25 Pantry Recipes (That You'll Actually Love) - Skillful Cook
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25 Pantry Recipes (That You'll Actually Love)

Eight finished dishes of food illustrate pantry recipes.

Here we are. We are in a TIME, folks. It is uncharted territory for most of us. We are making the map as we go and wheeeew baby, there are a lot of feelings running us in a lot of different directions. We feel stuck and restless and unsure and tired and wired and ok-maybe-actually-enjoying-some-dedicated-time-together but also worried, anxious and please let me watch this show by myself and oh no what day is it.

But we are staying home because it is an act of love. An unprecedented act of love to take care of each other. To make the world safer for each other. To help build the world back up to a new normal, for each other.

We know cooking can get very tricky these days this with limited access to grocery stores and sometimes even more limited items on shelves, so we pulled together a collection that relies heavily on pantry staples. The ingredient lists are short and the recipes are so very very flexible, (something we’re all really trying to practice being right now - oh, hello multiple Zoom meetings in one house with children and animals and are even the plants somehow louder?).

Here we go.

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3 Ingredient Creamy Tomato Shells

Creamy tomato shells and greens in a bowl with a fork.

Trying to keep ingredient lists as short as possible these days and this comes in at a whopping three. We’re using our best pal cashews to add a creamy, velvety twist on the standard pasta, and the jar of tomato sauce we’re probably all coming to know really well right about now.

Get the recipe here.

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Yummy Salmon Burgers with Slaw

Salmon Burger on a plate with slaw.

No, we did not mistakenly put the words salmon and burger together. Give it a crisp sear, top it with a dollop of yogurt and dill and float it on a bed of herby cabbage slaw and you’ll totally get why this pantry-friendly protein patty is worth your bravery.

Get the recipe here.

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Fluffiest Blueberry Pancakes

Blueberry pancakes on a plate with syrup and butter.

We cannot lie - these pancakes are straight up exquisite even WITHOUT blueberries, syrup or dripping buttery goodness, but if you happen to have any combination of those things at the ready, these are an absolute dream of a breakfast/lunch/dinner.

Get the recipe here.

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Back Pocket Stir Fry with Noodles

Back pocket noodle stir fry in a bowl.

We call it “Back Pocket” Noodle Stir Fry because we want you to keep this simple perfect recipe in your back pocket at all times, not the beautiful noodlefull dish ITSELF. That would gross. So grab your noodles, find all the veggie stragglers in the fridge, crisp up a protein, shake up your sauce in a jar, and you are READY.

Get the recipe here.

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Instant Pot Coconut Tandoori Chicken

Tandoori chicken in bowl with rice.

If you've got a pound of chicken in the freezer, a stocked spice rack, and a can of coconut milk, this is for you. Lots of coconut and curry-like flavor, but no cutting boards, no measuring cups, no fuss. Just pack it all up in a bag, freeze or refrigerate, and pop it in the Instant Pot.

Get the recipe here.

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5 Ingredient Vegan Vodka Pasta

Vegan vodka pasta in a pan.

If you’re not currently using your vodka as a backup disinfectant then boy do we have a delicious and incredibly easy recipe for you! We swapped out the cream for, wait for it (and trust), coconut milk to make it vegan but ALSO because you might already have a can on hand.

Get the recipe here.

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One Ingredient Socca

Socca in a cast iron skillet.

We’ve all had the same nightmare: what if we run out of crisp and wonderful carby things to serve on the side of everything? Chickpea flour to the rescue! This single ingredient (and ok fine, there’s water, olive oil and salt involved too but that’s it!) is delivering to you your new favorite gluten-free dipper.

Get the recipe here.

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Unbelievably Good Cashew Coffee

Cashew coffee in a cup.

Cream-free but creamy-as-all-get-out and here to replace your usual coffeeshop latte. You’re free to come to the party at any time of day because literally morning, noon or night (decaf-style), it’s just a straight-up TREAT.

Get the recipe here.

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Spicy Peanut Soup with Sweet Potato and Kale

Sweet potato peanut stew in a bowl.

