Pantry/ Basics

Making a Grocery List for your Pantry

Hi Everyone,

Today I’m going to share with you how to make a basic pantry list. There are many reasons to keep your pantry modest. Whether you are a minimalist cooker, you don’t have a big kitchen or adequate storage spaces, or you just want to control your budget.

When you live in Paris, it is pretty standard to prepare your meals in “kitchenette” (= tiny tiny kitchen) especially if you live in a 15m2 studio. So as a student and a resident of Paris, I had a tight budget and no storage space at all. That is why, I had a small pantry of basics which allowed me to cook almost all of my every day recipes.

A typical kitchenette. Source:

Before you take this list or make your own, you have to select what is your normal diet and what you like to eat on a regular basis, because different diets imply …. different stuff. After selecting your basic diet (even if it is a mix of different diets), you must identify  by categories the essential ingredients of a type of food. For example in Mauritius, you absolutely need your spices, onion, garlic, ginger, chili and herbs to cook. When you have identified the primary ingredients of your diet, select the essentials that you will require for your every day meals.

Here are some ideas of categories:

  • Oil, Vinegar and Sauce
  • Spice
  • Herb
  • Baking Essentials
  • Breakfast
  • Can and Jar
  • Pasta, Rice and Grain

To sum up, identify, classify, then select and voilà, you designed a perfect list for your needs.

You’ll find below a shorter version of my ideal pantry list.

Basic Pantry List

Oil, Vinegar and Sauce

  • Olive oil
  • 1 Frying oil (sunflower, soya, grapeseed, canola…)
  • 1 Vinegar ( Red wine vinegar, White wine vinegar, White vinegar, Apple cider vinegar)
  • Optional: Balsamic vinegar
  • Lemon Juice (you can use it in a lot of recipes and to replace vinegar)
  • Worcester sauce or Soya sauce
  • Ketchup
  • Mayonnaise
  • Mustard


  • Chicken cube stock or other flavor (not a spice but I didn’t know how to classify it)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Chili flakes or Chili powder
  • Turmeric
  • Curry powder
  • Paprika
  • Cumin
  • A mix of your choice (italian, mexican, arabic, indian…)
  • Nutmeg
  • Cinnamon



I don’t recommend the use of dried herbs, because usually lot of it do not have a strong taste in comparison with fresh herbs.

  • Oregano (if you like to cook a lot of pasta and pizza, otherwise you can drop it)
  • Basil (same as above)
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Mint if it’s good quality and well preserved
  • Dried Bay leaf
  • A mix of aromatic herbs

Baking Essentials

  • All-purpose flour or
  • a Mix of Gluten free flour
  • Cornmeal
  • Baking soda
  • Baking powder (regular or gluten-free)
  • Active-dry yeast
  • Cocoa powder
  • Honey
  • Granulated sugar (white or brown)
  • Iced sugar
  • Vanilla Extract
  • Chocolate chips (when you need it)


  • Oats
  • Cereals (optional, according to your habits)
  • Tea (only if you drink tea)
  • Instant coffee (if you don’t drink coffee, optional for dessert)

Cans and Jars

  • Tomato sauce
  • Peanut butter
  • Apple sauce
  • 1 Jelly or Jam of your choice
  • Green or black olives, or both
  • Pickles
  • Can of beans of your choice

Pasta, Rice and Grains

  • Couscous
  • 1 type of long pasta: Regular or Gluten-Free Spaghetti/ Fettuccini/ Linguini/ Tagliatelle
  • 1 type of short pasta : Regular or Gluten-Free Penne/Macaroni/ Rigatoni (also to make pasta salads or gratins)
  • Rice
  • Optional: Arborio Rice if you like risotto or recipes that involve sticky short rice
  • Bread Crumbs or Panko


Legumes, Nuts and Seeds

  • Almonds
  • Hazelnuts
  • Peanuts
  • Black Lentils
  • Kidney Beans
  • Garbanzo Beans
  • Optional: any seeds you like (pumpkin, sunflower, flaxseed, chia…)




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