How to Stock Your Pantry (Beginner’s Guide!)

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Don’t know where to start when it comes to stocking your pantry, or just craving some pantry-stocking and organization tips? You’re in the right place.

A well-stocked pantry is the foundation for cooking at home with ease. Having the tools and ingredients you need on hand lessens resistance to getting meals on the table. Plus, you’ll be more relaxed, less overwhelmed, and cooking more incredible meals at home! Let’s jump in.

Where To Start?

  • Simply select 10 or so recipes that you love and study the ingredients. See if you have what you need on hand, if there are common ingredients — like olive oil, sea salt, or turmeric — and begin by purchasing those items as you know they’ll be put to good use.

By simply studying the recipes you plan to make, you can get a pretty good gauge of what you’ll need when it comes time to cook.

Choose Your Own Adventure

Are you the type of person who likes to jump all in and stock everything you’ll need at once? Go for it! Below you’ll find the resources you need to start nerding out and stocking your kitchen with the tools you’ll need.

On the other hand, maybe you’re the type of person who looks at a pantry staple list and every fiber of your being melts with overwhelm and stress. Fret not (that’s how we’ve felt in the past). If this describes you, begin with our 10-recipe starting point (mentioned above) and grow your pantry and kitchen tools one recipe at a time.

How to Get Organized

Early in my cooking journey I would buy random bags of lentils, flours, and grains and use them frantically throughout the week. By Friday I’d open up my pantry and ingredients would be falling all over each other like an unorganized mess. I’d often forget when an ingredient was near empty or if I had a surplus in the back corner of my cabinet I just couldn’t see.

Sound familiar?Disorganization equals stress and overwhelm, which is a roadblock to getting in the kitchen to prepare meals.

The solution? Move as many ingredients as possible from your pantry to glass storage containers — think rice, quinoa, gluten-free flours, beans, nuts and seeds.

It not only looks more beautiful and organized, but also allows you to save money by buying largely in bulk (which reduces plastic consumption!) and know exactly how much of each ingredient you have and need at any given time.

Once your ingredients are at home in their new containers, we recommend labeling anything that may get confused with other items (such as cornstarch and arrowroot starch). Use a label maker (try our first model, or our new go-to option) to create labels to adhere to your jars.

And just like that you have an organized, easy-to-navigate pantry that’s totally Instagram-worthy. Swoon.

3 Simple Steps to a Well-Stocked Pantry

  1. Scan your pantry before grocery shopping each week and note the amount needed to top off your jars (especially your go-to staples).
  2. Purchase that amount from the bulk bins and add to your jars.
  3. Note: For less-frequently used items, start a new jar with the freshest ingredient at the bottom and top it off with the older ingredient on the top (OR wait until the jar is empty before refilling) to prevent spoilage. Be sure to create a new label for your jar if needed.

Equipment

We’ve included an equipment section as your tools are nearly as important as your ingredients.

Below you’ll find a list of our go-to appliances, tools, and cookware to begin stocking up on so you’re always equipped to cook.

NOTE

(*) indicates items we assume you have or will get (these are essential, low-cost items used very frequently) — if you currently have none of these items, buying all of them will cost ~$150

(+) indicates items we strongly recommend you get (these are more expensive items used very frequently)

Small Appliances

Large Appliances

Small Tools

Large Tools

Cookware

Bakeware

Storage / Cooking Extras

Food

In this section, you’ll see a list of our go-to pantry items so you’re always equipped to cook. Think salt, olive oil, cumin, and quinoa. We’ve also included links and recommendations on homemade recipes and where to buy difficult-to-find items when helpful.

Staple Produce

  • Avocados
  • Cilantro
  • Garlic
  • Ginger (fresh)
  • Gold Potatoes
  • Jalapeño Peppers
  • Lemons
  • Limes
  • Onions (red, white, yellow)
  • Parsley
  • Serrano Peppers
  • Shallots
  • Sun-dried Tomatoes
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Turmeric (fresh)

Nuts

  • Almonds (raw)
  • Brazil Nuts
  • Cashews (raw)
  • Coconut (finely shredded)
  • Macadamia Nuts
  • Peanuts (roasted)
  • Pecans (raw)
  • Pine Nuts (for pesto, optional)
  • Slivered Almonds
  • Walnuts (raw)

Seeds

  • Chia Seeds (optional)
  • Coconut Flakes
  • Flaxseed
  • Hemp Seeds
  • Pumpkin Seeds (raw)
  • Sesame Seeds
  • Sunflower Seeds (raw and unsalted)

Nut & Seed Butters

Baking Essentials

  • Applesauce
  • Baking Powder
  • Baking Soda
  • Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
  • Raw Cacao Powder 
  • Pure Vanilla Extract
  • Vegan Dark Chocolate Chips (Enjoy Life)
  • Vegan Butter (Miyokos or Earth Balance)
  • Vegan Dark Chocolate (DIY)

Flours & Meals (Check out our Guide to Gluten-Free Flours!)

