You’ve heard me talk about my ketogenic way of eating before. Maybe you’ve been intrigued by the idea and would like to try it for yourself but you’re not sure where to start. Never fear, I’m here to help! I’ve put together this post to help you figure out what kind of things you may want to stock your keto pantry with so you can be ready for all the keto recipes in your future.
First, let me tell you this is a long list. I wanted to make sure to cover anything you might see in a keto recipe. But you don’t need it all. At the end of the post, I give you a list of priorities– a place to start while you’re getting comfortable with this way of eating.
I’m starting out with the refrigerated stuff because it’s actually what I use most. These are the most essential keto pantry ingredients.
Eggs– OMG the amount of eggs we go through. We usually have 3-4 dozen in the fridge at all times.
Cheese- So many types, but definitely mozzarella, cheddar, and cream cheese
Veggies– Not pictured, but we keep a supply of both fresh and frozen “above ground” veggies like spinach, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage.
Heavy Cream– YES. I go through a ton of heavy cream, primarily in my coffee but also to make sauces. It’s back there behind the sour cream because apparently I can’t take photos.
Cashew milk– Cashew is my preferred milk alternative, and it only has 1-2 carbs per cup (depending on the brand)
Butter– All the butter. Kerrygold is my favorite, but I really only use it as a condiment. For everything else I use store brand.
Sour Cream– Great for keto sauces.
Mayonnaise– Sometimes I make homemade mayo (it’s the best way to control the ingredients!) but often I use Primal Kitchen Mayo or Sir Kensington’s. These both have small amounts of sugar, so if you want to avoid that 100%, you’ll need to make your own.
Hemp Hearts– This is a more unusual ingredient, and certainly not necessary in your keto pantry, but I love it in both these overnight “oats” and these seed crackers. Hemp hearts have a fantastic nutrition profile for keto eating. These are available on Amazon, or I also get them at Costco for a similar price.
Meats- Not pictured, but we always have a variety of meats on hand (including plenty of bacon!) I get grass-fed when I can, but it’s expensive so I try to stock up when it’s on sale. The fattier the meat, the better, so go ahead and get that chicken with the skin on, and the really nicely marbleized beef.
These are the things I use in keto baking.
Almond Flour– Probably the thing I use most of this list. I usually buy the Blue Diamond brand at Costco because it’s cheaper than I’ve seen it anywhere ($4/lb), but I’ve also had success with the Wellbees brand from Amazon, which is often still cheaper than in-store brands. The most important thing about almond flour is how fine the grind is. I use almond meal from time to time, but it’s coarse and will not give good results when almond flour is called for. The finer the grind, the better the result.
Coconut Flour– I like the Nutiva brand, but I’ve also successfully used the Coconut Secret brand.
Xanthan Gum– Important to help with the structure of gluten-free baked goods, and also works to thicken sauces when needed. Seems a bit expensive but you only use a very small amount at a time. One container will probably last you years.
Oat Fiber– Oat fiber is an interesting ingredient. It’s not the same as oat flour. It’s just the fiber taken from oats, ground into a fine powder. While it’s certainly not necessary in your keto kitchen, I highly recommend it as it can add a lightness to your baked goods that is hard to get with other flours. I like the Lifesource brand, but it’s not certified gluten-free, so not suitable for Celiacs. I believe the Trim Healthy Mama version is the only certified gluten-free version available at the moment. Here I linked to Amazon, but I’ll let you in on a little secret– the Lifesource brand is cheapest from Netrition, even with the shipping costs.
Golden Flaxseed Meal– I’ve used the Bob’s Red Mill version successfully, but I’ve also ground my own in my Blendtec because sometimes it’s easier to find the whole flaxseeds. I like golden over brown because it’s a milder flavor and affects the color of the baked goods less.
Whey Protein Isolate– Because wheat flour is high in protein, sometimes adding protein powder to baked goods can help make the texture more similar to the high carb alternative. I also use it to make my own low-carb protein shakes for after my workouts if I’ve done a lot of weights. I’m currently using the Muscle Feast brand linked above but I’ve also used ProMix with good results. Both of these brands are made with grass-fed milk, which makes them a little more expensive. I’ve heard others have had good results with Isopure, which is cheaper but not grass-fed. I always opt for unflavored, as it’s the most flexible.
The last couple of items you see above are Psyllium Husk Powder and Glucomannan. Honestly, I have not mastered psyllium husk powder yet. I’m trying a new brand, so I’ll let you know if I have better results. I do use whole psyllium husks in my favorite keto tortilla recipe and they don’t give me any difficulty. Glucomannan is a powder made from the konjac root, is basically all fiber, and is used interchangeably with xanthan gum.
When eating a ketogenic diet, fats are important. But the kinds of fats you eat are just as important as the amount. Eat fats that are as unrefined as possible. Avoid vegetable oils as they’re highly inflammatory.
Coconut Oil is a great option. I like Nutiva or the Costco brand for unrefined. This is great in baked goods or stir fries, or for putting in coffee!
