Having a well-stocked pantry may take a little time and money initially, but in the long run it is well-worth the investment. It saves time because you don’t have to run to the store every time you need one little ingredient. It saves money because you can stock up on your frequently used items when they go on sale. It also prevents meal-time stress because, with a well-stocked pantry, you can typically throw a meal together using ingredients you already have on hand.
Below is a list of items I use most often and try to keep on hand at all times. I have also included a handy print-friendly list to take with you to the store or to pin so you remember where you found it.
This is not a definitive list. Please don’t go out and buy every single item on this list if you don’t need it. You will not save any money if you end up throwing away items you don’t use. Many of these items have a shelf life. For instance, spices can last anywhere from 1-3 years, while more perishable items like milk are good for 1-2 weeks if kept refrigerated. The more you cook, the more you will learn what items you use the most and need to keep on hand.
Chocolate chips (milk and semi-sweet)
Nuts (pecans, walnuts, almonds)
Powdered (confectioners’) sugar
Chicken/beef bouillon cubes or granules
Cooking wine or dry sherry
Pepper, ground black
Red pepper flakes
Salt, iodized table
Vinegar and Oils
Vegetable or Canola oil
Cheddar cheese, shredded
Jelly, Jam, or Preserves
In the pantry
Chicken/beef broth or stock
Cream of chicken soup
Cream of mushroom soup
Tomatoes, canned diced