What Every Pantry Should Have

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Today it’s all about what every pantry should have. Here’s the deal, we all have our favorite items we must stock, right? It could be salsa, green chilies, olives, or cream of chicken soup. My top items may not be what you want to have in your pantry, I get it.

But this is a list that most everyone can use. Some of you have been cooking from scratch for years, maybe some of you are just learning. Everyone has skills, whether it be cooking, baking, sewing, or whatnot.

It’s been quite a shock to see the grocery store shelves barely stocked. Some shelves are totally empty, others are only one can deep. In Utah, every fall I buy case lot sales of foods. Whoa, before you say, I never eat anything out of a can, please take another look.

Sure, we all want fresh vegetables and fruits, but I still buy some canned items. In case you are wondering what canned food I recommend, here is a post I have written about that issue. Canned Foods I Highly Recommend You Store

What Every Pantry Should Have

What Every Pantry Should Have

I’m going to break it out in sections. So, let’s get started. Some items may be in other sections, just giving you the heads up here. Once you organize your pantry you should be able to cook just about any meal from scratch.

You don’t need any fancy cookbooks, in fact if you have your mom’s or grandma’s cookbooks, those are the very best.

The next time you are out and about check out thrift stores or garage sales for old cookbooks. Do you LOVE the neighborhood cookbooks as much as I do?

If you have special dietary needs, you may need to add or subtract a few of these items I use all the time. The thing I like the most is knowing what is in the meals I prepare at home.

Read More of My Articles  Everything You Need To Stock Your Kitchen

It seems like when I eat out, which is rare, the food is delicious but has a lot more butter, salt, and sometimes spices that are not my favorite. I guess you could say, I’m a simple chick that cooks from scratch at home!

Baking Items

Mark and I love to grind our own wheat and make my No-Fail Whole Wheat Bread recipe. But I also like to make Cinnamon Rolls with cream cheese frosting.

Do you love the smell of something yummy baking in the oven? Life is so good when you have the skills to bake cookies, bread, or whatever you love to cook in the oven.

  • Honey
  • Sugar
  • Bread Flour
  • White Flour
  • Baking Soda
  • Baking Powder
  • Salt
  • Vanilla
  • Yeast
  • Chocolate Chips
  • Shredded Coconut
  • Instant Milk
  • Evaporated Milk
  • Buttermilk (dry form)

The Spices I Use The Most

If you have spices in your pantry that are organized so you can find them quickly and you don’t need to run to the store, say for cinnamon, life is so much easier. Just grab your measuring spoons, cups, and a bowl to get started.

You can use a hand mixer, a spoon, a Danish Whisk, or a stand mixer to make a meal, a dessert, or a side dish.

  • Chili Powder
  • Sweet Basil
  • Garlic
  • Cumin
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Sage
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • All Seasons Salt
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Paprika
  • Crushed Red Pepper

The Perfect Oils

These are my favorite oils, what about you?

  • Olive Oil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Canola Oil
  • Vegetable Oil

My Favorite Kinds of Vinegar – I Love These

Do you love bread dipped in vinegar and oil? I sure do!

  • Balsamic
  • Apple Cider
  • White Vinegar
  • Red Wine

Canned Meats

Sometimes I need to fix a meal at the last minute and those cans of meat come in real handy. Or, you can add a little mayo or Miracle Whip and you can make a sandwich. The dried beef makes the perfect Cream Chipped Beef on Toast, right?

  • Chicken Breast
  • Turkey
  • Cooked Ground Beef
  • Canned Pork
  • Shredded Beef
  • Dried Beef in Jars
Read More of My Articles  Dehydrated Foods: Are They Good for You?

Canned Foods

Let me know what cans of canned food you would add to my list, I love knowing what others stock.

  • Chicken Broth
  • Vegetable Broth
  • Beef Broth
  • Better Than Bouillon
  • Diced Tomatoes
  • Tomato Paste
  • Spaghetti Sauce
  • Cream of Chicken Soup
  • Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • Cream of Tomato Soup
  • Green Beans
  • Corn
  • Green Chilies
  • Sliced and Whole Water Chestnuts
  • 100% Pumpkin (not the pumpkin pie cans)
  • Cake Mixes (not technically canned but you get it)
  • Instant Pudding
  • Gelatin
  • Fruit Cocktail
  • Crushed Pineapple
  • Pineapple Chunks
  • Crackers

Best Condiments

I admit I love pickles on sandwiches, my husband introduced that to me over 50 years ago. These are all my favorite condiments.

