Pantry

How to Stock Your Kitchen for Cozy Fall Cooking

Grocery-shopping tips and ideas to set you up for success this season.

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October 22, 2021
Photo by ROCKY LUTEN. PROP STYLIST: MEGAN HEDGPETH. FOOD STYLIST: SAMANTHA SENEVIRATNE.

We’ve teamed up with Albertsons Companies to share highly useful tips and tricks for stocking up your kitchen ahead of the fall season (cozy soups and stews, here you come). At the top of our list: Simplify your grocery-shopping routine with help from FreshPass™, a handy grocery subscription program with perks like unlimited free delivery, a $5 monthly credit for annual subscribers, and a VIP customer service line you can reach any time. Want to give it a test run? Start your free 30-day trial right here.


Summer is officially over, which for those of us who welcome sweater weather (raises hand), it’s the best time of the year. One of my favorite parts of fall is that the season’s bounty looks significantly different from what you can find at the grocery store during the warmer months.

It’s only natural that with the autumnal season it’s time to make some tweaks to the type of food you’re in the mood for—in my house that means saying goodbye to grilling and hello to cozy, comforting meals—and your weekly grocery list. Without doing an entire overhaul of your fridge and pantry, here’s a few tips and tricks to keep in mind when stocking your kitchen for fall cooking.

1. Make Life a Little Easier With Grocery Delivery

There’s no doubt that fall is one of the busiest times of year. Rather than spending my precious hours grocery shopping, I’m making the most of the FreshPass™ grocery subscription program. There’s great perks like unlimited free delivery (in as little as two hours in most areas, which is perfect for last-minute shoppers) and a DriveUp & Go™ option, where you can get groceries delivered to your car. I also love that there’s exclusive savings, like 5% off O Organics® and Open Nature® products, like cinnamon, canned pumpkin, beans, and more.

2. Plan For Those Nights When You Can’t Bother Cooking

Pulling together a homemade dinner seven nights a week is a chore (especially if you have kids), and going out to eat isn’t always in the cards. Rather than staring blankly into your refrigerator looking for inspiration, stock up on pre-prepared foods (FreshPass™ has a ton of options to choose from) like soups, salads, and quick-bake pizzas or prep a few freezer-friendly dishes at the beginning of the month and reheat ‘em as needed. It’s the ideal solution for when you want to stay in, but can’t bear to do more than fire up the microwave or oven.

3. Celebrate Seasonal Produce

While summer fruits and veggies might be long gone, the abundance of fall produce means it’s still a great time for eating seasonally. Make the most of crisp-weather favorites like figs, fennel, squashes, apples, and chicories while they're in peak season and lining grocery store shelves. I take advantage of the cooler weather by making cider caramel apple pie, sheet-pan chicken with figs and bread salad, dashi-braised kabocha squash, leek risotto, and more.

4. Stock Up on Holiday Staples

With the holidays right around the corner, it’s never too early to start prepping. While you don’t need to know exactly what you’ll be making just yet, you can bet there are a few staple ingredients you’ll need to have on hand. Rather than run the risk of stores running out during the holiday rush, snag non-perishable essentials like flour, sugar (granulated and brown), unsalted butter (you can store it in the freezer), vanilla extract, and spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, and so on). It’s also a good idea to re-up your baking powder and baking soda supply to ensure they’re fresh—and therefore have the strength to make baked goods rise.

Join The Conversation

Top Comment:
“Pantry essentials for fall: FRESH spice blends, such as pumpkin pie spice, poultry seasoning and my mix of spices for chai--I use rooibos tea. I can't ever wait until cranberries come into season, then make cranberry sauce--which goes on everything from toast with cream cheese and cranberry spread to bagels to chicken and even a spoonful tossed with Brussel sprouts. I keep a quart of it on hand from as soon as I see the first cranberries in the fall until mid-January...they go into cookies and cakes, and sauces. Spiced, orange and lemon flavored. Even some cranberry chutney to have with lamb or duck. Canned pumpkin for pie, custard, cheesecake, soup, and empanadas like my Mexican grandmother in law taught me to make decades ago. Hard winter squash to roast at least weekly--so many varieties. Bailey's Irish cream and cocoa to make hot chocolate to die for....these are a few of my favorite fall goodies....”
— judy
Comment

If you're a FreshPass™ annual subscriber, this is also a great time to use your $5 monthly credit toward buying specialty ingredients, like canned pumpkin and fresh cranberries (which can be frozen for up to eight months). And while you’re thinking about desserts, it never hurts to have a few extra pie plates and loaf pans on hand.

5. Make Sure Your Pantry’s Equipped With the Essentials

With temperatures on the decline, I’m starting to think about loading up my pantry with all the essentials for cozy and comforting meals. Two must-haves: stocks and broths to whip up batches of soup or stew in no time (this silky curried cauliflower soup and secret-ingredient beef stew are personal favorites). Don’t forget to store dried pastas, whole grains, and canned beans, either, which can all be used to make great weeknight dinners (think: pasta e ceci, farro gratin with Brussels sprouts, and tuxedo chili). This is also the time of year to take a look at your tea selection and gather up new brews for colder days and nights ahead. While you’re at it, add some hot cocoa to your shopping list for when you’re really feeling festive.


What are your autumn pantry essentials? Tell us in the comments below!

This fall, we’re simplifying our cooking routine with FreshPass™—a grocery delivery subscription program with sweet bonuses like unlimited free delivery, monthly exclusive Starbucks® perks, rewards that don’t expire, plus 5% savings on O Organics® and Open Nature® products. Ready to get started? Find your nearest store and sign up for a free 30-day trial here. You can check out the FreshPass grocery delivery subscription program from Albertsons Companies: ACME, Albertsons, Carrs, Jewel-Osco, Pavilions, Randalls, Safeway, Shaw’s, Star Market, Tom Thumb, and Vons.

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1 Comment

judy October 23, 2021
Pantry essentials for fall: FRESH spice blends, such as pumpkin pie spice, poultry seasoning and my mix of spices for chai--I use rooibos tea. I can't ever wait until cranberries come into season, then make cranberry sauce--which goes on everything from toast with cream cheese and cranberry spread to bagels to chicken and even a spoonful tossed with Brussel sprouts. I keep a quart of it on hand from as soon as I see the first cranberries in the fall until mid-January...they go into cookies and cakes, and sauces. Spiced, orange and lemon flavored. Even some cranberry chutney to have with lamb or duck. Canned pumpkin for pie, custard, cheesecake, soup, and empanadas like my Mexican grandmother in law taught me to make decades ago. Hard winter squash to roast at least weekly--so many varieties. Bailey's Irish cream and cocoa to make hot chocolate to die for....these are a few of my favorite fall goodies....