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How to Stock a Pantry: The Complete Guide to Stocking Your Pantry on a Budget

How to eat healthy on a budget is a question that I get asked frequently. And, my answer remains the same, having a well-stocked pantry. That's why I decided to put together a complete guide to stocking your pantry on a budget. 

Here I'm going to share with you the types of ingredients you need in your pantry, the ingredients you can buy based on your budgets, and where you shop to affordably stock your pantry. 

Before you start adding these ingredients to your grocery list, I want to make note that these are suggestions of where you can. It's so important to keep in mind your food preference, as well as any food intolerances or sensitivities. You don’t need everything on this list (although having a few of them would make meal prep a lot easier). Start where you are and add as you go!


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The Types of Ingredients You Need In Your Pantry 

Whether you're stocking your pantry for the very first time, or you're upgrading what you already have, there are just a few key ingredients that are essential. I've listed below the seven types of ingredients that I recommend that every home cook has in their kitchen.

  1. Grains and Starches
  2. Cans and Jars
  3. Oils and Vinegar
  4. Nuts, Nut Butters and Seeds 
  5. Spices and Dried Herbs 
  6. Condiments and Sauces
  7. Baking and Sweeteners

The Ingredients You Can Buy Based on Your Budget

Now that we've covered the types of ingredients you should have, it's time to get down to specifics of what that will look like based on your budget. Regardless if you prefer to take a more minimalist approach or you're a bit more lavish, the list below will provide you with a few of my recommendations for stocking your pantry. 

Minimalist Pantry

  1. Grains and Starches: Canned Beans, Dry Lentils, Dry Pasta, White Rice
  2. Cans and Jars: Anchovies, Applesauce, Canned Tuna, Canned Vegetables, Chicken Stock, Diced Tomatoes, Jam, Tomato Paste, Tomato Sauce, Vegetable Stock
  3. Oils and Vinegar: Balsamic Vinegar, Canola Oil, Red Wine Vinegar, White Vinegar, and White Wine Vinegar
  4. Nuts, Nut Butters and Seeds: Peanut Butter, Roasted Peanuts, Sunflower Seeds
  5. Spices and Dried Herbs: Dried Basil, Chili Powder, Garlic Powder, Ground Black Pepper, Ground Cayenne, Ground Cinnamon, Ground Cumin, Iodized Salt, Onion Powder, Red Pepper Flakes
  6. Condiments and Sauces: Ketchup, Mustard, Worcestershire Sauce
  7. Baking and Sweeteners: All-Purpose Flour, Baking Powder, Baking Soda, Brown Sugar, Corn Meal, Cornstarch, Raisins, Yeast

Frugal Pantry

  1. Grains and Starches: Bread Crumbs, Brown Rice, Crackers, Dry Beans
  2. Cans and Jars: Beef Stock, Canned Chicken, Capers, Coconut Milk, Olives, Pickles, Sardines
  3. Oils and Vinegar: Apple Cider Vinegar, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Light Olive Oil, Peanut Oil, Sherry Vinegar
  4. Nuts, Nut Butters and Seeds: Almond Milk, Cashews, Chia Seeds, Coconut Milk, Pecans, Pine Nuts, Walnuts
  5. Spices and Dried Herbs: Cloves, Dill, Dried Oregano, Dried Thyme, Dry Mustard, Ground Coriander, Curry Powder, Nutmeg, Paprika, Parsley, Rosemary
  6. Condiments and Sauces: Curry Paste, Hot Sauce, Salsa 
  7. Baking and Sweeteners: Almond Flour, Baking Chocolate, Cocoa Powder, Coconut Flour, Dried Fruit, Honey, Pure Vanilla Extract, Rolled Oats

Lavish Pantry

  1. Grains and Starches: Farro, Quinoa, Wild Rice
  2. Cans and Jars: Bone Broth, Canned Salmon, Dates, Jerky, Kimchi
  3. Oils and Vinegar: Avocado Oil, Coconut Butter, Coconut Oil, Ghee, Grapeseed Oil, Rice Vinegar, Sesame Oil 
  4. Nuts, Nut Butters and Seeds: Almond Butter, Almonds, Flaxseeds, Hazelnuts, Pistachios, Pumpkin Seeds, Tahini
  5. Spices and Dried Herbs: Allspice, Bay Leaves, Black Peppercorns, Cilantro, Dry Mustard, Ginger, Sea Salt, Smoked Paprika, Turmeric 
  6. Condiments and Sauces: Coconut Aminos, Fish Sauce, Miso, Soy Sauce
  7. Baking and Sweeteners: Arrowroot Starch, Chocolate Chips, Maple Syrup, Tapioca Starch

Where You Can Shop to Affordably Stock Your Pantry 

  1. Local grocery stores
  2. Farmers markets
  3. Membership-based retailers
  4. Online grocery delivery
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