The Best Foods You Need In Your Pantry
I think it’s critical we talk about the best foods you need in your pantry. If you have gone to the grocery store lately, you have seen the shelves are not as full as they used to be.
If you watch the news there are various reasons why the shelves as not as full as the last few years. Please don’t panic. Let’s talk about what we can do to get through this rough patch.
I may come on a little strong today because I feel it is critical we teach our kids and grandkids to cook from scratch. I’ll be honest with you, I have never been rich, but I have been poor.
Growing up I didn’t realize we were poor. I look back now and can see my mom did the best job raising three girls alone with the cards she was dealt. My mother could cook anything from scratch.
We ate homemade bread, homemade dinner rolls, and the best biscuits on the planet. My mom was a survivor as a single mom doing the best she could, and she did it well. She taught her daughters to sew, cook from scratch, and how to work.
In case you missed this post on how to make a sourdough starter and bread, How To Make A Sourdough Starter + Bread
What You Need In Your Kitchen
- Cookie Sheets
- Muffin Tins
- Cake Pans
- Bread Pans
- Rolling Pin
- Dough Cutter/Scraper
- Biscuit Cutters
- Parchment Paper
- Measuring cups and spoons
- 12- Inch Whisk and 9-Inch Whisk
- Danish Whisk
- Pizza Cutter
The Best Foods You Need In Your Pantry
Of course, there are more items we can stock, but today it’s about teaching our kids and grandkids how to bake, which I feel is critical.
1. Flour (bread, all-purpose, or gluten-free 1:1)
Here’s the deal, with this list I have today if you can make tortillas, biscuits, dinner rolls, or bread, you can survive. Please teach your family to make bread of all types. You can serve it with homemade soup to fill the belly.
2. Cornmeal and Maseca Corn Flour (store in the freezer)
Now, there’s cornmeal for cornbread, and if we have Maseca cornflour (they make it gluten-free), you can make the most delicious corn tortillas on the planet. In case you missed this post, How To Make Homemade Corn Tortillas
This one is simple, make oatmeal for breakfast, make oatmeal muffins, use oatmeal as filler to stretch ground beef in meals.
You can make bread, dinner rolls, pancakes, pizza dough and so much more. My favorite is SAF Instant Yeast (please keep it fresh by storing it in the freezer).
5. Wheat Gluten
In case you don’t know what Wheat Gluten is, in a nutshell, it improves the texture of whole wheat bread, as well as the elasticity of the bread dough when making it. If you ever had hard red wheat bread made by grandma (we called them BRICKS), you will love this stuff. I only use hard white wheat, it has less protein than hard red wheat but it tastes much milder. Please store it in the freezer to keep it fresh.
6. Dough Enhancer
I use Dough Enhancer in my wheat bread and my white bread, dinner rolls, and my cinnamon rolls. It makes your end product soft and fluffy. It’s optional, but I always have it. Please store it in the freezer to keep it fresh.
7. Baking Soda
We need baking soda because it’s a leavening agent and helps make our cakes, cookies, and muffins, light and fluffy.
8. Baking Powder
Baking powder increases the volume of what we’re baking and lightens the texture. It makes the batter expand and bubble through leavening it.
Honey, need I say more, it’s a great sweetener for our whole wheat bread. I love it when I have a cold coming on in warm green tea with a lemon squeeze and a bit of honey. It’s perfect on a bowl of oatmeal and spread on peanut butter and honey sandwiches.
We need it for baking, coffee, tea, recipes, and sprinkled on cereal.
11. Brown Sugar
Brown sugar adds so much flavor to recipes, we can’t live without it. AND we can make our own Brown Sugar!
12. Powdered Sugar
When I think of powdered sugar, I think of making frosting and sometimes sprinkling on cookies, candy, and gingerbread!
My mother used molasses to make her “brown bread.” I need to cut down her recipe and share it with you. You can mix molasses with white granulated sugar to make your own fresh brown sugar at the last minute!
14. Cocoa Powder
Oh my, chocolate cookies, hot chocolate, hot cocoa, chocolate frosting, chocolate cake, brownies, and muffins!
15. Chocolate Chips
I can never, ever, run out of chocolate chips. I love to make chocolate chip cookies and eat chocolate chips in a bowl as a snack. Don’t forget pumpkin bread with chocolate chips, oh yeah, pumpkin with chocolate, great combination!
Do you love raisins in some bread, dinner rolls, muffins, and oatmeal? I sure do! Some of my family members are not fond of them, but I will eat them as a snack!
Salt is added to enhance flavors in meals, and most recipes. It’s an inexpensive food item to stock. Please remember to not use oxygen absorbers in salt. The salt will become a brick. Keep it dry and cool and it will last many years. My favorite salts are Redmond Fine Salt and Redmond Coarse/Kosher Salt, and Himalayan Pink Salt.
