Don’t Forget to Stock Up on These Pantry Essentials for the Holidays

Avoid those last-minute grocery runs.

By Hannah Zahner
holiday baking

There’s nothing worse than a million short little trips to the grocery store to pick up the forgotten rosemary or stick of butter. Running out of kitchen essentials while preparing for guests, or making a dish to take to a party can really put a wrench in things. We’ve all been there—ready to put the final touches on a dish when you realize that you need a couple more tablespoons of butter for your cookies, or a splash of red wine to finish a sauce. On top of that, the holidays are the season of entertaining and spur of the moment drop-in guests, so it pays to be prepared for hosting (although that might look a little different this year!)

To help you channel your holiday cheer, and avoid some of these stressful moments, we’ve put together a list of holiday must-haves to stock your pantry and fridge.

I like to grab some extra of the below items when doing my regular shopping or instacart order and that way, avoid last-minute trips at noon on Thanksgiving or at 4:30 on Christmas Eve. Plus, the goodies below aren’t just for hosting. Who doesn’t love a Wednesday night cup of spiked hot chocolate and a feel-good movie? Ahead, we outline the pantry essentials for the holidays you should start stocking up on now.


apple cider and bourbon punch fall cocktail

Apple Cider

There’s nothing like the smell of cider simmering on the stove. Throw in some cinnamon sticks, cloves, and orange peel and you have a festive drink to sip on throughout the day and serve if a surprise guest stops by. Mix it up with some herbs and bourbon for a fun cocktail.

peppermint hot chocolate mugs

Peppermint Hot Chocolate

Christmas in a cup. If you haven’t had peppermint hot chocolate you’re missing out! You can’t beat our boozy peppermint hot chocolate recipe.

egg nog


You love it or you hate it, but one thing for certain – eggnog is undeniably festive. If you avoid dairy like me, I love Fresh Fronk’s Nog.

 best wine for thanksgiving


So many holiday recipes call for a splash of red or white wine, plus you can pour yourself a glass to sip on while you cook. In addition to having wine on hand for cooking, having an extra bottle or two of wine around means no last minute wine runs. And, don’t forget to always have at least one bottle of white wine, prosecco or champagne in the fridge chilling!


cinnamon sticks

All the Spices

Cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, anise, allspice, pumpkin seasoning. You get the picture. The holidays are upon us, and that usually means lots of time spent in the kitchen whipping up holiday dishes that call for these festive spices.

maple syrup

Maple Syrup

Surprisingly versatile, pure maple syrup tastes delicious sweetening seasonal lattes, poured over Christmas morning waffles, and making refined-sugar-free desserts. Try vanilla-infused syrup for an extra treat.

 herbs, herbal

Fresh Herbs

Fresh sage, rosemary, parsley, and thyme—a holiday cook’s best friends. Whether you chop them up to add to a dish, tie them up into a flavor bundle for a braise or a sauce, sprinkle them on top of your holiday roast, or even decorate with them, you will be happy to have them on hand. Check out these tips on how to store them properly.

Mocha Coconut Quinoa Bark

Truffles and Chocolate Bark

The all-star of a simple and quick dessert set out the chocolates on a pretty serving board, toss some crumbled peppermint over the top or serve with berries and pretty slices of citrus and you’re good to go!

flourless chocolate cake, halloween, raspberry coulis

Heavy Cream

It seems like almost all holiday dishes often need a splash of cream here and there. Buy pints rather than quarts so you don’t have to use it up as quickly, and if you end up needing less than you expected you don’t have half a quart going bad in your fridge. It can be used as a coffee creamer, for whipped cream, creme brulee, bread pudding, quiche’s, fettuccine alfredo—the list goes on.

ombre citrus cake, perfect cake for spring, spring dessert, spring entertaining


This time of year you cannot have enough lemons and oranges around! They’re great for braises, roasted vegetables, salad dressings, cocktails, and decorating too!


Disposable Containers

I’m a lifelong lover of Stasher Bags and glass storage containers, which means I like to make sure they’re all accounted for and don’t get lost at someone else’s house. Ziplock bags and plastic to-go Tupperware (Camille loves these and these ones for sending leftovers home with friends!) make sending home leftovers easy and your guests don’t have to worry about getting it back to you. If you’d like to go the more sustainable route, I love mason jars.