Pantry Staples List to Stock Up On

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These are the pantry staples you should always have on hand to fix quick meals and snacks while staying within your grocery budget. A well-stocked pantry is also essential home preparedness.

Of course, everyone’s storage space differs, so use this list as a guideline but tailor it to suit your home and family.

How to Stock a Pantry

Hand opening door to view of stocked pantry

Once you get in the habit of keeping your pantry stocked with necessary items, you’ll love how low your weekly grocery bill is since you’re only picking up fresh ingredients and a few replacements.

Stocking a Pantry Affordably

The cost of filling your pantry all at once can be enormous. But, there are ways to stock up even if your grocery budget is tight.

  • If at all possible, slowly stock your pantry over several weeks by buying just a few items from the supply list.
  • Consider buying in bulk the foods your family eats most often. Shopping at stores like Sam’s or Costco means you’ll buy greater quantities and spend more upfront, but you’ll save money in the long term since the per-serving price is much lower.
  • Also, be sure to check out how to use coupons effectively to save even more money.

What to Keep in Your Pantry

The list below provides a variety of shelf-stable ingredients — and a few for the fridge and freezer — that you can use to make several weeks of meals.

To stock up, either make your purchases one section at a time as your budget permits or prioritize the ones your family eats most often then fill in with the rest.

Oils and Vinegars

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Canola oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Rice wine vinegar

Herbs and Spices

  • Table salt
  • Sea salt
  • Kosher salt
  • Seasoned salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Whole black peppercorns
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Dried parsley
  • Dried sage
  • Dried basil
  • Dried thyme
  • Dried rosemary
  • Ground cumin
  • Chile powder
  • Dried red chili flakes
  • Dried, ground ginger
  • Dried oregano
  • Ground Cinnamon
  • Ground cloves
  • Ground nutmeg
  • Ground cayenne
  • Bay leaves


  • Soy sauce
  • Ketchup
  • Grainy mustard
  • Dijon mustard
  • Yellow mustard
  • Mayonnaise
  • Hot sauce
  • Worcestershire sauce

Cans and Bottles

  • Diced tomatoes
  • Tomato sauce
  • Tomato paste
  • Sliced jalapenos
  • Canned tuna
  • Canned beans (black, cannellini, kidney, and chickpea)
  • Chicken stock or bouillon cubes
  • Beef stock or bouillon cubes
  • Peanut butter
  • Your favorite jams and preserves
  • Capers
  • Olives
  • Salsa

Dry Goods

Be sure to read How to Prevent Pantry Moths!

  • Spaghetti noodles
  • Penne pasta
  • Rolled oats
  • Dried bread crumbs
  • Brown rice
  • Quinoa
  • Ground coffee
  • Tea
  • Powdered milk

Baking Needs

  • All-purpose flour
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda (bicarb)
  • Dutch-process cocoa
  • Baking chocolate
  • Chocolate chips
  • White sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Vanilla extract
  • Honey
  • Maple syrup
  • Cornstarch
  • Cornmeal

Refrigerator Staples

  • Milk
  • Butter
  • Eggs
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • A wedge of Parmesan cheese
  • Greek yogurt
  • Bacon
  • Packets or a jar of active dry yeast

Freezer Staples

  • Frozen vegetables
  • Frozen berries
  • Ground beef
  • Shrimp
  • Chicken (breasts or thighs)

Using Pantry Staples to Cook

In theory, you could use this list of pantry staples to cover all of your groceries, increasing the amount of refrigerator and freezer staples to suit the size of your family.

After all, frozen fruits and vegetables can be even more nutritious than produce picked out of season and shipped long distances.

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Pantry Meals You Can Make

Once you’ve stocked your pantry, including your refrigerator and freezer staples, you’re set to create dozens of meals without having to leave the house.

Baked treats: Need to make cupcakes or a cake for your kid’s class at school? You’ve got the ingredients for everything, including the frosting. You can even make homemade pita bread or homemade bagels.

Breakfast: Want pancakes for breakfast? You have everything to make your own pancake mix. Or whip up a batch of homemade chocolate granola. You can also make a baked omelet roll for a crowd.

Casseroles: Toss cooked pasta with diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, frozen vegetables, and some cooked protein then top it with grated cheese and bake. Switching the type of pasta, vegetables, and meat from one night to the next can get you through weeks.

Spaghetti: Use the diced tomatoes, olive oil, and spices to make a quick sauce. Add seasoned, cooked ground beef if you like. Spoon it over spaghetti noodles and top it with freshly grated Parmesan.

Soups: With stock or bouillon, frozen vegetables, and seasonings in your pantry, you’ve got the building blocks for a fantastic soup. Add pasta or rice and maybe even some cooked meat.

See something not mentioned on the list? Leave a comment to help me keep this resource helpful for everyone!

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