRY STAPLES

If you are already a subscriber to Mums Make Lists you can go right ahead and click the images or links below to download your copy of the free printable food essentials list. 

Yet to subscribe? Then you will need to unlock this exclusive content by subscribing. It literally takes seconds, you just need to enter your email address.

WHAT IS CONSIDERED A PANTRY STAPLE?

The food and kitchen items that are considered pantry staples are as follows:

  • Oils
  • Vinegars
  • Sauces
  • Condiments
  • Herbs
  • Spices
  • Seasonings
  • Baking supplies
  • Canned foods
  • Dry foods
  • Drinks

WHICH SPICES ARE IN A WELL STOCKED PANTRY?

The specific spices that you need for a well stocked pantry include the following:

  • Cayenne pepper
  • Dried chilli flakes
  • Cinnamon
  • Ground cumin
  • Ground ginger
  • Mustard seeds
  • Nutmeg
  • Paprika
  • Sumac
  • Turmeric

HOW TO STOCK YOUR FIRST PANTRY

Don’t worry if this is the first time that you plan to stock your kitchen pantry, you don’t need to buy everything at once.

You can put together a pantry stocking plan that you can use of the coming weeks and months.

Here are a few tips on how to stock your first pantry:

1. STOCK UP BASED ON NEEDS FOR THE WEEK AHEAD

Gradually build up your pantry staples by adding a few to your grocery list that you will actually need to use for the week ahead.

2. BULK BUY

Buy in bulk where you can because this is cheaper in the long run than buying smaller amounts more regularly. It might cost you more up front, but the long-term savings will be worth it.

The majority of your pantry staples will have a long storage life. Plus if you use great quality pantry storage everything will stay fresh for as long as you need it to.

3. DON’T JUST BUY AT THE SUPERMARKET

There are some great independent or specialist shops where you can find pantry staples at better prices than you will in your regular supermarket.

For example, we have the most brilliant spice store in our town that we visit to stock up on spices from all around the world. They work out much cheaper than buying at the supermarket.

4. IF YOU DO BUY AT THE SUPERMARKET SCAN THE AISLES

You will often find that different aisles of the supermarket have very similar items that are packaged differently and have differing prices.

This is particularly apparent with baking supplies and also herbs and spices.

So make sure to check all the aisles as you go through the supermarket to ensure you are buying the best priced version.

5. MAKING A LIST OF PANTRY STAPLES IS THE BEST WAY TO STAY ON TRACK

Well I would say this!! But this is just a gentle reminder that if you create a list of pantry staples – or download my version (see above) you will be able to work through it at your own pace until you have a well stocked pantry of your own.

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The big list of pantry staples