The Kitchen Pantry Staples We Loved in 2021

published Dec 22, 2021
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Here at Kitchn, we’re not only on the lookout for new cookware, tools, and gadgets to improve your cooking routine, but we’re also always trying sauces, spices, condiments, coffee, and more to find what will be the best addition to your pantry.

Over the past year, we’ve featured tons of items from editor-favorite food brands like Fly By Jing, Brightland, Omsom, and more that have inspired us in the kitchen. It can be as simple as a splash of vinegar that lights up a dish or as foundational as a meal starter kit with all the sauces and spices you need to transform your dinnertime routine. We also frequently featured beverages that made our days just a little bit better — especially lots of coffee!

Ahead, we’ve rounded up our 10 favorite pantry essentials from 2021 that we’re planning on bringing with us into the new year and beyond.

1 / 10
Sur La Table

This maple syrup got the ultimate seal of approval from our food editor whose family actually makes their own maple syrup, so you know that it’s the real deal. Runamok’s Sugarmaker’s Cut is an organic maple syrup that we described as “the filet mignon of maple syrup.” It’s thinner than the big-batch commercial syrups you might be used to, so a little pour goes a long way. It’s worthy of a special Sunday morning brunch or even a late night snack of frozen waffles in the toaster! There's no doubt why it's on our list of Essential Groceries this year.

2 / 10

Editor-favorite pantry brand Brightland is a destination for thoughtful foodie gifts, especially when it comes to their popular olive oils, vinegars, and honeys. So we jumped at the opportunity to try their latest venture: a bright, bold spice blend in partnership with Burlap & Barrel. We loved the layers of flavor sourced from regions across the globe, including Turkey, Guatemala, and Vietnam, calling it “perfectly balanced with equal parts tangy and savory notes, and it’s endlessly versatile.”

3 / 10
Fly by Jing
was $107.99

Fly By Jing is a Kitchn-favorite brand known for their sauces, spice mixes, pantry staples, and now amazing frozen dumplings. They come in three varieties, rooted in Sichuan flavors: Pork, Shrimp, and Scallop, Pork, Shrimp, and Mushroom, and Pork XLB Soup Dumplings. Our senior commerce editor is obsessed, saying, “Ready in minutes straight from the freezer, these savory and succulent dumplings bring seriously better-than-restaurant quality flavors to the comfort of your own home."

4 / 10
Acid League
was $15.00

This year, we made room in our pantries for a vinegar that’s a little unusual from Acid League. Garden Heat Living Vinegar is tangy, spicy, and a surprisingly versatile condiment, made with the juices of carrots, celery, and jalapeños at its base. Our senior commerce editor wrote that the taste reminded her of a mature Tabasco hot sauce, ideal for Bloody Mary mix but also as a delicious addition to minestrone soup and salad vinaigrettes.

5 / 10
Partners Coffee

We’re always on the lookout for flavorful coffee roasts, but one brand that jumped out in particular this year was Brooklyn-based Partners. In particular, we were wowed by their holiday-inspired blend, Miracle on N. 6th Street, which is a blend of coffees from Rwanda, Ethiopia, and Honduras that has comforting notes of orange, honey, cranberry, and spice-mulled wine. Our editor wrote: “It’s basically Christmas in coffee form, and it makes my entire apartment smell festive and cozy.”

6 / 10
was $59.00

Omsom was founded by first-generation Vietnamese-American sisters to make hard-to-find and lesser-known Asian ingredients more widely available for home kitchens. Their sampler kits are packed with delicious sauces, aromatics, and seasonings for creating authentic Asian recipes like Japanese Yuzu Misoyaki and Chinese Mala Salad. It's no surprise why we listed it as our top meal starter in the 2021 list of Essential Groceries! While this Omsom Bundle is a great sampler of what the food brand has to offer, they also created an Instant Pot Sampler this year for anyone who loves their pressure cooker.

7 / 10

As mentioned before, Brightland continues to put out some of our favorite pantry staples and condiments, so it’s no surprise that we were thrilled to hear about this gift-worthy capsule of the brand’s entire collection of olive oils and vinegars. This A-team set includes their fan-favorite Awake and Alive extra virgin olive oils, as well as garlic, chili, and basil blends, plus two vinegars and The Spout for easy pouring. If you’re really looking to stock your pantry in 2022, look no further than this impressive set.

8 / 10
Milu Pantry

We were blown away by this new Dumpling Sauce from Connie Chung, the chef and mastermind behind popular NoMad-based Chinese restaurant, Milu (and ex-culinary director of Eleven Madison Park). They also carry an entire lineup of condiments, including Chili Crisp, Hoisin Sauce, and Chili Oil, that we found equally crave-worthy. The Dumpling Sauce, however, was our favorite with its tangy, savory flavors and just the right amount of heat, perfect for adding umami to chicken breasts, rice dishes, or sides.

9 / 10

We’ve raved about Haus’s delicious lower-ABV apéritifs a few times this year, including when trying their Sampler Kit perfect for summer Aperol or Campari Spritzes and their Fireside Duo that’s ideal for winter drinks with bourbon or whiskey. Their Haus Pomegranate Rosemary apéritif equally blew us away, becoming a quick favorite of the brand’s offerings. We recommended trying it with sparkling water, sparkling wine, or along with your favorite gin.

10 / 10

This sweet white vinegar Carandini Bianca was a surprising find that one of our contributors couldn’t get enough of this year. It’s thick, syrupy, and sweet enough for topping on vanilla ice cream thanks to it having less acidity. Our contributor likes to use it in salad dressings, while the brand Carandini recommends using it as a marinade for meat and fish or as an addition to a cocktail!