After setting up a new kitchen and getting all new required gadgets for your kitchen, here come the pantry essentials which you must stock up in your kitchen. If you have a well-stocked pantry, you won’t have to worry for last-minute parties or get-together of families or friends. You will always be prepared to have a big party at home, and of course, it will save your last-minute shopping trip.
From basic ingredients for your favourite recipes to baking needs to dairy essentials and much more, here is the list which will help you stay organised and you can always be nearer to your healthy meals.
List of Must-Have Pantry Essentials
Always stay stocked up and well organized with these pantry essentials and be ready for last minute preparation of meals for get togethers.
Oils & Vinegar
Oils in your diet are essential to keep your body warm, protect your organs and give your body energy. Since these oils have fat content and fats are not always bad. Fats help our body in absorbing some nutrients and produce necessary hormones.
Vegetable Oil is one of the main pantry essentials that you should stock up to fry or saute your favourite meals. The one which I recommend is Fortune Rice Bran Oil as the oil keeps your heart healthy by managing the cholesterol level. Further, it boosts your immunity as it is rich in natural antioxidants.Check Here
Extra virgin olive oil is another pantry essential which has high antioxidant content along with anti-inflammatory properties. You can use it for cooking, sauteing, marinating, roasting, and stir-frying. Nowadays, doctors also recommend olive oil to keep the cholesterol managed as it prevents strokes. I am using Figaro Extra Virgin olive oil as it is one of the oldest and best brands in India. It has a rich flavour, thus enhancing the cooking taste. Plus it regulates cholesterol levels, improving the heart health.
Some of the households, especially South Indians, use Sesame Oil in many ways from cooking to application. You can use it in curries and Indian pickles. I, North Indian, believe that it is good to use in Winters as it generates enough heat in the body to keep you warm. It is also beneficial to use as a Massage oil in winters as it provides good bone health.
Mustard oil is known for its curing skin, muscles, joints, and heart diseases. It has many benefits along with its taste enhancing properties. To spice up the cooking, the best mustard oil I found is Fortune Kachi Ghani Mustard oil as it is suitable for digestion and gives an exotic touch to your curries and pickles. Mustard oil is also beneficial when applied to navel as it helps in moisturising your lips and also improves the eyesight.
Coconut oil is a prevalent pantry essential and can be found in almost every household. It has a high smoke point and a longer shelf life. You can use it for baking, frying, greasing the baking pan, and can be replaced for butter and vegetable oil. Coconut oil also helps in digestion and can be applied topically. Plus it can also be mixed into sauces and use as salad dressings.
You must have heard about the vinegar uses in cleaning. Yes, it is undoubtedly true. Because of its antimicrobial properties, people, including me, use the white vinegar to disinfect the house, remove the odour, and clean the surroundings. And due to its intense sour taste, it is used in pickles, vegetables, salad dressings, and Chinese food to enhance the flavour.
Apple Cider Vinegar
I had come across this apple cider vinegar when I wanted to reduce my weight. Though I did not have to use it for some reasons, I know it helps in weight loss as I heard from many. Apart from weight loss, it improves heart health, diabetes, and dandruff too. Click on the link below to check out the best-rated apple cider vinegar.
Flours & Rice
Rice and Wheat Flour are the essential diets of our everyday life. We all know that whole wheat flour is always a healthier option; however, we do need other flours as well. Here are some which you should stock up.
Many of us include rice in our daily diet. Like wheat is popular in North India, rice is prevalent in major parts of India. And you must be aware that rajma-rice, karhi-rice, chhola-rice are the popular combos in all over India. Including rice in your daily diet helps your overall health. Plus, it has found to be easy to digest meal with full of nutrients. I always prefer India Gate Dubar rice as if has long grains, do not stick and suitable for those who eats rice everyday.
Flattened Rice (Poha)
Poha is an easy to digest snack and is prepared as morning or evening breakfast in many households. It has high nutrients, a rich source of vitamin B, and a good source of energy. It would be best if you buy an organic poha. Try poha from Tata Sampann, and you will fall in love with it.
Whole Wheat Flour
Whole wheat flour is the main ingredient in North Indian kitchens. We eat paranthas at breakfast, rotis at lunch and dinner with our favourite curries. So, we should be cautious while selecting the flour for our everyday meal. I always buy the aashirvaad select sharbati aata to make fluffy rotis. It has 100% wheat, and 0% Maida.
