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How to Keep a Well-Stocked Kitchen + Pantry

by Magnolia
Published on February 15, 2024

A Well-Stocked Kitchen

Setting yourself up for success in the kitchen looks a lot like preparation. It’s one thing to have a bunch of cookbooks—and another to feel empowered to open one on a whim and get cooking. A well-stocked pantry gives you that confidence. Tools for the task. Ingredients at the ready. Equipped and assured, you’ll find it easier to say “yes, chef!” (to yourself) whenever inspiration strikes.

That brings us to this guide. Over the years, we’ve found certain items come up time and again in our cooking—Joanna’s too. So we’ve pored through our shopping lists, as well as Jo’s Magnolia Table cookbooks, to define what we consider to be the essentials. By keeping your own “capsule” kitchen, you’ll make room for more creativity in the culinary process since you won’t be worried about what you do or don’t have on hand. After all, time in the kitchen is about more than measurements, instructions, and timers. It’s about the meals and moments we get to savor together.

Keep in mind our suggestions below are simply that—suggestions. So feel free to make adjustments as needed. Let’s begin…

Key Ingredients:

Cooking is an avenue for self-expression, so your pantry ought to feel personal too. We recommend stocking up on flavors that suit your family’s traditions, culture, and tastes—plus a few basic building blocks that are often used in many common recipes.

Below, we’ve provided a list of the pantry staples, dry goods, and produce that are almost always present in Jo’s kitchen (whether at the farm or on the set of Magnolia Table).

Key Ingredients

Oils, Vinegars, Sauces

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Vegetable oil (Whichever neutral oil you like will work fine; Jo usually has canola oil on hand.)
  • Vegetable oil spray and nonstick baking spray with flour
  • Vinegars (Think: white wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, apple cider vinegar…whatever you use most often.)
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Mustard (dijon or whole grain)
  • Hot sauce
  • Honey
  • Maple syrup


  • Kosher salt
  • Black pepper (Jo usually buys whole black peppercorns in bottles that have a grinder attached.)
  • Parsley flakes
  • Garlic salt
  • Garlic powder
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Ground cinnamon


  • Unbleached all-purpose flour
  • Self-rising flour
  • Baking powder
  • Baking soda
  • Active dry yeast
  • Light brown sugar
  • Powdered sugar
  • Granulated sugar
  • Natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • Semisweet chocolate chips
  • Pure vanilla extract

Dry, Canned + Prepared Goods

  • Dry pasta (fettuccine, spaghetti, farfalle)
  • Lentils
  • Beans (garbanzo or black beans)
  • Grains (white rice, brown rice, quinoa)
  • Oats
  • Pecans (or other nuts)
  • Seeds (chia, pumpkin, sesame)
  • Canned cream of chicken soup
  • Boxed organic chicken broth
  • Tomatoes (diced, whole, paste)
  • Pasta sauce
  • Peanut butter
  • Pancake mix
  • Tea
  • Coffee


  • Salted butter
  • Buttermilk
  • Half-and-half
  • Heavy (whipping) cream
  • Milk (Jo likes 2% organic milk.)
  • Sour cream
  • Cream cheese
  • Eggs
  • Fresh herbs
  • Parmesan cheese

Note: Depending on how frequently your family goes through certain proteins and vegetables, we recommend adding a few to this checklist. Like chicken, broccoli, or greens.


  • Bananas
  • Lemons
  • White onions
  • Garlic
  • Potatoes

Tools for the Task:

Staying properly equipped makes cooking that much easier. The right pans, knives, and cutting boards—these are all integral components. The sous to your chef.

Here are the tools we find ourselves reaching for day after day, and therefore, regard them to be worth investing in. Keep in mind: Less can be more. Just a handful of high-quality pieces will keep your inventory lean, purposeful, and long-lasting.

Psst, you can shop many of our go-tos in our Core Collection.

Tools for the Task

Measuring, Mixing + Prep

  • Liquid measuring cups
  • Dry measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  • Extra-large stainless-steel bowl
  • Nesting mixing bowls
  • Small prep bowls and ramekins
  • Cutting boards
  • Bench scraper
  • Spoon rest
  • Utensil holder


  • Wooden spoons
  • Rubber or silicone spatulas
  • Whisks
  • Slotted spoon
  • Metal spatula
  • Ladle
  • Pastry blender
  • Chef’s knife
  • Paring knife
  • Bird’s beak knife
  • Vegetable peeler
  • Microplane grater
  • Tongs
  • Box grater
  • Rolling pin


  • Immersion blender
  • Food processor
  • Electric stand mixer
  • Handheld electric mixer
  • Coffee brewer

Bakeware + Cookware

  • Pie plates
  • Baking sheets
  • Deep casserole dish
  • Baking pan
  • Large cast-iron skillet
  • Tall stockpot


  • Storage bowls, canisters, or jars
  • Oil + vinegar pours
  • Colander + sieves
  • Biscuit cutters
  • Pizza cutter
  • Mortar and pestle
  • Hinged citrus press
  • Pot holders + mitts
  • Washcloths + kitchen towels
  • Parchment paper and wax paper
Norah Measuring Cup Set
Set of Three Copper Mixing Bowls
Wood with Antique Brass Canister
Magnolia Seal Cutting Board
Pans + Skillets
French Grey Baking Dish Set

Create Your Checklist:

Download this templateOpens in new tab to document the tools and ingredients you use most often—or, write in the items listed above to begin stocking your kitchen just like we do.

Pro-tip: If you have a copy of previous grocery lists, that can be a great resource to identify some of your frequently used items.

Serveware Collection

There’s joy to be found in preparing something special for the ones we love. Take it slow, delighting in the full bellies and requests for seconds, and even in the last-minute grocery runs. Through the making and sharing of meals, we savor life’s best.

From tools to serveware and table linens, find more pieces that invite you to prep with confidence and ease.