Pantry Essentials for Baking

Cyd Converse

Looking to stock up and wondering what pantry essentials you should keep on hand? Our guide has you covered!

Whether it be perfecting the best blueberry muffin recipe or making the yummiest fudgy cake mix brownies, baking is a favorite pastime around these parts.

The key to being a happy baker? A well stocked pantry loaded with all of the requisite pantry essentials!

Keeping a well stocked pantry makes baking at a moment's notice or for any special occasion a breeze.

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When considering what to keep stashed in your pantry, you'll want to think about the kinds of recipes you bake most often.

From there you can put together an inventory of flours, sugars, fats (like oil and shortening), spices and extracts that won't require a shopping trip every time you want to bake.

Below you'll find a pretty comprehensive list of pantry essentials selected specifically with baking in mind.

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Pantry Essentials for Baking

While this list is not exhaustive, it represents true pantry essentials - here you'll find the building blocks of most baked goods you are likely to want to make.

  • Assorted flours - All purpose flour is a must for your pantry, but whole wheat flour and cake flour are also nice to have on hand.
  • Gluten free flours - Almond flour (used in these gluten free lemon crinkle cookies) and an all purpose gluten free flour blend are great to have on hand.
  • Baking soda and baking powder - With one or both being used for leavening in most recipes, you'll want to keep both on hand.
  • Chocolate - Unsweeted baking chocolate, a variety of chocolate chips and even chocolate kisses are critical pantry essentials for a chocolate craving.
  • Cocoa powder - Used for chocolate cookies and chocolate cake, cocoa poweder is a pantry mainstay.
  • Extracts - Vanilla extract is a pantry requirement, but you may also like to keep almond extract and peppermint extract around.
  • Pumpkin - For last minute pumpkin pie or pumpkin coffee cake cravings, you'll want to keep canned pumped in your pantry year round.
  • Spices - Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cardamom and all spice are commonly used in a variety of baked goods.
  • Sugar - Classic granulated white sugar is one of the most common baking ingredients and should be kept on hand at all times.
  • Brown sugar - Light brown sugar and dark brown sugar are both frequently used sugars.
  • Powdered sugar - Whether for muddy buddies or chocolate hazelnut crinkle cookies you'll want to keep powdered sugar around.
  • Salt - Kosher salt or sea salt are necessary in baking for balancing flavor so consider one or the other among your pantry essentials.
  • Oats - Rolled oats and old fashioned oats are the best kinds to keep on hand.
  • Shortening - While many baked goods call for butter, many others call for shortening so your pantry should always be stocked.
  • Oil - Vegetable and canola oils, but also sometimes olive oil, are frequently called for in various recipes.
  • Nuts - Almond, pecans and walnuts are popular choices for many baked goods and the ones to keep around at all times.
  • Sprinkles - From funfetti sugar cookie bars to cakes and cupcakes, a variety of sprinkles should always have a home in your pantry.
Vanilla Extract

How to Store Pantry Essentials

For maximum freshness and the longest possible shelf life, pantry essentials should be stored in airtight containers.

Many pantry staples, such as sugars and flours, are typically sold in paper or plastic packaging that doesn't seal after opening.

Once opened you'll want to transfer such items to jars or containers with tight-fitting lids. This will help keep them fresher for longer.

Large mason jars are an inexpensive option and can hold large quantities of items such as chocolate chips, sprinkles and oats.

Rolled Oats Photo

How Long Can You Store Pantry Essentials

When you're talking about stockpiling pantry essentials, you'll want to consider how long you can store them.

You won't want to buy more than you can reasonably use up in the time that they'll stay fresh.

Generally speaking, most pantry essentials can be stored for up to six to eight months in a sealed, airtight container.

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To extend shelf life, be sure your pantry goods are kept cool at room temperature.

Some flours may go bad after three to four months so you'll want to keep that in mind when buying.

If your flour develops an unpleasant odor, discoloration or mold growth, throw it away immediately.

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How Often to Restock Pantry Essentials

It's a good practice to take inventory of your pantry goods a few times a year to ensure you're stocked and that everything is still fresh and usable.

If there are times of year when you do more baking, say making apple crisp weekly during apple season, you'll want to take a look at what you have to prepare for the season.

Similarly, the holiday season often brings more baking than usual by way of Christmas cookies, pastries and pies making it a good time of year to refresh the pantry.

With a well stocked pantry at the ready, baking is not only easier but also more fun!

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Planning a dinner party and need some inspiration?

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Cyd is a native of Upstate New York, born to a family of women who love to cook and host parties. She shares her love of all things food, home and entertaining on her blog, The Sweetest Occasion and on Instagram.