Most Common Baking Ingredients

collage of different baking ingredients like cocoa powder, baking soda, chocolate chips, vanilla extract, sugar and eggs pinit

You will have well-stocked pantry for any recipes that come your way unless the recipe calls for any special ingredient. This is my effort to give you the baking ingredients list so that you do not run out of ingredients. Also, this will also avoid any emergency trip to grocery store mid-recipe or late-night.

in this definitive guide for commonly used baking ingredients, I am going to mention four sections for each ingredient.

First is, “must-have baking ingredients”,

Second is, “good-to-have baking ingredients”,

Third is, “Where to find this baking ingredients” and the

Fourth is, “how to store this baking ingredients”. I will also mention the brands if required.

PS: This is just my view about any mentioned brands. I am not getting paid for mentioning names here.

If you have any more questions about baking ingredients, feel free to drop a comment in a comment section below.

Let’s Begin!

Baking Baking Ingredients List

Baking IngredientsFlour

Flour gives your baked good a structure.

a packet of all-purpose flour placed on marble surface
All-Purpose Flour

Must-Have Flour

  1. All Purpose Flour: This is must for any recipe out there. The protein content of all-purpose flour gives the sturdy structure to baked goods but still light to produce that tender crumb. This has mild flavor and good shelf life so this makes the best choice for cakes, cookies, muffins, pie dough and so much more.

Good-to-Have Flour

  1. Cake flour: I have also seen this as pastry flour where I live. Because of low protein content of cake flour, baked goods will have very light and tender crumb. This is especially used to make pastries, layer cakes or angle food cake.
  2. Bread flour: This has the higher protein content than all-purpose flour and it is the best to make regular bread or milk bread or Italian bread.
  3. Whole wheat flour: This contains germ and bran of wheat seed. This results in denser structure which is perfect for whole wheat bread.
  4. Corn flour: This is also knows as corn starch. This is commonly used to thicken the puddings, custards or pastry cream.
  5. Self-rising flour: This is mixture of all-purpose flour, salt and baking powder. So, if you replacing all-purpose flour with self-rising, you will need to skip baking powder and salt.
  6. Other flours: Now a days, there are many other flours in market such as almond flour, gluten free flour and seed-flour. You may want to keep it depending on what you are making.

Where you can find

You can find all-purpose flour, self-rising flour, bread flour in baking aisle of every grocery store. Depending on where you live. you may find it difficult to find some but you can always get it online on amazon. I live in Toronto, Canada and I find almost all type of flours in Walmart but if I do not get any, I buy it online from amazon.

How to store flour

You can store the flours a room temperature or in refrigerator. Generally all flour stays ok at room temperature if stored in an air-tight container. However, some flours such as whole wheat flour or seed flours have a tendency to go rancid quickly so I would recommend to store in refrigerator if you are going to store it for many days.

Brand I use

I personally use ‘Robin Hood’ or ‘Great Value (Walmart Brand)’.

Baking IngredientsSugar

Sugar obviously gives the sweetness to your desserts.

A 2 Kg bag of Redpath sugar is placed on marble surface
Caster Sugar

Must-Have Sugar

  1. Regular white sugar: If you see a recipe with ‘Sugar’ as ingredient then it is referring to this one.
  2. Icing sugar: This is also known as ‘confectioners sugar’ or ‘powdered sugar’ and is finely grounded until it reaches powder form. Sometimes, it also uses corn starch as anti-caking agent. You can also make powdered sugar at home. This is typically used in any dessert which does not require any baking or cooking because it dissolves very easily.

Good-To-Have Sugar

Brown Sugar: This is the combination of white sugar and molasses. There are two types of brown sugar. First, light brown sugar and second is, dark brown sugar. Both contains different percentage of molasses.

Other Sweeteners:

  • Honey: use it as pancake syrup.
  • Maple Syrup: We use it as a pancake syrup.
  • Corn syrup: Usually, this is best to make candies, jams, nutritional bars or fudges.
  • Colored sugar: You can use this as decoration on sugar cookie or cupcakes.
  • sugar-free (stevia, truvia): This is a replacement of sugar in some recipes.

Where you can find

you can easily find all of the above ingredients in any grocery store. You may find some ingredients in baking aisle and remaining through out the store.

How to store Sugar

You can easily store this at room temperature. Just make sure, you are using air tight container to store these. I never heard that sugars have expiry date but it is always a good idea to store properly.

Brand I use

I personally use ‘Red Path’.

Baking IngredientsLeaveners / Rising Agents

Leaveners, when react with other ingredient causes some chemical reaction. This chemical reaction helps the cake to rise.

