Every home needs a pantry, whether that is a full room of food or even if it is a designated set of cupboards where you store certain foods. These tend to include foods with specific qualities, mainly long lasting and dried goods that don’t need to be refrigerated.

Your home pantry will come in handy if you are running tight on a budget and have to be a little more frugal with your spending, or if you are simply lacking time and need something quick to eat or snack on. Here are some must have foods to include in your home pantry.

Pasta And Sauce

When you are considering food to include in your pantry, you are typically looking for options that will last long as well as be filling. Pasta is a great option because they are dry foods that have a long shelf life. Many sauces, whether stored in glass jars or cans of tomato sauce, will also last a long time as well. This ensures that whenever you buy and store these foods, you will have these available options in any emergency or shortage where you need a quick and easy meal.


Another great option to have in your pantry is beans. This can be any beans, from black beans to mung beans. Some options also include a bean medley that will also incorporate chickpeas. The fact remains, dry beans are a pantry must because of the nutrients that beans provide, as they are high in protein. This is also important to consider because other pantry options, like pasta, may not fulfill your needs for specific nutrients and food groups. If you are in a tough spot where you need to make dinner or any meal quickly, and cannot wait for meat or fish to defrost, beans can provide you the protein you need in a short time.


Spam is a wonderful option to store in your pantry. In most cases, the food in your pantry is used when you run out of food options or need to make something quick. Although spam fits these labels, it is also an extremely versatile cooked meat that has some protein as well as other nutrients.

You can cook spam in many ways, having it for a variety of meals. Many people around the world love the taste and flavor of spam, and use it in a wide range of dishes, from sushi toppings, to pairing with eggs for breakfast. Be sure to stock your pantry shelves with this versatile food.


When you are considering certain staple foods that you want to add to your pantry shelves, rice is an absolute must that you should include. Rice is extremely valuable and inexpensive, not to mention one of the most versatile foods to incorporate into your meals. They come in a variety of grains, and can be utilized in different ways.

Rice pairs with all sorts of meat and vegetables as a side or complimentary dish, but can also often stand on its own when made into a fried rice, risotto, congress dish, or even as a dessert in rice pudding. Because rice has a long shelf life, it will even have its place in homes that don’t often eat much rice.

Different Sauces And Seasoning

Sauce is a hugely important item to keep stocked in your pantry shelves. This is not referring to pasta sauces, but cooking, dipping and seasoning sauces. Cooking any meat or even preparing any meal can easily be heightened with the addition of different spices and sauces, elevating the flavor and making a dish go from being a little bland, to being a medley of tastes. Wet sauces are just as important as dry ones, and this all depends on what dish you are cooking in addition to your tastes.

Your basic wet sauces will include things like soy sauce, hot sauce, as well as others that depend on your preferences like BBQ sauces or teriyaki. Consider adding a spice rack somewhere in your pantry to allow you to grow the number of spices you accumulate, and ultimately build a collection and palette of flavors for any dish or meal.

Olive Oil

When you are trying to cook any meal using a frying pan or skillet, you need to ensure that you use oil in order to take care of your cookware, but also help keep your foods intact and prevent them from sticking to the surface of whatever you are using. You want to have oil for a variety of reasons, from frying and roasting, but also for topping certain foods.

If you have to choose to have a single oil in your cupboards and pantry shelves, olive oil is a good recommendation because it is versatile and can be used for all your cooking, sauteing and salad needs, although if you can, storing multiple oils for different purposes will be the best since different oils have different cooking temperatures.

Peanut Butter

For the times that you are not really wanting to make a meal, and want something quick, peanut butter is the perfect pantry food to have at your disposal. Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are a classic snack or small meal to take on the go, on a picnic, or when you are just craving something filling and a little sweet at home, and don’t want to wash too many pans or spend too much time in the kitchen. Peanut butter is also just as versatile as many other options, as there are many dishes that incorporate this ingredient such as stews and noodles.

Peanut butter comes in a few different styles, from crunchy to more organic and sugar free. Of course, there is always the classic and smooth peanut butter that most people will be accustomed to. If you’ve got some peanut butter in your pantry cupboards, be sure to have some bread handy for some perfectly paired snacking.

When shopping for foods that will go in your pantry, one tip to consider is to always look for sales and not be afraid to buy in bulk. This is because your pantry foods will typically be in there a while, so you don’t have to be as worried about expiration dates. Always try to keep your pantry stocked, just because it is always best to be prepared for anything, whether that is unexpected guests, donating foods, or shortages. You never know.