Pantry Staples: Stock A Healthy Pantry
Learn how to stock a healthy pantry with these pantry staples. Flours, nuts, legumes, sauces, seasonings, oils, and canned goods are the workhorse ingredients in a kitchen. They’re economical, versatile and can be mixed-and-matched in delicious, nutritious, and creative ways.
Just coming home from a long day at work? Didn’t have time to make a trip to the market? Staying home sick for the week? Say hello to your pantry. The humble items lining your shelves turn into key ingredients when it comes to quick and easy meals.
Below is a list of pantry staples I always have stocked in my kitchen. These items have a fairly long shelf life and are versatile when it comes to whipping up recipes. But you don’t need all of these. It’s okay to start with a few basics and build from there. Over time you’ll learn the ingredients you use most frequently when cooking and learn to stock appropriately.
Need some help organizing your pantry? Check out my pantry organization post for details on glass jars, labels, snack containers, and baskets.
Healthy Pantry Staples
While you may think of pantry staples as what’s in your cupboard, don’t forget about your fridge and freezer. Cold storage items can easily last for weeks and months and help to create complete meals. Here’s what I recommend:
In the Cupboard
- Flours: I always have almond flour, coconut flour, and tapioca flour on hand. Lesser used flours include cassava flour and arrowroot powder.
- Cans & Jars: Diced tomatoes, artichoke hearts, roasted red peppers, sweet corn, black beans, kidney beans, chicken stock (and beef or vegetable stock), tahini and chickpeas last for months and speed up recipes. Almond butter, canned tuna and marinara sauce are also favorites.
- Dried Goods: Rice, gluten-free oats and lentils are the three items I replenish most often.
- Nuts & Seeds: I’ve always got a wide variety including almonds, cashews, pecans, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, sunflower seeds and chia seeds. I store these in my pantry as I use them daily, but you can keep in your fridge or freezer for longer storage.
- Dried Fruit: I often top my salads with dried cranberries, sweet cherries or raisins. A couple of dried plums (prunes) are always great to snack on for fiber.
- Oil & Vinegar: I always have avocado oil, coconut oil and olive oil. Sesame oil and truffle oil are great finishing oils. And let’s not forget apple cider vinegar, white wine vinegar, red wine vinegar and balsamic vinegar for creating homemade vinaigrettes.
- Spices: I’d be lost without all the spices in my spice drawer. Some of my favorites are salt, pepper, garlic powder, cumin, paprika, oregano, basil, thyme, rosemary, parsley, cinnamon and curry powder. With plenty of spices you can also make your own blends, like taco seasoning and fajita seasoning.
- Baking Items & Sweeteners: Coconut sugar, cacao powder, baking soda, chocolate chips, honey, maple syrup, Medjool dates and vanilla extract are frequently used to whip up decadent dessert recipes.
- Milks: Canned coconut milk and boxed milk (usually macadamia milk) come in handy, especially if I don’t have homemade cashew milk, almond milk or oat milk on hand.
- Produce: Produce I store in my cupboard includes onions, shallots, sweet potatoes, and fresh garlic. In a bowl on my counter I always have an assortment of fresh fruit like bananas, apples, pears and oranges.
In the Fridge
- Dairy: Butter, ghee, cheese, and yogurt are certainly staples, both for sweet and savory dishes.
- Eggs: I think you know from all of my egg recipes, I’d be a little lost without this key protein.
- Sauces: Tamari soy sauce, coconut aminos, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, Dijon mustard and my homemade mayonnaise are the most frequently used sauces. I also have jars of minced garlic, ginger, lemon juice and lime juice.
- Produce: Here’s what you’ll often find in my crisper drawer: cabbage, cucumber, tomatoes, zucchini, and leafy greens. I’ve always got a box of baby spinach and avocados. And in jars with water I’ve got meal prepped and sliced carrots and celery sticks.
In the Freezer
- Frozen Vegetables & Fruit: My morning smoothies would not be possible without frozen berries, frozen bananas and frozen avocado chunks. My favorite frozen veggies include, spinach, green beans, peas, and the California blend (broccoli, cauliflower and carrots).
- Protein: Most often you’ll find chicken breasts, whole chicken, wild Alaskan salmon, cod, shrimp, ground beef, steaks, and bacon.
- Meal Prep Items: You know I’m all about meal prep, so there’s always a meal ready to go in my freezer. You’ll most often find leftovers of taco soup, zucchini lasagna, shepherd’s pie, carrot ginger soup, salmon patties, and hummus. And let’s not forget chia pudding for the easiest grab and go breakfast (after it’s thawed).
12 Easy Pantry Recipes Using Pantry Staples
These recipes use many of the ingredients listed above. And while some may include fresh produce, feel free to use canned or frozen substitutions.
- Taco Soup: It doesn’t get much easier than ground beef, plus canned beans, corn, and tomatoes, plus a few spices.
- Coconut Curry Chicken: A flavorful chicken recipe with simple ingredients, topped on a bed of rice.
- Deviled Eggs: Spruce up your hard boiled eggs with mayonnaise, mustard and spices.
- Roasted Red Pepper Hummus: Combine those canned garbanzo beans with a jar of roasted red peppers for the best snack.
