In the vast culinary circus of life, there are a few performers that never fail to steal the show. They’re the unsung heroes, the backstage wizards, the ingredients that keep our kitchens from turning into barren wastelands of despair. From the reliable flour that’s been our trusty sidekick since baking was born, to the humble potato that can morph into a thousand different dishes, and even that liquid gold known as chicken broth that can rescue any soup in distress – these are the essentials that every kitchen must have. We’re talking about the culinary Avengers, the League of Extraordinary Ingredients, the Pantry Powerhouses that make everyday cooking feel like a flavorful adventure.

Barebone Essentials

There’s no point even thinking of cooking or baking without these very basic ingredients.

  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Vegetable oil
  • All-purpose flour
  • Granulated sugar

Only when you have these basics can you truly start on your culinary journey.

Fridge Fundamentals

If you’re missing any of this stuff, guess what – you’re going back to the store.

  • Eggs
  • Milk
  • Butter or margarine
  • Cheese (Various)
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Heavy cream
  • Bacon
  • Orange juice
  • Lemons/Limes


Freezer Basics

You know what’s really cool?

  • Frozen spinach
  • Frozen peas
  • Ground beef
  • Chicken breasts



Vegetables ETC.

Momma always said vegetables were good for you.

  • Potatoes
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Tomatoes
  • Shallots
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Parsley

Canned Goods

Man can not survive by fresh food alone, sometimes a can or two must come into it.

  • Chicken and/or beef broth/stock . Both are essential for making gravy or sauces.
  • Canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, marinara sauce
  • Canned beans (white, black, kidney)


Starches & Dry Goods

If you love pasta, stir fries & almost anything else worth eating, these are for you!

  • Pasta (in various sizes & shapes)
  • Rice (white, brown, long grain, short grain)
  • Lentils
  • Split peas
  • Dried bread crumbs


Herbs & Spices

They say that variety is the spice of life, in this case quite literally.

  • Dried basil
  • Bay leaves
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Crushed red pepper flakes
  • Curry powder
  • Seasoned salt
  • Chili powder
  • Cumin
  • Cinnamon
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Oregano
  • Paprika
  • Dried parsley
  • Black peppercorn
  • Coriander
  • Fennel seeds
  • Turmeric
  • Allspice
  • Cloves
  • Ginger
  • Nutmeg
  • Dill
  • Marjoram
  • Almond Extract
  • Vanilla extract
  • Italian seasoning
  • Kosher salt
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
  • Tarragon
  • Thyme


When you want to add flavor to a meal, look for your condiments to do the job.

  • Vinegar (balsamic, cider, white, sherry, wine)
  • Soy sauce
  • Worcheshire sauce
  • Hot sauce
  • Ketchup
  • Mustard (Yellow, Dijon, Whole Grain)
  • Vinegar
  • Honey
  • Prepared Horseradish
  • Anchovy paste


It’s up to you!

Of course, feel free to think outside the box and add your own essential ingredients to this culinary ensemble. But as you do, just know that flour, potatoes, and chicken broth will always have a reserved seat at the kitchen table – because, let’s be honest, every kitchen needs a little flour power, some spud-tacular magic, and a touch of broth-erly love to keep the culinary show going!

And remember this:

One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well. 

Virginia Woolf



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