  • Mayonnaise
  • Miracle Whip
  • Ketchup
  • Mustard
  • Soy Sauce
  • Vinegar
  • Tartar Sauce
  • BBQ Sauce
  • Pickles
  • Pickle Relish
  • Ken’s Thousand Island Salad Dressing (it’s my favorite)

Pasta, Quinoa, and Rice

If you stock these items you will never starve. Of course, you need water and a way to cook them, but these are my staples.

  • White Rice (Jasmine is my favorite)
  • Brown Rice (I stock very little brown rice because it goes rancid within 6 months.)
  • Pasta
  • Quinoa Red, White, or Black, or Mixed
  • Lentils


The more the merrier for me!

  • M & M’s (don’t judge me-LOL)
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Dark Baking Cocoa

Healthy Snacks

Oh man, I’m a snacker, these are just a few of my favorites.

  • Granola Bars
  • Peanuts
  • Trail Mix
  • Cashews
  • Raisins
  • Popcorn
  • Dried Fruit
  • Freeze-Dried Fruit
  • Pretzels

Pet Foods

We have two female Shih Tzu’s, Izzy and Bailey. I sleep better at night knowing I have at least six months worth of food on hand for them.

  • Dog or Cat Food
  • Pet Treats
  • Kitty Litter
  • Puppy Pads

Final Word

I hope you enjoyed my post today, what every pantry should have. If you can cook from scratch, your children or grandkids will watch you cooking and see the joy it brings to you and your family.

Life is all about sharing skills and talents with one another. Have fun and eat at home, you’ll love it! May God bless this world, Linda

Copyright Images: Crockery Utensils Deposit photos_123721424_s-2019

36 thoughts on “What Every Pantry Should Have

  • September 11, 2020 at 7:40 am

    WooHoo! I have everything on the lists that we use. Don’t use mayonnaise. We don’t eat it. There are couple of others that we don’t eat as well. We do have extra food for our fur babies, and treats. We got some vitamins for them for treats. They love them. Oh, we have 4 total. 3 inside and 1 outside dogs. All are rescues. 1 is white, the others are black. (The rescue people told us that black dogs are hardest to get adopted.) Our first dog, I paid for her, was also black. I guess I’m the odd one, I like black dogs. Small ones. I’m scared of big dogs. Have been my whole life, due to having to have rabies shots when I was very young. (Less than 5 years old.)

    • September 11, 2020 at 9:51 am

      Hi Deborah, I have a black Shih Tzu and a tri-color Shih Tzu (she’s only 9 months old and she is BUSY-LOL). I didn’t know black dogs are hard to get adopted, an interesting tidbit. Mine are both small, 10, and 12 pounds, not so small I trip on them. I can’t imagine having those rabies shots!! I’ve heard they hurt like crazy or something, I can’t remember. WOW, you were so young!!!! Stay safe, Linda

      • September 11, 2020 at 10:36 am

        One every day for 28 days. In the stomach. I don’t remember it though. I was pretty young. Mother said they’d raise up about a quarter inch and be as big as a silver dollar. And they’d be hot to the touch. My sister and brother had them, too. They are 4 and 6 years older than I am. Well brother is gone. He died from lung cancer at 44 years of age. Sister still smokes. I did, but quit about a year after brother died. It’s been 25-26 years since I quit. One of the best thing I ever did! It wasn’t easy, but after spending $104 for a 30 day supply of the patches, I had to. I don’t regret it a bit, and don’t miss it. They stink to me!

        • September 11, 2020 at 12:25 pm

          Hi Deborah, oh my gosh, all your siblings and you got them, yikes!! OH MY GOSH!!! One every day for 28 days!!! Were you bitten by a dog? I can’t imagine what you all went through!! I grew up with parents that smoked. Looking back our doctor smoked in the office! Can you even imagine that???? LOL! We drove in a car with the windows up while my parents smoked. I swear that’s why I have bad lungs from second-hand smoke. I never liked smoking because of the smell of my parents. Life has changed, first, they stopped smoking at restaurants and airplanes, wow, thank goodness. It’s a bad habit to stop. I’m addicted to food, I wish I wasn’t or at least I would eat less. It’s a habit of cleaning your plate I can’t shake. But I must! Stay well, Linda

          • September 11, 2020 at 2:30 pm

            I don’t really know. I don’t remember the shots either. Just remember the stories.

