Cooking and/or baking are wonderful hobbies to get into. You can literally create any food, taste, or design just by adding ingredients to a bowl, how cool is that!
I first met eyes with baking when I was around 8 or 9. I specifically remember one of my family members gifting me an easy bake oven which sparked my love for cooking. Whether I am whipping up some paleo oatmeal raisin cookies or drizzling grilled veggies, I am always enjoying that time; which is another awesome perk of cooking. You can pop some music on, grab your comfy lounge shoes, tie the hair back, and CREATE!
Yea, yea, yea, I can go on and on about how much baking excites me but the truth is sometimes it can be hard. You always need have your cabinets stocked full of ingredients so you can whip something up at a moments notice, the drawers full of cooking utensils, the cabinets stuffed with pans……. it can be a lot, hence why many individuals shy away from the cooking side of life and order take-out.
But you don’t need to give in to the take-out menu life just because you rue the idea of having your cupboard full of various ingredients, tons of pans and utensils. You can still bake/cook and not need a separate room for your stuff. Interested? Then keep on reading to find the 10 essential ingredients to always have in your cupboard so you too can enjoy the cooking side of life. ♥
I included pictures of my favorite food brands that I use in my baking and cooking. ENJOY the post 🙂
I know this may seem like such a “duhh of course you need this” ingredient, but the importance of it really is very vital.
It is quite difficult to bake without flour because in most recipes flour is the base of the dish. Whether you are adding it to thicken soups or mix into cake batter, flour is the #1 must.
For all my gluten-free readers, Natures place(pictured above) makes an incredible gluten-free flour that’s perfect for any recipe! Bonus: It’s also free from dairy & soy!
If you are paleo then the flours you would use are: (some pictured above) coconut, cassava, tapioca, & almond flour, there are others but these are my favorites. They work great when creating paleo treats and are a healthier alternative to your standard blanched white flour.
Baking powder & baking soda
I am never without these two ingredients because it will be very hard to bake without them. They are such staple ingredients in almost every recipe so I highly recommend buying them. You can pick up large tubs from Walmart & Trader Joes for very cheap prices, and, since when baking you use such small amounts, they last for a long time.
If you are someone who enjoy’s baking breads, or someone who wants to start, then yeast is the key. What is bread without yeast? Un-risen flobby dough. Without the addition of yeast your bread will not rise properly, so you really cannot skip adding it.
Is yeast paleo? For my paleo friends- yes it is.
Is yeast gluten-free? For my gluten-free readers- for some brands it is. I know I always make sure to buy yeast that clearly states “gluten-free” but for those who are still wary then you cannot go wrong with Bobs red mill gluten free active dry yeast.
Extracts- most importantly vanilla extract
I have yet to find a recipe that doesn’t include vanilla extract. Without it recipes just don’t turn out the same. Believe me I’ve tried, and if you to have tried then you know what I mean. Bbbllleeehhh. Other important extracts- almond, raspberry, banana….. while these are the less commonly known they are still vitally important in baking.
But, if you have to choose the #1 extract to keep in your cupboard then I would have to say vanilla.
I know there are some people who have an allergy to vanilla extract so don’t worry because I have you covered. A great replacer is maple syrup. If your recipe calls for vanilla extract but you are seemingly out of it then don’t worry because maple syrup will do the trick. Just replace the same amount of vanilla extract the recipe calls for with maple syrup. Are you paleo? Don’t worry because maple syrup is naturally paleo, just make sure to check the bottle to ensure this.
Essential spices to always have on hand are pepper, salt, cinnamon, oregano, dried parsley, garlic seasoning (for flavor), rosemary, cumin, chili powder, & turmeric. These are great spices to buy because you can add them to just about any dish for some flavor. All you need is a little shake shake which can change the whole dynamic of a dish.
Using oils in your cooking/ baking is a flavor creator/ a healthier alternative to butter. You can easily replace butter with coconut oil, use vegetable oil to fry up your vegetables instead of olive oil, or, add canola oil in a baking recipe. Replacing olive oil with vegetable oil can help cut down on the heavy feeling you get when you eat something which contains olive oil. I know for me whenever I add olive oil to my salad or vegetables I tend to feel sick, so I just swapped for a different oil, a better oil.
Essential oils to have:
- Olive oil (many cooking recipes call for this)
- Vegetable oil
- Canola Oil
- Coconut oil (great butter replacer- same amount of coconut oil as butter)
- Avocado oil (can be used in cornbread)
- Pumpkin seed oil
- Walnut oil
- Grapeseed oil
- Sesame oil (I use this in my sauces for chicken)
There are many other oils but these are the ones most commonly used in cooking & baking.
To refine the list more so you’re not going out and buying $100 worth of oil. The top ones to have in your cupboard are:
- Olive oil
- Coconut oil
- Canola oil
- Vegetable oil
Top 4 dried fruits, nuts, & chips to have
You never know when you will get a midnight craving for some oatmeal raisin cookies, chocolate chip cookies, or maybe banana bread?
Handy dandy ingredients to keep in your cupboard are:
- chocolate chips
There are others like cashews, almonds, dried mango, peanut butter chips……. but those are not used as often.
Whatever recipe you are making, 9 times out of 10 it will call for sugar. Adding sugar isn’t just for your baking but it is also for cooking. A little sprinkle of sugar into your stew, sauce, a dash into your muffins- sugar makes recipes sweet.
For my paleo friends try out coconut sugar
Chocolate! In all forms!
Another midnight snack you may be craving is something with chocolate. I know I tend to 🙂 Just so you never have to deny your chocolate craving because you don’t have any, always a little in the home.
If you love chocolate as much as me (hard to believe but possible 🙂 ) then always keep:
- cocoa powder
- dark chocolate baking bars
- semi-sweet chocolate
- chocolate chips
in your cupboard. You can quickly make brownies, chocolate cake, cocoa muffins, frosting, or whatever your hungry heart desires.
Every baking recipe I have encountered on my 17 years of being on this plant includes eggs. There is really no getting around not adding eggs to the mix, without them recipes will take a turn for the worse.
Keeping a carton of eggs in the fridge is a must-have for my baking lovers.
Although this is not a commonly known additive into recipes, it is still an important ingredient to have on hand.
Cooking wine/Regular wine/Alcohol
Adding wine/cooking wine to sauces, stews, soups and yes, even desserts, will bring a lot of flavor to your dishes. The mostly commonly used recipes which include wine are stews- lamb stew, vegetable stew- some Irish dishes include whiskey- and you can even make your own chocolates filled with alcohol (Bourbon to be specific). In addition, adding alcohol to your baking is a great way to add life to the party :), and because you are cooking with wine you might as well pour yourself a glass…. or two…
The following ingredients/items which are bullet pointed below are ingredients that are not part of my essential top 10 list. They are just other ingredients that every baker & cooker (whether aspiring or just for fun), should know about/ think about having in their house. Once again though, not essential.
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Fresh garlic
- Rice – adds sustenance to any dish
- Veggies- delicious & filling
- Cake pan
- Bread loaf pan
- Muffin pan
- Food dye
- Measuring cups
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