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15 Household Staples You Should Always Stock in Your Pantry

Begone, dinnertime disasters! Having this collection of household staples at the ready will ensure that a delicious meal makes it on the table—no matter what.

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Bowl of diced tomatoes isolated on rustic white surface. White background. Top viewVladimir Mironov/Getty Images

Diced Tomatoes

With their fragile skins and watery seeds, tomatoes are a pain to cut. Reduce the prep time on any recipe that includes this juicy red produce, like this delicious Italian pot roast, by stocking up on convenient canned diced tomatoes.

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Man pouring mix of frozen vegetables into frying pan, closeupLiudmila Chernetska/Getty Images

Mixed Veggies

Frozen mixed veggies come in many assortments: classic, stir-fry, Italian-style, southwest—you name it. Any one of them is handy when you’re looking to make your quick dish a little healthier. These frozen veggie recipes make them taste almost fresh!

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vegetable broth in bowl surrounded by fresh vegetablesmargouillatphotos/Getty Images


Broths aren’t just for wintertime soups. Keep a stash of chicken, vegetable and beef broths year-round for flavoring meats like these slow-cooked ribs, pastas and casseroles.

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A bowl of cooked rice with a stew of soy meat and vegetables on a light gray background. vegan natural diet foodOlgaLepeshkina/Getty Images


Any dish becomes heartier with the addition of rice—whether it’s white, brown or wild. And rice is just about the easiest side ever. Simply shake on a mix of your favorite seasonings, and you’ll be scraping your plate. Added bonus: it’s also one of the easiest ingredients to help recession-proof your pantry. Here’s how to make perfect rice.

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Cooked mixed colored small potatoes in a skilletEasyBuy4u/Getty Images


We love potatoes in every form—you can use them in so many recipes! Plus, with potatoes, you needn’t take up any precious refrigerator space. Store the nifty favorites in a paper bag and place them in a cool (not cold) place.

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Various legumes in bowls: chickpeas, cannellini beans, quail beans, black beans, yellow lentils, red lentils, black lentilsWestend61/Getty Images


Beans really are the magic fruit. By keeping a couple cans in your pantry, you have access to an inexpensive source of protein at all times. We suggest stowing cannellini, kidney, black, navy and garbanzo beans. Then go to town on these budget-friendly dishes that start with a can of beans.

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Top view of assorted uncooked pasta in small bowls with a wooden spoon and fork off the the sideAndres Victorero/Getty Images


Penne, spaghetti, bowtie, rotini—there’s no limit to the pasta shapes you can try! Stockpile whichever type you prefer for an easy entree or side. We recommend keeping some Asian varieties, like ramen and egg noodles, too.

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Baked meatballs with tomato sauce and herbs on a wooden cutting Board on white background. Top view. Delicious lunchOksanaKiian/Getty Images


Pile meatballs onto your favorite pasta dish for an instantly heartier dinner. (Our Test Kitchen found the best frozen meatballs!) Not in the mood for Italian food? Don’t worry—meatballs aren’t just for marinara! In fact, they’re handy to have for all types of cuisines—try ’em as sweet-and-sour meatballs.

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Sweet canned corn in a bowl with parsley to the side on a rustic light colored wooden surfacezia_shusha/Getty Images


Consider keeping cans of these golden kernels in your cupboard or a bag of these veggies in your freezer. Both options are a fantastic year-round substitute for everyone’s favorite summertime treat. Then toss them in one of these healthy corn recipes.

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hands with a jar of tomato pasta sauce and pizza dough belowAleksandr Zubkov/Getty Images

Pasta Sauce

Pasta sauce is an obvious necessity for quick-prep pasta dinners, but it’s also a valuable ingredient to have on hand for meat loaf, sandwiches and even soups. We especially love it in this chunky turkey chili recipe.

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Top view of a bowl full of red and golden sliced onions surrounded by a wooden cutting board with a kitchen knife on top and whole and sliced golden and red onioncarlosgaw/Getty Images


Like potatoes, most varieties of this veggie don’t require refrigeration, but they do pack a punch of flavor. Red onions, white onions, yellow onions, sweet onions and shallots are all meal-makers. Pro tip: Here’s how to cut an onion without crying.

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close up of woman's hands with some brown eggs in an egg carton on a kitchen counterKseniya Ovchinnikova/Getty Images


Although eggs need to be stored in the fridge (unless you’re European and keep your eggs on the counter), they’re worth the space. Eggs can be used as binders in items like meatballs, as a thickener in sauces and custards, or simply as a dish on their own.

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pouring canola oil into a bowl for bakingOs Tartarouchos/Getty Images

Canola Oil

Thanks to its high smoke point, smoothness and mild flavor, canola oil is the most versatile variety of oil and therefore a good option to keep close by.

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Flat lay view at Tuna sandwiches with lettuce tomatoes pickles and onions on parchment papericetocker/Getty Images


You can’t store fresh chicken in your pantry, so the next best thing is storing the chicken of the sea. Canned tuna, which is typically white albacore tuna, is tasty in salads, casseroles, sandwiches and other family favorites. Cook up this 5-star tuna casserole with it for dinner tomorrow!

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Apple cider vinegar and apples.Vadym Sirobaba/Getty Images

Cider Vinegar

Not only is cider vinegar useful for adding tang to sandwiches, salads and even some desserts, but it is also great for household cleaning and beauty care, along with other unexpected benefits. You can’t beat that!

Annamarie Higley
Annamarie Higley is an Associate Print Editor for Taste of Home magazine, as well as the brand's special issue publications. A midwestern transplant originally from the San Francisco Bay Area, she enjoys hiking, trivia-ing, and—you guessed it!—all things cooking and baking.