The Perfect Pantry

Hello everyone and welcome to my first post on this new adventure that Jillian and I are embarking on!

Today I want to talk about one of the easiest ways to save money in the kitchen…your pantry!

Disclaimer: this is not our actual pantry. This pantry is organized.

Having a well-stocked pantry is like saving money in the bank; you’ll always have those basic, yet essential, ingredients whenever you need them.  No more rushing to the store at the last minute or bothering your neighbor for a cup of sugar (unless you enjoy bothering your neighbor…I won’t judge).

This post is going to cover what your dry goods and non-perishables should include.  I’ll cover refrigerator essentials in a later post.

This list is not meant to be followed as sacred text.  If you don’t have these things in your pantry or just plain don’t want them, don’t worry, we still love you.

This list isn’t meant to be exhaustive either!  If your favorite dry good is missing, keep putting it in your pantry (and let us know what it is so we can put it in ours).

The Basics

  • Kosher salt (my #1 all time favorite ingredient)
  • Whole black peppercorns (you can pick up disposable pepper grinders fairly cheap)
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Vegetable or Canola Oil
  • Red Wine VinegarBalsamic Vinegar

Rice and Grains

  • White rice
  • Brown rice
  • Pasta (have a few of your favorite styles on hand)
  • Breadcrumbs (I prefer panko but regular breadcrumbs are just fine)
  • Quinoa and couscous (I like both but if there is a different style of grain that you like, stock it!)
  • Polenta or cornmeal

Baking Supplies

  • All purpose flour
  • Baking soda
  • Baking powder
  • Cream of tartar
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Chocolate chips
  • Vanilla extract (you don’t need the most expensive bottle)

The Sweet Stuff

  • Granulated sugar
  • Confectioners (powdered) sugar
  • Brown Sugar
  • Maple Syrup
  • Honey

Canned Items

  • Chicken broth (low sodium)
  • Beef broth (low sodium)
  • Beans (grab a few cans of your favorites)
  • Canned corn (or any veggies you may like)
  • Salsa
  • Olives (Both black and green)
  • Tomatoes (I like to have both whole and pureed)
  • Tomato paste
  • Chilies

Herbs and Spices (Dried)

  • Bay leaves
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Chili powder
  • Crushed red pepper (I love this stuff and would put it in almost anything if Jillian would let me)
  • Curry powder
  • Fennel
  • Garlic powder
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Ground cloves
  • Ground cumin
  • Oregano
  • Paprika (sweet or smoked, or both!)
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Whole nutmeg (if you don’t have a microplane, ground nutmeg is just fine)

I hope this list helps you on your way to a nicely-stocked pantry.  Remember, the better stocked your pantry is, the less stressed you’ll be when cooking for yourself and all your friends!

If you feel like I’ve left out some essentials, please let me know!  What are your pantry essentials?

43 thoughts on “The Perfect Pantry

  1. I have everything except white rice, canned beans, and fennel. I do have a variety of dried beans and and instant pot to cook them fast. Keep up the good work, I look forward to more blog posts.

  2. While perhaps not drop-dead essential staples, a can of coconut milk and jar of curry paste in the pantry have saved many an evening in my home.

    Kudos on the new blog! I’m a longtime Jillian reader and like y’all together quite a lot!

  3. Your originization must be inherited from your mom. She’s always prepared for cooking 🥧☕️🍵

    By the way have the best local honey for sale that will be a great addition to the pantry

  4. so nice hearing from you……….ok,try this greek recipe for dresing….(i piece of garlic.-500 ml or grams yogurt,1 teaspoon of salt.,grated cucumber(1),4 big spoons of olive oil andDill
    .mix all well,its fantastic…

  5. This is WONDERFUL! More please – much help along these lines is needed . . . Now about that polenta – what should I do with it? (Also, I cannot live without dried tarragon!!!) Thanks so very much!

  6. Building a working and well stocked pantry is a major goal for me this year. I’d love to start entertaining again, and your menu looks do-able and delicious. I’m looking forward to great things from you guys. Congratulations on your new blog!

  7. A can or two of tuna, oysters, and/or clams has often saved the day for me when I wanted yummy protein from the pantry. Not everyone’s cup of tea, but oyster stew is easy, fast, and fabulous when I want a homey soup. Definitely need some dill on the list, though. Way to go on the new blog!

  8. tickled pink, and every other colour as well…..u r branching out!..2 of us, we are 73y/o and eat mostly at home..we cook waaay ahead….suck n seal overage from casseroles stew-like things…cooked chix, portioned grd beef/sausage/pork, An expenditure of a suck n seal w/ its own variouse width bags..Food Saver..V2222 is our model….10 years ago purchase..newer models and prices available. A gr8 way to extend th life of left-over!…bags can be cut a bit longer…wrapped…after labeling, snip for new bag after washing..and get good mileage from a few inches more. Some things that asr soft-ish…we pre-freeze til a bit cuttable…in squares…..slide them in bags….seal….easy to stack in squares in freezr..We hav a med chest… side freezer/fridge, and a reg top fridge freezer…they are in colour coded numbered plastic square shape storage bins ..Man measures space and we were able to utilize all the spaces inside..freeze areas…Man makes inventory of what is available….good man !….So when I make a very nice meal…it is for 6-8 more servings….voi la….dinner in a jiffy…. when we started I made alist of faves..made grocery list….and did the count for all items..use sales…..and bulk foods too… has been a wonderful thing for us for almost 4 years..fave is ouor Egg Mc—–whoever…we wrap freeze …and never put the cheese next to the muffin !!!takeout night b4 for an early out day, separate…cover w/ a dampish paper towel nuke on “6”..about 40 secs…..yummmy… toast n butter muffs, cut square cheese slices diag, then u get 2 smaller pcs that dont oooze all over…can do bacon…sausage patties..precooked or crumbled…I use egg poachers in nuker…..I use a production line…21 muffs at a time…stand them in there own box after then are frozen..Best ever qwikkee brekky……tx for being here!

