Cooking is way easier when you have a bunch of staple cooking items on hand. This can be dried fruit, cans of beans, or even overripe bananas in the freezer, ready to be thawed and used.

To stock your kitchen, you want to have several things on hand. This makes getting a homemade meal on the table easier, and you won’t have to stop at the store on your way home either.

This list is my must have list, but as you grow into cooking more, you will figure of what’s best for you, what you use the most, and what you want to have in your pantry at all times.

Dry Goods

It’s important to have dried things on hand, most of which you can make something out of, or rehydrate by adding water, and eat right then and there.

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  • Oatmeal
  • Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Lentils
  • Dried Beans
  • Pasta
  • Popcorn
  • Nuts
  • Chia seeds
  • Dried fruit

And For All You Bakers Out There:

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  • Flour
  • Sugar
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Corn Starch
  • Chocolate (or other flavored) chips

Oils, Vinegars, and Sauces

Oils, vinegars, and sauces are the taste of your dish. These items add flavor and depth and are inexpensive enough to keep on hand. And better yet, most of these items have very long shelf lifes, making them perfect to keep on your shelves.

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  • Oils like avocado oil, coconut oil, olive oil, and toasted sesame oil. (Side note: toasted sesame oil is the “sauce” that makes Chinese food taste like Chinese food, yum!)
  • Vinegar
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Soy Sauce
  • Honey
  • Mustard
  • Mayonnaise
  • Peanut butter
  • Salsa

Herbs and Spices

Herbs and spices are a part of your dish, your sauce, used as a topping, and so much more. This kitchen staple is essential in all kitchens and these are some of my favorites.

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  • Sea salt
  • Coarse pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Dried basil
  • Dried oregano
  • Crushed red pepper
  • Cinnamon powder
  • Curry powder

Canned Goods

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Not only are canned goods prepared to last forever but they are great starters for meals, sauces, desserts, and more.

  • Tomato products: paste, sauce, and diced
  • Coconut milk
  • Chicken and Beef Stock
  • Tuna (in water)

Boxed Goods

Sometimes it’s nice to make a meat, choose a vegetable, make an easy, almost ready made side. And because I love mac and cheese.

  • Mac and cheese
  • Rice sides
  • Quinoa sides
  • Pasta sides
  • Crackers
  • Tortilla chips

Having these dried and shelved ingredients is a great start, but there are some refrigerator items and some things you should keep in your freezer, too.


  • Eggs
  • Butter
  • Plain Yogurt
  • Grated parmesan
  • Milk (Almond milk for me but it’s your preference.)

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  • Chicken breasts
  • Vegetable mixtures
  • Peas
  • Ground beef
  • Bacon
  • Fruits
  • Overripe bananas

What do you think? How many of these things do you already have in your pantry?

This list is a good start, but try it out and see what works best for you. Cooking can be fun and easy. You will have leftovers and lots of stuff that’s ready to eat and homemade. Good luck!

Image Credit: Pixabay