I like to make baking a regular part of my life, and try to bake at least once a week. You might think this could get a little expensive, but by keeping these few baking essentials in my kitchen at all times, baking becomes something I can do even when I'm broke. All of these ingredients can be purchased and stored for weeks and months. The following ten ingredients are ALWAYS on hand in my kitchen.

1. Flour

flour, cereal, wheat, dough, salt, plain flour
Olivia Chadwick

Flour is the most essential item for any aspiring baker, and just  about anyone who has a kitchen. From cakes, cookies, and breads, to muffins, brownies, and so much more. A large bag is super cheap and can last you months! So much potential to endlessly test recipes that you can share with your friends.

Cost: $2.60 for 5 lbs.

2. Sugar

salt, doughnut, Dessert, doughnuts, salts, Flavor, flavorings, flavors, sweets, sweet, Sugar
Denise Uy

Sugar is another one of the biggest essential ingredients in baking because it's used in almost every recipe. How else are you supposed to make your desserts taste so delicious?!

Cost: $1.99 for 4 lbs.

3. Baking Soda

sweet, milk, bread, dairy product
Jocelyn Hsu

Baking soda is a leavening agent and baking essential used in many breads, cakes, and other things that need to rise. While a small box could last years, you should replace it every 3-6 months. Luckily it's so cheap! It also has many other uses, such as cleaning, science experiments, and so much more.

Cost: $0.67 for 8 oz. 

4. Baking Powder

Many people think baking soda and baking powder are interchangeable, but it is important to do your research first. Be sure you know what the difference is before attempting to use them interchangeably. It's important to have this baking essential on hand for many recipes, even some that also require baking soda.

Cost: $1.39 for 10 oz. 

5. Brown Sugar

syrup, liquor, alcohol, wine, maple syrup, honey, oil, whisky, tea, molasses
Stephanie Lee

Brown sugar is one of my biggest essential ingredients. It makes things extra sweet and adds a touch of flavor. Brown sugar is really just regular sugar with a little molasses mixed in, but has so many uses. It's used in baking, beverages, sauces, and more! To make certain recipes sweeter, you can even replace half the sugar with brown sugar.

Cost: $1.59 for 32 oz.

6. Powdered Sugar

Powdered sugar is another baking essential with tons of uses. The best uses for it are in icings- royal icing, cream cheese icing, or icing on cinnamon buns, it doesn't get much easier. Just add a splash of milk and some vanilla, and make it to your desired thickness. 

Cost: $2.19 for 2 lbs.

7. Vanilla Extract

Vanilla extract is pretty expensive, so I suggest buying imitation vanilla. It doesn't make much of a difference in your baking, but is way better for your budget. Either way, one or the other must be an essential in your kitchen.

Cost: Extract-$4.29 for 1 oz. Imitation-$0.69 for 8 oz.

8. Milk

water, tea, milk
Alex Frank

Milk is one of those things used in lots of recipes to add moisture. It doesn't have many other purposes, but lots of recipes require it. Milk will go quickly if you enjoy using it with coffee or other things, like cookies and brownies. 

Cost: $1.98 for 1/2 gallon

9. Butter/Oil

butter, cheese, dairy, dairy product, milk
Caroline Ingalls

While butter and oil are interchangeable in many recipes, I like to keep both on hand. Butter is a great baking essential to have as a spread, and oil can be used for cooking, frying, baking, etc. Butter is less healthy, but tastes so much better. If you buy salted butter, be sure to adapt or leave the salt out of your recipe entirely. With oil, you can buy various versions, but I like to use canola or vegetable oil because they are so cheap.

Butter: $3.50 for 16 oz. Oil: $2.99 for 48 oz.

10. Eggs

Becky Hughes

Eggs also come in super handy with their many uses. You can use eggs to whip up tons of different breakfast or lunch options. More importantly, they're a baking essential. Most cookie recipes will call for room temperature eggs, so be sure to leave them out for a few hours if this is the case. Eggs last longer than you'd think, so you can stock up and use them for a while!

Cost: $1.79 for a dozen eggs

Total Cost: $18.39 (calculated using butter instead of oil, and imitation vanilla)

For less than $20, you can stock your kitchen full of baking essentials to help you bake almost any recipe. To really step up your game, you should also have chocolate chips, heavy cream, and cocoa powder on hand. These ingredients will show up in a lot of recipes, so they are essential ingredients for me, though not the basic necessities. None of the ingredients I mentioned are more than $5 each, so it won't break the bank when you have to repurchase something. Now get to baking!

Tag @spoon_millersville or use #VilleSpoon on Instagram so I can see what you bake!