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The Best List of Store Cupboard Essentials

The Best List of Store Cupboard Essentials

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Including a list of store cupboard essentials and staple foods

In order to cook family-friendly budget recipes every day, you need a full staple food cupboard. Below is the ultimate list of store cupboard essentials that you and your family will need to keep your food shopping below budget.

It may look like a lot right now, but with these staple food ingredients, you’ll be well on your way to getting your shopping bill below £25 a week for 4 of you.

Having a stocked store cupboard means that you can make pasta sauces from scratch that work out cheaper than shop-bought ones.

If you are looking for more recipe ideas then have a look at:

49 Aldi Slow Cooker Recipes For The Whole Family – These are the best slow cooker recipes that come in at under £1 a head but are also really easy to make.

The Ultimate £1 Per Head Budget Meal Planning List – This is our biggest list of £1 a head family meals that can save you money every week.

Store Cupboard Meals: 41 Store Cupboard Recipes to Try – Want to use what you have in your cupboard? Then use our post here which has over 40 recipes that you can use.

Money saving printables

If you are looking for ways to save your family more money then come join our free Resource Vault. It’s packed full of meal plans and shopping lists that you can use for free as many times as you like!

Come join our free Resource Vault here

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What are store cupboard essentials?

Staple food is an ingredient that is eaten all the time and is the base of most meals.

The main staple foods are normally vegetables like tinned potatoes or frozen peppers; cereals like rice and maize, meat, fish, eggs, milk, and cheese. Other staple food can include herbs, olive oil, coconut oil, and sugar.

This means that these kitchen staples are always well-stocked, and have the versatility to change your meals around if and when needed, or, just bulk them up a little.

Saving money on food

We can save money on the food that we buy and cook. If you are new to saving money on food and looking for recipes that will keep more money in your pocket then keep reading!

Meal planning

7 Family Meal Planner Templates When You Need Inspiration

Meal planning also stops you from going crazy at the supermarket and buying stuff you already have at home or aren’t really going to use.

Plan out your meals with the ingredients you’re going to need. Reducing your food waste doesn’t have to be boring, it’s all about planning.

If you are new to meal planning then start by getting a pen and pad or even Notes on your phone. Sit down with the family and talk through everything you are going to eat this week. That’s all meals, snacks, and drinks.

Then go through your cupboards, freezer, and fridge and see what you have. There’s no point stockpiling food. If you shop weekly you really don’t need that much food sat in your cupboards and freezer.

Read our guide here on The Ultimate Guide to Food Shopping on a Budget on how to meal plan as a beginner.

Cooking from scratch

Quorn Spaghetti Bolognese in a white bowl

Cooking from scratch can seem daunting if you’ve never done it before but it really is easy to do and saves you money. You don’t need to be a chef to be able to cook up your own sauce or make a really delicious budget-friendly meal for the whole family.

Start with the basics that you eat. So, we when started cooking from scratch our favourite meal was Spaghetti Bolognese but it was all out of a jar.

If you are a real beginner cook then have a look at Spicentice. Spicentice sends you out little packets of spices that talk you through, easily, step by step how to cook something. We use them every three months or so when we are stuck in a food rut.

If you’d like to try Spicentice yourself then make sure you use our link here with our code LASAVE20 to get 20% off every purchase.*

They helped teach us how to make homemade burgers without them breaking up while cooking, chicken fajitas that tasted better than our takeaway, and helped us make southern fried chicken that even the kids loved.

These really are easy means with simple instructions that you can use to cook a budget-friendly dinner for the whole family. You can then keep them to use again without the spices for next time.

Laura Light showing the Spicentice packets

We have made loads of budget meals with Spicentice including:

Spaghetti Meatball Recipe For 73p a Head
Easy Chicken Fajita Recipe: A Family Meal for 94p a Person
Chinese Chicken Curry For Just £1.54 For 4
Really Easy Homemade Beef Burgers For Under £1 a Head
The Best Southern Fried Chicken Recipe For Under £1 a Head
Chicken Tikka Masala Curry For Under £4 a Head
The Best Katsu Curry Recipe For Under £1 a Head
The Best Turkey Curry For Under £1 a Head
The Best Firecracker Chicken For Just 99p a Head

If you’d like to try Spicentice yourself then make sure you use our link here with our code LASAVE20 to get 20% off every purchase.*

If you are time-poor then have a look at a slow cooker. Owning a slow cooker means that you can just dump all your food in it in the morning and come home to an amazing meal that’s all ready for you.