            We learned to clean our plates from our parents. “People in China are staving. Eat your food. Clean your plate.” I remember all of these. And you have to eat a bite of everything. I remember them making me eat carrots. I’d chew and gag, but I did get them down. And they stayed down. I didn’t like carrots until a few years ago. Now I do. I must admit when I cook just carrots, i put a little brown sugar in them. (Sugar substitute.) And I like them cooked in a roast. Haven’t tried sweet potatoes yet. I’m hoping to soon.

          • September 11, 2020 at 3:55 pm

            Hi Deborah, oh yeah, brown sugar on cooked carrots with a little butter, yummy! I love sweet potatoes, my husband will eat anything but those and summer squash, I love both of them! Linda

  • September 11, 2020 at 7:47 am

    spagetti o’s comfort food for kids can eat hot or cold. We are in the fires of Oregon. With and without electric. made a large pot of mac and cheese to eat hot or cold . With the ashes the solar things do not work well , cant use the grill, stove on and off. It has been hard. stores are closed because yo can not get there in ashes. Water is not good because of extra chemicals to keep it clean. This has been a challenge again. Been in hurricanes, tornados,earth quakes,tsunamis, flash floods, now fire and pandemic at the same time.

    • September 11, 2020 at 9:55 am

      Hi Gail, I love Spaghettio’s!! Oh my goodness, the fires are so bad this year. Thanks for the update, people need to realize why we prepare for the unexpected. YOU have seen it all my friend, thank you for letting us all know about the stores, the water, and not being able to cook with solar or anything outside. This is the BEST comment to help all of us. Thank you for sharing. I will pray for you and your family and all the first responders, firefighters, etc. God bless this world, we need it. Linda

    • September 11, 2020 at 2:33 pm

      Gail, prayers for rain or for them to get the fires out. Hang in there. God will see you through this too.

  • September 11, 2020 at 8:33 am

    Don’t forget cat litter!

  • September 11, 2020 at 8:52 am

    Gail, You are in our prayers, please stay safe and healthy.

    Gratitude makes what we have enough

  • September 11, 2020 at 8:57 am

    Your list gives me confidence. We have most of these things. Good to do a check, however.
    Thank you for your columns.

    • September 11, 2020 at 10:04 am

      Hi Diana, thank you for your kind words, they mean a lot to me. Every pantry is different, but any food stocked will keep us prepared. Stay safe, stay well. Linda

  • September 11, 2020 at 9:53 am

    I don’t use quite a few especially the spices. We don’t like spicy because it upsets our stomach’s. One think you mentioned is Tarter sauce. I would rather keep a lot of Miracle whip and pickle relish on hand and make my own. Does not have the chemicals I am allergic to. What was funny my youngest son said he did not like Tarter sauce but he likes Miracle Whip and pickle relish on his sandwiches and he caught me putting my home made Tarter Sauce on his sandwich and he had a fit. I said try it. He did and said well that is just miracle whip and pickle relish and I told him That is homemade tarter sauce. What you don’t like is store bought Tarter Sauce.

    • September 11, 2020 at 12:28 pm

      Hi Jackie, I love this, and I LOVE Miracle Whip with relish! So many people don’t know how to make tartar sauce!! Thank you for sharing this great story! Linda

    • September 11, 2020 at 2:36 pm

      Jackie, sweet or sour (dill) relish? We like tartar sauce, but I’d love to make my own. We keep Miracle Whip all the time. Don’t use Mayonnaise.

  • September 11, 2020 at 9:55 am

    Keeping y’all in my prayers! . I can only imagine how awful the air is. Sounds like you’re doing ok for now. God bless you and your family!

  • September 11, 2020 at 12:27 pm

    Hi Linda! This is a great list. I keep most of these things on hand except for pet food. Our dog was put down a couple of years ago and we haven’t gotten another one yet. I sure miss him!

  • September 11, 2020 at 1:02 pm

    I have a well stocked “pantry” but I am cutting out vegetable oil and just using olive, avocado and coconut oils. I am feeling pretty good about my pantry and my long term storage at this point.

