21 Pantry Essentials For The Kitchen We All Need

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Here are my 21 pantry essentials for the kitchen. I realize we are all trying to eat less processed food, but in my pantry, I cannot do without some items. I have to be real here. It would be wonderful to have only fresh fruits and vegetables I gather from my garden every night for dinner. Well, I live in a desert. Yes, I try to buy organic as much as my budget can afford, but the fact is I cannot afford to buy everything organic, but I buy it when I can. Today I really just want to show you my pantry essentials for me to make my everyday meals. If I can pull something I have canned myself, or a can from the local grocery store, from my pantry I am good with that. So let’s get started…..

It seems every night there is some new update on the EBOLA situation and I feel the need to shout out to the world to please get bleach, fill your pantry with food and water. You might need to stay in your home if a pandemic were to break out.

Here are my 21 pantry essentials:

1. Soup:

Cream of chicken, cream of mushroom, chicken noodle and tomato are my favorites. I am pretty fussy and only buy the Campbell’s brand. Are they healthy, probably not as much as we’d like them to be, but I do not want to fill my freezer with food that will go bad in an emergency.

2. Flour:

I store some white enriched flour, but I mainly use freshly ground hard white wheat flour. I store a lot of hard white wheat in six-gallon buckets. Sometimes I grab a bag of coconut flour and almond flour. I am still learning how to use those flours. I do not personally have gluten issues, but I would like to know how to make a good loaf of gluten-free bread or muffins. Update,

3. Sugar/Honey:

I must admit I love foods that are sweet. It’s a fact. I store white sugar, brown sugar, powdered sugar, Agave and Cox’s Honey. I must say I make pretty good cinnamon rolls.

4. Pasta:

I store pasta in #10 cans and bags of pasta from the grocery store. I buy spaghetti, linguini, bow tie, corkscrew, elbow and lasagna pasta noodles.

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5. Rice/Quinoa:

I store white rice, limited brown rice (too oily for long term storage) and every color of quinoa. I love that quinoa has a high protein content.

6. Tomatoes:

I love tomatoes…any kind of tomato, fresh or canned. I buy diced tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato flakes and #10 cans of freeze dried tomatoes. I can make soups, lasagna, pizza you name it if I have tomatoes.

7. Canned Vegetables:

I love fresh more than canned vegetables, but here’s the deal….you can eat the vegetables right out of the can if you have no way to cook them. My favorites are green beans and corn. I make a salsa with some corn so I buy this sweet white corn for that recipe.

8. Oils:

Olive oil and coconut oil are the main oils I buy. Olive oil does not have a great shelf life…6-12 months at most. So I buy it only for that period of time. Coconut lasts longer so I store more of it.

9. Spices/Vanilla:

Some of my favorites are basil, oregano, cinnamon, vanilla, chili powder, salt and pepper, parsley flakes, garlic powder, onion powder, nutmeg and sage.

10. Vinegar:

I must admit here I love Balsamic vinegar…every flavor. They taste great on salads with a little olive oil. I store white vinegar and cider vinegar. There are so many healthy reasons why we need to store cider vinegar.

11. Condiments:

Mayonnaise, mustard, Miracle Whip, pickles, bread and butter pickles and dill pickles can be added to so many recipes. I can make salads with these as well as tuna or chicken sandwiches.

12. Peanut Butter:

Peanut butter has a longer shelf life than almond butter so I store more peanut butter. I still cannot believe I used to buy #10 cans of peanut butter when my kids were little. WOW! Fun memories!

13. Jams & Jelly:

I like to buy smaller jars with more fruit than sugar and they are hard to find. But in an emergency peanut butter and jelly sandwiches will taste fabulous.

14. Cereal:

My husband loves cold cereal every morning so we buy at least three months of cereal at any one time. They would be great for children in an unforeseen emergency as well.

15. Baking Basics:

Baking soda is good for baking, cleaning and indigestion, as well as brushing your teeth. Other critical items needed for baking are baking powder, cornstarch, salt, condensed milk, nuts, dried fruit, chocolate, butterscotch chips, peanut butter chips, mint chips, and vanilla extract. If you only bake during the holidays buy these in small quantities. I for sure need chocolate in my pantry essentials!

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16. Canned Beans:

I store beans in #10 cans, both regular beans and instant beans. The instant beans cook in 20 minutes with water added. I also buy canned beans of every kind possible. I can make salads, soups, tacos, burritos and more with beans. WooHoo! I also buy bags of beans. A variety of beans is what a pantry needs. The next time you go to the grocery store throw a few cans of beans in your basket.

17. Instant Milk:

I always have instant regular milk and instant buttermilk in my pantry. I make my salad dressings and muffins with instant buttermilk. Instant regular milk can be used if I run out of regular milk in the refrigerator. Just another one of my pantry essentials.

18. Potatoes:

I rarely buy real store potatoes because they usually go bad by the time I remember I have them. I buy dehydrated potatoes, #10 cans of dehydrated potato chunks. But, I also grow potatoes year-round.

19. Canned Meats:

My favorites are chicken, tuna and beef. They are a bit pricey, but that’s what my husband and I eat for lunch. One can goes really far in our budget. If we did have an unforeseen disaster I could eat this meat everyday for weeks or months. I can make soups, sandwiches and casseroles. Canned meats are part of my pantry essentials

20. Broth:

One of my favorite things to buy is Better Than Bouillon because all I have to do is add water. I do store a few cartons of regular broth, beef and chicken only to use for certain recipes.

