A Complete Checklist of Foods To Stock Your Pantry With

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If you’re trying to cook at home as often as possible, it’s time to stock up on the essentials. We’ll walk you through a complete list of everything that needs to be in every at-home chef’s pantry. We’ll cover everything from the basics like condiments and spices to some items that might not have crossed your mind.

What’s in Your Freezer?

There’s nothing wrong with cookies with frozen meat, poultry, fruit, or vegetables. In fact, using frozen ingredients can often save you money – and you can still get your meals to taste great with them! Let’s take a look at the most important staples to keep in your freezer at all times. 

A Simple Dessert

It’s always a good idea to have a treat handy for when you need it. We recommend keeping a quart of chocolate or vanilla ice cream in the freezer for any time you have guests over. A few scoops of a timeless treat, paired with coffee or tea, is the perfect end to a dinner party!


You can easily make several of our favorite recipes with frozen veggies instead of fresh ones. Our pan-fried cod with mashed peas, for example, is made with frozen peas, which are a fiber-packed, inexpensive veggie that definitely needs to be in your freezer! 

We also recommend stocking up on frozen corn and carrots, which can be added to dishes like fried rice or curry.


Sliced bread has a reasonable shelf life, but it’ll last much longer if you keep it in the freezer. If your bread tends to get stale – or even moldy – before you can finish it, make sure to start freezing your loaves instead of leaving them in the cupboard or putting them in the fridge.

Dough for Desserts and Pizza

Store-bought frozen dough can save you loads of time when you’re cooking and baking, and we highly recommend keeping some in your freezer. If you cook and bake frequently, aim to keep pie crust and pizza dough handy at all times.


Freezing poultry, beef, seafood, and other meats can increase shelf life by a wide margin, leaving you with more time to use your food in recipes. If you’re vegetarian, you can stock your freezer with meat alternatives, like the chick’n used in our veggie wok recipe.

The Spice Cabinet

Spices are your best friends. They add character, life, and complexity to your dishes, and many of them can be stored dry for several months. These are our picks for the spices to keep in the pantry year-round.

Cajun Seasoning

Made from a blend of garlic powder, crushed red pepper, thyme, oregano, black pepper, paprika, and a few other spices, cajun seasoning can take your potatoes, chicken, and more to the next level. It’s one of our favorite spice blends ever, and we love to sprinkle some into dishes that need an extra kick.

Crushed Red Pepper Flakes

These spicy little bits are made from dried, crushed chile peppers, and they add the perfect amount of heat to any dish. Crushed red pepper flakes are an ideal topping for homemade pizza, and they’re also an excellent addition to chili, curry, and other sauce-based meals. 

You can also keep cayenne pepper on hand if you like an extra kick of spice.


This spice is a staple in Italian cooking, and it’s known for its bold, earthy taste. You should always have some on hand for pasta sauce!


This is another spice that pairs perfectly with Italian cuisine. Chefs typically recommend cooking with fresh basil instead of dried, crushed leaves, and we wholeheartedly agree.


You’ll be amazed by all of the times you need a sprinkle of cinnamon while cooking or baking. This flavorful spice can bring both sweet and savory dishes to life, and you can use it in its whole form or buy it ground.


Cumin is often used in Indian cuisine, and it’s one of the most important ingredients for curry. If you love cooking Indian food frequently, make sure to stock up on curry powder as well!


This herb pairs with roasted vegetables incredibly well, and it also tastes fantastic with roasted chicken. We love it sprinkled on this homemade goat cheese and honey pizza!


Thyme is another herb you’ll want in the cabinet for roasting vegetables, meats, and other foods.


This warm, wintery spice is perfect for baking or sprinkling on oatmeal.

Garlic (Cloves)

Garlic is one spice that is best used fresh rather than dried in most cases. You can buy garlic cloves for cheap from the grocery store or pick up minced garlic in a jar instead.

Meat and Fish for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner

If you eat meat, keeping a few different types in your fridge or freezer is always a good move. Start with these:

The Most Important Condiments

Condiments, both sweet and savory, are essential for a well-stocked pantry! Let’s cover the most important ones to keep handy at all times. 

Make Sure You’re Ready to Bake

Whenever you’re thinking of baking, make sure you have all of the following ingredients ready in your pantry:

Don’t Forget the Canned Foods

Canned goods can last for years without going bad, and they don’t require any refrigeration. That makes fruit, vegetables, beans, and other canned foods pantry staples. Here are some of the most important canned goods to keep in your pantry.


While you can definitely opt for dried beans when cooking, canned ones tend to be easier to work with – and the price isn’t much different. While dried beans often need to be soaked overnight and then cooked before use, canned beans are already pre-cooked, which makes them easy to add to any recipe. 


Anytime you’re making pasta sauce, chili, or a wide array of other dishes, you’ll need lots of cans of tomatoes. 

We recommend keeping multiple cans of diced tomato in your pantry for days when you’re not sure what to cook. You can also stock up on tomato paste, another canned ingredient that is sure to come in handy.


We love cooking with tuna – our couscous salad with tuna and tomato is one of our favorite recipes – and it’s incredibly easy to use. 

While you can use fresh tuna for just about any recipe, the fish in canned form is cheaper – and often just as good of an ingredient. It’s a quick and easy way to add more protein to your meals.

Grab Some Snacks

Everyone needs a good snack from time to time. While we love focusing on eating three square meals a day, it’s always helpful to have snacks available in your pantry when you’re hungry in between your meals. Here are our top recommendations for snacks to keep in the cabinet.

Visit the Dairy Aisle

If you’re okay with eating dairy, we highly recommend keeping these staples in your fridge.

Grains, Glorious Grains

Cooking with whole grains gives you plenty of complex carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. We recommend stocking up on these ones:

Get Those Fruits and Veggies

Make sure to keep a few of the following fruits and vegetables in your fridge for snacks or for use in recipes.

Get Ready To Take Your Cooking to the Next Level

If all this talk about ingredients is getting you excited to cook, you’ve come to the right place. Our cooking page is packed with inspiring recipes from all of the world’s cuisines, so get ready to put all of those ingredients to good use! In addition, make sure to visit our blog for more helpful tips and advice for aspiring at-home chefs.