Also known as Maida. It is used for baking purposes like cakes, cookies, bread, and pastries and much more. One should omit maida in the everyday diet as it raises bad cholesterol and makes you fat. I always use organic tattva maida as it contains dietary fibres, iron, calcium and all other required nutrients.
Gram Flour (Besan)
Love pakoras? Then gram flour is the essential and main ingredient for your pantry. Not only pakoras, but there are also many recipes wherein besan is the main ingredient. You can make missi roti, chilla, thepla, and many sweets from besan. I am using besan from 24 mantra, though it is a bit costly but entirely organic. So, it is worth buying for good health.
The most basic and most known Indian dishes with suji are Upma and Idli. You can also make dessert from semolina that is Suji Halwa; pudding from semolina. It is as delicious as other sweets. I recommend buying suji from 24 mantra or organic tattva, which is all organic and pesticide-free.
We all need to bake something at some point in our life. So, we must have some essential baking products in our pantry to fulfil our baking needs of cakes, pastries, cookies, etc.
Yeast is one of the crucial pantry essentials for baking. It is a leavening agent and converts the food/fermentable sugars present in the dough into the gas carbon dioxide. It helps in expanding the dough prepared for baking goods like bread, muffins, cakes, cookies, pizza, naan, etc. I have used yeast from bake king, and I am much satisfied with its quality.
Chocolate chips are small pieces of milk chocolate, dark chocolate, or white chocolate. These chips can be used in making cookies, cupcakes, decorating cakes and thick shakes. Chocolate chips can be melted in the microwave to make chocolate coatings for fruits and nuts or dips for wafers and biscuits.
Baking Powder & Baking Soda
These are two magical ingredients that make your cake heavenly soft and fluffy. Baking soda and baking powder are leavening agents. Baking soda is sodium bicarbonate, and it releases carbon dioxide when it comes in contact with water and some acid like yoghurt or lemon juice. This makes your batter more porous and fluffy.
Baking powder contains both baking soda and a weak acid. It does not require any external acid for leavening. Baking powder causes the release of carbon dioxide when it is heated. So it provides expansion during the baking process. It would be best if you use both baking soda and baking powder during baking. Bake King combo of these products are worth buying.
Cocoa powder is leftover of the ground cocoa bean after removing cocoa butter. It has a very intense bitter taste. If you want to make brownies and chocolate cookies for kids or want to treat yourself with a delicious chocolate cake, this is a must-have pantry essential for baking. This gives a rich chocolate flavour and dark colour to your cakes. You can use it in combination with milk chocolates for your recipes. I have used Hershey’s cocoa powder for cakes and brownie; it gives delightful chocolate flavour and aroma.
Corn Starch or Arrowroot powder is derived from corn kernels. It is primarily used as a thickener or as a binding agent. You can use corn starch as a substitute to eggs in cake, cookies and biscuits. You may also use corn starch as a coating on vegetable for crisp frying, and a thickener in soups and gravies.
Decorating a cake is equally essential as baking a cake. After baking a cake, decorate it with cream and sprinklers to make it visually attractive. A beautiful looking cake makes it look tasty and will surely get you praise for your baking skills. You can use sprinklers on pastries and shakes as well. You can get this combo of sprinkles here to decorate different flavoured cakes.
Herbs, Spices & Seasonings
The very basic pantry essentials you will find in every household. Without spices, you will not have spice in your life. There are some of the basic herbs, spices and seasonings, which you might need almost everyday.
Salt is one of the most common pantry essentials and a mandatory ingredient in cooking to lift the flavour of any food and most importantly, to maintain a healthy amount of iodine in your body. Nowadays, people are switching to rock salt or sendha namak from ordinary salt as it retains natural mineral content in the refining process, which is safer to consume without any side effects. So try it once instead of regular salt and share with me if you understood the difference.
Black pepper is commonly used in almost all cuisines and a favourite spice all over the world. It is one of the best-loved and widely used pantry essentials. You can use its powder to sprinkle on the salad and fruits while preparing the tea and soups. It is beneficial for weight loss, cold, cough and also said to be useful in cancer. I recommend Everest black pepper due to its freshness and quality.
Red Chilli Powder
Red chilli powder gives your dishes a hot taste and a beautiful colour. Chillies are a great source of vitamin C, and it is suitable for digestion. Red chillies powder from Everest is the recommended one if you are looking for fine powder and consistent quality, and it does not contain the artificial colour and provides you with the actual powder from chillies.
