posted March 23, 2020 by Gina
A list of pantry, refrigerator and freezer staples you should always keep stocked to whip up a healthy meal without a trip to the grocery store.
Basic Pantry Staples
I like to keep a well-stocked pantry, freezer and refrigerator so that I can throw together a meal at a moment’s notice. When life gets busy, it’s nice to know I have what I need to cook a quick dinner if I can’t get to the grocery store.
Let’s not forget about the refrigerator and freezer! Make sure you have a good supply of cold essentials too. Eggs make a quick and easy protein, great for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Greek yogurt is good for baking and adding to creamy sauces and smoothies.
What foods should you always have in your pantry?
The foods you should always have in your pantry are common ones you’ll find in many recipes and those that can form the base of an easy dinner. For instance, oil, vinegar, broth, and flour are frequently found in ingredient lists. And rice, pasta, lentils, and beans are a good source of filling carbs that are easy to add a variety of ingredients to. Think grain bowls, pasta dishes, and fried rice.
How to Organize Your Stocked Pantry
It’s important to be able to see what you have in your pantry. Otherwise, it’s really easy to forget about items that get buried in the back of your shelves. Lazy Susans (affil link( and tiered shelf organizers are helpful. I also put all of my newer items behind the older ones already in my pantry. For example, I’ll stack the older canned goods at the front of my shelves, so I use them first.
Healthy Pantry Checklist
Let’s talk about how to stock your pantry with healthy foods. Below is a comprehensive list of what I like to keep in my pantry. You don’t necessarily need every single one of these items at all times, but it’ll give you some good ideas for where to start. For instance, you don’t need three different types of rice – just pick your favorite to keep in stock.
I recommend buying extra of the foods that you like to cook. Love Italian food? Then, you should definitely get some jarred marinara sauce and pasta. If you like spicy foods, buy extra of your favorite hot sauce since that’s an easy ingredient to add to a variety of meals.
- Brown, jasmine, forbidden rice
- Quinoa, farro, couscous, barley
- Oats and dry cereals
- Gluten-free or whole wheat pasta
- Soba noodles
- Tortellini and gnocchi
- Corn and flour tortillas
- Taco shells
- Whole grain bread
Condiments and Sauces
- Hot sauce and Sriracha
- Ketchup, BBQ sauce, and mustard
- Low sodium soy sauce or tamari
- Olive oil and sesame oil
- White wine, apple cider, and balsamic vinegars
- Canned coconut milk
- Jarred salsa
- Jarred marinara sauce
- Canned tomato sauce
- Kalamata and black olives
- Dried cranberries
- Nuts and nut butters
- Spices (e.g., dried herbs, chili powder, cumin, turmeric, and onion and garlic
- Basic baking ingredients (Wheat and corn flour, granulated and brown sugars,
baking powder, baking soda, vanilla extract)
- Broth or stock
- Canned beans (black, cannellini, and garbanzo beans)
- Dried legumes (lentils, black beans, split peas, etc)
- Canned tomatoes and vegetables
- Canned tuna and salmon
- Onion and garlic
- Feta, Parmesan, and cheddar cheese
- Cream cheese, ricotta and sour cream
- Lemons and limes
- Plain Greek yogurt
- Milk and nut milk
- Vegetables and Fruit
- Condiments, olives, etc
- Dried and cured meats
- Cauliflower rice
- Frozen fruit (e.g., berries and bananas)
- Frozen edamame, peas, spinach, broccoli, and corn
- Chicken breasts or thighs
- Fish fillets and shrimp
- Ground turkey and sirloin
- Italian turkey sausage
Recipes You Can Make with Pantry Staples
Below is a list of just a few recipes that rely mostly on pantry staples. If you don’t have an ingredient, just substitute it for whatever you have on hand. For example, you can easily switch out farro or couscous for another grain like brown rice or quinoa. Different kinds of pasta are pretty interchangeable too. If a recipe calls for a rotini pasta, but you only have rigatoni, use that. Swapping dried herbs for fresh will also work in a pinch.