My Most Valuable Cupboard Staples

My Most Valuable Cupboard Staples

What’s for dinner tonight? I’m always heading to my cupboards to save the day. Here’s a list of my most valuable cupboard staples. This is what I like to keep stocked up on. They’re basic, versatile ingredients that are used pretty frequently and have a long shelf life. 

Dry Goods

  • Flour: plain, self-raising, bread flour
  • Sugar: white, brown, icing sugar
  • Oats
  • Rice: White, brown, Arborio (for risotto) – they’re all essential. But make your life easy and get a rice cooker, you’ll be glad you did.
  • Corn Meal
  • Baking Powder
  • Bicarbonate of Soda
  • Cornstarch
  • Beans (Dry & Canned): A great source of good protein, and also very versatile. They make a great side or main dish.  Plus there are so many different types: cannellini, chickpea, black, black eyed, pinto etc. Remember that dried beans need soaking overnight – so if you’re in a hurry, canned would be the way to go.
  • Lentils
  • Pasta: Dried pasta is cheap, keeps forever and becomes a meal in minutes. Just get a good variety of shapes, and cous cous. 

Sauces, Oils & Vinegars

These cupboard staples are essential to add flavour and can be used to make a million different dressings and sauces that will liven up even the most boring meals. 

  • Oils: vegetable or sunflower, avocado oil, extra virgin olive oil, toasted sesame oil, non-stick spray
  • Vinegar: apple cider, red wine, rice, balsamic
  • Soy Sauce
  • Mirin: A type of rice wine similar to sake.
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Sriracha
  • Marmite
  • Hoisin Sauce (or any Asian sauces): This list can be long, just choose your favourites: Hoisin, teriyaki, chilli sauce & paste, black bean sauce. So many meals can be wonderfully elevated by pretty much any one of these.
  • Honey
  • Mustard: wholegrain, yellow, Dijon
  • Mayonnaise
  • Peanut Butter: Not just for the obvious. If you mix it with some soy sauce, Asian chilli paste and some chicken broth to thin it a bit – you’ll end up with a super simple and delicious sauce for pretty much anything.

Herbs & Spices

For super fresh and affordable spices for cupboard staples, look for them sold in bulk (this is becoming more popular in supermarkets and online).

  • Salt
  • Whole Peppercorns
  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Cumin
  • Chilli Flakes
  • Chilli Powder
  • Cayenne Pepper
  • Smoked Paprika
  • Curry Powder
  • Garlic Powder
  • Cocoa Powder
  • Turmeric 

Fridge Staples

  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Butter
  • Greek Yoghurt
  • Grated Parmesan
  • Grated Cheese (can also be kept in the freezer for longer term storage)
  • Flour Tortillas (almost anything can be made into a quesadilla for a quick meal!)

Freezer Items

I like to keep a variety of frozen fruits and vegetables on hand. They’re always there ready and waiting to be thrown into a soup, smoothie, casserole, pasta, or even a curry, without worry that they’ll go bad quickly.

  • Spinach
  • Broccoli Florets
  • Fruit: blueberries, strawberries, mangoes, pineapple
  • Edamame Beans
  • Carrots
  • Sweetcorn

I also like to make sure I have some meat stored in my freezer for quick meals. 

Tinned Goods

Extremely convenient and usually fairly inexpensive, so they can certainly be a life saver. I try to stick to tins with as little additives as possible.

  • Tomatoes: puree, passata and chopped
  • Beans: black, kidney, baked
  • Coconut Milk
  • Beef, Chicken & Vegetable Stock: Super important. The base of most every soup starts with one of these. 


  • Dried mushrooms: They need hydrating, but are fantastic.
  • Capers & Olives: Whether added to a pasta sauce, pizza or turned into an appetiser – used all the time!
  • Marinated artichokes: For pizza or alone as an appetiser.
  • Pasta Sauce
  • Anchovies

So there you have it. What about you? What ingredient can you not live without having on hand at all times? Let us know in the comments below!

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