10 Pantry Must-Haves for Fall

by | Updated: September 5th, 2017 | Read time: 3 minutes

Crisp breezes, colorful leaves, bonfires and pumpkin-flavored everything means that fall is here! If the season snuck up on you this year (time flies, right?), it’s not too late to prepare. While swapping your wardrobe with warmer garments is important (hello boots!), the foods you eat and feed your family are just as essential. Stock up your pantry for the season with the following 10 items to ensure you enjoy the best meals, beverages and sweet desserts that fall has to offer.

Pantry shelves stocked with fall foods | Vitacost.com/Blog

1. Chai tea

What better way to celebrate sweater season than with a steaming mug of fragrant, creamy chai tea? The comforting blend of aromatics, which may include cardamom, cinnamon, cloves, ginger and even peppercorns, definitely deserves a prime position in your pantry.

2. Cinnamon

Speaking of cinnamon, no fall cupboard is complete without the sweet and savory seasonal spice. Cinnamon easily enhances fall baked goods and beverages, from breads, cookies and cakes to coffee, tea and mulled apple cider. For more inspiration, here are five apple and cinnamon smoothies to try this fall.

3. Cranberries

Cranberries are a Thanksgiving staple, but the tart fruit deserves a little love throughout the entire season. Keep cranberries on hand and sprinkle them over salads, oatmeal and cold cereals—and incorporate them in recipes for jelly, relish, bread, scones and more. 

4. Wild rice

Fun fact: Wild rice is not actually rice. Rather it’s a nutritious aquatic grass that looks and cooks like rice, making it a great choice for grain- and gluten-free diets. Plus, it’s a perfect pairing for a variety of delicious fall dishes, like acorn squash, roasted chicken and turkey, pork chops and creamy soups.

5. Broth

Autumn is all about comfort food and nothing says comfort quite like a hearty bowl of steaming hot soup. Vegetable, chicken and beef broth serve as the base of countless soups and stews, so be sure to pack your pantry with whichever kind you prefer (or all three!).

6. Hot cocoa

A mug of hot cocoa is a great way to combat chilly fall evenings. From sugar-free and non-dairy cocoa to spiced drinking chocolate, there are so many flavors and varieties to choose from. And no cup of cocoa is complete without a handful of mini marshmallows, so you might want to stock up on those, too!

7. Canned pumpkin

It’s pumpkin season, remember? And canned pumpkin is one of the most flavorful, versatile ingredients you can add to your pantry this autumn. Use it to make soups, smoothies, breads, muffins, pasta sauce, polenta and much more.

8. Beans & lentils 

Chances are, soup, stew and chili are on your fall menu, which means you’re going to need beans and lentils. Stock up on black beans, brown lentils, green lentils, pinto beans, red kidney beans and whatever other varieties appeal to you.

9. Walnuts

Many folks believe that pecans are the official nut of fall. But walnuts are the perfect addition to many of the season’s tastiest recipes (probably because they pair so well with apples). From candied walnuts to walnut vinaigrette and delicious baked apples with walnuts and honey, you’ll be ready to sharpen your kitchen skills this fall.

10. Maple syrup

Autumn brings to mind maple trees, and the sweet, comforting flavor of its signature syrup (we’re talking about the real stuff here, not the high fructose corn syrup that masquerades as maple syrup). Pour it over pancakes, waffles and French toast, of course, but don’t be afraid to experiment by using maple syrup to coat vegetables and even chicken wings.