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Pantry 101: Having a Well-Stocked Pantry
Category: How-Tos

A lot of New Year’s resolutions involve eating, whether it is to eat healthier or to eat out less and cook more. There is one thing you can do to help yourself succeed and something that is good to practice year-round regardless: having a well-stocked pantry. 

There are many benefits to making sure your pantry is ready for cooking when you are, here are a few:

  1. Having staple items on hand you know how to prepare will prevent you from ordering in or going out.
  2. If you stock your pantry with healthier items, you are more likely to eat healthier and be less tempted to order pizza for the second time that week because “there is nothing to eat”.
  3. If you know what you have, it is easier to plan ahead and avoid making multiple trips to the grocery store. 
  4. Those moments when you decide to cook something on a whim, don’t have to mean a trip to the grocery store!

To get you started, we’ve collected a list of pantry basics (also included in our Student Guide​). This list is pretty huge, but we know you’re not going to need or want everything on it. Every kitchen is different so only purchase items you will use.

Basic Pantry Items:

  • Applesauce, canned or individual servings
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Beans, canned – black chickpeas (garbanzo), kidney and pork and beans
  • Bouillon –​ beef, chicken and vegetables 
  • Cereal, cold
  • Cocoa powder and hot chocolate mix
  • Coffee
  • Condiments – ketchup, mustard, relish and steak sauce
  • Cooking spray
  • Crackers
  • Fish, canned – salmon and tuna 
  • Flour, all-purpose
  • Fruit, canned or individual servings
  • Fruit, dried
  • Herbs, dried – basil, dill and oregano
  • Honey
  • Hot sauce – Tabasco, Frank’s RedHot or Sriracha
  • Jam
  • Jelly
  • Maple Syrup
  • Marshmallows
  • Mayonnaise
  • Oatmeal
  • Oil – vegetable (canola for cooking, olive for salad dressings)
  • Pasta – short (macaroni) and long (spaghetti)
  • Peanut butter
  • Rice – white or brown
  • Salad dressing
  • Seasonings – salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, chili powder and red pepper flakes
  • Soy sauce
  • Sugar – brown and white
  • Tea
  • Tomatoes, canned diced
  • Tomatoes paste
  • Vanilla
  • Vinegar
  • Worcestershire sauce

Collecting all these items at once can rack up a large grocery bill, so we recommend planning ahead by selecting a couple recipes and purchasing items as needed to gradually build up your pantry.

Also, take note on what you use and don’t use and stock your pantry accordingly. You might never use canned fish, but find you’re always running short on brown rice.

In addition to our pantry basics, there are a few items we would also like to recommend for having a well-stocked pantry/kitchen. Again, these items are subject to your own preference. 


  • ​Quinoa
  • Steel-cut oats
Nuts and Seeds:

  • Almonds
  • Chia Seeds
  • Flax Seeds
  • Pumpkin seeds
Perishable items:
  • Bread
  • Cheese
  • Carrots
  • Eggs
  • Garlic
  • Milk – dairy, coconut, almond, or soy
  • Onions
  • Potatoes or sweet potatoes
  • Squash
Cooking oil:
  • Butter
  • Coconut oil
  • Grapeseed oil
  • Olive oil
Frozen items:
  • Emergency meals  – soups or lasagnas you made and froze
  • Frozen berries
  • Frozen greens 
  • Meat – what you prefer to eat

And to prevent anything from spoiling make sure to check out our Food Storage Guide​. Properly storing items will ensure a longer shelf life and prevent unnecessary waste. 

And if you’re into food storage and trivia, check out our Food Storage Myths vs Facts​.


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Last updated on May 18, 2018