Essential Baking Ingredients Every Baker Should Always Have

essential baking ingredients

I do most of my baking between 12 am and 6 am because it’s quiet. However, when I get the baking itch, the worst thing that could happen is finding out I do not have the ingredient I need at home.

There are some essential baking ingredients you should always have on hand. They are easy to store and are used in almost any dessert recipe. It is important to note that this list may not apply to you if you have special dietary requirements. If you are eating a low carb, vegan or gluten-free diet, you will have to adapt this list to fit your needs. 

Also, you must store your ingredients properly to ensure they are of the best quality possible when you use them.   



Nearly every dessert has sugar in it. If you want only one type of sugar in your pantry, get white sugar. However, if you have space and storage containers, light or dark brown sugar, muscovado sugar and icing sugar will make excellent additions to your pantry.

Other sweeteners like honey, golden syrup, and sugar-free sweeteners are also important baking ingredients. 
Store these items in dry, tightly closed containers to keep out extra moisture and insects.

Butter, Margarine, and Oil

 Butter and oil


I always have these items on hand. Depending on your needs, you should get any of these items and keep them in your fridge or freezer. I usually stock up on butter when it is on sale and keep it in the freezer.

 Some recipes call for oil so always keep some in a bottle in your kitchen.  I bake with the same brand and type of oil that I use to cook so I never run out. 



The is one essential baking Ingredient that cakes, cupcakes, pies, tarts,  pastry and most desserts have in common. Keep white flour on hand at all times. If you have space, make sure you have cake and bread flour on hand as well.

I do not recommend stocking up on nut flours except you know you will be using them ASAP. Nut flours could go rancid so buy them when you need them. Depending on your needs you may need specialty flours like double zero flour, whole-wheat flour etc. 

Decide on what flour you use the most, stock up on it and store it accordingly.



Recipes that have no eggs In them are available online. However, you can keep eggs in the fridge for recipes you like to make or want o test. The roles eggs play in dessert recipes cannot be underestimated. For an in-depth understanding of eggs and the role they play in baking, check out this page.




Dairy products are a common addition to a lot of baked recipes. However, while a ton of cake recipes include milk and others call for buttermilk, not all dessert recipes include heavy cream or half and half.  This is why I focus on milk as an essential baking ingredient in the list. Have milk in your pantry or fridge at all times. You can also use milk instead of buttermilk in some recipes.

In the absence of buttermilk, add 1 tablespoon of vinegar to a cup of milk to make a passable replacement. 
I use liquid evaporated milk and powdered milk to bake. Both of which are quite easy to store for a reasonable period of time.

Baking powder and baking soda

Baking powder and baking soda

I am never without baking powder or soda. Raising agents are a common addition to dessert recipes and so I always have them available. Due to the nature of these products, I prefer to buy smaller cans. 

This way, I open a newer can of the raising agents often instead of having a larger can open for a long time. I am assured of the freshness of my baking soda and powder when I use smaller cans. To store these in your pantry, keep them in an airtight container.




Someone told me ‘I can bake an amazing, moist and fluffy cake without baking powder but what is bread without yeast? ’. If you do a lot of bread making or enjoy making yeast products, this ingredient is necessary.  

Always check your yeast to make sure it is still fresh and works. You could also stock up on sachets of yeast that are perfect for a single use.

Cocoa Powder

cocoa powder

I think I am yet to find a chocolate cake recipe that blows me away. Still, I sometimes crave brownies or something chocolaty and because of that, cocoa powder is always in my cupboard. Aside from baking with this item, cocoa powder makes an awesome hot chocolate drink superior to any sugar loaded chocolate mix. 

To store this item, I simply put it in an airtight canister.  This is an essential baking ingredient for every chocolate lover.

Dried or Frozen fruits

 Dried cranberries

Dried fruits like cranberries, raisins or blueberries make an excellent add-in to cakes, cupcakes, bread, and pancakes. They make a beautiful addition flavor wise and texture-wise to simple baked items. 

Frozen fruits are also great for later use. Freeze bananas, ripe pineapples, berries when they are in season or just ripe and defrost them to use in your desserts.  

Baking chips and discs

Baking chips are not limited to chocolate chips. Caramel, butterscotch and even cinnamon chips are delicious ingredients for the avid baker. All these can be used in numerous desserts. 

The only problem is storage in warm weather. Because of this, I store my baking chips in the fridge. However, if the weather is not a problem,  you can store them in airtight containers at room temperature.

Extracts, Flavors, and Spices

Extracts and flavouring


Always have some pure extract, flavorings, and spices in your pantry. These can help you create flavorful desserts.

If you have the extra space, you can add more items to your list of essential baking ingredients. 

Tips to ensure you never run out of essential baking ingredients

1.    Use transparent storage jars. This will help you keep track of what you have left. Also, repeatedly seeing a nearly empty jar will help you remember to buy what you need.

2.    Keep a list. The simplest way to always keep your baking pantry stocked is by making a list. As soon as you run out or are almost out of a baking ingredient, add it to the list. On your phone, make the list a sticky note if possible. 

3.     Keep everything where you can see it. All the baking ingredients you use often should be in a place where you see them easily. If you keep the baking powder in the back of a drawer, the chances are that you will forget to repurchase it when it is almost empty.

4.    Purchase your essentials in bulk.  Instead of buying a 2lb bag of flour, get a 5lb bag especially if you have the storage space. Buy items that can be stored easily in multi packs or large quantities.

I hope this article has been helpful in letting you know what essential baking ingredients every baker should always have. If there are other items you wish to add to the list, leave them in the comment section.

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