30+ Pantry Meals You Can Make From Pantry Ingredients – These easy pantry recipes can be made from pantry ingredients and kitchen staples. Perfect when time is tight or you need something easy!
Right now, most of us are stuck at home and our stores are varying levels of crazy. I thought it might be helpful to put a list of pantry-friendly dinners together for easy reference. That way, you can still eat and enjoy delicious meals while you’re stuck inside.
Pantry meals can be a great way to save money (eat at home instead of out, use what you have, minimize the need to buy extra groceries), and they don’t all have to be boring (i.e. plain rice & beans or boxed mac & cheese).
If you’ve ever had a crazy night and wondered, “what can I make with my pantry items?” or just need easy ideas you can keep on hand when time or money is tight (or you can’t leave the house!), these 30 pantry recipes were gathered up with you in mind.
Here are 30+ easy, inexpensive pantry meals you can whip up on a busy night…
BLACK BEAN POLENTA BOWLS
Black bean polenta bowls are such a simple, easy staple dinner! Canned black beans and shelf-stable polenta are the base of these yummy burrito-type bowls, which come together in about 20 minutes and taste great. Swap the fresh pico for whatever jarred salsa you have on hand, and keep the toppings simple, as needed!
(Pro tip: I recently spotted frozen diced avocados in the freezer section at Kroger–SO GREAT TO KEEP ON HAND!!! You can thaw and use them for simple guacamole or mashed avocados to go on top!)
HEALTHY BLENDER PANCAKES
Pancakes are a perfect pantry meal. We love these healthy blender pumpkin oatmeal pancakes so much we make them all year round. Made in the blender, they come together in a flash. They freeze like a dream, so you can easily make a double batch and freeze some for later!
If pumpkin isn’t your jam, try:
- BLENDER APPLE OATMEAL PANCAKES – An apple cinnamon twist on my pumpkin pancakes. So tasty and delicious!
- BLENDER BANANA OATMEAL PANCAKES – Or, you can try these banana oatmeal pancakes which use ripe bananas for sweetness and softness. So fluffy and delicious!
Almost this entire pumpkin chili recipe comes from pantry or shelf-stable ingredients. All you need is an onion and a bell pepper + your favorite ground meat (beef, turkey, and chicken all work!), plus some pantry items, and you’ve got a hearty, delicious chili coming right up!
(We like serving it with these–another easy pantry recipe!)
PALEO SWEET POTATO SALMON CAKES
You can make these sweet potato salmon cakes using fresh, frozen, or canned salmon, so they make a great protein-packed pantry meal! We love dipping them into our chipotle dipping sauce, but they’re also great on their own.
SALSA VERDE CHICKEN & RICE SOUP
This Salsa Verde Chicken & Rice Soup is one of my all-time favorite soup recipes *and* favorite pantry recipes. It’s PACKED with flavor (thanks to jarred salsa verde!) and uses canned beans to fill it out. You can stir in some fresh or frozen spinach if you have it, or leave it out if you don’t.
Don’t have chicken? Just add another 1-2 cans of beans, depending on how thick you like your soup!
SLOW COOKER CHICKEN CURRY
Canned coconut milk, chicken, and curry powder form the base of this easy slow cooker curry. If you have them, some cilantro, jalapeño, and lime juice can be lovely, but in a pinch, you can still make this recipe without them with a few little swaps. (I like keeping frozen garlic and ginger on hand for recipes like this!)
SLOW COOKER PUMPKIN TACO SOUP
If you’ve got chicken and an onion, you can make this easy pumpkin taco soup recipe, which features canned pumpkin, canned tomatoes, spices, and an onion. Cilantro rounds it out if you have some, otherwise, you can skip it!
PASTA + SAUCE
One of my favorite go-to’s when I need a quick, easy, inexpensive meal. A few easy options to choose from…
- PASTA POMODORO – This classic pasta sauce is made from mostly pantry staples and tastes fantastic twirled into some pasta.
- ARRABBIATA SAUCE – If you prefer your pasta with a little kick, this punchy pasta sauce is the one for you!
- 3-INGREDIENT TOMATO SAUCE – Based on perhaps the most famous tomato sauce recipe ever, this simple sauce tastes MINDBLOWINGLY good. You’d never guess there are only 3 ingredients!
INSTANT POT CARROT GINGER SOUP
Carrots & butternut squash are the backbone of this simple Instant Pot Ginger Carrot Soup Soup. Both veggies last forever in the fridge & pantry, so they’re easy to keep on hand for a busy night. Plus, this can be made in the Instant Pot, in slow cooker, or on the stove.
SLOW COOKER CHICKEN TIKKA MASALA.
Made from mostly pantry ingredients AND in the slow cooker = Double win! We love this flavorful slow cooker chicken tikka masala with rice or cauliflower rice. It’s delicious! (It’s also paleo & whole30!)
SLOW COOKER VEGETABLE BEAN SOUP
This slow cooker vegetable bean soup recipe uses a simple trio of staple veggies (carrots, celery, and onion), simple seasonings, and dried beans. It’s the perfect blank slate for adding lots of flavors, or you can keep things simple and make it as written.
Note: if your dried beans are really old, they may not soften well no matter what recipe you’re using. Keep that in mind as you make this!
CHILI MAC (GLUTEN FREE + VEGAN–OR NOT!)
