Kitchen 101 – how to stock a basic pantry

KITCHEN 101 (2)

Welcome to kitchen 101 by Dancing Through Sunday. This is a new series which gives you everything you need to have a fully functioning grown up kitchen (or pretend to have one anyway, like I do..). I aim to delve into my kitchen and get back to basics, sharing what I have learnt on my delicious foodie loving journey. 

I never really learnt how to stock a pantry for the first time so my pantry had 2 tins of diced tomatoes, 4 soy sauces and an old empty packet of rice and two minutes noodles. Hopefully after this series, we can put the two minute noodles to rest and do away with sad looking fridges and pantries forever! Just kidding noodles, I could never give you up. 

This first post is about the basic items needed to stock a pantry. With these ingredients, you have the base for a huge variety of different meals – just add your fresh ingredients and a few bits and pieces. 

Before I start, all of these products are my personal favourites and this isn’t a product review. Without further adieu..

1. Things in jars:
how to stock a pantry basic
Coconut oil: For those times you want to bake healthy
Tahini: Because hommus + salad dressings
Peanut butter: For toast, stirfry, baking, basically making my life great.. especially that peanut butter, oreo and pretzel slice. 
Jam: Toast, scones, cheese and jam toasties. Yes.
Rice malt syrup: A neat alternative to white sugar/sweetner

2. Onions, Tomatoes, Eggs, Lemon + Garlic:
how to stock a basic pantry The 5 objects above are all eaten almost daily! You could say they are the staples in DTS HQ. I buy Australian garlic where I can because Chinese garlic has often been bleached – no thanks. Can be stored in a dark, cool place. Garlic and onion are a staple to so many dishes and full of flavour. They keep well so are easy to stock. 


3. Freezer land:
basic list of stuff to stock in a pantry
Frozen things are good. They keep for a long time and are great for back ups/easy additions to meals. Pick some of your favourite stuff then freeze it. Frozen peas, frozen rasberries and frozen broccoli are the only things always in stock in my freezer. Peas because they are so easy to whip up into salads (Pea and Haloumi salad), stirfries, fried rice or alongside some mash. Rasberries because they are the yummiest snack ever and perfect with muesli. Broccoli because whenever I am sick I crave frozen broccoli, it’s my thing. Whatever makes you feel better, stock it in your freezer!


4. Flour:
basic stock for pantry
Make sure you have a flour on hand so you can make simple and delicious things such as wholemeal gnocchi, wholemeal pizza dough, or wholemeal gingerbread men. Muffins, brownies, bread.. I could go on forever. I like to have a GF flour on hand incase you have to make a recipe for someone gluten intolerant. 

6. Oils, vinegars and sauces:
basic ingfredients to keep on hand all the time
Always having a range of oils, vinegars and sauces means you’re able to whip up dressings and flavour stirfries whenever, whereever. Don’t stinge on olive oil but also have a cooking oil on hand. I use coconut oil or olive oil but have a fancy extra virgin olive oil for dressings and drizzling. 

7.Tinned beans:
basic stuff to keep in your pantry
I have SO many recipes using these bad boys (veggie chili, breakfast tacos, lentil bolognese) They are so simple to add to a salad, curry and are basically begging to be turned into a tasty Mexican meal. Chickpeas are also in stock however I made some hummus recently so they are on the next shopping list! Also include diced tomatoes and little mini tins of tomato paste for pasta. 
8. Lentils, brown rice, wholemeal pasta, oats and polenta.
smple pantry stocking tips
Not only is it cheaper to buy these things in bulk, but the jars look pretty and it helps inspire me wih dinner options some times because I can actually see what I have got. How’s all those benefits?! 
9. Grains, nuts and seeds
kitchen 101 10
Having an array of grains, nuts and seeds on hand is useful for a few reasons. I love to have a few almonds and chia seeds with my muesli or sprinkle some nuts on a salad. I also love using LSA meal in baking and quinoa for many a things (kale and quinoa patties)


10. Spices:
simple spices to start cooking withSpices can be daunting but they can really take meals to the next level.  Above are the spices I use the most, being turmeric, chili, ground cumin, dried rosemary and paprika. Most of my recipes use these spices above and I think they are a great place to start – experimenting with them is the easiest way to get to know each spice. 

Other things: I forgot to mention include vegetable stock, bread crumbs, dijon mustard, muesli, grass fed butter, a good quality sea salt and then you’re ready to add some veggies and get cooking!
If you’re after any foodspiration, head over to the recipe index. There is plenty of recipes using the ingredients above. 
Whats a staple you keep in your pantry at all times? 
If you have a friend that needs some pantry inspiration, share this article with them! 
Bec x


  • Reply Natalie @ Our Parallel Connection February 1, 2015 at 8:48 pm

    Im missing a few in the grains section. Are your jars really that clean ? You have put my pantry to shame.

    • Reply Bec February 1, 2015 at 9:11 pm

      They are however they are only a few months old.. give them another few months and I am sure we’ll be on par πŸ˜‰

  • Reply Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid January 31, 2015 at 11:39 am

    This is such a great post. I have almost everything! I have enough tins of beans, chopped tomatoes and grains to feed a small army (Mother Hubbard just isn’t my style.) We freeze leftover bread and blitz it in the Thermomix (or food processor) to make fresh breadcrumbs. I also freeze over ripe bananas which are great for smoothies, banana bread and instant ice cream! Oh, and don’t forget the vegemite!

