Essential Pantry Ingredients for Baking

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Essential Pantry Ingredients for Baking

Planning on baking cookies, cake, cupcakes, or pie? Making sure you have the essential tools for baking is a great start, but it's only half of the equation. To ensure you're ready to bake up a storm whenever the mood strikes, we've compiled a handy list of pantry staples to keep on hand.


Flour


Definitely keep all-purpose flour around all the time. Also nice to have are unbleached flour, cake flour, whole-wheat flour, and semolina.


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Sweeteners


At a bare minimum, and not just for baking, always have some granulated white sugar in the cupboard. Brown sugar, confectioners' sugar, real maple syrup, and honey are also good to have for baking.


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Extracts


At the very least, always keep on hand a bottle of pure vanilla extract (none of that artificial stuff). Almond extract is nice, too.


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Spices


Cinnamon, clove, allspice, and ground ginger are always good to have in the spice rack. Nutmeg, too — just make sure to buy whole nutmeg, not ground, since the flavor and aroma are far superior.


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Dried Fruits and Nuts


Raisins, dried apricots, and dried cranberries are great for breads and cookies, and walnuts, almonds, and pecans are always good to have around, although it's important to keep the shelf life in mind: Even when stored in a cool, dark place, an open package of shelled nuts will last at most about 18 months.


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Grains


Oatmeal, cornmeal, and bran are great pantry staples to have if you like baking cookies and muffins.


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Leavening


Baking soda and baking powder — what's the difference? Baking soda works in the presence of an acidic ingredient such as yogurt or buttermilk. Baking powder is baking soda with cream of tartar added to it along with some starch. Cream of tartar acts as the acidic ingredient in baking powder. It's a good idea to have both on hand because many recipes call for one or the other (and sometimes both). Without either of these, your baked goods won't rise.


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Fat


Some type of fat is a must for just about any baking recipe. Keep vegetable oil and good-quality unsalted butter on hand, as well as shortening.


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Planning on baking cookies, cake, cupcakes, or pie? Making sure you have the essential tools for baking is a great start, but it's only half of the equation. To ensure you're ready to bake up a storm whenever the mood strikes, we've compiled a handy list of pantry staples to keep on hand.

12 Essential Pantry Ingredients

To help compile this list, we've asked the avid bakers within our Culinary Content Network to sound off, in addition to consulting the folks at Nielsen-Massey Vanillas for some basic advice. While it may seem like an extensive list of items to shop for, if you plan on baking regularly in the future, having these items around the pantry can help keep future shopping lists nice and short.

Check out the slideshow above to learn which 12 ingredients are essential for your pantry!

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