Shockingly Good Pantry Recipes You Can Whip Up with Staple Ingredients

Vegetable-Turkey Pot Pie
Photo: Jason Donnelly

Yes you can get dinner on the table without making a trip to the store! Pantry recipes can save the day when you're short on time and fresh ingredients. Raid your shelves, grab a few fresh and freezer ingredients, and you're just a few steps away from a low-stress and budget-friendly easy pantry meal.

01 of 15

Slow Cooker Cheesy Chili Mac

Slow Cooker Cheesy Chili Mac
Jason Donnelly

Pantry meal staples: Onion, Garlic, Beef Broth, Kidney Beans, Diced Tomatoes

Chili or mac and cheese? We say, why choose one when you can enjoy two meals in one marvelous mash-up with this set-and-forget pantry recipe? A full 8 ounces of cheddar (conveniently, the amount in one of those vacuum-packed bricks that's all set for shredding) offers the luxurious texture you love in mac and cheese while chili powder, beans, beef, and canned tomatoes crank up the chili vibes.

02 of 15

Black Bean Chipotle Tostadas

Black Bean Chipotle Tostadas
Jason Donnelly

Pantry meal staples: Tostada Shells, Black Beans, Farro, Frozen Corn, Red Onion, Salsa, Lime Juice, Garlic, Canned Chipotle Pepper in Adobo, Olive Oil

Vegan-friendly, quick pantry dinners do exist … and can be something even meat-eaters will crave. These smoky, citrus-spiked bean and vegetable tostadas are proof. The only fresh ingredients, red cabbage and avocado, are completely optional if you can't make a trip to the grocery store. (Although we've done a deep-dive into the best online grocery retailers so you can fill your fridge without stepping foot outside your front door.)

03 of 15

Vegetable Turkey Pot Pie

Vegetable-Turkey Pot Pie
Jason Donnelly

Pantry meal staples: Onion, Frozen Mixed Vegetables, Diced Tomatoes, Tomato Sauce, Canned Pizza Dough

While it looks and tastes like this showy lattice-topped pot pie took all day to prep, the pantry dinner can be on your table in just 45 minutes. Yes, really! The all-star here is a package of refrigerated pizza dough. Alongside the other staples, you only need one egg and a pound of ground meat (or plant-based meat) thawed from your freezer and the cozy casserole is ready for the oven.

04 of 15

Slow Cooker Jalapeño Popper Chili

Slow Cooker Jalapeño Popper Chili
Jason Donnelly

Pantry meal staples: Onion, Garlic, Pinto Beans, Diced Tomatoes, Tomato Sauce, Chicken Broth, Taco Seasoning

If jalapeño poppers are one of your favorite party apps (our hands are raised HIGH for that!), this easy pantry dinner is designed with you in mind. The hearty slow cooker recipe features the same spice and cream cheesy goodness, just in spoonable, supper-appropriate form. A packet of taco seasoning mix is a simple way to step up the spice without adding dozens of ingredients to the line-up.

05 of 15

Stove-Top Chicken, Macaroni, and Cheese

Stovetop Chicken, Macaroni, and Cheese
Jacob Fox

Pantry meal staples: Macaroni, Onion, Milk, Flour

Start a small shopping list (or shop your fridge and freezer): A package of chicken breasts, a bag of spinach, a pint of cherry tomatoes, and a couple of cheeses, then add the staples. A family-friendly dinner will be on your table in a flash. This tastes so much better than boxed mac and cheese. Plus our pantry recipe is loaded with 33 grams of protein and plenty lots of nutrients!

06 of 15

Skillet Taco Pie

Skillet Taco Pie
Blaine Moats

Pantry meal staples: Black Beans, Tomato Sauce, Salsa, Taco Shells

Grab a skillet and carve out 25 minutes. That's nearly all you need to tackle this easy pantry dinner, well, besides your Mexican-inspired ingredients! This speedy skillet supper is a flavor fiesta thanks to a few staples, a handful of spices, shredded cheese, and some optional fresh green onions and salad fixings for a garnish.

07 of 15

Sloppy Turkey and Chili Joes

Sloppy Turkey and Chili Joes
Andy Lyons

Pantry meal staples: Onion, Tomato Sauce, Worcestershire Sauce, Kaiser Rolls

Sloppy joes = a clutter-free grocery list. This kid-favorite sandwich sneaks in a serving of veggies in the sauce, but calls for oodles of ingredients with long shelf lives or fridge lives. For a gluten-free and lower-carb variation on this dinner recipe with pantry staples, serve the meat mixture over steamed cauliflower rice (which is a cinch to stock in the freezer).

