21 Pantry Staples to Always Have on Hand

If the kitchen is the heart of your home, the pantry is the pulse. It’s the chamber behind those spontaneous dinners filled with all your favorite spices. It keeps your snacks tucked away whenever a craving strikes, and it’s filled with various kitchen odds and ends like blenders, crock pots, napkins, plastic cutlery and the obligatory spare grocery bags. Every pantry needs its go-to staples. Complete your pantry with this comprehensive list of must-haves.

Pantry foodsPantry foods
Photography Credit: Readymade

The Basics: Grains and Pasta

Your pantry would benefit from some base carbs that can be whipped up to make your go-to meals.


Whether it’s jasmine, basmati, or good old-fashioned white rice, this versatile grain is a must-have. Perfect for stir-fries, casseroles, or as a simple side dish, rice is your pantry’s best friend.


From spaghetti to penne, having a variety of pasta shapes can turn any dinner dilemma into a gourmet experience. Plus, pasta is a lifesaver when you’re short on time and energy.


This protein-packed grain is not just a trend; it’s a pantry staple. Great for salads, bowls, or as a rice alternative, quinoa adds a nutritious punch to your meals.


Ideal for breakfast, baking, or even as a thickener in soups, oats are incredibly versatile and healthy.

Canned Goods

Non-perishables are great for a rainy day. They’re also staples in many recipes and overall great to have on hand so that you can enjoy convenience met with nutrition.

Canned Tomatoes

Crushed, diced, or whole, canned tomatoes are the foundation of countless recipes, from sauces to stews. They bring a burst of flavor without the fuss of fresh tomatoes.

Canned Beans

Black beans, chickpeas, and kidney beans are essential for soups, salads, and side dishes. They’re packed with protein and fiber, making them a nutritious addition to any meal.

Coconut Milk

For those times when you’re feeling a little exotic, coconut milk can transform curries, soups, and even desserts into something spectacular.


A quick protein fix for salads, sandwiches, or casseroles, canned tuna is a pantry MVP. Opt for sustainably sourced options for an eco-friendly choice.

Jars of jellyJars of jelly
Photo Credit: Pixabay

Baking Essentials

Be ready for anything when your sweet tooth strikes.


Whether you’re baking bread, whipping up pancakes, or making a roux, flour is a pantry staple. All-purpose flour is a great all-rounder, but consider having some whole wheat or almond flour for variety.


White, brown, or powdered, sugar is a must for baking, coffee, or adding a touch of sweetness to your cooking. Keep a variety on hand to meet all your sweet tooth needs.

Baking Powder and Baking Soda

These leavening agents are essential for baking. Make sure they’re fresh; expired products can lead to flat, disappointing results.


For bread enthusiasts, keeping yeast on hand is a no-brainer. Freshly baked bread is always a winner, and homemade pizza dough will elevate your Friday nights.

Spices and Condiments

You can’t have food without flavor, right? Herbs and spices liven up any dish.

Salt and Pepper

The dynamic duo of seasonings, no dish is complete without a pinch of salt and a dash of pepper. Opt for kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper for the best flavor.

Olive Oil

This kitchen staple is perfect for cooking, dressing salads, or simply drizzling over bread. A high-quality extra-virgin olive oil can make a world of difference.


White, apple cider, and balsamic vinegar should have a place in your pantry. They’re indispensable for dressings, marinades, and adding acidity to dishes.

Garlic and Onion Powder

These are perfect for those times when you’re out of fresh garlic or onions. They add depth and flavor without the hassle of chopping.

Photography Credit: Shantanu Pal

Herbs and Spices

Stock up on basics like basil, oregano, thyme, paprika, cumin, and cinnamon. A well-rounded spice rack can turn any bland dish into a flavor-packed masterpiece.

Snacks and Quick Fixes

Snacks may just be the best part of every meal. Your pantry is a treasure chest of delicious bites that you can grab at any time.

Nut Butter

Peanut, almond, or cashew butter is great for quick snacks, baking, or adding to smoothies. They’re also nutritious and delicious.


Perfect for cheese boards, soups, or a quick snack, crackers are a versatile pantry item. Choose whole grain or seed-based varieties for a healthier option.

Dried Fruits and Nuts

These make excellent snacks and can be added to salads, yogurt, or baking recipes. They provide a quick energy boost and are packed with nutrients.

Granola Bars

Ideal for on-the-go snacking or a quick breakfast, granola bars are a pantry staple for busy lifestyles. Look for options with minimal added sugars and whole ingredients.

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