Isn't it beautiful how potatoes just seem to kind of last forever? Sweet potatoes serve as the base of this spicy creamy delight - just add in some cans of tomatoes and coconut milk, a scoop of peanut butter, lots of spices, and add in some chopped kale to finish it off (which, well, also kind of seems to last forever?).

Get the recipe here.

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Miracle No Knead Bread

Baked No Knead Bread.

One silver-lining from this pantry-cooking situation is that everyone seems to be dipping their toes into amateur breadmaking and we are HERE FOR IT. If you haven’t considered it yet, here’s a heck of an easy intro that is going to yield you the perfectly crusted outside, soft and chewy inside loaf of your dreams. Also, carbs.

Get the recipe here.

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Healthy Carrot Muffins

Easy carrot cake muffins.

Sure, baking might be a coping mechanism, and sometimes it has us in front of the oven, oven mitts on, praying for a warm, sweet, wholesome, unfussy and delicious treat to appear. Prayers answered, friends! Carrot muffins at the ready. And by at the ready, we mean blended up in a blender, poured into a muffin tin, baked, and ready to devour.

Get the recipe here.

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Instant Pot Red Curry Lentils

Red curry lentils with rice in a bowl with spoon.

Lentils, amiright?! Healthy, filling, affordable and they kind of do all the work for you! We put these in the Instant Pot with some warm curry spices, a can of tomatoes and a bit of coconut milk or butter/ghee to make it a little creamy. Scoop it on top of some steamy rice and you have yourself some easy delicious comfort food, which really feels great right now.

Get the recipe here.

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Vegetarian Chili

Bowls of chili with shredded cheddar, cilantro, and sour cream.

This Vegetarian Chili is super cozy, deeeeply flavored and super meaty but with not one little bit of actual meat! And we’re not making up for it by just adding a bunch of beans, friends. No way! This chili uses a delicious blend of walnuts, carrots and mushrooms as a “meat” for all your hearty chili texture needs. Grab your tortillas chips and get ready.

Get the recipe here.

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Creamy Thai Sweet Potato Curry

Sweet potato curry with rice in a bowl and with a spoon.

On a scale of *very* to *runs out of room screaming*, how intimidated are you by the thought of making your own curry from scratch? GOOD. You are a real person with well-adjusted fears! But you can totally do this. We believe in you. It’s easier than you think, only requires a few ingredients, and will be so, so worth it.

Get the recipe here.

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The Best Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies

Chocolate chip cookies and a class of milk

We all just really need a cookie right now, don't we? The especially beautiful thing about it is that you probably already have everything you need tucked right in your pantry/fridge. Flour, sugar, butter, chocolate - staples are all here, ready to play.

Get the recipe here.

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15 Minute Lo Mein

Lo Mein in pan with tongs.

If you need to clean out the last dregs of your fridge to make space of the restock, this Lo Mein Is. Your. Answer. You can toss almost any protein or veggie you have at it, we swear we won’t tell if you’re using regular old spaghetti noodles and no matter what combo you come up with, that sauce is still going to make it sing.

Get the recipe here.

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Instant Pot Mac and Cheese

Creamy elbow macaroni and cheese in a bowl

There is no box situation here! (unless your noodles came in a box but, like, go with us here) There’s also not an elaborate sauce construction and hour-long bake time! Just 5 ACTUAL REAL FOOD ingredients, nothing is powdered or in a pouch, and the whole thing is creamy cheesy yours in under 15 minutes.

Get the recipe here.

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Detox Moroccan-Spiced Chickpea Glow Bowl

Moroccan chickpeas in a bowl with pita.

If you are looking at those chickpeas on your pantry shelf and thinking, “ok but what else do they do.?...” Well, this! They’ll soak up this deep and complex Moroccan spice blend and then simmer in a fire-roasted tomato sauce to a stewy perfection. Scoop them on top of some couscous or another grain on hand, put a little cucumber salad on the side and a pop of fresh cilantro, mint, parsley if you’ve got it.

