The Ultimate List of Basic Pantry Staples to Keep on Hand

One of the most important things that every homemaker should have is a well-stocked pantry. Every home cook needs to make sure their kitchen is fully stocked with the basics. It’ll make your life so much easier! Today I’m sharing my complete list of all the (essential) basic pantry staples you should keep on hand.

Be sure to grab my free printable Pantry Essentials Checklist of 117 pantry staples at the bottom of the post!

A well-stocked pantry is a key to success as a homemaker. One of the most important things you can do for your family’s health and happiness is making sure that there are plenty of staple ingredients on hand at all times so that you can prepare delicious meals in a pinch.

Cooking is made much easier if you have the right ingredients and tools on hand when you need them. That’s why keeping a well-stocked pantry is so important if you are going to feed your family well.

related: Go To Meal Ideas Your Family will Love on Busy Days

When I come across a recipe that calls for an ingredient that I do not have, I immediately put it on my shopping list. I keep my ongoing shopping list under a magnet on the refrigerator. If I like the recipe, I make a mental note to keep that item in stock and let my husband know when he should purchase some more – before I actually run out.

I truly enjoy cooking for my family, and the experience is made even better because I don’t have to wonder if I have enough sage to make dressing or enough flour to make biscuits.

Basic Pantry Staples to Keep On Hand

The following is a list of basic pantry staples that every home cook should have on hand. Hopefully, this list will help you start to build your own well-stocked pantry and make it easier for you to get delicious meals on the table at home.

So if you find yourself deciding what not to cook for dinner when you open your pantry doors….

Herbs and Spices

  • Salt – I prefer Sea Salt or the pink Hymilayan Salt since it has many minerals that iodized salt does not have. We buy ours at our local bulk food store, but I believe you can find it most anywhere.
  • Pepper – I prefer to grind my own or I’ll buy the coarse ground black pepper also known as restraurant style
  • Nutmeg – You can purchase it already ground or you can buy whole nutmeg and grate it yourself for a fresher taste.
  • Cinnamon – You will mainly use ground cinnamon, but you may occasionally wish to have whole cinnamon sticks.
  • Ginger – You can purchase ginger already ground. Fresh ginger root can be grated for recipes and is also a wonderful medicinal herb.
  • Garlic – Garlic is best when used fresh. You can keep garlic powder on hand for when you do not have a garlic bulb. A clove of garlic is on section of the whole bulb. To use, simply take one clove out of the bulb and place on cutting board. Use the flat side of a large chef’s knife and press firmly on the clove. This will loosen the peel which you can then remove. Once you have done this you can leave it whole or dice, mince or place into a garlic press. Garlic is also a very important healing herb for the immune system.
  • Ground Mustard – This is different from prepared yellow or Dijon mustard that you put on hot dogs. Dry mustard is used in a variety of recipes.
  • Bay Leaves – These are a flat green leaf that are usually used whole in recipes. You can remove them before serving. Add to soups and spaghetti sauce.
  • Rosemary- Wonderful with potatoes and chicken.
  • Thyme – Good with mushrooms and lentils.
  • Sage – Used often at Thanksgiving time, also delicious when added to browned butter sauces.
  • Sweet basil – My husband’s favorite! You can find it ground or dried.
  • Parsley- Dried parsley is good, but fresh is always better.
  • Cumin- Used a lot in Mexican and Mediterranean cooking.
  • Oregano – Used in Mexican and Italian Cooking
  • Chili powder
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Taco seasoning
  • Paprika and/or smoked paprika

Dry Goods

  • All Purpose Flour
  • Whole Wheat Flour
  • Self Rising Flour- Self Rising Flour is great except that it has aluminum in it. Use it sparing or make your own.
  • Sugar
  • Confectioner’s Sugar- This white powdery sugar cannot not be used in place of refined sugar.
  • Brown Sugar
  • Molasses
  • Oatmeal
  • Popcorn
  • Baking Soda
  • Baking Powder- Look for brands that do not contain aluminum.
  • Cornstarch- Used for thickening sauces, soups, pies, etc.
  • Honey
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Almond Extract
  • Nuts- Used in many different types of recipes. You will want to keep a variety of nuts on hand. I like: Walnuts, Black Walnuts, Pecans, Cashews, Peanuts, and Almonds.
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Unsweetened Chocolate Bars
  • Bouillon Cubes and Powders
  • White Rice
  • Wild and Long Grain Rice
  • Pasta- All shapes and sizes of pasta noodles – stock up when they go on sale!
  • Barley- Great for adding to vegetable soup.
  • Graham Crackers
  • Crackers
  • peanut butter
  • breakfast cereals
  • Vegetable Shortening- Great for making a variety of baked goods. I would not fry with it as another type of oil such as olive oil is healthier.
  • Olive Oil- Use Light extra virgin cold pressed for general cooking, and a fruitier olive oil for recipes such as pasta or hummus.
  • Vegetable oil
  • Vegetable Oil Spray – for greasing muffin tins and such.
  • Coconut Oil
  • Sesame Oil
  • Raw Apple Cider Vinegar- The health benefits of this vinegar go on and on. We like Bragg’s Raw Apple Cider Vinegar.
  • White Vinegar
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Rice Vinegar

In the Refrigerator

  • Butter or margarine- Regular margarine or butter is best for baking. Light margarine is better for using as a spread.
  • Eggs- If you do not want to use eggs you can purchase an Egg Replacer or make your own.
  • Milk or Dairy Free Milk
  • Cream- Even though we generally use soy milk, I do occasionally use a heavy cream for making certain dishes. Keeping some on hand is great for adding a little here or there to sauces and soups.
  • Bread
  • Cheeses- Mild Cheddar, Jack, and a Parmesan Wedge. I like to grate my own. It tastes better.
  • Potatoes
  • Onions
  • Carrots
  • Celery

In the Freezer

  • Mixed vegetables
  • fruit blends
  • ice cream
  • french fries
  • frozen bread
  • freezer meals
  • meats

Fresh Produce

  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes
  • Cucumbers
  • Bell Peppers
  • Mushrooms
  • Fresh Fruit
  • zuchinni and yellow squash


  • jams and jellies
  • ketchup
  • mustard
  • stone ground mustard
  • dijon mustard
  • mayonnaise
  • pickles
  • relish
  • bar-b-que sauce
  • soy sauce
  • salad dressings
  • Greek Peppers
  • banana peppers

If you keep these items on hand you should be able to make most recipes. My pantry is located in the basement where we keep an assortment of all types of non-perishable foods as well as winter squash and root vegetables. I keep my herbs and spices in the kitchen and the items that I use regularly.

When you have the items you need, cooking can be an enjoyable part of your day.

Now that you know what to keep on hand, don’t forget to consider the timing of your purchases. Always be mindful of when items in your pantry expire and rotate foods as necessary. Also, remember to keep an eye out for sales and stock up when staple items are at their cheapest.

Be sure to share this post with the buttons below and let me know in the comments what your favorite go-to pantry staples are!

Free Printable Pantry Essentials Checklist

Basic Pantry Staples Every Homemaker Needs on Hand

How to Download

Just click on the button below and you’ll be taken to the download page.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *