Get yourself store cupboard savvy

Posted by Emily Eades on 10 May 2016


For the pantry

Pantry full of jars
Shutterstock / Fotografiche

Tinned tomatoes

Often needed in sauces, soups, stews and casseroles. Looking for inspiration? We’ve got 12 great recipe ideas for tinned toms right here.

Pulses and beans

Think lentils, butter beans and kidney beans packed with protein and fibre. Great for bulking out stews, salads and curries. Rarely use a whole tin? Decant into a bowl, cover and store safely in the fridge for a few days.


Wholegrain, brown, white or basmati – rice is a filling accompaniment to curries, stir fries and stews, and can even be used to make rice pudding if you’re out of dessert.

Dried pasta

When supplies are low, just adding a swirl of butter or olive oil to cooked pasta can be enough to make a simple meal. Hang on to any cooked leftovers and add a handful to stews, soups, salads - and so much more.


Bulgur wheat, couscous and quinoa are each great for making curries, stews and soups go further. Their slow energy release properties should keep you fuller for longer too.

Olive oil

Used in most Mediterranean dishes, olive oil is great to have on hand for frying, coating vegetables before roasting and salad dressings.

Coconut milk

Useful for both sweet and savoury dishes – think curries and soups for the latter and rice and bread puddings for the former. 

Porridge oats

Rolled oats make a quick and easy breakfast or use them to bake flapjacks, muffins and scones.


Plain and self-raising flours are useful to have in your kitchen – think baking, thickening sauces and coating meat, fish, cheese or vegetables before frying.


Good stock is essential for gravies, soups, stews, risottos and casseroles. Either make your own from boiling vegetable peel or Sunday’s chicken carcass. If you’re buying it ready-made, a low-salt variety is just as tasty. Unused liquid stock can be frozen to use at a later date.

Condiments and accompaniments

Condiments and accompaniments
Shutterstock / Oizostudio


Balsamic, white wine and malt should give you a versatile enough reach for salad dressings, pickling, sauces, stews and, of course, dousing on chips.

Soy sauce

A tasty and flavour enhancing marinade, sauce and seasoning for many Asian-inspired dishes.


A natural sweetener, brilliant on breakfast bowls, in hot drinks and for baking. A little goes a long way.

Salt and pepper

For seasoning almost every savoury dish known to man. Sea salt generally offers more impact, so should last you longer than table salt. Likewise, milled peppercorns are more flavoursome than ground black pepper – so opt for the former and watch the pennies stretch further.

For the fridge and freezer

Refrigerated veggies
Shutterstock / Africa Studio


Choose butter over margarine for flavour and health benefits and use in baking, frying and spreading generously on toast.


Whether you choose cow’s, goat’s, soya or nut milk – a pint in the fridge will serve you for tea, coffee, savoury sauces and a host of dessert recipes. Did you know that unused milk can even be stored in the freezer for a few days?


Keep natural and Greek yogurt in the fridge for breakfasts, baking, dips, sauces, soups, curries and to eat alone as a healthier pudding option or snack.


Free-range eggs make brilliant breakfast and lunch options and are essential in many baking recipes. Find yourself with leftover yolks? We’ve got 12 brilliant ideas for how to use them up here.

Frozen fruit

Keep a packet of mixed berries or citrus fruits in the freezer for smoothies, puddings, snacking and baking. Frozen fruit lasts longer than fresh so it’s a great way of reducing any potential waste. Did you know you can even freeze bananas? Eat them fresh from the freezer for a frozen yogurt-style snack.

Frozen vegetables

Spinach, peas and sweetcorn all freeze brilliantly and are great to have on hand for accompanying meals, adding to sauces, stews, soups and even smoothies.

For the fruit and vegetable rack

Whole onions and garlic
Shutterstock / ratmaner


Often used in hot drinks, sauces, soups, salad dressings and curries. Lemons that are on the turn can be preserved in oil or clear spirits for a delicious citrus infusion, while lemon zest adds a citrus kick to many baking recipes and can even be stored in the freezer to use at a later date.


Lauded for having many medicinal qualities, garlic is often used as part of the base layer of ingredients in sauces, stews and curries.


Chopped white and red onions crop up time and again in sauces, stews, gravies, curries and even salads.


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