store cupboard essentials

store cupboard essentials – my list and tips

Store cupboard essentials list

So many people ask me what my store cupboard essentials are, so it is time I share my list. A well stocked store cupboard (and fridge and freezer) is the secret to being able to always rustle up a meal without leaving the house. You’ll also save money, cut waste and have more delicious meals if you have all the store cupboard essentials on the list I’m sharing below.

3 of the biggest benefits of keeping stocked up with store cupboard essentials

1. Avoid wasting food – because you can always make something for dinner with what is left in the fridge/store cupboard

2. Eating more healthily and saving time and money – because you’re less likely to go out to eat, go shopping again or get take out if you can rustle up something from what you already have in your store cupboard.

3. Less stressful cooking – if you know what you have, and don’t have to wade through a hundred packets of pasta to find it you’ll be a more efficient cook.

Before you start stocking up, have a sort out

I really recommend you having a clear out of your cupboard before you re-stock it with store cupboard essentials. Here is an article with all my tips for sorting out your cupboards.

If, like most of us, you have lots of random, almost empty bags of pasta or rice, throw them into a pot of soup or make jumbled pasta and pesto for dinner. Also ditch any spices and herbs you’ve had for over a year and replace them with fresh ones – find the list of the ones I use below. Your taste buds will thank you.

Pace yourself – you don’t need all these at once

Please don’t feel you need to rush out and buy all these store cupboard essentials in one go. Add a couple of things from the list to your basket each week as space and budget allows.

Get into good store cupboard habits

Get into the habit of quickly checking your store cupboard, or your list of what’s in your store cupboard, before you go shopping each week. Plan what you can make that week to use what you have and then just buy the fresh things you need to go with your store cupboard essentials as well as replacing any essentials you’ve run out of.

My list of store cupboard essentials

Starches and meal bulkers

  • risotto rice – arborio is great
  • pasta – shells or penne and linguini or spaghetti. I like De Cecco for regular pasta or brown rice pasta for gluten-free meals
  • orzo
  • brown rice – basmati or Thai Jasmine
  • gnocchi – either the fresh stuff which lasts in the fridge for ages or the long life stuff which you’ll find near the dried pasta
  • cous cous
  • quinoa
  • rice noodles – either the soakable thin kind or thicker varieties
  • dried red lentils
  • puy lentils
  • pearl barley
  • polenta – the quick cook type is most useful
  • all purpose/plain flour
  • spelt flour
  • baking powder
  • bicarbonate of soda/baking soda
  • whole rolled jumbo oats

Nuts and seeds

  • whole almonds/cashews
  • raw, un-roasted and unsalted sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds
  • sesame seeds

Flavour boosters and oils

  • olive oil – (one for cooking with and one for dressings), coconut oil, canola or rapeseed oil Watch my video where I talk about the types of oils I use, how to store them and how I use them
  • garlic
  • onions
  • vinegar – balsamic and red wine vinegars. Throw in some sherry vinegar or rice wine vinegar too if you can. Watch my video where I talk about the types of vinegar I use and how I use them
  • black peppercorns
  • Sea salt – A ‘finishing salt’ like Maldon and a standard fine grain cooking sea salt read about how to use which salt here
  • red chilli pepper flakes
  • stock powder/paste/cubes – In the UK I use Kallo or Marigold cubes and powder, in the US I use Better Than Bouillon paste
  • dried oregano
  • ground cumin or cumin seeds
  • ground or whole coriander seeds
  • herbs de Provence
  • fennel seeds
  • ground cinnamon
  • sweet smoked paprika
  • Dijon mustard
  • Thai fish sauce – nam pla
  • soy sauce or Tamari
  • Sriracha
  • pomegranate molasses
  • tahini
  • Marmite
  • un-bleached sugar and dark brown sugar
  • pure grade B maple syrup
  • runny honey
  • Marsala – keeps for ages and is a great standby for when a recipe needs a bit of wine but you don’t want to open a bottle

cans and jars

  • canned chickpeas (garbanzo), cannellini beans, black beans
  • canned or jarred tuna, sardines, anchovies in olive oil
  • canned or jarred tomatoes (no added salt, diced or whole)
  • bottle or jarred passata
  • roasted red peppers in brine or oil
  • coconut milk
  • baked beans
  • olives (in brine, stone in)
  • gherkins/cornichons
  • capers
  • harissa


  • nut butter (almond is our favourite)
  • jam
  • mango chutney
  • dried fruits – medjool dates in particular


Read my article for using and filling your freezer here.


  • free range eggs (large)
  • milk (or a nut milk)
  • grass-fed salted butter
  • plain yoghurt – Greek or plain organic cow, goat or sheep’s milk
  • cheese – mature Cheddar (Trader Joe’s Unexpected Cheddar in the US) and Parmesan or Pecorino, cream cheese
  • lemons
  • miso – I like brown rice miso

store cupboard essentials

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