It’s time to rely on the Best Pantry Staples Recipes and bring homemade recipes to your table safely. Check my list of suggestions for what to have on hand.

With a pandemic in full swing, it’s daunting to think of going out, shopping for groceries, and risking exposure. Menu planning will help alleviate some of your anxiety. Check out my links plus the links from my blogger friends on how to use non-perishable food to make your meals!

Best Pantry Staples recipes collage for pinterest

Pantry Staples Recipes

Is your pantry well-stocked? So far the markets have enough food, but keeping the shelves filled is the issue. Head to the grocery stores as soon as they’re open as that’s usually just after the restocking has been completed. Buy only what you need for 2 weeks in case you need to self-quarantine. There’s no need to buy a 2 month supply of toilet paper or pasta! Here is a list of things to consider adding to your kitchen:

Protein Sources:

  • Chicken and ground beef can easily be transformed into zillions of meals. Consider adding a few packages to your freezer.
  • Canned tuna and salmon have a long shelf life and are good for casseroles. And I love a tuna sandwich!
  • Canned beans are excellent, especially paired with rice for a complete protein source.
  • Dairy like milk and cheese are excellent for snacking and adding to recipes. Sour cream and cream cheese are also used in many casseroles and desserts. Don’t forget about the good ol’ grilled cheese sandwich!
  • Eggs are nice for baking as well as quick meals like omelets, frittatas, quiches and more.
  • Peanut butter is a great non-perishable source of protein.
  • A bottle of Italian salad dressing or a designated marinade is terrific for flavoring flank steak, chops or chicken for grilling.


  • Fresh fruit and vegetables are terrific for side dishes. Note that citrus and apples have a longer shelf life than berries.
  • Canned fruit is a viable alternative to fresh as are canned vegetables. Purchase fruit in natural juices if available to avoid added sugar.
  • Frozen fruit and vegetables are packaged at the peak of freshness, but I’ve noticed supplies have been low at busy shopping times.
  • If you can locate canned tomatoes, they’re excellent for pasta, spaghetti sauce, chili and more. Keep a jar or two of marinara handy for pizza toppings, spaghetti, or Italian casseroles. Salsa has a multitude of uses, too.
  • Look for mixes of frozen veggies, like peppers and onions to make fajitas or a melange of veggies to add to chicken soup.
  • Potatoes will keep a couple of weeks if stored in a cool, dry place. Or purchase bags of sliced or grated potatoes in the refrigerated section.
  • Onions and garlic are great to add flavor to many savory dishes.

Other Staples:

  • Bread freezes well, so buy an extra loaf or two. But keep other shoppers in mind and don’t over-purchase.
  • Rice and other grains are shelf safe and can be used in casseroles or as side dishes. Buy some chicken broth a for a more flavorful final product.
  • Pasta is tough to find but shop early. Many shapes are interchangeable. Buy linguine instead of spaghetti or penne instead of bow ties. It will be fine!
  • If you’re a baker, flour, sugar, chocolate, and butter are key. Or buy a few box mixes to get you through!
  • Canned cream soups like cream of mushroom, cream of chicken and cream of celery can be used to make casseroles. 
  • Tortillas can be kept in the freezer for quesadillas, tacos, bread replacement for sandwiches, and more.
Pantry recipes images and text collage

Non-Perishable Food List:

Not all of these may be available, but here are some items I like to have on hand.

  • Peanut butter
  • Whole-wheat crackers or crisps
  • Nuts
  • Cereal
  • Dried, canned and frozen fruit
  • Canned tuna, salmon, chicken, or turkey
  • Canned beans plus other canned and frozen vegetables
  • Canned Tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, pasta sauces
  • Canned soup and broth
  • Dry pasta, rice 
  • Powdered milk or shelf-stable milk
  • Seasonings like salt, pepper, seasoning salt, garlic powder
  • Baking supplies: flour, sugar, baking soda, yeast
  • Water, coffee, tea

The Best Pantry Recipes

Now it’s time to plan your menus. This will help you be more efficient with your grocery shopping. Make your lists by separating produce, refrigerated, frozen, canned and boxed goods from each other, as this will help prevent backtracking as you navigate the market.

  • Scan your pantry to see what you have.
  • Jot down what you need to complete your meals for the week, including breakfast and brunch.
  • Make simple meals as they will require less specialized ingredients.
  • Substitute ingredients you have on hand for those you have to go out to purchase. No pasta? Rice might work. No broccoli? Try another vegetable.
  • Shake up the spices on an old standard to make it more appealing. I dig out the Creole seasoning for sweet potato fries with a little kick!

Here are some pantry entrees:

When dealing with a pandemic or local influenza outbreak, look to pantry recipes! You’ll most likely need a couple of ingredients for each of these recipes. But with a number of “staples” on hand,  you can get in and out of the market quickly. Consider planning your menu for a week and jotting down all the items you need to purchase to minimize time at the grocery store. Use delivery options when available if you’re high risk!

Overhead view of chicken feta casserole on a white plate

Chicken Feta Casserole

(Staples plus feta cheese)

Tuna Noodle Casserole from Scratch in an oval white casserole dish

No-Soup Tuna Casserole

(Use staples, plus whatever veggies you have on hand, canned mushrooms and even a can of cream soup if needed)

Overhead view of Mexican Manicotti

Mexican Manicotti

(Pantry staples plus jalapenos, salsa, enchilada sauce, cheeses. Use large pasta shells or homemade crepes in lieu of manicotti if needed.)

Small white bowl of white chicken chili with saltine crackers and a red handled spoon

White Chicken Chili

(Pantry ingredients plus fresh veggies on hand, like spinach and peppers)

Chicken with Broccoli, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Bow Tie Pasta in a white ceramic bowl

Chicken with Broccoli, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Pasta

(Pantry ingredients plus broccoli, which can be fresh or frozen, and sun-dried tomatoes)

Soft Shell Tacos {Homemade Beef Tacos featured image

Ground Beef Tacos

(Uses pantry ingredients plus tortillas, if you don’t have a stash, and toppings)

Plus a Couple Pantry Staples Recipes for Desserts

If you have chocolate chips, flour, butter, sugar and leaveners like baking soda, you can treat your family to something sweet! 1 cup of chocolate chips equals 6 ounces of chocolate, so use accordingly for recipes calling for chocolate in ounces.

Close view of chocolate chip cookie cake

M&M Cookie Cake

(Pantry ingredients plus grab some M&M’s at the checkout counter)

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies in a white bowl

Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

(Pantry ingredients substituting chocolate chips for chocolate discs)

Fresh Raspberry Crisp in a round white casserole dish

Raspberry Crisp

(Make with frozen raspberries, not defrosted, and pantry ingredients)

Overhead view of two chocolate chip cookies for one

Chocolate Chip Cookies for One

(All pantry ingredients plus butter. No egg needed.)

Plus here are some more pantry recipes and roundups:

More Entrees:

More Sides:

More Desserts:

If you’d like to share any of your shopping tips or pantry recipes, please leave a comment and let me know! Stay well, everyone.