Essential Baking Ingredients to Keep in Your Pantry

Stock up on all the baking staples you’re likely to need now, so when baking fever comes over you, nothing is holding you back. Here’s a basic but essential baking ingredients list to get you started.

We’ve all experienced it — the frustration of being in the middle of a recipe when you realize that you’re missing an essential baking ingredient. Now you’re faced with running to the store mid-recipe or scrapping your baking plans altogether, and neither option is appealing.

Also, before we start with the essential ingredients you must have, you should also start to familiarized with the basic baking terms

Pantry Staples for Baking

In a hurry to start baking? The items on this baking ingredients list should cover all your baking needs:

  • Flour
  • Salt
  • Granulated sugar
  • Confectioners’ sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Unsalted Butter
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Baking soda
  • Baking powder
  • Dry yeast
  • Vegetable oil
  • Shortening
  • Vanilla extract
  • Cinnamon
  • Nutmeg
  • Cloves
  • Add-ins such as chocolate chips or nuts

Flour: The Foundation of Any Baked Good

Flour is the staple ingredient of any baking recipe. Keep flour in your pantry at all times, but be sure to check the expiration date and keep it in an airtight container. Furthermore, keep flour on a dark shelf or in your fridge to extend its shelf life. 

While all-purpose flour is incredibly versatile and you can use it to make anything from pancakes to brownies, some recipes will call for a specific kind of flour. Whole wheat flour, pastry flour, and gluten-free flour are all alternatives you might want to consider. 

[Related: How to Start Cooking: Cooking Tips for Beginners]

Salt: Not to Be Ignored (or Confused With Sugar!)

Salt is a common baking ingredient. Even for sweet pastries and cakes, you will often use salt. 

While you’ll most likely be using granulated table salt or iodized salt for most of your baking, you could also find a recipe that asks you to use sea salt or kosher salt instead. 

Once you stock up on all the essential baking ingredients, head over to our website to find recipes, baking tips, and more

Sugar: Making Things a Little Sweeter

If you’ve ever forgotten to add sugar to your baked goods, you know the outcome. 

When a recipe asks for sugar, it’s most often referring to granulated sugar. Sometimes even referred to as “regular” sugar, granulated sugar is a must-have baking ingredient. 

Additionally, you may want to pick up confectioners’ sugar for dusting or to prepare frosting. 

Brown sugar is also an option for baking certain cookies and making sauces and marinades. 

Leaveners: Rise Your Dough

Leaveners are an essential baking ingredient that cause dough to rise. Through a chemical reaction, leaveners create tiny gas bubbles throughout dough and batter. The most common leaveners are usually baking soda and baking powder. You can also use active or instant dry yeast for bread.

Baking soda is most often used in muffins, cookies, and cakes. 

While baking powder acts in a very similar way to baking soda, there is a difference between them. Baking powder only needs a liquid ingredient to activate and cause the dough to rise, whereas baking soda needs an acidic ingredient. 

Dairy: Add Moisture to Your Recipe

Dairy products are a big component of many baking recipes. This means milk and butter. 

Unsalted Butter

Butter is useful for batters, doughs, as well as for making frosting and icing. Typically, it’s best to use unsalted butter rather than margarine for baking. Butter gives a richer flavor to your baked goods, as well as sharing its signature texture. 


Milk makes batters moist. Especially important for pancakes, milk also gives your baked goods a richer flavor. 

[Related: Must-Have Starter Kitchen Utensils for Your First Apartment]

Eggs: The Glue in Your Recipe

Eggs are what binds ingredients together, helping you get the right consistency of dough and batter. 

Ready to start baking? Follow Good Home Chef on Instagram for baking recipes, tips, and more! 

Fats, Oil, & Shortening: Avoid Sticking

Fats include both butter and vegetable oils. Vegetable oil is important for oiling baking pans so that your cake doesn’t stick. Many recipes often ask you to use this.  

Shortening is a kind of vegetable fat. Sometimes, it’s used as a butter replacement. Shortening is useful for more tender baked goods, such as pie crusts. Additionally, shortening helps cookies hold their shape better. 

Extracts: Subtle, But Potent

You’ll see vanilla extract come up pretty often in baking recipes. Just a dash of pure vanilla extract can go a long way. 

Spices: Add Depth & Flavor

While ground cinnamon is a staple in most baker’s pantries, nutmeg and cloves are also useful to keep on hand. 

You can use cinnamon in both sweet and savory dishes. In combination with nutmeg or cloves, cinnamon can add depth to an apple or pecan pie. 

[Related: Essential Spices: What to Put in Your Spice Cabinet]

Add-Ins: Add That Final Touch

Add-ins are everything else that could possibly go into your baking recipe. For example, chocolate chips, nuts, coconut flakes, peanut butter… and so much more could be considered add-ins. 

While it can be a good idea to keep the basics around like chocolate chips (why not throw them into your pancakes?), for most add-in ingredients, you might want to refer to the recipe to figure out exactly what you’ll need. 

However, one of the best parts about baking or cooking is that once you have the main ingredients and idea down, you can modify and experiment as you please! That might mean putting fruit slices into your waffle batter or peanut butter in cookie dough — get creative! 

Start Baking With Your Essential Baking Ingredients!

Once you have your pantry full of baking staples, it’s time to bake! And whether you’re looking for new recipes, baking inspiration, or helpful how-tos, Good Home Chef has you covered. 

Check out our website and follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest! We’ll bring you the latest baking tips and tricks. 

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