When it comes to baking desserts and treats, it’s essential to have all of the ingredients necessary to make your perfect dessert. This is because baking is very similar to science. Adding a little too much or not enough of something can completely change the structure of your baked treat. In short, you need to have a good food pantry list on hand.
This is especially true when baking goods that are low-carb or keto-friendly. When you swap ingredients, baking looks a little different. For example, instead of using flour, you might use coconut flour, or maybe you might swap out regular sugar for erythritol.
This makes it a bit more difficult for spur of the moment baked goods. Low carb baking simply takes a bit more planning.
That’s why I created this food pantry list.
If you have everything on this list in your cabinets, then you can bake whenever you feel like it! No last-minute trip to the health food store required.
Ultimate Low-Carb Food Pantry List
I broke down this pantry list into sections so you can find whatever you need. Read on and do all your grocery shopping at once so you can finally have everything you need for some amazing low-carb baking!
Related: Are you new to low carb baking, or want to grow your skillset? We wrote a post with the key tips and tricks to help your low carb baking turn out perfect every time.
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I love keeping sugar-free chocolate chips in my pantry at all times because there are so many desserts you can use them in. From chocolate chip muffins to chaffles and more – the ideas are endless.
It’s a guilt-free way to add a bit of fun to your low-carb baking.
My favorite brand is Lily’s chocolate chips! These chocolate chips have no sugar added, are sweetened with stevia, and completely gluten-free. Besides the usual dark chocolate and milk chocolate chips, they recently added white chocolate and caramel chocolate. Yum.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds are both a natural source of protein, fiber, and healthy fats. I love using nuts (whole or crushed) in my salted caramel pecan bars and as a crunchy topping for low-carb pumpkin muffins.
As long as you don’t have any allergies, keep as many of these nuts and seeds as you like on hand to add to your recipes.
- Macadamia Nuts
- Sunflower Seeds
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Hemp Seeds
- Chia Seeds
- Sesame Seeds
Flour: An Essential Food Pantry List Item
Flour is used as the base of many popular recipes, especially desserts! When you are baking something low-carb or gluten-free, make sure to use one of these types of flour:
- Coconut Flour
- Almond Flour
- Sunflower Seed Meal
- Golden Flax Seed Meal
- Psyllium Husk Powder
- Peanut Flour
A quick note about almond flour: Do not buy almond meal flour for baking. It’s misleading, but almond flour is ground up finer than almond meal. Almond meal will give whatever you bake a grainy texture.
The Best Low-Carb Sweeteners
When it comes to picking out the best sweetener to use in low-carb baking, I have to say it’s a personal choice. Try out a variety of them and use the ones that you think taste the best.
My top 4 choices when it comes to the best low-carb sweeteners to use in baking are:
My favorite brand right now is Besti. They have some of the best sweetener blends on the market, and their products are consistently good.
You can also keep a section of dried spices on hand in your food pantry, especially of spices you tend to use most often or are hard to find.
Some of the most popular spices to use in baking are:
- Nutmeg (fresh ground nutmeg is something magical)
- Star Anise
Dairy is another low-carb baking staple that you should always have on hand. You can make so many different desserts with the following ingredients:
- Cream cheese
Don’t forget about shredded cheese to use in your chaffles!
Are you trying to avoid dairy? No problem! There are tons of low-carb and dairy-free options you can rely on.
Try any one of these listed below. Full-fat coconut milk can even replace heavy cream.
- Almond Milk
- Coconut Milk
- Full-Fat Coconut Milk
My best piece of advice would be to invest in some high-quality pure vanilla extract.
This one ingredient can elevate your low-carb baking and infuse it with more flavor than you ever thought possible.
Vanilla is going through a rough patch right now with failed crops and ever-increasing pricing. Not that long ago, making your own vanilla was the way to go, but vanilla has become a luxury ingredient with vanilla beans priced at almost 7 dollars each. Eep!
If you’re going to splurge on anything for your low carb baking pantry, make it vanilla.
My personal favorite is the Nielsen Massey line of vanillas. They are consistent, incredible, and fairly easy to find online or in specialty cooking stores. They also make a great gift for any baker!
Note: Ever wonder why there are different types of vanilla and what they are each used for? If you have check out our full guide to vanilla extracts!
Bakery Emulsions & Flavor Oils
Although there are low carb fruits, adding many of them to a recipe really ups the natural sugars and net carbohydrates in a recipe. If you want the best tip and trick I can offer, it’s to invest in a few bakery emulsions and flavor oils.
