Pantry Staples List for Cooking From Scratch- Free Printable

If cooking from scratch is your goal you’ll need this free pantry staples list to get you started. Save time and money by becoming more efficient in the kitchen and making meals with what you have on hand. 

Whether you want to learn to homestead or simply just want to save money on your grocery bill, stocking your pantry with staples that you can use to make meals for your family is a must. Knowing and understanding kitchen essentials and having them on hand will help you avoid the drive-thru, and you will have the satisfaction of knowing that even the simplest meal made at home is more nutritious than any meal in a bag. 

There’s satisfaction in crafting a well-stocked pantry and knowing that you can control the quality and flavor of the ingredients that go into the meals served from your kitchen. Also, know that stocking your pantry can take time especially if you’re new to cooking from scratch. Don’t feel like you need to go out and get everything all at once. This can be a gradual process where you begin by focusing on one area and adding one or two new items to your list each shopping trip so that you don’t feel overwhelmed. Over time your pantry will evolve into your mini grocery store where you can make pretty much any meal you want at any time without making a trip out or even meal planning.

Benefits of Stocking Your Pantry

There are a multitude of benefits to maintaining a well-stocked pantry. 

1. Convienincen + Time Saving: A well-stocked pantry ensures you have the ingredients you need, reducing last-minute trips to the grocery store and making meal prep more efficient. Basically what I’m saying is that having a well-stocked pantry saves you time and time is precious to a busy mom. 

2. Cost Savings: Most of the time, buying in bulk saves you money. However, if you purchase bulk items and don’t use them, you’re wasting money. It’s important to only purchase items that your family will eat before the shelf life expires.

3. Versatility: By having many different grains, spices, and canned goods you really can throw together so many different meals that suit your schedule and taste. 

4. Healthy and Nutritious Options: Meals made from scratch have fewer preservatives and additives than boxed or even freezer meals. When you make meals at home you have complete control over the quality and type of ingredients used. This allows you to choose fresh, whole foods, and avoid additives, preservatives, and excessive amounts of salt or sugar often found in processed meals.

5. Flexibility in Meal Planning: A well-stocked pantry provides flexibility, allowing you to adapt recipes based on what you have available. It encourages creativity in the kitchen and the ability to modify dishes according to personal taste.

6. Reduced Food Waste: By having a selection of shelf-stable items, you can plan meals efficiently, reducing the likelihood of ingredients going unused and leading to less food waste.

7. Emergency Preparedness: A well-stocked pantry provides a safety net during unforeseen circumstances or emergencies. It ensures you have the necessary supplies to prepare meals even when fresh ingredients are scarce. If I’ve learned anything over the past few years it’s that anything can happen and I like to be prepared enough to have time to think without reacting. 

pantry staples

Examples of Simple Meals from Scratch

When I first started making the majority of our meals at home and from scratch I had no idea what I needed to keep on hand. It took a few months of making meals and adding items to my list before I felt confident that I had what I needed in my pantry to make a week’s worth of meals from scratch. Let me pause here and mention that the meals I make for my family are not what you would see on a menu at a fancy restaurant. The meals are simple, typically fit a tight budget, and are made from basic pantry staples. I use a simple formula to prepare wholesome meals…

1 Protein + 2 Veggies + 1 Carb Source

Let me give you some examples:

  • Baked chicken, mashed potatoes, peas
  • Pork chops, sweet potatoes, roasted brussel sprouts
  • Lasagna, salad, sourdough (extra carbs there 🙂
  • Sheet pan fajitas (chicken or steak, veggies), rice, black beans
  • Broccoli and Cheese Soup, sourdough

And let’s be honest, there’s always sourdough in my kitchen! 

A well-stocked pantry also makes breakfast easier. We typically have…

Grab my free e-book with 12 make-ahead breakfast ideas and recipes!

pantry staples

How To Stock A Pantry From Scratch

If you’re starting from scratch, I wouldn’t recommend running out to the grocery and stocking your entire pantry. This method will cost you a fortune and you’re likely to end up wasting a lot of what you buy. 