  • Almond Flour (Wellbee’s is our favorite, or DIY)
  • Almond Meal (DIY)
  • Arrowroot Starch
  • Brown Rice Flour
  • Coconut Flour
  • Cornstarch
  • Cornmeal (finely ground)
  • Garbanzo Flour
  • GF Flour Mix (DIY)
  • Oat Flour (DIY)
  • Potato Starch
  • Tapioca Starch
  • White Rice Flour

Sweeteners

  • Coconut Sugar
  • Medjool Dates
  • Organic Brown Sugar
  • Organic Cane Sugar
  • Organic Powdered Sugar
  • Pure Maple Syrup
  • Stevia Extract

Grains

  • Arborio Rice
  • Brown Rice
  • GF Rolled Oats
  • Sprouted White Quinoa (we love TruRoots brand)
  • White Rice (Basmati)

Pasta

  • GF Brown Rice Quinoa Fusili
  • GF Penne or Tagliatelle
  • GF Lasagna Noodles (or similar shape)
  • Thin Rice Noodles (white or brown — we like Thai Kitchen)
  • Spring Roll Skin/Rice Paper (Three Ladies)

Legumes/Pulses

  • Black Beans (dry)
  • Chana Dal
  • Dry Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas)
  • Green Lentils
  • Moong Dal
  • Mung Beans
  • Red Lentils
  • Tempeh (organic, non-GMO)
  • Extra Firm Tofu (organic, non-GMO)

Herbs/Spices

  • Allspice (ground)
  • Basil (dried)
  • Bay Leaves
  • Black Pepper (ground or whole)
  • Black Salt
  • Cardamom (ground)
  • Cardamom (whole pods)
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Chili Powder Blend
  • Cinnamon (ground)
  • Cinnamon Sticks
  • Cloves (ground)
  • Coriander (ground)
  • Coriander Seeds (whole)
  • Cumin (ground)
  • Cumin Seeds (whole)
  • Curry Powder (or DIY)
  • Dill (dried)
  • Fennel Seeds (whole)
  • Garam Masala (ground)
  • Garlic Powder
  • Ginger (ground)
  • Mustard Seed (ground)
  • Mustard Seeds (whole)
  • Nutmeg (ground)
  • Onion Powder
  • Oregano (dried)
  • Paprika (smoked)
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • Red Pepper Flake(s)
  • Sea Salt
  • Shawarma Spice Blend (or DIY)
  • Turmeric (ground)

Oils

  • Avocado Oil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Sesame Oil (toasted or untoasted)

Vinegars

  • Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Rice Vinegar
  • White Wine Vinegar

Condiments/Seasonings

Wet/Canned Goods

  • Almond Milk (unsweetened plain / or DIY)
  • Black Beans
  • Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce
  • Coconut Cream
  • Coconut Milk (full-fat)
  • Coconut Milk (light or DIY)
  • Crushed Tomatoes
  • Diced Tomatoes (plain or fire roasted)
  • Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas)
  • Jackfruit (in water or brine)
  • Kidney Beans
  • Mild Diced Green Chiles
  • Pinto Beans
  • Tomato Paste
  • Tomato Purée
  • Tomato Sauce
  • Lentils
  • Vegetable Broth (Homemade or Imagine Brand)

Superfoods

Downloads

Ready to stock your pantry? Jump all in with our Complete Pantry List below. Or, for beginners and those with limited space, our Only the Essentials list is the way to go. Enjoy!

Complete Pantry List

Beginner’s Guide: Only The Essentials 


We hope you enjoyed this pantry tour and got inspired to start stocking your own pantry! Have questions or comments? Leave them below. We’d love to help.

Reader Interactions

Leave a Comment & Rating! Cancel reply

  1. Melodysays

    I recommend your blog to everyone who asks for good vegan recipes! Everything I’ve found on here is so creative, delicious, and easy to make! I recommend your page as a starting off point especially for people who are new to cooking and want something healthy and easy to do. I really like how you can filter out exactly what you want by cuisine, dietary needs, etc.

