Pantry staples list
Stock your kitchen with these basics and you’ll almost always have everything you need to whip up dinner or dessert. Whether you’re just moving out and need a checklist for your new pantry, or you often find yourself lacking ingredients for basic meals, this list will set you up for success.
CONDIMENTS, SPICES AND SAUCES
Oil: Almost every dish starts with a bit of oil, whether you’re roasting, sautéing or making a salad dressing. Olive oil and vegetable oil are great to start with.
Vinegar: Essential for salad dressings and balancing dishes. White wine vinegar and apple cider vinegar are good choices to start with.
Herbs and spices: Start with salt and pepper and then your personal favourites. Frequently used dried herbs include oregano, bay leaves, parsley and thyme. For spices; chilli powder, ground cumin, smoked paprika, turmeric, cinnamon, and mixed spice will get you started. Taco mix sachets are also great for quick nacho and taco nights.
Curry paste or powder: Premade curry pastes and sauces are great to have on hand for a fast dinner packed with flavour.
Condiments and sauces: Tomato sauce, BBQ sauce, soy sauce, sweet chilli, Worcestershire, hot sauce, mayonnaise, mustard, chutney and pesto will cover your bases. These will help you navigate most Western and Eastern dishes.
Honey: Useful for marinades, dressings, sauces or drizzled over your morning porridge.
Garlic and onion: Store these in a well-ventilated, cool and dark part of your pantry and they will last for one to two months.
CANS AND CARTONS
Canned vegetables: Tomatoes are the obvious choice for casseroles, stews, sauces, and many Italian and Mexican dishes. Corn and peas are also good to have on hand.
Jarred vegetables: Consider artichokes, pickled cucumbers, olives, pickled onions and roasted capsicum.
Coconut milk and cream: For curries and desserts.
Soup: Cans or cartons of soup are make great recipe bases or a meal on their own.
Stock: Chicken and beef stock are essential for soups, sauces and stews. Try stock cubes or powder instead if you’re low on space.
Milk: A carton of long-life milk has saved us from many a last-minute trip to the store. Condensed milk is great to have for desserts.
Canned fish: Tuna is a versatile choice. Salmon and sardines are some extra suggestions.
Beans and lentils: A great source of meat-free protein, canned legumes are great because you don’t have to soak them. Dried beans are extra budget friendly. Consider cannellini, red kidney, black beans, baked beans, chickpeas, split peas and lentils.
Eggs: Technically best kept in the fridge, if you use eggs often you can keep them in the pantry too. The great thing about eggs is that they’re practically a meal on their own.
Pasta: A selection of shapes such as spaghetti for saucy pasta and penne for pasta bakes will cover your bases.
Rice: Choose between dry rice or microwave rice. Microwave rice is an even faster option and especially good if you’re only feeding one or two, but takes up more storage space.
Noodles: Instant ramen or packaged noodles such as Hokkien, rice noodles, ramen and udon are fantastic to have on hand for soup noodles and stir-fries.
Cereals: Rolled oats and rice bubbles are versatile for both breakfast and baking.
Bread crumbs: For meatballs, breading and topping pasta bakes.
Fruits: Sultanas and apricots will get a good workout in breakfasts, baked goods, curries or apricot chicken.
Flour: Stock up on plain flour and self-raising flour. If you don’t have space for both, you can make self-raising flour by adding baking powder.
Sugar: Have a supply of white sugar, caster sugar, icing sugar and brown sugar and you’ll be covered 99% of the time.
Bi-carb soda: Also called baking soda, pure bicarbonate of soda is not only useful in baking but also for cleaning.
Baking powder: Not the same as baking soda, lots of baked good recipes will call for baking powder.
Yeast: If you’re an avid baker of breads or master of pizza doughs, yeast sachets are a must-have.
Vanilla: Choose from essence, paste or extract depending on your budget.
Cooking chocolate: Choose from white, milk or dark, depending on your preferred flavour.
Cocoa powder: Not the same as drinking chocolate, get the pure cocoa powder for baking.
Cornflour: Important for many cakes and biscuits, and you can also use it to thicken sauces, custards and curds.
Tea and coffee: Even if you don’t drink them, they’re good to have on hand for visitors and coffee is often used to intensify chocolate desserts.
Wine: White or red wine are important for flavouring for many sauces, stews and casseroles.
Juice: Apricot nectar for apricot chicken and cocktails, apple juice and orange juice are breakfast favourites.
Spirits and liqueurs: Rum, brandy and Irish cream are often used in desserts. Vodka, gin and whisky are common cocktail ingredients.
Pantry staple recipes
This collection of recipes are mostly made from pantry staples. Some require the addition of meat and vegetables from the fridge, but the vegetables can be easily substituted with canned or frozen. Get the recipes below so you've always got dinner on a rainy day.
You probably have all the ingredients you need for this quick dinner in the pantry! All you need are canned tomatoes, eggs, canned lentils or beans, an onion and some spices.
The only ingredient you really need from the fridge is a packet of any mince. Instead of serving with fresh broccolini, you could warm up peas or corn.
This simple five ingredient recipe uses pantry staples like eggs and rice as the base. If you don't have frozen spinach, try adding frozen or canned corn or peas.
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