What You Need In Your Working Pantry

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Are you wondering what you need in your working pantry? You may have heard the term long-term pantry, which is basically where you store larger quantities of food storage. For me, I have smaller containers that I use every week. Well, a 5-gallon bucket of flour or sugar is too much for me to handle these days. So I refill my smaller 2-gallon buckets from the 5-gallon buckets. These smaller containers are not as heavy to haul over to the kitchen countertop as I do my baking.

What is a Working Pantry?

A working pantry is a modest-sized pantry, it isn’t too big or too small. Most of us have the space for a working pantry of some sort. In this day and age, anywhere you can store pantry items can be considered your working pantry. A lot of people use open shelving for their pantry. You can also use cabinetry for your pantry. The picture above is part of my small kitchen. I wish it was larger, but it is what it is. Mark and I cook meals in this kitchen and it brings me joy every single day.

Some of My Favorite Tools

What You Need In Your Working Pantry

Let’s break it down into sections, please tell me items you think I should add to each section. I think we can all learn from each other. Remember that everyone’s pantry is different, so this is just my advice. You can always add or take away what you’d like based on your own priorities and cooking preferences. So, let’s get started. Thank you to Heidi, Deborah, and Leanne for previewing my list before I had the PRINTABLE made.

I left off fresh fruit and vegetables because we like to buy those items in the season for the best flavor. Plus, if our garden is producing we will pick fresh vegetables from our own yard. If not, we can buy items from the local Farmer’s Market.

What You Need In Your Working Pantry

Baking Items

  • Flour
  • Sugar
  • Brown Sugar
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Baking Powder
  • Baking Soda
  • Salt
  • Honey
  • Vanilla
  • Oil
  • Instant Milk
  • Cocoa
  • Molasses
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  • Honey
  • Sugar
  • Brown Sugar
  • Stevia
  • Non-Calorie Sweetener
  • Molasses

Your Favorite Oils and Vinegar

  • Olive Oil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Avocado Oil
  • Canola Oil
  • Vegetable Oil
  • Balsamic
  • Rice Vinegar
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • White Vinegar

Spices and Seasonings

  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cinnamon
  • Chili Powder
  • Cumin
  • Taco Seasoning
  • Garlic Powder/Salt
  • Onion Powder
  • Parsley
  • Au Jus
  • Vanilla
  • Bay Leaves
  • Sweet Basil
  • Lemon Pepper
  • True Brand Lemon
  • True Brand Lime
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • Cloves
  • Nutmeg

Bulk Food

  • Beans
  • Black Beans
  • Pinto Beans
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Wheat
  • Flour
  • Sugar
  • Brown Sugar
  • Cornmeal
  • Oatmeal
  • Instant/Dehydrated Potatoes
  • Popcorn

Dairy Items in the Fridge

  • Buttermilk
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Cheese
  • Cream Cheese
  • Sour Cream
  • Butter
  • Yogurt
  • Coffee Creamer

Fridge Stuff

  • Salad Dressing
  • Lemon Juice
  • Lime Juice
  • Orange Juice
  • Pickles
  • Salad stuff
  • Spinach
  • Carrots
  • Celery


  • Mayonnaise
  • Miracle Whip
  • Mustard
  • Ketchup
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Soy Sauce
  • BBQ Sauce

Frequently Used Fresh Vegetables

  • Potatoes
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Tomatoes

Stuff in the Freezer

  • Peas
  • Chopped Onions
  • Broccoli
  • Bacon
  • Beef
  • Chicken
  • Pork
  • Shredded Cheese
  • Bread
  • Yeast
  • Wheat Gluten
  • Dough Enhancer
  • Nuts
  • Almonds
  • Pecans
  • Walnuts
  • Pinenuts

Food in Jars

  • Spaghetti Sauce
  • Pizza Sauce
  • Pickles
  • Gravy
  • Pimentos
  • Alfredo Sauce
  • Hot Peppers

Canned Vegetables

  • Green Beans
  • Corn
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes
  • Asparagus
  • Beets
  • Peas
  • Pumpkin
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Diced Tomatoes
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Tomato Paste
  • Bean Sprouts
  • Water Chestnuts
  • Olives

Canned Fruits

  • Fruit Cocktail
  • Peaches
  • Applesauce
  • Pears
  • Mandarin Oranges
  • Cherries
  • Apricots
  • Pie Filling

Canned Meats/Proteins

  • Chicken
  • Hamburger
  • Turkey
  • Shredded Beef
  • Roast Beef and Gravy
  • Ham
  • BBQ Pork
  • Spam
  • Corned Beef
  • Salmon
  • Sardines
  • Tuna
  • Beans
  • Pinto Beans
  • Black Beans
  • White Bean
  • Chili Beans
  • Kidney Beans

