Pantry Staples you should always have on hand

Having pantry staples to hand is great for whipping up fast and easy meals. It is also a good idea to have pantry staples on hand in case of emergencies.



Having a collection of pantry staples on hand means you will always have ingredients to hand that you may need for fast and easy meals.

Having pantry staples on hand can really help with your meal planning.  Shop your pantry staples first, whenever you are going shopping and compiling your shopping list.

It also means you will have a supply of items in case you get sick and can’t get to the stores, or even if an emergency situation occurs.

Pantry staples are non-perishable items that can be kept in your pantry and/or cupboards for a long period of time.  They commonly include canned and dried foods and ingredients.


Pantry staples you should always have on hand


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What are the Common Pantry Staples?


Pasta is a great versatile dry food, that can be combined with so many different ingredients to create many different meals. Pasta keeps for a really long time in your pantry, so is the ideal pantry staple.

Have a selection of different pastas stored, in different shapes and sizes. Common pastas are Penne, Spaghetti, Fettucine, and Rigatoni.


Pantry staples you should always have on hand


Canned Fish

Canned fish, such as tuna and salmon, can keep for a really long time in your pantry.  They usually come packed in either oil or water.  They can be combined with other ingredients to create a meal.


If you are a meat eater, chicken and beef stock can be kept either ready made in cans or cartons, or in the form of stock cubes. For non-meat eaters, vegetable broth is available in liquid and powder form. Stock/broth can be mixed with other ingredients to create soups, sauces and more.


Related: Meal Planning 101

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Rice is a great pantry staple that can make dishes and meals.  Brown rice has the most fiber, and you will therefore feel fuller for much longer after eating it. 

Have a selection of different rices to mix things up and for different dishes and cuisines, such as Basmati, Jasmine etc. You can also buy boxes of Instant Rice, that are quick and easy to cook.


Beans come in all different varieties, and can be a great addition to many meals. You can also buy both canned and dried beans.  Dried beans usually need to be soaked first for a while before being used, so bear this in mind. 

Canned beans are ready for use immediately (but may need to be heated up).  You can buy a selection of different beans for different meals and dishes,  including black beans, pinto beans, Cannelini beans, kidney beans and more.

Canned Tomatoes

Canned tomatoes are a great pantry staple, because they can be combined to make so many dishes and recipes.

Choose cans of diced tomatoes, whole tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, and even crushed tomatoes.

Sun Dried tomatoes are also a great staple to have on hand. They are packed with flavor and can add a punch to any dish.

Canned Fruits & Vegetables

Canned fruits and vegetables are good to have on hand. These can be added to dishes and even made into pies.

Pickles and Olives

Jars of pickles and olives can be added to meals to give them more flavor.  Black olives can be added to most dishes, as can green olives. Pickles can add flavor to otherwise bland meals.


Lentils are a great basic to keep.  They can be made into soups and dishes. They make a great meat substitute also if you don’t have meat to hand in a dish.

They are many different varieties of lentils, including brown, red and green lentils.


Sweeteners such as sugar, honey, maple syrup and more can be used in baking and cooking.


Always have a selection of different spices on hand. They can be the difference between a bland meal and a special meal.  

Choose a selection of different spices, and include spices such as a cinnamon, dried onion powder, dried garlic powder, red chilli flakes, tumeric and more.

Related: Fast & Easy 15-20 Minute Meal Ideas


Oils can be used in both baking and cooking, and are a good staple to have on hand.

Have a selection of different oils, such as olive oil, canola oil, etc.  You can use oils for salad dressings, in cakes, to fry and cook foods and more.


Flour can be used to make baked goods, and also pastries and pies.  It can also thicken sauces.

Have a selection of different flours, especially all-purpose flour.


Pantry staples you should always have on hand


Pasta Sauces

Pasta sauces are already made up sauces, that are available to use fast and quickly. You can just dump a jar of pasta sauce into a saucepan and heat it up – all ready to go.

Coconut Milk

Coconut milk is canned and can be kept for a long time. It is a great milk substitute and can be used in all kinds of dishes.


Condiments include those items that add flavor to meals. These include tomato and brown ketchup, mustard, soy sauce, hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, and also jellies and jams.

Baking Ingredients

Baking ingredients are not usually used as often as other foods, therefore you are less likely to have them on hand when you need them for a recipe.

That is why it is a great idea to keep baking ingredients on hand at all times as a pantry staple.

Baking ingredients include foods such as flour, baking powder, cocoa powder, chocolate chips, shredded coconut, evaporated and condensed milk, vanilla extract and more.

Snacks and Cereals

Keep a selection of snacks at hand for when you run out, or needs some quickly. Good selections for this include crackers, seeds (such as sunflower), peanuts, peanut or almond butter, breakfast cereals, oatmeal, applesauce, popcorn and cookies.

Frozen Pantry Staples


Bread is a good staple to have on hand, but it doesn’t keep well in your pantry for very long. But you can freeze bread.

Fruits & Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables cannot be kept easily in the pantry for long.  But they can be kept in the freezer for longer amounts of times. Have a selection of different fruits and vegetables in your freezer.


Frozen pastry can be turned into pies and baked goods.


Refrigerated Staples


Keep dairy and non-dairy milk in your refrigerator.  You can also keep milks such as oat milk, which keeps for longer.


Keep a selection of different cheeses, including cheddar, parmesan and mozzarella.  Cheese can also be frozen in the freezer for longer-term use.

Butter and Margarine

Butter and margarine are vital ingredients in most baking and cooking.  They can be kept for a certain length of time in your refrigerator.


Flour tortillas can be kept ready to use for breakfast wraps, quesadillas, and more.


Keep pantry staples on hand for your every day meal planning and family food needs.  Shop your pantry staples first whenever you are planning your family’s meals for the week!

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