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This list of Holiday Pantry Essentials will help you get a head start on preparing for the upcoming holidays so you will be stocked on all the necessities.
You know as much as I love absorbing every second of the fall season, there’s one thing that the arrival of fall means that I can’t forget. The holidays are just around the corner! I tend to use the month of October as my preparation month. I’ll clean out my pantry and reorganize it and I’ll do the same for my fridge and freezer.
There’s another thing that I’ll start to do and that’s stock up on food items that won’t expire before the end of the year. I find that there’s less stress on my wallet when I do this when the holidays come around which is so important that time of year! It also reduces my stress in general because I have fewer items to remember to buy during a time of year when I tend to get frazzled in the stores.
The older I get the more I believe in getting ahead on preparations and if you feel the same then you will love my list of Holiday Pantry Essentials. This list contains food items that I use the most during the holidays that you can start buying now!
Julia Child said, “With enough butter, anything is good.” And who am I to argue with the celebrated chef? As always, though, Julia was right. Whether I’m baking or seasoning vegetables, butter is a must during the holidays!
Now I know that this isn’t a pantry item but it is something that I start buying now. I like to stock up on my butter at the beginning of fall by grabbing an extra pound of it whenever I’m at Trader Joe’s. I then throw it into my freezer and pull the sticks out as I need them.
Trader Joe’s has the best butter! My mom was actually the one who turned me on to it and it wasn’t much later when I stumbled upon this article on Food 52’s website. They tested five different brands of butter and Trader Joe’s not only came out on top but is also the cheapest in the bunch at $2.99 a pound!
From baking holiday cookies to thickening turkey gravy, I can’t get through the holidays without flour! All-purpose is what I use the most but it has to be unbleached! Thankfully, it’s not as hard to find it as it used to be. More brands are acknowledging the demand for it and producing it which makes it not only easier to find but also budget-friendly.
Trader Joe’s is once again my go-to for this pantry item at $2.99 for a five-pound bag. Although if you’re looking for a budget-friendly unbleached all-purpose flour, Target’s brand is pretty decent and comes in at under $2 for a five-pound bag. I’ve used their flour a time or two when I’ve been in a pinch and couldn’t get to TJ’s. I usually try to have two bags in my pantry by the time Thanksgiving rolls around just to be on the safe side. That usually gets me through the holiday season with plenty to spare.
It’s important to stock up on any extracts you may need for your holiday baking. For me, it’s vanilla and almond extracts that I use the most during the season. Vanilla is an important extract when it comes to baking. It can also be pricy. I find that Costco and BJ’s have pretty decent vanilla extracts for a good price and they will last a while.
The best vanilla extract I’ve ever had is one my mom brought back for me from a trip to Mexico. It truly shined in my baked goods but I’ve long used it up. I’m going to keep my eyes peeled for some when we’re in Mexico in February!
I always make sure to have a bag of granulated white sugar and brown sugar in my pantry before I start my holiday baking. If I don’t have any powdered sugar already I’ll buy that too. When I’m baking is usually the only time I need sugar so I don’t buy too much of it. I’m not partial to any particular brand of sugar. I tend to keep my eyes peeled for some good grocery deals for these items.
Spices are definitely a necessity for holiday baking. I actually buy cinnamon at Costco because I use it so much throughout the year. Nutmeg, cloves, and other spices are usually only used during the holidays. Those are items that I’ll buy when the grocery stores put them on sale.
Salt, Baking Powder, and Baking Soda
It’s a good idea to double-check your stores on these baking essentials and look at the expiration dates. I’m not partial to brands for the salt or baking soda. I always make sure that the baking powder I’m buying is aluminum-free. I typically buy my baking powder at Trader Joe’s or Sprouts. They have the quality I’m looking for at a great price.
Other Pantry Items to Buy
Depending on what you’re cooking and baking this holiday season, here are some more items to add to your list and the stores that I often find are the best priced and quality!
Chicken Stock (Trader Joe’s, Fresh Market, or Costco)
French Fried Onions (Food Lion)
Nuts (Costco, Trader Joe’s, or Aldi. You can freeze these to extend the shelf life!)
Baking Chocolate, Chocolate Chips or Chunks (Trader Joe’s)
Evaporated or Sweetened Condensed Milk (Aldi or Target)
I hope this list of Holiday Pantry Essentials will help you get ahead on your holiday preparations. Stay tuned for next week’s post, Holiday Kitchen Essentials. I’ll share with you a list of equipment you may need for the holidays that is sometimes not thought of or used the rest of the year.
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