How to Stock Your Pantry

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How to stock your pantry

Having a well-stocked pantry will save you not only time and money but also enable you to quickly cook healthy meals in a pinch without much planning. Stock your pantry with ingredients you use meal after meal. They are the building blocks for easy simple meals on busy evenings. Pantry “staples” will vary from person to person depending on their likes and dislikes.

Before you go shopping

1. Clean out your pantry

Clear everything out of your pantry and decide what you should get rid of. If it hasn’t been used in the last year toss it.

2. Assess what remains

Organize everything in a way that makes sense to you. In the pantry, I tend to keep all of my baking supplies together, all canned goods and jars on the bottom shelf, and snacks in a bin together, etc.

3. Fill in the blanks

Once everything is organized, create a list of items that are missing that are essential to the way you cook. You don’t need to purchase every item, but the goal is to be able to make quick easy meals without having to run to the grocery store. On nights you want to make a larger meal you should only be missing 2-3 items. Building your pantry all at once can be expensive. Focus on the basics first and build from there.


Stock your pantry

Here are the items I make sure to always have stocked in my pantry. Use this list as a jumping-off point for your own list.

Oil & Vinegar

  • Olive Oil
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Sesame Seed Oils
  • Canola or Vegetable Oil
  • White Vinegar
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • White Wine Vinegar
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Rice Vinegar

Canned and Jared Goods

  • Beans: Black, Red, White, Baked, and Refried
  • Diced Tomatoes
  • Pumpkin
  • Olives
  • Tuna
  • Chicken Stock
  • Beef Stock
  • Pasta Sauce
  • Hot Sauce
  • Peanut Butter

Dry Goods

  • Oats: Rolled and Steel-Cut
  • Rice: Brown, Jasmine, and Wild
  • Cornmeal
  • Beans: Black, Red, and White
  • Lentils
  • Pasta: Spaghetti, Elbow, Linguine, Lasagna, Penne, Rotini, and Egg Noodles
  • Couscous
  • Quinoa
  • Dried Fruit
  • Bread Crumbs
  • Tortillas
  • Bread


  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Potatoes: Red or White, Russet, Sweet


  • Kosher Salt
  • Pepper
  • Allspice
  • Bay leaves
  • Cajun seasoning
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Chili powder
  • Cinnamon
  • Cloves
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Cumin
  • Curry powder
  • Dill
  • Granulated Garlic
  • Granulated Onion
  • Ground Ginger
  • Ground Mustard
  • Oregano
  • Paprika: Sweet and Smoked
  • Rosemary
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Thyme
  • Whole Nutmeg

Baking Essentials

  • All-Purpose Flour
  • Whole Wheat Flour
  • Bread Flour
  • Cake Flour
  • Sugar: Brown, White, Powdered
  • Honey
  • Maple Syrup
  • Molasses
  • Baking Powder
  • Baking Soda
  • Yeast
  • Cornstarch
  • Cornmeal
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Bittersweet and Semisweet Chocolate
  • Evaporated Milk
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • Non-Stick Cooking Spray
  • Peanut Butter
  • Vanilla Extract



  • Milk
  • Butter
  • Parmesan
  • Cheese: Shredded Cheddar, Shredded Mozzarella, Various Sliced Cheese, Parmesan, and Cream Cheese
  • Plain Greek Yogurt
  • Sour Cream
  • Eggs


  • Tomato Paste
  • Lime/Lemon Juice
  • Guacamole
  • Lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Bell Peppers
  • Cucumber
  • Celery


  • BBQ Sauce
  • Yellow Mustard
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Honey Mustard
  • Ketchup
  • Salsa
  • Jam
  • Mayonaise
  • Soy Sauce
  • Hoisin
  • Pickles
  • Worcestershire Sauce





  • Bacon
  • Sausage
  • Chicken Breasts
  • Chicken Thighs
  • Ground Beef/Turkey
  • Pork Chops
  • Pork Loin
  • Stew Meat
  • Fish Fillets
  • Shrimp

Fruits & Vegetables

  • Bananas
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Mango
  • Corn
  • Peas
  • Carrots
  • Green Beans
  • Broccoli
  • Hashbrowns
  • Tater Tots


  • Walnuts
  • Pecans
  • Almonds

Pasta & Bread

  • Tortellini
  • Ravioli
  • Garlic Bread

What are your essential pantry items? What am I missing?

Check out my post on meal planning to make the most of your well-stocked pantry.

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