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in my kitchen / not exactly food

Pantry Essentials

1. Top cabinet shelves. 2. Main freezer door.
3. YouCopia Chef’s Edition
SpiceStacks
4. Top of baker’s rack.

Welcome to the first post in my new Kitchen Essentials series! Y’all ask about what I use in my own home pretty much daily so I’m going to break it down for you in great detail.

I figured the best place to start would be my Pantry Essentials because with everything going on right now I’ve been fielding a lot more questions about how my kitchen is stocked, and how I handle not being able to visit the grocery store as often as I usually do.

Section Quick-Links

  1. Introduction
  2. Spices, Seasonings, Dried Herbs + Aromatics
  3. Sugars, Sweeteners + Such
  4. Oils + Fats
  5. Flours, Grains + Dry Goods
  6. Cans + Jars
  7. Miscellaneous

Introduction

Now, whether your intent is to make a habit of cooking regularly at home or you’re only looking to be able to make do with what you’ve got at the house in case of a 28 Days Later type situation, a well-stocked pantry is key. In the following list of pantry essentials, you’ll find the dry goods, spices and seasonings, canned things and other shelf-stable items that I keep in my cabinets, pantry, and kitchen closet.

Not only there but in some cases my refrigerator and freezers too because while most of this stuff is fine in cool places (I use a couple of these to store my unopened and not often used shelf-stable products) some of them require refrigeration after opening or their life is extended greatly when frozen.

These are not necessarily recommendations, just what I have in my own home. You should stock your pantry with items that you love and are actually going to use. That said, this list is a nice guide if you’re stocking up for the first time and unsure where to begin.

As you read through this list of what I consider pantry essentials you’ll see that on a few occasions I specify a brand. This means that if I’m shopping and the store is out of this exact thing I’m not considering any other options: I’m moving on without it or making a mental note to make it myself when I get home. An example of this is Lawry’s seasoned salt. I grew up on it, I love it, and there is no other in my opinion.

With the other stuff listed, I likely have a hierarchy of preferences to fall back on if the main one is unavailable. It’s also worth noting that because I’m beholden to my budget above all else, sometimes I have to purchase what I can afford instead of what I want, so I swap ’em out as needed.

Spices, Seasonings, Dried Herbs + Aromatics

  • allspice, ground
  • allspice, whole
  • ancho chile powder
  • annatto seed
  • basil
  • bay leaves
  • black peppercorns, whole
  • Carolina Reaper pepper flakes
  • cardamom, ground
  • cardamom, whole
  • cayenne pepper
  • celery, ground
  • celery salt
  • celery seeds
  • chili powder
  • chipotle chili powder
  • chives, freeze-dried
  • cinnamon, ground
  • cinnamon, whole sticks
  • cloves, ground
  • coriander, whole
  • coriander, ground
  • cumin, ground
  • cumin, whole
  • curry powder, Madras
  • curry powder, Jamaican
  • dill weed, dried
  • fennel seeds
  • file powder
  • garlic powder
  • granulated garlic
  • ground ginger
  • Herbes de Provence
  • hot Mexican chili powder
  • Italian seasoning
  • kosher salt, Diamond Crystal
  • kosher salt, coarse (see note)
  • Lawry’s seasoned Salt
  • minced garlic
  • minced onions
  • mustard seeds
  • mustard, ground
  • nutmeg, ground
  • nutmeg, whole
  • onion powder
  • oregano, ground
  • oregano, Mexican
  • oregano, Mediterranean
  • paprika, Hot Smoked (pimentón)
  • paprika, Smoked
  • paprika, Hungarian Sweet
  • paprika, sweet hot
  • parsley flakes
  • pink peppercorns, whole
  • red pepper flakes
  • rosemary, ground
  • rosemary, dried
  • saffron
  • sage, rubbed
  • star anise
  • sea salt, fine
  • sea salt, flaked
  • tarragon
  • The Brass Experience multi-purpose seasoning
  • thyme, dried
  • thyme, ground
  • various rubs, blends, and flavored salts
  • white pepper, ground

Note: I use Diamond Crystal Kosher salt for cooking (I like Trader Joe’s Coarse Salt too), and any kind of coarse salt for scrubbing my cast iron.

Sugars, Sweeteners + Such

  • almond extract
  • honey
  • honey, Tupelo
  • lemon extract
  • Log Cabin syrup
  • molasses
  • molasses, blackstrap
  • sugar, dark brown
  • sugar, granulated
  • sugar, light brown
  • sugar, organic cane
  • sugar, powdered
  • sugar, raw
  • sugar, sparkling
  • vanilla bean paste
  • vanilla beans
  • vanilla extract, pure

Oils + Fats

  • beef bacon fat*
  • beef tallow
  • butter, European unsalted*
  • butter, salted*
  • butter, unsalted*
  • coconut oil
  • Country Crock Original Spread
  • Crisco all-vegetable Shortening
  • Crisco Butter Flavored all-vegetable Shortening
  • duck fat
  • ghee*
  • grapeseed oil
  • olive oil
  • olive oil, extra virgin
  • peanut oil
  • vegetable oil

