Gluten Free Pantry Essentials
We like to think of our homes as our ‘safe havens’. A place where we can be ourselves, recharge and feel safe.
Of course, with food allergies, intolerances and auto-immune diseases, we have to make sure that the food within our homes is also safe. Especially so with little children in the home that may help themselves to food items without asking!
Whenever anyone new to ‘gluten-free’ asks me where exactly to start (usually with a very stressed and overwhelmed expression) I always suggest that they consider the staple food items in the home first.
Yes, before you even attempt to browse the grocery store aisles and spend an exorbitant amount of money!
Having a well-stocked gluten-free pantry means that you can often try that new recipe on a whim, make a last minute change to dinner plans and save (most of) those frantic dashes to the supermarket.
Related: What to Do If Your Home Isn’t 100% Gluten Free (or can’t be)
This isn’t a list of brands, because that really depends on where you are located. I wanted this list to be a basis for your pantry staples, with the purpose of getting you started on re-stocking your pantry and making it a safe zone. It will of course depend on your cooking preferences and what meals your family eats often. For example, we have spaghetti and meatballs once a week in our home so I consider the ingredients for this to be a staple.
Here is a list of what I always keep on hand in our pantry:
Gluten-Free Flours & Baking Items
As a basis, I consider gluten free versions of all of the following to be a pantry staple:
- All-purpose flour
- Cornstarch (cornflour)
- Baking soda
- Baking powder
- Cocoa powder
- Vanilla essence/extract
- Chocolate chips
- Maple syrup (beware of the gluten versions!)
- Sweeteners of choice
You will notice that in gluten free baking, there are various flours, blends and interesting additions such as almond meal, almond flour, coconut flour, tapioca, xanthan gum, guar gum, potato starch, etc. Your need for these items will greatly depend on how much and what type of baking you will be doing.
Therefore, I haven’t included these as ‘staples’ to get you started. I would suggest you add these to your pantry as and when required for particular recipes and consider the unique taste of some of these that are not always enjoyed by little taste buds!
I’m not a big fan of cereal myself, but my children all seem to like it occasionally so I do keep the gluten-free versions of the following cereals on hand:
- Rice krispies (rice bubbles)
The gluten free rice krispies and cornflakes can also be used in various kid-friendly recipes, so I also consider them handy to have available.
If you’re new to gf, then I would suggest trying one or two gluten free versions of what your children already eat and going from there.
Sauces, Stocks & Spices
Most spices are naturally gluten free anyway, however you will need to review all your current supplies of spices just to be sure – particularly with spice blends (for example, Mexican spice mixes). Aside from that, be sure to check your current stocks of:
- Barbeque sauce
- Tamari, GF soy sauce or liquid aminos
- Worcestershire sauce
- Oyster sauce
- Hoisin sauce
- Chicken stock
- Beef stock
- Vegetable stock
- Passata/tomato sauce
- Tomato paste
- Pizza sauce
- Teriyaki marinade
Sauces can be one of the sneaky places that gluten hides. Make sure to check all your sauces for all versions of gluten and swap these out for gluten free versions.
Rice & Gluten-Free Pasta
We often use the following rices and pastas in our home and I’m constantly replenishing them. They make great side dishes and bulk up your protein meals. You will probably have to try a few brands of pasta until you settle on your preferred options though:
- White Rice (we use jasmine, basmati & sushi rice)
- Brown Rice (can also be milled to create rice flours)
- Gluten-free macaroni
- Gluten-free fettuccini
- Gluten free spaghetti
- Gluten free penne (great for pasta salads also)
- Gluten free rice noodles (for stir-fries, soups and Pad Thai)
- Taco shells
Gluten Free Snack Items
We have 2 baskets at the very top of our pantry that include a range of gluten free snacks. One baskets contains the ‘sometimes treats’ and the kids know they are for special occasions (doesn’t stop them trying though J ) and the other basket contains those types of snacks that they can add to their lunch box or have as an after-school snack.
Either way, it’s very convenient to have these sorts of things available for gluten free snacks on the go:
- Rice cakes
- Rice crackers (great for making your own lunchables)
- Potato chips
- Corn chips
- Granola bars
- Choc chip cookies, shortbreads or some type of cookie
- Various ‘snack pack’ items based on what the kids are enjoying
- Nuts, Seeds & Dried Fruits
Gluten Free Bread & Wraps
With three growing children, we go through a lot of gluten free bread. We do mix up the lunch options and also use wraps (I like to make my own when time permits), but ultimately I always tend to have one of the following in the pantry and often a backup in the freezer:
- Gluten free brown bread
- Sweet potato wraps
- Gluten free bagels
- Gluten free breadcrumbs
- Coconut milk
- Coconut cream
- Diced tomatoes
- Corn kernels
- Sweetened Condensed milk
- Beans (baked, black, etc)
Gluten Free Mixes
I do like to make from scratch as much as possible, but on a work morning or a busy day, it’s a lifesaver to have a package mix on hand to pull together quickly. We keep one of each of these in the pantry, but I do like to keep them as more a ‘back-up’:
- Pancake/Waffle Mix
- Cake/Cupcake Mix
- Muffin Mix
- Brownie Mix
- Bread Mix
- Frosting Mix
I haven’t included fats, oils, vinegars, condiments and spices to this list as these all tend to be naturally gluten free. However, like I always say, check each list of ingredients to be on the safe side and avoid any issues.
You will settle into a new normal with a gluten free pantry and will find what brands you and your family prefer, what your regular meals consist of and what baking flours and products you use regularly.
Do you have any items you consider pantry staples that aren’t on the above list?