When it comes to living the Mediterranean way, a well-stocked pantry is essential. Maybe you're seeking a healthier life through the Mediterranean Diet or just love the bold, vibrant, and robust flavors of the more than 20 countries surrounding the Mediterranean. Whatever your reason, quality oils, herbs, nuts, and spices are cornerstones of Mediterranean cooking.

4 different types of olive oils in their bottles sitting behind a half of an apple, a bowl of green olives, and two small glasses containing olive oil.
Photo Credit: The Mediterranean Dish Team

Mediterranean cuisine is filled with exciting flavors! Think of the fresh, sweet taste of basil and mint, the bright notes from parsley, the warm tones of cumin and allspice, or the floral scent of saffron. These flavors and many more grace the Mediterranean table in both sweet and savory recipes.

However, if you are new to Mediterranean cooking, it can be overwhelming to determine where to start and what is needed to stock your kitchen and pantry. Hopefully, this guide will help you find the spices, sauces, and cooking oils for your Mediterranean Pantry.

To help you begin your culinary journey, we compiled a list of The Mediterranean Dish’s most frequently used herbs, spices, and other essential items.

Mediterranean Pantry Essentials

Spices have long been an integral part of Mediterranean cooking. Beyond the ability to transform humble ingredients into a tasty little feast, their powerful plant-derived compounds offer disease-preventing and health-promoting properties.

Many Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries use the red threads of Saffron to perfume rice in recipes like Seafood Paella, Risotto alla Milanese, and the golden-hued Saffron Rice. Just to name a few.

People in the US might think of allspice as something to add to baking, but in Mediterranean countries, this versatile spice is added to ground meat in recipes like Kofta Kebabs or Fatayer, little pockets of dough filled with spinach and onion.

And cumin, well, we put it in almost anything where we want an earthy balance to the dish. Don't even get me started on how Aleppo pepper and Urfa Biber go as beautifully with vegetables and fish as they do on grilled pineapple!

Baharat spice blend on a spoon and in a small bowl. Next to this are two jars of the spice from The Mediterranean Dish.

Mediterranean Spices to Stock Your Pantry

Aleppo pepper (READ MORE: What is Aleppo Pepper?)
Baharat Spice Blend (READ MORE: All About Baharat?)
Dried bay leaves
Cayenne pepper
Dill weed
Garlic powder
Ras El Hanout (READ MORE: What is Ras El Hanout?)
Saffron (READ MORE: What is Saffron?)
Sumac (READ MORE: What is Sumac?)
Urfa Biber (READ MORE: What is Urfa Biber?)

uncooked farro in a bowl being scooped with a wooden spoon.

Oils, Sauces, Grains, Beans, and Legumes

In addition to spices, olive oil is the primary fat used for salad dressing, baking recipes like this Orange Cardamom Olive Oil Cake, and anything you could cook on the stovetop, grill, or oven. We consider it liquid gold due to the high levels of polyphenols (antioxidants.)

Tahini (READ MORE: What is Tahini?)
Extra virgin olive oil
Lentils (black, red and yellow)
Maftoul (also called Pearl Couscous)
Short-grain or Egyptian rice
Pasta (Orzo, spaghetti, elbow)
Fava beans
Kidney beans
Tomato sauce
Canned diced tomatoes
Canned artichoke hearts
Canned tuna
White vinegar
Balsamic vinegar
Dry red and white wine
Sun-dried tomatoes

ingredients for olive tapenade including kalamata olive, castelvetrano olives, anchovies, garlic, capers, thyme, lemon, and black pepper.

Nuts and Olives

It's best to store nuts in the freezer so they stay fresher for longer.

Pine nuts
Slivered almonds
Shelled pistachios
Shelled walnuts
Black olives
Spicy green olives
Kalamata Olives

cilantro, dill, and parsley all in jars with water

Herbs and Fresh Flavors

Flat leaf a.k.a. Italian parsley
Fresh garlic cloves

marinated feta in a jar with olive oil, dry chiles, sliced jalapeno, and orange zest


Feta stored in brine
Grated Parmesan
Goat cheese