The Culinary Corner: Items Every Pantry, Fridge, and Spice Rack Should Have

The Culinary Corner: Items Every Pantry, Fridge, and Spice Rack Should Have | Positively Smitten

By Lyndsey Fought

When first starting out (or re-starting if the case may be), beginning a pantry is an essential some overlook. Having a decently stocked pantry will make it easier to cope with and ensure your weekly grocery trips are relatively painless. Here is a compiled list of things one should stock in their kitchen.

The Pantry Items

Fats, Vinegars, Others

  • Olive Oil
  • Canola Oil
  • Oil, Flavorful (like toasted sesame, walnut, truffle)
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • White Vinegar (good for cleaning as well)
  • Soy Sauce
  • Oyster Sauce (include other Asian sauce bases if you tend to like Asian based dishes)
  • Capers
  • Mustards
  • Ketchup
  • Mayonnaise
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • A-1/Barbeque/Other sauces you use regularly
  • Salsa
  • Tabasco/Buffalo Wing Sauce

Grains and Baking Products

  • AP Flour
  • Cake Flour
  • Brown Sugar
  • White Sugar
  • Maple Syrup
  • Honey
  • Other Sweeteners you use regularly
  • Cornstarch
  • Yeast
  • Rolled Oats
  • Quinoa
  • Couscous
  • Brown Rice
  • White Rice
  • 2-4 types of Pasta
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Chocolate Chips
  • Sprinkles
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Yellow Corn Meal
  • Evaporated Milk
  • Sweetened Condensed Milk

Proteins, Vegetables, Fruits

  • Black Beans
  • Pinto Beans
  • White Beans
  • Garbanzo Beans
  • Dried Lentils
  • Tuna
  • Anchovies
  • Sardines
  • Other canned meats you prefer and may need in an emergency
  • Chicken/Beef/Vegetable Broth (2, each)
  • Peanut Butter
  • Pecans/Walnuts/Peanuts
  • Tahini
  • Dried Fruit
  • Pineapple
  • Mandarin Oranges
  • Carrots
  • Green Beans
  • Tomatoes
  • Olives
  • Pickles
  • (Basically 2-4 cans of any vegetable or fruit you eat regularly)


  • Water, gallons
  • Water, bottles
  • Any juice or drink mixes you use regularly
  • Onions
  • Potatoes (keep potatoes and onions separate and both require dry places out of direct sunlight)

Chilled Basics


  • Butter
  • Milk
  • Sour Cream
  • Orange Juice
  • Eggs
  • Wine, white
  • Wine, red
  • Sharp Cheddar


  • Meat/Poultry, purchase on sale and break down into 1-2 serving packages
  • Bacon
  • Frozen fruit
  • Mixed vegetables
  • Pepper and Onion Mix
  • Frozen juices
  • Frozen waffles
  • Frozen Quick Meals for tired evenings


(All dried spices should be replaced every 3-6 months.)

  • Garlic
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Ginger, crystallized and/or ground
  • Cumin
  • Basil
  • Rosemary
  • Chili Powder
  • Sea Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Whole Peppercorns
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Mustard, dried
  • Sage
  • Cayenne
  • Spice mixes you use regularly (including taco mix or any steak seasoning)
  • Lemon and Lime Zests
  • Curry Powders

Hopefully this helps! When you first do this, begin a list to help you stock it up easier, and keep an inventory. Having a fully stocked pantry will definitely give you peace of mind in case of emergencies and ease in making your weekly menu and grocery list!

Photo credit NKZS.

About Lyndsey:

I have too many interests and I get easily distracted, so I haven’t completed a single thing in my life. Yay, hyperboles! I have been to culinary school and I like baking cupcakes. I write the beginnings of too many novels. I am driven by ambition and delayed by perfectionism.

I would like to travel the world, learn from others, write some best sellers, and have a restaurant or bakery someday. I am a Slytherin. I like the tenth Doctor best (followed by ninth). I am too obsessed with Downton Abbey and the whole etiquette of that era. I never forget to be awesome!

1 Comment

  1. This article is SUPER helpful for me! So often I have something I’d like to make for dinner or a recipe in one of my cookbooks I’d like to try, only to discover that I’m missing a certain critical spice or something else — so that idea goes out the window. When I can’t cook a nice meal on a whim like that, I feel less creative and more like I stick to my same, basic meals. Referencing this list next time I go shopping will make my kitchen experiences much more exciting!

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