Five Pantry Staples for Budget-Conscious Cooks: Beans, Canned Tomatoes, Oats, Rice, and Raw Honey

Tuttorosso Stewed Tomatoes in pantry
Tuttorosso Stewed Tomatoes in pantry.

Contrary to popular belief, it’s possible to create tasty dishes without spending a fortune. We list some of the best pantry staples for budget-conscious cooks.

Many people can’t wait to stock their kitchen cabinets, but they aren’t necessarily sure where to start, especially when they need to save some coin. We’re sharing our five favorite pantry staples for budget-conscious cooks who still want to prepare delicious meals.


It shouldn’t come as a surprise that beans made our list. For one thing, canned beans often cost less than one dollar per can. Additionally, they won’t expire for at least a couple of years from the purchase date, so you can stock up. Plus, packed with antioxidants, fiber, and protein, beans are one of the healthiest shelf-stable foods you can have on hand. If you’re unsure how to incorporate beans into your meals, we suggest including them in nachos, skillets, stews, and similarly hearty dishes.

Canned Tomatoes

Canned tomatoes are full of nutrients, and they cost—at most—a few bucks a can. They’re also a multipurpose ingredient; you can add canned tomatoes to chilis and soups, and they serve as the perfect base for homemade pasta sauce. Keep a few cans of tomatoes in your cabinets, as they offer seemingly endless possibilities.


If you want the most bang for your buck, don’t forget to stock up on large containers of oats. You can make oatmeal first thing in the mornings, and oats are also an essential component of homemade granola. However, you don’t have to save oats for breakfast—you can forego the fruits and bake a savory version, complete with, for instance, avocado, sautéed mushrooms, and a fried egg. As you can see, grains—especially oats—are incredibly versatile.


Rice is a nutritious grain that’s easy to purchase in bulk, which makes it another pantry staple. It’s great as a side dish and can effortlessly act as the star of the show, too. For instance, why not try your hand at recreating your favorite takeout entrées? Plus, if you need to cut down on your spending, then you’ll probably want to nix eating out anyway. Now, let’s say you need to use up vegetables that are going bad in your fridge—you can put your rice and veggies together in a casserole or risotto dish. It’ll fill you up, and you’ll feel satisfied knowing you didn’t have to spend a ton to cook a complete meal.

Raw Honey

We praise raw honey because it’s tasty on its own, but did you know that you can add raw honey to a variety of dishes? It’s also a huge money-saver; since it can essentially enhance any food’s flavor, you don’t have to spend on other sugar substitutes such as monk fruit sweetener or Stevia.

So there you have it—five of the best pantry staples for budget-conscious cooks. The next time you’re perusing the store aisles or ordering groceries online, consider adding these items to your cart.

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Tuttorosso Stewed Tomatoes in pantry
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