I got an email from a reader named Missy, asking what are the must-have pantry and freezer items that I keep on hand. The answer to that will be a bit different for everyone, but there are some basics that round out any pantry or freezer.
Garlic – I love having fresh garlic cloves to cook with.
Onions – essential
Potatoes – These can be stored for a while without going bad, so they are nice to keep on hand. They’re also very versatile.
Carrots – These also will hold up for a while in the crisper drawer.
- Diced tomatoes
- Tomato sauce and paste
- Crushed tomatoes
- Black beans
- Kidney beans
- Chicken broth
- Beef broth
- Cream of chicken soup
- Rice, white and brown
- Spaghetti and other pasta shapes
All of these items are commonly used in recipes. If you have these on hand, you can throw together a simple Mexican or Italian meal or a quick casserole.
- Oils – vegetable and olive
- Cooking spray
- Vinegar – at least white, but cider, and wine vinegars are also nice
- Brown sugar
- Powdered sugar
- Baking powder
- Baking soda
- Quick cooking oatmeal
- Peanut butter
You can bake a lot of things with these basics.
- Garlic powder
- Chili powder
- Vanilla extract
- Black pepper
- Taco seasoning
These are the most basic spices and seasonings that I use. Here are a few more that I use regularly, but not as often:
- Crushed red pepper flakes
- Cayenne pepper
- Cajun seasoning
- Seasoned salt
- Lemon pepper
There are lots of other spices and seasonings that are nice to have, but if you’re building your spice collection from scratch these are a great place to start.
- Mustard – brown, yellow and Dijon
- Soy Sauce
- Worcestershire sauce
- Lemon and Lime juice – not really condiments, but they’re handy to have
- Sour cream – nice for Mexican food, some baking and casseroles
- Cheddar cheese
There are many other dairy products and types of cheese that are nice to keep on hand, but for me these are the basics.
- Boneless chicken breasts and/or tenders
- Fish – Tilapia, salmon, shrimp
I’ve got lots of other things in my freezer, but I always try to keep these on hand. They are versatile and can be used in many meals. I also like to cook some hamburger and chicken and freeze it. That really makes meal prep quick.
Did I miss anything that you find to be a basic for the pantry or freezer?
photo credit: jules:stonesoup