08 of 15

Ham and Sweet Potato Mini Flatbreads

Ham and Sweet Potato Mini Flatbreads
Andy Lyons

Pantry meal staples: Sweet Potatoes, Orange Juice, Whole Wheat Thin Sandwich Rolls

In a hurry? Grab a can or refrigerated package of mashed sweet potatoes to make this sandwich even quicker. For a change of pace, try turkey deli meat instead of ham atop this quick pantry dinner idea.

09 of 15

Best-Loved Fried Rice

Best-Loved Fried Rice
Jason Donnelly

Pantry meal staples: Eggs, Soy Sauce, Garlic, White Rice, Frozen Peas

Make your own takeout with this easy one-pan recipe. Dig for celery, mushrooms, and carrots in the back of your produce drawer (bet these common vegetables are hiding in there!) and sauté this fried rice recipe. Add grilled shrimp or chicken to make it a pantry meal (rather than a side).

10 of 15

Farro with Brussels Sprouts and Prosciutto

Farro and Brussels Sprouts with Prosciutto
Jacob Fox

Pantry meal staples: Onion, Walnuts, Garlic, Farro

There's a reason why this hint-of-meat meal has earned five stars from BH&G home cooks. It's packed with nutrition and is proof that a salad makes a filling entrée! For a salad that doesn't taste like rabbit food, start with hearty whole grains like farro. When combined with sautéed Brussels sprouts and prosciutto, the skillet-based easy pantry meal tastes gourmet.

Buy It: Circulon 5-Quart Covered Saute Pan, $80, Bed Bath & Beyond

11 of 15

Spaghetti with Seared Asparagus

spaghetti with seared asparagus
Andy Lyons

Pantry meal staples: Spaghetti, Olive Oil, Garlic, Hazelnuts, Panko Bread Crumbs, Lemon Juice

Pan-seared asparagus steals the show in this springy spaghetti recipe. (It's also the only ingredient, besides the parsley garnish, that you'll need to mix with your go-to dinner ingredients in this easy pantry dinner.) Stock up on either green or white stalks, both team up nicely with the zesty, fresh flavors of the pasta entrée.

Test Kitchen Tip: To make more pantry-friendly, keep a bag of frozen asparagus in the freezer and freeze-dried parsley in the fridge so there's no need for fresh produce.

12 of 15

Charred Sweet Pepper Potato Chowder

Charred Sweet Pepper Potato Chowder
Andy Lyons

Pantry meal staples: Onion, Potato, Vegetable Broth, Milk, Butter

Hunt through your MVP pantry vegetables (onions, potatoes) to prepare this one-pot vegetarian potato chowder for dinner tonight. For a restaurant-quality finish, stir in parsley (freeze-dried or fresh will work) and top the pantry recipe with shredded cheese and Greek yogurt. And since almost everything is better with it, toss on some crumbled crispy bacon if you happen to have a few slices on hand!

13 of 15

Lemon-Basil Pasta

Lemon-Basil Pasta
Kate Mathis

Pantry meal staples: Linguine, Cannellini Beans

Come summer, this is one of our go-to quick pantry dinners. The five-ingredient recipe is easy, fresh, and flavorful. Lemon, basil, and olive oil make a garden-inspired sauce for linguine and cannellini beans.

14 of 15

Beef and Noodle Toss

Beef and Noodle Toss
Andy Lyons

Pantry meal staples: Lasagna Noodles, Garlic, Olive Oil, Beef Broth

Switch up your pasta routine and try lasagna noodles in this easy 30-minute dinner recipe that features mushrooms and tomatoes (we call for fresh, but you could swap canned for both of these ingredients to stick with shelf-stable ingredients) in a hearty beef broth sauce.

15 of 15

Egg Salad Sandwich with Basil-Honey-Lemon Dressing

Egg Salad Sandwich with Basil-Honey-Lemon Dressing
Andy Lyons

Pantry meal staples: Onion, Kalamata Olives, Crusty Bread, Eggs, Honey

Give plain ol' egg salad a modern makeover. Sliced hard-cooked eggs, Kalamata olives, and carrots transform the picnic favorite into an elevated yet easy pantry meal option. Serve it all between sliced bread, tucked inside a tortilla for a wrap sandwich, or simply pile the egg salad on a bed of leafy greens.

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