holiday pantry staples, gingerbread

Top 10 Pantry Staples for Tasty Holiday Meals & Snacks

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Yes! After all that waiting, the holiday season is finally here. Time for joy, laughter, family and let’s be honest…FOOD. Lots of really good food. Now before you go dusting off those recipe books or scrolling through Pinterest, I want to let you in on a little secret. Since the holidays do come around every year, history has shown that certain foods will inevitably be more popular than usual, so be ready.

holiday pantry staples, gingerbread


Since I like you, I am going to share ten pantry staples to make tasty holiday meals and snacks. Might as well stock up now to avoid several trips to the store later. Ready. Set. Go!

1. Nutmeg

Nutmeg can be found in so many holiday recipes. Of course fresh is best but, who are we kidding? Do you really see yourself grating fresh nutmeg (which I love), into your recipes. Buy a small bottle of grated nutmeg and keep it handy. Make sure it’s not too big because it will just go to waste. Most recipes just call for no more than a teaspoon or two anyway. By the way, you’ve got to try this recipe for orange rosemary sweet potatoes. It’s a crowd-pleaser.

2. Vanilla Extract

Spending the cash on vanilla extract, versus vanilla essence is really worth the impact especially during the holidays. Even oatmeal can be jazzed up by using a splash of vanilla extract. If you want to give it try, here’s my recipe for Vanilla Spiced Pumpkin Oatmeal. Life is too short to use artificial vanilla.

3. Cinnamon

Ground cinnamon will add pizzazz to any holiday meal, so make sure it’s in your pantry. Not only that, buy some whole cinnamon sticks too. Use the sticks to flavor syrup for pancakes, drinks like coffee and hot chocolate and so much more. To go along with that holiday coffee or hot chocolate, you could have a freshly baked hot cinnamon rolls in the morning. Sounds delicious right? You’ll wonder how you went without it. Get the cinnamon!

4. Baking Powder

Every well stocked holiday pantry has to have baking powder. How else are you going to get those cakes, cookies and breads looking their best?

5. Cranberries

Besides making homemade cranberry sauce or cranberry bread pudding, how about sitting down to a bowl of orange scented cranberry oatmeal in the morning? To make sure buy dried cranberries to keep this shelf stable.

6. Eggnog

What are the holidays without eggnog? Actually, besides drinking eggnog, we enjoy Eggnog French Toast with Caramelized Bananas (update: I’m going to have to tweak this recipe to make it gluten free) for breakfast every Christmas. Give it a try and you’ll know why.

7. Flour

Most traditional baking recipes contain some type of flour, so buy at least 2-3 five pound bags and keep them stocked up for the holidays. If you have been following the grocery sales cycle series, then you already know that now is time to stock up on flour anyway to get a great price. By the way, Christmas season is also “cookie” season and the best cookies contain flour. Need I say more? Update: Here’s a good gluten free flour.

8. Raisins

Raisins can add  sweetness and festivity to even savory holiday dishes and sides. Make sure you have enough.

9. Breadcrumbs

You just never know when they will come in handy and you won’t regret keeping them in your pantry. I can never think about having Thanksgiving dinner without homemade macaroni and cheese. Although I steer away from that deliciousness the rest of the year, when Thanksgiving comes around, food tradition wins. Update: gluten free breadcrumbs

10. Powdered Sugar

Even if you only keep powdered sugar to makes desserts look like snow dusted mountains, then it’s worth keeping this stuff around during the Christmas and Thanksgiving holidays.

*Bonus: Pumpkin Pie Spice

Just a sprinkle of pumpkin pie spice in almost anything, will make your taste buds dance for the holidays. Try it in coffee, pancakes, oatmeal, sweet potatoes and of course good old pumpkin pie. If you are a traditionalist, you may opt to make your own pumpkin pie spice at home with cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves. But, using pumpkin pie spice is so much easier. (originally published 11/14)

  • Comments ( 9 )

  • avatar

    In addition to everything you have, I always keep canned pumpkin just in case I have no time to roast one and need to whip up some pumpkin muffins.

    • avatar

      Yes indeed! Canned pumpkin comes in so handy. It was on the initial list and then got edited out. The list of “top” holiday items was getting too long. 🙂 But, I 100% agree. We love putting it in pumpkin pancakes at home. Muffins sound like a yummy idea too.

  • avatar
    Heather @ My Overflowing Cup

    Tyra beat me to it! I was going to say canned pumpkin, too. Great list, though. Thanks for sharing. I really can’t think of anything else to add. (Except for candy cane kisses, although I have to admit that those are not pantry staples!)

  • avatar

    This is an awesome list to have! Totally could have used it while I was at the grocery store this morning! Thanks for sharing! Also wanted to let you know about a new linky party starting this Saturday at 8pm called “Found & Foraged” Can’t wait to party with you at

    • avatar

      Thanks for the invite. I’ll check it out.

  • avatar

    super list to have – and I’m with everyone else – canned pumpkin is a must

    • avatar

      I’m with you too! I’ll be making an amendment for all my pumpkin lovers. What your favorite item to make with canned pumpkin? I love pumpkin pie and these pumpkin banana fritters are just amazing.

  • avatar
    April J Harris (@apriljharris)

    Excellent list! I think the best way to be able to relax and enjoy any holiday is to be prepared and your list is a great start! Than you for sharing it with us at the Hearth and Soul hop.

    • avatar

      Thanks for stopping by April. Do your celebrate a holiday similar to Thanksgiving in the UK?

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