Must-Have Pantry Staples + Essentials for an Emergency

March 14, 2020
Shanika | Orchids + Sweet Tea

Must-Have Pantry Staples + Essentials for an Emergency

When it comes to an emergency, there are a list of Must-Have Pantry Staples + Essentials that you should have to ensure that you and your family are equipped amidst a crisis. This list not only includes common items that are universal as it relates to meal planning and prepping, but we've compiled a short list of our healthy recipes that use a few of these ingredients for greater ease.

Collage with text \"Must-Have Pantry Staples + Essentials for an Emergency.\"

In light of the World and all that is currently happening around us, I've decided to create this post to share our list of must-have items (pantry + essentials) that we should be stocking up on right now.

Please be aware that our stocking up shouldn't cause someone else hardship when trying to purchase those same essentials as we've seen all around the news.

But we're confident that this isn't being done by you, so disregard this disclaimer as you see fit.

Noodles and eggs on a wooden countertop.

Amid this COVID-19 Nationwide Emergency and all around the World Pandemic, things have definitely been crazy and chaotic to say the least.

So many store are with empty shelves as it relates to toilet tissue, paper towels, lysol wipes, sprays, disinfectants, and more. I've seen this especially the case in New York.

Now, I've seen Grocery stores become empty and that is super scary. Don't you agree? Take deep breathes. Everything WILL BE OK.

In addition, I've noticed so many of you asking what essentials were needed, which pantry items should be sought after, and so many other important questions.

It's definitely difficult to set our minds towards solely having pantry items and less fresh foods, if you aren't use to it, so I do hope that this list helps ease some anxiety or confusion during this time.

As a bonus, I've hand-picked a few recipes from Orchids + Sweet Tea, which allows you to keep things healthy while using these staples.

I mean, who really needs to be tossed off their healthy food journey in the middle of a crisis, right?

Must-Have Pantry Items:

Slices of bread on a wooden surface with garlic, oil, and herbs.
  • Pasta (regular, gluten-free, brown rice, chickpea, or whatever you choose!)
  • Dried Beans
  • Canned Beans
  • Canned Tomatoes (diced, halved, etc.)
  • Breads (Can be refrigerated or frozen to last longer)
  • Bagels
  • Pasta sauces
  • Canned sauces (tomato, enchilada, etc.)
  • Canned tuna + sardine
  • Canned corn beef
  • Lentils
  • Oils and Vinegars (olive oil, avocado oil, grapeseed oil, coconut oil, etc.)
  • Stocks + Broths (Chicken, Veggie, Beef)
  • Oatmeal (refrigerated to last longer)
  • Nut Butters
  • Bouillon cubes/paste
  • Full fat Coconut Milk (Canned)
  • Dairy-free milks (boxed)
  • Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Flours (All-purpose, cake, bread, gluten-free, etc.)
  • Baking powder, Baking soda, Cornstarch
  • Vanilla
  • Polenta, Grits
  • Sugar (brown, pure cane, coconut, etc.)
  • Seasonings/Spices
  • Sweeteners (honey, maple syrup, date syrup, Agave)
  • Ramen Noodles
  • Teas/Coffees
  • Dates
  • Nuts (cashews, pecans, walnuts, etc.)
  • Raisins
  • Chia Seeds
  • Flaxseed meal
  • Chocolate
  • Chocolate Chips
  • Healthy Snacks
  • Juices
  • Cereal
  • Tortilla Chips
  • Water
  • Crackers (whole grain, regular, whichever!)
Bunch of pasta tied together with a string.


The Best Healthy Sugar Alternatives + Substitutes list is all about finding better ways to enjoy your favorite sweets without compromising your healthy lifestyle. For those who follow a vegetarian and/or vegan lifestyle, this lists offers a few great ideas to incorporate healthy sweeteners into your diet.

