These essential baking ingredients will have you ready to bake whenever the urge strikes! From bread to muffins to brownies and more, you can't go wrong with a pantry stocked with these goodies.

Essential baking ingredients on a table from Shelf Cooking.

Whether you're an expert baker, you've been binge-watching The Great British Baking Show and feel like tossing your hat in the ring, or you are just getting started on your shelf cooking journey and want to cover all your bases—we've got you covered with this list of essential baking ingredients. Starting your stock from scratch? Grab the most basic essentials first and slowly build your stash over time so you don't break the bank!

*Note: When you click the links in this post, we may receive a commission at no extra cost to you.

With a pantry well-stocked with baking supplies (and of course well organized!), you'll be a bonafide baker in no time. Not only are we going to tell you all the essential baking ingredients you need, we'll even give you some of our best ideas to use them! Let's do this!


Types of flour in bowls from Shelf Cooking.

Here are some of the most basic and essential types of flour you should always keep on hand!

  • All Purpose – The most commonly and widely used flour in most basic baking recipes! Always keep this bad boy at the ready.
  • Whole Wheat Flour – Trying to incorporate more whole grains in your baking? Try swapping out half of the all purpose flour with whole wheat.
  • Bread Flour – Bread flour, while it looks very similar to all purpose flour, is not always interchangeable in recipes! It contains a higher gluten and protein content.
  • Almond FlourA great alternative to regular flour. Almond flour cookies? Yes, please!
  • Oat FlourAnother great flour alternative. Try our incredible oatmeal cookies and you'll never go back, trust us.
  • Gluten-Free FlourCan't have gluten? Keep a gluten-free flour at arms length so you're never needing to run out to the store!

Depending on your diet and preference, you may not need to keep all these flour varieties, but these are the most commonly used flours in most baking recipes!


There's not a lot you can bake without a leavening agent, right? Rise baby, rise! Here are the basics you need to keep in your pantry!

With these three basic baking ingredients in your pantry, you'll be unstoppable, lady!


Types of sugar in bowls from Shelf Cooking.

Sugar is needed in so many baking recipes, even those that don't seem sweet! Here's our list of the essential sugars and sweeteners you may want to have.

  • Granulated Sugar – A must! Even if you don't eat sugar, you never know when you'll need to bake a batch of cookies for a party. Check out our post all about sugar!
  • Brown Sugar – Chocolate chip cookies anyone?
  • Powdered Sugar – Perfect for frosting and for sprinkling on top of baked goods for some extra flair!
  • Honey – Don't miss our ah-ma-zing energy bites. You don't even have to bake them!
  • Maple Syrup – Plus, check out our maple syrup substitute and easy recipe.
  • Molasses – This one is less common, but still a delicious baking ingredient you may want to keep on hand.
  • Alternative Sweetener – If you need to limit sugar, keep your favorite alternative sweetener on hand to bake with instead!

Isn't life sweet? 😉


These common spices are absolutely delicious in everything from gingerbread cookies to banana bread!

  • Cinnamon
  • Allspice
  • Clove
  • Ginger
  • Salt

Mhmm. We can smell those snickerdoodles now!


These dairy and fat products add important texture and taste to certain recipes. While each recipe is different, they'll all yield great results with these essential baking ingredients!

Keep these dairy and fat products around and you'll be ready for any recipe that's thrown at you!


Vanilla extract in a bottle and a cup from Shelf Cooking.

Hello flavor-town! These extracts can liven up any baking recipe.

  • Vanilla
  • Almond
  • Mint

Want to make your own vanilla extract? We've got an easy and cheap vanilla extract recipe for you!


Everyone loves a good add-in for a baked good! Here are some of the best to keep handy.

  • Chocolate Chips – Dark, milk, semi-sweet, white chocolate… you name it!
  • Dried Fruit – We love adding dried fruit to our cookies, muffins, bread, and so much more!
  • Nuts – Walnuts, almonds, and pecans are great staple nuts to have around!
  • Nut Butters – We love hazelnut spread, almond butter, and peanut butter. Plus, don't miss our easy peanut butter recipe using only one ingredient!
  • Sprinkles – Because hey… who doesn't love sprinkles?!
  • Food Coloring For those last-minute birthday cakes! Don't miss out on our homemade fondant recipe!

Trust us, you won't regret having these common add-ins around!


Looking for some drool-worthy recipes to try out some of these essential baking ingredients? Here are some of our best!

Okay, now that you know the essential baking ingredients you need and some yummy recipes to use them in, you're all set! So grab those baking supplies and let's get to baking!

What baking ingredients do you use most often? Tell us in the comments below!

Want more baking hacks and tips?

Bake away, friend!