40 Staple Ingredients to Always Have in Your Pantry

Uh oh. You forgot to run to the grocery store to pick up fresh ingredients. What will you serve your family now? The good news is that as long as you maintain a well-stocked pantry, you never have to worry about missing a shopping trip. With the right pantry ingredients, you can easily prepare a satisfying meal with whatever you have on hand.

Pantry ingredients are convenient for more than just a makeshift meal, though. Many of the most common pantry items are used in a wide array of recipes, so having them on hand will leave you with less to buy the next time you want to make some of your favorite dishes.

While the items you stock in your pantry will likely vary based on your family’s preferences, these 40 basic staples can go a long way towards putting together a versatile pantry.


The right seasoning combination can take an otherwise simple dish and make it seem much more complex and satisfying. Because there is such a wide array of spices and seasonings, what you keep in your pantry will likely vary based on what sort of cuisine your family enjoys. We’ve limited this list to the basics, but more adventurous eaters can expand this list massively with other seasonings, like basil, dill, paprika, cumin, turmeric, curry powder, dried lemongrass, and so many others.

  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic (dried minced, granulated, powder, and/or salt)
  • Onion (dried minced, granulated, powder, and/or salt)
  • Oregano
  • Cinnamon
  • Vanilla extract
  • Ginger
  • Chili powder
  • Soy sauce
  • Sriracha


Oil and vinegar and frequently used in recipes, so they are good to keep in the house. They can also be used to make your own salad dressing.

  • Olive oil
  • Vegetable oil
  • Vinegar

Baking Essentials

If you bake a lot, you probably already know what ingredients you want in your pantry to whip up your favorite treats. However, even people who hardly ever bake may want to keep the essentials in their pantry just in case.

  • Flour (all-purpose, whole wheat, pastry, and/or gluten-free)
  • Sugar (granulated, confectioner’s/powdered, and/or brown)
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Cream of tartar


Grains can often serve as the main component of a meal, while beans can add protein and fiber to a dish. Grains and beans also tend to be affordable and lend themselves well to Instant Pot recipes for a convenient, family-friendly meal.

  • Oats
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Dried beans (black beans, chickpeas, kidney beans, pinto beans, lentils, etc.)

Canned Goods

Recipes often call for canned ingredients. While we’ve included some of the most common canned ingredients here, some families also enjoy other canned goods, like green beans, carrots, fruit, pumpkin, coconut milk, and tuna.

  • Broth
  • Soup
  • Tomatoes
  • Tomato paste
  • Beans
  • Corn
  • Peas
  • Chicken


Whether you regularly enjoy these beverages or want to have them just in case, keeping a few basic beverages in your pantry may come in handy in a pinch. After all, you never know when an unexpected visitor will arrive!

  • Shelf-stable milk (dairy or non-dairy)
  • Coffee
  • Tea

Other Items

Of course, there are a handful of pantry items that defy categorization. These items may work well in recipes or as snacks.

  • Nut butter
  • Jelly/jam
  • Dried fruits
  • Nuts

What other products do you keep in your pantry? Share your must-have items in the comments section below!

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