Indian Pantry Staples

By Foodism Team


Important learning during the lockdown for most households has been the need for stocking up their pantry. Foodism shares a list of must-haves for your pantry to help you tick your checklist.

The best part about Indian cuisine is that it can transform any mundane ingredient into something positively delectable. The reason for this is the humongous range of spices, herbs, grains et al that the Indian pantries hoard – a single missing ingredient and the entire dish goes for a toss. 

Benefits of a fully-loaded pantry

An abounding pantry offers a multitude of pluses –

  • Ensures that you don’t have to compromise on a particular ingredient while whipping up your gourmet offering!
  • Saves time (and during the pandemic minimizes the risk element involved in stepping outside) and commuting costs spent on trips to the market to buy stuff
  • It’s more economic as bulk purchases for your pantry are a major money saver
  • In case of an emergency (a lockdown; or a break in the supply chain leading to a shortfall) you don’t have to stifle your cravings for a particular dish just because spice is missing!

So, now that we’ve gained an insight into the pluses of a well-stocked pantry the next question is what are the must-haves? Chill! Foodism brings you a curated list of staple items in this segment –



Basmati Rice, Wheat and other grains


Atta Flour, Lentil Flour, Chickpea/Gram Flour, Maida Flour

Beans and Legumes 

Chana/Chickpeas, Lentils (red, green, pink, brown and black), Urad/Black Gram Beans, Yellow Moong Beans, Yellow Pigeon Peas

Canned Items

Coconut Milk, Mango Pulp, Diced Tomatoes, Baked Beans, Slices of Pineapple, Cured Meats and Cold Cuts

Oils and Condiments

Chutney, Coconut Oil, Groundnut Oil, Ghee, Mustard Oil, Sunflower Oil et al

Common Spices and Herbs

Cayenne Powder/India Red Chilli, Cinnamon, Cloves, Salt, Coriander Seeds, Cumin Seeds, Garam Masala, Green Cardamom Pods, Nutmeg, Turmeric, Basil, Ginger, Parsley, Mint et al

Special Seasonings

Ajwain/Carom Seeds, Aamchur, Asafoetida, Black Mustard Seeds, Dried Red Chillies/Kashmiri Chillies, Fennel Seeds, Fenugreek Seeds, Indian/Himalayan Black Salt, Indian Bay Leaves/Tej Patta, Nigella Seeds/Black Cumin, Tamarind Paste et al. The Paanch Phoran (five-spiced) combination for eastern cuisine, the Dhaniya-Jeera Gujarati combo, Curry Leaves for South-Indian delicacies, Masala Mixes like Chana Masala and Tandoori Masala are also a good idea to store upon.


Onion, Brinjal, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Okra, Garlic, Cucumber, Peas, Spinach, Taro Root, Coriander, Green Chillies, Potatoes, Beetroot et al


Tomatoes, Bananas, Apples, Oranges, Coconuts and lots more

Dairy Items 

Paneer, Yogurt, Cream, Milk Powder, Eggs, Cheese


Indian Chikki, Katri (Wafers), Papad, Salted Peanuts, Roasted Grams, Dry-fruits, Kharis, Popcorn, Rusks, Khakhras … the list is endless


Sugar, Honey, Jaggery, Tea Leaves, Coffee Beans, Cocoa Powder, et al.

As readers will agree, a list of pantry must-haves is extremely subjective and would vary from household to household basis the community; and the palate, the daily cuisine and the ethos of the members of the household. 

A word of caution – Do take measures to keep your pantry goodies safe from weevils, beetles, flour bugs and ghuns!