Listed alphabetically below are the essential items I always have available in my pantry / dry store. Many items can be found at the supermarkets, but I find that the quality and price (and variety) is much better when purchasing online. For the UK readers, the images and bold links will direct you to Amazon.co.uk to the product I use in my cooking and baking. For USA (and all other countries), there are links to the same / or similar items available in your country.
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I use almond flour a lot in my baking: it’s an essential ingredient in my pantry and I get nervous when it starts running low. Popular recipes where I use almond flour include: Brownies, Fathead Pizza Dough Base, Ham & Gruyere Fathead Rolls, Quick Keto Chia Bread and Keto Nachos among many others. It also makes the perfect base for my Keto Blueberry Cheesecake and Keto Lime Cheesecake Tart. Almond flour and coconut flour are not interchangeable in baking. They will yield different texture, density and flavour. Its best to have a bag of each on hand and use only what the tested recipe calls for.
Almond Flour (Extra-fine)
I only recently discovered extra-fine almond flour, and I am thrilled it was from the same company that I buy my regular almond flour from. As described on amazon, its “organic blanched extra fine almond flour from the highest quality Spanish almonds, gluten free, 100% almonds, 48% protein”. Extra-fine almond flour and the regular almond flour are not interchangeable in baking, so please use the type I specify in my recipes to achieve best results and perfect texture. I used it in my Pesto & Cheddar Fathead Rolls and Tear-and-share Garlic Bread. My Quick Chia Bread recipe (extremely popular recipe on this blog) has also been improved by incorporating a tablespoon of it for an excellent texture. Great stuff!
Beef Bone Broth Concentrate
If you aren’t up for making your own broth (I feature a homemade Bone Broth recipe on this site, which is excellent, albeit time-consuming), you can opt for getting a handy concentrate to simply dissolve in a cup of hot water. On the days I broth-fast, I LOVE my Meadow & Marrow Broth Concentrate. It has an interesting ‘milky’ quality, and if you add a generous sprinkle of salt, you will be very satisfied. (I also sometimes whisk in some MCT oil.) Its quite pricey, but the tub will yield 24 servings and keeps well in the fridge. Have a look online for one that suits your budget, but this one ticks all the boxes for me: its made from grass-fed beef and is dairy, gluten and soy-free.
A pure, stable fat pressed from cocoa beans, the smell will remind you of white chocolate. Be sure to use it correctly (by allowing to cool after melting) to avoid a grainy mix in your baking. I used it in my fantastic Turkish Delight White Chocolate Mousse recipe and am excited to try it in many other dishes, so watch this space! A little goes a long way, so I always keep a bag (sealed correctly) in the fridge. It can also be used in lotions and healing dry skin, but I have not ventured down that route yet.
Very high in fat, coconut cream is thicker than coconut milk and perfect when used in Homemade Coconut Ice cream or Creamy Coconut Popsicles. I have tried several versions on the market, and will save you time and money by saying that “creamed coconut blocks” simply won’t do. The best I found is Blue Dragon, but it’s not widely available, so I simply get them online. Tip: If you only require a tablespoon or two of coconut cream for a recipe, you can scoop the solidified cream from the top of a can of refrigerated coconut milk. (This seems like an awful waste to me for the remaining clear ‘milk’, but a handy tip nevertheless.)
I don’t use coconut flour as much as I use almond flour. It’s a shame though because coconut flour is less expensive than almond flour. But – they are very different and not interchangeable in baking. Just because they are both referred to as ‘flour’, they are totally different ingredients with different uses. However, with the density coconut flour brings, it was the perfect ingredient for my Coconut Flour Wraps. I also used it in my Mixed Berry Coconut Crumble where it added to the coconutty flavour I wanted on the crunchy topping. I also lightly dust my raw squid in it before frying to perfection – see my Coconut-dusted Fried Squid for inspiration.
High in healthy saturated fats, coconut oil is the oil extracted from the flesh of mature coconuts. It has numerous health benefits and I go through tubs of the stuff every month thanks to the heavenly flavour it adds to dishes. Popular recipes where I use coconut oil include Coconut-roasted Cauliflower, Coconut-roasted Broccoli, Best ever Keto Brownies – among many others. Weigh out as per recipe indicates before popping into the microwave to melt before using (45 seconds on high should do it.) In many of the recipes on the site, I shallow-fry in a good-quality olive oil, but its highly advised that you use coconut oil (or even lard) at high temperatures. I am slowly changing to this way as well.
