Having a list of pantry meals you can make with basics you have on hand can help you save time and money. No need to run out for take-out, instead whip up something delicious using non-perishable pantry staples.
If you have ever found yourself without fresh food but in need of a quick and healthy meal, this list of meals you can make out of pantry staples will be invaluable to you.
Many times I am faced with cooking from essentials I have stocked up in my pantry and freezer. This can be because we just returned from a vacation and have not hit the grocery store up, I am too ill to shop for groceries, or we are limiting our exposure during cold and flu season.
Recipes Using Pantry Staples
These recipes use basics like pasta, beans, rice, and baking staples. The recipe are not made with fresh produce or milk and the meat can easily be omitted, as noted, for most of these recipes. That way even if you don’t have meat in your freezer, you can whip up these simple meals with non-perishables.
Beans: Dried beans and canned beans are a great pantry staple to stock up on. They last indefinitely in the pantry and are a great source of protein and fiber.
- Dried Beans: Use your Instant Pot to make dried beans in less than an hour–and then use for recipes throughout the week or freeze to use later in the month.
- Rice and Beans: This a meal that is made with dried beans and brown rice. It is completely made with pantry staples and tastes delicious!
- Black Bean Tacos: Add some spices to black beans and you will have a simple meal that comes together in MINUTES!
- Refried Beans: If you have dried pinto beans, make your own homemade refried beans.
- Bean Burritos: Use the homemade refried beans or canned refried beans to make these simple burritos.
- Beef Chili: If you happen to have beef in your freezer, you can easily make this meal in your Instant Pot or Slow Cooker using canned beans, canned tomatoes, and spices. Use frozen diced onions in place of fresh and if you do not have ground meat, add 2-4 cups of extra beans.
- Chicken Chili: This recipe uses canned goods, spices, and frozen chicken–it really puts those staples to use and the final result is full of flavor.
- Mexican Skillet: Take sweet potatoes, black beans, spices, and some chicken and this simple skillet meal is delicious and will fill you up! Omit the chicken and use extra beans if desired.
Rice: Brown or White Rice is a great staple to have on hand for side dishes and to make fried rice, stir fry, etc.
- Instant Pot Brown Rice: Cook up rice perfectly in your instant pot and make extra–perfect for fried rice.
- Fried Rice–Grab some frozen veggies, leftover rice, and soy sauce and your leftover rice can turn into a whole meal.
- Creamy Cheesy Chicken and Rice: There is no milk in this recipe, just butter, flour, stock, cheese, and chicken mixed with rice. You can even omit the chicken and sub out for broccoli and have a delicious Broccoli Rice Casserole.
- Stuffed Pepper Soup: Use rice, a little bit of ground beef, and frozen peppers and onions to throw this soup together.
Potatoes: All types of potatoes can be stored in a cool, dark place for weeks.
- Instant Pot Smoked Sausage and Potatoes: Add a little bit of smoked sausage (which freezes great) to canned green beans and potatoes and WOW. This is one amazing meal.
- Vegetarian Chili: This chili is made with black beans and sweet potatoes and not only is super healthy, but it is also delicious and made with basics.
- Baked Fries: Baked Oven Fries are a great recipe to make as a side dish to many dinner options.
- Roasted Potatoes: If you have red potatoes on hand, these roasted potatoes are a great option as well.
Lentils: Lentils are a great source of protein that will last indefinitely in the pantry.
- Lentil Meatballs: Yep, you can make meatballs out of lentils–and they are pretty darn tasty!
- Lentil Chili: Super healthy, super hearty, and made right from the pantry!
- Lentil Sloppy Joes: Lentils make a great base for sloppy joes. You can even grab hamburger buns now to freeze.
- Lentil Soup: Especially if you stock up on diced carrots, onions, and celery in your freezer NOW, this soup is a BREEZE to make.
- Lentil Tacos: When you get sick of beans on your tacos, seasoned lentils are the way to go!
Pasta: Dried Pasta is one of the most used staples in many homes. These recipes are simple and delicious and may help keep you from getting sick of the typical pasta recipe.
- Instant Pot Creamy Pasta: This recipe walks you through how to cook any type of pasta with or without homemade sauce in the Instant Pot–a great recipe to have on hand right now.
- Tortellini Soup: Take jarred pasta sauce, stock, frozen spinach, and frozen tortellini and you have this simple, yet delicious soup!
- Baked Rotini: This pasta bake is still good without the cottage cheese!
- Slow Cooker Pasta: Pasta and a homemade sauce cook together for a simple, easy meal.
- Minestrone: Use frozen onions, celery, and frozen spinach and you can make this soup from freezer and pantry staples.
- Amish Chicken: A delicious, creamy casserole made without milk–so with or without chicken this pasta bake is delicious.
- Taco Pasta: No meat left? Add in beans instead. Everything else is a pantry staple.
- Hamburger Helper: This is a meal I make on vacation because I only need pantry staples and one pound of ground meat. Super easy to make in the Instant Pot version or on the Stove.
- Tuscan Pasta: Use defrosted frozen spinach or kale in place of fresh spinach and drained diced tomatoes in place of grape tomatoes (still roast them!)
Staples: These are recipes that I make with pantry staples that I use on a regular basis.
- Bread: Nothing beats homemade bread–and it is essential to know how to make if you are unable to get to the store for long periods of time. Make whole wheat bread for sandwiches or Italian bread to serve with soups and stews. Dutch Oven Bread is a great recipe for those just starting out making homemade bread–one bowl and NO KNEADING.
- Pizza Dough: If you have stocked up on shredded cheese (it freezes well) you can easily make homemade pizza with this pizza dough recipe.
- Pancakes: This basic recipe for pancakes is a great recipe to have on hand and make a delicious breakfast or brinner.
- Waffles: Sick of pancakes? Change it up and make waffles instead! They are also great to be used as “bread” for sandwiches.
- Oatmeal: You can even skip the milk and just use water to prepare Instant Pot Oats, Instant Pot Steel Cut Oats, Slow Cooker Oats, or Mason Jar Oats for a healthy breakfast.
- Spaghetti Sauce: Make your own spaghetti sauce using canned tomato products. Try out my traditional Homemade Spaghetti Sauce recipe or Instant Pot Spaghetti Sauce.
- Chicken Legs: If you have frozen chicken legs, this recipe cooks up with a homemade BBQ sauce for an easy dinner. Or try out slow cooker chicken thighs.
- Homemade Broth: Save your vegetable scraps to make Homemade Vegetable Broth. Have chicken bones? Make Chicken Stock.
Treats and Snacks: If you are stuck at home, a small treat always helps bring a smile to anyone’s face.
- Granola Bars: With oats, nut butter, and dried fruit you can have no-bake granola bars on hand in no time. Or you can make homemade larabars if you have dried dates and nuts on hand.
- Brownies: Because chocolate will help keep you sane while stuck at home–no boxed mixed required.
- Cookies: I love making peanut butter cookies or oatmeal cookies for a special treat if I have eggs and butter around.
- Granola: Perfect to top oatmeal or just to munch on.
- Homemade Chocolate Syrup: This easy chocolate syrup comes together with just 5 pantry ingredients and tastes just like that famous brown bottle.