Essential Store Cupboard Ingredients
Cooking delicious, healthy meals is always far easier with a well-stocked store cupboard. When you have a go-to supply of Essential Store Cupboard Ingredients, you’re less likely to stray off course and lean on takeaways or ready meals for dinner.
Putting a store cupboard together from scratch might feel a bit overwhelming but don’t worry – as time goes on, you’ll build up a steady supply of tasty and reliable ingredients.
The key is not to over-buy, so you can make the most of your budget. Stock up on ingredients you know that you’ll use time and time again. This will save your pennies and reduce food waste too.
Store cupboard ingredients like to be kept in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight. When you stockpile tasty kitchen staples, just remember to keep an eye on the dates on the packaging. While they will far outlast fresh produce, they’re not going to last forever!
Pointing out oil, salt and pepper might seem like stating the obvious, but being caught without a supply of these key cooking staples is a nightmare.
With a supply of low calorie cooking spray handy, you’re always ready to throw ingredients in the pan. Olive oil, as long as it’s extra virgin, is widely trusted as the healthiest oil to cook (and even bake) with. You can go for other options like sunflower or rapeseed, but these are typically higher in fat.
Our Roasted Potatoes with Smoked Bacon rest on a single layer of low calorie cooking spray as they cook – this stops them from sticking and makes sure they hit the plate crispy and golden.
Before serving, season to your taste with salt and ground black pepper. Salt brings out the flavours of your food, while pepper adds a distinctive kick.
Sugar (sweetener) and flour
If you’re a keen baker, chances are you already have sugar and flour at the ready. A spoonful of sugar can always be replaced with a healthier, sweetener alternative. There are a few different kinds of sweetener, and the best one for you to use will depend on the recipe you’re attempting.
Don’t worry if you’re not sure which sweetener to go with, our recipes will let you know.
Granulated sweetener is super handy for our slimming friendly Chocolate Brownies because it weighs the same as sugar, so it can be used interchangeably.
Plus, you can’t taste the difference – these brownies are SO good!
Flour is a kitchen essential you can use to bake, make bread and even thicken sauces.
Plain flour is vital to the fluffiness of our Lighter Yorkshire Puddings. Nowhere near as high in fat as a traditional batch, but definitely just as good. You can even save the batter for a later date.
Another baking essential, self-raising flour keeps our zesty Lemon Drizzle Cake recipe light and airy. It’s perfect with a cuppa!
Stock cubes and pots
We love a good stock cube and stock pot combo! They’re convenient, affordable and so versatile – you can use them in everything from gravies and risottos to pasta dishes and casseroles.
You can easily match up the vegetable, chicken or beef options with whatever you’re preparing. Just be sure to look out for low-salt versions!
Our sweet and sticky Diet Coke/Pepsi Max Chicken uses both a stock pot and a stock cube to enrich the chicken flavours.
We prefer to use Pepsi Max because it thickens better than Diet Coke, so it’s saucier than the original. You can even use Pepsi Max Ginger for a more concentrated hit of ginger spice!
If you don’t have a small glass of red wine handy but you want to give a beef dish an extra special touch, why not add a red wine stock pot?
Our Instant Pot Beef Stew is filling, warming and extra delicious topped up with red wine aromas.
Herbs and spices
Need a dash of flavour? Use tasty, dried herbs instead. Need to turn up the heat? Add a hint of spice. The right spice combination can be the magic touch that really makes a dish come to life.
Stocking up on herbs and spices can be expensive, so it’s good to have a handful of favourites you know you’ll get your money’s worth from.
Spices do lose their flavour over time, so be sure to keep an eye on how long you’ve had them for. They’ll keep longer if you store them in a cupboard rather than on the worktop, as they love it in a cool, dark and dry place.
Without herbs and spices it would be impossible to create our much-loved low calorie Fakeaways!
Our Katsu Chicken Curry’s crispy fried chicken is smothered in an irresistible curry sauce that’s packed with garlic and curry powder.
We’ve used medium curry powder, but you can use mild or hot if you like more heat.
With Beef Paprikash, the spice is so key it’s literally in the name!
Our slimming friendly version of the classic Hungarian beef stew is only 354 calories per serving.
Slow cooking this recipe is a great way to really bring out the sweetness of the paprika.
If you want to know more about store cupboard herbs and spices, we’ve got you covered – check out our Essential Herbs and Spice List.
When your cooking needs a little acidity, vinegar is the one to call in. Balsamic, red wine and white wine vinegar are all reliable kitchen cupboard staples.
You’ll want to add red wine vinegar when you’re making a heartier dish, with ingredients like beef, pork or lots of veggies.
You’ll find it adds a splash of flavour to hearty, warming recipes like our Spicy Beef Stew.
White wine vinegar (as with the wine you’d serve in a glass!), is best added to dishes involving chicken or fish.
That’s why it works in our cheesy, baked Chicken Tetrazzini – and it’s only 388 calories per serving.
Balsamic vinegar is a unique blend of rich and sweet, and so flavoursome it can have dishes built around it. As with red wine vinegar, it can be used in warming dishes like our Slow Cooker Balsamic Beef Stew.
You’ll want to try a spoonful of this one, it literally tastes like comfort!
Pulses and beans
Packed with fibre and protein, beans are a tasty and slimming friendly store cupboard staple. As they’re so fibrous, they’ll leave you feeling fuller for longer. Oh and they’re super affordable, so you can stock up on a budget!
