Behind Closed Doors: A Well Stocked Pantry & Spice Cupboard

Thanks for checking out the third post in my series “CEBH…A Behind The Scenes Peek Inside My Kitchen”!   Today I’m sharing a list of all the highlights and must-haves that I keep stocked in my pantry and spice cupboard.  These are the items I try to have on hand pretty much all the time.  There’s nothing more frustrating than wanting to make a recipe and finding you’re lacking one or more items to make said recipe!  So over my many years of cooking and baking I’ve whittled and honed and fine-tuned my list of what constitutes a well stocked pantry and spice cupboard down to the items I stock today.  And because I hope you can benefit from my years of whittling, honing, and fine-tuning, I’m really hoping these lists will be of value to you as well!  

A Well Stocked Pantry - Baking Essentials |

I’m going to start with the ingredients I keep in my pantry for baking. I don’t do a lot of baking anymore, but there are certain items I never want to be without if my granddaughter wants to spend a day with me learning to bake, or if I’m feeling like my husband needs a little sweet treat from the kitchen! He’s super supportive and 100% on board with the whole healthy lifestyle thing…but he’s also skinny as a rail and I know he misses my baking. So, every once in a while I like to whip up a little surprise for him..he’s a good guy and deserves something made especially for him!

Baking Essentials: 

A Well Stocked Pantry ~ Sweet Things |

These are next because they quite frequently are used in baking as well.  Though honey is one of those things that I keep on he counter because of how frequently I use it!  Dates and dark chocolate are also excellent for snacking when a sweet tooth needs to be satisfied!

Sweet Things:

  • Good Quality Dark Chocolate 
  • Organic Unsweetened Coconut 
  • Raw Honey – local if possible
  • Dates

A Well Stocked Pantry ~ Oils & Vinegars |

Oils & Vinegars:

  • Organic Coconut Oil – both refined and unrefined.  I use the refined for cooking and when I don’t want a coconut flavor.  The unrefined is lovely in baked goods like muffins because it does impart a slight coconuty flavor.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar 
  • Balsamic Vinegar – For marinades, dressings, and sauces like the reduction for Roasted Sweet Potatoes and Apples with Balsamic Reduction.
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil ~ Regular for cooking and extra light tasting for mayonnaise, dressings, marinades, and hummus.

A Well Stocked Pantry ~ Nuts & Grains |

I love everything in this category and use items from it daily – sometimes many items and sometimes frequently throughout the day!

Nuts & Grains:

  • Lentils – so tasty and so versatile!  Try them in Slow Cooker Red Curry Lentils and Vegetables!
  • Rice – I have a preference for Basmati, but use what you like best!
  • Pasta – always great to have on hand for a quick last minute dinner…and for daughters who are carbaholics! 😉
  • Wheat Berries – Just plain delicious and fun to eat – they add flavor, texture, fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals!  Try them in this Apple Wheat Berry Salad!
  • Oats – both old fashioned and steel cut.
  • Quinoa – such a wonderful addition to a recipe as either a main ingredient or a co-star!  Try it in Quinoa Risotto with Mushrooms & Asparagus!
  • Pecans
  • Almonds
  • Raw Cahsews – for Cashew Cream.
  • Walnuts
  • Peanuts and Peanut Butter

A Well Stocked Pantry ~ Cans, Boxes, & Jars |

Here are some of the nitty-gritty heavy hitters in my kitchen – the ingredients that called on over and over again!

Cans, Boxes, & Jars:

  • Curry Paste – both green and red because yum – these are some of my favorite flavors!  Try it in Red Curry Lentils and Vegetables!
  • Organic Coconut Milk – perfect in savory dishes like the red curry lentils, but also so incredibly rich and creamy in dairy free desserts like Maple Walnut Ice Cream!
  • Chipotles in Adobo – perfect in so many dishes to add heat and smoky richness, like in this Butternut Soup recipe!
  • Garbanzo Beans – because homemade hummus rules!
  • Black Beans – such great flavor and added protein which is especially important when eating a diet that is light in animal protein!  Try them in Spicy Quinoa and Beans!
  • Canned Tomatoes- Diced, whole, paste, sauce, seasoned, puréed, juiced…you name it – I have it!  Tomatoes make everything better!
  • Organic Chicken and Beef Stock – one of my most essential essentials!  I use these in so many recipes, but I also use it cook rice and quinoa for a little added flavor!

A Well Stocked Pantry ~ Beverages |

Not a morning goes by that I don’t drink at least one cup of coffee, and rarely does an afternoon or evening pass without a cup of tea!


  • K-cups ~ Because coffee is a necessity!  I really love this Verena Street brand because it’s roasted and packaged locally!  Try it in my Popsicle Affogato!
  • Green Tea – like a warm embrace…I love this in the evening when all my work is done and I’m relaxing with a cup of hot tea and Netflix!
  • Espresso – Some days I just need it…no excuses!
  • Whole Bean Coffee – This is a special treat!  I grind just what I’m going to use and brew it in a French Press – it tastes fabulous and I feel so continental when I drink it!
  • Mint Tea – Also to be enjoyed in the afternoon and evening, plus I find the mint soothes my stomach if it’s a little upset!

A Well Stocked Pantry ~ Spice Cupboard |

These are the spices, dried herbs, and seasonings I turn to again and again to flavor and enhance my cooking and baking!

Spice Cupboard:

  • Curry Powder – use it to season this Grilled Sweet Potato Salad!
  • Rosemary – try it in this bread!
  • Oregano 
  • Thyme
  • Red Pepper Flake – Because if you know me, you know I like it hot! 😉 I use this in many of my main dish recipes as well as sprinkling it on pizza, pasta, and avocado toast!
  • Cayenne Pepper – See above! 😉
  • Ginger – I added it to my Roasted Beet Salad
  • Sage – One of the herbs in these Homemade Herbed Noodles!
  • Black Pepper
  • Salt – I keep many kinds…kosher, pink Himalayan, smoked, truffle – each has a special place in my heart!
  • Cumin – How do I love thee?  So much so that I’d be lost without it! I used it to season these sweet potato curls!
  • Basil 
  • Turmeric 
  • Poppy Seeds – Such a fun addition to baked goods and dressings like this raspberry vinaigrette!
  • Cinnamon
  • Fresh Nutmeg
  • Cloves

So there you have it…a long and if not exhaustive, then definitely exhausting list of what I keep stocked in my pantry and spice cupboard! Now you can say you really do know what goes on here behind closed doors ~ at least behind my pantry door!

And now it’s your turn – what do you keep in your pantry and spice cupboard? I’d really like to see what you keep that’s different from my list – or what I have included that you’d never dream of keeping!  GO!!!!

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