10 Cheap Kitchen Staples You Need in Your Frugal Pantry

I'm going to show you my top ten kitchen staples that are absolute must have in my kitchen. I'm getting the most for my money, and these are specific ones that are both multi-purpose and cheap. I always have them because they go a long way.

Potato soup

1. Potatoes

Every time I go shopping, I make sure I get potatoes. Potatoes can go a long way; usually, a five-pound bag only costs between $1.99 and $2.99.

I love potatoes because one potato can take on so many different forms. Mashed potatoes, homemade French fries, home fries or hash browns, potato casseroles, potato salad, potato soup, and roasted potatoes with some butter and rosemary are some ways I use potatoes. 

I usually can have a five-pound bag for up to two weeks, but if you get the potatoes in a plastic bag, always take them out of the bag. I like to store them in a basket because if you keep them in a plastic bag, then moisture will collect, and they start to go bad much faster.

Meal with rice

2. Rice

My second favorite staple to have is rice. I typically have white rice, but sometimes I like to have a smaller bag of brown rice in the house because I'm a vegetarian.

My family all eat meat, but sometimes I like to have earthy meals, so I like to have brown rice for that. I always get a five-pound or ten-pound bag of white rice because you can have it in many different ways. You can have it with butter and herbs, put it in soups, or put it in a burrito. 

Tortilla wraps

3. Tortilla wraps 

I usually get the small fajita-size wraps, but the large size was on sale, and you can use them for breakfast burritos. We have Taco Tuesday is every Tuesday, so we use those and some hard-shell tacos.

I make small tuna wraps. You can put some turkey and some cheese in one, roll it up, slice it, and make little turkey and cheese pinwheels. A lot of times on Saturdays, we make quesadillas. The flour tortilla is economical and versatile. 

Flour is a kitchen staple

4. Flour

I typically will have white flour and whole wheat, and a five-pound bag of flour is about $2.50. I often make my flour tortillas instead of buying a bag. You can make probably up to about 80 tortillas out of a five-pound bag of flour.

I always use flour when I'm breading and frying foods. It's used in baking. I use it to make pancakes from scratch, and as long as I keep it in a cool, dry place, the flour lasts pretty well. 

Oil is a kitchen staple

5. Oil

I use it every day. I like to pan-fry, saute, and stir fry. I used to dislike deep frying foods because I always felt like you were wasting oil, just having to throw it away.

So then I started using a filter, and I will strain out any bits of fried food and store it in a glass jar with the lid and store it in the refrigerator. I can reuse it because I will make the same thing each week. 

Tuna fish salad

6. Tuna fish

I usually get just regular chunk tuna in water. I never get it in oil. I love tuna because it is cheap and it is a meat option. When it's in a can, it lasts long. You can have tuna salad. You can make tuna salad wraps.

One of the things I love to do is put some tuna in a pan with some diced onions, put that on some rice, and have some Old Bay seasoning in there and a little bit of ketchup on the top. 

Chickpeas salad sandwich

7. Chickpeas

Chickpeas are a good source of protein. Any can of chickpeas will run you between $0.70 to probably $.0.80 to can. I love chickpeas because you can fix them up like tuna or chicken.

One of my favorite things to make with chickpeas is to mash it up and make chickpea salad. So you fix it up like a tuna salad or chicken salad. I like to make chickpea patties like a crab cake or salmon croquet.

I can do the same thing with the chickpeas. Just season it up the same way you would your salmon, tuna, or crab. 

Black bean burgers

8. Black beans

One of the reasons I like black beans. You can use it for burritos. I don't use it for a whole lot of things, but I always like to have a can on hand because I like to mash it up, and then I can mix it with my ground beef when I want to make hamburger patties. It helps the ground beef to be stretched a little bit longer.

Ground beef tacos

9. Ground beef 

Any meat is going to cost you a little bit more. I have meat eaters in the house, so they like having ground beef. I always get 93% lean ground beef to reduce as much fat as possible. I think 93% lean is about the highest you can get.

Usually, a pound of ground beef will cost about $5 a pound. We have Taco Tuesdays, so we use ground beef for the tacos. I also use ground beef for spaghetti sauce. You could use it for a meatloaf.

As I said, those black beans help to stretch the meat. If you want to, you may only have to use half a pound of ground beef and mix it with the black beans. 

Grilled cheese sandwiches

10. Shredded cheese

We don't have to have shredded cheese. We always have to have cheese, though. We love cheese in this house. Usually, I get two eight-ounce bags every time I buy it. It'll be $1.50 for each bag. We use it for our tacos every Tuesday. I use it when we make quesadillas on Saturdays.

I also use a bag if I want to make baked macaroni casserole. You can use it for your grilled cheeses. Sprinkle a little bit of cheese on top of some grits. Put shredded cheese on top of your eggs. 

Kitchen staples

When you're not sure what to make on any given day, these kitchen staples help me to be able to pull a whole meal together. What kitchen staples are a must-have in your house? Share your favorites in the comments below.

Join the conversation
2 of 4 comments
  • Bunny Redenbaugh Bunny Redenbaugh on Jul 17, 2023

    Oatmeal for breakfast with blueberries and I use it for cookies and some bars I make. Also peanut butter is a must have.

  • Deborah Deborah on Aug 29, 2023

    Canned diced tomatoes, pasta, bananas, cinnamon for cinnamon and sugar toast, cereal, broth or bullion, and frozen vegetables