Erythritol (granulated sweetener)
I mostly bake using confectioner’s / powdered sweetener (scroll down to “Swerve”) in my baking, but I have perfected the Best Ever Keto Brownies using this brand of granulated sweetener. Since I make brownies so often for Funnyman, I am happy to stick to it. Its inexpensive and does the job: but do find one that suits you and your budget. I am sure you will have found many recipes on other blogs that call for granulated Erythritol, and the UK link below is the exact one I use in my brownies and I love it.
Freddy Hirsch® Biltong Spice Mix
If you fancy taking on the challenge and making your own South African Homemade Biltong, I advise you use Freddy Hirsch’s Original Biltong Spice®. They have perfected the authentic flavours that I (and many others) have come to know and love – with that essential coriander seed flavour. I was thrilled to see Freddy Hirsch’s Original Biltong Spice® is available in the US too, so links to both below. Be sure to check out the In my Kitchen section as well, with links to the biltong maker I use.
I use garlic powder very often for a subtle garlic flavour to add to dry mixes: examples include my Fathead base recipes like my Fathead Pizza Dough Base, Ham & Gruyere Fathead Rolls, Fathead Spinach & Ricotta Calzone or Mini Keto Rosemary Rolls. I also add them to the dry mixture when making Quick Keto Chia Bread. It’s readily available in the supermarkets (right there in the herbs and spices aisle), but links below if you prefer to shop online.
Ground (milled) Chia Seeds
I love ground chia! It has great binding qualities and I love the flavour and colour is brings to my Quick Keto Chia Bread and Keto Breakfast Muffins. Once you have those two recipes waxed, the possibilities are endless. I have gone on to make Toasted Cheese Sandwiches and Avocado Toast (using Quick Keto Chia Bread) or Salmon Eggs Benedict and Low-carb Prosciutto Muffins (using Keto Breakfast Muffins). Important: please do not try and grind your own whole chia seeds, you need the fine texture of store-bought milled chia.
Ground (milled) Flaxseed
Ground flaxseed is similar to ground chia seeds. It also has great binding properties and can be used as a replacement for recipes that call for ground chia (see some examples above in Ground (milled) Chia Seeds. If you want to increase your daily fibre intake, add a tablespoon of ground flaxseed to your casseroles. Sprinkled on full-fat yogurt works well too, as it bringing a lovely toasty, ‘bran’ flavour. I used it (in addition to ground chia) in my Keto Mixed Seed Loaf which you will love! Please do not try and grind your own whole flaxseeds, you need the fine texture of store-bought milled flax.
Hydrolysed Collagen Protein Peptides
With benefits that include support for healthy joints and muscles, bone strength, hair, skin, nail and gut health, collagen protein powder can be whisked into your morning Keto Bulletproof Coffee (the brand I use – pictured and on link below – has no flavour or odour) or you could simply mix a spoonful or two into your soups or casseroles for added goodness. I added it to my Breakfast Avocado & Berry Smoothies. There are many available on the market, so have a browse around and select one that suits your budget. (Having a read of the reviews also helps.)
For UK readers, buy hydrolysed collagen protein peptides online here; for USA (and other countries), find it online here.
Konjac (shirataki) – Fettuccine Shape
Not everyone is a fan of konjac / shirataki noodles, but to me they are a god-send. The trick is to rinse them exceptionally well as they do have a strange odour after removing from the packaging. (I even simmer the seven-times-rinsed noodles in hot water while I prepare the accompanying dish / sauce.) The texture takes some getting used to, but I think at this stage of the keto journey, we have come to accept that. Some hard-core keto police may turn their nose up at konjac / shirataki noodles, but I say bollocks-to-that! If I can enjoy a dish that includes low-carb (guilt-free) noodles – bring it on. The stuff is magic – I love it. The fettuccine shape is my favourite and I empty the shelves when Holland & Barrett have a penny sale. Some of my favourite recipes include Keto Pesto Pasta, Coconut Milk-poached Salmon, and Bacon & Mushroom Pasta – but I refer to it so much throughout the site as a side dish to enjoy with many of my main meal ideas.