  • September 11, 2020 at 4:26 pm

    Linda, I love summer squash, too. Fried or in a casserole. Or steamed with butter and onion, in the microwave. Yum. Oh, and I can’t not mention fried green tomatoes. If you’ve never had them, you are missing out. I slice mine, shake in cornmeal, dip in buttermilk or egg and milk wash, and dip in cornmeal again. Fry in hot oil, turning once When first side is done. Drain on paper towels. They are so good. Wish I had some.

    • September 11, 2020 at 7:27 pm

      Hi Deborah, oh yeah on the fried green tomatoes! I use buttermilk and flour, I will have to try cornmeal! Yummy!! Linda

      • September 12, 2020 at 6:47 am

        I didn’t get any this year, but hopefully next year. We didn’t have a garden of any kind. Hubby can’t do the tilling, and the tiller is too big for me. I’ve tried and buried it. LOL I’m doing a container garden next Spring. I have the containers, just need some good soil to go in them. Tomatoes are on top of my list of things to grow.

        Always something to look forward to. :^)

          • September 12, 2020 at 6:22 pm

            I’m hoping so. I have 7 big containers that cattle mineral blocks came in that a friend gave me. She has some more that I want to get. All I’ll need to do is drill holes and fill with dirt. I also have 2 plastic half barrels that I can use. We got the seeds this year, for next year. If I planted everything I want to plant, we’d have to use almost the whole yard. We live on an acre with the house on it, and a shop and garage and a couple of out buildings. And still have a good sized yard to mow. The front is fenced in for the dogs. The rest is also fenced in, but separated from the front. Oh, and we have an electronic gate. We’ve been burgled before. Also security lights and cameras. Some record, some don’t.

  • September 11, 2020 at 6:36 pm

    I was happy that I nearly had everything on your list. I bought a danish whisk a few months ago. I had never heard of it until I heard about it on your site. It was a little spendy but well worth it. I love it

    • September 11, 2020 at 7:31 pm

      Hi Cindy, I learned about when I was teaching classes at a kitchen store. My friend, Melissa Richardson (The Art Of Baking With Natural Yeast) was teaching a class the same day I was. I bought 3 of those on the spot. I gave one to two of my daughters. The best idea ever! They work great with so many things. I use mine my sourdough starter the very most. I love lists to help us put our heads together to see what we need to cook from scratch! I love hearing that you are so prepared! Linda

  • September 11, 2020 at 9:39 pm

    Re: M&M’s…I loved them as a kid, can take or leave them now…but the new Fudge Brownie ones are surprisingly delicious.

    • September 12, 2020 at 2:42 pm

      Hi Karen, I need to check on the new Fidge Brownie ones!! Linda

  • September 12, 2020 at 1:08 pm

    I have M&Ms in my food storage as well, I empty them out of the bag and then vacuum seal the jar. I have the favorite chocolate candy for all of us saved. It’s probably the most often replaced item in our food storage.

    I base my food storage on recipes. I have about 12 recipes that we have tried and liked and created baskets for our food storage area. I use plastic baskets/boxes to hold the ingredients for the recipe. I have the recipe printed on card stock and included in the basket. All seasonings and spices pre-measured and included in the basket. Each basket holds between 1 and 6 meals for that recipe. One of the first recipes I added was for 7 can soup https://www.thepioneerwoman.com/food-cooking/recipes/a78065/seven-can-soup/ 7 can soup is one of our quickie meals, we mix the boxed cornbread and pop it in the oven. Then add everything for the soup and it is ready by the time the cornbread is baked.

    From that recipe, I learned that there are lots of recipes that can use the beanless chili as the “meat” ingredient. I mix it with canned tomatoes and canned corn to make taco soup, or if I drain the tomatoes and corn and make a topping for nachoes. I use it as the meat in chili. and of course, during non-food storage times, we use it to make chili dogs. Once I learn to make tortillas, I want to come up with a recipe to make enchaliads with it.

    In other words, the Hormel Beanless Chili has earned it’s place in my pantry storage.

    • September 12, 2020 at 2:59 pm

      Hi Topaz, I love Hormel Beanless chili! Life is good when we know how to cook from scratch. Linda

  • September 13, 2020 at 11:17 am

    Wonderful list, thank you! Would you be able to remove the powdered buttermilk, since you already have powdered milk and vinegar? Trying to consolidate, lol!


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