If you don’t stock these frugal food staples, you should. These are basic pantry ingredients every frugal kitchen should have to make cooking cheap and easy.
When we first started our frugal living journey, food was one of the major things we saved money on. Having a well stocked kitchen with all the food staples you need to make delicious and wholesome homemade food is important. Stocking up on all these basic ingredients for your kitchen will help you lower your food bill considerably in the long run.
Our must have pantry staples
These kitchen ingredients are needed in most recipes, they are cheap, simple to store and once you have stocked up on these pantry staples, they should last you a while. Here is our list of the most important basic ingredients you need to make cooking from home cheap and delicious.
One of the most common items you will find in a kitchen; herbs are used all around the world to boost flavour. If you don’t already, stock your kitchen with herbs of all kind to boost your cooking potential.
Just like herbs, spices are also a common kitchen must have to create a little spice and are the base ingredient of many dishes around the world. If you have a taste for middle eastern food, spices are definitely for you.
There are many reasons to stock your kitchen with oil, other than the regular uses such as baking and frying. You can use oils in vinaigrette or salad dressings. You can even flavour your oils using herbs and spices for extra taste.
4. Beef Stock / Bouillon
One of our most used kitchen staples is stock and bouillon, we use it in soups, casseroles and it also enhances food that is braised, boiled or steamed. One of our favourite kitchen must haves!
A food full of protein and great for frugal cooking. Beans, whether they are canned or dried are a cheap food staple that you and your kitchen will benefit a lot from.
Pasta is a great frugal pantry item, its filling and is used to bulk out many different salads. Spaghetti bolognese and chicken pasta are a few of our favorites.
One of the cheapest food staples has got to be rice, it is so versatile and bulks out almost any meal. We cook a lot of currys and rice is most probably our most eaten food.
There are so many ways to cook potatoes that you would be crazy not to stock your kitchen with them. They are also a very frugal ingredient. Our favourite use has got to be creamy mashed potatoes.
When cooking homemade food, pastries or cakes, flour is important. You can also use it as a thickener in many dishes. It’s so cheap and so versatile, it should be in any frugal kitchen.
Beth loves to bake so sugar is always in our kitchen. I sometimes use small amounts in my day to day cooking to give a little sweetness to our dishes.
An important ingredient when it comes to rising bread, from pizza crust to a perfectly baked tiger loaf, it is a must have for any frugal cook.
Oats are not only great for breakfast, it can also be used to create smoothies, granola, baked goods and it even stretches out ground beef! This frugal kitchen staple is a must for anyone.
13. Tomato paste
A go to ingredient of many casseroles pasta and stews, tomato paste is a cheap kitchen ingredient that is often overlooked. Make sure you stock your cupboards with this item.
Eggs are one of those foods that go well with all sorts of meals. Scramble in rice, have them for breakfast or use them in baking. Best of all they are cheap too.
15. Popcorn kernels
If you enjoy snacking, popcorn is one of the best frugal snacks you can stock your kitchen with. You can experiment with flavours and its also a hit at home movie night!
Beth isn’t keen on onions, but i absolutely love them! I start most meals by chopping an onion and enjoy them with salads or omelettes! I always have onions in the kitchen.
17. Frozen vegetables
Fresh veg is great, but having frozen vegetable ready to go means you always have great tasting veg at hand. Frozen veg is also normally a lot cheaper than fresh produce. This is why i love it!
18. Chopped tomatoes
I use chopped tomatoes in many meals, especially pastas, curries and casseroles. They come in very cheap, often last for years and there is hardly any prep involved apart from opening.
Most of us eat bread on a daily basis. It is the food staple to quick sandwiches for lunches and you can turn it into croutons and bread crumbs for many great dishes.
We use carrots a lot, our baby loves them too, we throw them in all of our slow cooker recipes to bulk them out. I’d say carrots are one of my favourite foods!
We take a while to get through a tub of butter but nonetheless, we do need it. We use it in many baking recipes and use it to make sauces like our bechamel sauce recipe and we sometimes fry with it to give a richer taste compared to oil.
I can’t go a few days without cheese, it is a great flavour enhancer to many foods and goes great with sauces and mashed potato. It may be a bit pricey than a lot of the other frugal food staples but it is still a kitchen must have!
23. Minced beef
Out of all the meat products, minced beef comes in at one of the cheapest. It’s great in frugal meals and can be bulked out easily with vegetables or even oats. It is the meat of choice for many family favourites such as bolognese, cottage pie, lasagne and chillies but it is found in many others too.
We purchase our chicken in bulk to get it a little cheaper but chicken is already a really cheap meat source. We love having chicken in the freezer because we can always make a great meal at a moments notice.
25. Cocoa powder
What a great way to get your chocolate fix! We use cocoa powder in all kinds of baking recipes. I personally love it on top of some of my flavoured coffees and hot chocolates for an extra chocolatey taste. We vote this a top kitchen must have for anyone with a sweet tooth!
Vinegar is a major flavour enhancer, it gives a boost to pasta, meats and fish. It also makes super cheap vinaigrette for salads, our frugal pantry would be incomplete without it.
Fresh garlic, garlic powder or lazy garlic, there is plenty of choice. We tend to use lazy garlic as it is a little quicker to get into the pan. We add this to many of our recipes and make lovely garlic sauces to accompany some meals. It’s also one of our go to flavours for adding to currys and pastas.
A Lot of meals are just incomplete without sauces, we stock tomato ketchup, mustard, brown sauce, BBQ sauce, mayonnaise and chilli sauces all year round. There quick to add to a dish to enhance flavours quickly. The more sauces, the better, They are also one of the most popular food staples in the kitchen
That is it for our 28 must have food staples you need to enhance your frugal kitchen. If you have any other pantry staples you would like to see on this list, please let us know in the comments. Happy cooking and as always, live more and spend less!