Konjac (shirataki) – Noodle Shape
See my notes above about konjac / shirataki. I love the stuff and used the noodle / spaghetti shape in my Quick-and-easy Pho Bo.
Konjac (shirataki) – Penne Shape
See my notes above about konjac / shirataki. I love the stuff and it comes in a ‘penne’ shape too.
Konjac (shirataki) – Rice Shape
See my notes above about konjac / shirataki. I love the stuff and it comes in a ‘rice’ shape too. I used it in my Low-carb Green Curry.
Lean Pork Scratchings (Mr Porky’s)
While we all LOVE fatty pork scratchings as fat bomb snacks, I use a very lean version when I blitz it to make a crumb, thus avoiding a clumpy, dense mess. The best version I found is only available in the UK and is probably the only time I need a ‘lean’ item on this site, but its for good reason. I make a stunning ‘crumb’ to mimic flavoured breadcrumbs in my Keto Onion Rings, Keto Jalapeño Poppers, Baked Baby Onions with a Crackling Crumb or Low-carb Greens with a Crackling Crumb. If you are not in the UK and cannot source a lean pork scratchings, you could make your own by trying my super-simple Homemade Pork Scratchings recipe and removing as much fat as possible.
For UK readers, buy Mr Porky’s Lean Pork Strips online here.
Light Olive Oil
Filippo’s Mild & Light uses a combination of refined olive oils and virgin olive oils to bring you this lovely, light olive oil. It has a very delicate flavour and can be used in sweet or savoury dishes if you aren’t a fan of the strong taste of regular olive oil. It boasts a high smoke point, so can be used for frying too, although we don’t recommend heating any oils. For me though, I feel it offers the best flavour when making my Homemade Mayonnaise or Roast Garlic Aioli.
Liquid Stevia (vanilla-flavoured)
I can’t recall where I read this fantastic tip (and apologies to the genius that figured this out), but adding a few drops of liquid stevia when baking with granulated Erythritol balances out the artificial sweet flavours. Erythritol tends to add a slightly ‘cooling’ effect in the mouth, but liquid stevia sorts that out – and only a few drops are needed. I love the vanilla-flavoured liquid stevia, so that’s two birds with one stone. Lovely stuff. I used it in my Best Ever Keto Brownies and plan to use it much more in the future, so watch this space! (Note: I have not found it necessary to include liquid stevia when baking with confectioner’s Swerve® (scroll down to Swerve®).
A fabulous product only available in the UK (link below points directly to their site), these pieces can be used to make Salami Pizzas and Garlic Pita Bread – or, like we do a lot of the time, used to make quick, handy wraps. Each piece is only 2.2g carbs per serving and do the job well, with a bit of imaginative toppings and fillings. As a new company, they tend to be quite pricey, so I advise you trial a small batch on your first order to see if its for you or not. (This blurb was not sponsored by Lo-Dough®, I just felt it necessary to share my discovery of a lovely product for low-carb lovers.)
For UK readers, buy Lo-Dough online here.
An excellent, immediate energy source, MCT (medium chain triglycerides) oil is an essential ingredient in Keto Bulletproof Coffee. Be sure to use the best on the market that you can afford – and double check the label that it states sustainable palm is used in addition to coconut. MCT oil should be introduced into your diet slowly and steadily. Start with one teaspoon in your coffee and gradually increase to one tablespoon over a period of time. Failing to do this and you will know about it – it will go straight through you. You have been warned!
Nando’s® Peri-peri Hot Sauce
A little #dirtyketo I am aware … but if you are simply counting carbs, you can do with a bit of this fantastic sauce in your life! I make a great Low-carb Peri-peri Chicken Livers using it and enjoy the dish on a night after fasting. It’s one of Funnyman’s favourites dishes – and budget-friendly for the end of the month! Stir a spoonful into mayonnaise for a spicy dip to serve alongside grilled chicken or celeriac chips.
