25 Easy Pantry Recipes to Make During the Quarantine
This is a collection of easy Mexican recipes you can cook using many of the items you have on hand in your pantry.
Around the world, people are receiving orders to shelter in place for a couple of weeks or more, leaving most families with no food other than what’s in their pantry. In this post, I’ve compiled a list of easy Mexican recipes you can make to feed your family during the quarantine, using ingredients that you probably already have in your cupboards.
In Mexico, there are a couple of essential items that people often have in their pantries, including rice, dried pasta (often “fideos”), flour, masa harina, dried beans, sugar, and oil. Canned items include canned tuna, pickled jalapeños, a can of chipotles in adobo, and perhaps some canned black beans. These are all items that are cheap, versatile, and mostly non-perishable. I recommend you keep some of them at home.
Below is a list of recipes you can make with these and other ingredients.
Mexican Breakfast Recipes:
Several quick meals you can make using masa harina include Tlacoyos (oval-shaped patties stuffed with beans), Bocoles (corn masa cakes), and Picaditas (similar to “sopes”). You can top all of these with crumbled cheese and the salsa of your choice. To wash everything down, there’s nothing like a hot glass of Café Lechero, a popular coffee drink from Veracruz.
If you’re looking for a breakfast full of fiber, then look no further than a bowl of Mexican Oatmeal. It’s a creamy texture and cinnamon aroma make this oatmeal a delicious start to your day. I recommend you enjoy it with a slice of toast with a little butter spread on it, this is how we serve it at home (we can’t have it any other way!).
For those running short on time, a hot cup of White Atole (or any atole, for that matter) will keep you full of energy through the morning and beyond.
Mexican Lunch Pantry Recipes:
One of the easiest and most fool-proof recipes I make in my kitchen is Chipotle Tuna Sandwich. I usually make this sandwich when we’re in a hurry, but I still know that everyone will be delighted with it. It’s perfect for those days when you don’t feel like spending too much time cooking, and a bonus is that you don’t get that many dishes dirty.
Other dishes that make use of canned tuna are Tuna Tostadas (plus the Chipotle version), Tuna Mexican Style, and if you have a bit more time, Tuna Empanadas.
When it comes to soups, there are many recipes you can make using dry ingredients in your pantry, like Lentil Soup, Fideo Soup, and Wheel Pasta Soup. You can make Vegetable Soup using canned or frozen vegetables, but if you have fresh veggies available, by all means, use them (it will taste much better!).
If you’re looking for a quick vegetarian lunch idea, I highly recommend you check out my recipe for Black Bean Tostadas. You can top them with cheese, vegetables, salsa, or whatever your heart desires!
Mexican Dinner Pantry Recipes:
Enchiladas are an iconic Mexican dinner, and they are flexible in that they can be stuffed with shredded chicken or simply crumbled cheese. Recipes on the blog include Red Enchiladas, Green Enchiladas (Swiss Enchiladas), Cream Enchiladas, Enfrijoladas (Black Bean Enchiladas), and Pinto Bean Enchiladas. If you have some leftover mole (or a jar of mole sauce), you can use it to make Enmoladas (Mole Enchiladas) or Mole Casserole.
For all you pasta lovers, you can check out my recipes for Chipotle Ground Beef Pasta, Pasta with Chorizo, and Spaghetti con Crema. And, of course, you can never go wrong with Mac and Cheese, especially with the kids at home!
Any good Mexican dish often includes a side of rice, so make sure to take a look at my recipe for Mexican Red Rice (use this recipe if you don’t have tomato). You can also combine rice and beans in a dish called Moros y Cristianos (Black Beans and Rice).
In case you have assorted leftover meat products, you might want to take a look at Charro Beans Soup (Frijoles Charros). A hearty soup popular in northern Mexico, it can include bacon, sausage, chorizo, and even steak and chicharrones (pork cracklings).
If you have a lot of potatoes in your pantry, you can turn them into Potato Soup, Crispy Potato Tacos, or Papas a la Mexicana (this last one is also good for breakfast or lunch).
Finally, your family will be having a lot more movie nights and game nights at home, and what better way to enjoy them than with a plate full of Mexican Nachos!
If you’re looking to satisfy your sweet tooth without going out, here are a couple of sweet recipes you can make with what you have in your pantry.
Mexican Wedding Cookies and Sevilla-Style Polvorones are two cookie recipes that require very few ingredients, and you can even make them vegan if you use vegetable shortening.
Sweet Griddle Cookies (also called Gorditas de Harina or Gorditas de Azucar) are a perfect sweet treat that requires no baking. My mother used to make these cookies for breakfast or as a late afternoon snack, served with a glass of milk (they also go well with coffee). I used to make these for my son when he was little, and he still loves them today!
