Cooking Basics For Dummies, 5th Edition
Book image
Explore Book Buy On Amazon

Family hungry and nothing to cook? Make sure that never happens again. If you always keep these staples in your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer, you’ll never again be stuck with no option but takeout. You can certainly add to these lists, but these essentials can always help you make a good meal. For items you use regularly (such as bread, eggs, and milk), plan to restock about once a week.


  • Baking powder

  • Baking soda

  • Bread

  • Brown sugar

  • Canned beans (pinto, white, or black)

  • Cereal (hot or cold)

  • Chicken, beef, or vegetable broth

  • Cider or white vinegar

  • Cocoa powder

  • Coffee and/or tea

  • Condiments: ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, barbecue sauce, soy sauce, pickles, and pickle relish

  • Cornstarch

  • Dried herbs: Basil, bay leaves, oregano, rosemary, tarragon, thyme, and parsley

  • Flour

  • Granulated sugar

  • Ground spices: Black pepper, cayenne pepper (or red pepper flakes), chili powder, cinnamon, cumin, curry powder, ginger, dry mustard, nutmeg, and paprika

  • Jam, jelly, or preserves

  • Pancake syrup

  • Pasta

  • Peanut butter

  • Powdered sugar

  • Rice

  • Salt

  • Tomato sauce, paste, and canned tomatoes

  • Vanilla extract

  • Vegetable oil


  • Butter

  • Cheese (hard and soft)

  • Eggs

  • Fresh fruit

  • Fresh vegetables, including leafy greens

  • Meat, fish, poultry, or tofu to last three to five days

  • Milk

  • Yogurt and/or sour cream


  • Frozen fruit, for smoothies and sauces

  • Frozen vegetables you will actually eat

  • Ice cream or frozen yogurt

  • Meat, poultry, and/or fish to last about a week

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book authors:

Marie Rama is a food writer, recipe developer, and coauthor of Grilling For Dummies. Bryan Miller is a food and wine writer and a former restaurant critic for The New York Times. He has written and cowritten a number of books.

This article can be found in the category: