Pantry Basics

The secret to success with home cooking is the Well-Stocked Pantry. (Some of this stuff needs to be in the fridge, but it’s still Pantry Stuff… things you always try to have on hand.)

Stock your pantry now and reap the delicious rewards at every meal.

Stock your pantry now and reap the delicious rewards at every meal.

Having important ingredients, spices and condiments on hand makes a big difference. For your main proteins and fresh fruits and vegetables, you should be shopping your grocery store, greenmarket or farmer’s market at least once a week if possible, but your options for how you prepare that food and what side dishes you prepare alongside it are only limited by what’s in your pantry.

If you’re setting up housekeeping, you probably don’t want to buy all this stuff on one shopping trip; that’ll run into money. Once you’ve got olive oil, white vinegar, salt, pepper, onions, garlic and flour, just buy the other stuff as you need it.

Most of the recipes on this site can be made out of what’s in The Well Stocked Pantry, and we’ll note any exceptions to that if unusual ingredients are called for.



  • basil
  • black pepper
  • cayenne
  • cinnamon
  • cumin
  • curry powder
  • garlic powder
  • ginger
  • low-sodium bouillon or soup base
  • nutmeg
  • oregano
  • paprika
  • parsley
  • salt


  • baking powder
  • baking soda
  • cornmeal
  • cornstarch
  • flour
  • honey
  • molasses
  • sugar
  • yeast


  • ketchup
  • lemon and/or lime juice
  • mayonnaise
  • mustard
  • olive oil
  • salsa
  • vegetable oil
  • vinegar (white, cider, balsamic)


  • canned beans
  • canned or pouch tuna
  • canned tomato paste
  • canned tomato purée
  • canned tomatoes
  • coffee & coffee filters
  • couscous
  • dried chickpeas
  • dried lentils
  • dried peas/beans (pinto, navy, black, red, etc.)
  • dry pasta
  • grits
  • oatmeal
  • olives
  • peanut butter
  • quinoa
  • rice (white, brown)
  • tea


  • apples
  • carrots
  • celery
  • garlic
  • onions
  • sweet potatoes
  • white potatoes