How To Use Pantry Staples: 31 Recipes That Use Shelf-Stable Foods


Stocking up on shelf-stable ingredients is so important. How do you cook with them? Try one of these 31 recipes and learn how to use pantry staples in creative dishes.

Do you have a pantry full of “just in case” foods that you don’t know how to use? I have an entire month’s worth of recipes for you. These recipes use everything you might have in your pantry – beans, rice, pasta, or canned meat.

How To Use Pantry Staples: 31 Recipes That Use Shelf-Stable Foods

Maybe buying all that pasta and rice seemed like a good idea at first. But now that you have them, how do you cook them?

How To Use Pantry Staples

Here are 31 creative ways to use all of those pantry staples you might have in your kitchen. They include recipes that use rice, orzo, pasta, and beans.

A few things to keep in mind when you find new recipes. Meat is easy to substitute or leave out entirely. You can always use canned tuna, canned chicken, or canned ham in any of the following recipes. Or, you can whip up a vegetarian dish too.

Also, any of the vegetables – even the diced onion – have frozen packs you can buy. Fresh might have a better taste or texture if you can get it, but frozen works just as well.

1. Spicy sausage and orzo soup

The base of this soup is tomato and it’s filled with orzo pasta and sausage. If you don’t have fresh spinach just leave it out. Using canned doesn’t taste nearly the same. You can throw in some frozen vegetables instead.

Find the recipe here.

2. No-bake granola bars

These make a healthy breakfast or even side dish idea. And the best part is, every single ingredient is shelf-stable. Serve these healthy bars with some deli meat and cheese for a nutritious lunch.

Find the easy recipe on Ideas for the Home by Kenarry.

3. Slow Cooker Potato Soup

This potato soup uses canned soup and ham. If you have powdered milk in your pantry, make a pitcher of it and put some in your soup. Powdered milk is perfect for soups and baking (even if it doesn’t quite taste the same when you drink it plain).

Read the easy recipe here on Ideas for the Home by Kenarry.

4. Make Your Own Spaghetti Sauce

Sometimes the grocery store is sold out of spaghetti or marinara sauce. No worries! You have this recipe to fall back on. Plus you don’t even need the meat. You just need some canned tomatoes, tomato paste, and spices. Yum!

Learn how to make your own spaghetti sauce.

5. cheesy tuna casserole

This recipe is surprisingly delicious! The BBQ chips on top add the perfect amount of crunch. I love that it uses tuna since that is something that can stay on your shelf for months.

Read the complete recipe on Ideas for the Home by Kenarry.

6. Mexican Quinoa

Quinoa is really high in protein. In fact, this entire recipe is a complete meal, even without meat. It calls for lime juice, but instead of fresh lime, you can use shelf-stable lime juice.

Read the complete recipe.

7. Instant Pot Ham Bone Soup

This is an Instant Pot recipe, but if you don’t have a pressure cooker you can make this recipe in your slow cooker too. The only modification you’ll make is to put all the ingredients in the slow cooker in the morning and let it cook all day.

Find the recipe here on Ideas for the Home by Kenarry.

8. Slow cooker white bean and ham soup

For this recipe, you can use canned ham and frozen vegetables. It’s hearty and filling. Serve it with a side of cornbread for a completely comforting dinner.

Find the recipe on Ideas for the Home by Kenarry.

9. Cornbread chili casserole

Speaking of cornbread, you can make this recipe too! It has everything you love about home cooking in it. This is a kid-friendly meal that you can spice up with hot sauce if you like.

Find the recipe on Dancing Through the Rain.

10. black bean stew – Inspired by India

I love how this recipe jazzes up canned black beans and makes a hearty stew out of them. It has curry and other spices from the east.

Find the recipe on Venture1105.

11. Red Lentil Stew

Lentils are one of those beans that people buy but aren’t sure how to cook. This recipe is packed with flavor and protein too!

Find the complete recipe on Venture1105.

12. Quinoa Black Beans Enchiladas

When you don’t have meat in the house, but you still want to do Taco Tuesday, make some black bean enchiladas. They taste so amazing you won’t even miss the meat.

Find this meatless meal on A Plantiful Path.

13. Yellow Turmeric Rice

This Yellow Turmeric Rice is super easy to make using pantry ingredients, packed with immune-boosting turmeric and is full of flavor. Naturally vegan and gluten-free.

Find the recipe on Rhian’s Recipes.

