Do you stock these frugal pantry staples? You should! They’ll help you make easy homemade meals fast!
Keeping your pantry stocked with frugal, basic ingredients is key to saving money on your grocery bill because it allows you to more easily make your own meals at home. I often get asked what ingredients I recommend stocking and while I feel like each family’s pantry stockpile list will look a bit different due to eating styles and habits, here’s a list of some of the most basic ingredients that I try to keep on hand to easily create inexpensive meals.
FRUGAL PANTRY STAPLES
FRUGAL BAKING SUPPLIES:
One of the mainstays if you plan to cook or bake from scratch! Not only do I use this in many of my baked goods, I also frequently use to create rouxs to thicken soups and sauces.
2. Sugars (White, Brown and Confectioners)
I do a lot of baking and so I keep all three kinds of sugar on hand.
While I use oatmeal a lot for baking (hello Favorite Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars!), it’s also a staple that I use to make frugal, filling breakfast too! Two of our favorites are Easy Homemade Granola and Chocolate Chip Baked Oatmeal.
Keeping this on hand allows you save money and mix up your own homemade pizza crust or homemade bread and rolls, any time you want!
5. Baking Powder/Baking Soda
If you’re going to make your own baked goods such as cookies, cakes and brownies, you are going to need to be sure to stock these!
7. Peanut Butter
From peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to energy bites to baked goods to Healthy Peanut Butter Fruit Dip, this is one of those inexpensive versatile ingredients that is just smart to keep on hand! Plus, if you need a quick pick-me-up, a spoonful of peanut butter with a few chocolate chips does the trick perfectly. 🙂
Besides the traditional uses in baking and frying, oil will also save you many if you use it to make your own salad dressings and vinaigrettes. One of our favorite homemade dressings is this easy Mexican Dressing.
FRUGAL PANTRY ITEMS:
Canned or dried, either way, you can’t go wrong with this basic food staple that packs a punch of protein! And they are so easy to turn into Homemade Refried Beans!
This is probably one of the most frugal pantry items and very versatile too, plus a little bit makes a lot. It can stand alone by itself as a side dish and of course, is delicious in main dishes as well, such our family favorite Speedy Spanish Rice and Ground Beef Skillet. I’ve experimented with quite a few varieties of rice and our favorites are Jasmine and Basmati. Both have a great flavor/texture and cook quickly too.
We don’t eat a lot of pasta, but I still like to keep it on hand because it’s a great way to create quick, filling, inexpensive meals.
12. Dried Herbs/Spices
Dried herbs and spices are a great way to add flavor to your recipes. And while I occasionally buy fresh herbs, using dried is much more economical and they last much longer too!
A few of the ones that use regularly: basil, oregano, Italian seasoning, onion powder, garlic powder, chili powder, cumin, red pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg.
13. Chicken Stock/Bouillon
Chicken stock is a common ingredient in soups and casseroles and is super easy to make yourself! I also like to keep bouillon on hand since some recipes call for that instead. Also, if I happen to be out of liquid chicken stock, I can always use the bouillon to make some- although the stock made using bouillon is not nearly as tasty or as good for you as the real thing!
This is another ingredient that I use to make homemade salad dressings. I also use it for various other recipes and it works great ass a natural cleaner too!
I have quite a few Mexican type dishes that use salsa in them, so I like to always keep this on hand. Plus…..chips and salsa!
16. Diced Tomatoes
These are super inexpensive and way cheaper than buying fresh tomatoes. I love using them in recipes to give a bit of added flavor and color. And I even show you how to can diced tomatoes yourself if you want to try that. It’s super easy!
17. Pasta Sauce
I know making your own pasta sauce is pretty easy, but since I can buy it so inexpensively, I prefer just buying it that way. Pasta sauce is great for a quick meal of meatball subs, pizza, spaghetti, lasagna, to mention just a few.
18. Ketchup, Mustard, Mayo
Okay, so maybe I should have listed these 3 things separately. But in my mind, they all are condiments and similar items and since I’m writing this blog….. 🙂 I use many more condiments than these, but these are the 3 that I think every kitchen should for sure stock.
I typically make my own bread, but it is something that I always keep on hand. We often use it to make sandwiches for lunch, toast it to eat with eggs and occasionally use it in recipes like my Cheeseburger Casserole too!
I use these all the time to make enchiladas, tacos, quesadillas and wraps. These Salsa Ranch Chicken Wraps are one of my favorite quick meals!
I use both of these items regularly to inexpensively add extra flavor to lots of different recipes. One thing to consider though: if you frequently have garlic or onions spoil on you it might make more sense to just use granulated garlic or onion/garlic powder instead.
These are not only a great addition to many soups, they also make a healthy snack or side dish.
Super versatile- you can use them in soups, casseroles, breakfast dishes or side dishes.
FRUGAL FRIDGE/FREEZER ITEMS:
We love having breakfast for dinner and with eggs being so cheap, it’s a great, frugal meal too! And of course, you’re going to need them to make most homemade baked goods as well.
This is probably the one thing that might seem iffy to put on a frugal pantry list. But, I personally won’t use margarine and since I use butter in quite a few of my homemade baked goods as well as on bread, to me it’s a necessary pantry staple.
I like to watch for sales on butter and then I buy a lot and just freeze most of it. (Aldi typically has sales several times a year where they price their butter $2.50 or less.)
26. Sour Cream
I like to keep this on hand to use in soups, to make homemade dips and to use in several casserole recipes as well. And just a little secret: it stays good way past it’s “best if used by” date. 🙂
This is an item that I try to be conservative in how much I use, just because it’s not the cheapest food ever. But, I do think that if you plan to cook from scratch, then you might as well resign yourself to the fact that you’re going to be using at least some cheese in your recipes.
Plus, just a little bit can make a lettuce salad, tuna salad sandwiches or refried bean quesadillas so much yummier!
28. Frozen Veggies
Often much cheaper than fresh veggies, the other handy thing about frozen ones is that they last much longer! I use them a lot as a side dish and also in recipes like my Easy Chicken Pot Pie.
Probably the cheapest kind of meat there is and super versatile too! I love watching for the big family packs to go on sale, then I buy them and freeze whatever I won’t use right away.
30. Ground Beef/Ground Turkey
Definitely not as inexpensive as chicken, but I still like to keep it on hand because it’s so easy to make lots of quick meals with it. In casseroles or soups, I often can get by with using less than the amount called for. If it’s a Mexican type dish, I’ll cut back the meat and increase the amount of beans used instead.
WHAT OTHER FRUGAL PANTRY STAPLES DO YOU LIKE TO KEEP ON HAND?