Turmeric is considered as one of the main spice in pantry essentials as it gives your curries the yellow colour. Apart from its use in cooking, it is a medicinal herb as well because of its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. The best one is from Everest because of its original colour and quality. You can apply it directly on wounds and mix it in the milk and drink for better results without any side effects.
Cumin is a key ingredient in Indian kitchen. It is available in seed and powder form. Cumin seeds are added to hot oil in starting of any recipe, so it has time to release its essence. And cumin powder can be added anytime in the recipe as it does not require heat to give its aroma and flavour. It also has health benefits like preventing diabetes, helps in weight loss and maintaining cholesterol level.
The recipes I prepare are incomplete without adding coriander powder in them. It has a mild aroma and gives pleasant taste when added in your curries. You can also use it sprinkle over salads. Apart from its cooking benefits, it helps in headaches, muscle pain, arthritis as it has pain-relieving properties. You can either go for catch or Everest as both have a good name in Masala Industry and known for the quality.
The dishes include many spices, and even if we use them moderately, some still face indigestion issues. So, here is the saviour, Asafoetida or Hing. It is perfect for maintaining your stomach health. It helps in reducing bloating, acidity and other stomach problems. When added in recipes, it gives a great aroma and taste, and it transforms any bland dish. I always use the Catch hing as the product retains the original aroma and wholesome flavour of authentic spices.
Fennel seeds are one of the main pantry essentials, and you will find it in every household. It is good for digestion, weight loss, acne and overall health. Many people use the fennel seeds while preparing tea or warming the milk. You can also use fennel seeds to prepare chutneys to make a flavoured addition to your regular meals. Vedaka fennel seeds are delicious as per quality and packing.
Bay leaf is a herb used in cooking with a pungent smell and bitter taste if eaten as a whole. Regular use of bay leaf in your meals promotes general health as it is rich in vitamin A, C, iron, magnesium, calcium and potassium. It is also helpful if you have migraine issues. I am using a bay leaf from vedaka as it has consistent quality with no artificial colurs.
Cardamom and Cloves
Though these are two different spices, however, mostly used together in many of the recipes. Many use them while making tea also. If you use cardamom while warming milk, it gives a pleasing aroma and a flavoured taste. These are also used in cooking various meals as Masala. Cloves are very helpful in oral health and is considered as beneficial if you have gum pain.
The healthiest spice on the planet is Cinnamon and one of the main ingredient in pantry essentials. It has a pungent smell and a sweet taste. You can use it in almost every curry to enhance its flavour. I use it while preparing tea as it improves immunity and also helps in menstrual cramps. I have bought cinnamon sticks instead of powder so I can use small sticks while making curries and grind it when I have to use it as a powder.
Oregano is a herb from the mint family. It has an intense fragrance and distinct flavour. Nowadays, it has become a popular ingredient in the kitchen. I guess many of us came to know about it from pizza because it is mostly used as pizza seasoning. However, now it is being used in pasta and many other recipes like Maggi, sandwiches and more. It has medicinal properties too and is helpful in cough, asthma, bloating, heartburn etc.
Nowadays, chilli flakes have become an essential item of everyone’s pantry. From preparing sauces to decorating your homemade pizza to have a hot meal, it is necessary to have chilli flakes at home. For those who love to add heat to their meals, they can add it in soups, pasta, sauces, and much more. You can also make a chilli or pizza sauce using the chilli flakes and blending it with ketchup and other ingredients required to make sauces.
I love the smell of Garlic, whereas many hate it. I feel the need for garlic in almost recipe. You can definitely use fresh garlic cloves; however, the only thing is to peel and chop them while using in cooking. So, if you don’t have sufficient time and you want mess-free work, then it is one of the must-have pantry essentials because you can have the same flavour by using the grounded garlic powder. Keya garlic Powder is good as you get authentic smell of garlic.
Legumes are a staple food in many cultures. Common edible legumes include chickpeas, lentils, beans, soybeans, and peanuts. legumes are rich source of nutrition, healthy fibers and proteins.
Kidney Beans (Rajma)
Indians love the combo of rajma rice as it is one full meal rich in proteins and fibre. Rajma is good for digestion and diabetes. There are three types of kidney beans available in the Indian market, Red, Kashmiri and Chitra. Frankly, I never understood the difference in taste. So, I always buy Red beans from Nature’s Basket as it maintains their shape after cooking.
