10 Useful Pantry Staples You Should Know How To Make

pantry staples

Our grandparents made nearly everything they ate or used in cooking from scratch, either out of necessity or because store-bought alternatives were too expensive. Today, while most of us do have access to affordable store-bought foods and ingredients, that doesn’t necessarily mean we need to leave the old ways behind!

In fact, I believe there are several good reasons to make your own food items and pantry staples at home. Not only is it usually cheaper to make something from scratch than it is to buy it, but it could save you the time, money, and gas you’d spend on an unnecessary trip to the grocery store.

To help you experience those benefits for yourself, today I’ll show you how to make 10 common pantry staples at home. Whether you make use of them now or later, I’m certain there will come a time when you’ll be very glad you learned these “recipes”!

10 Pantry Staples You Can Easily Make At Home

pantry staples

1. Brown Sugar

Out of brown sugar? Make your own by mixing 1 cup of granulated sugar with 1 tablespoon of molasses (or use slightly more for dark brown sugar.)

When stored in an airtight container, molasses will stay fresh for a year or more. So as long as you have sugar and molasses on hand, you can mix up your own brown sugar whenever you need it! :-)

pantry staples

2. Self-Rising Flour

Self-rising flour sounds complicated, but it couldn’t be easier to make. Just mix 1 cup of all-purpose flour, 1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon of salt together.

Double, triple, or quadruple the recipe as needed to make enough self-rising flour for your baking project.

pantry staples

3. Bread Crumbs

As long as you have any sort of bread on hand, you should never have to buy store-bought bread crumbs! Just toast a few slices, blitz them in your blender or food processor, you’ll end up with perfectly crispy bread crumbs.

To make seasoned bread crumbs, add the following spices to your food processor along with the toasted bread:

  • 1/2 teaspoon each of dried parsley flakes, garlic powder, kosher salt
    1/4 teaspoon each of dried basil, dried oregano, onion powder, and ground black pepper
pantry staples

4. Powdered Sugar

Frankly, it’s a bit embarrassing to admit that I didn’t know you could actually make powdered sugar at home until a few years ago! And as it turns out, it’s actually really easy to do!

Just pour 1 cup of granulated sugar into your blender or food processor, then pulse until the sugar gets light and fluffy. Sift your powdered sugar through a fine mesh sieve before using.

pantry staples

5. Seasoning Mixes

You can make a homemade version of almost any seasoning mix you can imagine! I like the flavor of homemade spice mixes much more than the store-bought ones, and I think you will too!

Check out this blog post to find recipes for taco seasoning, ranch seasoning, onion soup mix, brown gravy mix, country gravy mix, and more! That post also includes a handy shopping list with everything you need to make all of the featured spice mixes.

pantry staples

6. S.O.S. Mix (Cream Soup Substitute)

S.O.S. Mix (AKA Soup or Sauce Mix) is one of the more useful items you can keep in your pantry, in my humble opinion! Just add water to make an easy substitute for any “cream of” soup in your favorite recipes.

You can also use S.O.S. Mix as a creamy base for delicious soups. Get the recipe and all the details here!

pantry staples

7. Instant Oatmeal

Anyone can divvy oats up into individual bags and call them “oatmeal packets.” But there’s a simple secret to replicating the thick and creamy texture of store-bought oatmeal packets—adding blended oats!

This simple addition makes homemade oatmeal every bit as creamy and satisfying as the store-bought stuff. Get full instructions on how to make your own instant oatmeal packets here.

pantry staples

8. Mayonnaise

Barring any dietary restrictions, I think everyone should give homemade mayo a try at least once. It has a freshness that is completely different from store-bought mayo, and it’s surprisingly easy to make too!

pantry staples

9. Pancake Syrup

While you can’t really replicate true maple syrup at home, you can make a classic pancake syrup that the whole family will love! I still use the same recipe my mom used when she made this for us back when we were kids. It has a nostalgic flavor that is sure to take you back!

Get the recipe for classic pancake syrup here.

pantry staples

10. Pancake Mix

What would pancake syrup be without a big stack of pancakes to pour it over? :-) You can easily replicate those convenient “shake and pour” pancake mixes in your own kitchen.

It’s a great option for making pancakes anytime, but it could be especially convenient for camping and other outings! Get the recipe for homemade “shake and pour” pancake mix here.

Want Even More Homemade Pantry Staples?

Do you make any of your own pantry staples at home?

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Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee


Food & Recipes

  • We just found miniature bottles of pure maple syrup at our local dollar store. Pairing these along with your pancake mix would make a great gift.

  • All of these ideas are absolutely wonderful! It’s amazing how much we can save by making these items, instead of buying them at the store. Thanks for such an awesome blog!

  • I couldn’t find margarine so I had to get creative. I had some coconut oil so I added some salt to taste and some turmeric powder to color. Is super good with popcorn. Try it on anything you would use butter on.

  • Thank you for showing the Brand (with it’s description) of molasses in the picture for turning white sugar into brown sugar. In Western Canada all we have is Black Strap or Cooking molasses made by the same company, both have a strong licorice smell and are very thick, so thick they won’t even pour. You have to spoon them out of the container. The Brand you show looks very thin and runny in the bottle. I tried our cooking molasses and had to warm it up to make it runny so it would mix in. In doing so the final result is hardening and I will have to add a drop of moisture to it to replace the moisture lost in warming or else buy one of those teracotta discs and dampen it to put in there. My conclusion is to either dilute a thick molasses or buy a runny molasses, to turn white sugar into brown sugar.

  • A lot of very useful information, especially as we try to continue to flatten the curve! This is such a great post – thanks for sharing!

  • the bestest 10 ideas ever!!!!! thank you sooo very much !!! going to use all !!! my husband has heart pvcs and cannot have fructose and the syrup recipe is perfect!!!! we can have pancakes and french toast again!:)

  • This is great. Love the spice mixes. A lot of the packaged ones have silica added to the packets. The oatmeal packets one is great. Except, I prefer the fruit and cream kind.

  • You did it again Jill! Just when I’m desperately needing multiple recipes but don’t have the time to do all the research or even try recipes if it’s good, you come to the rescue! I’m putting your spice mix and instant packet oatmeal in my tried and true recipe file! Thank you thank you!

  • Hello Jillee,
    I read your blog everyday and love it.
    I’m from Portugal, so we don’t have the same products you have. Can you tell me what is Molasses? Could you say what the products are instead of just the name?
    Thank you.


    • Hi Vanda,

      Looking at expatsportugal.com, someone there have said that they have bought Molasses in Continente somewhere in the “health food/diet” section. Another said molasses is also sold at Intermache, with the jams and honeys.

      Molasses is a dark syrup (color ranges from amber to ebony) that is left after sugarcane has been processed or refined. It is very natural, but even better and healthier if it’s organic and non-gmo.

      I grew up in the Philippines, but has been in the US since I was a teen and has lived here so much longer than when I was in my birth country. I remember eating it all the time back there and it was cheap. When I got here in the US and started using it for baking, I was a bit taken back how expensive it is here (especially the organic non-gmo). However I’ll take it anytime over corn syrup which is never good for anyone’s body.

      Good luck and happy shopping on finding it.

      • Hello Olie,

        I am in Azores, and we do not have the shops you mencioned. However, sugarcane syrup I know and use, specially in some tradicional sweets we do here in Terceira Island.
        You where very helpful.
        Thank you.

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