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The Essentials of a Well Stocked Pantry

Updated on February 25, 2010

In order to cook your own meals at home you need a pantry. Many people just starting out or just starting to cook from scratch don't know what foods to buy for their pantry. Having a well stocked pantry is essential to any cook. If you have the proper foods you can create just about any meal right in your own home. First I should say that I consider the pantry to include all frozen and refrigerated items as well. All of these foods are part of your food supply and needed to create meals. Here are what I consider essentials to a well stocked pantry.

Grains - This includes flours, rices, pasta, breads and more. In my pantry I have cous cous, rice, flour, cornmeal, grits, tortillas, bread, many shapes of pasta and whole wheat crackers.

Sweeteners - This includes, sugar, syrups, honey, sucanat, stevia, and any fake sugar packets you have for your coffee.

Meats - Most meat will be in your freezer or fridge, but canned is always good too. Keeping a wide assortment of types of meat include beef, chicken, pork and fish will help you have variety in your diet and keep things interesting at home.

Fruits and vegetables - I always keep a large selection of fresh produce on hand, but I also have a lot of frozen foods. I prefer fresh or frozen, because those fruits and vegetables retain more of their nutrients than canned. It is always good though to keep a selection of easy to eat canned foods in case of a power outage. Don't forget canned or dry beans in this section. These are wonderful frugal additions to any pantry.

Baking items - some of these items overlap from other areas, but it is essential to have a supply of flour, oil, eggs, salt and sugar for baking. I also like to have applesauce and chocolate chips for baking.

Dairy - milk, yogurt, cheese, coconut milk, soy milk, rice milk, evaporated milk, etc.

Condiments - ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, salad dressings, vinegar, soy sauce, etc.

This list is a good starting point for someone wanting to keep a better stocked pantry. You really need to create your own list. If you don't ever eat beans, then it doesn't make sense to buy any. You want to keep on hand what you eat and use. You should be able to get some ideas from here to make your own pantry list. Then start shopping the sales and fill your pantry for little money. Then you can cook just about anything you are interested in.


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    • Sally's Trove profile image


      8 years ago from Southeastern Pennsylvania

      A room called a pantry is hard to come by these days, especially for those who live in apartments...but the concept you describe is spot-on. A pantry is a matter of mind as much as it is a physical location.

      I have a large laundry room with extra shelving, and some of my canned and dry goods go there; then there are the cabinets in the kitchen, and of course, the freezer.

      I've never tucked food goods into my bedroom closet, but, hey, you never know when extra space is needed and how you might find it.

      The pantry, so well expressed in your Hub, wherever it is in your house, is a matter of planning and thereby being prepared for extra guests, ease of daily meals, and a little creativity too.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Great hub! Thanks.

    • treasuresyw profile image


      8 years ago from Savannah, GA

      I like this. I am so ready to get a house with a nice sized pantry and one of those energy efficient fridges. They will do better to keep my fresh food fresh! :-) Peace

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image

      Dim Flaxenwick 

      8 years ago from Great Britain

      Great hub.Totally agree with all you said here.

    • Amber Allen profile image

      Amber Allen 

      8 years ago

      This is exactly the sort of life skill which needs to be provided in our schools just in case it isn't provided at home.

    • Whidbeywriter profile image

      Mary Gaines 

      8 years ago from Oak Harbor on Whidbey Island, Washington

      I cannot agree with you more - we do the same. We have even added lots of shelves in our large garage on the sides and store a lot of our food there, you just never know! Good hub with good ideas.

    • Springboard profile image


      8 years ago from Wisconsin

      Very helpful. There are a couple of items on your list I'll have to add to mine. Funny, yesterday I was making note that I was running low on parsley, so I put it on my list for the next store visit. Filled my pepper shaker, and my pepper can was now empty as well. Put it on the list. Had spaghetti for dinner and noticed we are running out of parmesan cheese. Put it on the list. Later my wife had a peanut butter sandwhich for lunch, and she said to me "we need to get peanut butter the next time we go to the store."

      It was at that time it hit me. Everything we're running out of momentarily starts with the letter 'P.' lol. Incidentally, so does 'pantry.'

      Anyway, just thought I'd share. Great hub.

    • bmtphoenix profile image


      8 years ago from Austin, TX

      I know this sounds awfully, um, pessimistic (?), but I always think it just feels dangerous to have NO food in the pantry. I mean, what if there was, like, an apocalypse or something...

    • Cedar Cove Farm profile image

      Cedar Cove Farm 

      8 years ago from Southern Missouri

      I work in a grocery store and am continually amazed at the amount of people who no longer keep a pantry. Even older women that used to. Good tips, Thanks.

    • sheila b. profile image

      sheila b. 

      8 years ago

      I live alone, so my pantry doesn't have much in it, but I remember when mine looked like your picture. It was good then, but downsizing is good, too.

    • Jeff Berndt profile image

      Jeff Berndt 

      8 years ago from Southeast Michigan

      Good advice! Do you grow your own veggies? Do you can them or freeze them?

    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      8 years ago from London, UK

      Unusual subject but a very good advice. Thank you for a great read.

    • breakfastpop profile image


      8 years ago

      I have a pantry that I keep well stocked so that I can open it and create a delicious meal without leaving the house. Great hub.!

    • Rochelle Frank profile image

      Rochelle Frank 

      8 years ago from California Gold Country

      I love my pantry. Especially since I live at least half an hour from a real store.


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