Also known as Kabuli Chhole, small beige coloured chickpeas are full of nutrients and proteins. Chickpeas are delicious when mixed with rice. It is also famous as chhole rice like rajma rice. Also, you can eat them with puris and rotis or naans; it will be a delicious full-fibre meal. You can try 24 mantra chickpeas which is entirely organic and do not have any artificial polishing.
Also known as Kala Chana and mostly used as religious offerings to God on Ashtami pooja. Kala chana is delicious when made with gravy and when prepared dried, both. It can also be blended with rice to make one full-time meal. Kala chana from Tata Sampann has high protein content and does not undergo any artificial polishing.
Lentils are one of the mail pantry essentials, and you will find almost all kind of Dals, like Urad dal, Moong dal, Arhar dal, Chana daal, etc. in nearly every household. These lentils are high in protein and fibre and low in fat, which makes them a healthy meal. You can also eat lentils in sprouts form by soaking them in water whole night and eat in the morning either after boiling or as it is.
The mustard sauce comes as a thick paste which you can use as a dipping sauce and spread on the bread to make a delicious breakfast. It is also used to make hamburgers, sandwiches, tacos, etc. You can also use it as a salad dressing. I would recommend Veeba Mustard sauce as you will get the authentic flavour of mustards with low-fat content in it.
The very basic sauce you will find in every home. It can be used as a dipping sauce for pakoras, french fries, chips and many use it in some curries as well when they are short of tomatoes. I have not used it yet, but I have heard from many. So, give it a try. Tomato sauce is that product which you can pair with any or every dish of your choice. I am using Kissan tomato ketchup for many years because of their quality, and 100% natural products.
Try mint sauce on frozen or fresh roasted peas, and you will love it. You can also use it as a bread spread, on hamburgers, on boiled potatoes, etc. You can make delicious wraps, sandwiches, rolls using the mint mayonesse or sauce. I am using Veeba Mint Mayonesse as it will give a cooling effect with a delightful flavour. Veeba provides the best range of sauces with maintained quality standards.
Pizza sauce is another must-have pantry essential if you love Italian food. It can be used in pizza, pasta, macaroni. I am using Veeba pizza & pasta sauce as it tastes really nice and spicy and better than other brands. The best part is that it includes herbs too, and you don’t have to sprinkle extra herbs plus; one spoon is enough for your large pizza.
If you love Chinese food, then soy sauce is one of the must-have pantry essentials, and you should not delay in getting it home. Instead of buying Chinese food from outside by paying a lot, try making them at home using this soy sauce, and you will get the delicious taste of your own hands. You can use it in fried rice and Chowmein, Noodles or Manchurian. I am using Ching’s soy sauce as it gives you the same flavour as outside food.
There are two red and green chilli sauce available. Both have different uses according to your choice of recipes. You can use both in the same dish as well like noodles or chowmein or any Chinese food. You can use chilli sauce in fried rice, potato chilli, and cheese chilli, etc. I also use red chilli sauce while preparing Kadai paneer. I am using both sauces from Ching’s as I found their quality, the best.
Apart from regular milk and curd, there are some dairy products which you should stock up in your pantry. Let’s check them out below. Also read my another article List of Everyday Kitchen Items You Should Have.
Desi Ghee is one of the must-have pantry essentials, and you will find it in every household because of its unlimited benefits. It can be used in cooking, frying paranthas, etc. You can directly apply on chapatis as it is a source of good fat. Apart from this, it keeps you warm from within, helps in the clogged nose, constipation and useful for intestinal health. I am using Patanjali Ghee for many years because of its purity, and it has a good customer rating too.
We all love extra cheese pizza, so to make any recipe mouth-watering, and delicious, cheese should be there in your pantry. Be it pizza, pasta or sandwiches, you can make any recipe yummy by adding cheese cubes or grated cheese in it. I use Amul cheese as it adds a distinctive taste to your favourite meal.
Bread butter is the most common light breakfast of many households. Butter has many uses in the pantry and is considered as one of the main pantry essentials. You can spread it on bread, paranthas, Nans, Rotis and for topping, it can be used in pav bhaji, Dals, soups, etc. It is also an alternative of butter paper for baking and too many uses in cooking recipes like paneer butter masala, daal making, etc. My favourite is Amul Butter because I have grown up with the taste of Amul Butter.