We all need to store oil if we cook or bake. The biggest function of oil in baked goods is to keep your product moist, such as cakes, muffins, or cookies. Plus, who doesn’t love to make their own homemade salad dressings? I realize everyone has their favorite oil for baking, cooking, and frying food. I store olive oil, coconut oil, and vegetable oil.
19. Canned Pumpkin
There have been years we couldn’t get pumpkin in a can. We need it for muffins, cookies, cakes, and so many other recipes!
20. Eggs (refrigerator)
We all know eggs can provide structure, leavening, richness, color, and enhances the wonderful flavor of our baked goods. Of course, eggs are for scrambled eggs and so many other recipes.!
21. Butter (refrigerator)
Need I say more, we need butter. I freeze my butter in the packages they come in. I stock up when it’s on sale. But you can’t beat Costco’s price on butter where I live. I always buy salted butter, it’s my favorite to stock.
22. Milk (refrigerator)
Most people stock their refrigerator with milk, almond milk, or coconut milk. There are so many reasons we all need milk, for cereal, cooking, and baking food items.
23. Cream Cheese (refrigerator)
I always have cream cheese in the refrigerator. I tried freezing it, I didn’t like the texture. You can save money sometimes if you buy double packs (2 in a box).
24. Sour Cream (refrigerator)
Well, I confess I love dips and chips. I know, it’s not a healthy snack, but at my age, I love them. I love recipes with sour cream, cookies, casseroles, and even a dollop on soup. In case you missed this post, Soft Cream Cheese Frosted Sugar Cookies
25. Evaporated Milk
My mom stocked a lot of evaporated milk. I use very little, but I do like to have about 5 cans in the pantry ready for when I need to make something. The nice thing about shelf-stable evaporated milk is that it stays good for about 2 years unopened in your pantry.
26. Sweetened Condensed Milk
My favorite way to use sweetened condensed milk is for my Caramel Popcorn recipe. I don’t overstock this item, but I do like about 5 cans in the pantry to have ready.
27. Nuts (freezer) almonds, pecans, and walnuts, and pine nuts
There are so many recipes where we can use various nuts. If we freeze them, you always have some available when needed. Bonus, they are great snacks. I love pine nuts in salads as well. I buy them once a year at Costco (without the shell). Yes, they are expensive, but you use very little in spinach salads and the crunch is the best!
28. Coconut (freezer)
I actually freeze my coconut to keep it fresh. It’s ready when I need it. I have the best recipe using coconut, but this one is my favorite, The Best 7 Layer Bars. There are so many ways to add coconut to a muffin recipe. Sprinkle it on whipping cream frosted cakes, and so much more. Now I want to make a cake!
Vanilla adds so much flavor to whipping cream, pie fillings, cookies, and cakes.
30. Spices (cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg, ground cloves)
Baking or cooking with spices is critical to make the perfect cookies, cakes, and many other recipes! In case you missed this post, 25 Items I Recommend For Your Spice Rack
31. Cream of Tartar
Cream of tartar helps stabilize whipped egg whites, prevents sugar from crystallizing, and also acts as a leavening agent for so many baked goods.
It’s used when pickling liquids, making vinaigrettes, and other salad dressings. We use it as an ingredient in sauces, such as hot sauce, mustard, ketchup, and mayonnaise.
33. Pineapple (Crushed or Chunks)
I was reminded to add pineapple, oh, how I love it! You can add crushed pineapple or pineapple chunks to so many recipes. The is my favorite recipe with crushed pineapple, Pineapple Cream Cheese Dip Appetizer
34. Chocolate Lots of Chocolate (thank you Chris)
Dark chocolate-covered raisins, chocolate-covered peanuts, chocolate truffles, peanut butter for cookies with chocolate Hershey kisses in them. Chocolate ice cream, Chocolate M & M’s, Dark chocolate for the coconut in the freezer. Chocolate advent calendars. A day without chocolate is worse than a day without sunshine.
I hope you enjoyed my thoughts today on the best foods you need in your pantry. So many families know how to bake and cook from scratch, but many don’t. Personally, I love to bake and cook, it’s my passion.
I love new recipes and new ideas. If you see something I need to add to this list, please let me know. May God Bless this world, Linda
Copyright Images: Bread Dough AdobeStock_274791136 New Africa
22 thoughts on “The Best Foods You Need In Your Pantry”
I also keep can pumpkin on hand. I like to also use it when I make bread pudding. If I don’t have crushed pineapple I use can pumpkin. Gives bread pudding a slight orange look, great for Halloween.
Hi Lenoir, oh I need to add pineapple to the list!!! I want to make bread pudding now with pumpkin!!! I love it! Thank you! Linda
Good list. I would add one thing to it. A good sourdough recipe. Yeast can go bad unexpectedly, and you may still want to make bread.
