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Store Cupboard Essentials

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Keeping the kitchen store cupboard well stocked with essentials is a great way to help stick to your food budget, reduce waste, eat healthier and keep organised with meal planning.

Once you’ve got the basic food essentials in your store cupboard, fridge and freezer it makes cooking cooking for a family a whole lot easier.

Bulking up meals and even making a last minute store cupboard recipe when you’ve had no time to shop will all become simple!

Simple Tips For Stocking Up On Store Cupboard Essentials

  • How To Store – be sure to store cans and dried goods in a cool, dark place away from direct sunlight. This just helps them to last longer without spoiling.
  • Buy Food You Like – it’s a whole lot easier to cook and you’ll waste less food if you make sure to buy the food items you and your family like to eat.
  • Variations – try to buy a few different types of items, like a few shapes of pasta, just to keep meals varied and interesting.
  • Meal Plan – if you meal plan before you shop, checking your food cupboard it’ll save you money and time.
  • Store Cupboard Meals – get to know 3-4 recipes which can be cooked entirely from store cupboard ingredients. This just means when you’ve not had time to shop, you’ll still be able to cook something from your food pantry ingredients.

Store Cupboard Essentials

A handy list of food cupboard and fridge/freezer food essentials that make family meals a whole lot easier!

Dried Pasta – Store Cupboard Essentials

Spaghetti, pasta shapes and soup pasta. These are absolute essentials!

You can use them to make a quick spaghetti dish, pasta bake or pasta salad. And soup pasta can be used to bulk up soup or casseroles to make them more substantial.

rigatoni pasta being coated in ranch dressing

Couscous – Food Cupboard Essentials

You can use couscous for making couscous salads or for serving with casseroles and stews.

It’s also a good idea to keep a couple of sachets of the flavoured couscous in the cupboard too, these just need soaking in hot water and are delicious with quick air fryer chicken or salmon.

couscous salad with roast courgettes and peppers with Italian dressing and herbs.


A bag of basmati or long grain rice is always a winner. Serve alongside curry, as a rice salad, or turn leftover stew into dirty rice or for rustling up a quick fried rice recipe.

It’s also a good idea to have a couple of bags of flavoured microwave rice in the cupboard too.

These can be cooked in the microwave in 2 minutes, and when you’ve had a long day and just want food to be ready, with no pan to wash then they’re a good thing!

Cajun chicken and rice in a serving bowl sprinkled with chopped coriander and spring onions

Noodles – Store Cupboard Essentials

You can use noodles in noodle salads, stir fries and soup. They’re a great way to cook with leftovers, like leftover roast chicken or leftover roast beef.

Nuts – pantry essentials

It’s good to keep a couple of bags of nuts in the cupboard – they add instant protein to a quick meal.

And can be used for making pesto, stir fries or in baking. Pine nuts, peanuts, walnuts or almonds are all good to have in the cupboard.

Oats And Cereals – store cupboard essentials

Oats are a must have! You can use them to make porridge, whizz them in smoothies, use them in baking to make things like flapjacks.

A couple of boxes of different cereal are also a must, especially with kids – if you stick to the plain ones like regular cornflakes or Rice Krispies you can use these in baking recipes too. Cornflake cakes are a super easy bake to make with kids.

chocolate coated flapjack traybake with flapjacks piled up on top of each other

Get more organizing tips here

Tinned Vegetables

It’s a good idea to have a good selection of tinned vegetables in the cupboard.

These will be needed for all sorts of different meals and recipes from a quick vegetable curry to homemade tomato pasta sauce. Try to have in the following

  • Tinned tomatoes
  • Tinned sweetcorn
  • Tinned beans – baked beans, kidney beans and borlotti beans
  • Tinned pulses – chickpeas and lentils

Tinned Fish – Store Cupboard Essentials

Canned fish can be used as the basis for a meal and are used in lots of store cupboard pasta dishes.

Or for a quick, simple meal of sardines on toast! It’s good to keep in stock tinned tuna, sardines and a can of anchovies.

tuna mayo jacket potato on a blue and white plate with more air fryer jacket potatoes in the background

Coconut Milk

If you love to whip up simple curries, stir fries or Katsu style sauces, then a can of coconut milk is a must!

Baking Ingredients – Storecupboard Food

A basic selection of baking ingredients make it easier to keep to your food budget and you’ll be able to cook up a treat whenever you fancy. Good basics to keep in the food cupboard are…

  • Plain flour
  • Self raising flour
  • Bread flour
  • Caster sugar
  • Soft brown sugar
  • Cocoa powder
  • Dried yeast
  • Icing sugar
  • Golden syrup
  • Vanilla Extract

Oils, herbs, spices and seasonings – store cupboard essentials

If you like to cook from scratch and make your own meals then it’s good to keep the cooking essentials in stock at home.

  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Vinegar
  • Herbs and spices – choose the ones that match your style of cooking, or to save money by the seasoning mixes

Fridge Essentials

As well as stocking up the store cupboard, it’s a good idea to keep a few basics in the fridge, just to make meal planning and cooking easier.

  • Butter
  • Cheese – hard and soft
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Greek yogurt
  • Tomato ketchup
  • BBQ sauce
  • Mayonnaise

If you love an organised kitchen get more kitchen organising tips here

Meal Planning Tips

Make the most of your stocked store cupboard and grab all our brilliant meal planning tips here!

In our How To Meal Plan guide, we’ll run you through different ways to plan meals, pre-filled in meal plans for inspiration, shopping and how to make it work for you!

Get the printable kitchen store cupboard essentials list here.

Get more home and garden tips here