Nutritional Yeast Flakes
Boasting a savoury, nutty flavour, this is a fantastic ingredient to have in your pantry. Add a spoonful to soups, sauces or even scrambled eggs to enhance the flavour. For those who are allergic to dairy (or for any keto vegetarians), use it in place of Parmesan when making a Homemade Basil Pesto. Its packed with nutrients and the smell is heavenly. (I often stop by the pantry just to stick my nose in the tub and take a deep whiff!) With its deep, umami “Parmesan-like” flavour, I also used it in my Vegan Cashew Nut ‘Cheese’ Sauce as well as in the mixture rubbed into my Crunchy Keto Kale Chips. My favourite use of it however, is in the crumb when deep-frying things like my Keto Onion Rings and Keto Jalapeno Poppers. It’s dairy-free, gluten-free and soy-free.
Nobody makes a better quality olive oil than Spanish company Brindisa and their Arbequina olive oil, in my opinion. Its premium quality and delicious when used in salad dressings or as a finishing oil and you simply can’t go wrong with Brindisa: the product review on Amazon describes it perfectly: “a single varietal oil pressed from Navarran olives; creamy and richly flavoured”
Orange Blossom Water
A beautiful essence made from the blossoms of the orange tree. Used in small amounts (it can be quite bitter), it adds a lovely flavour to desserts. I used it in my Orange Blossom Yogurt Lollies. It can usually be found in the baking aisle, but not all stores stock it. Links to purchase them online are below.
Not only are pine kernels an important ingredient in Homemade Basil Pesto, but they are fantastic lightly roasted and used in dishes like my Low-carb Cabbage and Mince Rolls. I especially love them in my favourite salad ever: Best ever Keto Salmon Salad. They can be quite pricey, but a little goes a long way. Be sure to always toast them lightly in a hot, dry pan before using to enhance the flavour.
Pink Himalayan Salt
Its said to be the most beneficial and ‘cleanest’ salt available. I am not overly concerned about such things, but I do try eat the best as often as I can. In some cases, I prefer to season dishes at the end with Maldon sea salt flakes – scroll down to Sea Salt Flakes – or the Smoked Sea Salt Flakes (also by Maldon) because I like the little flakes of salty bursts in the mouth. You will notice however that I list pink Himalayan salt on just about every recipe, but its your personal choice. For me as a chef, I just want to encourage you to never forget to season your food.
Psyllium Husk Powder
Available as husks, granules, capsules or powder (important: in my recipes, I use the powder), psyllium is a soluble fiber derived from Plantago ovata plant’s seeds. They are an important ingredient in my Coconut Flour Wraps and my Olive & Sun-dried Tomato Low-carb Bread and I plan to play around with it much more in the future..
Its the quintessential flavour of Turkish Delight candy you may remember. Only a teaspoon or two is needed to add a beautiful fragrant flavour to desserts like my Turkish Delight White Chocolate Mousse or Keto Raspberry Rose Water Lollies. You should be able to find it in the baking aisle at your local store, but links to get it online is below.
Sea Salt Flakes
I instruct using clean pink Himalayan salt throughout most of my recipes because this is essentially a ‘health and wellness’ website, but sometimes I love the flaky bits of Maldon’s Sea Salt Flakes scattered over food after cooking, adding a little crunch and texture in addition to seasoning. Have both on hand and use as you wish (no judgement here)…
Smoked paprika has a very distinct flavour and is not the same as regular ground paprika. In the UK, smoked paprika can be found right there in the spices aisle, but I have come to discover that it is not readily available in South Africa. What a shame! If you have no problem sourcing smoked paprika, you simply have to try my Smoked Paprika Chicken & Chorizo Bake or my Low-carb Sausage and Cabbage Soup – its amazing how a teaspoon or two can add such a powerful (and important) flavour element to a dish. For my South African readers – if you can let me know where smoked paprika can be sourced, please drop me a line so that I can share the tip with my SA readers.
Smoked Sea Salt Flakes
Maldon has taken their amazing sea salt flakes up a notch, now offering subtle smoked flavour present in their sea salt flakes: a perfect way to season your steak or chicken after cooking to add a bit of oomph. I love it over my Shakshuka, but truth be told, I use it all the time when my sea salt flakes are running low or I am all out of pink salt. Lovely stuff..