31 Easy Family Slow Cooker Recipes – These are the best family slow cooker recipes that are budget friendly and easy to make.

7 Gammon Slow Cooker Recipes That Are Budget Friendly – Gammon is a great meat that can last for a couple of meals. Put it in the slow cooker for different meal ideas.

Really Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Curry Recipes That Are Budget Friendly – We love chicken curry and it’s really versatile. We even use frozen chicken as well to keep the price down.

13 Slow Cooker Pork Recipes Under £1 a Head – Pork is a great mid week meal for the whole family.

Use cashback sites

If you prefer to shop online then make sure you use cashback sites. We recommend OhMyDosh, Quidco and Swagbucks. You get money off whenever you shop online through their sites which can really come in handy once baby is born.

It doesn’t cost you a penny to use them. If you make a purchase through their site you receive the money. It’s that simple!

We use OhMyDosh for making money through surveys and getting cashback on anything we buy online. Find out more OhMyDosh here and what we think of them.

Join OhMyDosh* here for free and get £1 added to your account.

We have also used Quidco which offers new members £15 if they use my link here*. (Your £15 bonus will be paid once you’ve earned £5 cashback with Quidco)

Use Quidco to save money on everything you buy online, even your food shop!

Buy frozen

You don’t need to buy all your fruit and vegetables fresh. Think about buying them frozen. Not only does it work out cheaper, it means that they won’t go off.

It also means that you can grab as much as you need and then put the rest back for another meal. We use this for everything from frozen strawberries and mango for our smoothies to frozen onions and peppers. You just add them straight to the pan, no mess.

Another good thing about frozen is that it’s already precut so no chopping is needed!

Use voucher sites

Always check voucher sites before you buy anything online. You’ll be surprised how much you could save by just checking. Our favourite voucher website is UKVoucherDeals as it’s easy to use and they have all the best deals.

Store Cupboard Essentials

This is an essential shopping list of pantry staples that everyone who wants to cook from scratch on a budget should own. These staple foods that you can keep on hand for months on end that can also help you whip up a meal for your family in no time at all.

They’re basic ingredients, fairly inexpensive, have a long shelf life, and can be used in hundreds of family-friendly meals to help keep your cost down.

Your own staple food list will come as you cook and your family grows.

You can use this list as a base, but you don’t have to go out and buy all these right away. Buy one or two a week as you go, and when you use them, add them back to your shopping list.

Having a fully stocked store cupboard is a great way to ensure that your food bill stays low.

Dry Goods



Plain Flour

00 flour

Bread flour

Porridge oats

Baking powder


Oils and Sauces

Oliver oil

Vegetable oil

Soy sauce

Worcestershire sauce


Dried Herbs & Spices



All mixed spice


Chilli flakes




Curry powder

Vanilla extract


Stock cubes




Fat-free plain yogurt

Canned Goods

Canned tinned tomatoes

Tomato puree


Baked beans

Canned tuna

Vegetable stock

Coconut milk

Tinned potatoes

Peanut butter

Tinned fruit

Related Posts: 


Mixed vegetables

Frozen fruit like Strawberries, Pineapples, and Blueberries

Laura x

If you enjoyed this post and would like some more family friendly budget recipes or meal plan ideas, then head over to the budget food section here on Savings 4 Savvy Mums where you’ll find over 30 cheap posts dedicated to helping you cook and shop wiser for less. There’s enough tips to help you save over £300 a month! You could also pop over and follow my family food Pinterest boards for lots more ideas on how to eat well and spend less; Family Meal Plans on a Budget, Budget Family MealsBudget Slimming World Recipes for Families

Love this post? Then why not save it to Pinterest so you can easily find it later. 

These are the best store cupboard essentials that can help you to save money and make healthy family meals by Laura at Savings 4 Savvy Mums.

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