- Lentil Salad: Lentils, cucumbers, onions and herbs come together for a refreshing salad.
- Salmon Patties: I usually make this recipe with fresh salmon, but canned salmon is just fine.
- Paleo Pancakes: With a blend of flours, baking soda, eggs, milk, maple syrup, vinegar and vanilla extract a stack of pancakes is easy.
- Garlic Butter Shrimp: Frozen shrimp are quickly sautéed and infused with garlicky flavor.
- Shakshuka: Swap fresh tomatoes for canned tomatoes and you’ve got yourself an easy, tasty breakfast.
- Tuna Stuffed Avocados: Canned tuna is turned into a complete meal with a few veggies and avocados.
- Cassava Flour Tortillas: If you forgot to stock bread, not to worry. It’s easy to make homemade tortillas with cassava flour, oil, water and salt.
- Chia Seed Pudding: The ultimate pantry recipe that’s so versatile, you just need chia seeds and milk.
I love this article! It’s so helpful to see how easy it is to stock a pantry and fridge and carry on a healthy lifestyle with plenty of easy healthy recipes at our fingertips. Thank you for putting this together and sharing with your friends around the world 😊
I’ve always heard nuts and seeds should be stored in the refrigerator or freezer otherwise the oils they contain will go rancid. Also do these plastic containers keep everything fresh? I’ve found many don’t. Thanks.
You can store them either way. But for the jars, yes, they store ingredients extremely well!
I can not tell you how much your website and recipies have changed my way of cooking and preparing food. I need to be more diligent but you do keep me informed and grounded. I have recommended you to several of my struggling friends and they are very pleased too. Thanks so much. You make it look so easy and I am getting more confident. Question.: do you use any particular brand of chicken? Sometimes mine does not cut so easily as yours. I tried the poaching last time but it was not so easily cut into nice slices for cubing???🤔
Thanks so much for spreading the word about Downshiftology :) As for chicken, I normally buy fresh chicken from the poultry section at Whole Foods. But sometimes I will buy from the refrigerated section as well.
Is it possible to print off just the list of the various suggestions you have made for healthy food organization?
You can copy and paste the ingredients into a word doc if you’d like. But if you’re referring to the recipes, you can print the recipes by clicking on each link :)
Shalom Lisa: thank you for making great heathy videos, I’m learning a lot from you. I was diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis this year. So now I’m gluten free, daily free, no sugar, no gmo, and I’m not eating a lot of vegetables because it’s high in fiber. Everything clean and organic only, Now I’m making all my food from starch, learning all types of oils and flours. Feeling better each day and getting stronger again. Praise God.
Thrilled to hear you’re learning tons from Downshiftology and that you’re on the right track to a much healthier lifestyle Mercy!
I opened my pantry door yesterday and sighed…Over time, my husband tends to add items for storage in the pantry–and then the grandkids love to ‘re-organize’ it whenever they search for goodies to eat. That means that I usually have to re-organize the shelves a few times a year…One good thing about that: My family loves healthy snacks and food–and they feel comfortable in our tiny kitchen. Another GREAT thing: I sighed yesterday–but after seeing your post today–I can re-organize and make it beautiful again! I can’t wait to order the glass containers–thank you!
It’s always great to re-organize a few times a year as it can definitely get messy! But the fact that your family enjoys healthy foods is always a win.
Everything looks so good. Thank you for all you efforts and time sharing so much . You make it possible to be more creative. The husband and 2 sons ” what’s to eat ” , I think they were born saying that . Love your site especially my smoothies. That’ my treat.
Happy to hear you and your family have been enjoying my recipes!
Hi Lisa, I recently retired and am having fun experimenting with “real food” cooking. Thank you so much for your website and wisdom! Much appreciated.
Question: I want to make the chicken teriyaki but I am confused about purchasing sake and mirin. Where do I look for these ingredients? I’m finding sake cooking wine, and mirin vinegar, but I don’t think that’s the right ingredients.
Can you recommend some reliable brands? I live in Washington State.
Hi Cheryl – you can find these ingredients in any Asian market, but if you’re having trouble finding either, I have a few suggestions written in the post. Also, Mirin is a rice wine :)
What brand olive oil do you use?
Hi Elaine – I use Lucini organic
Hi Lisa, Im in love with your blog and YouTube channel! You’re amazing!
I was wondering if you could share the brands you use for almond, coconut, and tapioca flour :)
Hi Amanda – you can actually find them linked in my Shop page :)
I discovered you blog yesterday. Only yesterday…I also have an autoimmune disease and I’m just so happy to find all those information in one blog! I keep jumping from one page to the next trying to see everything at once :)
Just wanting to say I adore your work!
Thanks so much Carmen and welcome to the Downshiftology community :) I hope you learn tons and enjoy recipes along the way!
I’ve been using the coconut milk company you listed but never noticed the version that has curry and other flavoring. I tried it last night for the first time with vegetables and I didn’t even miss the meat. It was very flavorful and so easy. Thank you for the tip!
Glad the tip helped Jennifer!