    • Reply Bec February 1, 2015 at 9:10 pm

      Vegemite is a must, as is tinned tomatoes. That’s a great idea for bread crumbs – I made a recipe tonight that I blitzed breadcrumbs instead of boying them for the first tme after seeing this comment πŸ™‚ thank you Sammie x x

  • Reply Sarah January 30, 2015 at 8:53 pm

    A great list! I recently cleaned my pantry out. It is over flowing with baking ingredients. I think I’ll need to use them up. I love storing things like that in recycled jars, I feel they keep things fresher but that could be unfounded lol. I really like Verjuice (Sp) I don’t drink so its a good substitute for white wine in things like risotto.

    • Reply Bec January 30, 2015 at 9:43 pm

      I always keep all my baking stuff and hardly use it again so I feel your pain!!! It just really adds up doesnt it?! Oh wow I haven’t heard of that, I shall have to try it out because I never keep alcohol in the house.

  • Reply Liz @ Economies of Kale January 29, 2015 at 12:24 pm

    Great post – I didn’t know that about Chinese garlic, will try to buy Aussie in the future. I pretty much always have carrots in the house, I eat several raw every day. I also love tahini and always have cocoa powder to whip up chocolaty things!

    • Reply Bec January 30, 2015 at 5:18 pm

      Tahini is a must for delicious dressings and dips. Carrots are also so easy to munch on or grate into everything!

  • Reply Viv January 28, 2015 at 9:42 pm

    I always make sure to have a few tinned tomatoes in my pantry, as well. Tinned tomatoes and quinoa for quick week night dinners!

    • Reply Bec January 30, 2015 at 5:17 pm

      Oh yes, tinned tomatoes are a must. I forgot about them but I always have at least 2 tins!

  • Reply Alexandra January 27, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    This is awesome, Bec! Love this new series πŸ™‚
    A must-have item I’d also recommend is white miso. It last forever in the fridge and adds an amazing vegan umami flavor to dressings, sauces, soups, and just about everything else.

    • Reply Bec January 27, 2015 at 2:06 pm

      I do have miso paste but I have never tried white miso! I also forget Ihave it and hardly use it – I need to put it in the fridge so I am reminded to use it in all my goodies πŸ™‚

  • Reply Amy January 26, 2015 at 9:00 pm

    I try to always keep fresh turmeric now, it’s so beautiful and not at all like the dried spice! Though not technically a cooking ingredient, I try to keep a herbal tea or two (and ever run out of coffee of course) and I always know if I’m out of coconut milk!

    • Reply Bec January 27, 2015 at 10:34 am

      I have never used fresh turmeric before!!! I must try. I always have tea and coffee too and coconut milk! I totally forgot about those, oops.

  • Reply Anita@prettydelicioustravels January 25, 2015 at 5:16 pm

    I nearly passed! I’m happy that’s 70% of my pantry. And I’m going to put it put there, the only thing I freak out over, is running out of beans :P. My addition is quinoa flakes which I use as a substitute for flour in some of my dishes πŸ™‚

    • Reply Bec January 26, 2015 at 8:16 pm

      o0o0o quinoa flakes. I have not tried them but that is a great idea, consider them added to the permanent list! x

  • Reply Curious Charlie January 25, 2015 at 3:45 am

    I know it’s bad but my staples are cheese, crackers, nuts and a bar of chocolate. Oh and many types of jams and pasta sauces along with every shape of pasta ever made. πŸ˜›

    • Reply Bec January 26, 2015 at 8:17 pm

      I am a cheese lover so I am totally okay with that. I also have pasta on hand (rigatoni, spaghetti and penne usually). YUM now I want pasta.

  • Reply vegeTARAian January 24, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    Snap Bec, many of these are my staples too! Thanks for sharing, I look forward to seeing more of your grown up kitchen series.

    • Reply Bec January 26, 2015 at 8:17 pm

      Same tastes!!! Snap indeed. Thanks Tara, I am excited about the new series. x

  • Reply Malinda @mybrownpaperpackages January 24, 2015 at 12:24 pm

    There are a few things here that I probably should have in my cupboard so thanks for the reminder.

    • Reply Bec January 26, 2015 at 8:17 pm

      No worries!! This is just what works for me and what I cook but if it works for you too, thats awesome!

  • Reply Fiona January 23, 2015 at 6:15 pm

    If I have onions, tinned tomatoes beans and herbs (GARLIC!) I can be fed.

    • Reply Bec January 26, 2015 at 8:18 pm

      I totally like your style. It’s like a delish chili stew or fancy baked beans!

  • Reply Rebecca@Figs and Pigs January 23, 2015 at 5:57 am

    Such a great post, you have a healthy store cupboard. Your totally right if you have these things in stock you always have the basis for a healthy tasty meal. I think I generally have most of these things in my cupboard except the rice malt syrup which I’m curious about.

    • Reply Bec January 26, 2015 at 8:19 pm

      I have just enjoyed using it instead of table sugar in recipes. It’s the same as using honey or maple syrup as a sweetner but I don’t really like honey so rice malt it is!

  • Reply Danielle L January 22, 2015 at 10:20 pm

    Yay, I passed, I have everything you mentioned!! I’d need to add 70% dark chocolate to the list too!

    • Reply Bec January 26, 2015 at 8:19 pm

      Woohoo! We rule. I have dark chocolate sometimes but it always seems to dissapper.. somewhere.. I don’t know where.. 😐

  • Reply Pearl - Pretty Mayhem January 22, 2015 at 9:24 pm

    This is so helpful – I’ve already spotted about ten items I’m missing in my pantry (aka all the healthy stuff lol). I have a big collection of spices at home too and I also keep pasta sauce, puff pastry and dark chocolate on hand.

    • Reply Bec January 26, 2015 at 8:20 pm

      It’s just what works well for me but it’s godo to have an idea of some stuff to keep on hand. You’ve made me crave chocolate croissants… mmm

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