Build the Perfect Pantry with Keto-Friendly Foods

Nov 22, 2021

Finding keto diet success means taking stock of your lifestyle as well as your eating habits.

It means changing your routine at the grocery or market.

It means finding new ways to prepare old favorites with keto diet substitutes.

And if you’re a member of a family, it means finding a happy medium where everyone is supportive of your goals.

With the keto diet, the goal is to limit carbohydrates, the body’s preferred source of energy, and instead use healthy fats as your primary source of fuel.

This encourages your body to tap into reserved fat stores for faster weight loss and lots of energy.

Part of your ongoing success will come from building a strong foundation where you have what you need readily available, and you understand how to use the ingredients to their fullest benefit.

That means planning for all sorts of circumstances.

Be Ready with Keto Pantry Essentials!

Today, we all have busy lifestyles. That means that shopping for fresh and staple food, planning meals, and prepping ahead can all be considered keto diet essentials.

Any success strategy starts with having the fresh meats and vegetables your keto diet requires. But you also want to have a well-stocked pantry with the type of keto-friendly foods and snacks that keep your meals interesting and keep you on track.


Keto diet success rests heavily on getting enough healthy fats into your daily diet. When you are targeting 70% to 80% of your daily food intake to be made up of healthy fats, then oils and solid fats become very important.

Extra virgin olive oil is right at home in a keto diet pantry

For the pantry, we recommend keeping several types of oils for different purposes, including:

  • Olive Oil — In fact, many keto dieters keep at least two types of olive oil in their pantry. First, a good everyday olive oil to be used in cooking and baking recipes and for low heat sauteing (with a smoke point of 375○). And a second richer, fruity olive oil to be used in vinaigrettes, dressings, and as a finishing oil for grilled meats and vegetables.
  • Avocado Oil and Avocados — Avocado oil is excellent for high-heat frying with a smoke point of 520○. It’s also a rich addition to dressings and drizzles, imparting a subtle avocado taste.
  • Coconut Oil — Another good oil for baking or frying, coconut oil has a smoke point of 450○. However, it is made up of mostly saturated fats. Is that good or bad? Mostly good, since the saturated fats are made up of 54% medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) which actually go directly to your liver and are used for energy. Still good to limit saturated fats when possible.
  • MCT Oil — A concentrated oil that is made up of 100% MCTs from coconut oil. It’s best used in dressings, smoothies, and for ”bulletproof coffee” to up your fat intake while being rapidly digested and absorbed.
  • Grass-Fed Butter and Ghee (or clarified butter) — Perfect to add a bit of flavor and saltiness while coating food in a rich, luscious layer of fat. Take it from Alice Waters, owner of Chez Panisse and inspired chef — “Everything tastes better with butter!”
  • Chia Seeds — Offering omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and protein, chia seeds can be added to a variety of foods or mix 2 tablespoons with a cup of almond or coconut milk for a subtly sweet pudding.
Picture of a grocery bag with veggies and other keto-friendly foods


While there is some debate over whether vinegars are important on the keto diet, we suggest them purely for their ability to enhance flavor.

White wine vinegar, champagne vinegar, apple cider vinegar, even balsamic vinegar (sugar-free), tend to have zero carbohydrates and are excellent when adding a little acid to brighten cooking or add zip to salad dressings or roasted vegetables.

Just be careful that you check your balsamic vinegar for the carb count; some can have a carb count as high as 12 grams per tablespoon.


It seems like many things taste better with a generous dollop of an appropriate condiment. Many condiments are great as a keto pantry essential and even those with carbs, like ketchup, have great sugar/carb-free alternatives. So be sure to keep these condiments in your keto diet pantry:

  • Mayonnaise — Perfect for keto diet success but watch out for added sugar. Try some of the new entries that are made with olive oil or have a hint of lime or black pepper to mix things up.
  • Mustards — Great for meats, vinaigrettes, and charcuterie, most mustards, even the flavored-type, are zero carbs. The more exotic the flavors the higher potential for carbs, so be diligent. Peach Habanero Mustard anyone?
  • Salad Dressings — Most full-fat dressings are great to round out your pantry offerings but skip the light dressings or any with too much sugar.
  • Ketchup — Try no-sugar-added ketchup, but don’t get carried away. In fact, it’s better if you find an alternative.
  • Fish Sauce, Soy Sauce, and Hot Sauce — All great sources of umami, the fifth flavor that basically translates to “savory” and is found in meat, tomatoes, parmesan cheese, and mushrooms. Is your mouth watering just thinking about it?
  • Buffalo Sauce — Now here’s one you might not have thought of…buffalo sauce fits the keto diet bill and adds a nice bit of zest to boot.

Flours & Baking Essentials

It started with gluten-free eating and has been expanding ever since.

Today, there are a variety of flours made from non-grain substitutes. Try almond flour or coconut flour when making pancakes, waffles, or muffins and even when “breading” or coating chicken or fish (mix in a little grated parmesan for extra flavor and fat).

For added convenience in your pantry, there are some terrific pre-mixed options like keto-friendly bread mixes, biscuit mixes, and even mixes for butter cookies.

Some have a small carb count, so be sure to add towards your daily total — but it’s worth it to add a few indulgences!

Nuts, Seeds & Nut Butters

A great addition to any keto diet pantry, nuts and seeds are loaded with healthy oils and protein helping to fill you up and keep hunger at bay. You can’t have too many varieties, including almonds, pecans, walnuts, and macadamia nuts. And don’t forget pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds, and sunflower seeds for cooking, snacking, or adding to salads or baking.

There are also a wide variety of nut butters that can be used as spreads or added to smoothies to pump up the fat content. Another must-have — nut-based granola with almond milk for breakfast or an afternoon snack.

Picture of a keto pantry


It’s important to have access to sweeteners in your pantry to keep that sweet tooth from getting the better of you.

Our go-to is Monkfruit with zero calories and plenty of sweetness. It looks and acts just like sugar and can be added to baking recipes or sprinkled on fruit for light desserts.

In addition to Monkfruit, there are options like erythritol (Swerve), sucralose (Splenda), and stevia. Find the one that works best for you and your palette.


Olives, green or black, are an excellent source of healthy fats

Snacking on the keto diet definitely needs some pre-planning. It’s important to keep the right types of snacks in your pantry and to purge anything that is high carb or sugar. If your family members want to support you, this is where they can really jump in and help.

It’s all fun and games until someone throws away the twinkies!

Keep these things on hand in the pantry and you won’t even miss potato chips:

Spices & Salts

Spoons filled with spices and salts for adding flavor to cooking

It’s important to flavor food, both when you are cooking and as a finishing touch. Make sure your keto pantry essentials include a wide variety of spices, herbs, and interesting blends.

And to make every meal special, keep a variety of finishing salts from Himalayan Pink to French Fleur de Sel.

To Sum Up on Keto Pantry Essentials

Being successful on the keto diet starts with planning to succeed. Clear out your pantry of everything carb-related and start fresh with the ingredients that will support your overall goal.

To do that, you want to have a wide variety of high-fat keto-friendly foods in your pantry that can be used in cooking, preparing meals, or for on-the-go snacking. Go ahead — toss that old box of half-eaten crackers. You’ll be glad you did!

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