20 Pantry Foods You'll Regret Not Having

20 Pantry Foods You'll Regret Not Having

A full pantry is worth its weight in gold. You won’t have to worry about what’s for dinner, will always have snacks on hand, and can easily whip up larger meals for your family. Here are 20 pantry items you should stock up on.

1. Dried Pasta

Dried pasta is a pantry staple—it’s versatile, easy to make, and boasts a lengthy shelf life. From different noodle shapes to its meal adaptability, pasta provides plenty of options so you never have to worry about what’s for dinner.


2. Nuts

Nuts are great standalone snacks that are not only useful in the kitchen, but useful for our bodies as well. They’re loaded with protein and nutrients, can be made into trail mix, and come with a healthy shelf life. They’re also easily stored and don’t need regulated temperatures. 

Maddi-Bazzocco-Uhrhtmvbzze-UnsplashPhoto by Maddi Bazzocco on Unsplash

3. Honey

It’s always a good idea to have one sweetener in the pantry, and honey’s the perfect choice because it doesn’t go bad. This natural sweetener can be used in cooking or a nice mug of tea and also comes with health benefits like nutrients and antioxidants.

Benyamin-Bohlouli-Rcj302Npzis-UnsplashPhoto by Benyamin Bohlouli on Unsplash

4. Flour

Flour is forever useful for everyday baking needs, especially for things like homemade bread. Outside of its kitchen uses, however, different flours also have different health benefits—look to whole wheat flour for more protein or coconut flour for more fiber. 

Ben-Mcleod-O-Wdr304Hnm-UnsplashPhoto by Ben McLeod on Unsplash


5. Sugar

Much like honey, sugar keeps for a long time (with the right storage). In an airtight container, granulated sugar doesn’t really go bad, so you don’t have to worry about constant replenishing. Pantries are also good for storing confectioners or brown sugar—just make sure you wrap brown sugar twice to keep it moist. 

Elena-Leya-Ue Nl6Necnk-UnsplashPhoto by Elena Leya on Unsplash

6. Rice

Not only is rice versatile, but it’s also an inexpensive meal option that keeps for several years. Make it into a healthy side or incorporate it into main dishes to get the most out of your ration. It also pairs nicely with other pantry staples, which comes in handy when you need an easy dinner option. 

Pille-R-Priske-Xmuigjuqg0M-UnsplashPhoto by Pille R. Priske on Unsplash

7. Crackers

Crackers don’t have the same longevity as other pantry items, but they’re still a top emergency food. Keep them on hand for a simple snack or a crunchy addition to soup, and be sure to check the best-before date more often. 

Azharul-Islam-Mollah-Rz K23Zebz0-UnsplashPhoto by Azharul Islam Mollah on Unsplash

8. Canned Beans

Beans are loaded with protein and last anywhere from 1-5 years in the pantry. Whether you have them dried or canned, they’re a healthy addition to just about any meal, and are also quite affordable.

Tijana-Drndarski-Od7H J-Vjm4-UnsplashPhoto by Tijana Drndarski on Unsplash

9. Chicken Broth

Broth may not be an “essential,” but it’s certainly handy to keep on deck. Even outside of traditional soup, broth is used in recipes for chicken breasts, mashed potatoes, and rice dishes. When stored in the pantry, it can last up to a year.

Bluebird-Provisions-Ufou8Qa4Mlo-UnsplashPhoto by Bluebird Provisions on Unsplash

10. Olive Oil

You’ll want a healthy fat in the pantry, and olive oil is a top choice. Unopened bottles actually last for about two years, and even opened bottles keep for several months. Olive oil stands out as a pantry item, too, because it stretches beyond kitchen use—it can be used for sore joints or even as wood polish.  

Jonathan-Ocampo-Icgfwfqgdzo-UnsplashPhoto by jonathan ocampo on Unsplash


11. Spices

Don’t be shy about storing spices in the pantry because they last longer than you think. Ground and whole seasoning can last for several years, keeping dishes flavorful and saving you a trip to the store—though, you’ll probably want to indulge sooner for peak freshness. 

Heather-Mckean-1I9Bmliaibm-UnsplashPhoto by Heather McKean on Unsplash

12. Coffee

Keep coffee in the pantry to save time and money in the morning. Unopened, it lasts for several months, but an opened bag still has a few days before its curtain call. However, storing your grounds in an airtight container preserves freshness for up to several weeks. 

Mark-Daynes-Qkylkd3Hs6O-UnsplashPhoto by Mark Daynes on Unsplash

13. Breadcrumbs

Whether you make your own or grab them from the store, breadcrumbs have unbeatable versatility. They’re perfect for red meat dishes like meatballs or meatloaf and last up to a year unopened. After you open them, store them in an airtight container for up to six months.

1018Px-Bread CrumbsTiia Monto on Wikimedia Commons

14. Canned Tuna

Canned tuna is a tasty, inexpensive protein source that keeps for up to five years. It’s also versatile, can be made into sandwiches or salads, and comes packed with iron and additional vitamins.

Youjeen-Cho-Sbkliriunk0-Unsplash (1)Photo by Youjeen Cho on Unsplash

15. Oats

Oats are one of nature’s superfoods—and a classic pantry staple. They’re filled with minerals and fiber and do wonders for gut health. They’re also relatively inexpensive, making them an easy ingredient to stock up on. 

I-3Bd-Rlqcbqecmic-UnsplashPhoto by i 3bd on Unsplash

16. Condiments 

Well-loved condiments like mayonnaise, ketchup, and mustard belong in your pantry. Unopened, ketchup and mustard last for about a year whereas mayo stays fresh for a couple of months. Either way, all three come in handy for a multitude of dishes. 

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17. Peanut Butter

Unlike other items on this list, peanut butter won’t need refrigeration after opening. Storing it in a cool, dry place (like your pantry) preserves its flavor for several months. Unopened, your bottle can stay fresh for upwards of a year.

Corleto-Peanut-Butter-U256Gzfi7Gw-UnsplashPhoto by Corleto Peanut butter on Unsplash

18. Canned Tomatoes

As much as we’d love to store fresh fruit in the pantry, it makes more sense to stick with canned goods—and canned tomatoes are a great place to start. They can last for almost two years unopened and be used in a variety of recipes. 

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19. Maple Syrup

Unopened syrup lasts for about a year on pantry shelves or in the fridge after you indulge. Aside from beloved waffles, this sweetener also makes delicious sauces or meat glazes. You can also make maple candy when your sweet tooth comes knocking. 

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20. Certain Vegetables

Garlic, onions, potatoes, and baby carrots are some of the best veggies to store in your pantry because they keep longer. Each one lasts at least two months and make healthy sides to any dinner.  

Lars-Blankers-Pms8Xsz5Nu0-UnsplashPhoto by Lars Blankers on Unsplash