Did you just move into your first house? Have you recently taken up cooking? Not to exaggerate, but a well-stocked pantry is a must. Whether you love home-cooked meals or you’re trying to cut-down your habit of eating out, an adequately stocked pantry is the first step to cooking delicious and nutritious meals at home.

Instead of running to the grocery store every time you wish to prepare dinner, consider keeping a set of pantry essentials at all times. With basic ingredients at your disposal, you can quickly put something together for unexpected guests or your midnight cravings.

While exclusively storing junk food is every young adult’s wet dream, it’s not sustainable. A pantry should include ingredients for easy, balanced meals. From filling grains to nutritious proteins to flavourful condiments, your pantry should have the perfect combination of ingredients.  And yes, snacky bits for the occasional indulgence.

What you keep in your pantry will vary depending on a number of factors, including dietary choices and cooking abilities. In this guide, we have shared a detailed checklist of pantry basics that will assist you in preparing a variety of meals. Let’s begin.

GRAINS, LEGUMES & STARCHES

Whole grains, legumes and starches can be easily incorporated into a wide range of dishes. With considerable shelf life, these filling fibres are a must-have for every pantry. You can buy them in bulk for better value.

  • Whole wheat flour
  • Rice ( white/ brown/ short-grain/ long-grain)
  • Assorted pastas
  • Split peas
  • Beans
  • Quinoa
  • Rolled oats

OILS & CONDIMENTS

Oils and condiments are essential. In addition to cooking and baking, oil and condiments come in handy to enhance simple meals.

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Canola oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Butter
  • Mayonnaise
  • Vinegar (white/balsamic/apple cider)
  • Soy sauce
  • Ketchup
  • Hot sauce
  • Mustard
  • Pickles
  • Jam
  • Peanut/Almond/Cashew butter

SWEETENERS

From morning coffee to baking, your pantry should have sweeteners for the daily dose of sugar.

  • Granulated sugar
  • Honey
  • Brown sugar
  • Maple syrup

SEASONING & DRIED HERBS

Without seasoning, you can’t create flavourful food. And where’s the fun in that? In addition to flavour, herbs and spices offer powerful health benefits.  Just like grains, seasonings, herbs and spices have a decent shelf life.

  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Paprika
  • Turmeric
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Cumin
  • Cinnamon
  • Chili powder
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Nutmeg

CANNED GOODS

Contrary to popular belief, the nutritional value of canned food and fresh food is more or less the same. But unlike fresh produce, canned food last much longer.

  • Canned tomatoes
  • Chicken/beef/vegetable broth
  • Canned beans (chickpeas/ cannellini beans/ black beans)
  • Canned tuna
  • Garlic paste

NUTS & SEEDS

Apart from being an instant source of an extensive range of vitamins and minerals, nuts and seeds can enhance any dish by adding texture and flavour. They also make a healthy snacking option.

  • Walnuts
  • Almonds
  • Cashews
  • Peanuts
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Chia seeds
  • Sesame seeds

DRINKS

Instead of spending time and money on purchasing coffee or tea every morning, equip your pantry to satisfy your daily caffeine fix.

  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Juice

SNACKS & CEREALS

A pantry is incomplete without a dedicated snack drawer with an assortment of healthy and not-so-healthy nibbly bits.

  • Crisps
  • Cookies
  • Popcorn
  • Biscuits
  • Protein bars
  • Dried fruits (raisins/cranberries/apricots)
  • Breakfast cereal
  • Poptarts
  • Instant noodles

If you’re too busy to shop, head over to BritSuperstore to get everything you need hand-picked and delivered at your doorstep.

REFRIGERATOR BASICS

As far as your refrigerators is considered, here are some basics you should always have.

  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Cheese
  • Seasonal vegetables & fruits

FREEZER BASICS

Even if you don’t have time to grocery shop, you can still enjoy freshly cooked meals, thanks to your freezer.

  • Frozen vegetables (spinach, broccoli, carrots, peas, corn)
  • Frozen fruits (bananas, pineapple, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries)
  • Frozen meat
  • Bread
  • Ice cream
  • Frozen meals

OTHER BASICS

  • Lemons
  • Cilantro
  • Salsa
  • Pasta sauce
  • Pizza dough
  • Wine
  • Vanilla extract
  • Capers
  • Fresh chillies
  • Cooking spray

As previously mentioned, what your pantry needs completely depends on your personal taste and preferences. Remember, it’s not necessary to buy everything at once. It takes time to build a diverse pantry, so take it slow.