Pantry Essentials | Basics with Babish

Pantry Essentials | Basics with Babish

Hey, guys. Welcome back to Basics With Babish, where this week, we’re taking a look at pantry essentials. So many people have written in, asking, “What do I need to keep in my cabinets at all times?” And I wanted to show you a few culinary mainstays that’ll help you to build dishes from scratch, and amp up dishes in progress. Let’s get down to Basics. Basics With Babish and the all-new are brought to you by Squarespace – Head there now to check out recipes from the show, kitchen equipment lists, my personal blog posts, and more. Get 10% off your first Squarespace order with offer code “Babish.” Whether you need a domain, website, or online store, make your next move with Squarespace. Alright, guys, so let’s start by taking a look at salt. As you hopefully know by know, I’m a big fan of Kosher Salt. I like Diamond Crystal, but Morton’s is also just fine, But we want to have a variety of different kinds of salt in our pantry. Coarse Sea Salt can be useful for garnishing breads, or pretzels. And Maldon’s giant, crispy sea salt flakes are great for finishing steaks, and anything you wanna add a little bit of crunch to, but not too much saltiness. They’re really cool and very versatile. Now, let’s talk baking ingredients. Obviously, you gotta have the essentials always on hand – All-Purpose Flour, Sugar, Baking Soda, Baking Powder. Next up, both for baking and for breakfast, we always wanna keep some Quaker Oats on hand. Make sure you pour them directly onto your countertop, as a sort of fruitless demonstration of what they look like. I always keep oats on hand for cookies, bread, or, obviously, oatmeal. Now, let’s talk vinegars. These have a variety of different uses, and can being a wealth of different flavors to different dishes. There’s a dizzying number of vinegars, but these are the basics that I like to keep on hand. Starting with Apple Cider Vinegar, which is slightly more mellow, and apparently very good for your GI Tract. Good ol’ regular White Vinegar, of course, Balsamic Vinegar, and Red Wine Vinegar, for salads. Champagne Vinegar has an especially light and fresh taste, and, of course, Rice Wine Vinegar is essential for Asian cuisine. Altogether, you’ve got yourself a Vinegar powerhouse. How about Oil? These are the bare essentials in my mind. Olive oil, for when you need lots of flavor, but not very high heat. Don’t cheap out on this stuff, but don’t go crazy, either. Maybe $15-20 is a good range. Then there’s Grapeseed Oil. This has a very, very high smoke point, so it’s ideal for searing. And lastly, Canola (or vegetable) Oil for deep-frying and baking. I always keep a big jug of this stuff, because you need a *lot* to deep fry. This one has a great no-drip spout for when you want to pour it directly down your own gullet. I’m just kidding, obviously. Don’t do that. Now, let’s take a look at some noodles. I like to keep some good, straight Japanese Ramen Noodles around for soups and stir fries. And, of course, some Elbows for spontaneous Mac & Cheese. And whatever other pasta pleases your palate. You are, after all, the “Chef Jon” of your Lasagn….a. Sorry. Always keep a can of nonstick spray around, for baking, greasing skillets for pancakes, and pointlessly shaking around. Now, let us summon….Tomato Paste. Essential for cooking all manner of Italian dishes and stocks, Tomato Paste in a tube is way more convenient than the stuff in a can. But, cans aren’t always bad. How about Canned Tomatoes? (One of the ways to cook with tomatoes when tomatoes are out of season). I always keep a few cans of 28-ounce (795 gram) D.O.P. San Marzano Tomatoes. Some other Can-Jams you always wanna keep on hand: Black Beans, of course, primarily for Chili. Or Pollo Ala Plancha. You can use dry beans if you want, but these are just a whole lot easier, and there’s not much of a difference in quality. Another type of bean that I insist on keeping on hand are Garbanzo Beans (Chickpeas). These guys are great roasted and salted as a snack, or whipped up into homemade Hummus. And, if the occasion calls for a Piña Colada, or a curry, for that matter, you want to keep some Coconut Milk on hand. Not to mention, a little jar of Red or Green Curry Paste. With just these, some vegetables and rice, you’ve got