I'm someone who likes to cook on a daily basis and bake as often as possible. Having a well-stocked pantry is essential for my endeavors in the kitchen and I never like to feel limited. I know it's not always feasible to have everything one needs at all times, but I try very hard to keep my must-haves on hand. We all have our own style of cooking and your pantry may be completely different from mine. Keep in mind that this is a master list, one from which you can cook just about anything. Pick and choose according to your needs and likes.
- Grains & Flours
Store in airtight containers.
unbleached all-purpose flour, bread flour, whole wheat flour (store in freezer), cake flour (not self-rising), yellow cornmeal (refrigerate), white cornmeal(refrigerate), masa harina, cornstarch, arrowroot, old-fashioned rolled oats (not instant), extra-long grain white rice (not parboiled), extra-long grain brown rice, jasmine rice, basmati rice, Japanese short grain rice, arborio rice, quinoa, bulgur wheat
- Pastas & Legumes
Store in original packaging.
couscous (Moroccan & Israeli), thin spaghetti, spaghetti, bucatini, linguine, fusilli, farfalle, elbows, ziti, penne, orzo, soba noodles, lasagna noodles, wonton wrappers (store in refrigerator), rice paper rolls, black beans, navy beans, Le Puy lentils, brown lentils, red split lentils, split peas
Store in airtight containers.
granulated sugar, superfine sugar, light brown sugar, dark brown sugar, 10X- confectioner's sugar, demerara sugar (in the raw), sanding sugar (coarse & fine), unsulphured molasses, light corn syrup, agave nectar, grade A or B maple syrup, pure honey (a variety and local if possible), flavored sugars (lemon, orange, vanilla, cinnamon & rose)
- Baking Essentials
Store in original containers.
baking soda, baking powder, cream of tartar, non-fat powdered milk, active dry yeast (keep refrigerated), unflavored gelatin, malted milk powder, meringue powder, almond paste, marzipan, dutch-process cocoa powder, chocolate bars (unsweetened, bittersweet, semisweet, milk and white),
chocolate chips (bittersweet, semisweet, milk and white), chocolate sprinkles, instant espresso powder, gel food colors, vanilla extract, almond extract, coconut extract, lemon extract, orange extract, peppermint extract, vanilla paste, vanilla beans
- Nuts & Dried Fruit
All nuts should be frozen in resealable bags, dried fruit stored in airtight containers.
blanched almonds (slivered, sliced or whole), hazelnuts, shelled unsalted pistachios, pinenuts, pecans, walnuts, macadamias, dry roasted unsalted peanuts, sesame seeds (black & white), dried coconut (sweetened & natural), cranberries, apricots, candied ginger, prunes, dates, mission figs, raisins, golden raisins, currants, cherries (montmorency or sweet), candied lemon peel, candied orange peel
- Canned & Bottled Goods
Once opened, refrigerate all bottled goods. Transfer all canned goods, once opened, to food safe containers and refrigerate
cranberry juice, pomegranate juice, apple juice, unsweetened organic applesauce, apricot jam, raspberry jam, sour orange marmalade, almond butter, natural peanut butter (crunchy or smooth), morello cherries in syrup, oil-packed sundried tomatoes, non-pareil capers, bottled roasted red peppers, kalamata olives, sardines in olive oil, pole caught tuna, wild caught red salmon, anchovies, favorite marinara sauce, unsalted tomato sauce, whole canned tomatoes, tomato paste, evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk, coconut milk, pumpkin puree, kidney beans, chickpeas, black beans, navy beans, chipotle peppers in adobo, low sodium chicken stock (for emergencies),low-sodium clam juice, horseradish
Store in original containers and refrigerate once opened.
low fat mayonnaise, dijon mustard, grain mustard, barbecue sauce, sriracha sauce, low sodium soy sauce, hoison sauce, oyster sauce, Thai style hot sauce, wasabi paste, worcestershire sauce, Louisiana hot sauce,
Store in original containers away from heat & light.
extra virgin olive oil, safflower oil, canola oil, peanut oil, dark toasted sesame oil (keep in refrigerator), walnut oil (keep in refrigerator), hazelnut oil (keep in refrigerator)
Store in original containers.
balsamic, red wine, white wine, champagne, sherry, apple cider, distilled white, unseasoned rice vinegar
- Herbs and Spices
Store in airtight containers away from heat & light.
allspice, anise seeds, basil, bay leaf, blackened seasoning, bouquet garni, caraway seeds, cardamom (pods & ground), cayenne pepper, celery seeds, chile pepper flakes, chile seasoning, chipotle chile powder, cinnamon (stick & ground), cloves (whole & ground),coriander, cumin, curry powder (hot & mild), dill, fennel seeds, fenugreek, five spice powder, garam masala, ginger, herbes de provence, juniper berries, lavender, mace blades, marjoram, mulling spices, mustard (ground, black & yellow seeds), nutmeg (whole), oregano (Greek & Mexican), paprika (sweet & hot), peppercorns (green, pink, szechuan, tellicherry, white), pimentón, poppy seeds, rosemary, saffron threads (Spanish), sage, star anise, salt (kosher & fine sea) summer savory, tarragon, thyme, turmeric
- Freezer Must Haves
homemade chicken stock (1-2 cup portions), baby lima beans, peas (petite or regular), organic sweet corn, vegetable medley, chopped spinach, broccoli, bacon, pesto, egg yolks (if leftover from recipes),
egg whites (if leftover from recipes), unsalted butter, blueberries, cranberries, strawberries, raspberries, pate brisee (pie crust), puff pastry, bread (sandwich, loaves, baguettes), breadcrumbs, ravioli, ALL nuts (they get rancid quickly), deveined shrimp
This list was put together as a source from which to stock a cook's pantry. If I've left anything out that you feel should be on this list, please let me know and I'll include it. I hope this guide serves you well. Happy cooking & baking!