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19th October 2021

Stock the Perfect Pantry

Our biggest tip to save you time and money as a student? Make sure you have a well-stocked pantry to cook better, tastier and cheaper.
Stock the Perfect Pantry
PHOTO: ALEX BIKARD @ The Mancunion

Having moved away from home for the first time, cooking for yourself, whilst sometimes inconvenient, becomes a necessity and the norm. Whether a new or novice cook, the one thing guaranteed make your life easier is a good pantry. Many students overlook the power of a well-stocked cupboard but having the right products to hand at a moment’s notice will give you the ability to pull out dishes, even when the fridge is looking barren.  Reaching for the back of the cupboard and pulling together some basics can also save you grabbing your phone to order from Uber Eats, a habit that can quietly drain away money. 

This is a non-exhaustive list of pantry items that will help you get started. These are basic, versatile, and frequently used ingredients that are usually fairly cheap, and have a long shelf life. You may want to upgrade this list and personalise it to fit your preferred cuisines and favourite dishes but to start, this list should set you on the right track. 

Whilst there is no need to buy all of these items at once, it can be worth doing at the start of term, to feel set up in at least one area of your life before deadlines begin to fall. In this case, we suggest making a big online food delivery, as it will save you from paying delivery costs, and crucially prevent you from carrying an insanely large food shop all by yourself. 

Without further ado, here are our suggestions to start off your very own student pantry: 

Dry goods

  • All-purpose flour
  • Sugar 
  • Rolled Oats
  • Rice 
  • Lentils
  • Pasta
  • Instant ramen 

Canned goods 

  • Tomatoes  
  • Beans (black, kidney, white…) 
  • Coconut Milk
  • Chickpeas 

Oils, vinegars, and sauces

  • Olive oil
  • Non-stick spray 
  • Vinegar (rice wine or apple cider) 
  • Soy Sauce
  • Sriracha or hot sauce 
  • Honey
  • Mustard
  • Peanut or Almond Butter
  • Bouillon cubes 
  • Tomato paste 
  • Pre-made pasta and curry sauces

Herbs and spices

  • Salt 
  • Pepper (in a grinder) 
  • Dry herb mix 
  • Paprika
  • Chinese 5 spice mix 
  • Garam Masala 
  • Chilli flakes
  • Garlic Powder
  • Cinnamon

Frozen food 

  • Peas 
  • Sweetcorn 
  • Fruits for smoothies to morning porridge 
  • Bread (keep sliced bread in the freezer to toast when needed) 

We hope this list allows you to cook tastier, cheaper and gives you a helping hand when needing a hearty meal at the end of a long day at uni.

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