10 Pantry Staples for Quick Cooking

Posted by The Gourmet Box on

Work from home has posed a number of challenges in maintaining work-life balance - one of them is eating homemade meals. An increasing number of zoom calls and meetings with no help at home has put home-cooked meals on the back seat. 

There is nothing worse than looking at the clock after a 2-hour work call and realizing that you have nothing prepared for lunch or dinner. 

Stocking up on some simple pantry items & staples, you’ll never get caught off guard again. Sure, your lunch or dinner might not be a fancy plate of food like some of your friends who are busy cooking and posting on Instagram. But it will be delicious and quicker than ordering takeout which is a huge plus for your health and your wallet. 

Below is our list of top 10 pantry items that make delicious meals:

Canned Goods


Canned grains like Black Beans, Chickpeas, Pinto Beans, etc. are packed with protein and fibre and can make countless hearty meals. Curries, Soups, Burger Patties, Stews, and the list goes on and on. An added advantage to having canned grains is that you don't have to remember to soak them before cooking them. 

Canned tomatoes are also very versatile ingredients as it can be tossed in anything - pasta, gravy, rice, etc. They can also be pureed to make an easy tomato sauce that can be frozen and used when required.

Pasta & Noodles

Needless to say, this was an obvious choice in the list of our pantry items. A hearty bowl of pasta or noodles is a super quick meal to whip up and it's delicious. Choose from the array of gluten-free pasta and noodles options available and add your favourite veggies to make it into a healthy meal. 

Pasta Sauces


Pasta Sauce is also a very versatile pantry essential to stock up. It can be used to make pasta and can be used as a pizza sauce, marinade, sandwich sauce, etc. It eliminates the stress of having to cook numerous sauces for different dishes and also let's face it, homemade pasta sauce can never be as good as the bottled stuff. 


Packaged tortillas are a complete gamechanger. It saves you the headache of making them from scratch at home, which not all of us are skilled to make. Fajitas, Burritos, Quesadillas, Kathi Rolls, Frankie - the possibilities are endless. You can even put your leftover sabzi and make a delicious roll. 

Coconut Milk


Coconut Milk is a must-have if you are vegan or trying to cut down dairy. It adds richness and creaminess to dishes. It works great in dishes with an Asian flair like Thai Curries or the ever delicious South Indian curries. 

Packaged Pastes

These are an absolute must for quick cooking. You don't have to remember to buy multiple ingredients, and peeling and grinding them. Tomato and Ginger Garlic paste are very versatile and add tonnes of flavor to your dishes

Curry pastes like Thai curry pastes are must-have pantry items for days when you crave something easy warm and comforting. Add in your favorite veggies and pair it with rice noodles or rice and make yourself a healthy and satisfying meal. 


We have come to realize that vinegars (rice vinegar, balsamic vinegar, red or white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar,etc.) have become an absolute must in our pantry items list. They add that much-needed zing to your dishes. It is such a versatile ingredient that not only flavors your food but also a dash of it to your salads, pasta, etc elevates your dish and makes it super delicious. 

Spices and Herbs

This is the list of must-have spices in your pantry items:

  • Turmeric
  • Chilli Powder/Paprika
  • Cumin/ Cumin Powder
  • Oregano
  • Black Pepper
  • Cinnamon Sticks or Powder
  • Salt
  • Basil
  • Parsley
  • Garlic and Onion Powder

Dried herbs are perfect when you think you won't be able to finish fresh herbs. They taste delicious and reduces the stress of using it before it gets spoilt. They also last forever. With the above list of spices and herbs, you can take your taste buds on a culinary trip around the world. 


Don't throw away those veggies and meat scraps. Save them and use them to make a huge pot of stock. Simply add all of it in water and let it boil away. Strain and freeze it. Use as and when you need in soups, stews, broths, etc. 

Soy Sauce

If you are a fan of Asian food then a good bottle of light and dark soy sauce is a must-have in your pantry items. You pretty much don't need any other ready sauces available in the market if you have soy sauce. Dash of it in your rice, noodles, stir fry will give you all the salty umame deliciousness you need. 

With these ingredients in your pantry staples and a few basic veggies like Tomatoes, Onion, Potato, and Carrots you can make a quick and delicious meal in no time even after those long zoom calls and meetings. 

What are your top pantry essentials and your go-to meal?

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