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A well-stocked pantry packed with a roster of basics helps you pull together quick delicious meals and snacks any time. It's also a budget-friendly way to stay stocked up!

Here are a variety of essential foods you can use to build or revamp your pantry (feel free to customize to your family's preferences).

Oils and vinegars

Whether you're frying, drizzling or mixing, oils and vinegars have essential contributions to make in the kitchen. A basic selection is great for every pantry.

Canola oil

Good for frying, stir-frying or sautéing. Its smoke point is fairly high, so it won't burn.

Herbs, spices, and salts

Learn what you like, and add them to your pantry. They'll add valuable aroma, flavour and spice to your cooking and baking.

Dried herbs

Basil, dill, thyme, and oregano add an aromatic note to everything from proteins to whole grains to vegetables to pasta dishes.

Pasta, grains, and legumes

An excellent base ingredient for dinners, hearty salads and more. These pantry staples last well in the cupboard and deliver loads of variety to the dinner table.


Easy to make, inexpensive, and crowd-pleasing. Keep a stock of your family's preferred varieties, such as spaghetti, rigatoni, and macaroni. If gluten is a concern, have gluten-free options on hand - they cook up and taste just like the real deal.

Flours and sweeteners

Even if you're not a baker, having flour and sweeteners on hand can expand your meal options.

All-purpose flour

Key for whipping up baked goods, making roux for gumbo, and thickening sauces, gravies, or puddings. If you're gluten-intolerant, cornstarch and rice flour work as replacements.

Sauces and condiments

A good sauce or condiment can instantly turn a ho-hum dish into a crowd-pleaser. Mustard, ketchup, mayonnaise, soy sauce, tomato sauce, fish sauce, and hot sauce are must-have condiments for meals such as burgers, sandwiches, and sushi. Dijon mustard livens up vinaigrettes, fish sauce adds more savoury flavour to Asian-style stir-fries and noodle dishes, and hot sauces can be introduced into any dish where a little heat is desired. Mayonnaise swirled with a bit of mustard or hot sauce doubles as a dip as well.

Broth (vegetable, chicken, or beef)

An instant base for soups, stews, and chili. Used in place of water, it also adds depth of flavour to rice or grain dishes.

Nuts and seeds

These tasty foods from plants give dishes textural interest and a nutty nuance.


Almonds, walnuts, and peanuts make for easy snacks and add a delicious crunch to Asian-style noodle dishes, rice pilafs, yogourt, and salads. Along with seeds, such as pumpkin, sesame or sunflower, they form the base for homemade trail mix and morning granola.

Canned fruit and vegetables

From a quick snack to a key recipe ingredient, easy-to-store canned goods are a smart choice for every pantry.

Tomatoes (whole, crushed, diced, or as a sauce or paste)

A classic ingredient in pasta sauce, soup, and chili.

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