College Cooking: My pantry essentials

essen.pngBack in high school I would spend entire weekends making desserts. It must have been a bit bewildering for my parents to wake up to three frosted cakes in the kitchen, but they supported my passions nevertheless.

When I went off to college, I had to significantly downsize my pantry and learn how to bake in smaller batches. My pantry is constantly morphing, but over the years I’ve settled on some baking staples that I want to share. Also be on the lookout for new recipes! I restocked my pantry this morning. 🙂

Without further ado, here are some tips I’ve picked up about pseudo-minimalist cooking, as well as a list of my baking essentials.

My top tips:

  1. Find a store that sells flours in bulk and stock up there. Since I tend to make desserts in small batches, this is incredibly useful and prevents waste.
  2. Likewise, buy small amounts of spices in bulk. This way you’re not stuck with 5 year old spice jars.
  3. Cook as plant based as possible. Vegan desserts generally require nonperishable ingredients, which is super helpful if you only bake occasionally.
  4. Use a kitchen scale whenever possible. There’s less clean up and you’re much more likely to get consistent results when you stick to grams and measuring spoons.

Baking Essentials:

(I’ll post my kitchen essentials, a list I constructed this past summer, soon!)


  • All purpose flour
  • Spelt flour
  • Oat bran
  • Coconut flour
  • Ground flax seeds
  • Quick oats
  • (Optional: almond flour)
  • (Optional: oat flour; you can just make your own)


  • Cane sugar
  • Maple syrup
  • Coconut palm sugar
  • Molasses- not pictured, but I like having molasses on hand
  • Stevia drops


  • Saflower oil
  • Coconut oil shortening- lasts a long time and doesn’t need to be refrigerated
  • Almond or peanut butter- right now I have soynut butter because my roommate is allergic to nuts

Spices and extracts:

  • Cinnamon
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • Ginger
  • Macha powder
  • (Optional: Tumeric- I’m such a fad follower, ha.)
  • Vanilla extract
  • Almond extract
  • Butter extract- Seems random, but very useful


  • Baking powder and baking soda
  • Chocolate chips
  • Raisins
  • Dutch processed cocoa powder
  • Maca power- I bought it on a whim. It’s tasty in an earthy way, but I probably won’t buy it again.
  • Chia seeds- for the rare times I want chia pudding

And that’s really all you need for most desserts! I also like keeping applesauce cups and canned pumpkin on hand, but this list covers the essentials. I’m interested to see how it evolves once I graduate, so this will be fun to look at in a few years.


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