Top Ten Essential Pantry Items

Top Ten Essential Pantry Items

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what my basic food necessities would be. I thought about what spices I couldn’t live without (I’m a spice girl), what cereal (definitely a cereal girl) and what pantry items. I thought these would be interesting blog topics, so I decided to have a “Top Ten” series and see how it compared to everyone else’s. So here you have it, my top ten essential Pantry items!

I’ll give you each item and talk a little about why they made it onto the top ten essential pantry items list. I’ll also try to find links on Amazon or somewhere else so you can get an idea of the costs.

So… in no particular order, my list of top ten pantry essentials.


Tray of oats

OK… so if there were an order to these picks, oats would probably be very high up on the top ten list, they’re versatile and delicious and very good for you. Oats can be used for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I also use them as a substitute for flour -oats are perfect for baking (hence why flour isn’t on the list).

Oats are also very economically friendly and I tend to buy oats in bulk and store for an extended period of time. Meaning… oats won’t break the bank.

Recipes to use in: Oatmeal, Oat flour, Health bars/shakes, Oat milk

This is a link for a bag of quick oats and this is a bag of quick cooking organic rolled oats – so you guys can have an idea of the costs.


Rice is another item you can buy in bulk and store for a long time. It also helps that rice comes in many varieties. I personally like to buy brown rice or basmati rice. Brown because it’s healthier and basmati for the taste (I also really like the smell for some reason).

Rice is a dish that can be served with pretty much anything – rice and … chicken, beans, broccoli – rice is good at “absorbing” the taste of whatever you want it to so it’s pretty easy to make it yours.

Fun fact: I am one of those people who LOVES rice pudding! #sorrynotsorry

Coconut Milk


Coconut milk is one of my favourite and essential pantry items.

Funny thing? I don’t actually like coconut. Yes I grew up in Barbados and no there is nothing wrong with me.

Coconut milk is just a versatile product, that you can really experiment with.. it also helps that it’s pretty low cost. Winning!

Recipes used in: curry, yogurt, coffee creamer.


Ramen noodles for top ten pantry items

OK, so I think everyone has had noodles in there life, but has everyone fully embraced everything noodles could be?

Now I’ve experienced noodles in many forms. I have lots of recipes/different ways in which I cook noodles. One day I’ll make a blog post of my top noodles recipes and blow your mind.

Noodles are cheap cheap, so I usually buy in bulk. They’re also quick and somewhat filling which is a win when you’ve come home from a long day at work.

I wrestled between pasta and noodles but ultimately decided on noodles due to the time and cost factors.

How do you like your noodles? Let me know in the comments below.

Baked beans

Beans on toast

Now, this may be a British thing but baked beans are life.

Beans in a tomato sauce? Who wudda thunk it!

Baked beans are a staple in The U.K and something I’m personally very fond of. If you’ve never had beans on toast, I’m afraid we can’t be friends. Please exit in an orderly and timely manner.

Like everything on my top ten list, baked beans are flexible and inexpensive, it also helps that they’re delicious.

Canned Vegetables

Mixed vegetables

I like to keep canned veg in my pantry because they are canned vegetables. It’s that simple.

Sometimes I don’t have the time or want to make the effort to peel and chop fresh veg, this means I miss out on having veg in my meals which I hate to do.

Canned veg allows me to have my dose of vegetables whenever I want. I always have a can on hand to throw into recipes that wouldn’t normally have veg in. If you have kids, it’s a good way to sneak in some added nutrition in meals.

Unfortunately I couldn’t find any decent products on Amazon I would recommend, but you should be able to find them at your local grocery store.

Canned fish: Tuna or Salmon

No, this is not cat food.

One of my top ten pantry items has to be some sort of “meat”, I find canned fish to be a good choice.

Not only does it last long, it’s generally also quite nutritious (given you’re buying the right type of fish).

There are some people who can’t go a day without meat that’s why fish might be a good choice – it’s quick and adaptable and there’s loads to choose from.

Buy in bulk and stock up for a rainy day.

Tuna, salmon.

Recipes to use in: sandwiches, pasta bakes, salads.


A variety of lentils for my top ten pantry essentials

PSA: Lentils are great.

Like rice, there are so many different varieties and lots of different things to do with lentils.

The health benefits of lentils are tremendous, making the fact that they’re generally low cost a major bonus.

I like to use lentils as a meat substitute in recipes when I do my one vegan/vegetarian meal a week.

They’re filling and good for you …what more do you want?

Recipes to use in: dhal, soups, stews



This one is a little hard for me.

I want to give you guys something universal that you can use for virtually everything but I have to be honest. The problem? I really only use olive oil.

If you haven’t guessed by now, I like to err on the healthier side of things. I don’t eat a lot of fried food therefore there’s really no need for me to have “frying oil”. I would guess I only really use a teaspoon of oil when cooking, and that’s really only to stop food from sticking to the pan.

The fact is I only use olive oil or coconut oil. And they have to be organic/cold pressed/extra virgin.

I’m not going to lie to you – it can be expensive.

It works out for me because I don’t use a lot of it.

So I would say oil is a pantry must have and whatever oil you like buy! No ones gonna judge ya. Oil for me is just one of those things that can make or break your health and I choose to make it a priority.

Do you boo-boo.

Brown Sugar

Brown sugar for storage in pantry

Last but by no means least, we have sugar. Brown sugar to be more specific.

Growing up in Barbados meant that I only really had brown sugar; To be honest, I don’t really remember have white/granulated sugar until I went to England. To this day I don’t use white sugar unless a recipe specifically calls for it, or if I’m making simple syrup. Even then I tend to sub for brown.

I’m not saying everyone should switch to brown sugar (but I highly recommend it) that’s just my preference.

I expect this to be a pretty common staple as it has so many uses but I also know there are lots of substitutes on the market. What do you use as sweetener? Agave? Honey? Stevia?

Let me know down below!

Let’s wrap this up shall we

If you haven’t noticed, most -if not all of these items- are pretty affordable and multi-useful, which is something I always aim to achieve.

I like to get my money’s worth out of everything so a lot of these items can also be used together.

I hope my list of top ten pantry essentials helped in some way. It was definitely and interesting process actually thinking about what I couldn’t live without.

Why don’t you have a think about what 10 items are a must have in your pantry and share with us in the comments below!

Make sure to stay tuned @thefoodmashup, for my Top Ten Cereals post!

All links are for Amazon as I thought that would be a common source for everyone. Please note that these are affiliate links and I may make a small commission from your purchase. This will mean I’ll be able to purchase a Ferrari for my poodle Leonard. OK, that’s a lie but any commission made will go back into creating recipes for the blog.