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May 11, 2022 5 min read


Becoming a baking pro is all about two things: following recipes and using great ingredients. Stocking up on baking ingredients might feel like a big task but most of what you need lasts a long time, so once you buy them, you'll likely be able to make multiple batches of cakes, cookies, muffins, and other baked goods. Let's dive into the key ingredients every baker needs.


Pantry Essentials Infographics


1) Flour


A brown paper bag filled with flour sitting on a marble countertop with a white vase behind

Credit: Getty Images


You'll need flour for everything from bread to cakes and even cookies and pie dough. It's good to have different types on hand. Essential ones include all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, and bread flour. Depending on your recipes, you might also want specialty flours like cake flour, gluten-free flours, finely ground corn flour, and others.


2) Salt


A glass salt cellar filled with salt sitting on a brown wooden table top

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The best way to balance the flavor of your baked goods is to use plain iodized table salt. Some bakers may prefer to use kosher salt or sea salt, depending on the recipe. If your recipe doesn't say which salt to use, assume that it's table salt.


3) Baking Soda


Baking powder on a wooden spoon sitting on a black surface

Credit: iStockPhoto


This is another essential. Baking soda is a base, meaning it needs to be mixed with an acid to produce carbon dioxide, which is what gives baked goods their flavor. As a result, it's often used along with other ingredients like natural cocoa powder, lemon juice, cream of tartar, yogurt, and so on.


4) Baking Powder


A tin of Baking Powder with some on a yellow teaspoon sitting on a marble countertop

Credit: Serious Eats


Baking powder contains bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar, which makes cakes rise. When you mix it with water or any liquid, the cream of tartar activates the bicarbonate of soda, releasing carbon dioxide and making the cake aerate. It's popular in baking, particularly in creamed cakes.


5) Butter


An open block of butter that has been cut into slices sitting on a wooden chopping board

Credit: iStock


Butter is what brings it all together, adding richness and texture to soft, flaky bakes, like cakes or shortcrust pastries. Although it's common to use unsalted butter, using salted butter isn't a bad idea. When added to a baked good, the salt in the butter brings out the flavors brilliantly. If nothing is mentioned in the recipe, go for salted butter.


6) Dairy


A glass filled with milk sitting next to a bottle of milk on a muslin cloth

Credit: TOI


For most baked goods, ingredients like sour cream, yogurt, whipped cream or buttermilk are commonly used. However, when it comes to essential dairy for baking, plain old milk, preferably whole milk, is a must-have. Also, you'll need cream cheese as well. Although not a must-have, it's worth having on hand since it's versatile and doesn't have a convenient substitute. Plus, it has a long shelf life.

Lastly, it's a good idea to keep a can of evaporated milk in your pantry. It can be used as a substitute for heavy cream in most recipes.


7) Sugar


A wooden spoon sitting inside a wooden spoon with brown, white and caramel colored sugar and the different ways you can buy themf sugar

Credit: Dream79


Granulated sugar is a common ingredient in baking, but it's also handy to have brown sugar, white sugar, dark brown sugar, coconut sugar, and powdered sugar in your kitchen. It's also good to keep sweeteners like corn syrup and maple syrup on hand for various baking needs.


8) Eggs


A basket of fresh light and darker brown eggs sitting on a table

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Just like flour, eggs are crucial in baking as they give structure and texture to baked goods. They also hold everything together after baking, preventing it from crumbling.

For the best type of eggs, go for the organic type. These eggs are hormone-free and don't contain any harmful substances. You can usually find them at farmer's markets or from local farmers nearby. If a recipe doesn't specify egg size, it's safe to assume that it means large eggs.


9) Cinnamon


A bowl of powdered cinnamon with sticks on the side sitting on a white bowl

Credit: Westend61


Cinnamon is a common spice used in both savory and sweet foods. You'll need both cinnamon sticks and ground cinnamon to give your pastries a unique aroma and flavor.


10) Vegetable Oil


Clear fresh oil being poured from the bottle to a spoon to a bowl with rosemary and black olives in the foreground

Credit: iStock


Vegetable oil is a must-have in many recipes and is great for greasing pans before baking since it doesn't add flavor. If you want a healthier option, you can use canola oil.


11) Cacao Powder and Chocolate


Cacao powder in a glass bowl with some dark chocolate on the side.

Credit: EyeEm


Many people who love sweets absolutely love chocolate. It's one of the most popular ingredients in pastries, next to fruits. Depending on your recipe, you can use cooking chocolate, chocolate chips, or cacao powder. Cacao powder is used as a dry ingredient while cooking chocolate or chocolate chips are used as melted ingredients. It's a good idea to get some high-quality cacao powder and chocolate - you'll taste the difference!

For a more intense, less sweet flavor, go for dark cooking chocolate instead of milk chocolate, and make sure to use unsweetened cacao powder.


12) Vanilla Extract


Vanilla extract in a bottle and on a spoon with some vanilla sticks on the side and a vanilla flower in the background

Credit: The Cold Wire


When you're setting up your baking cupboard, pure vanilla extract is a must-have. It makes everything you bake taste richer and more flavorful. We suggest using pure vanilla extract, not imitation. While it might cost a bit more, it's definitely worth it.


13) Nuts


Various bowls of different nuts that you can use in your baking

Credit: MyRecipes


It's useful to have a few common baking nuts on hand, such as pecans, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, and pistachios. Refrigerate them to keep them fresh (you can store them in the freezer as well).


14) Dried Fruits


Four spoons holding currants, sultanas and raisins on a tabletop

Credit: AlekZotoff


If you enjoy fruit cakes, having a bag of currants, sultanas, and raisins on hand is a must. There are many dried fruits to choose from, so stock up on what you need or customize a recipe using your favorites.


FAQ Section


How can I ensure my baked goods turn out perfectly?

Following recipes accurately and using high-quality ingredients are key. Make sure to measure ingredients properly and don't overmix the batter.


How should I store my baking ingredients?

Most baking ingredients should be stored in airtight containers in a cool, dry place to maintain freshness. Items like nuts and flour can be stored in the refrigerator or freezer for extended shelf life.


How can I prevent my baked goods from burning or sticking to the pan?

Properly grease the baking pan with butter, oil, or cooking spray. Also, line the pan with parchment paper. To prevent burning, keep an eye on your baked goods while they're in the oven and adjust the temperature or baking time as needed.


Can I freeze baked goods for later?

Yes, you can. Make sure to wrap them tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and store them in an airtight container to prevent freezer burn.




With these essential baking ingredients in your baking pantry and refrigerator, you'll always be prepared to whip up something sweet and delicious. And if you're looking for a convenient way to kickstart your baking journey, check out the Pepe Nero Decorating Kit. Packed with all the essential tools you need for decorating, it's the perfect solution for both beginners and seasoned bakers alike. Shop with us today.


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