Last Updated: Mar 28, 2023 @ 2:06 pm.

With the soaring cost of food, pantry staples are the smart way to stretch a dollar. But what are the best pantry staples? We asked our parent readers for their favorites. The best ramen? Best honey? Best mac and cheese? We tried out several brands ourselves to find the best bets. Here are the favorites.

FYI: We've been reviewing and rating products for the home and families since 1994. We don't take money or freebies from the brands we review. Our work is 100% reader-supported!

3 Quick Tips On Stocking A Pantry With Staples! 

Let’s talk pantry staples!

If you are outfitting a new home or just looking to save money on groceries, pantry staples are a time-tested solution.

First, let’s talk about what we mean when we talk about pantry staples. Yes, some folks view staples as basic ingredients that are used in cooking—flour, sugar, cooking oil.

In recent years, however, panty staples have evolved into choices that make affordable meals: ramen, peanut butter, mac and cheese, for example. 

And yes, pantry staples are also good for emergencies: butter powder can be turned into butter, even if the power is out after a storm for days.

Here are three quick tips on buying pantry staples:

  1. Consider foods that don’t expire for years. Honey is a good example—since it is mostly sugar and very little water, honey can be stored in a cool, dry location for many years. Just make sure the jar is sealed! Another example is powdered foods like butter or eggs. These cans can last 10 years if unopened.
  2. More protein, less money. Mac and cheese and peanut butter are classic examples of meals that are affordable, as are tinned fish like tuna. These foods are packed with protein at a price that is easy on the wallet.
  3. Use soup mixes as bases for more elaborate meals. Mixes already have cut-up veggies and noodles, which makes making main entrees easier. We’ll recommend our favorite soup mix brand (after a round of blind taste tests) below.

Here are our top picks for pantry staples.

Best Long-Lasting Heated Socks: XBUTY Heated Socks for Men/Women

There’s nothing colder than sitting in a duck blind on a Colorado winter day. And if you are out ALL day waiting (or skiing), there’s nothing more disappointing than heated socks that run out at noon.

After trying out several heated sock brands that promise longer battery life, we decided that XBUTY’s heated socks are the best bet for most folks. Yes, these socks have batteries that almost twice the capacity (4800 mAh)

What We Liked

• Comfortable.

• Well-made. We liked the overall construction of these socks (combed cotton and spandex).

• Not too thick. These socks have 3 layers of fabric.

• 3 heat settings.

• Top heat setting is 160 degrees—very toasty!

• LONG battery life. Yes, we got 11 hours out of these socks on medium. That’s twice (or three times) other socks we tested. On high, we see real world reports of eight plus hours of heating . . . which is excellent.

What Needs Work

• Pricey.

• Must use a laundry bag when machine washing.

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Best Noodles

Much better than other ramen brands
Wow! We these thicker, flavorful noodles are great on their own, or paired with other veggies and protein.
$14.89 ($0.89 / Ounce)

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Best Butter Powder

10 year shelf life
Love the bang for the buck here—and it keeps for up to year after you open the can. We love the real butter taste.

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Best Honey

Great in tea
So yummy! Properly stored, this honey can last for a long time. We like the rich flavor.
$6.74 ($0.56 / Ounce)

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Best Mac & Cheese

Easy to make
Delicious! This family favorite of our readers takes just minutes to cook. Also great: organic pasta.
$17.28 ($0.24 / Ounce)

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About the Authors

Denise & Alan Fields are consumer advocates and best-selling authors. The Fields have authored 12 books with three million copies in print, including the best-selling guide to baby gear, Baby Bargains.

The Fields have been featured and quoted in the New York TimesWall Street Journal and Los Angeles Times.

As consumer products experts, the Fields have been guests on the NBC Today Show, Good Morning America and ABC’s 20/20.

How We Pick Products To Recommend

We often turn to our readers (3 million strong!) to find products to recommend. We ask our parent readers for their favorites and consider their real-world experiences in our recommendations.

When we test a product, we always purchase it with our own monies. We do not take free samples, as we believe that compromises our independence.

We also fact check manufacturer information with our own measurements. If a maker claims a product weighs X pounds, we will weigh it to make sure. If the battery life is supposed to be six hours, we will see how it stands up in the real world.

In some cases, we will do interviews with experts in the field to get additional feedback on products.

To get hands-on time with products, we regularly meet one-on-one with gear companies and even tour manufacturing facilities. (When we do this, we pay our own travel expenses).

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing products for the home and families since 1994. We do extensive research, evaluating products with an eye toward quality, ease of use and affordability.

We make our living from affiliate commissions, but we always recommend what we think are the best bets for our readers (not the ones that are the most expensive). We are always looking for products that offer the best bang for the buck.

Our independence is a key reason why we have been doing this so long. As we mentioned above, when we purchase a product for hands-on testing, we do so with our own money.

Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Our work is 100% reader-supported!

Baby Bargains: Your Baby Registry Cheat Sheet is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to and its related sites. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.