Kidney beans are one of the most popular bean varieties out there, and for good reason. They’re tasty, dense and soak up the flavours in any dish they’re a part of. Available to buy in dried or tinned form, we prefer to stock up on tinned beans for convenience as they don’t need to be soaked.
It wouldn’t be right to say ‘kidney bean’ without mentioning Chilli Con Carne, where they’re a signature ingredient.
Our slimming friendly version of the spicy classic is full of veggies and only 377 calories per serving.
Or, if you’re wanting similar flavours with different textures, our Chilli Cheesy Nachos are a yummy, shareable treat.
The twist with this dish is in using crispy ‘nacho’ potato wedges, instead of high calorie crisps.
Chickpeas are another great non-perishable item you’ll want to have handy. High in calcium as well as fibre, they’re good for your bones as well as digestion.
They’re commonly found in veggie burgers, but we love to use them for our super simple Chickpea Tikka Dip.
It’s really quick and easy to whip up a batch that you can store in the fridge for a few days.
Traditionally made with chickpeas, our Hummus Style Dip uses butter beans instead. Their buttery texture is super smooth and lends itself perfectly to being a dip, or even a sandwich spread!
If you’re a fan of citrus flavours, we’d recommend a squeeze of lemon for added zing.
You might have heard of lentils, as they’re a nutritious, low fat source of protein. As with all beans and pulses, they’re perfect for your store cupboard as they’ll last in an airtight container for over a year.
If you’re looking for lentil-based inspiration, look no further than our delicious Sausages with Creamy Lentils recipe. This hearty dish makes use of the tantalising combination of pork, sage and apple, which goes so well with peppery green lentils.
It’s also hard to believe it’s part of our Everyday Light category, at only 394 calories per serving!
Pasta and rice
Who doesn’t love pasta? It’s a time-saving crowd pleaser we couldn’t do without. So cheap and tasty, simply throw in the pan and leave to boil. Thank you, Italy!
When it comes to Italian-inspired dishes, you can’t get more classic than Spaghetti Carbonara. It’s indulgent, cheesy and absolutely delicious.
Plus, it’s super budget friendly with very few ingredients. If you don’t have dried spaghetti handy, you can always try with whatever variety of pasta you have in the store cupboard.
If you’re more of a bolognese person, our Baked Bean Bolognese is yet another tasty midweek dinner that’s cheap to put together.
Make your minced meat go further by combining with veggies, your favourite dried pasta and the tin of baked beans you’ve already got in the cupboard. Ideal!
Rice is another staple we love for being super versatile and easy to cook. With a bag in the cupboard, you’re always part of the way towards a full meal.
We love Chinese food, and thanks to our low calorie Fakeaway Fried Rice, it doesn’t have to be exclusive to the weekend.
This recipe goes so well with so many different dishes, we love it with Chinese and Chicken and Broccoli.
Oats, bread and wraps
Bread provides many of the nutrients we need for a balanced diet, in moderation. If you’re never sure what to buy, wholewheat or sourdough breads are dense with fibre and more nutritious than white bread options.
Out of the freezer, a full loaf can sometimes go to waste, so we like to blitz stale bread into useful breadcrumbs.
Our Cheesy Topped Chicken is topped with crispy, golden breadcrumbs to give the cheesy filling an irresistible crunch.
With bread rolls in the cupboard, you’ll have countless options for tasty lunches. Plus, no fussing about slicing a loaf!
Our nifty French Bread Pizza recipe uses absolutely no french bread whatsoever. By swapping out for low calorie finger rolls, you can get your pizza fix without consuming pizza level calories.
If cheese and tomato isn’t enough, you can always top with mushrooms, peppers and onions. We love to add salami, but make sure to account for any extra calories.
Did someone say pancakes?!
Storing up on oats isn’t just handy for porridge, they’re a great store cupboard ingredient for other recipes too.
Our Bacon and Maple Blueberry Pancakes actually use Ready Brek as a clever swap for flour. The finer texture of Ready Brek makes them super fluffy and high in fibre, so they’ll fill you up to take on the day.
Wraps are another staple you can enjoy in a variety of different ways. They’re a great swap for a sandwich, especially when you can stuff them with tons of healthy veggies.
You might be used to enjoying wraps cold, but we love any excuse to bake them in the oven until they’re crispy. These delicious Bacon and Cheese Turnovers will satisfy any pesky bacon butty cravings for far less calories.
Going to the bakery for a hot, flavour-filled bake sounds delicious, but you don’t have to do it. If you have low calorie tortilla wraps handy, we’ve found ways you can make classic pastry-based treats at home.
Ideal for a picnic or light snack, our Sausage Rolls taste just like using real pastry. Not to mention the herby pork filling is low in calories too!
Need some extra help and motivation on your slimming journey?
Having a reliable stock of Essential Store Cupboard Ingredients is a great way to keep you on track towards your goals.
Once you’ve figured out the staples you can’t live without, it will be even easier to stay on budget and plan out your meals for the week. No more popping to the shop in a hurry for that missing ingredient!
What are your store cupboard staples? Tell us your favourite ingredients over on our Facebook Group. There are almost 1 million members in the group already, waiting to share inspiration, motivation and support for your slimming journey.