Here’s an example of the pantry staples or food I try to keep on hand. The photo is of my cooking school pantry, and there are more things here than I’d keep in my home.   You may notice there are rows of flour, sugar and the like.  That’s so no one has to wait in line when they’re making their recipes.

Here’s a list of what I keep on hand so I can be creative and whip up meals fast.

It’s a hefty list, but someone’s got to do it.  I don’t like to shop every day.  I know some of you do, but it’s not the part I like about feeding people.  To prevent me from having to pop down the shops every day or so I keep a good variety of items on hand.  Items that don’t go off quickly of course.

If I didn’t have a cooking school, I could get away with a week to 10 days, keeping my shopping visits to a minimum.  As it is, I’m at the shops at least once a week and usually twice because of purchasing fresh food for classes.

I shop just before every class making sure my fresh ingredients are at their freshest.  But I only purchase for home, every second or third visit.   My pantry shrinks and grows depending on the season, what I fancy cooking and of course how many I have to feed.

Green grocery staples

  • Onions (Pantry)
  • Carrots (Fridge)
  • Celery (Fridge)
  • Potatoes (Pantry away from the onions)
  • Lemons (Pantry)
  • And of course, anything that’s in season that looks great when you go shopping.
  • The above list I make sure I have on hand, but I get quite a wide variety of fruit and veg.
    1. Salad type veg, mushrooms  (Fridge)
    2. Brassicas and the like  (Fridge)
    3. Root veg carrots, beets, etc (Pantry)
    4. Ginger, garlic, shallots, etc.  (Pantry same shelf as the onions)

Dairy Cabinet staples

  • Butter
  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Philly
  • Cream
  • Sour cream
  • Yoghurt (I make my own but any plain with no added sugar will do, you can always add sweetness if needed.)
  • Cheese a tasty, mozzarella and parmesan are handy to have on hand. People that know me know I have a cheese draw in my fridge. It’s where others might keep meat, but mine has cheese, very handy when people drop in unexpected.  Hubby and I eat a lot less meat these days anyway.
  • Preserved meats: Salami, Chorizo, Bacon (These can be frozen if it helps.)

Pantry staples

  • Salt (I use Pink Murray) and a Kosher salt for recipes that need it
  • Flour: Plain and Bakers mainly but self-raising, wholemeal and others at will.
  • Pasta: Spaghetti, fettuccine and rigatoni and dried lasagne or cannelloni tubes
  • Rice: Basmati, Thai, jasmine or glutinous, Arborio
  • Grains: Quinoa, couscous and oats
  • Pulses: Puy lentils, red lentils
  • Stock: chicken, vegetable and beef (use good quality here it’s the base flavour of your dish, homemade or shop bought)  Homemade stock and Thermomix stock needs to be kept in the fridge or freezer
  • Milk powder, coconut powder
  • Tortillas, pita bread or mountain bread (I often make my own flatbread, they’re pretty easy)
  • Oils: Olive, sunflower, sesame, and coconut
  • Vinegar: Red wine, white wine, and Apple Cider.  Plain old white for cleaning etc
  • Mustards: Hot English and Dijon, seeded as well if you like
  • Tinned Beans: Kidney, Cannellini, chickpeas
  • Tinned: Tomatoes, tuna, and anchovies.
  • Sauces: Mine if you make it or any good quality tomato, Passata (Good Quality), light soy, Worcestershire, oyster sauce, ketchup Manis, fish sauce, Plum or hoisin sauce, Chilli sauce and or harissa. I use tomato paste sachets because I don’t tend to use these too much and I was always throwing out 1/2 used containers.
  • Olives
  • Spices: I have a large variety, but if I were told I had to cut down, these would be my staples. Coriander, cardamom, nutmeg, cumin, cloves, star anise, cinnamon, paprika and cayenne for heat.  Most of the spices I have in my home pantry are pre-blends I make myself, they make the job of quick evening meals so much faster and takes the all the guesswork out of balancing flavours when you’re in a hurry.
  • Honey, marmalade, jam (raspberry comes in handy for baking)
  • Nuts: walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts,
  • Dried fruit: cranberries, raisins, dates
  • Coconut cream

I think I’ve got everything!

Here’s a photo of my new pantry in my home, I’m loving it.

Pantry Staples |


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  1. Awesomely comprehensive list here Bec! Thanks for taking time to make the post and enrich my pantry/fridge with helpful cooking essentials!