Frugal Must-Haves For A Fully Stocked Pantry

One of the best ways to live a frugal lifestyle is to create a well stocked pantry. These frugal must-haves for a fully stocked pantry allow you to enjoy the pleasures of preparing low-cost, healthy, & wholesome meals at home.

How Do You Make a Well Stocked Pantry?

How frustrating is it to attempt a new recipe only to realize you don’t have all of the ingredients that you need? It’s best to purchase a range of pantry items in many different categories so that you are always well prepared. That includes both perishable and non-perishable must-haves to make delicious meals, snacks and baked goods anytime!

a beautiful pantry in a kitchen life full and frugal-2

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What Should I Buy to Stock the Pantry for Baking?

Keeping the baking section of your pantry fully stocked makes baking more fun! A super frugal tip is to stock up on these items on or near the holiday seasons. These baking items are more likely to be on sale at those times of the year. And be sure to buy in bulk if you really enjoy baking. We like to take advantage of these frugal deals around late October as stores gear up for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Here are our must-have baking ingredients to keep on hand in our pantry!

  1. Cocoa powder (homemade hot cocoa)
  2. Chocolate chips
  3. Sourdough starter (make your own sourdough starter!)
  4. Flour (all-purpose and whole wheat)
  5. Cornmeal
  6. Nuts
  7. Sugar (brown sugar, honey, molasses, powdered sugar, cane syrup, maple syrup)
  8. Dried fruits (raisins, cranberries, cherries)
  9. Baking soda
  10. Baking powder
  11. Cornstarch
  12. Cream of tartar
  13. Butter (lard, refined coconut oil)
  14. Oats
pantry essentials baking goods flour and eggs life full and frugal-2

Condiments Are a Staple of Our Frugal Pantry

Condiments allow you the ability to create all kinds of homemade salad dressings, sauces, and dips.  Making your own sauces and dressings from scratch is both more budget friendly, and nutritious than the commercially produced versions. Here are some must-haves for your pantry’s condiment section.

  1. Mustard (yellow, dijon, and grainy)
  2. Vinegar (balsamic, white wine, red wine, apple cider vinegar, & rice wine)
  3. Worcestershire Sauce (fish sauce, soy sauce)
  4. Ketchup (barbecue sauce)
  5. Dill Pickles (pickle relish, fermented garlic)
  6. Olive Oil (avocado oil, safflower oil)

Use these frugal pantry items from the condiment section to make some delicious homemade salad dressings:

Asian Tahini Peanut Dressing

Creamy Italian Dressing

Honey Fermented Garlic Vinaigrette!

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Pantry Must-Haves for Quick and Easy Meals & Desserts

Trying to take your meal planning game up a notch? Frugal pantry must-haves are essential for quick meals and simple desserts. These are items that help you make something delicious and healthy for the family at the end of a long day. Here are the things we love to keep on hand in the non-perishable section of the pantry.

  1. Canned Beans (Great northern, pinto, garbanzo, black beans, green beans)

  2. Peanut Butter

  3. Tahini

  4. Canned Meat (tuna, chicken, anchovies, sardines, beef)

  5. Antipasto/Olives  (canned chilis, fire roasted red peppers, jarred olives, jarred artichoke hearts)

  6. Canned Fruits  ( pineapple, mandarin oranges, pumpkin pack)

  7. Canned Milk  (coconut milk, coconut cream, evaporated milk, sweetened condensed milk)

The Herbs and Spices Every Well Stocked Pantry Needs

It’s all about flavor in our house! Make your meals pack a flavorful punch by keeping all the best herbs and spices on hand in your pantry. These are the spices we can’t live without!

The Sweet Spices

  1. Nutmeg
  2. Star Anise
  3. Ginger
  4. Cardamom
  5. Allspice
  6. Ground Cloves (& whole cloves)
  7. Whole Allspice
  8. Ground Cinnamon
  9. Whole Cinnamon Sticks

You’ll need these pantry staples for things like chai tea lattes, pumpkin pies, sweet breads, and spiced ciders! Doesn’t this list remind you of the holidays?

dried spices for the frugal pantry life full and frugal-2

The Savory Herbs

  1. Oregano
  2. Thyme
  3. Basil
  4. Granulated Garlic
  5. Granulated Onion
  6. Dill weed
  7. Dill Seed
  8. Black Pepper
  9. Celery Seed
  10. Fennel Seed
  11. Red Pepper Flakes
  12. Cumin
  13. Chili Powder
  14. Ground Cayenne
  15. Marjoram
  16. Bay Leaf

These herbs are essential for curing, soups, salad dressings, Mexican food, veggie dips, and spaghetti sauce!

must have herbs and spices life full and frugal pantry-2

Frugal Pantry Must-Haves; Drinks

A well stocked pantry should include beverages. Buying drinks can be a huge expense, to both your budget and your health. Here are the things we like to keep around in our fully stocked pantry to make delicious and healthy homemade drinks.

  1. Coffee (espresso)  
  2. Black Tea (herbal tea) 
  3. Bottled Lemon Juice
  4. Fresh Ginger

This list is a must for making kombucha and homemade ginger ale! And, of course, making your own coffee at home is a great way to save money.

Every Fully Stocked Pantry Needs Healthy Snacks

Looking to stock your pantry with snacks that are tasty and nutritious? These simple and frugal snacks are some of our favorite go-to’s!

  1. Whole Popcorn (cooked in refined coconut oil)
  2. Dry Roasted Peanuts

Our Ride or Die Perishable Pantry Items!

The perishable items of a well stocked pantry are the building blocks of a meal. These staples make quick meal planning so simple. Who can create a home-cooked meal without these must-have perishables?

  1. Eggs
  2. Cheese (buy it on sale and freeze it)
  3. Butter (buy it on sale and freeze it)
  4. Bacon
  5. Ground Pork
  6. Ground Beef
  7. Whole Chickens
  8. Chicken Thighs
  9. Onions
  10. Garlic
  11. Carrots
  12. Cabbage
  13. Potatoes
  14. Celery
  15. Homemade Chicken Stock

These perishable goodies are as basic as it gets! If all else fails, you can make a pretty delicious and nutrient dense meal from these kitchen staples.

whole roasted chicken French roasted chicken life full and frugal

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In Conclusion

Creating a fully stocked frugal pantry can take some time to build up, but it is well worth the time and effort. Always be aware and take advantage of sales at your local grocery stores. Consider buying spices in bulk and splitting them up with a friend. Look around at your local Ollie’s, Big Lots, or local discount grocery store for buyouts, and pricier items. Also, be sure to check out your local Asian or ethnic markets for more exotic pantry goods. Happy pantry stocking!

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  1. Michelle

    Fantastic advise for my pantry. You make it achievable! Thank you and God bless:)

    • Shanna

      Thank you so much, Michelle! Your kind words mean so much! <3 God bless, friend!


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