When it comes to baked sweet breads, nothing is more versatile than Bread Pudding. If you want a recipe to make using your muffin pan, check out my recipe for Mantecadas (a popular Mexican muffin).
If you have a lot of rice in stock at the moment, then making Mexican Rice Pudding is a no brainer. Another cold dessert I recommend is Carlota de Limon, which is a great recipe to make with the kids using cereal instead of cookies.
For a lighter sweet treat, I like to make Baked Sweet Potatoes with Honey, and if you’re looking for a dessert that takes the least amount of time to make, and if you have those ingredients in your fridge, nothing beats the classic Fresas con Crema (Mexican Strawberries and Cream).
I hope that this list of Pantry recipes can help you stay happy and well-fed during these trying times. Keep on cooking, and remember to stay safe!
Quarantine has teached us many thing. Thank you for sharing such an easy list of pantry goods.
MRS M F SHEEKEY
I have just bought and planted an epazoteplant so I look forward to using it in new recipes ,using yours.of coure
May I point out that you were a young gourmet ,not a gourmand .If you use French words,try to use the correct one !!!
I used to work in a greenhouse about 30 years ago. It was in a small town in North Florida, where I worked with a lot of Hispanics. They would often share their food with me and I fell in love with “real” Mexican food. I once tried a Mexican beef stew and it was so good! I have tried to duplicate it over the years, unsuccessfully. That is until I found your “Beef Stew to serve with Flour tortillas”. This recipe is what I have spent most of my adult life looking for. I made it about 2 weeks ago and I’m making it again tonight. I can’t wait. Thank you so much and I have book marked your blog.
Thank you for trying the recipe for the beef stew with potatoes, it is a favorite in many Mexican homes. Happy cooking!
Hope you and your loved ones are all safe and healthy! Just discovered your page and have now purchased all the ingredients to make Tres Leches cake for the first time! (my favorite)
However, I really don't want to make a cake that big for just myself. Will the recipe work if I cut all ingredients exactly in half?
Thank you! Very excited about all the other recipes as well!
Yes, it will work, use a small pan. But, if you make the whole cake, you can cut it in half and freeze one part to enjoy later one. cakes freeze very well.
Hello Mely, My name is Rick, I am retired and 72 years old. I have been following you and "Mexico in My Kitchen" since you first started it. I love your recipes dearly. I have spent many decades travelling to Mexico on business. I have many close Mexican friends, and recently I introduced one of my dear friends to your blog and your recipes. He has become a follower of you, and he tells me your recipes bring back memories of his childhood and his wife's cooking before she passed away. So your recipes have gone full circle and are now circulating back in CDMX. Thank you so much for all you do to bring the wonderful foods of Mexico to all of us. God Bless!
Thank you for your kind words and for being a loyal visitor for so long. Thank you, thank you!
Mely, My Family and I have prepared several of your recipes. They are absolutely fantastic! the recipes we tried seemed simple in regards to ingredients but the flavors they produced in those meals are fabulously mouth watering! Thank you so much for putting this site together, my family and I will be visiting for years to come! best wishes to you and your family!
Thanks again, have a wonderful day!
Thank you for trying the recipes.
Saludos and happy cooking!
Gracias Mely! I am an American woman of Polish and Slovak descent born and raised in the Detroit area and married to a Mexican man from Guerrero. I have wonderful cuñadas and my Suegra here near us but I am really enjoying your recipes as well! This strange quarantine time has inspired my husband and I to make bolillos for the first time at home (together at Easter time!) and I plan on making many more new recipes as well. Some for fun and some for necessity (like chiles en vinagre, handmade tortillas and bolillos) because we are trying to avoid shopping at the store. Every day I look forward to your recipes showing up on Facebook and it has a become a bright spot in my day to compare with what we already do and to find new ideas and methods! All the best to you and your family. Thank you again!
Just discovering this site, and I am in love! Tried the guajillo pork stew tonight and it was TO DIE FOR! Will definitely keep this page bookmarked and spread the word.
Thanks Mely!! I have saved many of these recipes! So timely and a great collection! Thanks for your time!!
Thanks Mely! These are great! So many recipes that I have forgotten or have never tried. This was a whole lotta love to cook! Be safe and well.
Thank you Mele! I love receiving your newsletter and am thrilled to cook from your list of recommendations! I've been so frazzled that I didn't know what to cook, but now I do with your guidance.
Wishing you and your loved ones safety and good health.
Love your choices....so many great dishes to make. Love your site, so glad I found it! Hope you and your family stay safe and healthy!
Thank you Mely! I hope you and your family are doing well and staying safe during this time of uncertainty. I really appreciate you and your blog. My family and friends love your recipes. 😊
We are doing fine, staying home, wishing the best for everyone.