    Reply
    • Support @ Minimalist Bakersays

      Aw, we’re so glad it’s helpful, Melody! Thank you so much for sharing it with others! xo

      Reply
  2. Cindysays

    Great article! The idea of having staples AND keeping stock for 10 favorite recipes feels organized and calming.

    I feel like this is a dumb question but whenever I see items neatly stored in glass jars, I wonder how to deal with the odds & ends of bags left over that didn’t fit? We aren’t able to purchase everything in bulk.

    Thanks so much for your website, recipes, and newsletter!!

    Reply
    • Support @ Minimalist Bakersays

      Aw, thanks Cindy! We’re so glad you enjoy our resources. That’s a good question. We keep extras in an overflow/refill area that’s out of the way. And then check there for restocking before adding to the grocery list.

      Reply
  3. kiettasays

    I stumbled across your website while searching for something vegan and omg instant love connection. I am truly new in my plant base/vegan lifestyle and so excited to start preparing delicious meals. I have printed so many recipes from your site and made sure to subscribe to every social media site I am on; YT, Pinterest, Instagram and your site. I was about to write out a staple list so I can dive right in cooking and long behold you have made it so easy; click and print. Thank you for making my journey stress free and enjoyable.

    Reply
    • Support @ Minimalist Bakersays

      Aw, we’re so glad you are finding our site helpful! Wishing you all the best, Kietta! xo

      Reply
  4. Santiagosays

    I NEVER EVER comment on anything, but you really earned it. Since all of this quarantine start i been using your blog at least twice a day, you had brought to my house love, aromas, happiness, and a feeling that everything it’s going to be fine. Every time we bless the table i thank for you, your blog and wellbeing, thanks for all the love you share, I really appreciate it.

    thanks, thanks thanks.

    Reply
    • Support @ Minimalist Bakersays

      Aw, thank you so much for your kind words and blessings, Santiago! We are so glad our recipes are helping! xo

      Reply
  5. Mirial Gainersays

    What do you use Moringa for? How do you use it? How do I keep from getting an aftertaste? I have been mixing it with Matcha as a drink but don’t like the aftertaste of the Moringa. Also I’m allergic to Stevia/Truvia. What do you think of date sugar as a sweetner?

    Reply
  6. Nicolesays

    This is exquisite! And so equipping! Thanks so much for all of the time you put into enriching the kitchens and appetites of others. Do you have a favorite source for bulk dried goods? (nuts, legumes, grains)

    Reply
  7. Sandrasays

    I have all the small tools except a Tofu Press…never even knew it existed! Fascinating. Can I just use a heavy Iron Skillet over a paper napkin?

    Reply
  8. Tori Bissellsays

    Thank you so much for posting this super helpful guide. I just moved to Kenya and I felt so overwhelmed the first time I went to the grocery store… what do I need? what don’t I need? did I forget anything? So many questions.

    I’ll only be able to go to the grocery store about once a month because of the location that we are in. I’ve made a list and next time I go back I’ll stock up on the essentials. I make a ton of your recipes all the time so it’s so nice to know what are the basics I should have on hand.

    Reply
    • Support @ Minimalist Bakersays

      Wow- that’s impressive! We’re so glad you find it helpful, Tori! Thanks for sharing!

      Reply
  9. Vaniasays

    This is awesome! I will be moving in a month and will be stocking my pantry and kitchen. This is such a great help because I use so many of your recipes. Thank you for taking the time to make this!

    Reply
  10. Michellesays

    Awesome list! I wish I had an actual pantry to fit all of this into : )
    Feeling validated seeing your stock of oils. I have wondered if I am being unnecessarily strict by only buying coconut, olive, or sesame oils, when so many other people seem to rely on cheaper vegetable oils.

    Reply
  11. Beverly Hillsays

    Great list. I skipped the label maker. One roll of blue painter’s tape and a black Sharpie works just as well, fits in a drawer and lasts forever!!

    Reply
  12. Gabriellesays

    This is such a fabulous resource! I am currently making a cross-country move and looking forward to restocking my pantry from scratch. This is a perfect opportunity to start fresh and I can’t wait to get started with this list :) thank you!

    Reply
  13. Toni Costantinosays

    Thank you for this! I am wondering what stevia you use/like? The ones I have tried leave a bitter and unpleasant after taste for me….

    Reply
  14. Jackiesays

    This is a fabulous resource as my pantry and spice cabinet usually feels disorganized and adds to my cooking stress…. do you have suggestions as to where to get the glass storage jars? Also how long should you keep spices?

