Believe it or not, having a well-stocked pantry will actually decrease your grocery bill. When you're not stocked on staples, you end up paying regular prices for basic items. However, with a stocked pantry, you just refresh when items are on sale. Plus, these staples can be used in practically any recipe. Here are ten items you should always have on hand.


  1. Beans: This clever little legume can be used in any dish. It's hearty enough to fill you up and packs a nutritional punch.
  2. Pasta: Versatile, and with a long shelf life, no pantry should be without a couple pounds of pasta.
  3. Rice: A staple diet in many Asian countries, rice can be paired with meat, beans, or vegetables. Try having brown rice and white rice on hand for different dishes.
  4. Broth: Whether it's chicken, beef or vegetable, sore bought or homemade, it's always good to have on hand. Broth can be used in a wide variety of ways and can enhance many dishes.
  5. Liquid Condiments: A variety of vinegars, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce and others can pack a full-bodied punch to your recipes.
  6. Bread: Sandwiches, croutons, meat loaf... you name it! Bread can be used in many versatile ways.
  7. Peanut Butter: This classic sandwich staple is a great source of protein. Plus, it can be used in a variety of ways and has a long shelf life. Ants on a Log, anyone?
  8. Tomato Sauce: Forget the bottle of Prego for your pasta nights. Instead, pull out a can of tomato sauce, add your own seasonings and voila, a pasta sauce Mario Batali would be proud of. Plus, at 78 cents a can, you're saving quite a few pennies.
  9. Dried Herbs and Spices: Herbs and spices come in handy for any meal. Choose ones that fit your family's tastes, and make sure to buy them in small quantities to keep fresh.
  10. Oil: Whether olive oil or vegetable oil, it's important to have on hand. Full of healthy fats, oil makes a great substitute for butter in some recipes.