Instead, I would…

  1. Meal Plan: Start by making a two-week meal plan. Jot down 12-14 meals you and your family will actually eat and that you could see yourself making from scratch. 
  2. Make a List: Using your meal plan, make a list of what you will need to prepare those meals. I typically list what I need by category so that shopping is easier. 
  3. Shop Your Pantry: Now, use that list to shop your pantry, fridge, and freezer. Mark off what you already have and keep what you need on the grocery list. 
  4. Shop for What You Need: Take your shopping list and head to your local grocery or farmers market. 

As you become more comfortable cooking from scratch, you’ll gain confidence in knowing what you always need to keep on hand and how often you need to restock. Eventually, you likely won’t even need to meal plan as much as you’ll just have an idea of what you might make for the week. Cooking from scratch and having a well-stocked pantry makes getting meals on the table easier and less complicated. 

pantry staples

What To Keep Stocked in Your Pantry

Dry Goods

Stocking your pantry with dry goods is the foundation of making meals from scratch. Essential staples like flour, rice, beans, and whole grains provide a foundation for countless recipes, offering versatility and nutrition. Dry goods have a long shelf life, ensuring you always have a reliable source of ingredients on hand.

Rice- white rice and brown rice
Dry Beans- pinto, white, kidney, etc 
Dry Pasta- spaghetti, macaroni, ziti, 
Popcorn- We keep whole kernels and cook it on the stovetop

Canned Goods

While you don’t always associate canned goods with cooking from scratch, many canned goods can be used in making healthy meals and are a great option for saving time. 

Canned Vegetables and beans- canned tomatoes, tomato paste, mixed vegetables, beans
Stock- vegetable, beef, and chicken stock or broth
Vinegar- white distilled, red wine, balsamic, apple cider vinegar
Sauces- pasta sauce, condiments
Peanut Butter or almond butter

Baking Essentials

Having a well-stocked pantry for baking ensures you can make treats for celebrations or just when the craving hits. No matter what you bake, sweet treats from scratch are much better for you than boxed mixes. 

Flours- all-purpose unbleached and any flours your family may need for special diets 
Sweeteners- raw sugar, honey, brown sugar and powdered sugar, maple syrup
Baking Items- baking powder, baking soda, arrowroot powder, vanilla, cocoa powder, active yeast, and chocolate chips
Dried Fruits- cranberries, raisins, dried berries 
Rolled Oats- both whole and quick oats

Herbs and Spices

Stocking your pantry with herbs and spices is like an arsenal of secret weapons. The right mix of spices can transform any meat or vegetable. 

Spice Cabinet Staples- Salt, pepper, cinnamon, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, dried herbs, Italian seasoning


Fats play an important role in cooking from scratch. From sautéing vegetables to baking flaky biscuits, the right fats enhance almost every meal. Olive oil, butter, and avocado are not only sources of rich flavor but also provide essential fatty acids, promoting a well-rounded and nutritious diet. 
Don’t fear the fats!

Cooking Oils- olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, butter, tallow

Cold Pantry Items

You might not think of refrigerated items when you’re stocking your pantry but having a few staples on hand will make cooking from scratch a lot easier. 

Dairy- milk, yogurt, heavy cream, half & half, sour cream, cheese, eggs (if store-bought), and real butter 


Along with dairy, quality meats are where I splurge in our grocery budget. Even on tight budget weeks, I buy local grass-fed meats if I can or purchase organic meats from our local grocery store. I often buy our meat in bulk and freeze it. 

Cuts- ground beef, chicken breasts and thighs, sausage, bacon, roast


Fresh produce is one of the hardest foods to keep on hand because of its short shelf life. I’ve learned a few tricks over the years to keep veggies fresh but frozen veggies and fruit are always a good idea to have on hand as well. I always keep several root vegetables on hand because they are such versatile ingredients when cooking from scratch. 

Staple veggie– onions, potatoes, carrots, garlic
Staple Fruits- frozen mixed berries, bananas, anything that’s in season

pantry staples list

With the right basic ingredients and pantry essentials, you can make delicious meals from scratch for your family. Remember, meals from scratch don’t need to be complicated or take a long time to make. 

I would love to offer you a free list of pantry staples for you to download and print as a guide as you begin cooking from scratch! Simply add your name and email below and I’ll send a free printable pantry list directly to your inbox.

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