Odds and Ends We Need

  • Olives
  • Water Chestnuts
  • Green Chilies
  • Canned MIlk
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk
  • Crackers
  • Instant or Powdered Milk
  • Peanut Butter & Jam
  • Cream of Chicken Soup
  • Cream of Mushroom Soup
  • Progresso Soups
  • Teriyaki Sauce
  • Sweet Chili Sauce
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Hot Cocoa
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Paper Products

  • Paper Plates
  • Cold Paper Cups
  • Hot Paper Cups/Lids
  • Straws
  • Plastic Silverware
  • Napkins
  • Paper Towels
  • Garbage Bags

Pet Supplies

  • Dog Food
  • Dog Treats
  • Dog Chews
  • Cat Food
  • Cat Treats
  • Cat Litter
  • Vitamins

What You Need In Your Working Pantry

You may be wondering why you may need these items in a working pantry. Well, when it comes to your pantry and you are an avid cook, you are always using the various products and always cooking new and fun meals. So, it makes complete sense to have a list of items that you need to have on hand at all times. The next time you go to the store, you can simply grab a few things that you don’t have now. You can also restock items that you ran out of. A working pantry is a very important part of any household!

My Favorite Recipes To Use With Your Working Pantry

Grocery List Printable

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What You Need In Your Working Pantry Printable

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Final Word

I hope you enjoyed what you need in your working pantry tips today. It’s all about having your own mini grocery store at home. We can teach our kids and grandkids how to cook from scratch and how to make fewer visits to the grocery store. You start stocking your home with food items you eat on a regular basis and rotate as needed. May God Bless this world, Linda

14 thoughts on “What You Need In Your Working Pantry

  • February 13, 2021 at 8:43 am

    Off the top of my head I would add jam, salsa, napkins, paper towels, and canned soups to use either as an ingredient like Cream of Chicken/Mushroom or a soup ready to eat like Progresso. I made an inventory spreadsheet with items I want to keep on hand and check it twice a year along with organizing my long-term pantry. That way I know when I am getting low on something and can watch for a sale.

    • February 13, 2021 at 8:50 am

      Hi Kay, oh my gosh, I’m adding those right now. How did I forget those???? I Love salsa on just about everything!! LOL! Thank you! Linda

  • February 13, 2021 at 9:29 am

    Linda –
    Wish you could see my kitchen! Then you would really know what a small kitchen is. In your photo you have at least twice as many cupboards and counter space as mine!

    Well, since I’m basically snowed in, I think I’ll do a “working pantry” inventory and make sure I have a good list made for restocking.

    • February 13, 2021 at 1:51 pm

      Hi Leanne, You are so cute!! It’s so funny I needed a picture for the post and I have shared so many of my pantry, which is a closet. I was looking at stock photos, and I thought to myself, those kitchens are way too fancy for me, so last night I took a picture of my kitchen. Life is good when we know how to cook from scratch! Linda

  • February 13, 2021 at 11:27 am

    Not exactly a food, but it is something you don’t want to run out of: cat litter. And garbage bags.

    • February 13, 2021 at 1:47 pm

      Hi Anne, I need to go add these, thank you!! I was typing away, looking around the house, the pantry, the cupboards, etc. I’m adding these right now! Thank you! Linda

    • February 14, 2021 at 12:01 pm

      Trade your kitchen for mine! Adding coffee, tea, and cocoa powder.

      • February 14, 2021 at 3:10 pm

        Hi Alecia, oh my gosh, how did I forget those???? I’m adding them now!! Thank you! Linda

  • February 13, 2021 at 12:07 pm

    If it wasn’t for our slow cookers we would starve. It is a lazy way to cook and the cooks in this house are definitely lazy.

    • February 13, 2021 at 1:45 pm

      Hi Suzie, oh my gosh, I LOVE your comment!! I love my slow cookers!! Set and forget! Linda

  • February 13, 2021 at 2:04 pm

    I also have teriyaki and sweet chili sauce.

    • February 13, 2021 at 3:25 pm

      Hi Kathryn, oh I need to add those two!! Thank you!! Great reminder! Linda

  • February 14, 2021 at 10:37 pm

    This list is terrific Linda, thank you! I was thinking about what to do in the morning & I think taking stock of our working pantry sounds like a fun project. 🙂
    You have great cupboard space! Is the plant thyme?

    • February 15, 2021 at 7:23 am

      Hi Amy, thank you for your kind words. The plant you see is from IKEA (artificial and cheap, LOL). I want to get people excited about cooking from scratch! Linda. P.S. I love projects!


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