Whether you’re facing near-empty grocery stores, weathering a storm, or simply saving money, here are 25 simple pantry meals you can make with what you have on hand.
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Whether you’re facing near-empty grocery stores (as many of us are right now), weathering a storm, or simply eating out of your pantry to save money on groceries, coming up with meals using only what you have on hand can be a challenge.
In today’s post, I’m going to share 25 meals requiring only basic ingredients you likely already have in your pantry or freezer.
Now, everyone has a different definition of “pantry staple,” and there’s a wide spectrum of how well-stocked people like to be. So, I certainly can’t guarantee you’ll be able to make everything on this list.
But I’m going to give you a variety of meals, and hopefully you can find a few that work for you!
(Side note: You might also want to pin this post for future reference as a guide for what to keep well-stocked in your pantry and freezer.)
25 Meals Using Pantry & Freezer Staples
- Chicken & Rice — you can sub quinoa or couscous
For the best bang for your buck, cook a whole chicken and use all the parts!
- Meatloaf — this is our favorite meatloaf
- Breakfast for dinner — there are so many breakfast foods you can make with pantry staples, including pancakes, waffles, eggs, toast, and oatmeal!
- Classic chili
- White bean chicken chili
- Taco soup
- Black bean soup
- Beans & Rice — cooking dried beans is your cheapest option – here’s how to make them (quickly!) in the Instant Pot
- Beef & Macaroni — Here’s a basic, simple recipe (you can leave out the peppers if you don’t have them)
- Tacos/Burritos — you can make the tortillas from scratch, if needed, and stretch the taco meat with lentils or beans
- Taco/Burrito bowls — all the fixin’s of tacos or burritos, but deconstructed on a bowl of rice
- Corn & Bean Quesadillas
- Grilled Cheese — I mean, it’s a classic fall-back option!
- Korean beef — true Korean beef calls for sesame oil, but you can use any oil you have on hand, if needed
- Tuna noodle casserole
- Tuna mac
- Fried Rice
- Homemade pizza — don’t be constrained by “typical” toppings if you don’t have them – think outside the box with BBQ pork, taco, or even cheeseburger pizza!
- Hamburgers — have you ever made sheet pan hamburgers?? They’re SO EASY, and my new go-to option
- Beef & beans
- Chicken noodle soup
- Sloppy Joes — there are no less than a thousand sloppy joe recipes online, so search around until you find one with ingredients you have in your pantry!
- Black bean burgers — finding one with basic pantry staples was a little tricky, but I think this black bean burger recipe will do the trick if you swap out the feta with a different cheese. You can also try other veggies if you don’t have green peppers!
- Grain bowls — grain bowls are the ultimate pantry meal because they’re super versatile:
Any kind of grain (rice, quinoa, couscous, etc.) + Protein (cooked meat, beans, cooked eggs, etc.) + Vegetable
Foods to Have Stocked at All Times
- Meat in the freezer
- Canned chicken, tuna, and/or salmon
- Milk — (you can freeze milk!)
- Cheese — shred and stick in the freezer!
- Beans — canned and dried
- Grains — rice, quinoa, couscous, lentils, oats
- Canned broths & stocks
- Jarred pasta sauce
- Canned tomato products
- Basic baking supplies — lots of flour (keep surplus in the freezer), sugar, baking powder, baking soda, yeast
- Canned & frozen vegetables
- Canned & frozen fruits
I hope that helps, and be sure to leave a few of your go-to pantry meals in the comments below!
By the way, having a well-stocked pantry and freezer is one of the fundamental strategies in The Every Mom’s Meal Solution Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide to Feeding Your Family Well in Any Season, Budget, or Lifestyle.
Want to know more about how to get dinner on the table in less time, with less energy, for less money?
Learn more about this meal solution guide!
You Might Also Enjoy:
- 5 Quick & Simple Meals (To Save Time & Energy)
- 10 Freezer Meals That AREN’T Casseroles
- How to Cook a Whole Chicken (and Get the Most From It!)
- 8 Simple Ways to Save Serious Cash