Refrigerated + Other Food Essentials:

  • Butter (unsalted or vegan)
  • Eggs
  • Cheese (shredded + bricks; hard cheeses such as cheddar, parmesan, asiago tend to last longer)
  • Vegan Cheese Shreds
  • Yogurts
  • Meats + Seafoods
  • Potatoes + Sweet Potatoes
  • Butternut Squash
  • Frozen fruit + Veggies
  • Frozen pizza crusts
  • Beyond Meat Frozen items (Vegan-friendly)
  • Bananas (slice + freeze)
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Unripe avocados
  • Dairy-free milks
  • Ice creams

Household Essentials:

  • Paper towels (Alternatives: Newspaper, Baby Wipes, Cloth Rags)
  • Toilet tissue (Alternatives: Wet Wipes, Baby Wipes, Wash Cloths, Terry Cloths, Plant Material such as Banana Leaves)
  • Garbage Bags
  • Storage Bags (zip loc)
  • Plastic Wrap, Foil Paper
  • Parchment Paper
  • Dish Soap
  • Hand Soap
  • Laundry Detergent + Essentials
  • Sprays
  • Lysol Wipes
  • Cleaning Supplies
  • Alcohol
  • Peroxide
  • Vitamins + Supplements
  • Pain Relief
  • Medications
  • Body Washes + Soaps
  • Toothpaste
  • Flashlights
  • Candles
  • Batteries
  • Diapers


When it comes to herbs + plants, there are so many benefits to using them, especially when used for medicinal purposes. This list of Jamaican Herbs That You Should Always Keep On Hand + their Remedies showcases many popular (and not so well-known) herbs that fight everything from colds/flus to pain to acne; traditionally used by many Jamaicans for centuries.

10 of Our Healthy Pantry Staple Recipes For the Entire Family.

  1. Healthy Vegan Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
Vegan Stuffed Sweet Potatoes on a white plate.

2. Vegan Sweet Potato Pasta w/ Kale + Spinach

Vegan Sweet Potato Pasta with Kale and Spinach in a skillet.

3. Flourless Vegan Banana Oats Waffles

Flourless Vegan Banana Oats Waffles on a white plate.

4. Creamy Jamaican Cornmeal Porridge

Wooden bowls of Creamy Jamaican Cornmeal Porridge.

5. Vegan ‘Cheese’ Polenta + Kale Pesto + Roasted Chickpea

Vegan \'Cheese\' Polenta and Kale Pesto with Roasted Chickpea in a white bowl.

6. Vegan Tuscan Kale Chickpea Soup

Spoon in a bowl of Vegan Tuscan Kale Chickpea Soup.

7. Easy Roasted Butternut Squash 

White bowl of Roasted Butternut Squash Soup.

8. Peanut Butter Chia Seed Overnight Oats

Two jars of Peanut Butter Chia Seed Overnight Oats.

9. Easy Peanut Butter Banana Oats Smoothie

Two Peanut Butter Banana Oats Smoothies.

10. Banana Peanut Butter Overnight Oats

Banana Peanut Butter Overnight Oats in a small glass.

Of course, you can always check out our recipe archives or search on our site for other easy options that work perfectly in this case as well!


With the Fall/Winter season in full swing, these 10 Naturally Effective Ways to Fight a Cold/Flu come in handy! If you’ve ever had to suffer through either ailment, then you’ll know just how uncomfortable and miserable it can feel. While there are many over-the-counter medicines available, the truth is–natural is best and it actually works!

Tomatoes and garlic on a countertop.

Have you gotten any of these staples? Do you have any suggestions for items that were left off the list? Let me know in the comments!

Be safe, remain calm, + take those deep breathes!

Must-Have Pantry Staples + Essentials for an Emergency.


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  1. Looks like I have my shopping list already prepared! Great ideas; getting ready to go pick up these items soon!

  2. I live in Italy and here we're having to really rely on pantry staples. This list is very useful!

    • Hi Jacqueline! I could only imagine! Praying that everything levels out and gets better for your country! 🙂

  3. This is a very complete and thorough list for items to have on hand during an emergency. Thank you for putting this together. I just went shopping yesterday, and it was so darn crazy. We literally went to 8 stores to find just a few must-have items. I hope the anxious feeling we all have now will tamp down soon!

    • I'm so happy to hear that this helps, Denay! I know how crazy it is! We're having the same issue here in NYC! Best of luck in all of this! 🙂

  4. Love the list of your awesome recipes. Every information is so useful . Have to surely check on your list.

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