Stocking the Kitchen

CATEGORIES: Informational Posts, Kate

Sara and I often get asked what we regularly keep in our kitchens and if we have favorite brands. I can’t speak 100% for Sara, but I know we see eye-to-eye on most things. Once your kitchen is well-stocked, grocery shopping is a breeze, not to mention the fact that you can throw dinner together in a flash if you need to!

I won’t lie, this list is long! Don’t feel like you have to pick everything up at once. And if you absolutely hate something, by all means, don’t buy it. But when you’re at the store, just grab a couple extra items every shopping trip and pretty soon, your kitchen will be completely stocked!
If there’s a brand that I’m very loyal to, I mentioned it in parentheses; otherwise, I either think all brands are relatively equal or I just haven’t found a brand that I love. Also, it’s not necessarily true that store brands are cheaper than the name brand equivalent; often, the name brand is either on sale or just plain cheaper than the store brand, so it’s something handy to keep in mind…

Meats (stored in freezer)
Chicken breasts
Chicken thighs
Ground beef (I get 7-10% fat)
Brisket (I buy a huge chunk on sale and cut it into smaller pieces)
Baby back Ribs (if I can find them on sale)
Beef roasts and/or steaks I find on sale
Pork sirloin roasts (they’re boneless; you can slice semi-frozen roasts for pork chops)
Italian sausage

Dairy/Lunch Meat
Cheddar or Colby Jack cheese
Mozzarella or Provolone cheese
Cream cheese
String cheese
Margarine (only Smart Balance)
Canadian bacon/ham
Fresh Parmesan
Canned Parmesan
Light sour cream

Carby Goodness
Bagels (I like the whole-wheat mini bagels and then I use flavored light cream cheese)
English muffins

Fruit: I like to keep about 2 kinds of fruit to last us through the week; I buy whatever’s seasonal and/or on sale.
Mangoes (when I find them on sale; they’re interchangeable with Mandarin oranges, super nutritious, and my kids love them!)
Grapes (seasonal)
Watermelon (seasonal)
Oranges (seasonal)
Yellow onions
1-2 red onion
1-2 green peppers
1-2 Roma tomatoes
1 head Romaine or red leaf lettuce
3-4 limes
1 bunch cilantro
2 heads garlic
1 bunch green onions
1-2 lemons
1 bag spinach
Fresh ginger (you can keep it in the freezer)

Light mayonnaise (Kate prefers Kraft)
Light Miracle Whip
Yellow mustard
Dijon mustard
Honey mustard
Ketchup (Heinz)
White vinegar
White wine vinegar
Rice vinegar
Red wine vinegar
Cider vinegar
Balsamic vinegar
Chocolate syrup (Hershey’s)
Caramel sauce (Hershey’s, in a squirty bottle like the chocolate sauce)
Soy sauce (Aloha Shoyu)
Worcestershire sauce
Liquid smoke
Hot sauce (like Cholula or Tabasco)
Sriracha chili sauce
A1 Sauce

Canned Goods
Sweetened condensed milk (NOT Walmart brand)
Evaporated milk
Coconut milk
Pineapple chunks, tidbits, and a small can of crushed pineapple
Black beans
Kidney beans
Diced tomatoes (Kate doesn’t like S&W, but Sara does)
Stewed tomatoes (ditto the S&W comment from above)
Tomato sauce (ditto again)
Tomato paste (ditto…yet again!)
Chicken broth
Beef broth
Sliced black olives
Diced green chilies
1 can chipotle chilies in adobo sauce
Chunk white tuna in water

Pantry Goods
All-purpose flour
Cake flour
Powdered sugar
Brown sugar
Unsweetened cocoa
Chocolate chips (Not Walmart brand. Macey’s in Utah actually has awesome chocolate chips!)
Sugar sugar (C&H or Domino)
Honey honey (You are my candy girl…)
Olive oil
Canola oil
Sesame oil
Butter-flavored Crisco
Non-stick cooking spray
Table salt
Kosher salt
Black pepper
Karo syrup
Baking soda
Baking powder
Beef bouillon cubes
Chicken bouillon cubes
Onion soup mix
Pasta (whatever you like; I like linguine and a small pasta like spiral or small penne)
Yeast (Bread machine; store in freezer)
Bread crumbs (plain; add 1 Tbsp. Italian Seasoning to 1 c. bread crumbs for Italian bread crumbs)
Peanut butter (Skippy or Jif)
Almond extract

Herbs and Spices
Smoked paprika
Chili powder
Red ground pepper (cayenne pepper)
Curry powder
Garlic powder
Garlic salt
Onion powder
Ground ginger
Cloves (ground and whole)
Nutmeg (whole; use your microplane to grate it)
Sesame seeds
Bay leaves
Cajun seasoning (Tony Chachere’s)
Crushed red pepper
Dry mustard
Poppy seeds
Ground sage
Dill weed
Italian seasoning

So what did I forget? What do you NEED in your kitchen that isn’t on my list?


  1. I love Tapatio hot sauce so I use that instead of Cholula or Tabasco. Plus I like having some Chinese sauces around like Hoisin and Chili Garlic Sauce. And for me, steel cut oats are a must.

  2. I second the need for cardamom as it’s great in a lot of things, including in coffee for those who are not LDS. I also like to keep a jar of salsa for when I have Mexican food.

  3. So Kate, what is the difference between all purose and cake flour? Should I have both on hand or are they pretty much the same thing???

  4. Oh, and Janelle, yeah, you can totally use turkey bacon and ground turkey instead of regular bacon and ground beef! 🙂 If you’re buying ground turkey for the health benefits, be careful–some ground turkey is actually fattier than lean ground beef.

  5. Heidi, I looked for chipotle chili powder today and couldn’t find any! Boo! I’ll have to pick some up in Utah…

    I still need to call you, BTW. Today. Soon. I’ll do the dishes and call you.

  6. AWesomeness, Kate! Thanks soo much. Btw, would you say ground turkey and turkey bacon are interchangeable with ground beef and reg. bacon?

  7. Chipotle chili powder (a MUST), coriander (for all things mexican), and cardamom. Oh, plus the other spices for Indian cooking that I use – garam masala and turmeric.

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