9 Versatile Pantry Staples to Always Have in Your Kitchen

When I create my recipes in my kitchen, there are often ingredients I rely on that work in multiple dishes from breakfast through dinner, from sweet to savoury. Each week when I stock my pantry and refrigerator, it’s not often that I must grab everything that I’ll need to make something

If you’re just getting your feet wet with cooking and baking, it helps to always have a few key ingredients around that are versatile and can be used in just about anything. By keeping these 9 kitchen staples around, you’ll minimize trips to the market and be prepared to get cooking.

1. Olive oil

Olive oil is essential for savoury dishes like my prawn pasta and can help you make salad dressing from scratch. The better the quality, the better the flavour. I also use Olive Oil to saute pretty much anything as it is a healthier option to butter or vegetable oil.

2. Dried beans

Canned beans often have more added salt, plus they cost more. Stock up on beans you like for soups and stews. You only need soak them overnight before using, though I recommend lentils because all they need is a quick rinse and you’re off. If you forgot to soak your beans, don’t worry there are tricks to soften them. You can do a quick soak by placing them in a pot of water, bring them to boil then turn off the heat. Let them sit in the hot water for one hour and you are good to go.

3. Pasta

Life moves fast sometimes and for busy nights, having pasta in your pantry can help you get a world-class meal on the table in 20 minutes or less. Even with a drizzle of olive oil and some seasonings, you’ll have the taste of Italy.

4. Flour

Flour is essential for both cooking and baking. It can thicken sauces, coat meats for a crispier texture, and create dough of all kinds. All-purpose flour is the most common and versatile variety to keep around.

5. Butter

Add richness to sauces or make my apple pie crust with butter. It has so many uses that if my refrigerator doesn’t have any, my kitchen feels empty. I always keep two to three sticks of butter in the fridge and they usually don’t last longer than a week.

6. Eggs

They are so much more than a cheerful breakfast item. A wonderful source of protein, you can make eggs the star of any meal, though to make many of my recipes, you will be well-prepared if you always have eggs.

7. Chicken stock

Most soups and sauces have a base from chicken stock or broth. I always have cartons of them ready. Even when making international cuisine, this ingredient is one you will always rely on.

8. Seasonings

While I do prefer fresh herbs in my cooking, no one should every be without seasonings. From the basics of salt and pepper to garlic powder, oregano, and cumin, you will find countless uses for your seasonings. You can completely change the flavour of your favourite recipe with a new seasoning to give it a new style.

9. Rice

Much like pasta, rice is the perfect base for dishes like butter chicken. All types of Asian cuisine have the kind of sauces that seep into rice for a meal that will fill you up delightfully.

Certainly, there are many other things I keep around in my kitchen, but for those starting out, you will find less trips to the market when you always have these handy ingredients around.

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