Cheat Sheet: How to Stock Your Vegan Pantry


When you’ve eaten vegan for years and years, you don’t have to think twice about grocery shopping anymore. You know exactly what is vegan and what isn’t vegan. You know what you like and where to go to get it.

For those just starting out on a vegan diet, grocery shelves can all of a sudden seem mysterious. Your go-to staples must be reexamined for their veganism. So many labels, so little time.

This is a starter list for you to get to know the pantry of a vegan. It doesn’t include fresh produce, which is really central to the vegan diet. Also, packaged goods like Mac & “Cheese” and Tasty Bite are handy to have in the pantry but this list is just the basics. Many baking ingredients like flour, baking soda, baking powder, and canola oil, are already vegan so they’re not itemized here.

People have their own preferences, obviously, and not everyone’s kitchen will look the same. Also, while many of the items below are eaten by people of all dietary persuasions, they hold a special place in the hearts of vegans and often take a more prominent role in the daily diet of a vegan (vs. an omnivore or even a vegetarian).


  • Nuts — Almonds, Walnuts, Pecans, etc.
  • Nut butters — Almond, Peanut, Sunflower, etc.
  • Raw Cashews (used a bunch in vegan cream sauces)
  • Dried Fruit — Mango, Raisins, Cranberries, Dates, etc.
  • Vegan Chocolate Chips
  • Canned Coconut Milk
  • Plant-Based Milk (Almond, Soy, Rice, etc. — can be stored unrefrigerated before opening)
  • Apple Cider Vinegar (see how apple cider vinegar is used in Inside-Out Pumpkin Muffins)
  • Rice Vinegar
  • Balsamic
  • Veggie Stock or Bouillon
  • Olive Oil
  • Coconut Oil
  • Quinoa (see how quinoa is used in the Mix & Match To-Go Salad)
  • Rice — Brown and/or White
  • Popcorn Kernels (packaged popcorn often has butter flavoring)
  • Oatmeal
  • Chickpeas, Black Beans, Pinto Beans, etc. (+ Any Other Beans You Like) — (see how chickpeas are used in the Chickpea Salad Sandwich)
  • Lentils
  • Pasta and Other Noodles Like Soba
  • Turmeric
  • Liquid Smoke
  • Plant-Based Protein Powder
  • Packaged Goods (chips, crackers, cookies, chocolate, candy, etc. (The 5 C’s!)


  • Earth Balance
  • Plant-Based Milk (Almond, Soy, Rice, etc. — refrigerate after opening)
  • Flaxseed
  • Chia Seeds (see how chia seeds are used in an Avocado and Veggies Sandwich)
  • Hemp Hearts or Hemp Seeds
  • Nutritional Yeast
  • Soy Sauce
  • Sriracha
  • Hummus
  • Just Mayo, Vegenaise or other Vegan Mayo (see how vegan mayo is used in the Chickpea Salad Sandwich)
  • Tofu (prepared baked tofu, too)
  • Tempeh (including prepared tempeh strips)
  • Vital Wheat Gluten/Seitan (use the flour to make seitan or buy prepared seitan)


  • Frozen Fruit for Smoothies (packaged or that you freeze yourself)
  • Almond Flour/Meal
  • Chickpea/Garbanzo Bean Flour


A great way to transition into a vegan diet it to replace your favorite things. So, if you eat sour cream a bunch, get some Tofutti sour cream. If you want to put shredded cheese on your burrito, get some Daiya shreds.

What are some staples YOU rely on. We all have different tastes after all! COMMENT below.

Visit the Plenty Vegan Glossary to see terms, ingredients and brands defined.

If you have questions about specific pantry items — like if they are vegan or where to find a specific vegan substitute, ASK the Plenty Vegan Q & A Forum. Plenty Vegan or someone else in the forum will be sure to answer it!