If you get into baking fairly regularly, you’ll find that you need a set of staple ingredients on hand at all times. After all, you never know when you’re going to want to whip up something sweet! The more I bake, the more often I find myself in this position.
I used to panic every time I baked, because I was missing something for my recipe. It’s not fun to get halfway through prepping a recipe, only to find out that you’re missing some key ingredients that are pretty simple.
These days I keep my pantry and fridge stocked with the basics so that I am prepared at all times. Unless I have a fancier recipe, I tend to have everything I need for most traditional bakes.
Here is a list of all the staple baking ingredients that I store in my pantry. Now that I have more experience with baking, I definitely have a broader collection of specialty ingredients. However, the list below is full of ingredients that you will need for almost any bake.
All-Purpose Flour – I use all-purpose flour in just about every single recipe. It’s in cakes, cookies, pies, and more. My Toffee Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Loaf Cakes recipe is a great example of using flour in multiple aspects of the recipe.
Sugar – It wouldn’t be a dessert without sugar, right? I think it is safe to say that keeping sugar in your pantry will be helpful for baking. I know it’s not groundbreaking to have sugar on this list, but you would be surprised at how many times I have ran out of sugar when trying to bake.
Powdered Sugar – If you’re making any kind of icing, you will typically need powdered sugar. It’s also great for making homemade whipped cream, which is heavily featured in my Lemon Cream Tart recipe.
Brown Sugar – I have been surprised at how many recipes require brown sugar. For me, I mostly use it for cookies and some cake recipes. There’s light and dark brown sugar options, but I’ve found that most recipes call for light brown sugar.
Salt – We use kosher salt in the Woodruff house, but regular salt is fine too. Typically you only need a small amount of salt, so no need to stock up on too much.
Baking Soda Baking Powder – Now these are two completely different ingredients, but they function the same in terms of their place in your pantry. You may not need them for every recipe, but it sure comes in handy to have them on hand. They’re not something we usually think of when we are at the grocery store and are always the ingredients we’re missing when we do want to bake. The great thing about these ingredients is that they last forever! So get it now and you will be good for a few years.
Cocoa Powder – As an avid chocolate lover, a lot of the recipes that I make include chocolate. So, cocoa powder is a frequent ingredient when I bake. I’ve learned from Stella Parks to get a Dutch processed cocoa powder. My Devil’s Food Cupcake recipe is a great recipe that uses cocoa powder.
Vanilla Extract – I think every recipe that I have developed or made requires vanilla extract. The great thing about vanilla is that while almost every recipe needs it, the bottle will last forever!
Chocolate Chips – Does this really need an explanation? Adding chocolate chips to anything just makes it better. But seriously, chocolate chips are great for adding to cookies, melting down for a drizzle, coating cake pops, and more!
Here are the staple baking ingredients that I keep in my fridge. I tend not to need much more than this even when baking a fancier recipe! The nice thing about the staples you keep in the fridge, is that they are regular staples that most people keep on hand for everything.
Unsalted Butter – This is another ingredient that is featured in most recipes. I never realized that most baking recipes called for unsalted butter until recently, but now I always have four sticks in my fridge.
Eggs – If you’ve ever made a cake or cookies, you know you will need a few eggs. For some of my recipes, you’ll need a lot of eggs. When I learned to make choux pastry, I did it on a whim one afternoon and was so happy that I had the ingredients on hand. One of the main ingredients that I needed was eggs.
Milk – Most of the time, you will not need a lot of milk for baking, but it comes it handy when you do need it. Since milk is a staple for most people, this shouldn’t be too hard to include on your baking staples list.
Heavy Whipping Cream – I like to make my own homemade whipped cream. Once you do it, you will never go back to the store bought stuff. It’s ready in less than five minutes and just takes a mixer, heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar, vanilla, and salt. You can test this out by trying out my Mini Whipped Key Lime Pies recipe.
Cream Cheese – This may not be a baking staple for most people, but I love to make cream cheese icing. If there is a way I can incorporate cream cheese icing I will do it! Ever since my mom taught me how to make my great-grandmother’s recipe, I have been hooked. My Oreo Devil’s Food Chocolate Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing recipe is a tasty example of why you should make it a staple for you too.
There are certainly many more ingredients that you will use the more that you bake, but these staples will be a great foundation for a lot of recipes. It’s always easier to start with most of the ingredients that you need instead of having to go out and get a million ingredients for a recipe all at once.
What kind of staple ingredients do you keep on hand? Let me know in the comments below!