Hi Janet, good one, I will add my post on how to make it. Thank you! Linda
I also use lots of different extracts – so much that some I buy in the pint size at a restaurant supply or cooking store like Orson Gygi’s in Salt Lake. My favorites for pint size are almond, peppermint, lemon, banana, and coconut. I buy the small sizes of rum, orange, and cherry. I also like the pint size bottle of red food coloring since Red Velvet recipes use so much (which I usually have no adverse results).
Hi Kay, oh my gosh, I love Orson Gygi’s!! I did not know that I could buy red food coloring in pints! I will be closer to that store next week! YAY!! Thanks for that awesome tip! Linda
Hey Linda! You forgot Hot Pockets and Pop Tarts! LOL
Hi Chuck, oh my gosh, this made me giggle! The funny thing is I love both of those!! I only get Pop-Tarts when I go see my grandkids!! Great comment, you made my day! Linda
On Item #15, do you eat the chocolate chip cookies from a bowl as a snack or just the chocolate chips? Asking for a friend.
Hi Karl, I have the giggles now!! Oh my gosh, you made my day! Asking for a friend is the best! LOL! I can’t stop laughing, the best comment ever! I fixed the post, thank you, my friend!! Linda
Hi Linda! Yes the world would be better off if we all knew how to cook from scratch. My kids and all the grands know how. Even the youngest who is 6 can read and follow a simple recipe. She tells me she wants to be a chef when she grows up!
Hi Paula, oh my gosh, that is so awesome to hear! I want to be a chef! Now, she’s been taught how “fun” it is or enjoyable however you want to say it! Proud mama and grandma for sure! Isn’t it wonderful that they all know how to cook from scratch??? I love this! Linda
To save on your refrigerator space, you could always buy or make your own ghee. (Clarified Butter)
Hi Jean, great idea!!! Linda
I have no desire to be critical but I found your list lacking. There is no dark chocolate covered raisins, no chocolate covered peanuts, no chocolate truffles, no peanut butter for cookies with chocolate Hershey kisses in them. No chocolate ice cream, no chocolate M & Ms, no dark chocolate for the coconut in the freezer. No chocolate advent calendars. A day without chocolate is worse than a day without sunshine.
Hi Chris, oh my gosh, how did I forget chocolate??? I am going to add EVERY SINGLE ONE of these to my list! I have the giggles so bad! You listed EVERY SINGLE ONF OF MY FAVORITES!! You made my day, thank you! I love it! Linda
Okay now I need to go get Wheat Gluten. I had all the other stuff and a bunch besides, but had never even thought of wheat gluten–probably because I store all purpose flour instead of grinding my own from hard wheat berries. And we don’t have but a single jar of molasses and God knows how old it is. We don’t use it.
I would add white rice and dried beans to the list–and maybe sliced canned peaches as well. Oh, and applesauce if you don’t have apple trees.
Hi Ray, if you hardly ever use molasses I wouldn’t store a lot of it. Once I open the jar, I don’t keep it long, I feel it goes bad when opened for a few months. That’s why I buy small jars. I’m writing another post on main dish pantry needs. Oh, you are so lucky to have apple trees! I use to can peaches and my kids would eat a whole quart with homemade bread with peanut butter on it. Life is so good with peaches and applesauce! You will be amazed how the wheat gluten and dough enhancer makes your bread so soft with freshly ground wheat flour. Yummy! Linda
I’ve been getting your emails for several years. During the pandemic I became more focused on being prepared (in spite of some teasing from family……my daughter said ‘if you have food buckets, you are a prepper”. I had been calling myself a ‘Girl Scout’, not a ‘Prepper”……..but I DO have buckets and buckets of flour, sugar, dried beans, etc. LOL. Anyway, All your posts are so helpful in keeping me up to date on things I might need. Always room for improvement!
Hi Suzanne, you made my day! Thank you for your kind words! I think we were “preppers” before the word ever came to be. Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts “get it”, they know how to prepare. I LOVE hearing you have buckets and buckets. I confess, when the pandemic hit, I had like 12 packages of Costco toilet paper in the huge bags. We had neighbors with only one roll of toilet paper?? WHAT?? LOL! Who only has one roll? I shared some of mine but next time they are on their own. I have moved to Northern Utah. I hope some of the families in the world understand the need to stock. It’s a way of life for us. Linda
What is the best way to store salt, in the box or in smaller jars? I have a bucket stored for food preservation but realized with just 2 of us, opening a bucket will waste it. I figured if it’s not good to store it in the cardboard box, then I would put it in pint jars. Thanks in advance for your advice.
Hi Pam, it depends on where you live, if it’s humid, place it in mason jars. Do not put oxygen absorbers in salt or sugar they will become bricks. I live where humidity is not an issue, so I store the salt in the blue round cardboard containers. Here is a link that may help you. I live in Utah. Salt is clear at the bottom of the post: https://www.foodstoragemoms.com/how-to-store-your-food-storage/. Linda