Every Southern cooks knows what certain basic ingredients to stock up on for cooking. These components can be incorporated into a variety of dishes and won’t go bad in the pantry. Some ingredients worth mentioning include canola oil, self-rising flour, spicy Cajun seasoning, and more. Of course, “seasoned” Southern cooks already know this, but if you’re new to soul food, then continue reading to learn about which ingredients we’ve added to our list!

Canola Oil

“Because of the copious frying needs of the soul food kitchen, canola oil needs to be on hand at all times,” says The Spruce Eats. And we agree! Most canola oils can withstand high heat for deep frying, smoking, and other cooking needs. It also has a low saturated fat level, but we bet that’s the last thing you’re thinking about when eating a golden, fried chicken wing!



Cornmeal can be used as a multi-purpose ingredient. From cornbread and hush puppies to coating catfish and okra, it makes a tasty fixing. It comes in fine, medium, and coarse consistencies, depending on your preference. In addition, you can find cornmeal in yellow or white varieties.

Self-Rising Flour

A pantry staple to have in stock is self-rising flour. This type of flour is simply all-purpose flour with a little salt and baking powder. Although basic, self-rising flour gives soul food dishes that extra “wow” factor. You can add it into a peach cobbler crust or roll your chicken in it before frying for added crunch.

Cajun seasoning

Cajun seasoning

This spicy seasoning blend is essential for Southern cooking. With just the right amount of savory and spice, Cajun seasoning is perfect for meat rubs, toppings for mac n cheese and vegetables, and so many recipes. The Spruce Eats recommends Tony Chachere’s Original Creole Seasoning as a store bought option. Otherwise, feel free to blend your own spices for a custom flavor!


The soul food recipes at Mama Sheila’s House of Soul are made from fresh ingredients and consist of Southern flavors you know and love. We make our dishes from scratch so you can taste a bit of soul in every bite. Browse our menu here and order your favorite Southern cuisine from Mama Sheila’s!

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