Well-Stocked Pantry: A Pantry Essentials List

Our complete guide to stocking your pantry with all the necessary ingredients and essentials.

When preparing meals on the fly, it is important to have a well-stocked pantry of general, non-perishable items. If you're not sure what your pantry should look like, follow our essential pantry ingredients list below, so that when the time comes, you can prepare a delicious meal without having to run to the store.

First, make sure to keep a list handy of what you use most often and what you need to replace on your next shopping trip. Absent from this list are the perishables -- such as bread, milk and meat. 

Almond extract: for adding a little extra flavor to desserts, pie crusts, vegetables and other dishes.

Apples:
for long storage, eating out of hand and making desserts.

Applesauce: for snacking, cooking, baking and an easy dessert.

Balsamic vinegar: for flavoring dishes and making salad dressings.

Baking soda:
for baking and cleaning.

Baking powder:
for baking.

Barbecue sauce:
for cooking and flavoring.

Bay leaves: for seasoning soups, stocks, roasts, sauces and poaching liquids.

Beans (dried and canned)
: for soups, stews and other dishes.

Boullion (beef, chicken, and vegetable): for soups, seasoning, casseroles and marinades.

Breadcrumbs
: for toppings, stuffings and other dishes.

Brown rice:
for casseroles, soups, stuffings and side dishes.

Brown sugar: for cooking, baking and seasoning.

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Canned cream soup: for a quick lunch, or to add to side dishes, soups, casseroles and other dishes.

Canned tomatoes: for sauces, salads, soups, stews, casseroles and other dishes.

Canned tuna fish:
for quick sandwiches and casseroles.

Carrots: for long storage, snacking, soups, side dishes, roasting meats, casseroles, stews and more.

Cocoa powder: for baking and making hot cocoa.

Cold cereal: for baking, topping casseroles, snacking and breakfast.

Cooking sprays: for greasing pans for baking or frying.

Cornmeal:
for cornbread, breading proteins and for baking white bread.

Cornstarch: for thickening puddings, sauces, stews and gravies.

Crackers: for snacking, appetizers and topping casseroles.

Cream of tartar: for whipping egg whites.

Dried fruit: for desserts, sauces, roasting meat and poultry and snacking.

Dried herbs
: for seasoning sweet and savory dishes (good ones to have on hand: basil, oregano, thyme, rosemary, dill, cilantro, tarragon, chives)

Dried spices: for seasoning sweet and savory dishes (good ones to have on hand: cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin, paprika, mustard, ginger, allspice, cayenne pepper)

Garlic: for flavoring or garlic bread.

Ginger: fresh for mincing or grating and adding to dishes for a spark.

Honey: for seasoning, cooking, or eating on biscuits or cereal.

Hot sauce:
for adding a touch of spice to dishes.

Jams or jellies:
for making sandwiches, desserts or sauces.

Ketchup: for flavoring sandwiches or other dishes.

Kosher salt: for seasoning

Lemons and limes: for squeezing into fresh juice or using the zest in cooking.

Lentils: for soups, stews and other dishes.

Maple syrup: for breakfasts and baking

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Mayonnaise:
for salads, sandwiches, salad dressings and many other dishes; low-fat or fat-free are also good choices.

Nutmeg: for sweet and savory dishes and sauces.

Nuts:
a selection of your favorite nuts for breads, muffins, desserts, casseroles and side dishes.

Oatmeal: for baking, cooking and as a breakfast cereal.

Olive oil:
for cooking, greasing pans or making salad dressings.

Onions: for seasoning meats, soups, stews, casseroles and many other dishes.

Pasta: for eating plain, with butter, or a sauce; also great for using in soups, stews, casseroles, or as a side dish.

Peanut butter: for cooking, baking and snacking.

Peppercorns:
for including whole in soups, stocks, marinades and roasts and for grinding for cooking and table use.

Powdered sugar: for making frosting, cooking, baking and decorating.

Prepared mustard: for sandwiches, mayonnaise-based salads, salad dressings and marinade.

Potatoes, russet:
for baking and mashing.

Potatoes, small red: for boiling and roasting.

Red wine vinegar: for cooking and seasoning.

Semisweet chocolate chips: for desserts and snacking.

Solid shortening:
for baking and greasing pans.

Soy sauce: for flavoring and quick stir-frying.

Tomato paste: for making pasta sauces, stews, soups and casseroles.

Unbleached white flour: for cooking, baking, thickening.

Unsweetened chocolate:
for baking and cooking.

Vanilla:
for flavoring many dishes, especially desserts; only use the real flavoring or vanilla beans.

Vegetable oil: for frying, cooking, salad dressings and greasing pans.

White sugar:
for cooking and seasoning.

White wine vinegar:
for salads, flavoring and cleaning coffee pots.

Worcestershire sauce: for seasoning and adding color.

Yeast:
for baking.

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