Pantry Essentials – Whats in my Pantry?

Pantry Essentials – Whats in my Pantry?

Pantry Essentials – Whats in my Pantry?


Helpful pantry list with essential pantry ingredients for an easier time in the kitchen.

In this pantry essentials post I will give you a general guide on the essential pantry items to have in your kitchen. This guide is aimed at those who want to start cooking more healthy and delicious meals from scratch. The ingredients listed and explained below will set up your kitchen for success. Keep reading and you will be well on your way to saving money and cooking delicious home cooked meals from scratch.

I love having an organised pantry, without one it is very difficult to cook effectively and efficiently. Having a well-stocked pantry allows you to choose a recipe and get to cooking right away. Who wants to trawl through 3 different supermarkets looking for oyster sauce, cumin and Chinese rice wine! Instead, you have all the cupboard ingredients you need and can add the fresh ingredients to your weekly grocery list. If like me you love cooking, trying new things and cooking different cuisines, pantry organisation is essential to be well prepared to execute that recipe.

Whether you have just moved into your first place or are revamping your kitchen, having most of these ingredients readily available will save you time and money in the long run. Now to really save money and time doing this, I do advise you buy your pantry basics in bulk.

I have been a member of Costco since I was 18. I grew up going to Costco with my mum a good few times a year and I loved it! To me Costco is like a candy store for grown-ups and now being an adult myself, I realise just how amazing it truly is. If you have never heard about Costco (where have you been??), it is a bulk buying membership warehouse, where consumers and businesses pay a membership fee to be given access to the warehouses worldwide and buy in bulk and save huge amounts of money on a myriad of home essentials.  They sell everything from home appliances, garden furniture to food, wine and drinks.

The Pantry Essentials List

Below I have compiled a comprehensive list of ingredients that I always have in my pantry and keep restocked as much as possible. Most of these ingredients are ingredients I use daily if not weekly. Please bear in mind these pantry items work great for me and the types of food I like to cook and are suited to my personal diet. If you have particular dietary restrictions or a different palate to mine, your pantry list will of course look a little different.

1. Oils

It is important to have a variety of oils in stock, as many recipes require different oils. I primarily cook with olive oil but I often use sunflower oil for frying and also like using coconut and avocado oil from time to time. Do please be mindful of your dietary restrictions and buy the best oils for you.

Olive oil / Sunflower oil / Coconut oil / Avocado oil / Peanut oil / Sesame oil

2. Vinegars

My pantry has a variety of vinegars on hand because I like to make my own dressings. I no longer buy pre-made, often over salted and sugary dressings. I also love my marinades and they can all call for different kinds of vinegar.

Balsamic vinegar / Red wine vinegar / White wine vinegar /Rice wine vinegar / Apple cider vinegar

Recipes to try:

Balsamic Red Wine Jus and Lemon and Garlic Roast Chicken


3. Condiments

I try my best to make everything from scratch bearing in mind the space, equipment and budget I have. Inevitably, there are those things which you are best just buying from a trusted brand. I love sauce and making my own dressings and marinades, having staple condiments stocked will enable you to do so.

Dijon mustard / Wholegrain mustard / Honey mustard / Honey / Mayonnaise / Ketchup / Tahini / Hot sauce / Light Soy sauce / Dark Soy sauce / Oyster sauce / Hoisin sauce / Fish sauce / Browning / Worcestershire sauce / Tabasco / Jam / Harissa / Pesto

Recipes to try:

Chinese Style Braised Pork Belly


4. Dried Spices and Seasoning

Seasoning and spices are a key component of any truly flavourful and delicious dish. Without them your food will lack flavour and complexity. If you want to take your cooking to the next level you must ensure you have these essential pantry ingredients. Salt and pepper are essential but they are not enough for a lot of dishes. The list below is a great place to start.

