Pantry Staples List

I recently asked on the $5 Dinners Facebook Fan page what you would like to see in a “grocery shopping list” template.  And while I have a few shopping lists in the works, several of you asked for a basic pantry staples list.  So I wanted to ask everyone for help in creating an Pantry Staples List.

  • What ingredients MUST be in your pantry at all times?
  • What ingredient would you make a special trip back to the grocery store if you ran out?
  • What is your favorite “pantry” meal…meaning a meal that you can whip together with a few ingredients from the pantry?!?

Thanks for helping me put together a comprehensive and useful Pantry Staples List!

P.S. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  Erin Go Bragh!!!


  1. Kellie says

    All of my pantry basics have been covered by previous posts except for one:

    Canned Salmon

    I make salmon patties (croquettes) with canned salmon, egg, bread crumbs and a few other ingredients. Delicious and nutritious!

  2. Kellie says

    I would make a special trip to the store for eggs or coffee. My husband would make a special trip for orange juice. My children would for ice cream!

  3. Stephanie says

    Here’s my list:

    pasta (thin spaghetti, elbows, rotini)
    spag. sauce (although I’m going to start making it after seeing your book)
    canned tomatoes (to throw into rice, etc)
    boxed mac & cheese
    ketchup (we go through this like water!)
    sandwich meat (usually ham & turkey)
    amer cheese (buy it in bulk @ costco)
    string cheese (for snacks….kids & me!)
    fat-free milk (my growing boy can’t get enough!)
    waffles (need to make my own, as my 7 yr old daughter eats them just about every day!)

    There is tons more, but these are the basics we use….I’m in the process of learning how to save more on groceries, and make more from scratch.

  4. Debbie Fick says

    Dry onion soup mix and queen olives and crushed pineapple plus what’s covered by other peoples lists.

  5. Julie says

    Does anyone have any suggestions on how to help someone build their pantry from scratch IF they only have $150 worth of food stamps a month and maybe $15/wk cash? These are some folks that just moved into housing that have been homeless for years.

  6. Crystal in Cincinnati says

    I store dried fruits and vegetables that I always buy cheap,in bulk from several online sources. I also buy 25lb bags of tvp (textured vegetable protein) in various forms and flavors (sloppy joe mix, chili mix, beef chunks, chicken chunks, plain, ground beef, beef strips, ham, pepperoni, etc.) I also buy boxes (case) of Veggie Ribs, which are fantastic and made from wheat gluten flour. I do buy canned meat, such as salmon and tuna, but canned meat can be so expensive! I buy dried beans and lentils, mashed potato flakes, rice, pasta, jars of pasta sauce on sale and with coupon, buckets of flour and baking needs, and canned soups, fruits, vegetables and all the condiments I can store safely. Oh and also dried, powdered milk. When my husband lost his job one time, we were without income for about 3 months and had to use savings to pay the non-negotiable bills. Having a pantry that was so well-stocked meant that we may not have had fresh produce, but we ate very well just from the pantry. Having a freezer is great, but we had ours go out one year and lost a huge, full freezer of food. So frozen food storage isn’t always the best option.

    • Angel Fowler says

      **Crystal in Cincinnati – I store dried fruits and vegetables that I always buy cheap, in bulk, from several online sources.**

      Can you share your online sources? Thanks!

  7. says

    On question about someone only having $150 a month in food stamps and low on cash, how can you help stock their pantry…here goes: Powdered Milk, rice, beans, Pam spray, cooking oil, canned salmon, canned mackeral, canned tuna, even canned spam, crackers, pasta, flour, corn meal,sugar, salt, pepper, baking soda, baking powder, vanilla, cinnamon. Frig and freezer speak for themselves. You always need eggs, margarine and milk. So having these basics in store will help them stretch their food allotment and give them quality meals and something to eat when food funds are almost out before next month. If you are helping, get them storage baggies and garbage bags as well. Something they always always need.

  8. Molly says

    I think the biggest staple in our pantry is Tony’s seasoning.. I use it on everything– meat, chicken, sausage, in gumbo, corn, potatoes.. Not much I don’t use it on actually!

    Antique Jewelry

  9. says

    On low-income pantry – don’t forget bread! 5 basic grocery items to always check in case of winter storm watches & blizzards on way – laundry detergent, TP, bread, milk & eggs!!!

    • HarleyGirl says

      I never buy store bought bread anymore. We got a bread machine (you can find them cheap at yard sales or on Craigslist) and we make our own bread now. For the cost of the ingredients, you can make many more loaves than you can buy. And you know exactly what is in the bread.

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