    Reply
    • Dana @ Minimalist Bakersays

      Spices should be replaced every year. As for glass storage jars, we love Ball or Mason Jars. Or Weck! For Tupperware we love the affordability and variety IKEA offers.

      Reply
      • Beverly Hillsays

        For the pantry I go to TJ Max, Marshall’s and Home Goods. All three carry the same stuff (just not all at the same time). If you check whenever you are in one of those stores over time you can end up with a fairly uniform collection of glass jars in different sizes, without spending much, usually $2 – $3 each.

        Reply
  15. Karen Nesbittsays

    Wow! Dana, this is an incredible amount of work you have done here! Absolutely amazing! Thank you so much for doing all of this, it is greatly appreciated! I am pleased to know that I do actually have a lot of these items in my pantry!

    Reply
  16. Julie Burgesays

    Dana, this is excellent. Love the photos. Super helpful for newbies, and fun for experienced vegans to see what another pantry looks like. Great reference article. Pin this one!

    Reply
  17. Laurasays

    My pantry is starting to look more and more like what you’ve laid out. I’m looking forward to making my own chocolate using your recipe! Yum!

    Reply
  18. Marie-Jeannesays

    This is a fabulous resource, for me it was a good check list as it turns out I have accumulated most of the suggestions, and it took a long time, (as needed). This guide is manna if you are beginning. Well thought out, and storage suggestions will prevent waste. Refer to your recipes regularly, and they always turn out wonderful. Thank you for all the inspiration and creative tips.

    Reply
  19. Nicolesays

    Love this! Looks a lot like the items I keep on hand too- although I see a few I need :)
    This is great to help get people prepared & organized!

    Reply
  20. Bethsays

    I love this, thank you!! I’m new to vegan eating. Is It possible to see a few finished pictures of how you then organize and place jars, spices etc in cupboards? /shelves/ counters. We are in process of needing to completely reorganize and haven’t found a system that works.

    Reply
  21. Donna Rinckelsays

    I like the idea of using the glass jars to store food and I do some of that already, but how do you remember how to cook the quinoa, red lentils, etc. if you throw away the packaging with the cooking directions? I don’t want to have to figure it out every time I use something from a jar.

    Reply
    • Dana @ Minimalist Bakersays

      Ah, perhaps it’s just that the cook times are cemented in my mind after all the cooking I’ve done! But you can also always cut out the instructions and keep them in a folder or adhere them to the storage jar as needed for memory.

      Reply
    • Maureensays

      ??‍♀️I cut out small instructions and place in glass container?
      Minimalist has been my go to recipe guide since going wfpb 2 years ago

      Reply
  22. Patricksays

    I am fairly new to the plant-based lifestyle, and not a great or enthusiastic cook, so I am wondering if the store-bought packaged plant-based burgers and chicken are good or are they counter productive to trying to eat healthy?

    Thanks,
    Patrick

    Reply
    • Dana @ Minimalist Bakersays

      Hi Patrick, we don’t typically recommend them as they’re often made with soy, gluten, and heavily-processed ingredients, which don’t sit well with our digestion. Instead we recommend eating real, whole food ingredients like beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, grains, vegetables, and fruit. When craving burgers we go for this recipe. And we like this vegan sausage recipe.

      Reply
  23. Robert Baxtersays

    This is an absolutely fabulous list!! I am going to start purchasing the listed items today. Thank you for creating this list as well as this site. FYI…as a man I have no idea what I am doing when it comes to stocking. I usually just run out and buy what’s needed at the moment. This list should definitely get me going in the right direction and help me to keep my bearings.

    Reply
  24. Azasays

    OMG, the time it must have taken to prepare this post, Dana!!! To take everything out and do those insanely beautiful pictures.

    Makes me feel proud too, that I’m 95% there, on all fronts. ?
    It’s reassuring for veteran veg***ans (or veggie friends) and I’m sure amazing for new comers. I wish I saw this article … 8 years ago ;)

    Thanks for all the work put into this comprehensive list, Dana!!

    Reply
  25. Christinesays

    This was so helpful ! ;)
    On an unrelated note, are the sugars/sweetners listed unrefined? I am always confused with cane sugar and brown sugar.
    I just love all your recipes and your posts and videos are so easy to follow!

    Reply
    • Dana @ Minimalist Bakersays

      Good question! Cane sugar is far less processed than regular white table sugar and doesn’t contain any pesticides, which is why we recommend it. It’s also more likely to be vegan friendly as some sugar is apparently processed using bone char from animal bones.

      Reply