[GUIDE] Kitchen Pantry Dimensions

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Last updated: April 9, 2023

Your kitchen pantry plays a vital role in your kitchen design but surprisingly, few people talk about them. Learning about kitchen pantry dimensions is the key to making the most out of this particular spot in your home.

In a United States study by Statista, I discovered that 17 million American households use food pantries. Compared to 2019, pantry use has increased while the use of emergency or soup kitchens have been in decline. There were more pantry users than households and usage, by a large margin, was by adult residents versus children.

Table of Contents

What is a Pantry?

A pantry is a cabinet specifically used or designed to store food items and small appliances. I always think about my own space because I suffered from space constraints. I was able to build one because I needed a storage solution with a deep shelf for food storage, such as bulk items, whether it was pet food or spice racks. A new kitchen, if large, will likely have ample storage space and a large walk from the main kitchen.

These also include several shelves, whether they are bottom shelves or deeper shelves. Many pantries may also have gadgetry to improve their function and usability, such as internal drawers and lazy Susans. Cabinets described as pantries are often taller compared to your average base cabinets. 

While you may think of yourself as a DIY kitchen designer, this is the type of project where you might need an interior designer with expertise to deliver on the overall design ensuring the appropriate use of space with extra shelves. Naturally, homeowners and home buyers are always seeing extra storage space and a great solution is to eliminate a lot of unused space, make shelves, and pull-out shelves where possible. Clean, efficient design is necessary with modern living where square footage is expensive and living spaces are at a premium in places like New York City.

kitchen pantry dimensions - Young housewife cleaning up kitchen on grey background

What is the Standard Size of a Pantry

There are several pantry design options to choose from when designing your modern kitchen. There are a few types of pantries, and each one has standard dimensions that you can use as your guide. 

For a butler’s pantry, the minimum width is 5 feet with a depth of at least 6.5 feet. I do recommend reach-in pantries be 5 feet wide and 2 feet deep. A walk-in pantry should have at least 5 feet width and a minimum depth of 5 feet. 

Even though you can always customize the corner pantry unit dimensions, for example, to suit your specific preferences and needs, you still need to consider several things, such as the shape of the pantry, the sizes of shelves, and how you plan to use the pantry itself because functional space is imperative.

Standard heights for shelving will vary based on your storage needs. The tallest item should have some clearance – about 2 inches.

My basic guide should help you.

Continue reading this blog post to have a good idea of designing and choosing the right pantry. 

Standard Pantry Dimensions According to Pantry Type

You need enough space to move in and around the area for a fully functional and easy-to-use kitchen; especially if there is a kitchen island. The good news you have some options for storage capacity.

Built-In Cabinet Pantries

A built-in cabinet pantry is a specific type of pantry that creates the illusion that these are cabinets but are, in fact, a built-in pantry.

Built-in cabinet pantries are customized to match your other existing kitchen cabinets. These pantries are flexible in design to suit your unique style and individual needs. 

The width and height of these pantries often vary. But if you prefer to have one, the ideal depth of a built-in cabinet pantry should be at least 24 inches. 

kitchen pantry dimensions - kitchen pantry interior of a house with wood shelving unit

Butler’s Pantries

Butler’s pantries are rooms standard in the homes of the wealthy during the 18th century. Traditionally, the room connected the dining room and the kitchen to allow servants to efficiently serve food to house guests while ensuring they were out of sight as much as possible. 

These unique pantries serve as the storage space for oversized pots and pans and are perfect for your expensive and valuable silverware.

Butler’s pantries were also historically used for keeping beverages and food out of sight during special occasions or parties when there are guests in the house. These pantries usually serve as the home to utensils, dishes, and glassware that you may use less often or regularly. The pantry also functioned as a bar with a dishwasher and an extra sink. 

Today, the purpose and function of butler’s pantries have become a bit less humble than they used to be centuries ago. Aside from being used primarily for storage, these pantries also double as a prep area that features a counter space. 

There are also cases when these pantries can transform into a full kitchenette complete with cooking appliances, sinks, and refrigerators. 

If you do not need the additional storage that a walk-in pantry offers, butler’s pantries can offer you similar advantages. This pantry type can even supplement possible missing countertop space and cabinet in the kitchen. 

Butler’s pantries should be at least 7 feet long and 5 feet by 6 inches wide, and these dimensions are enough to create a more comfortable working space. 

Freestanding Pantries

Is your kitchen a bit cramped with no pantry? It is still possible to have additional space, and freestanding pantries are the best options you can try.

A tall cabinet pantry will come in various sizes including custom builds. But standard heights include 84, 90 or 96 inches in height. Keep in mind that gaps should exist for decorative elements but if the space between the cabinet and ceiling is large, you’ll likely find dust build-up to be a challenge and this will require regular cleaning and maintenance.