21. Spaghetti Sauce:

I buy tomato paste and make my own spaghetti sauce, but I still like a few jars of ready made spaghetti sauce for last minute company that drops by to visit.

Please Note #10 Cans

What are #10 cans? They are cans that are 6 inches in diameter and 7 inches tall. They are commercially processed cans filled with foods that typically have a longer shelf life. For example, milk, freeze dried fruits, vegetables, dehydrated foods, etc. Some community groups use a “dry canner” to process #10 cans of various items. These cans if available at your local grocery store are on the food storage aisle.

Final Word

What’s in your pantry? P.S. I would love to hear your favorite pantry essentials! I promise this is not an ad for Costco, I just love their canned meat. May God Bless this world, Linda

15 thoughts on “21 Pantry Essentials For The Kitchen We All Need

  • October 16, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    Worcestershire sauce is a necessary condiment because a bit added to sauces and gravies really enhances the flavor.
    I also keep powdered drink mixes such as hot cocoa, tang, and kool-aid. While not necessarily the healthiest choices is an emergency situation it am not going to worry about the added sugar and it will break up the monotony of plain water. As a healthier note, though, if you buy the unsweetened packets of the Kool-aid with a bit of experimenting you can make it with stevia (sweet leaf) instead if sugar.

    • October 17, 2014 at 6:06 am

      Thanks for reminding me about Worcestershire sauce I need to go get a bottle. I have not used that in years. I keep those sugared flavored drinks as well. If we had an emergency I would love to serve a glass of warm tang over a tepid glass of water to myself or a child. Thanks for the tips on the Kool-aid with stevia. I had never thought of doing that. I already store stevia because thats my sweetener as well as honey. But the Kool-aid packets would take up so little room. Great tip! Blessings Linda

  • October 16, 2014 at 2:37 pm

    Dear Linda . . .
    Just what were you doing in MY pantry?
    Your list is suspiciously accurate.
    But you forgot the oatmeal!
    And small jars of instant yeast.
    (Must have fresh bread every supper.)

    • October 17, 2014 at 6:15 am

      Hi Jeanette, you make me laugh about the pantry! Oatmeal and yeast are very important items! Love it! Happy Friday! Linda

  • October 16, 2014 at 6:52 pm

    Good list, I’ve heard nothing but good things about that canned beef from Costco.

    Some things I keep on hand in addition to things you have listed:
    Macaroni and cheese ( my son loves it)
    Stuffing mix
    Relish – great to make tuna salad, tartar sauce etc
    Granola bars

    Yes I know I can make some do these myself but again sometimes the box is easier

    • October 17, 2014 at 6:09 am

      HI Andi, I need to add the Macaroni & Cheese to my list. Every child I know loves mac & cheese! LOL! I need to add relish as well. Tartar sauce & tuna salad and sandwiches, yummy! Linda

  • October 16, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    I love chocolate and ginger snaps. they are my main weaknesses so they are always in my pantry.

    I love balsamic vinegar too and I also use different rice vinegars.
    my favorite seasoning is Ragin Cajun creole. YUM!!

    being a tea drinker, I buy my tea bags in bulk and use powdered stevia. I buy the stevia at amazon and it is super concentrated and lasts a very long time.

    • October 17, 2014 at 6:13 am

      Hi Maggi, chocolate chips are a must in my house too! My favorite cookies are gingersnaps and Oreo’s! LOL! I have got to try that Ragin Cajun Creole spice…sound fabulous! I did not know that you can buy a super concentrated stevia.I need to check that one out. Is the brand just Stevia but super concentrated? Thanks for the tips! Linda

  • October 17, 2014 at 7:37 am

    Hi Linda. I am new to this so I was wondering what are you talking about when you say you buy #10 cans? Are all the cans in the store #10 cans? Don’t mean to sound dumb but was just wondering. Thanks 🙂

    • October 17, 2014 at 7:55 am

      Melissa, oh my goodness I am so glad you asked this question. This is not a dumb question at all. This is actually a blessing you are asking me this…I am going to try and add a picture so people know what a #10 can. They are larger food storage cans in the aisle where food storage items can be purchased. Not all grocery stores carry them.

      • October 17, 2014 at 7:59 am

        Melissa, sorry I clicked reply before I finished the statement. #10 cans are the ones that are about 7 inches tall and 6 inches in diameter. You can buy dry milk, freeze dried and dehydrated foods in them. Thank you so much for bringing this to my attention! Blessings Linda

  • October 17, 2014 at 8:15 am

    Thank you Linda ;0)

    • October 17, 2014 at 8:21 am

      I just added an explanation on what a #10 can is so people will know. Thanks again, Linda

  • December 11, 2019 at 9:44 am

    Ok, I realize this is an older post however, I thought you should know that when I clicked on the cinnamon roll recipe it took me to a Frito salad recipe. FYI- I love frito salad lol!

    • December 11, 2019 at 10:06 am

      Hi Camille, oh my gosh!! LOL! Thanks for telling me. I will fix it right now!!! Linda


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