You must be thinking why you should stock up milk powder when you have regular milk available at home? Having milk powder at home helps you in making many homemade recipes like condensed milk, which can be used in baking cakes or cookies. You can use milk powder to make hot chocolate, pancake mix. Moreover, you can just have a milk bath to enhance your beauty. Try Nestle milk powder to have a thick and tastier cup of tea.
Sweeteners are important to have a sense of sweetness in your daily life. Consuming moderate amount of sweets is equally important to get required amount of glucose in our body. Here are some sweeteners which are considered important pantry essentials.
You must have heard from many that Sugar is bad. This is somewhat true, but since it is impossible to cut down on sugar entirely, so if consumed in moderation, nothing is bad. And sulphurless sugar is a healthier option. I have been using sugar from 24 Mantra as it is organic and brings you the sweetness of sugar without the side-effects of sulphur and lime.
Honey is one of the prevalent pantry essentials and always a healthier option as a sweetener. You can substitute it with sugar in some of the recipes like teas, desserts, shakes, etc. It helps in reducing weight, cold & cough and good for overall health. I always use Dabur honey because of its brand value and clinically tested quality.
Jaggery is kind of unrefined sugar. It is commonly used in south Indian cooking. During Makar Sankranti, people use jaggery a lot as they make sweets from it. Somewhere in Maharashtra, people give it mixing in water to their guests when they arrive home. Jaggery contains iron, calcium and other good sources of vitamins and minerals. I have used 24 mantra jaggery, and I find it really good as it is full of nutrients and entirely organic.
Drinks play an important role in hydrating our body. Common drinks include coffee, tea, water, juices, smoothies, shakes and cold beverages. Many of the drinks you cannot store for long like smoothies, juices and shakes as they are to be prepared on time. There are two which can be stocked up for your pantry.
Coffee is another essential pantry item which you will find in almost every household. Not only it help you feel more energised, but it also helps to burn fat and improves physical performance. And who does not know the Nescafe which offers a beautiful coffee experience? Starting your day with Nescafe coffee is worth it.
For Indians, tea is more than just a cup of tea to start their day. We have a unique connection with tea. It is a ritual for us, medicine for us to divert our mind from something bothering us and obviously, a celebration. Lol, but this is true for many of the Indians. To start your day with freshness, bring TATA tea gold home for a beautiful balance of taste and aroma which will power you with healthy deliciousness.
Almonds are favourite nuts for those who are dieting. This nutrient and mineral-rich nut have versatile uses and health benefits. It is believed to sharpen memory and given to kids at an early age for a healthy brain. These can be used to make sweets and can be eaten raw.
Pistachios are tasty snacks that are very good for your health as well. This superfood contains fibre, protein, nutrients and minerals. Pistachios aid in weight loss and maintains your heart and gut health. Pistachios are a rich source of antioxidants that aids in improving cell regeneration and have anti-ageing properties.
Cashew is the most popular pantry essential in Indian festivals. It can be used to make sweets, as decoration on sweets, cakes or can be eaten raw or roasted. Cashew nut paste is the main condiment in many Indian gravies. Cashew nuts are loaded with minerals and can help in reducing bad cholesterol.
Raisin is a dried grape and also known as Kishmish. It is rich in iron, and if consumed daily, it can save you from iron deficiencies. This sweet dried fruit is delicious and low in calories. You can add them to other sweet dishes like pudding and kheer. It is a good source of energy and makes your skin and hair glow if consumed daily.
Many research says we should eat 2 3 walnuts daily as walnut has fantastic benefits. Walnuts provide healthy fats, fibre, vitamins and minerals. It is suitable for brain health, bones and also supports weight loss. Walnuts are also useful in insomnia. It would be best of you to soak walnut for the whole night and eat them in the morning. You can also use walnuts to decorate cakes and also bake a walnut cake.
So, this was the list of pantry essentials. Mark my words! This list will help you a lot and makes your life much more comfortable like it happened to me. With the stocked pantry, you can always prepare your favourite meals in a limited time as you do not have to make a shopping list before organising a get together at home.
I hope this list will be useful for you and please share your reviews in the comment section. Do not forget to mention if I have missed on necessary pantry essential to add in the list. Stay organised!