  9. I keep a well-stocked pantry, also – – – and the best part is 98% of it was purchased ON SALE – – many of the items were BOGO. You all are doing great shopping at Aldi’s for prices, too.

  10. I’m happy to say I do stock most of these items on the regular! I’m excited to see what this blog brings! I’ve always loved your other blog! Happy cooking! Amy

  11. Awesome, can’t wait to see the next entry. I always WISH my pantry looked like the one above but it never does and most likely never will, lol.

  12. Evaporated milk and/or powdered milk, a nice jam (for emergency cookie or scone needs), sesame oil, cornstarch, and Vegeta seasoning are things I have learned the hard way never to be without!
    Congrats on the blog, and the happiness!

  13. Congratulations on new blog! I love the idea. Also, you may or may not know this, but Weight Watchers is pushing beans a lot this year so I’d love to see what you two come up with. Best wishes.

  14. Looking forward to your new blog. I have enjoyed fashionata alot as I am long time sewer. Good luck with your new venture. I just wanted to share something that I started making this new year. Vanilla extract. Very easy and a lot cheaper than purchasing it especially if you use a lot. Maybe something worth looking into. Your pantry staples is a great list. Maybe do a freezer essentials list too. I have really learned to use mine much more lately too.

  15. My spices,also, alphabetical order. But what about frozen items? i always have an assortment nof veggies, most certainly chopped spinach, peas, corn and beans. And shrimp chicken thighs and ground beef. But then again, I’m 50 years in the kitchen.

  16. How about some Asian ingredients? Soy sauce, sesame oil and Sriracha. I like your new blog concept. I look forward to trying your recipes.

  17. I’m so happy you did this! I think Brian is TERRIFIC !
    I am NOT a cook. But I want to follow you guys. In regard to ride do I do long grain of instant or both?

  18. Can’t wait to see what you come up with. I have most of these items (plus more) in my pantry. Thanks for the list.

  19. This will be fun! I like to keep dried onions and vanilla in the cabinet. Also, canned chipped green chilies, chopped pimento, ranch style beans and tortillas are a must in my pantry. But maybe that’s a Texas thing!

  20. The pantry looks wonderful, and so does the list, but so many things were left out! What about ginger, oatmeal, soy sauce, sriracha sauce, Worcesterchire sauce, steak sauce, ketchup, yellow mustard, dijon mustard, onion powder…I could keep going. I have an entire deep drawer dedicated to spices in my kitchen.

    I’ve found ice cube trays to be indespensible. When I open a can of something, and can’t use it right away, I put the contents into ice cube trays, freeze it, then pop the cubes into a zip-lock bag. Each cube is about 2 tablespoons so it’s easy to measure when it’s needed.

  21. Great blog! Maybe in this terrible throw away society we need to be more conscious of not adding to landfill by buying disposable anything i.e. pepper grinders. Could you suggest instead that people spend just a few extra dollars on a good quality grinder (and any other utensil) that will last years to be a bit more environmentally friendly?
    Looking forward to your recipes.

  22. Loved Fashionista – love you two guys cooking together – sort of food fashionista!
    Both are creative pursuits – happy to follow the fun.

  23. Get out of my head!!! Those are the exact ingredients in my pantry, with a few additions. Great blog!! Keep it up.

  24. What a great way to start the year. I SO need to cook at home more and look forward to seeing your meals. You two are fab! xoxo from Texas

  25. I do well with my pantry in comparison to yours. I can’t wait to read your fridge/freezer stock up post!!!

  26. Hello I am so excited I found your blog, I really found you
    by accident, while I was looking on Askjeeve for something else, Nonetheless I am here now and would just like to say
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  27. I don’t know whether it’s just me or if everyone else experiencing problems with your site.
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  28. Congrats on your new blog. As a refashionista myself, I’ve long followed your blog and appreciate your humor and creativity.

    Because I live in Ecuador, the ingredients I can get here are a lot different. However, I can go to the mercado and buy $100 worth (by US prices) of food (veggies, fruits, meat, grains, eggs) for about $15 so I’m not too worried about budget anymore. 🙂

    Best of luck to you both in your blog.

  29. Briani, Hi! I don’t see Lawry’s Seasoned Salt on your list — that’s the extent of my spices currently. Okay, I may be exaggerating, a little. But I wanted you to have a reference point for how much you have inspired me. I WANT THAT PANTRY! Thank you for starting at the beginning. I have a good feeling about this blog 🙂

    Kristi Kirk Trent, Oklahoma City

  30. Holaaaaa Brian, gran trabajo, tengo grandes expectativas con este blog. Buena despensa, echo de menos legumbres cocidas -lentejas, garbanzos-, en España las usamos mucho. También mermelada y proteínas de pescado como atún, mejillones, berberechos, melva, caballa o bonito…vivo en un pueblo algo pequeño así que mi despensa es importante para mí, no siempre puedo salir a comprar. Ánimo con el blog, tienes, como Jillian, un gran sentido del humor, congratulations

    1. Love your new blog! This post came through in Spanish though and although I did take Spanish in high school I am lost.

      1. Nancy:
        Elena recommends beans, tinned/dried fish of various sorts (she says that in Spain they use these in many ways), and jam. Elena lives in a small town and finds a well-stocked pantry helpful when she can’t get away to shop. She wishes Jillian and Brian well with the blog and can see that Brian, like Jillian, has a great sense of humor.
        Hope that helps 🙂
        —Annalee (minored in Spanish in college many moons ago)

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