yourself a meal- Whoa! Speaking of which, let’s talk about rice. You gotta have rice on hand at all times. Jasmine is a great place to start, because it’s very, very versatile, mildly aromatic, But there’s a whole host of different kinds of rice you might want to keep on hand: Red Rice, Jasmine Rice, Basmati Rice, Wild Rice, Jade Pearl Rice. Or, the all-important Arborio Rice, which I’m fresh out of, because we just used it in a recipe. So, now lets talk about nuts. I like to keep nuts around, just for any old time you wanna throw some in cookies, or chicken salad, or just in your stupid big mouth. Cornmeal – Not so much for snacking, but as a very versatile tool. Whether you’re dusting the bottom of pizzas, making cornbread, or polenta, you can’t have enough Cornmeal. (Doing Joe Pesci impression) “And don’t even get me stahted ahn Grits.” That’s my best Joe Pesci, and that’s all your’e gonna get. Now, let’s talk about the all-important Soy Sauce. From its obvious uses in Asian cuisine to amping up the umami of a Thanksgiving gravy, this is an endlessly useful condiment. Not unlike Woo-shuh-shuh Shau…Whoosh…Whoosh…Worcetershire Sauce Wait a minute, is this Low-Sodium Worcetershire? Let’s get some real, full-sodium stuff in here. Screw this. *Glass shatters in distance* Unless, you know, you need it, for, like, medical reasons. But, for your next meatloaf, barbecue sauce, or stir fry, look no further than Lea & Perrin’s. Just don’t go being a dingus and mixing it into your burger meat. Now, how about some bottled Balsamic reduction? Sure, you could make this yourself, but this is really handy to have around, and wonderful to spread over soft cheeses and vegetables. It took me a long time to get a palate for this stuff, but Sesame Oil is really super useful in all different sorts of salads, noodles, and stir fries. Just make sure you don’t over-do it – this stuff is *strong* Now to address the issue of pre-prepared stock. Skip the crap in the box and go for Better Than Bouillon in the jar. This stuff is actually made with real chicken and beef, and it smells like real chicken and beef, unlike the boxed stuff, which smells like cat piss. Amongst the other funky smells in our pantry today – should be a little jar of Marmite, which is just autolyzed yeast extract, so it is pure umami flavor. It’s pretty gross on its own, but mixed into a stew, or, like, a turkey burger, it can do wonders. Look out, folks. It’s Nutritional Yeast Flakes. It’s very at home in mashed potatoes and scrambled eggs, and makes a great parmesan substitute for your Vegan friends! Flyin’ in next, we got some Cock Sauce. A condiment deemed essential by the internet community, Sriracha has taken the world by storm over the past 5-10 years, and with good reason. It’s tasty, it’s got just the right amount of heat, you might say that Sriracha’s really on a rolllllllllLLL….Fish Sauce! Fish Sauce is just made from anchovies, so, again, pure umami. Huge applications, and when poured directly onto your table, it smells…really, really, really bad, as we found out. On the subject…Hmm? What do we got in here? Anchovy Paste. Same deal – small amounts, lots of flavor. A handy little resealable tube you can keep in the fridge instead of having to crack open a tin of these every time you wanna use one. *crash* What would a pantry be without Honey? It’s the only foodstuff in history that never goes bad, and its uses are endless. Don’t let me come over and catch you without Honey in your home. Well, guys, those are some pantry essentials. I’m sure we’re gonna make a Part 2 real soon, after I hear in the comments about everything I forgot. So, I just wanna talk a little bit about designing my new website with Sqarespace. They have this really intuitive, easy-to-use platform that made it super easy for somebody like me, who’s never done web design ever. They have templates, they do domains, they have really good customer service. It’s really an all-in-one, one-stop-shop for building a really slick website, and I was really happy with the way mine came out. If you want to try it for yourself, you can start your free trial today at and enter offer code “Babish” for 10% off your first purchase. Thanks for listening, guys. I really hope you like the new site, the new show, and I can’t wait to cook with you next week.