Must-have leaveners

  1. Baking Powder: In order to create light and fluffy baked goods, it is important to use baking powder. It contains acid (cream or tarter), baking soda and cornstarch. It is usually paired with non-acidic ingredients such as milk or dutch processed cocoa powder. This creates carbon dioxide into the batter during heating process.
  2. Baking Soda: This is another leavener, commonly used in baking. Unlike baking powder, which reacts on its own (because it contains acid which is paired with non-acidic ingredient), baking soda needs a pairing with acidic ingredient such as vinegar, regular cocoa powder, buttermilk or yogurt or lemon juice.

Note: I would not recommend replacing baking powder with baking soda and vice a versa because both are completely different.

Baking IngredientsGood-to-Have leaveners

  1. Yeast: If you want to make bread, then this is a must. That’s why I have mentioned this in ‘good-to have’ section. In that case, keep dry and instant yeast in your pantry.

Where you can find

You can easily find all of these in baking aisle of any grocery store.

How to store Leaveners

The key to store baking powder or baking soda for long period of time is, to keep it away from any moisture. So, I would recommend to store in air tight container in cool and dry place.

Brand I use

I personally use ‘Dr. Oetkar’ or ‘Bob Red Mill’ or Great Value (Walmart Brand)’.

Baking IngredientsCocoa Powder

Cocoa powder is the basic ingredient you will definitely need in your pantry. Whenever you see any recipe name with chocolate word in it, there are 99% chances that the recipe is using cocoa powder. Chocolate cake is the obviously one of it. There are 2 types of cocoa powder. Natural Cocoa Powder and Dutch Processed Cocoa powder.

Must-have cocoa powder

A tin of Hershey's cocoa powder
Cocoa Powder

Good-to-have cocoa powder

Where can you find

You can easily find in baking aisle of any grocery stores.

How to store cocoa powder

Please store it in air tight container and in cool, dry place like cupboards, pantry drawers. You can also keep it in refrigerator or freezer if it is sealed perfectly as these both are relatively humid environments. If possible, avoid storing in Fridge.

Brand I use

I personally use ‘Hershey’s’ or ‘Ghirardelli’.

Baking IngredientsChocolate

This is a must-must ingredient which you should have handy all the time. This is used in many recipes such as devils food cake, chocolate ganache, chocolate cake, chocolate frosting and many more.

Must-have chocolate

a pack of great value semi sweet chocolate chips
Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
  1. Dark chocolate bar: This is the chocolate with at least 60% cocoa. To be very frank with you, this is the most used chocolate in baking. Because it is dark, it balances the flavors and does not make your dessert over sweet.
  2. Dark chocolate chips / Semi sweet chocolate chips: This also have 60% cocoa. You can use this as an alternative to chocolate bar. However, I would recommend chocolate bar over chips. Also, some recipe specifically calls for chocolate chips such as ‘Chocolate chip cookies’.
  3. White Chocolate Bar: This is mainly used when you are making white chocolate ganache, white chocolate mousse, white chocolate drips.
  4. White chocolate chips: This is the best alternative for white chocolate bar. Although, I would always recommend chocolate bar over chips but if chips are easily available to you, you can go for it.

Good-to-have chocolate

  1. Dark chocolate wafers: Good alternative to chocolate bar or chocolate chips. All of them serves the same purpose.

2. White chocolate wafers: Best alternative to bar or chips. Merckens are my favorite 🙂 I use them whenever I get a chance.

3. Wilton candy melts: This is best to create drips, especially colored drips. These are available in so many colors so just choose the color for your upcoming drip cake.

4. Milk chocolate bar / chips / wafers: This is in good-to-have section because many recipes uses dark chocolate over milk. If you like milk chocolate, you can use it but you need to change quantity of other ingredients such as cream or sugar (as this is sweet).

Where can you find

All of these are easily available in any grocery store out there or you can also find them online at amazon. Sometimes I buy them from bulk barn (a store in Canada).

How to store chocolate

Keep them in an air tight container and store in cool and dry place. Why in air tight container? because cocoa butter in chocolate catches the smell of surrounding items.

Brand I use

I prefer to use ‘Merckens’ or ‘Ghirardelli’ or ‘Kirkland (Costco brand)’ or ‘Hersheys’.


The important role of fat in baking is to add moisture, richness and of course flavor. This also weakens the gluten bond.

Must-have fats

block of Lactantia unsalted butter places on marble
Unsalted Butter
  1. Unsalted butter: Almost all of my recipes uses unsalted butter wherever butter is mentioned in recipe.
  2. Vegetable Oil: This is best to use while baking because it has neutral flavor and does not empower the baked goods. This also create moist baked good. I always recommend to use it when you are using cake flour.

Good-to-have fats

  1. Salted Butter: This is great alternative to Unsalted butter. Just skip out the salt in the recipe

Where you can find?

