Yes, Virginia, Pantry Drawers Are a “Thing”


Pantry storage is commonly thought to consist of cabinets, rooms, and cupboards.  Newbies may be surprised to find out that pantry drawers are part of that bunch. Let's enter the exciting world of food storage in pull-out drawers!

Are pantry drawers a "thing" ?  

Yes, pantry drawers are a "thing" and its perfectly acceptable to put food in drawers. 

Prior to formal kitchen design, there were things like pie safes and bread boxes to keep pests out of food. As more kitchens included sets of cabinetry, food storage has migrated into them. Modern homes are pest-tight, designers can confidently add drawer-based food storage solutions into kitchens.

New kitchen designers realize there is efficiency in utilizing drawers for pantry use.  Beautiful RV campers that feel just like home love pantry drawers.  Creative small-kitchen occupants store food in drawers.

It was in the late 1970s - 1980s that cabinet manufacturer's realized they could sell more cabinets when they offered more specialized storage.  Fast forward to today and we have bat-wing pantries, pull-out pantry cabinets, vegetable bin drawers, coffee centers, mixed pantry/sculleries, and... pantry drawers.

More than likely, the trend for pantry drawers can be seen to align with the trend in removing upper cabinets. Consumers are demanding a kitchen with a more clean and simplified look. Removing clutter from the upper tier of kitchen storage seems to achieve that.

Simplistic styling seems to have whispered itself into kitchen design in the mid-2010s. IKEA, the Swedish-based home decor company seems to be a main influencer. The popularity of simplified design has rapidly spread to all parts of the home. Home owners fell in love with IKEA's thoughtful drawer storage for dishware, which naturally lent itself to food storage.

Examples of pantry drawers.

Examples of pantry drawers.

Are pantry drawers good storage?

Yes, pantry drawers are excellent storage. Pantry drawers allow you to pull out the drawer and view the full contents, with the benefit of having tall sides to contain items.  

Food that is ideal to put in a pantry drawer are:

  • fruits and vegetables (with well-ventilated drawer fronts)
  • canned food (make sure to mark the contents on top when viewing from above)
  • snacks
  • baking supplies in bins
  • spices
  • bread (commonly known as a "bread box")

Don't feel like you need to have a special drawer.  You can turn any drawer in your kitchen into a pantry drawer.  The idea of pantry drawers is so appealing, that new homes are requesting the addition of drawers in walk-in pantries.  The only negative are that drawers will always add an increased cost to the kitchen budget, as opposed to simple, open shelves. 

vegetables stored in basket drawers

Example of pantry drawers in the kitchen.

How do I organize my deep drawers?

Deep drawer may be organized by:

  • piles of food, such as apples or potatoes that don' need organizing
  • set drawer-width bags in single file
  • sub-divide with pantry organizer bins

How do I fix a missing drawer?

Fix a missing drawer by inserting a basket into the space.  This attractive drawer alternative can turn a missing drawer space into a pantry opportunity!

Are pantry drawers and pull-out drawers/shelves the same thing?

A pantry drawer is considered to be similar to a kitchen drawer, which has deep sides.  Popular pull-out shelves/drawers inside of cabinets have shallow sides, just enough of a barrier to prevent items from falling off the shelf.  Although the term "pull-out drawers" and "pull-out shelves" are used interchangeably, they are not a drawer.  Because pantry roll-out shelves are shallow, they require a different approach to organizing, along with containers that are more conducive to the shallow-lip design. 

How are you using your pantry drawers? Drop a comment below!

About the author 

Renee Matt

Renee is a former kitchen designer, home remodeling enthusiast (having lived through several DIY projects), and an Iowa farmwife. Renee is passionate about preparedness, garden skills, and knowing where her food comes from. She uses her technical background and expertise to bring the Everything Pantry website to life.

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Pantry Talk for Pantry Enthusiasts!

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