How to Stock a Budget Friendly Pantry

My go-to pantry items for cooking on a budget! You don’t have to sacrifice nutrition and taste when you’re watching what you spend on groceries.

Every chef, whether you’re a personal chef like me or a home chef for your family, need a well stocked pantry! The trick is to fill it with versatile, flavorful ingredients that are cheap and last a long time. Today I am giving you an INSIDE look into my own kitchen and sharing my go-to budget friendly pantry staples.

This list doesn’t include fresh produce or fresh meats/seafood. This is simply a list of my go-to budget friendly, long lasting pantry items that will serve as the base of your meals to be rounded out with fresh foods.

How to Stock a Budget Friendly Pantry | Health Chef Julia

Oils, Sauces, Vinegars

  • olive oil

  • canola oil

  • red wine vinegar

  • apple cider vinegar

  • balsamic vinegar

  • honey

  • reduced sodium broth - veggie or chicken

Dry Goods

  • all purpose flour (oat flour is a good sub if you want whole grain!)

  • whole wheat flour

  • granulated sugar

  • brown sugar

  • baking powder

  • baking soda

  • cornmeal

  • dried beans or legumes

  • whole grain pasta

  • brown or wild rice

  • peanut butter or another nut butter (no added salt or sugar)

  • grains (bulger, barley, oats, quinoa)

  • raw or dry roasted nuts and seeds

Canned Goods

  • canned tomato products (no salt added if you can!!)

  • canned tuna (low sodium!)

  • canned salmon or in a pouch

  • canned beans (low or no sodium!)

  • canned crab meat

  • canned veggie with no added sugar or salt


  • eggs

  • butter

  • fat-free milk or almond milk

  • hard cheese (like parmesan)

  • extra firm tofu

  • silken tofu


Counter Items

  • white or sweet potatoes

  • fresh baked whole wheat or whole grain bread (freeze if not using right away!)

  • garlic

  • onion


  • microwavable grains (I like the brown rice and quinoa packs from Trader Joe’s)

  • frozen veggies

  • frozen proteins (look for fish or chicken on sale!)

Tell me some of your affordable pantry staples in the comments!