Pantry Essentials for your Kitchen

April 08, 2015

pantry essentials ingredients

It’s hard to cook if you don’t have a pantry that has what you need to cook.

It’s also hard to cook if you pantry has items you don’t need or ever use.

The idea is to find the balance between keeping ingredients around that you love, that allows you to make meals in minutes.

This is what I keep in the pantry at all times, so that I know in a moment’s notice I can put a quick meal together.  Having everything in the pantry means aside from my recurring list, I mostly buy protein + veggies during the week.

Pantry Essentials


These are the items you need to create a flavor base for your dishes.  Onions and garlic keep for a while in the pantry and are often the base for any dish – I could never live without them.

  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Ginger

Flavor Agents

These are the items that will add a quick boost of flavors to foods.  I do a lot of Asian stir-fries so these are always in my pantry – and often use tamari instead of salt.

  • Low sodium tamari
  • Sriracha
  • Oyster sauce
  • Mirin
  • Fish sauce


Storing vinegars means you can make a homemade vinaigrette in less than 5 minutes.  A drop of rice wine vinegar in a stir-fry can enhance the flavor.  You can quick pickle some carrots or jalapenos with a little rice wine or apple cider vinegar and a pinch of salt in less than 10 minutes.

You don’t need every type of vinegar – have what you’ll actually use.  I mostly use apple cider, rice wine and red wine vinegar so this is what I keep on hand at all times.

  • Rice wine vinegar
  • Red wine vinegar
  • White wine vinegar
  • Apple cider vinegar
  • Balsamic vinegar


I use olive oil for most of my cooking – here’s a post on why olive oil is safe to cook with at high heats.

  • Good quality olive oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Sesame oil

Canned Goods

  • Canned tomatoes – 1-2 cans
  • Good quality canned tuna in olive oil or smoked trout (to use in a quick sandwich or salad)
  • Canned beans – a couple of can of your favorite kind
  • Coconut milk – 1-2 cans

Grains + Beans

  • Sushi rice
  • Basmati or Jasmine rice (sometimes both)
  • Quinoa
  • Polenta
  • Farro (sometimes, but don’t make often)
  • Dried black beans
  • Red lentils
  • Green lentils (sometimes)
  • Rice noodles


This is my no means a definitive spice pantry.  You can get more complex with spices – but I find a lot of people have spices they never end up using.  These are my top spices – the ones that have the most impact in my cooking.  Dried basil is not in there on purpose because I find it bitter and I would rather use fresh basil.

  • Chili powder
  • Turmeric
  • Curry powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Paprika
  • Thyme
  • Oregano
  • Cumin
  • Cinnamon
  • Five Spice


  • Non GMO Cornstarch
  • Gelatin (organic/grass fed)
  • Baking soda
  • Baking powder
  • Vanilla bean
  • Coconut sugar
  • Raw honey
  • Sweet potatoes

In the fridge

  • Corn tortillas
  • Eggs
  • Butter
  • Dijon
  • Red or green curry paste
  • Tomato paste (tube, keeps longer)
  • Salsa
  • Some kind of fermented food – kimchi, saueurkraut, pickles
  • Sprouted bread (not always bc I try not to eat a lot of bread, but I do like having it on hand for a quick tuna sandwich)


I try to keep cooked black beans in the freezer for quick tacos or chilies.  I also always have chicken stock. Boxed stock is fine too – not ideal but handy to have around.

On the counter

  • A couple of limes and lemons

Some things I can make from this pantry list without buying anything else:

So there’s my White Apron pantry essentials. Knowing you can put together a meal in minutes by having stocked pantry makes a world of difference.

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