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The Prepared Pantry

A well-stocked pantry is key to putting dinner on the table in a pinch. Minimize last-minute trips to the grocery store with these basic must-have items.

With so many interesting ingredients available in grocery stores today, it can be hard to know which ones are really essential to keep on hand. That’s why we’ve created a few simple lists of pantry basics. These are the ingredients that you’ll find yourself using over and over again—real standbys that you’ll reach for every day. We know that different cooks have different needs, so we’ve divided our list below into 3 sections—Starting Out, Comfortable in the Kitchen, and Seasoned Chef. Pick your cooking skill level, and get that pantry stocked for success!

Starting Out

Whether you are just venturing into the kitchen for the first time, or you are starting out on your own in a new home, these ingredients will help you get set up to make amazing meals.

  • To get the most flavor out of herbs and spices, store them, tightly sealed, in the coolest, darkest part of the pantry. And hold on to them for just 6 to 8 months—they lose their punch if kept longer than that.
  • Without a doubt, pepper is the world’s most popular spice. Pre-ground pepper loses much of its strength over months of storage, so the best flavor always comes when you grind peppercorns yourself. Tellicherry peppercorns are the highest quality but you’ll get good results with any variety of peppercorn.

Dried Herbs & Spices

CayenneKosher Salt
Ground black pepperCinnamon
Garlic powderChili powder
Whole black peppercornsBay leaves
CuminRed pepper flakes
Dry mustard

Oils & Vinegars

Vegetable oil Extra virgin olive oil
White vinegar Nonstick cooking spray
Red wine vinegarWhite wine vinegar
Apple cider vinegar

Staples & Dry Goods

Swanson® beef brothSwanson® chicken broth
Swanson® vegetable brothAll-purpose flour
HoneyVarious pastas
Baking powderBaking soda
Brown riceCornmeal
CornstarchDried beans
Chocolate chipsSwanson beef stock
Swanson chicken stockConfectioner’s sugar
Brown sugarUnsweetened cocoa powder

Canned & Bottled

Whole tomatoesTomato sauce
Prego® Italian saucesCampbell's® canned soups (Cream of Mushroom, Tomato, French Onion, Cheddar Cheese, etc)
Pace® Picanté SaucePace® Salsa
Canned beans (Great Northern, black, kidney) Swanson® Chunk Chicken
Pure vanilla extractDijon mustard
Worcestershire sauceTabasco sauce
Tomato pasteSoy sauce