A classic pantry meal! I’ve always loved a cozy bowl of chili mac. You can certainly go the extra mile and make your own chili, but canned will absolutely do the job. If you’ve got cheese (or vegan cheese) to top it with, go for it! Otherwise, just eat it with pasta + chili. It’s surprisingly tasty!
SLOW COOKER SWEET POTATO CHILI (PALEO)
This slow cooker sweet potato chili is one of my favorites ALLL year long. You can make it with ground beef, chicken, turkey, or add a can or two of beans for a veggie-friendly option.
WAFFLES. (LIKE, ALL THE WAFFLES)
Waffles = one of my favorite pantry meals! Most waffle recipes are made from pantry and staple ingredients, so they’re great to pull out when you need something easy. Here are a few of our favorites.
- ALMOND FLOUR PUMPKIN WAFFLES. These paleo pumpkin waffles taste incredible and pack a more nutritious punch. Love them!
- OVERNIGHT OATMEAL WAFFLES (Gluten-free, or not!). You can mix these hearty oatmeal waffles up any time of day. They just need a bit to soak–an hour or two, up to overnight (or all day if you’re making them for dinner). The fun part is deciding what to top them with!
- GINGERBREAD WAFFLES (Gluten-free, or not!). I know they’re labeled gingerbread, but they’re good enough to make any time. They’re more subtly spiced than a ginger cookie, and my whole family LOVES them!
If you’ve got eggs and basically any veggies (fresh or frozen) on hand, you’ve got the makings of fried rice. Fried rice is one of my favorite pantry recipes. It’s got a decent mix of protein, fat, and carbs, and you can make it with whatever veggies you have in your crisper or freezer–carrots, bell peppers, onions, celery, broccoli, green beans, mushrooms–whatever! This version features pineapple, and you *can* use frozen, or just skip it entirely.
CURRIED BUTTERNUT SQUASH SOUP
Butternut squash is shelf-stable for weeks and weeks, so if you’ve got one in your pantry + a little curry paste, you’ve got the base of these creamy curry butternut squash soup. (Don’t have curry paste? Try this simple roasted butternut squash soup, that uses a *tiny* splash of balsamic vinegar and another little trick to give it lots of flavor.
SWEET POTATO BLACK BEAN BURRITOS
We tend to always have some tortillas on hand, and sweet potatoes in our pantry, so these sweet potato black bean burritos make an appearance on the regular. They don’t require much fuss and taste even better if you take the extra step of grilling or baking them for a few minutes before serving.
VEGETARIAN TORTILLA SOUP
This vegetarian tortilla soup is another good pantry recipe (made from mostly pantry ingredients)! If you’ve got some tortilla chips or tortillas on hand, you can add them for crunch, but this soup is also good enough to stand on its own!
CHICKEN & VEGGIE RISOTTO
I love keeping arborio rice on hand for this tasty chicken veggie risotto. It’s gluten free, dairy free, and tastes delicious. I love the mix of bell peppers, onion, and frozen peas, but you can play with the veggies you have on hand to make it easy. (We’ve even made it all veggie if we don’t have chicken on hand!)
We keep our freezer pretty well stocked with frozen fruit so we can always make a smoothie when the mood strikes or we’re out of fresh fruit and need to hit the grocery store. Pair them with some eggs, toast or a side of potatoes, or pour them into a bowl and top them with goodies (like granola + fruit!) to fill them out and turn it into a full meal! Some of our top favorites are…
- CHOCOLATE CHERRY SMOOTHIES. My desert island smoothie. If I could only have one forever, it’d probably be this one. (And it’s secretly green!)
- HEALTHY PINEAPPLE JULIUS SMOOTHIE. My kids had this daily all summer last year and never got tired of it. SO good!
- PEACH MANGO BLISS SMOOTHIE. Sunny in color and flavor, this one’s always a winner.
- CHAI SPICE BANANA SMOOTHIE. All you need is ripe bananas, milk, nut or seed butter, and my easy chai spice mix. SO easy, so good!
- OUR FAVORITE CHOCOLATE BANANA SMOOTHIE. A classic for a reason. This will convert almost and child to smoothies since it basically tastes like a milkshake.
If you’ve never had it before, congee is a yummy (and CRAZY EASY) rice porridge/soup that makes a yummy meal any of the day. I love topping mine with a soft-cooked egg, but there are lots more ideas in the post!
GLUTEN-FREE FRENCH TOAST CUPS
Milk (whatever you drink!) + a few eggs + bread form the base of this baked French toast cups recipe. I kick up the flavor with vanilla, cinnamon, and a little pure maple syrup. Just the ticket when you need an easy, tasty meal without a lot of fuss!
(PS – Not gluten-free? You can make these with regular bread!)
QUESADILLAS OR “BEAN-ADILLAS”
If you keep tortillas on hand, you can whip up a batch of simple quesadillas (cheese + tortillas or refried beans + cheese + tortillas) or these chili + bean “star surpremes”. For dairy-free folks, you can load these up with veggies and beans, then top them with vegan cheese, or skip it. Your choice!
SLOW COOKER BUTTER CHICKEN
This slow cooker butter chicken is one of my all-time most popular recipes EVER, and it’s extra great when you can use pantry staples to put it together! I like keeping frozen garlic & ginger in the freezer for recipes like this, so all I need is an onion, and some cilantro & lime (if I have it).