Are you looking for frugal kitchen and pantry items you need? I have 58 frugal kitchen and pantry items you need in your cupboards today. If we can teach the world to go back to cooking from scratch at home like as parents and grandparents did just think how self-reliant our country would be. If you don’t have anyone to teach you these skills, I want to teach you!
Frugal Kitchen and Pantry Items You Need
Do you love the smell of something cooking in the kitchen? I love it when I start a slow cooker with food in the morning because, for one thing, dinner is planned.
If you can have even a small portion of these items in your pantry or kitchen you can cook so many meals day after day. The more we stay out of the supermarket or grocery stores the more money we save. I truly believe that having these items in your kitchen & pantry is a good thing.
Store what you use and eat what you store is the motto many of us use every day. I am excited to teach you what I know about the different items you need in your pantry.
Items to Store
I have been cooking for a long time and I’ve been able to show my children and my grandchildren how to cook. I’m leaving this list as a legacy. Anyone can come to this list and realize the best items for their pantry and kitchen. The best part is that all of these items are budget-friendly.
- Flour: I store white bread flour (maximum shelf-life is 6-12 months). Of course, #10 cans commercially processed have a longer shelf life. I believe a shelf-life of 5 years for the #10 cans of flour is reasonable. Although I’ve noticed some with a shelf-life of 25 years, I personally would question that time frame. We can make bread, biscuits, pancakes, and cookies, to name just a few items, with flour.
- Hard white whole wheat: you can make bread or barter the wheat if needed. I just stock up when I can and it’s there when I need it.
- Yeast: please store in the refrigerator for monthly use and your excess yeast in the freezer in airtight containers. My favorite: SAF YEAST
- Baking soda: typically stores for a very long time (indefinitely), but it can be used for other things besides leavening. Be sure and check expiration dates.
- Baking powder: typically stores 9-12 months. Be sure and check the expiration on the container. You can make your own baking powder by combining half a teaspoon of cream of tartar and quarter of a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda, this equals the equivalent of one teaspoon of baking powder.
- Salt: stores indefinitely. But stock up if you can because this is a cheap item that everyone needs in their pantry.
- Instant milk: I buy #10 cans that store for 25 years under optimum temperatures. In other words, not my hot garage.
- Honey: stores indefinitely. I tend to buy my honey in small 1/2 gallon or smaller containers so I can warm it with water to liquefy if it has hardened. Five-gallon buckets are hard for me to pry out chunks for use if they have crystallized.
- White sugar: stores indefinitely. It may clump, but you can break up the clumps with a spoon or fork.
- Oil: coconut oil has a longer shelf life than olive oil. The maximum shelf-life of olive oil is 12 months, depending on how old it was when you bought it at the store. Oils need to be stored in a dark cool place. Coconut oil will store longer, depending on the kind you buy. Every manufacturer has different expiration dates.
- Rice: white rice stores longer than brown rice. Brown rice has a shelf-life of six months because it is so oily, and becomes rancid very quickly.
- Canned chicken: for sandwiches or casseroles. You’ll be surprised as to how tasty canned chicken is and it’s really inexpensive.
- Canned roast beef: for sandwiches or casseroles. Another one of my favorite meats is canned roast beef, so yummy!
- Canned tuna: be careful with storing tuna because to me it becomes mushy after a year or two. It’s great for sandwiches or casseroles.
- Mayonnaise: for sandwiches or casseroles. Mayo can be stored for a long time, but you can also make so many dishes out of it.
- Miracle whip: yep, my husband introduced me to this awesome spread for sandwiches and casseroles. Please note, I started buying smaller jars so if we do have a power outage I will still have some sandwich spread if we go days without power. Please remember, ice will be non-existent within hours after a power outage. Please store some gallons of water in your freezer that you could transfer to a camping cooler if needed, with perishable groceries.
- Oatmeal: is a great frugal food to store. I always think hot cereal, cookies, and we can use it to stretch a hamburger casserole.
- Beans: here’s the deal with beans. You can buy bulk beans, canned beans, and bags of beans. If you have a can opener you can eat those babies right out of the can, if you had to. Talk about a frugal food staple!!! Add some spices and we are set for any meal.
- Popcorn: I love popcorn freshly popped with butter and salt. Love it!
- Lemon juice: awesome for cooking or drinking. I love it with green tea and honey.
- Tomato paste: you can make pizza, spaghetti sauce and so much more. Don’t forget to keep tomato paste in your pantry, it’s great for so many meals.
- Tomato sauce: you can make casseroles, soups, and spaghetti to name a few meals. Tomato paste and tomato sauce are not the same thing.
- Tomato flakes: great for soups.
- Canned tomatoes: can make so many things like soup, chili, and stir-fry dishes. I have made tons of delicious dishes with canned tomatoes.
