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The Galley Kitchen

A well-stocked galley means you have everything on hand when you need it.

Whether your galley is on wheels or a keel, storage space is at a premium. The needs of an RV kitchen can differ from a sailboat's confines, so we've prepared a list of pantry staples for each.

See The Galley Kitchen: RV and The Galley Kitchen: Boat for menus and travel tips.

It takes dedication

Dedicate a set of dinnerware, cooking pans, knives, and other equipment to reside permanently in your RV or boat. It will be one less list to worry about, and will ensure you do not prepare dinner after a long voyage only to find you left the plates at home!

The same goes for staple ingredients: if it's not perishable, keep it in the galley. Salt, sugar, spices, unopened condiments, grains, and canned foods will happily wait until you are ready to use them. If your shelves are stocked with the basics, you only have to replenish fresh ingredients before leaving on your trip.

    RV Staples

    Pantry Items

    • Salt and pepper
    • Coffee, tea, and cocoa mix
    • Dried herbs and other seasonings, such as basil, oregano, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder
    • Peanut butter and jelly
    • Sugar, honey, pancake syrup, and other sweeteners
    • Hot and cold breakfast cereals
    • Baking mix for pancakes and biscuits
    • Brownie mix (for a treat)
    • Bouillon cubes
    • Vegetable oil, olive oil, and cooking spray
    • Rice, barley, dried beans, and lentils
    • Assorted pastas for pasta salads and dinners
    • Jarred pasta sauces, canned beans, and chicken stock
    • Canned tuna, shrimp, and chicken
    • Canned vegetables, such as green beans, corn, and artichokes
    • Canned fruits, such as peaches, pears, and pineapple
    • Crackers, pretzels, granola bars, and other snacks
    • Evaporated or powdered milk--or shelf-stable Ultra-High Temperature (UHT) milk, if it's available in your area


    • Eggs
    • Butter or margarine (squeeze bottles are particularly convenient)
    • Ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, and other favorite condiments: hot sauce, Worcestershire sauce, relish
    • Salad greens and other fresh fruits and vegetables

    Boat Staples

    Depending upon the size of your galley, you may not be able to pack all of the items listed above. Our bare-bones list:

    • Be sure to bring salt and pepper. You can bring assorted basic spices or pack spice blends for each meal in separate jars.
    • Stock cooking oil or no-burn margarine for frying.
    • Canned foods are easy to prepare; empty cans can be flattened to minimize the space used for garbage. Substitute canned chunk chicken for fresh in one of your favorite chicken recipes. (It's great as a burrito filling or served in a sauce over rice.) Canned soup can be eaten as a meal, or used as an ingredient.
    • Dry goods such as bread, crackers, instant potatoes and hot cereal are great to have on hand and can be stored anywhere on the vessel. Pack them in a tote bag and hang it on a hook for easy access.
    • Cheese can be purchased already sliced or shredded depending on your needs, and keeps well in the sometimes unreliable iceboxes.
    • Boiling water is dangerous on a moving vessel. Prepare foods such as rice and pasta ahead of time, cool, and store in freezer-weight bags. Since your water supply is limited, this also helps to conserve both water and fuel.
    • Bring fruit to snack on such as apples, oranges, grapes or berries--no preparation required.

    May 9, 2010 5:36 am
    we just purchased a new rv and this was very helpful!!! thank you !!
    Jun. 18, 2011 9:41 am
    How useful!
    Aug. 5, 2011 4:48 am
    When space is limited and food preparation is difficult, use pre-prepared food that has been vacuum sealed (seal-a-meal or other types). The food acts as a freezer pack while in the cooler or fridge and you can heat it in a microwave, a pot of water (in both cases heat right in the bag) or can be removed and heated in a pan. Great way to have good, home cooked meals where space and time is very limited.
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