Having a well stocked pantry will help save money in the long run (no more last minute trips to the store that ends in other impulse buys), and will make throwing together a quick and flavorful meal super easy. Stocking your pantry can be overwhelming, especially if you’re on a budget and just moved to a new place.
This list will go a little beyond basic ingredients, but includes pantry staples to cover a lot of cuisine styles and is still budget friendly. Use this guide as a reference and tailor it to fit your personal needs!
I try earnestly to not make recipes that will require you to go out and buy an expensive ingredient that will only be used once. However, there are a few things that are worth splurging for and will make a difference in your dishes.
Loading up on pantry staples doesn’t have to blow your budget, read on to find out how to stock your pantry within your means.
- All purpose flour
- Whole Wheat flour
- Bread Flour – almost optional, but we make enough pizza dough in our house that it is essential for us
- Baking Soda
- Baking Powder
- Fine Sea Salt
- Dark Brown Sugar – I prefer dark brown sugar instead of light, it gives a slightly richer taste to baked goods
- Granulated Sugar
- Honey – local raw ideal, but stick to whatever is in your budget
- Maple Syrup – make sure it’s pure maple syrup, not the breakfast syrup and not diluted with a bunch of additives
- Rolled Oats – the classic, non instant kind
- Blackstrap molasses – different from the molasses you may be used to seeing. It has a stronger, deeper flavor and is richer in vitamins and minerals, especially iron which is key for runners!
- Vanilla extract – as Ina would say, make sure you get the “good vanilla”; it’s expensive, but much more potent so you can use a bit less and still get a wonderful flavor
Oils and Vinegars
- Extra virgin olive oil – this can be pricey, and you don’t need the fanciest bottle, but make sure you’re getting extra virgin
- Canola oil (I know, not the healthiest, but for some treats it’s just necessary. We use it sparingly.)
- Coconut oil – try to buy this in bulk to save some money
- Sesame oil
- Soy sauce
- White vinegar (I don’t typically use this for cooking, but it serves many other purposes around the house)
- Balsamic vinegar
- Rice vinegar
- Red wine vinegar
- Apple cider vinegar
Is five vinegars excessive? Possibly, but if you’re making your own salad dressings and sauces, I highly recommend having a variety!
Dry and Canned Goods
- Black Beans
- Peanut Butter (or other nut butter of choice) – natural is best here, or try making your own by getting a big container of roasted peanuts and blending in your food processor or blender until smooth
- Dried Cranberries
- Coconut Milk – Buy the full fat can, dump it in a bowl and refill the can with water and add it to the bowl and mix. You just made two cans of lite coconut milk. Pour into ice cube trays and freeze, then empty into a Ziploc freezer bag. Each cube is about 2 tbsp.
- Diced tomatoes
- Tomato Paste
- Nuts – your preference, if you needed to pick just two I’d go with roasted cashews and pecan pieces
- Sweet potatoes
- Yellow onions
Dry Herbs and Spices
Your spice jar collection contains the secret to simple but deeply flavorful meals. We have collected a small army of dried spices and herbs, but below are the ones I think are essential to have for everyday cooking
- Garlic powder
- Ginger powder
- Chili powder
- Bay leaves
- Cayenne Pepper
- Italian herb blend
- Seasoned salt
This just covers the real basics, but it’s a great place to start!