Fractionated Coconut Oil is coconut oil that has been fractionated, separating out the medium chain triglycerides. This makes it an MCT oil. It remains liquid at room temperature and has no flavor, which makes it a good choice for when you don’t want to add coconut flavor to your foods. It also works great in the homemade mayo I mentioned above.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil is always a great thing to have around. Not good for high heat, though.
Avocado Oil is a neutral-flavored oil that can withstand high heat. It also works great for mayo. I get this at Costco because it’s the best deal there I’ve seen.
Ghee– I buy this from Trader Joe’s Joe’s, but it’s also really easy to make yourself. Ghee has the flavor of butter without the milk solids, so if you’re sensitive to diary you may still be fine with ghee. Removing the milk solids also makes ghee able to withstand higher temps than butter because the milk solids burn quickly.
Generally, eating a ketogenic diet means it’s not necessary to snack because your meals will fill you up for much longer. But if you think I never snack, you’d be so wrong. Ha. Here are my favorite things to have on hand when I just need to snack.
Whisps Cheese Crisps– These chips are so good. When you can’t have potato chips, cheese chips are the next best thing. All the satisfying crunch and saltiness you want. You can also get some cheddar cheese chips at Trader Joe’s.
Mixed Nuts– I may have an obsession. I get these from Target or Costco and basically have a few every day. Just be careful because nuts can easily put you over your carb count because they’re so hard to stop eating.
Chomps Beef Snack Sticks– These grass-fed beef sticks are free from any sweeteners (lots of beef jerky and snack sticks are loaded in sugar so always check your labels!) and are really tasty. I buy them from Trader Joe’s where I can get one or two at a time.
String Cheese– For real. Such an easy thing to grab when I need something quick.
Chocolate– I am a chocolate freak. I eat chocolate every day (and yes, still losing weight!) and my favorites are these Pascha Chocolate Chips, the Dagoba 84% chocolate (that I just found out is only available at Target) and Equal Exchange Panama Extra Dark. There’s also an 85% Trader Joe’s bar that is inexpensive, but it’s super fruity and I don’t like it as much as the others.
Ok, here’s the deal. I keep trying low carb sweeteners because they seem like they’re helpful to have from time to time. But I have always been very sensitive to any low-calorie sweetener. I can always taste it. And I don’t like the flavor. So in addition to what you see above, I also have stevia and Monkfruit sweeteners languishing in my cupboard because I just hate the way they taste. But so much of it is personal preference so I can’t tell you which will work for you, and some people find certain ones raise their blood sugar or make them crave sweets. I generally use any of them very sparingly. You don’t have to use them at all. But here’s my take on them:
Erythritol– plain erythritol is probably the cheapest option. A sugar alcohol. Has some cooling effect in the mouth. Doesn’t dissolve as easily as sugar. I did find it successful to top some low-carb Christmas cookies I made this year.
Swerve– Erythritol mixed with some oligosaccharides. A finer product and more easily replaced 1:1 with sugar. Still has the cooling effect. Lots of people like this sweetener, but I dislike the taste.
Sukrin– Erythritol mixed with stevia. (Sukrin gold, meant to be like brown sugar, has a few other ingredients) Despite not liking the taste of stevia, I find the flavor of Sukrin to be a little better than Swerve, in my opinion. It’s also more expensive. The best price I’ve seen is from Netrition.
My Low Carb Sweetener Blend– I now make my own blend of erythritol and stevia and use this for most things. It’s much cheaper than Sukrin but has a similarly neutral flavor– something about combining erythritol and stevia seems to offset both aftertastes to my tastebuds.
Xylitol– Also a sugar alcohol. Has the benefit of being good for your teeth (you’ll find it often in gums and mints) but still has a cooling effect. Higher in carbs than erythritol and toxic to animals. I like the taste slightly more than erythritol. Can upset the stomach more than erythritol. It acts more like sugar than erythritol and is the only sweetener that works well in my meringue cookies.
Allulose– A rare sugar that isn’t absorbed in the body. Because it’s a sugar, it tastes the most like sugar. I won’t say 100% the same, but very close. It also acts like sugar, will caramelize like sugar, and measures similarly to sugar (it’s slightly less sweet.) However, I still have some reservations in using it too often. Not to mention– it’s expensive.
Lucuma Powder– This is something I just got recently. It’s a dried fruit powder. Not terribly low-carb compared to the others, but it has a good amount of fiber and lots of vitamins. It’s considered a superfood. Lucuma powder is very lightly sweet, and I think it smells very similar to freeze-dried mango (if you’ve ever smelled that.) It has it’s own somewhat fruity flavor, so it doesn’t mix with everything, but I used it to sweeten the base of a fruit pizza I made and it was nice in that. It doesn’t dissolve in water. I think I’ll probably keep some around for certain things since it adds nutrients.
Phew! That was a lot of things. You don’t need all of them to start. You don’t need all of them, period. If you’re just starting keto, make sure your keto pantry is stocked with:
- a good supply of meats and eggs
- cheeses and cream (if you’re not dairy-free)
- above-the-ground veggies (fresh or frozen)
- healthy oils and butter
After that, the next most common ingredients you might want are:
Then you can go from there after you have a handle on the basics. Or don’t, if you want to keep things simpler. It’s very dependent on how you want to eat.
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