This article was last updated on April 16, 2022
When cooking hiccups occur and overdue grocery trips go off the rails, a well-stocked pantry has the power to save our asses at mealtime. Arming our kitchens with a strong lineup of goods that vary in flavor, texture, and are securely packaged for forgiving shelf-lives, makes throwing together last-minute eats anything but uninspired. If you’ve already mastered the art of stocking your kitchen at home, try starting a mini pantry at the other place where you probably spend almost as much time: your office.
Desk pantries are the smaller, more streamlined versions of at-home pantries. They are personal to our particular tastes and space, and are there to support us when packed lunches get left behind or takeout salads arrive undressed. If you’ve yet to assemble one of your own, don’t know where to begin, or are looking to freshen up a preexisting arsenal, we have the ultimate guide to building a personal desk pantry ahead. Check out the essential products that set you up for successful in-office dining Monday through Friday.
First things first, pick your drawer and invest in a storage system — this deep bin set will keep a desk pantry arsenal clean, compartmentalized, and secure.
InterDesign Linus Deep Drawer Binz, $14.99-$19.99, available at The Container Store.
Invest in a quality bottle of oil for working more flavor into lackluster salads, soups, or sandwiches.
Gaea Extra Virgin Olive Oil, $23, available at Jet.
A flavored vinegar can serve solo as a dip or dressing atop blander work lunches — and when mixed together with the quality oil, you’ve got a salad dressing on your hands
The Girl & The Fig Fig Balsamic Vinegar, $12, available at Girl Fig Store.
Hot Sauce Swag
No desk pantry is complete without a go-to hot sauce: add it to your dressings, spread it on a sandwich, or use it as a dip for crackers and crisps.
Kitchen Garden Farm Sriracha Chile Sauce, $8, available at Kitchen Garden Farm.
Secret Weapon Sauce
Whether it’s honey mustard, garlic aioli, or a hot honey situation, secret weapon sauce is any type of condiment you just can’t live without.
Mike’s Hot Honey 12 oz. Bottle, $10, available at Mike’s Hot Honey.
Niche Nut Butter
Forget a regular old PB&J. Go bigger with an unexpected flavor blend for spreading on bread or crackers in a breakfast or lunchtime pinch.
Big Spoon Roasters Almond Ginger Butter, $13.95, available at Big Spoon Roasters.
Sure you could rely on regular salt, but a badass desk pantry is stocked with the special stuff.
Jacobsen Oregon Black Truffle Salt, $19, available at Jacobsen Salt Co.
Normal nuts are for normal pantries — desk pantry nuts are next-level, come loaded with salty-sweet-zesty flavor, and work as a snack or a way to add texture or flavor to a sad salad.
Bee’s Knees Salted Honey Lemon Cashews, $9, available at Mouth.
Stocking up on all-natural jerky is a strong desk pantry move for gourmet emergency fuel. Pro tip: Dip it in your secret weapon sauce.
Ruby Bay Orange Ginger Salmon Jerky, $3.99, available at Ruby Bay Smoked Seafood.
Saltines can step aside — jacked-up crackers look something like these sturdy sourdough “slices” from Aida. We’ll be crumbling them as makeshift croutons on a salad or spreading our nut butter on top for a savory-sweet snack.
Aida Sourdough Crackers, $9, available at Aida.
When breakfast and lunch are forgotten, let quick oats (or any other microwavable grain) come to the rescue. Go sweet with a drizzle of nut butter or savory with layers of oil, hot sauce, seasoning, and nuts.
Thrive Market Organic Rolled Oats, $4.99, available at Thrive Market.
The final layer of any successful desk pantry? The stuff that you serve it on. Pick up a stylish, compact, and reusable option to set the finishing touches on your in-office table.
Ekobo Recycled Bamboo Dinnerware Set, $22.69, available at Amazon.
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