Get the recipe here.

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Vegetarian Shepherd's Pie

A pot of vegetarian shepherd's pie.

Shepherd’s Pie always seems to be an ideal scrappy sort of recipe. Potatoes keep a good long time so we usually have a couple of those laying around, you can definitely use frozen veggies for any fresh that you’re missing, and you can flex all around with quick gravy ingredients. All roads lead to something delicious, bubbling and deeply comforting coming out of that oven.

Get the recipe here.

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Cookie Dough Energy Bites

No-Bake Energy Balls on a white background.

Maybe you need a little boost because, wheeeew, it is all...a lot to manage right now. We’re right there with you. But if you can find yourself some oats, some peanut butter, a little honey and fingers crossed, a few chocolate chips, we’ve got about 30 little bite-sized pick-me-ups headed your way.

Get the recipe here.

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Sesame Noodle Bowls

Sauteed chicken, edamame and cucumber over a bed of spaghetti.

Here’s a little something if take-out isn’t an option for some of your favorite restaurants right now (although buy a gift card for later use if you can!). A great sesame noodle hack that is super flexible depending on what’s available, it comes together in a snap and is a great meal-prep option, you know, if you’re craving some consistency in this DEEPLY INCONSISTENT TIME! We sure are.

Get the recipe here.

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5-Ingredient Green Curry

Utensils sit in a bowl of rice, vegetables and tofu.

If you happen to have curry paste and some coconut milk sitting on your shelves, this is a seriously delicious and easy 5-ingredient way to use up any scrap veggies or protein you might need to get through in your fridge. Listen, you can even throw some golden raisins or any other odd/interesting ingredient at it if you wanna get creative, which is definitely the name of the game these days.

Get the recipe here.

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No Boil Baked Penne with Meatballs

Meatballs and penne in a baking dish.

We're always here for a no-bake situation, but honestly, just very thankful that recipes like this exist right now. Pasta and tomatoes from the cupboard, milk and butter from the fridge, and meatballs from the freezer. Grate up those scrappy pieces of cheese in the back of the drawer to top it off and get going.

Get the recipe here.

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The Very Best Peanut Sauce

Peanut sauce in a bowl with spoon.

If you can only have one sauce on hand right now, this is it. And good news! You probably have most ingredients hanging out in your kitchen already - peanut butter for creaminess, soy sauce for saltiness, sesame oil for smokiness, rice vinegar and ginger for zippiness, and sambal for that perfect spicy hit.

Get the recipe here.

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Cauliflower Walnut Vegetarian Taco Meat

Cauliflower Walnut Taco Meat on a tray with a spoon in it.

We make no bones about it, this is straight up legit better-than-meat taco meat. In some sort of vegetarian magic spell, it manages to be crisp, spicy and oh so taco-y delicious that you forget to even marvel at all the nutritional bonus points you’re getting from good old fashioned plant-eating.

Get the recipe here.

We hope this helps. We believe big time in the joy and connection food can bring, so we feel grateful to be able to help you put a little scrappy, creative joy on the table during all of this. Take care of yourselves, take care of each other. ❤️

Filed Under: All Recipes Recipes

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  1. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thank you for the amazing post. I have made at least 4 out of this round up post in the last 2 week. Cookie bowl is not included here but I am sorry I am so addicted to that recipe and made it nearly 3 times last week. I think it the 2nd most addictive recipe on your blog (#1 for me will always be coconut curry ramen w/ hoisin tofu) Absolutely need to balance all those calories with some healthy soup recipes from your blog.

  2. Skillful Cook Logo

    Ah there it is. A Mexican inspired recipe. Was starting to think it would not happen. 🙂

  3. Skillful Cook Logo

    That first paragraph is LIFE right now, isn’t it. Thanks for a great post – several of these recipes are already go-to at our house and their familiarity brings a lot of comfort these days.

  4. Skillful Cook Logo

    These are all great recipes but out of all them, that Shepard’s Pie looks AMAZING! Great post thank you for sharing!

