The best pantry staples for cooks from scratch

Being a home cook means having a pantry stocked with all the right ingredients for flavorful meals.

This Mother’s Day, the mom who is an avid home cook doesn’t want a whole bunch of boxed mixes and pre-made cooking sauce. She wants the pantry-friendly ingredients she needs to cook from scratch—and that’s fodder for some perfect gift ideas.

Slofoodgroup ground pasilla chili powder

They don’t need a ton of spice blends, they just need a few great multipurpose spices that do a lot at once. This ground chili pasilla powder ($15.50) is peppery, smoky and sweet and will work wonderfully in a wide variety of dishes.

Sweet July Olive Oil

This 100% virgin olive oil ($39) is produced in California using Arbequina olives from the Catalonia region of Spain. Great olive oil is a pantry essential, for everything from dipping crusty bread and making salad dressings to using as a finishing touch to countless dishes.

Sonoma Syrup Co. Organic Pure Vanilla Bean Extract “Crush”

If she likes to bake, she’ll want to keep a high-quality vanilla extract on hand, and this one ($47) is a blend of Tahitian and Madagascar bourbon vanilla with vanilla bean seeds. Plus it’s from a brand founded by women. This is exactly the energy we need for Mother’s Day.

Vahdam Kitchen Essentials Spice Box, 9 Spices

A collection of quality spices can make or break any pantry, and if she loves cooking Indian food, she’ll be obsessed with the VAHDAM India Essential Spice Box ($100). These spices are grown in India and sealed fresh right at the source for the best flavor and flavor strength. The Kitchen Essentials Spice Box includes turmeric, black pepper, cloves, cinnamon, ginger, cumin, onion, garlic and Himalayan pink salt.

Boonville Barn Collective Chile Flake Trio

If she likes to be adventurous with unique flavors and spices, she’ll want to try this trio of chili flakes ($33), which are sustainably produced on a woman-owned farm. This trio also has a spectrum of heat levels, so she can choose her adventure.

Soom Foods Premium Tahini

Tahini is more than a condiment for her falafel. This ingredient ($18 for 2 packs) is a staple in everything from hummus to dressings, and if she’s going to have tahini in her pantry, Soom (which has been a top option in the US for a decade) is a great way to go.

Primary bean set

There’s no end to using a wide variety of beans, and avoiding canned options is always the best way to go whenever possible. Primary Beans was founded by sisters and offers a bunch of varieties of dried beans. These beans are also so fresh that you won’t even need to soak them before cooking. The Brothy Beans Set ($23) features Cranberry, Chaparro and Bayo beans, all from the Fall/Winter 2023 harvest and perfect for the next seasonal bowl of soup, stew or casserole.

King Arthur Espresso Powder

We love a freshly brewed espresso in the morning or after dinner, but espresso is much more than a drink. This espresso powder ($10) is ground and brewed, then dry-dried from specially selected coffee beans. It’s a great ingredient to add to baked goods, from brownies to chocolate birthday cake.

New York Shook Canned Lemon Paste

New York Shuk’s Preserved Lemon Paste ($16) is an ingredient she never knew she always needed. It’s a citrus level with a kiss of salt that works great in Middle Eastern dishes as well as marinades and salad dressings and more.

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