Pantry Staples

Farmers Market Pantry Staples
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My Cooking Philosophy

I generally try to maintain recipes to about 10 ingredients as a tenant of my cooking philosophy.  Any more than that and a recipe can get out of hand or shopping just becomes a pain.  I am not sure about all of you, but trying to buy a lot of random stuff make navigating the store and getting everything home annoying.  More often than not though, I actually don’t need to buy that many of the ingredients I do use as I really like to work with certain pantry staples.

I find this is a great way to cook, not only from a cost standpoint but it allows you to easily experiment or create simple but flavorful recipes.  While I do love all styles of cooking, I generally focus most on classic American, French, and Italian flavors and a well stocked kitchen allows you to easily play around with new takes on classic dishes.  Some spices and long lived ingredients can even cross these flavor profiles and allow your pantry staples to do a double duty.

Quality vs Cost

The key to a well stocked kitchen is balancing quality vs. cost.  Always think about how you plan to use your ingredients.  If you plan to use the ingredient as the centerpiece for a dish, go a little higher quality; but if you just need a basic underlying flavor don’t spend the money.  Alternatively, you can look at your pantry staples from the perspective of how long the item will last.  Something used sparingly and that last a while may be worth going a little higher quality on.

Pantry Staples
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DIY vs Buy

This is another question that I sometimes find I ask myself.  Is it worth it to make something like a pantry staple yourself that you could just as easily buy in store?  Again the answer I find is normally “it depends.”  Generally, I don’t like to make more work for myself; however, when I am trying to make a nice meal or when I want a certain flavor profile, I will go DIY.  Now, I will be the first to admit, DIY normally doesn’t save you much money and definitely isn’t any faster.  What I do love about DIY pantry staples though is that you can control what goes into it and exactly what flavor you get out.  Some of my favorite DIYs are Chicken Stock, Ketchup, and Simple Syrup.

My Pantry Staple List


  • Red Pepper Flake
  • Fennel Seed
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Bay Leaf
  • Cumin
  • Chili Powder
  • Cayenne
  • Nutmeg
  • Cinnamon
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Paprika
  • Vanilla Extract


  • Yellow Onions
  • Shallot
  • Garlic
  • Lemons
  • Fresh Thyme
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Fresh Rosemary
  • Apples

Pantry Liquids

  • Olive Oil
  • Grapeseed Oil
  • Sesame Oil
  • Canola Oil
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • White Wine Vinegar
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Worcester Sauce
  • Canned Tomatoes
  • Honey

Dry Pantry Goods

  • Fettuccine
  • Thin Spaghetti
  • Rigatoni
  • Orzo
  • Basmati Rice
  • Arborio Rice
  • Jasmine Rice
  • Couscous
  • Panko
  • Bread Crumbs
  • Corn Starch
  • Corn Bread Mix
  • Sugar
  • Brown Sugar
  • All Purpose Flour
  • Baking Powder
  • Baking Soda

Fridge/Freezer Items

  • Chicken Stock
  • Eggs
  • Butter
  • Maple Syrup
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Frozen Peas
  • Frozen Corn
  • Frozen Pizza Dough
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Grainy Dijon Mustard
  • Soy Sauce
  • Heavy Cream
  • Half & Half


  • Bourbon
  • Brandy/Cognac
  • White Wine
  • Red Whine
  • Tequila
  • Marsala
  • Vodka
  • Beers
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