A well stocked pantry is absolutely essential to living frugally. If your pantry is well stocked, you will not need to run to the grocery store every time you cook, saving you gas money as well as time. Not to mention that just about everything on this list can be picked up when they are on sale, which saves you even more money.
I am not calling this a complete list. I’m sure there are things that have been missed. If there is something you feel should be on this list, please, email me and I’ll add it on!
Almond extract–for adding a little extra flavor to desserts, pie crusts, vegetables and other dishes.
American cheese–for sandwiches, snacking, casseroles, pasta, mashed potatoes or vegetables.
Apples–for long storage, eating out of hand and making desserts.
Applesauce–for snacking, cooking, baking and an easy dessert.
Balsamic vinegar–for flavoring dishes and making salad dressings.
Baking soda–for baking and cleaning.
Baking powder–for baking.
Barbecue sauce–for cooking and flavoring.
Basil–for pesto and other Italian recipes.
Bay leaves–for seasoning soups, stocks, roasts, sauces and poaching liquids.
Boullion (beef, chicken, and vegetable)–for soups, seasoning, casseroles and marinades.
Brown rice (it is healthier than white)–for casseroles, soups, stuffings and side dishes.
Brown sugar–for cooking, baking and seasoning.
Butter or margarine–for cooking, flavoring and greasing pans.
Cake mix–for a quick and easy dessert.
Canned cream soup–for a quick lunch, or to add to side dishes, soups, casseroles and other dishes.
Canned frosting–for a quick and easy dessert.
Catsup–for flavoring, sandwiches or other dishes.
Carrots–for long storage, snacking, soups, side dishes, roasting meats, casseroles, stews and more.
Cayenne pepper or crushed red pepper–for a little heat.
Celery–for snacking, soups, roasting meats, casseroles and stews.
Cheddar cheese–for sandwiches, snacking, casseroles, pasta, mashed potatoes or vegetables.
Chervil–for seasoning delicately flavored sauces and soups.
Chives, fresh–for sauces or mashed potatoes.
Cinnamon–for breads, cereals and desserts.
Cocoa powder–for baking and making hot cocoa.
Cold cereal–for baking, topping casseroles, snacking and breakfast.
Cookies or biscuits–for snacking or quick desserts.
Cooking sprays–for greasing pans for baking or frying.
Cornmeal–for corn bread and for baking white bread.
Cornstarch–for thickening sauces, stews and gravies.
Crackers–for snacking, appetizers and topping casseroles.
Cream cheese–for bagels, toast, muffins, crackers, appetizers, cakes and sauces.
Cream of tartar–for whipping egg whites.
Dried beans–for savory soups, stews and side dishes.
Dried bread crumbs–for breading food and topping casseroles.
Dried fruit–for desserts, sauces, roasting meat and poultry and snacking.
Dry mustard–for seasoning and color.
Eggs or egg substitutes–for cooking, baking, or a quick and easy meal of omelettes or frittatas.
Fruit juice–for poaching poultry and fish, roasting meats, baking, cooking and making beverages.
Garlic–for flavoring or garlic bread.
Gelatin, flavored and unflavored–for desserts, salads and snacks.
Ginger–fresh for mincing or grating and adding to dishes for a spark.
Graham cracker pie crusts–for quick pies.
Honey–for seasoning, cooking, or eating on biscuits or cereal.
Hot sauce–for adding a touch of spice to dishes.
Jams or jellies–for making sandwiches, desserts or sauces.
Kitchen bouquet–a vegetable extract perfect for flavoring and adding color to stews, soups and gravies.
Lemons–for squeezing lemons into fresh juice or using the zest in cooking. Liquid smoke–for adding a barbecue flavor to sauces, cheese, appetizers, poultry, fish and meats.
Mayonnaise–for salads, sandwiches, salad dressings and many other dishes; low fat or fat free are also good choices.
Monterey jack cheese–for snacking, appetizers, side dishes, casseroles, vegetables and Mexican dishes.
Nutmeg–for freshly grating for baked dishes, potatoes and sauces.
Nuts–a selection of your favorite nuts for breads, muffins, desserts, casseroles and side dishes.
Oatmeal–for baking, cooking and as a breakfast cereal.
Olive oil–for cooking, greasing pans or making salad dressings.
Onions–for seasoning meats, soups, stews, casseroles and many other dishes.
Orange extract–for flavoring sauces, marinades and desserts.
Oranges–for snacking, desserts, flavoring and juice.
Paprika–flavor and decoration.
Parmesan cheese, fresh brick–for grating as needed for pasta, sauces, popcorn, bread, etc.
Parsley, fresh–for chopping for flavor and color and in sprigs as a garnish.
Pasta–for eating plain, with butter, or a sauce; also great for using in soups, stews, casseroles, or as a side dish.
Peanut butter–for cooking, baking and snacking.
Peppercorns–for including whole in soups, stocks, marinades and roasts and for grinding for cooking and table use.
Powdered sugar–for making frosting, cooking, baking, and decorating.
Prepared mustard–for sandwiches, mayonnaise based salads, salad dressings and marinade.
Potatoes, russet–for baking and mashing.
Potatoes, small red–for boiling and roasting.
Pudding mixes–for quick and easy desserts, pies and puddings.
Real maple syrup–for cooking, flavoring, pancakes, waffles and French toast.
Red wine–for cooking and seasoning.
Rosemary–for seasoning in small amounts.
Sage–for seasoning meats and stews.
Salt–for seasoning and to add to boiling water.
Scallions and shallots–for flavoring with a lighter touch than onions.
Semi-sweet chocolate–for desserts and snacking.
Solid shortening–for baking and greasing pans.
Soy sauce–for flavoring and quick stir-frying.
Sugar–for cooking and seasoning.
Swiss cheese–for snacking, appetizers, casseroles, side dishes and soups.
Tenderizer–for tenderizing meats.
Thyme–for seasoning meats, poultry, sauces, vegetables, and side dishes.
Tomato paste–for making pasta sauces, stews, soups and casseroles.
Tomatoes–use fresh in season or canned out of season for sauces, salads, soups, stews, casseroles and other dishes.
Tuna fish–for quick sandwiches and casseroles.
Unbleached white flour–for cooking, baking, thickening.
Unsweetened chocolate–for baking and cooking.
Vanilla–for flavoring many dishes, especially desserts; only use the real flavoring or vanilla beans.
Vegetable oil–for frying, cooking, salad dressings and greasing pans.
White wine vinegar–for salads, flavoring and cleaning coffee pots.
White wine–for cooking.
Worcestershire sauce–for seasoning and adding color.