Stay-At-Home Japanese Recipes Everyone Can Make

For pantry-led and creative cooking, here are easy Japanese recipes you can make at home anytime. You’ll also find quick tips and resources on how to make the best of your pantry meals.

Pantry meals exist for a good reason. Whether you’re a home cook or a college student, there will be times when we find ourselves relying on pantry items to cook up lunch or dinner.

In my kitchen, I always make sure I have staples such as rice, dried noodles, tofu, eggs, and frozen vegetables. Not only they are convenient, they really can save the day when I need to feed my hungry family in an unexpected situation. Bonus points: cooking at home is always so much better than taking out. We save a lot of money, time and essentially eating healthier.

In this pantry meal guide, you’ll find 26 easy Japanese recipes that are pantry-friendly, along with tips, ideas, and resources on maximizing pantry staples.

Staying at home? No problem. These recipes will empower you to eat well and nutritiously anytime!

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Quick Tips on How to Make The Best of Pantry Meals

1. Build your pantry staples based on categories and shelf life

Start with the type of food/ cuisine you prefer to eat and cook. Then build the pantry based on grains, freezer-friendly proteins, frozen vegetables, essential seasonings. Go for longer shelf-life ingredients. For example, root vegetables such as carrots and potatoes.

For cooking Japanese food, you need to stock up these 6 must-have condiments. Dried ingredients such as dried kombu, dried wakame, nori sheet, tofu, and dried mushrooms are well-worth adding too.

2. Simplify & improvise

You can still enjoy some of your favorite dishes even when you don’t have access to fresh foods. Emergency meals are about simplification and improvisation. Skip non-essential garnishes or cut down on one or two ingredients on the list. Use eggs, tofu or mushrooms – these 3 power ingredients make wonderful stand-in for many recipes.

3. Use recipes as your guide

When you’re new to cooking, it’s understandable to feel like you need to follow everything listed on a recipe. That’s not true! I recommend reading through any key tips and get a quick understanding of the dish. If you really wish to cook it but don’t have everything on hand, it’s ok. Once you learn how to use the recipes as a guide instead of strict instructions, you would discover more freedom, knowledge, and creativity as a cook.

4. Cook in a big batch and freeze

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about time management and efficiency. When I prepare a meal that is suitable for freezing, I’d make a bigger batch so there’s something to eat when my kids are hungry at odd hours. I’d make pickles with leftover vegetables so we can always enjoy them on the side.


Stay-At-Home Japanese Recipes Everyone Can Make
Here is a list of basic pantry ingredients commonly found in a Japanese kitchen. They all have their place in the pantry and can be used in many things. Under each ingredient, you’ll see my favorites recipes with substitutions and variations. There are also plenty of ideas for vegetarians and vegans.

Click to jump to ingredients:


Udon Noodles
Soba Noodles
Japanese Curry Roux
If you need ideas for specific Japanese pantry items not listed above, use our SEARCH function on the top right corner of the website. Alternatively, leave a comment below and I’ll do my best to help.

Japanese Short-Grain Rice (White and Brown) | Easy Japanese Recipes at JustOneCookbook.com

Ingredient 1: Rice (Japanese Short Grain Rice)
Rice is a staple in Japanese home cooking, and we always have rice in our kitchen. As they said, rice can feed a nation. It sure can feed a hungry family, and fortify your tummy. Here are some great ideas on how to cook and enjoy rice with minimal effort!

Classic Fried Rice

Chashu fried rice served on white plates.

I believe fried rice was created out of necessity. It is indeed the most convenient and comforting meal that turns leftovers into something so delicious! You can whip up this classic Fried Rice under 20 minutes.

Substitutions: I used ham, egg and green onion in the recipe, but you can easily use bacon, frozen edamame, crab sticks, green peas or whatever you have in the fridge.


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