The Ultimate Basic Pantry Staples Checklist

How often have you come home from work with the intention to make dinner? And you find an empty pantry and need to waste another few hours heading to the grocery store.

Making sure you have a few basic pantry staples can be the difference between making something at home for you and your loved ones or ordering take out which is, let’s face it, always expensive!

Having a pantry that is well-stocked and one that fits your family’s needs can help you create meals that will be delicious and easy on the pocket.

having a basic pantry staples checklist saves you time and money

Storing Your Basic Pantry Staples

Storing food must be done carefully.

Things like air, water, moisture and bugs can all cause food to rot. Ideally you’d want your food to be stored in airtight containers.

You can find my favorite ones here.

These jars can range from the super organized containers to mason jars that grandma would use.

You might use Pinterest to look for pretty pantries, but what I’ve found is that a lot of those pantries actually hold very little food.

They are aesthetically pleasing to look at but aren’t the most efficient ways of storing food to save time and money.

My personal recommendation would be to remove bulky items like rice, beans etc from their original packaging and place them into airtight containers.

Items like rice and pasta also come in very bulky packaging which take up a lot of space for the amount of food that they carry.

Because they’re not airtight they can also allow moisture, air or even bugs to get in which can cause the products to spoil extremely quickly.

Make sure that the containers are airtight and workable in relation to the size of your pantry.  

Dry Goods

  • Baking Powder
  • Bread – Milk, Wholewheat, Wholegrain, Focaccia
  • Chocolate Chips – Maybe not totally necessary but who doesn’t love chocolate?
  • Cocoa Powder – You can use cocoa powder to make comfort foods for you or your loved ones.
  • Flour – almond, all-purpose, wheat
  • Frozen-Dried Foods – Freeze dried fruits might not be the healthiest for you, but they sure do make for a quick and easy snack.
  • Honey
  • Molasses
  • Maple Syrup
  • Oatmeal
  • Sugar – white, brown, powdered, stevia
  • Arrowroot Powder – It’s best used as a thickener to keep dehydrated powders dry.
dry goods in your pantry are essentials since they have a long shelf life

Herbs, Seasonings & Other Spices

  • Garlic Powder
  • Cumin
  • Dill
  • Cinnamon
  • Chili Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Paprika – smoked paprika is fantastic!
  • Sage
  • Rosemary
  • Salt – kosher, sea, table, himalayan
  • Vanilla Extract – this is to add a bit of extra flavor to your desserts
  • Thyme

There are so many more herbs that you can store in your pantry depending on your lifestyle and dietary choices.

This list serves as a good starting point to stock your pantry.

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Sauces, Vinegars And Oils

  • Ketchup
  • Mayonnaise
  • Mustard – dijon, spicy, honey, yellow
  • Avocado Oil
  • Cooking Spray – if you’re calorie conscious, cooking sprays are great for maintaining flavor without the added calories.
  • Coconut Oil – you don’t just have to cook with this, there are so many more benefits to coconut oil!
  • Olive Oil – regular, virgin and extra virgin
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Soy Sauce – look for light soy sauce for the lower sodium content!
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Vinegar – red, white, apple cider

Canned, Jarred & Tinned Goods

When it comes to canned items, they can be eaten straight out of the can.

They’re super convenient when you need a meal that is quick, on-the-go or if you’re sick.

  • Applesauce – this is a staple snack that you can reach for anytime you’re feeling peckish.
  • Pickles – dill, mango, chili
  • Soups – they are great for times that you’re sick as well as super filling.
  • Vegetables
  • Bone Broth – bone broth is packed with nutrients and is great for soups!
  • Tuna – open a can and just chow down!
  • Chicken
  • Tomato – sliced, diced, pureed
canned goods are an essential in your basic pantry staple checklist

Pastas & Grains

  • Couscous – don’t be fooled! these are basically pearls of pasta.
  • Rice – white, basmati, coconut, cauliflower
  • Quinoa – this is a grain that is packed with protein!
  • Barley
  • Pasta – lasagna, tagliatelle, elbow, spaghetti. Store your favorite kinds!
  • Beans – you can store your favorite varieties of beans canned or fresh. Black beans are my personal fav!


Most of us store meats in the freezer.

It’s important to have a backup just incase you experience a power outage or a different kind of emergency.

  • Salmon – packed with healthy fats!
  • Tuna
  • Peanut Butter – you could use PB2 as well, it is a powdered form of peanut butter.
  • Vegan Butter
  • Chicken – canned, freeze dried or fresh
  • Beef – cuts of steak, meatballs, ribs
  • Nuts & Seeds – flax, almonds, cashews, walnuts
  • Eggs – packed with so many nutrients!
  • Protein Powder – this is if you struggle to get enough protein in everyday, use sparingly.

Basic Pantry Staples For The Fridge And/or Freezer

Refrigerated items are also included in my pantry checklist.

That’s because I believe that these staples need to be kept on hand even though they might not have a huge shelf life.

  • Cheese – you can freeze cheese to keep it for a long time.
  • Butter
  • Frozen Fruits & Veggies – freezing fruits and veggies help them last considerably longer and can also save you space in your fridge.
  • Ready To Eat Frozen Meals
  • Milk
  • Yoghurt

How can I stock Up On Basic Pantry Staples

Once you get an idea of how you want your basic pantry to look like, it’s time to keep an eye out for sales.

Monitor different sales cycles throughout the year and find out when your supplies are on sale.

Learning how to stock your pantry is an important and quite frankly tricky skill.

You save time since you don’t have to make as many trips to the supermarket.

You also save money since you know exactly what to buy and how much to buy!

Come and follow me on Pinterest for more money saving hints and frugal tips!

Pinterest pin: The Ultimate Basic Pantry Staples Checklist

Last Updated on 25th October 2022 by Emma

About Emma

I'm here to help you become confident in making the best money decisions for you and your family. Frugal living has changed my life, let me help you change yours.

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