Sea salt / Black pepper / White pepper / Mixed herbs / Paprika / Cayenne pepper / Chilli powder/ Chicken seasoning / All-purpose seasoning / Curry powder / Turmeric / Thyme / Basil / Oregano / Parsley / All spice Chinese 5 spice / Bay leaves / Cumin / Ginger /  Onion powder / Garlic powder / Cinnamon


5. Dry Foods

Grains and pasta are the quickest and easiest side dish ingredient to make. Even though I live alone, if I am cooking a soup, sauce or curry; I will always make a family sized portion and freeze the leftovers in 1 portion containers. On weekdays when I am too tired or not in the mood to cook all I have to do is defrost my sauce of choice and boil some pasta or cook some rice!

Pasta / Spaghetti / Long grain rice / Basmati rice / Cous cous / Bulgar wheat / Plain flour / Panko breadcrumbs / Demerara sugar / Oats / Your preferred beans and pulses

Recipes to try:

Nigerian Jollof Rice and Chicken Katsu Curry

dried foods

6. Canned goods

These ingredients are the best to have on hand for a multitude of recipes. I use these in my sauces, curries, salads and pasta dishes.

Tinned tomatoes / Passata / Coconut milk / Baked beans / Black beans / Kidney beans / Butter beans / Chickpeas / Tuna / Anchovies/ Sweetcorn – or other canned vegetable of your choice

Recipes to try:

The Best Bolognese Sauce and Full English Breakfast

tinned tomatoes

7. Frozen

Frozen fruits and vegetables are great ingredients to bulk buy and keep in stock. I use my fruits for cocktails, smoothies and pastes for sauces. The peas and spinach are essential if you like cooking curries or fried rice.

Peas / Spinach / Fruit of choice / Large prawns / Small prawns

Recipes to try:

15 Minute Fried Rice and Prawn and Crab Linguine or Mango and Blood Orange Smoothie

frozen berries

8. Meat and Fish

I am an out and proud meat hoarder, something I think most Costco members are! Now it may sound a little weird but it has been saving me money and time for years. I bulk buy a lot of my staples like chicken breast, chicken wings, steak, mincemeat and prawns from Costco. The portions are huge and since I live alone, I freeze the meat into suitable portions in labelled Ziplock bags.

Going even further than this, if I am grocery shopping and see a good deal on any type of meat and fish I like I will buy it and freeze it for a future date. Now for this you will need a big freezer. I have a chest freezer and have had one since I was at university. People used to laugh at me for it, but I didn’t care, I knew I was saving myself time and money honey! We have all had months where after paying the bills there is very little spare change left over. Stocking your freezer when times are good will mean a trip to the expensive grocery store won’t always be necessary. Considering the current climate I consider this to be more important than ever.

9. Perishables

Every time I go to the supermarket I will pick up the below ingredients. Almost every recipe calls for onion and/or garlic! I love having lemons and limes in the house for making drinks, detox water and for marinades and curries!

Garlic / Yellow onions / Purple onions / Shallots / Ginger / Lemons / Limes

garlic and onion

10. Dairy

I no longer drink cow’s milk and haven’t for 4 years now. However, I do eat and use other dairy products. I am a classic cook and do believe nothing can truly replace or replicate the functions and flavours of the key dairy items below.

Eggs / Milk – coconut and hazelnut / Single cream / Unsalted butter


11. Alcohol

Wine is a brilliant cooking ingredient you should definitely try. I always have wine stocked at home for drinking 😉 as well as some cheaper bottles I can use for those recipes that call for a splash or two of wine.

Red wine / White wine / Shaoxing rice wine / Cognac

Recipes to try:

Coq au Vin and Prawn and Crab Linguine


12. Baking essentials

I am not a huge baker, however, I always have the below basic baking ingredients on hand for those days when I fancy a homemade sweet treat.

Self-raising flour / Cake flour / Icing sugar / Caster sugar / Cocoa powder / Baking powder / Bicarbonate of soda / Vanilla extract and pods / Chocolate chips / Cooking chocolate

Recipes to try:

Banana and Chocolate Chip Muffins

baking ingredients

I hope this post was helpful and assists you setting up your new kitchen or spicing up your current pantry. Start spending more time in the kitchen and less time in the shops today!

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