The Top Pantry Staples to Keep Stocked in Your Kitchen
It is hard to keep a pantry fully stocked, or stocked at all. Now that I am a busy 40-something mom with four kids and a hungry husband, I have learned a thing or two along the way about keeping our kitchen well stocked with non-perishable pantry staples to make sure we’re always prepared.
Whether you are a college student just starting out, a new mom or well into parenthood with a few rug rats, this list is for you. Keep in mind that when you’re building a pantry, you do not have to buy them all at once. That can be pricey, especially if you are just starting out. That is why we have grouped these into two separate groups. Grab all of group one — the essentials — first, and then gather the items from group two — the nice-to-haves — as you can, so you will have yourself a completely useful and ready-to-go pantry for home cooking.
What Are Non-Perishable Pantry Staples?
Non-perishable food items are food items that do not require refrigeration. They can be stored in your cupboard, pantry or garage shelf for an extended period of time. I have a secret (and borderline insane) obsession with constantly refilling and maintaining my pantry. Perhaps it is a habit developed during the COVID-19 stay-at-home order, or perhaps I am just extremely afraid of coming up short a few ingredients for a recipe, but I have an extremely well-stocked pantry that should probably win awards.
Having a good stock of non-perishable items on hand is always a good idea. Whether you will be prepared for an emergency or simply having food on hand for everyday meals, a well-stocked pantry is a home chef’s best friend.
Of course, every family’s pantry staples look different depending on food preferences, the type of cuisine typially prepared and many other factors. Start with this list and make it your own to suit your taste and traditions.
Pantry Staples To Always Have On Hand
Use this list of the top non-perishable grocery and pantry food items to stock your pantry with. For everyday use or for a potential emergency, you will be ready for whatever comes your way. For your emergency kit, look for canned goods.
Condiments and Spices
Stock up on condiments and spices to add extra flavor to your meals and snacks.
- Black pepper (whole, for the grinder, and ground)
- Italian seasoning
- Garlic seasoning
- Kosher Salt
- Red Pepper Flakes
- Soy sauce
- Vegetable oil
- Olive Oil
- Red wine and other vinegars
- Other dried herbs and spices to your taste
Stock and Mixes
- Beef broth
- Chicken Broth
- Gravy mix or flavor enhancer
Browse baking ingredients for pantry essentials that will help you bake anything.
- All-purpose flour
- Iodized Salt
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Brown sugar
- Brownie mix
- Cake mix
- Muffin cups
- Sprinkles (great to have these on hand if you’re called on to contribute cupcakes for your kid’s class at school)
Canned and Jarred Goods
You may have to refrigerate some of these after opening, check the product label.
- Peanut butter (or any nut butter)
- Jelly, jam or preserves
- Canned beans
- Canned soups
- Canned tomato sauce and paste
- Canned tomatoes
- Canned vegetables, especially low-sodium ones
- Cream of “fill in the blank” soup (for casseroles)
Pasta, Rice & Grains
You’ll need pasta, rice and grains for your pantry. Look for gluten-free if you need that too.
- Boxed macaroni and cheese
- Cereal, especially nutritious ones
- Dried pasta mixes
- Dried rice mixes
- Noodles (spaghetti, linguine, penne, macaroni, etc.)
- Packets of instant ramen
- Pasta sauce
Be prepared for snack time with a variety of goodies.
- Graham Crackers
- Crackers (especially saltine crackers, butter round crackers and fancy adult crackers, too)
- Dried fruit
- Dried seaweed strips (yes, seriously)
- Protein bars
- Trail mix
- Veggie chips
Pantry Extras: Nice-to-have food items
After you get the essentials, add these extra food items to your pantry to take your meals to the next level with condiments and snacks.
Condiments and Spices
- Steak seasoning
- Chili powder
- Teriyaki sauce
- Pancake mix
- Biscuit mix (my favorite kind only asks me to add cheese, butter and a splash of water)
- Panko breadcrumbs
Pasta, Rice & Grains
- Instant oatmeal
- Granola or protein bars (the quickest on-the-go breakfast available)
- Dried fruits
- Canned fruits such as peaches and pears
- Canned tuna
If you want to keep your pantry neat and tidy throughout the year, organizing it regularly is a must. Organize your pantry like a grocery store and stock items together by category. Category examples include sauces and condiments, pastas, cereals, canned vegetables, canned fruits, soups, snack bars, bread, etc. This system will make finding items so much quicker and easier.
Once a month, check expiration dates on all items, and put older items in front of newer ones to make sure they are used first. It’s a good idea to check the pantry before going grocery shopping to see what you already have in stock.