- Cream of chicken soup: I buy this one by the case. Sorry, I don’t make it from scratch. I have tried many recipes from scratch and they can’t beat my Campbell’s cream of chicken soup.
- Cream of mushroom soup: is great as a soup or used in casseroles or creamy soups. YES! You need to have this on hand.
- Black olives: need I say more. I can picture my grandkids with their fingertips covered with olives. These are great for pizzas, salads, casseroles or snacks. Life is good!
- Powdered sugar: for frosting. I can smell the sugar cookies baking right now! If you don’t have powdered sugar, you can easily blend regular sugar to make powdered sugar.
- Cocoa: premixed for hot cocoa or hot chocolate. This is great to use on cold days if the power is out.
- Unsweetened cocoa: to make your own cocoa mix or for cookies, cakes, etc. It’s amazing how many different dishes unsweetened cocoa can make!
- Vanilla: It is awesome to add some flavor to so many drinks, recipes, etc.
- Coffee and tea: to drink or barter with. Tea has a lot of health benefits, especially green tea.
- Paper Products: plates, cups, and plastic silverware for emergencies.
- Foil: can be used inside the home and outside the home. I always have two or three boxes stored.
- Bags: whether gallon size, quart, or sandwich size. I watch for sales and stock up for the year.
- Spices: rotate your spices and replace them as needed. We can make any meal tastier with our favorite spices.
- Pasta: Whole wheat pasta has a shorter life, so be sure and check for expiration dates. I buy some pasta in bags as well as some #10 cans for extended shelf-life.
- Peanut butter: does not store indefinitely, so watch the dates. Rancid peanut butter is not safe to eat.
- Jams and jelly: to make toast or sandwiches.
- Maple syrup: is great for French toast, waffles, pancakes or Ebelskivers by FSM
- Ketchup: for scrambled eggs, recipes, and a condiment for meals.
- Barbecue sauce: is great for baked beans, barbecued meats, etc.
- Salad dressings: I make a lot of mine from scratch, but sometimes if certain ones are on sale I will pick up one or two to save me time and money.
- Vinegar: I use all the different flavors, including Balsamic vinegar.
- Canned vegetables: great to add to many so meals. You can eat them right out of the can if you had to after a disaster. Plus you can use the water in soups.
- Frozen vegetables: are my favorite to buy for a month because there is no waste.
- Tortillas: a must-have in my house. I have some great tortilla recipes if you can use them. Tortillas by Food Storage Moms I could have Mexican food every night, I really could. My favorite tortilla makers: CucinaPro Electric Tortilla Maker – Heavy Duty, Non-stick -Perfect Homemade Flatbread and Tortillas, Chrome or this one: Norpro Cast Aluminum Tortilla Press
- Salsa: I could put salsa on everything, I like to buy mild because my husband doesn’t like it too spicy.
- Chicken broth or chicken bouillon: is critical in my home. I use it for cooking chicken, casseroles, soups, etc.
- Butter: if I have butter I can put it on toast, scramble eggs with it, and make so many recipes.
- Sweetened condensed milk: did I hear caramel corn??? Here is the best recipe in the world: Caramel Corn by Food Storage Moms
- Corn syrup: yes they make it without high fructose syrup now. I use it in my caramel corn above.
- Fresh ground beef: is great in spaghetti, hamburgers, chili to name just a few meals.
- Fresh or frozen chicken: you can cook ahead of time, chop or shred and bag it for freezing to use later in sandwiches, casseroles, chili, etc.
- Eggs: are frugal even at the higher prices lately. Eggs can be used in so many dishes, as well as fried, hard-boiled, scrambled, etc. I use them in so many recipes as well.
- Pet food: Don’t forget your pet’s food. Yes, please don’t forget your pet’s food!
- Vegetable spray: I use a lot of it when baking or cooking. I have to laugh, when I stayed at my daughter’s I went through two whole cans. I was there for four weeks. Gotta love it!
- Cans or jars of various fruits: these are great for side dishes. Of course, fresh tastes the best, but it sure is nice knowing you have some canned fruit to grab and eat out of the jar, or can if you are in a hurry.
Please share your frugal kitchen and pantry items I should add to my list, I would love it. One thing I also use for keeping pancakes, grilled cheese sandwiches, and waffles warm is this tortillas keeper gem: Norpro Tortilla Pancake Keeper.
If you don’t have any of the items on this list, go ahead and slowly start adding them. When you go to the store, you can slowly add one or two things each and every week. This is also a frugal way to build up your frugal kitchen and pantry items you need.
If you have a thrift store near you go grab as many of the old-time “cook from scratch” cookbooks you can possibly use. Let’s show the world we can cook from scratch and love it! May God bless you for your efforts of being prepared for the unexpected.