How to stock a pantry for the first time

How To Stock A Pantry For The First Time + Printable List

Want to know how to stock a pantry for the first time? You’re in the right place! Whether you are moving into a new home or moving out for the first time, this pantry essentials guide and printable pantry list will help you get set up with all the basics you need to cook delicious meals in future.

How to stock a pantry for the first time

You are likely feeling overwhelmed at the idea of stocking your pantry for the first time. And with good reason. It’s a daunting task knowing what you need and how to fill your pantry from scratch without spending a fortune.

While this guide is aimed towards anyone who is stocking their pantry for the first time, you will find these tips helpful if you are looking to re-stock your existing pantry supplies as well.

There is nothing worse than a last-minute trip to the shops every time you attempt new recipes, as you realise you are missing one or more of the essential ingredients.

This is where having a well-stocked pantry will save you time and money!

kitchen pantry organisation ideas

Setting Up Your Pantry

Before you get excited to start filling your kitchen pantry with key ingredients, it helps to kick off with a well-organised pantry.

Plan how you want to set up your pantry, based on the space you have and the storage system you want to use.

You will find loads of tips and ideas for organising your pantry, which will help you get started.

Make sure you give your pantry a good clean before setting it up too. It’s amazing how quickly they can get messy and you want a hygienic place to store your food.

Prepare Your Budget

Shopping for pantry essentials can add up costs quickly. Especially if you are setting up your pantry for the first time from scratch. If you are simply restocking, thankfully this means spending less, depending on how many essentials you need.

The best starting point is to plan your budget. It is likely that a complete pantry stock-up is not in your budget for a single shop.

Instead, plan how much of your budget you can afford to set aside for your pantry shop, keeping in mind that you will also need to be shopping for chilled and fresh foods for the first time too if you are setting up a new home.

It may mean setting aside $20 extra for your weekly shopping budget to put towards pantry items and building up your stocked pantry essentials gradually.

Gradual Pantry Stocking

If you are preparing to stock your pantry for the first time in a gradual manner, budgeting a small portion towards these essentials each week, you will need a system to stay organised. The last thing you want to do is accidentally purchase the same items twice because you lost track of what you already purchased.

This is where an essentials pantry list is exactly what you need! And I have one for you to download and print off!

Grab the free pantry checklist:

Free pantry essentials list download

Now that you have your list, you can keep track of each shop with the items you need and the ones you have already purchased. Don’t forget your pen!

No printer? That’s okay. Save it on your phone and use the drawing edit features to cross out items you have.


But, what items should you get first? I recommend the following items as a priority:

  • Olive oil
  • Non-stick cooking oil spray
  • Salt & pepper
  • Flour
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Sugar

The sauces and condiments you use regularly will also come on your priority list, such as ketchup, honey etc. And regularly used produce – potatoes and onions.

Tea and coffee are a great option too, in case you plan to entertain friends and family visiting your new home. And for your own personal use, of course!

If you can fit it into your budget, aim to get these pantry essentials all on your first pantry shop. The rest can follow in subsequent shopping trips.

Shopping for your new kitchen

Building a Pantry ON a Budget

There are plenty of ways you can save money on your pantry staples. Setting up a new kitchen on a budget is a great goal to have and with a few thrifty steps, that’s exactly what you can do.

Here are some ideas for saving money on pantry staples:

  • Buy on special Each week supermarkets have different items on special and often that includes items on your pantry shopping list. Before you head to the shops, check the catalogues or grocery store websites for current sales and instantly save on many essentials. This works really well if you are doing a gradual pantry stock up too because you can plan your purchases around when items are discounted.
  • Ask friends & family – If you have any friends or family nearby, why not ask them if they have an excess of anything? Mums are great for this! We were given quite a lot of dry ingredients from our parents when we moved into our own home for the first time. The same goes if moving to a new area when you can’t take everything with you. No harm in asking!
  • Bulk buys – There are many places that offer bulk food supplies. While most of us don’t have use for bulk in our home, why not buddy up with a friend or 3 and ask if they want to split the cost with a few bulk essentials? You are helping them restock too!
  • Choose budget brands – There is nothing wrong with choosing supermarket brands or inexpensive brands over well-known brand foods. The savings are often significant and when it comes to essentials, such as flour, rice, pasta and seasoning, you are unlikely to taste any difference anyway!

Special Diet Essentials

What is not included on the pantry basics checklist are special dietary items. Whether you are doing a special diet, such as keto or whole 30. Or if you have dietary requirements due to allergies or food sensitivities, you may need to substitute some of the items on this list.

There is extra space at the end of the printable list that you can add items for your special needs too.

How to set up a new pantry for the first time

Set Up Your New Pantry

As you start to build up your pantry essentials, you will get an idea on how you want to organise everything. This is easier done once you have started to stock up.

My biggest piece of advice is to try and keep things tidy and organised right from the start. Pantries can become a cluttered mess quite easily, especially if you have a large household and kids grabbing items out.

It may not be in your budget straight away, but once you can, invest in a good set of pantry containers to store your dry ingredients. This will help prevent things from going stale or worse… bug infestations. Ewww!

These are some of the best pantry storage containers:

Keeping Your Pantry STocked

Once you’ve set up your pantry staples for the first time and have the key basic ingredients you need for baking and cooking meals at home, it’s much easier to keep it this way.

Keep a copy of the pantry list printable to help you know when you are getting low or running out on anything.

Once your pantry is stocked for the first time, it’s certainly much more budget-friendly keeping it topped up.

Meal planning will help you to stay organised with ingredients and plan ahead, so you know you will always have the essentials for the meals you plan to cook.

Meal planning printables

Now, what are you waiting for? Now that you know how to stock a pantry for the first time, it’s time to get out some of those pantry ingredient essentials and make yourself something delicious!

For more kitchen organisation ideas:

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