Bakery emulsions are flavor concentrates, similar to a flavored liquid concentrate you’d see at your local coffee shop, but more powerful. You can get keto flavor extracts that you just wouldn’t be able to reproduce without adding sugar, which makes them perfect for the keto lifestyle.
I am a big fan of bakery emulsions from Lorann’s. The strawberry, blueberry, cherry, and cookie butter flavors are a few of my personal favorites. They have a whole list of gluten free and keto flavoring extracts, as well as many natural options.
The great thing about bakery emulsions and flavor oils is that they pack a huge flavor punch without adding any additional sugars.
And if you’re not a big fan of artificial flavors, you’re in luck because Lorann’s has a whole slew of natural flavor extracts that are amazing.
Cocoa powder is incredibly low in carbohydrates and is a wonderful ingredient to use in low carb baking.
Adding in some high-quality cocoa powder will make your low-carb chocolate desserts taste decadent.
My personal favorite Cacao Barry Extra Brute. It’s a little spendy, but the bag is 2 lbs and will last you a long time. The cocoa powder is dark and red and adds both a wonderful chocolate flavor to baked goods and a gorgeous color. If you try this cocoa powder, I guarantee you will not go back to the grocery store brands.
Fruits and Fruit Juices
From fruit salads to smoothies, fruits and fruit juices are essential to keep in your low-carb pantry. If you don’t want to go shopping for fresh fruit all the time, store some frozen fruit or shelf-stable juice.
These are some of the best fruits and juices to have on hand:
- Oranges (for the rind)
- Frozen lime and lemon juice
I love to use fresh lemon juice to make my keto lemon cheesecake with lemon curd topping. The lemon juice makes all the difference!
Xanthan Gum: An Essential Food Pantry List Item
Baking with xanthan gum replaces gluten in the gluten-free flour and gives your treats that spongy texture that you enjoyed when eating carb-filled desserts. Xanthan gum also helps bind everything together.
I like to have this bag xanthan gum from Bob’s Red Mill on hand in my pantry when baking desserts.
In a pinch, there are several ingredients you can you in place of xanthan gum in a recipe, but it is a bit of trial and error to test what works best.
I love using other sources of protein in my low-carb desserts. Sure, dairy, eggs, and cheese are all great sources, but so is protein powder.
You can add unflavored protein powder as a gluten-replacement as I did in this frosted keto sugar cookie recipe. It also adds structure to whatever you are baking.
My go-to protein powders are Genpro (spendy!) and Isopure. Any whey protein will work in low carb baking, but they are not all created equal when it comes to taste. If you like your protein powder in a shake, it’s perfectly fine to use in your baked good.
Here are some of my favorites:
- Almond Butter
- Cashew Butter
- Sugar-Free Peanut Butter
- Macadamia Nut Butter (caution: macadamia nuts are toxic to cats and dogs!)
- Sugar-Free Chocolate Hazelnut Spread
One thing you’ll notice when you are baking low-carb recipes is your need for healthier versions of different oils. If you are on the keto diet, some healthy fats will even help your body burn your own fat for energy.
The best fats to keep in your low-carb pantry are:
- Coconut Oil
- Olive Oil
- MCT Oil
Teas and Coffee
Have you ever baked with teas leaves or coffee? It’s a fun (and delicious) way to add a deeper flavor profile, especially when you add a teaspoon to a chocolate-based recipe. I always add a small bit of espresso powder to my chocolate chip cookies and it makes all the difference.
There are also lots of dessert coffee recipes out there you can make too.
Both tea and coffee are naturally low in carbs so, keep them in your low-carb pantry so you have something fun to make.
I use King Arthur Espresso Powder – It’s fine ground and smells just like a Coffee Crisp bar.
Other Food Pantry List Items
This group of items is a miscellaneous list of things, but you need all of them when you are going to start baking keto recipes.
- Gluten-free baking powder
- Baking soda
- Apple cider vinegar
- Sea Salt
Low-Carb Food Pantry List: Final Thoughts
Next time you go grocery shopping, grab as many things from this list as you can find. Your low-carb baking pantry will be well-stocked and give you the option to bake whenever you feel like it. This is a wonderful way to fight those cravings and stay on track.
Now that you have my secret food pantry list, you should take a look at the must-have baking tools to have in the kitchen when making desserts!