How to Stock Your Pantry

What to keep on hand to make cooking a delicious, nutritious meal easy every night of the week.

While a good shopping list is the key to a quick and painless trip to the supermarket, a well-stocked pantry is the best way to ensure you’ll have everything you need to cook once you get home. EatingWell’s Healthy Pantry includes many of the items you need to prepare healthy recipes plus a few other ingredients that will make impromptu meals easier.

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Oils, Vinegars & Condiments

Oils, Vinegars & Condiments

  • Extra-virgin olive oil for cooking and salad dressings
  • Canola oil for cooking and baking
  • Flavorful nut and seed oils for salad dressings and stir-fry seasonings: toasted sesame oil, walnut oil
  • Butter, preferably unsalted. Store in the freezer if you use infrequently.
  • Reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • Vinegars: balsamic, red-wine, white-wine, rice (or rice-wine), apple cider
  • Asian condiments and flavorings: reduced-sodium soy sauce, fish sauce, hoisin sauce, mirin, oyster sauce, chile-garlic sauce, curry paste
  • Kalamata olives, green olives
  • Dijon mustard
  • Capers
  • Ketchup
  • Barbecue sauce
  • Worcestershire sauce

Seasonings

Seasonings

  • Kosher salt, coarse sea salt, fine salt
  • Black peppercorns
  • Onions
  • Fresh garlic
  • Fresh ginger
  • Anchovies or anchovy paste for flavoring pasta sauces and salad dressings
  • Dried herbs: bay leaves, dill, crumbled dried sage, dried thyme leaves, oregano, tarragon, Italian seasoning blend
  • Spices: allspice (whole berries or ground), caraway seeds, chili powder, cinnamon sticks, ground cinnamon,coriander seeds, cumin seeds, ground cumin, curry powder, ground ginger, dry mustard, nutmeg, paprika, cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper, turmeric
  • Lemons, limes, oranges. The zest is as valuable as the juice. Organic fruit is recommended when you use a lot of zest.
  • Granulated sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Honey
  • Pure maple syrup
  • Unsweetened cocoa powder, natural and/or Dutch-processed
  • Bittersweet chocolate, semisweet chocolate chips

Canned Goods & Bottled Items

Canned Goods & Bottled Items

  • Canned tomatoes, tomato paste
  • Reduced-sodium chicken broth, beef broth and/or vegetable broth
  • Clam juice
  • "Lite" coconut milk for Asian curries and soups
  • Canned beans: cannellini beans, great northern beans, chickpeas, black beans, red kidney beans
  • Canned lentils
  • Chunk light tuna and salmon

Grains & Legumes

Grains & Legumes

  • Whole-wheat flour and whole-wheat pastry flour (Store opened packages in the refrigerator or freezer.)
  • All-purpose flour
  • Assorted whole-wheat pastas
  • Brown rice and instant brown rice
  • Pearl barley, quick-cooking barley
  • Rolled oats
  • Whole-wheat couscous
  • Bulgur
  • Dried lentils
  • Yellow cornmeal
  • Plain dry breadcrumbs

Nuts, Seeds & Fruits

Nuts, Seeds & Fruits

  • Walnuts
  • Pecans
  • Almonds
  • Hazelnuts
  • Dry-roasted unsalted peanuts
  • Pine nuts
  • Sesame seeds
  • Natural peanut butter
  • Tahini
  • Assorted dried fruits, such as apricots, prunes, cherries, cranberries, dates, figs, raisins (Store opened packages of nuts and seeds in the refrigerator or freezer.)

Refrigerator Basics

Refrigerator Basics

  • Low-fat milk or soymilk
  • Low-fat or nonfat plain yogurt and/or vanilla yogurt
  • Reduced-fat sour cream
  • Good-quality Parmesan cheese and/or Romano cheese
  • Sharp Cheddar cheese
  • Eggs (large). Keep them on hand for fast omelets and frittatas.
  • Orange juice
  • Dry white wine. If you wish, substitute nonalcoholic wine.
  • Water-packed tofu

Freezer Basics

Freezer Basics

  • Fruit-juice concentrates (orange, apple, pineapple)
  • Frozen vegetables: edamame soy beans, peas, spinach, broccoli, bell pepper and onion mix, corn, chopped onions, small whole onions, uncooked hash browns
  • Frozen berries
  • Italian turkey sausage and sliced prosciutto to flavor fast pasta sauces
  • Low-fat vanilla ice cream or frozen yogurt for impromptu dessert