Restocking Your Pantry


A well-stocked pantry is the best way to ensure you have everything necessary to make a delicious, filling dinner any day of the week. Classic pantry staples such as tinned tomatoes, canned beans, sugar salt, pasta, varieties of flours, noodles and rice can provide the foundations to make something tasty, when there isn’t much left in the vegetable crisper! Flavour boosting convenience items like spices, dried herbs, sauces, pickles, oils, vinegars and stock are paramount to keeping your home kitchen ready to whip up a yummy meal at short notice. 

Restocking Your Pantry

This kitchen pantry list should include the items you need to prepare healthy recipes, plus a few other ingredients that will make impromptu meals easier and more delicious. If you're building an Asian pantry from scratch, start with the basics and slowly expand your pantry with some of the other ingredients as you try new recipes and cooking techniques. Our cuisine specific lessons describe in more detail about other pantry items you may want to stock.

Don't have a large pantry to stock? You can get this list down to a few go-to foods, the ones you are most likely to use in cooking your meals. This way, you can accommodate a smaller kitchen pantry cabinet without overwhelming your limited space. 

What Do We Need At Home?

  1. Meat & Seafood (including tinned, dried, cured and frozen)
  2. Fruit & Vegetables
  3. Fresh Herbs
  4. Rice, Noodles & Pasta
  5. Eggs & Dairy
  6. Frozen Items (meat, vegetables & bread are good emergency items)
  7. Dry Goods (varieties of flour, grains & sugar)
  8. Nuts & Seeds
  9. Dry Spices & Seasonings
  10. Beverages
  11. Sauces & Condiments
  12. Oils & Vinegars
  13. Pickles & Preserves
  14. Ready-made or Frozen Stock

Jarred & Canned Food

Some canned vegetables and pulses make for speedy and delicious meals when you’re running low on time or ingredients. Tinned beans or chickpeas take only a fraction of the time to prepare, considering how long it takes to soak and cook the dried versions. Items like good quality tinned tomatoes can taste similar to fresh ones when used in sauces, stews, soups or curries.

Jars of food will also keep well, especially if stored in a cool, dark place. Although, once opened, keep in the refrigerator to avoid the growth of mould. Jarred fruit can be very pleasing this way and add a sweetness to yoghurt, muesli or deserts. Jams, chutneys, relishes and marmalades will last for years, and spreads such as peanut butter and Vegemite for months. Their use shouldn’t be limited to just sandwiches, Vegemite is a great flavour booster or a stock replacement, and peanut butter is perfect for adding into stir-fry’s and sauces. Don’t forget about pickles either, this method of preservation adds a bright salinity to meals. Just about any firm fruit, vegetable or aromatic can be pickled!


Probably the most indispensable item in your pantry. Not only do dried carbohydrates last a long time, but they’re energy giving as well. You should have enough all-purpose and other flours (e.g. rice, wholemeal and self-raising) for baking, making batters, binding mixtures and thickening sauces.

Pasta and noodles are easy to stock up on. Having a few different types, made from various ingredients, make for interesting textures and maintain variety in your meals. Stocking a selection of rice is never a bad idea either. Keeping basmati, short grain and jasmine rice on hand will allow you to cook a range of Asian cuisines.

Wherever possible, we suggest storing these dry goods in sealed jars or containers, rather than the plastic or paper they were purchased in. This will aid in preventing pests like pantry moths, cockroaches or even rodents!

Pantry Proteins

Canned legumes and pulses are perfect for adding straight into cooking at a moment’s notice. However, dried versions actually last longer than tinned when stored properly in a cool, dry spot. They do, however, take much more forward planning and time to prepare. Whether canned or dried, these essential proteins can be used to make infinite recipes including stews, dips, braises and salads.

Although it may seem strange, some cured meat actually does really well in the pantry too. Aged salami and jerky can last months in a dry, dark place and even longer in the fridge. Canned or jarred fish also play well when stocked up. Tuna is an obvious choice, but also look into preserved salmon, oysters, mussels, sardines and anchovies, which can add substance and umami to countless meals. Dried sources of seafood are also excellent in providing maximum flavour with minimal effort.