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Your Kitchen Pantry

Getting started or getting serious about cooking means investing time going through your kitchen to make sure you have the equipment, utensils, and pantry to support your style of cooking.  Whether you are just starting to cook for yourself or have been cooking for years, it’s good to take stock of what you have and what you need to make great meals!

Below are checklists for the four areas of your kitchen: Pantry, Tools/Utensils, Cookware, and Appliances.  

Pantry Essentials

The pantry is the place to get started.  Having common ingredients in your pantry makes putting together all kinds of meals easier.  You can just pick up a few fresh ingredients from the market and you are on your way!


  • Kosher salt

  • Table salt

  • Sea salt

  • Black peppercorns

  • Extra virgin olive oil

  • Vegetable oil

  • Apple cider vinegar

  • Red wine vinegar

  • Balsamic vinegar

  • Rice vinegar (unseasoned)

  • Cooking spray


  • Flour: all purpose

  • Baking soda

  • Baking powder

  • Cocoa powder (unsweetened)

  • Chocolate: chips or bar

  • Pure vanilla extract

  • Cornstarch

  • Old-fashioned rolled oats

  • Nuts: almonds, walnuts or pecans


  • Granulated sugar

  • Confectioners' sugar

  • Light brown sugar

  • Dark brown sugar

  • Maple syrup

  • Honey

Rice and Grains

  • Long-grain white rice

  • Brown rice

  • Quinoa

  • Couscous

  • Farro

  • Barley

  • Aborro Rice

  • Pasta: standard, whole grain

  • Polenta

  • Breadcrumbs: plain or panko

Canned Goods

  • Chicken broth

  • Beans: cannellini, navy, chickpeas or black

  • Olives or capers

  • Chipotles in adobo

  • Salsa

  • Tomatoes: diced, crushed

  • Tomato paste

  • Anchovy fillets or paste

Dried Herbs and Spices

  • Bay leaves

  • Cajun seasoning

  • Cayenne pepper

  • Chili powder

  • Crushed red pepper

  • Curry powder

  • Fennel or dill seed

  • Granulated garlic

  • Ground cinnamon

  • Ground cloves

  • Ground cumin

  • Ground ginger

  • Oregano

  • Paprika: sweet and smoked

  • Rosemary

  • Sesame seeds

  • Thyme

  • Basil

  • Nutmeg

  • Condiments

  • Jelly, jam or preserves

  • Ketchup

  • Mayonnaise

  • Mustard: Dijon or whole grain

  • Pickles

  • Hot sauce: Tabasco, Sriracha or sambal

  • Worcestershire sauce

  • Soy sauce or tamari

  • Asian fish sauce

  • Toasted sesame oil

  • Peanut butter or almond butter

Tools/Utensils Essentials

Having the right tools on hand makes cooking much easier.  If you skip steps or use alternative methods, you can impact the quality of what you’re making.  And, having them handy means they will be used!

  • Silpat baking sheet

  • Cork screw

  • Salad spinner

  • Knife sharpener

  • Chef’s knife

  • Serrated knife

  • Cutting board(s)

  • Measuring cups (dry)

  • Measuring cups (liquid)

  • Measuring spoons

  • Wire rack

  • Box grater

  • Instant-read thermometer

  • Oven thermometer

  • Metal mixing bowls

  • Wooden spoons

  • Tongs

  • Metal spatula

  • Fish spatula

  • Silicone spatulas

  • Pepper mill

  • Vegetable peeler

  • Whisks

  • Paring knife

  • Scale

  • Bench scraper

  • Small bowls (for mise en place)

  • Zester

  • Can opener

  • Oven mitts

  • Hot pads

Cookware Essentials

Having the right sized pan or pot can make or break your stress while cooking.  Nothing is worse than trying to cook in batches because your pots are too small or cramming food into a baking dish because you only have one size.  

  • Cast iron skillet

  • Non-stick skillet

  • Saute pan

  • Saucepan(s)

  • Large stock pot

  • Dutch oven

  • Large baking dish

  • Large straight sided saute pan

  • Baking sheets

Appliance Essentials

Appliances can be an addiction for the cook.  There are appliances for just about everything these days that can improve your efficiency while cooking.  But, it can be easy to forget simple cooking methods that these appliances replace/supplement.  Keep to the basics and no matter where you cook, you’ll be able to prepare your best meals.

  • Stand mixer

  • Stick immersion blender

  • Slow cooker

  • Food processor

  • Blender

  • Pressure Cooker

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