This is easily available in any grocery store.

How to store

Butter, Salted or unsalted, has be to be kept in refrigerator or freezer. And, you can store oil at room temperature.

Brands I use

I prefer to use ‘Natrel’ or ‘Lactania’ or ‘Great value (Walmart brand)’.


Must-have salt

sifto table salt 1 kg box is placed on marble surface
  1. Table salt: Whenever a recipe is calling for salt, be assure that it is this regular table salt. It is not too corase so gets dissolve easily, it is not overpowering and most importantly, it is easily available.

Good-to-have salt

  1. Sea salt flakes: This is my to go option for sea salt caramel and any dessert which requires salt sprinkling on top.

Where can you find

Both of these are easily available at grocery store and you can also buy it online.

How to store

It stays ok at room temperature for months. So, no need to worry.

Brands I use

I use whatever is available at home. No specific brands here.

Extract / Flavorings

Any baked good is incomplete without flavoring. You can use pure extracts or imitation. You can choose based on your likings and whatever is available to you. Must-have and good-to-have list basically depends on individual likings. For example, almond extract is stable in some household where vanilla extract is staple in other households. So, feel free to modify this list as your choice.

Must-have extract / flavoring

  1. Pure vanilla extract: I always recommend to use pure vanilla extract when the calls for vanilla extract. This takes your dessert, baked good to another level all together. It is pricy but I guarantee you, you won’t regret.
  2. Vanilla Imitation: Whenever a recipe mentions vanilla, I use pure vanilla extract. However, sometimes I run out of it so I keep this vanilla imitation handy.

Good-to-have extract / flavoring

  1. Lemon Extract / Imitation
  2. Almond Extract / Imitation
  3. Rum Flavor
  4. Vanilla bean paste: This add little small dots all over the baked good. So, I do not use it in every recipe. However, some recipe specifically calls for vanilla bean paste.

Where can you find

You can easily find the basic vanilla extract / imitation in baking aisle of your grocery store.
For others, you can easily find them online at amazon. Depending on where you stay, they may be available in your local grocery store but sometimes, I find it difficult to get it here in Toronto.

How to store

You can store at room temperature in cool and dry place. Alternatively, you can also store this in refrigerator.

Brands I use

I use ‘Great Value (Walmart brand)’ or Pure vanilla extract from Costco.


Must-have Spices

  1. Cinnamon
  2. Nutmeg
  3. Ginger

Good-to-have Spices

  1. Clove

Where can you find

You can find it in local grocery store or online.

How to store spices

You can store at cool and dry place at room temperature or in freezer. Usually, spices does not have expiry date.

Brands I use

For spices, no specific brand I use. I go with whichever is available.


Dairy and baked goods or dessert go hand in hand. Almost every dessert has some form of dairy content in it.

Must-have dairy

  1. Milk: I am sure, this is very basic staple item which is there in every household. I prefer to use whole fat milk with 3.25% fat percentage.
  2. Eggs: These are must. Use large eggs unless mentioned otherwise.
  3. Unsalted butter: I personally like to use unsalted butter because different brands of salted butter have different amount of salt. And, I like to control the quantity of salt in my recipes. But, if you do not have unsalted butter, you can use regular salted butter, just skip the salt.

Good-to-have dairy

  1. Heavy whipping cream: This is used in frosting such as whipped cream frosting, chocolate ganache frosting and many more.
  2. Cream cheese: This is required to make cheesecakes or cream cheese frosting. I would recommend to use full-fat cream cheese and not cream cheese spread.
  3. Buttermilk: It is a must to make pancakes or waffles or some cakes like red velvet cake. You can also store dry buttermilk powder as a replacement.
  4. Sour cream: This adds moistness, fat and flavor to baked goods like cakes, cupcakes, cheesecakes.

Where can you find

For dairy, I would recommend to visit local grocery store. buying online is not a good idea.

How to store dairy?

I always recommend to store dairy in refrigerator.

Brands I use

No specific brands, I use whatever is available. I just make sure to check it’s fat percentage.

Extra Baking Ingredients

  1. Peanut butter or other nuts butter.
  2. Dried fruits (raisins, dried cranberries, dried apricots, tutti frutti, dates, figs)
  3. Nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans, cashews, peanuts)
  4. Jams
  5. Jellies
  6. Sprinkles (store as your your liking)
  7. Food coloring ( my favorites are wilton, chefmaster colors or americolors.
  8. Coconut (sweetened and unsweetened)

Most Common Baking Ingredients

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Sayali Bhave

Dessert Lover

Hi, I'm Sayali, a dessert blogger, mother of a handsome son and a lovely wife. I live in Toronto with my family. Loves traveling, sharing new recipes, and spending time with my family and friends.

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