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pantry staples

Best Pantry Staples List + The Best Tips for Creating and Maintaining a Well Stocked Pantry

I am going to share in this article the items that I recommend be included in a list of pantry staples. These pantry essentials will help you to keep a well stocked pantry. I am also going to give my best tips for how to create and maintain a well stocked pantry.

Having a well stocked pantry is an important way to help you save time and money on your monthly budget and meal prep! Making quick and easy pantry meals is a great way to save time and effort on busy nights and also save money on your monthly grocery budget!

In this article I am going to share some of my best tips for stocking your pantry well so that you can prepare simple and inexpensive meals to help you keep your grocery budget in check! Preparing cheap and easy homemade pantry meals will help you stretch your monthly budget and feed your family well even on a tight budget!

Following the tips below for stocking your pantry well will help ensure you don’t run out of essential pantry staples and will help you to make fast and easy pantry meals.

With pantry meals as part of your meal plan, you give yourself an easy way to have wholesome, home-cooked meals on busy nights without breaking the bank.

This can save you from making additional trips to the grocery store, going out to eat, or running to get takeout. And all of that money saved month after month, year after year, as you eat delicious meals at home and eating out less, is huge!

All that money saved is a huge win in my book!


Tip: Save the image above to Pinterest so that you can easily find these ideas about essential pantry staples later!


Make Buying Pantry Staples Even Cheaper!

One of the easiest ways to save money on groceries so that you can stock up on your essential pantry staples is to use money-saving apps! My favorite FREE grocery money-saving app is Ibotta.

I’ve been a member of Ibotta for years, and they are a fun and easy way to save money whenever you shop! With the free Ibotta app, you earn cash back on purchases you make every day from your favorite grocery and other stores such as Target, Walmart, Home Depot, Dollar Tree, Sam’s Club, Amazon, and many, many more!

With the easy-to-use Ibotta app you can get cash back when you shop not only for groceries but also for clothing, home improvement supplies, travel services, and more!

I can even use Ibotta at several of our smaller, local grocery stores, which I love!

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Why Have a Well Stocked Pantry?

There are several good reasons to have a well stocked pantry of essentail pantry staples.

For one thing, having a well stocked pantry with must-have pantry items is an important way to save time and money by not having to make last-minute runs to the grocery store. For example, if you are making waffles for breakfast in the morning and you realize you have run out of milk, you can use powdered milk instead if you have a well stocked pantry.

Another way that a well stocked pantry can save the day is by allowing you to make last minute dinners from your pantry staples. Check out these quick and easy dinners that you can make from your pantry staples. When things don’t go according to plan or you forget to have a plan for dinner, then this is such a great way to avoid running to get takeout or going out to eat or making an unplanned run to the grocery store, all of which are total budget busters when you haven’t planned for them!

And finally, have you ever been in a situation where there were shortages of essential items at the grocery store? If you have been through a natural disaster in your area or a pandemic, then you know how unsettling or even scary it can feel to see rows of empty shelves in the grocery store.

But when you have a well stocked pantry so that you know that you could survive for a month or longer (having three to six months’ worth of food in your pantry or other food storage areas and freezer would be even better), then you don’t have to panic in situations where there are shortages of food available at the grocery stores.

When we went through the recent pandemic I cannot tell you how must stress and weight it took off my shoulders to know that we could survive for a few months if needed on the food we have in our home.

Keep reading to get my best tips for how to create a well stocked pantry, and further below you can also find a list of pantry staples essentials!

8 Best Tips for Stocking Your Pantry with Essential Pantry Staples


When you have pantry items that you need to use or when you forgot to take out your freezer meal, then making a meal from your pantry staples is a great idea so that you won’t feel compelled to run to the store or to run and get takeout or order pizza!

Save time and money by using what you have on hand to make a simple and tasty meal! Follow these simple steps to help you succeed with keeping a well-stocked pantry!


1. Take a look around.

As the first step to take to make over your pantry, get a general feel for what you have and what you might be lacking and need to stock up on. Think about how you might use your pantry space more effectively in order to store more, be able to rotate food items more easily, and so on. Consider if there are racks or bins that might make it easier to keep things organized, for example.


2. Get rid of anything that is spoiled.

Go through what you have and dispose of anything that really is spoiled. However, know that you don’t have to immediately toss out food that is beyond the “use by” or “best by” date. Those dates have more to do with food quality than safety.

For that reason, most food can be used well beyond the “expiration” date, so try to go by how the food looks or smells. If a can’s not bulging, the food isn’t discolored or odd looking, and it smells OK, you can probably eat it without any problems. But if you just want to play it safe or you have any doubts, then you can always just toss the item, of course.


3. Organize your pantry space.

If it has been a while since you’ve gone through your pantry and cupboards, things may be a little disorganized. Try to organize things in a way that makes sense for how you will use them and to maximize space.

For example, you might want to put things that you generally use together next to each other on the shelf, such as spaghetti noodles and sauce. Or you might prefer to have all of your pastas together, instead. What really matters is that you can easily find and get to what you have.


4. Think about your family’s current meal preferences.

What do you use a lot of? What do you use very little of? Are you trying to eat healthier? Or are you in a stage of life where you just really want quick, simple meals? Do you make mostly kid-friendly meals?