Sadly not always available in supermarkets, I always have a tin of these babies in the pantry which I have to buy online. Just a trip to the store to buy parsley, butter, garlic and Gruyere cheese and you can make restaurant-quality Keto Garlic Snails. For those who turn up their nose at these delicious morsels, you may find it interesting (like I did!) that Google Analytics tells me its the most visited recipe on this site! Who would have thought..?! (Be sure to be a complete nerd like me, and serve them in a proper serving dishes, eighties-style. See In My Kitchen page for link to sourcing those.)
Swerve® (powdered / confectioner’s sweetener)
Where do I begin? This is simply the BEST artificial sweetener on the market! I use the powdered / confectioner’s version (much like “icing sugar”) of Swerve® in 99% of all my baking, so be sure to use the granulation I specify for best results. You will not be disappointed, believe me: this stuff is the bomb! I have tried other brands’ confectioner’s versions – but they arrived clumped and incredibly difficult to work with. I won’t make that mistake again, and encourage you take my advice here.
Tamari (Gluten-free Soy Sauce)
Tamari is a gluten-free soy sauce, but the hardcore keto police may still frown upon using it. Such a small amount is used in the dishes where it features (and its such an important flavour), that you could get away with it every now and again. I use tamari in the marinades for my Low-carb Buffalo Wings, my Low-carb Ribs (that fall-off-the-bone) and my Low-carb Bacon-wrapped Avocado Prawn Mini Kebabs.
Thai Green Curry Paste
If you aren’t up for making your own, this is a fantastic, authentic paste to have in your pantry when you want to whip up Low-carb Green Curry. A simple stir-fry of chicken or beef with keto-friendly vegetables needs nothing else other than this paste cooked down with full-fat coconut milk. Green curry paste is easily available in most stores, but links to purchase an authentic one is below.
Thai Yellow Curry Paste
If you aren’t up for making your own, this is a fantastic, authentic paste to have in your pantry when you want to whip up a curry like I did on my Low-carb Thai Prawn Curry with Cherry Tomatoes. I will name drop a bit here, but I made this dish the first year I private-cheffed for Grigor Dimitrov and his team (I do so every year over Wimbledon) and he said it was the best prawn dish he ever had. Yeah, I’ll take that compliment, thanks! Yellow curry paste is not widely available and so far I can only find it online, links to the exact product I use is below.
Truffle-infused Olive Oil
Truffle can be very over-powering and I know a lot of people that can’t stomach it at all. However, I love it and some dishes benefit from a a subtle nod to the glorious flavour. A truffle-infused olive oil is therefore a good alternative and I used it drizzled over my Grilled Brie Mushrooms, but it would go superbly drizzled over a ribeye too.
I love sweet coffee and have tried ALL the sweeteners on the market over the past 20 years. I found that Truvia® works best for me in my morning cuppa. I keep a tub of the granulated stuff in the coffee cupboard and a packet of tablets in my handbag/purse. It boasts a subtle vanilla flavour which I love. If you haven’t already checked out the Bulletproof Coffee, do so if you like sweet, creamy keto coffee.
Unsweetened Chocolate Buttons
I used unsweetened chocolate buttons in my Double-Chocolate Macadamia Cookies, and have plans to use it much more (watch this space!). They are very bitter (it’s 100% UNSWEETENED) so be sure to add an adequate amount of sweetener if you choose to use it as a melted chocolate sauce. Just remember that it will solidify completely once cooled again, so add a dash of cream when melting if you choose to use it as a sauce or ganache.
Whole White Chia Seeds
Available at most supermarkets and health stores, whole chia seeds can be pricey but you don’t use alot because a little goes a long way. The carbs can add up with them, so keep an eye on your kitchen scale and weigh them unsoaked. Its important to soak them overnight so that they soften and swell, doubling in size. They are an excellent source of fibre, but tend to be lacking flavour, so some imagination is needed to make them enjoyable. I used them in my Blueberry Chia Keto Breakfast Pots, but you can use the same method and play around with vanilla or other keto-friendly nuts and flavours.
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