Tue. Sep 27th, 2022


“Pantry list” is an antique word with an eternal logic: Cooking is simpler and faster when you already have the ingredients. We’ve identified three levels of pantries among our readers, essential, expanded and expert; so whether you’re beginning to cook, stretching toward new flavors or an old hand with wide-ranging tastes, you’ll be prepared.

Our definition of pantry list encompasses refrigerator, freezer and cupboard, so you can make entire meals with “pantry” items. We know that no two people will agree on a list of staples, one cook’s go to ingredient may be new ground for another, but this is the stuff we believe you should keep on hand.

For the most part, they’re ingredients that last. When you run low on potatoes or lemons, don’t wait to restock. Instead, put them on the shopping list so they’re always at the ready.

Use this list to help you establish your own well-stocked pantry. By having these items on hand, it will allow you to make a quick and easy meal anytime.


  • all-purpose flour
  • baking powder
  • baking soda
  • cocoa powder
  • confectioners sugar
  • premium chocolate bars + chips (dark, milk, white chocolate)
  • whole-wheat flour

Beans, grains, pasta + rice

  • arborio rice
  • barley
  • bran
  • bulgur
  • brown rice
  • couscous
  • low-sodium black beans
  • cannellini beans
  • low-sodium garbanzo beans (chickpeas)
  • pasta (regular and whole-wheat varieties)
  • quinoa
  • sushi rice
  • wheat berries
  • white rice
  • wild rice

Bottled, jarred + canned items

  • black olive tapenade
  • canned tomatoes: crushed, diced, whole (prefer San Marzano variety)
  • capers
  • chipotle chiles in adobo (chipotle salsa)
  • jams, jellies and preserves
  • low-sodium stocks (chicken, beef, vegetable)
  • peanut butter
  • popcorn
  • red chile paste
  • salsa
  • tomato paste (prefer tube variety)
  • wasabi paste

Dry ingredients

  • breadcrumbs
  • cornmeal
  • cornstarch
  • dried fruits (apricots, cranberries, raisins)
  • nori sheets
  • nuts (almonds, walnuts)
  • oatmeal
  • seeds (flax, sunflower)
  • wheat germ

Oils, vinegars + sauces

  • apple cider vinegar
  • balsamic vinegar
  • canola oil
  • champagne vinegar
  • cooking spray
  • extra virgin olive oils (one for cooking and a good Italian one
  • for finishing, dipping etc.)
  • low-sodium soy sauce
  • red wine vinegar
  • rice vinegar
  • sesame oil
  • sherry vinegar
  • white wine vinegar


  • frozen fruits (mixed berries, peaches)
  • frozen shelled edamame
  • vegetables (peas, spinach)
  • puff pastry


  • carrots
  • celery
  • cheeses (Parmigiano-Reggiano, extra sharp cheddar, feta + blue cheese)
  • Dijon mustard
  • eggs
  • fresh herbs (Italian parsley, thyme)
  • horseradish
  • ketchup
  • lemons, limes, oranges
  • mayonnaise
  • milk and cream
  • plain greek-style yogurt
  • tabasco
  • thick-cut smoked bacon
  • unsalted butter
  • Worcestershire sauce

Spices (dried)

Allspice, bay leaves, black pepper, cayenne, celery seeds, chili powder, cloves, cinnamon, cinnamon sticks, coriander, cumin, curry powder, dry mustard, fennel seeds, ground ginger, herbes de Provence, kosher salt, Madagascar pure vanilla extract, nutmeg, old bay seasoning, red pepper flakes, saffron, sesame seeds, vanilla beans


  • agave nectar
  • honey
  • maple syrup
  • molasses
  • sugars (white, light and dark brown varieties)


  • garlic
  • onions (yellow, red, white)
  • potatoes
  • shallots

Wine + spirits

  • dark rum
  • dry sherry
  • Grand marnier (orange-flavored liqueur)
  • Pernod (licorice-flavored liqueur)
  • red wine
  • white wine