Sauces + Such

  • boullion cubes, beef
  • bouillon cubes, chicken
  • Better than Bouillon base, roasted beef*
  • Better than Bouillon base, roasted chicken*
  • Better than Bouillon base, seasoned vegetable*
  • Better than Bouillion base, vegetarian no chicken*
  • club soda
  • Duke’s mayonnaise*
  • el Yucateca XXXtra Chile Habanero hot sauce
  • fish sauce
  • gochujang
  • harissa paste*
  • hot sauces, various
  • Huy Fong chili garlic sauce
  • Huy Fong Sriracha
  • ketchup*
  • liquid smoke

  • mustard, stoneground*
  • mustard, yellow*
  • oyster sauce
  • sesame oil*
  • soy sauce
  • tomato paste*
  • Texas Pete hot sauce
  • vinegar, balsamic
  • vinegar, distilled white
  • vinegar, apple cider
  • vinegar, rice wine
  • Walkerswood jerk seasoning, hot and spicy*
  • Worcestershire sauce*
  • Worcestershire sauce, Vegan*
pantry essentials

Flours, Grains + Dry Goods

  • agar-agar powder
  • aluminum-free double-acting baking powder
  • baking soda
  • breadcrumbs, Italian
  • breadcrumbs, Panko
  • buttermilk powder
  • cocoa powder
  • cornmeal, yellow
  • cornmeal, yellow self-rising
  • cornstarch
  • cream of tartar
  • dry milk powder
  • egg noodles
  • farina
  • flax seeds
  • flour, King Arthur all-purpose
  • flour, King Arthur bread
  • flour, Swan’s Down cake
  • flour, White Lily bread
  • flour, White Lily all-purpose
  • flour, White Lily self-rising
  • flour, all-purpose (see note)
  • flour, corn
  • flour, self-rising
  • flour, semolina
  • grits, Quaker Quick 5-minute
  • grits, stoneground white*
  • grits, stoneground yellow*
  • malt powder
  • oats, quick
  • oats, rolled
  • pasta, dried (various shapes: penne, cavatappi, fettuccine, spaghetti, lasagna sheets, elbow macaroni, jumbo shells, etc.)
  • ramen noodles, plain
  • ramen noodle soup, Top Ramen Chicken Flavored
  • rice, Arborio
  • rice, Basmati
  • rice, brown
  • rice, Jasmine
  • rice, short-grain
  • rice, Uncle Ben’s parboiled long grain
  • tortillas, yellow corn
  • tortillas, flour
  • yeast, active-dry
  • yeast, instant

Note: I keep White Lily – and a couple of types of King Arthur – flours stocked, but I also keep other (usually cheaper) versions of those same flours handy. This way I don’t waste the good stuff thickening a roux or breading fish when it’s really best in things like my ‘How High’ Buttermilk Biscuits or my favorite hamburger buns.

Cans + Jars

  • almonds, raw*
  • canned beans, black
  • canned beans, dark-red kidney
  • canned beans, light-red kidney
  • canned beans, navy
  • canned beans, pinto
  • canned corn, sweet white
  • canned corn, yellow
  • canned pink salmon
  • canned tomatoes, crushed
  • canned tomatoes, diced
  • canned tomatoes, peeled
  • canned tuna
  • cashews, raw*
  • chunky salsa*
  • coconut milk*
  • condensed milk
  • chipotle peppers in adobo*
  • dehydrated peppers, carolina reaper
  • dehydrated peppers, green bell
  • dehydrated peppers, red bell
  • dried chile peppers (Anaheim, Ancho, Arbol, California, Guajillo, New Mexico)
  • dry beans, dark-red kidney
  • dry beans, lima (butter)
  • dry beans, pinto
  • evaporated milk
  • Mt. Olive bread and butter chips
  • Mt. Olive jalapeno slices
  • Mt. Olive pickled vidalia onion strips*
  • Mt. Olive sweet pickle relish*
  • Mt. Olive sweet salad cubes*
  • peanut butter, creamy
  • peanut butter, crunchy
  • peas, black-eyed
  • peas, field
  • sesame seeds
  • sesame seeds, black
  • stock, chicken*
  • stock, smoked turkey*
  • strawberry jam
  • strawberry preserves
  • tomato sauce
  • walnuts, raw
pantry essentials

Miscellaneous

  • baking chips, butterscotch
  • baking chips, milk chocolate
  • baking chips, semi-sweet
  • baking chips, white chocolate
  • baking chocolate, milk
  • baking chocolate, semi-sweet
  • baking chocolate, white
  • baking spray
  • cooking spray
  • corn syrup, light
  • nonpareils
  • sprinkles

I’ll update this Pantry Essentials list every time it changes so you might want to bookmark this post! Leave any questions you have in the comments; I’m happy to answer them.

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