  5. Skillful Cook Logo

    I actually made the chocolate chip cookies last night, and the sweet potato stew ten minutes ago for lunch… so I guess that makes me… ahead of the curb?? 😂 next stop: 5 ingredient green curry!!

    1. Skillful Cook Logo

      Hi Jess,

      How do you prepare Sweet Potato stew? do you add various vegetables in it? Do you steam it or place it in the oven? 🙂

  6. Skillful Cook Logo

    Oh my gosh, I need to make ALL of this, you’ve reminded me about several of my favourites that I haven’t made in a while ❤
    Looking forward to dinner, just need to choose… 🙂

  7. Skillful Cook Logo

    This post is soooo helpful…THANK YOU for it! I can attest to the greatness of the salmon burgers and sweet potato curry but can’t wait to try some of the others. Thank you for continuing to fuel us with great cooking inspiration even in these tough times! xoxo

  8. Skillful Cook Logo

    That back pocket stir fry recipe is the best. I have been making that once, or twice, a month since it was first posted. Everyone in our family loves it!

  9. Skillful Cook Logo

    I’m starting to have an acquired taste for steamed green peas with avocado oil poured over them after they finish cooking, with a tid bit of seasoning. Something I just learned within the past few months is that green peas are not only very fulfilling and suppress appetite, but they also possibly contain fiber and help balance hormones. This is why it pays to eat healthy. 🙂

  10. Skillful Cook Logo

    I pulled some cauli-walnut taco ‘meat’ out of the freezer for dinner tonight! There were only about 2 cups worth so I added a can of black beans to bulk it up to last for multiple meals. I topped it with red cabbage, avocado, and a tomato-less pico de gallo. I’m so glad past me set future shelter in place me up for success by making nearly all the freezer meals from PoY!

  11. Skillful Cook Logo

    Clearly, I am on to something because I have already made about 5-7 of these dishes, even some of the variations to your recipes (like protein balls) yum! Given these times, I find I have to workout and cook something every day and then I feel better! Thank you Lindsay for all of your amazingness

  12. Skillful Cook Logo

    At this trying time in life, it is a good idea to stock up on food for the cabinet and pantry. Which rmeinds me to re-up on Oranges and other fruit to stay immune from the Coronavirus.

  13. Skillful Cook Logo

    Thank you! Have made a few of these over the last 3 weeks, and I see some new to try. Your recipes are always practical (easy) and delicious. So fortunate to be a reader!

  14. Skillful Cook Logo

    Hello buddy,
    Looks damn tasty. I am loving it. Your articles are really awesome and cool to be frank. it makes me crave and make my mouth water 🙂 Keep sharing much more cool content often. Cheers to you 🙂

  15. Skillful Cook Logo

    Please provide more actual PANTRY recipes with shelf-stable foods (no greens, butter, cheese, carrots, etc) for those of us struggling to eat healthy with limited or no access to perishable or freezable foods / and with extremely small fridge/ freezer space.
    Thank you! This crisis is very different if you live in a city / apartment / shared space / don’t have a car

  16. Skillful Cook Logo

    Such great recipes! I’ve been looking for a peanut sauce and we have been playing with pasta recipes that don’t involve having to prebake the noodles. Thank you for these recipes I’m excited to get even more creative in the kitchen!

  17. Skillful Cook Logo

    This is exactly what I needed! I’ve already made 3 of these recipes with what I have on hand and I’m making of list of things I need to get at the store next time I got to be able to make some more of these since there so much cross over (looking at you Asian dishes) thank you for posting this!!!

  18. Skillful Cook Logo

    I just found your blog and I LOVE IT! the video is so fun to watch and makes everything look so easy that I think i can actually do this! especially during quarantine, i needed to find your blog. thanks so much.

  19. Skillful Cook Logo

    I finally broke out my Instant Pot after it sat in the box for a year after we received it for Christmas. It was so easy to use. I am definitely interested in giving your Coconut Tandoori Chicken and Red Curry Lentils recipes a whirl. They look amazing.