What a great list! I really enjoy your website. Could you please share some of the books you read when you were changing your lifestyle to a more whole food, plant-based diet? We are making the change here in our household and could use some helpful resources. Thank you, Amber
Hi Amber – happy you love these pantry staples! Many of the books I recommend are listed on the Shop page on my website. And while I’m not plant-based, I do try to incorporate many plants into my diet. :)
I am so glad I found you! I love your ideas and I also have an auto immune disease (MS). I appreciate your knowledge and sharing. I love your Chia Pudding recipes, and I bought the weck jars and love them too! Your Healthy Staples post is amazing!
Hi Laura- So glad to hear you’ve discovered Downshiftology and are learning tons of new things here. Can’t wait to see all the recipe creations you make :)
Lisa,I discovered you last night looking for baked falafel! You’re amazing in the kitchen and I enjoyed watching so many of your videos. My next step are all my fridge items, pantry & everything else!
Thank you for what you do and doing it so well. I have signed up for your weekly recipe and I’m looking forward to receiving it and creating.
I did have a question about your storage glass containers you have utilized in your pantry. Where might I purchase those? They are clean looking & roomy and I like the lids because they are air-tight!
Thank you again,
Hi Karin – Welcome to the Downshiftology community! So glad you discovered my channel and are loving everything so far! As for the pantry containers, you can find all my storage items listed either in my Shop page or my Pantry organization post :)
Dang – I am a happy SIP person! So glad I found you on “YouTube!” Love you website and all your information and videos! Thank you!!!!
Hi Claudia- Welcome to the Downshiftology community! Can’t wait for you to start incorporating everything into your daily lifestyle :)
One huge benefit living close to Lisa (Yes, same city) is I can easily find what Lisa eats. Thank you Lisa for helping us eat healthily and happily.
Hi Mia – that’s wonderful you’re a local! It’s always nice to hear from others in the surrounding community. :)
Thank you Lisa! This list is wonderfully helpful and beautifully organized! Do you have any suggestions on what I could use instead of almond flour? Unfortunately, I am allergic to almonds, but would still like to use healthy flour alternatives.
Hi Dani- You can try using oat flour in replacement, or any gluten-free flour blend.
Wonderful! Thank you!
Hi Lisa, I try to organise my Pantry but somehow it always gets unorganised again lol. Is there a PDF of ‘Pantry Staples: Stock a healthy Pantry’ as I would like to keep this so I can refer to it often to inspire me to keep my Pantry organised, thank you.
Hi Priscilla – I don’t have a PDF for this just yet, but I will keep in mind to make one! The best way I try to keep my pantry organized is to make sure I put all the ingredients back to the same place I took it out of :)
Very helpful list! Thank you! And your pantry is so organized and pretty! Where did you get those glass containers? Are they airtight? I got measuring spoons and cups, and a little juicer just like yours and I love all of it!
Hi Kuralay – Thanks so much and glad this post was helpful! Yes, you can find all my storage containers in the Shop page on my website :)
Hi Lisa! what are the three different sizes of you Weck jars shown?
Hi Dayana – You can find all my storage containers in the shop page on my website :)
I checked and I guess i can’t tell the difference. LOL I got the smaller ones, but I like the size that’s holding your lentils :)
Thank you, Lisa! This is exactly what I was looking for! This inspires me to eat so much healthier (and to be able to follow any recipe you do without needing a run to the grocery)! Thanks!
Hi Darlinda – Amazing! I’m glad this post will help you utilize any pantry items you already have :)
You have given me hope that I can have a pantry as organised as this! Thank for the inspiration and useful tips!
Hi Farah – Thrilled to hear this post was helpful for you! With a few staples, you really can create so many things from it :)
We live in a tiny island in the North Sea with regular travel disruptions (especially during the winter) so we really rely on our pantry to get us through the lean times. Great post, this! Very handy recipe suggestions too!
Hi Elizabeth – Pantry staples always come in handy! I’m glad this post can help you get a few new ideas on what you can do with them :)
In this current climate and just about to go into self isolation this had been invaluable information thank you Lisa
Hi Vivienne – Hope this post helps you get a rough idea of what staples you’ll be needing!
a great list to bookmark in times like these.
Hi Sadia – Glad this post was helpful to organize what you might need to keep stocked in your pantry during these crazy times!
Thank you so very much for yet another splendidly useful post. It’s like you know exactly what I need the most. By the way, I have just started my own Weck Wonder collection, which is of course inspired by you. Meal prep is playful! Next step will be an investment in a Vitamix Pro, even though I am quite happy with my Magimix and Waring Pro. I wonder whether Vitamix would come up with a glass jar some day, which was the reason why I picked Waring Pro over Vitamix a couple of years ago.
Hi Lu – Thrilled to hear I can be of inspiration in the kitchen :) Can’t wait for you to get your Vitamix, you’re going to love it.
Great tips; thank you for sharing! I never realized how many great foods could be made from just a few pantry items! Love how organized your pantry is, too! I
Hi Sara – Thanks so much! All it takes is a little re-organizing and prioritizing whats staples you need :)
This is such a great list! Thank you for all the great information. I’m going to be using it for sure.
Hi Krissy – Glad to hear this post was helpful!