Think about what pantry items are important to you right now, and be realistic. Maybe you wish you ate couscous and quinoa and lentils every day, but if your life is more like mac and cheese and Hamburger Helper right now, then accept that, and plan accordingly!


5. Consult a pantry staples guide.

Review a pantry staples guide to determine what items you might be missing that you would want to add to your list of staples to always have on hand.


Pro tip: Get the free pantry staples checklist guide to make sure you aren’t missing any items from your pantry!


6. Figure out how much you need.

Determine how much you should have of the different items in your pantry. For many items, one might be enough. But for whatever it is that your family goes through quickly these days, plan to keep a good quantity of that item on hand. (You might consider keeping one to two months’ worth of your favorite items on hand, for example.) Stock up when items are on sale!


7. Use a pantry inventory sheet.

Then use a pantry inventory sheet to record what you have on hand. By keeping your inventory sheet up to date, you will be able to easily know what and how much of all items you have at all times so you will know what you are getting low on.

8. Figure out what to replenish.

Make a list of the items that you are low on so that you can replenish your pantry as needed. Then add those items to your grocery shopping list so that you can purchase them the next time you are at the store.

And moving forward, try to keep your pantry well stocked so that you will always have all items on hand at all times in order to avoid those quick (but costly!) trips to the grocery store.

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What Are the Must Have Pantry Esesentials for a Well Stocked Pantry Staples List?

Having a well-stocked pantry can help you to save time and money by not having to run to the store, and it can help you keep your family fed well in the event of a natural disaster, financial crisis, or other emergency that might cause shortages of food at the store.

Here are the categories and pantry staples to help ensure you have a well stocked pantry!


Pro tip: Get the free pantry staples checklist guide to make sure you aren’t missing any items from your pantry!


Grains, Pastas, Beans

Elbow noodles

Spaghetti noodles

Lasagna noodles

Macaroni and cheese

Other pasta


Chili beans

Kidney beans

Garbanzo beans

Black, other beans

Canned kidney beans

Canned chili beans

Canned black, other beans

Refried beans


Rice, brown

Rice, white


Canned Fruits and Vegetables

Green beans



Potatoes (whole, sliced)

Sweet potatoes


Tomato sauce

Pasta sauce




Instant potatoes (box)





Mixed fruit

Pumpkin, pumpkin puree



Baking and Cooking Staples

Flour, white

Flour, whole wheat

White sugar

Brown sugar

Powdered sugar

Corn syrup




Baking spices (cloves, nutmeg, ginger, allspice)

Vanilla extract

Cocoa powder

Baking chips (chocolate, white chocolate, butterscotch, etc.)

Baking powder

Baking soda

Sweetened condensed milk

Evaporated milk

Powdered milk


Cream of tartar



Seasonings and Spices



Onion powder

Garlic powder

Garlic salt

Taco seasoning

Spaghetti seasoning

Fajita seasoning

Other seasonings

Chili powder

Crushed red peppers

Cayenne pepper

Curry powder



Sesame seeds, poppyseeds, etc.






Condiments, Oils, Other Liquids

Vegetable oil

Canola oil

Olive oil

Other oils

Nonstick cooking spray




Barbecue sauce

Ranch dressing

Tartar sauce


Soy sauce

Worcestershire sauce



Apple cider vinegar

Other vinegar

Coconut milk




Pancake syrup

Chocolate syrup

Caramel syrup

Strawberry syrup


Cereals and Breakfast

Breakfast cereals

Instant oatmeal

Cream of wheat

Toaster pastries



Gelatin (Jell-o)

Pudding mixes

Saltine crackers






Trail mix

Granola bars





Peanut butter

Nut butter

Hazelnut spread (Nutella)

Brown sugar

Canned tuna

Canned luncheon meat (Spam)

Canned mini sausages (Vienna sausages)

Canned salmon (Vienna sausages)


Soups, Chili, and Stews

Chicken soup

Tomato soup

Noodle soup

Soup mixes

Cream of mushroom soup

Cream of chicken soup

Other soups


Baked beans

Beef stew

Chicken broth

Beef broth


Baking and Cooking Mixes

Brownie mix

White cake mix

Chocolate cake mix

Yellow cake mix

Pie filling

Cookie mixes

Waffle and pancake mix

Biscuit mix


Pro tip: Get the free pantry staples checklist guide to make sure you aren’t missing any items from your pantry!


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Final Thoughts on Pantry Staples and Pantry Essentials

These tips and ideas for stocking your pantry well with pantry staples and making meals from your pantry items will help you to get delicious and inexpensive meals on the table fast even on busy nights, without having to bust your budget by running to the store or going to get takeout or fast feed or eating at a restaurant.

Be sure to check out these great pantry meals recipes of dishes that you can make from your pantry essentials!

Take the stress out of your evening and stop the dashes through the drive-through by making budget-friendly meals from your pantry staples!


What are your favorite tips for keeping a well stocked pantry? Do you have easy pantry stocking tips that you love? Did I leave off any pantry essentials from the pantry staples list? Share your ideas in the comments below! I would love to hear your thoughts! 


Invitation to Share

Was there something in this article that inspired you to change something about your money? Are there ideas or tips that you feel could help others? Would you please take a minute to share this article via email or social media? I would love your help to share these principles of financial well-being. Thank you!

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