14. slow cooker vegan chili

This vegan chili recipe will delight your taste buds. It’s not only wholesome but delicious and easy to make. A vegan twist on this classic comfort food makes for a healthy dinner packed with nutrients brimming with flavor! Use up your pantry staples like beans and canned tomatoes.

Find the recipe on Happy Kitchen.

15. Instant Pot Chow Mein

This recipe is also made in the Instant Pot. I love all the flavors and that it has a ton of heart-healthy veggies in it too. If you don’t have an Instant Pot, just steam your veggies and then add them to a bowl of prepared noodles with the sauce.

Find the recipe on Corrie Cooks.

16. Jeera Rice

Cumin and coriander meet to make the most amazing rice dish you’ve ever tasted. This dish is surprisingly delicious. If you can boil rice, you can make this recipe.

Find the recipe on Flavour Street.

17. Instant Pot Pesto Pasta

This is another Instant Pot recipe. The pesto gives it creaminess without having to use actual cream. You can also make this recipe right on your stove. Just boil the noodles then add the rest of the ingredients until it’s creamy and combined.

Find the recipe on Simply Happy Foodie.

18. Four-Bean Salad

All you need to add to this salad to make it a complete meal is some bread and maybe some meat. If you are vegetarian, then just add a potato dish. I love this salad for a refreshing lunch.

Find the recipe on Trina Krung’s blog.

19. Brown Yum Yum Rice

Since it is so easy to buy in bulk, I’m constantly looking for creative ways to cook rice. This recipe is incredibly simple – it has sesame oil, garlic, onion, and Italian seasoning – but it tastes refreshing and new.

Go and find this recipe on Trina Krung’s blog.

20. Rainbow Rice With Pantry Staples

Use up those canned or frozen vegetables in this rice stir fry recipe. To make it a complete meal, throw in some canned meat or beans.

Find the recipe on Venture1105.

21. Cannelini and Cherry Tomato Salad

This salad tastes like summertime! It’s perfect to serve with a deli sandwich or a cup of canned soup.

Find the recipe on Venture1105.

22. vegan lentil ragu

Nutritious and cheap to make, this tasty vegan lentil ragu is a family favorite. With dried lentils, canned tomatoes and staple spices and seasonings, it’s easy to make this flavorsome sauce with what you have at home.

Find the recipe on Spice Cravings.

23. Creamy Chicken Pasta

Everything in this recipe – except the fresh swiss chard – uses shelf-stable ingredients. It’s easy to throw together when you don’t know what to make for dinner. If you don’t have fresh chicken, you can use canned chicken or frozen chicken strips.

Find the recipe on Anointed Heels.

24. vegan broccoli casserole

This recipe is one of the most shocking in the list. It tastes cheesy and comforting but it doesn’t have any cheese in it! Nope. Instead, it’s made with coconut milk, cornstarch, and broccoli. Wow! Talk about a creative way to use pantry staples.

Find the recipe on Key To My Lime.

25. Three Bean Salad

I love the combination of sugar and vinegar! And it’s here in this salad. Serve this salad with apple slices for a nutritious lunch.

Get the recipe on Beyond the Chicken Coop.

26. Italian Chickpea soup

Doesn’t this look amazing? I think so! This recipe originated in Rome. It has fresh carrots and celery in it. If you can buy some, add them to the soup. It really makes it taste wonderful.

Get the recipe on Pina Bresciani.

27. Pesto Chicken Pasta – With Pantry Staples

Literally every single ingredient in this recipe – as it is written – is shelf-stable. Sure, you can make your own pesto, but buying the jarred variety is so much easier.

Find the recipe on The Toasty Kitchen.

28. instant pot lentils and brown rice

I love that this recipe uses both lentils and brown rice. Those are both things that people tend to stock up on “just in case.” This recipe is so creamy and hearty, you might want to put it on your normal food rotation.

Find the recipe on Melanie Cooks.

29. Garlic and Oil pasta

It might sound simple, but this pasta dish is elegant and delicious! Sometimes the simplest recipes really do taste the best.

Find the recipe on A Hedgehog in the Kitchen.

30. Chicken Taco Casserole With Orzo

This is another easy way to feed your entire family with some pantry staples. The orzo makes the dish really filling and it tastes like tacos! Yum!

Find the recipe on Eat Move Make.

31. Couscous salad with dried fruit

What is couscous and how do you make it? I wondered the same thing. That’s why I had to include this recipe in the list. This one tastes slightly sweet and will fill your family up at dinner time.

Find the recipe on Entertaining With Beth.

31 Recipes with Pantry Staples

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