100 thoughts on “Pantry Essentials | Basics with Babish

  1. 5-10 years?!?! Wow, we were really far ahead of the curve than you on that one. Weird. Go Mexico and love the vids!

  2. I think this covers the needs of most people very well. I think the only thing I would add is cumin, paprika, and hot sauce of preference . People can expand on it when they start to discover what type of flavors and cooking methods they like to use

  3. So you should stop by, visit my trailer, and tell me what I'm missing. I'll give you a hint, it's about half of that. But I do have some oyster sauce and a couple of stray cats…those aren't ingredients though…the cats I mean.

  4. Lea & Perrins is all well and good for the beginner. Once you really want to develop flavors, get yourself some Bulldog Worcestershire sauce. The first time you taste it, youll know exactly what I mean. As for vinegar, Black Vinegar is also nice to have on hand. Id also suggest Rice Cooking Wine and Mirin if you intend to a lot of Asian cooking.

  5. I remember my buddy and i eating sriracha and all our other buddies were like "dude why do you eat that? Its nasty."

    Cut to 4 years and were all in college now. "yall have sriracha?"

  6. "basics' "Essentials" 6 different goddamn kinds of vinegar. Sorry babish not everyone lives in place with a kitchen massive enough that they have a dedicated vinegar storage room. I love these videos but I feel like they're really lacking perspective.

  7. Anyone know why he said never to put worchestershire sauce in burger meat? I usually do when making burgers…

  8. dude it's woostah sauce! it comes from england not middle earth haha…why is this still so hard for people?

  9. Would love a basics video on spices, herbs, and seasonings! Great video as always tho, thank you for what you do!

  10. What's great about living in an asian country is that canned coconut milk is considered trash, and freshly ground coconut milk is available on the go. However, the curry we make is pretty bland and monotone.

    Plus, kosher salt is rare, but we have iodized table salt and iodized rock salt because the government can.

  11. I don't know why yall go around making Worcester sauce harder to pronounce than it needs to be. It's literally just "wuster" sauce

  12. Can anyone say "Accidental Porn" at the 3:04 mark? I can't be the only one who saw that! Can I?!?

  13. Me: Ooh fish sauce! Love that magical stuff!
    Me: Oh haha he’s keeping up that silly attitude, thank goodness for 409 to get that smell out of there!

  14. I was watching the video in hopes of getting told what kosher salt is, but no luck… Do I need to buy this in a jewish district? Does a Rabbhi have to confirm the kosherness of the salt? And why do we make food that has a single kosher ingredient in it? I've seen the same in Tasty recipes and there it confused me just as much

  15. Hello, I humbly request you do all future videos wearing only your apron or nothing. You, sir, are 🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥🔥

  16. Thank you for the detailed rundown of this helpful info. I know the video is a bit old, and you may have learned to not do this again, but I have to mention that the shaking of the items as you talked about them was fairly nauseating. I'm binging through all of your videos and I'm hoping I don't have to go through that again. The videos are awesome otherwise. Thank you!

  17. I was in Morocco a few years back on a school hike-and-community-project trip, and on the hike (a trek up Mt Toubkal, the tallest mountain in the north of Africa, not bragging or anything), we had a bottle of sriracha sauce alongside our meals, and I, not knowing what it was, dumped a whole lot into a bowl and mixed it with my plain pasta… huh boy that was a mistake. Still powered through and managed to finish it tho!

  18. The American store brands of curry paste are bland. If you're lucky enough to have an Asian mart nearby, go pick up some Maesri-brand curry paste. They keep for ages, they're delicious, and they're cheap. There are a handful of types, each has directions of a typical dish they'd suggest cooking with it on the back of the can.

  19. From someone with 8 years experience working in kitchens, this is one of the most accurate videos I've seen. For real though, don't overdo the sesame oil

  20. Thought you kept your pants in the pantry. Like you’d keep your vests in a vestry.
    And in a country, you’d keep………

  21. So you've got soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, yeast paste, powdered yeast, fish sauce, and anchovy paste all for umami. Which is a great list. But you excluded one which has a lot more applicability: mushroom powder.

    You can use this any place you'd use any of the others, and it is also great for meats, both ground and whole. I use it in burger meat, pot roasts, beef stews, and on steaks. It also makes a wonderful broth, use it just as you would bullion (or Better than Bullion, which I agree is a very good product) and add some salt. It also comes in a wide variety of types so you could have shiitake powder to make dashi stock,etc. I have only cremini on hand at present but I've used a couple others and it is now a part of my essentials list.

    PS: Corn meal is also great as an ingredient in breading blends. Especially for fish.

  22. Honey doesn't go bad, but it does crystallize. Easily uncrystallize it by heating a pot of water to boil, then turning of the flame a put the honey container in the hot water for a little while. 20 mins?? Voila, honey like new.

  23. Grapeseed oil should NOT be heated, only used in dressings. When heated, it produces free radicals that can lead to cancer.

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