A freestanding pantry is a standalone furniture piece that you can use for kitchen storage. There are several options available for you as far as freestanding pantries are concerned. A good choice is to find a piece of furniture that goes well with your existing kitchen cabinets or paint it accordingly. 

One more option is to look for an accent piece that will add some pop of color to your kitchen. 

kitchen pantry dimensions - Food storage, wooden shelf in pantry with grain jars

Reach-In Pantries

With a reach-in pantry, your shelves are confined to a small area, typically a small-closet type area or cabinet with shelves that take up the entire space. This small pantry is an excellent choice for homes with a small kitchen or for people with a small room who don’t require plenty of additional storage. 

One of the best things about these pantries is that they help ensure that your items are at eye level for easy access and more organized. 

You can also add the most reach-in pantries into existing tall or wall cabinets. Some feature drawers for storage, while others don’t have cabinet doors. Instead, these pantries are made up exclusively of rows of open shelving on one wall. 

Reach-in pantries offer homeowners endless options, making them a great choice if you don’t have much space. 

While the standard size of reach-in pantries is 5 feet by 2 feet, you must remember that these numbers are only the starting point. Your reach-in pantry can be as shallow or as deep as your available space or whatever works for you. Some pantries can be as shallow as just a few inches to have room for storing cans, mason jars, and other small items. 

Slide-Out Pantries

A slide-out pantry is a pantry that you build into your existing kitchen cabinets or vertical spaces that slide out to reveal the pantry shelves. 

These can serve as storage areas for different items depending on the shelf heights and ideal space savers in small kitchens. If you don’t really like a pantry yet you want to have one, a slide-out pantry is a great option, mainly because it comes in various sizes. 

For slide-out pantries, the most common dimensions are 14 inches, 11 inches, 8 inches, and 5 inches in width, while the height is dependent on the height of the cabinets themselves. 

If you happen to be a DIY (do it yourself) enthusiast, there are several options available on Amazon regarding slide-out pantries. You can easily install these kits by yourself. The price of premade slide-out pantries can range from $100 up to $500 and will depend on the pantry size desired.

kitchen pantry dimensions - Pantry with food and utensils in kitchen

Walk-In Pantries

Walk-in pantries offer lots of storage space. Typically, there is enough room to accommodate one person to enter or walk into the area to comfortably access ingredients and other stuff.

Pantry shelving or cabinets line the walls for storage, and others feature counters. These specific pantries are great for storing small kitchen appliances, large pans and pots, and every day pantry food essentials.

When designing your walk-in pantry, it is essential to consider and think of other more significant items that you plan to store in your pantries, such as smaller appliances, recyclables, and even dog food. Without a plan, you may end up lacking in terms of floor space. 

If you have plans to install a broom closet for your cleaning supplies, or detergents for your laundry room, you also need to allot a space that is a safe distance away from your appliances and food essentials.  

Planning all of these ahead of time can help you create the perfect pantry of your dreams. 

What is the Standard Depth for Walk-in Pantries

With a standard width of 5 feet and a standard depth of 5 feet, walk-in pantries offer sufficient space for storage. An average walkway should measure 36 inches to accommodate one person. 

The standard depth of shelves for pantries is 16 inches which means that just one person uses the pantry at a given time; a pantry with a minimum aisle width of 52 inches is more than enough. 

On the other hand, if two people need to access the pantry simultaneously, the suggested size will go up to 58 to 64 inches. 

If you need a wheelchair-accessible walk-in pantry, the minimum depth of the pantry must be 64 inches. You need to take note of these figures if you wish to add deep shelves to have ample space for storing more significant cabinetry or objects. 

Corner Pantries

Corner pantries belong to the categories of both walk-in and reach-in varieties. However, the dimensions of these pantries are somewhat varied as well. 

The general rules when it comes to dimensions are dependent on what your available space allows. These can be as shallow as 2 feet for reach-in corner pantries or corner cabinets. Meanwhile, walk-in corner pantries are often approximately 48 inches, although you can also make them bigger.

Are Corner Pantries Suitable for Your Kitchen

Yes, corner pantries are ideal options for most kitchens as long as they are designed and done right. A good design is the main secret to developing a practical corner pantry. 

The first step here is to have thorough and careful planning of your pantry. Start by referring to your grocery list to determine what you need to store and keep there and allot a particular spot for each one. Although it is always good advice for all pantries, this planning is even more critical for corner pantries.

Bad pantry design, which disrupts workflow, will only lead to frustration and inconvenience. Corner pantries are popular because of their benefits, and some homeowners don’t like the style because of its poor design. Another common downside of these angled shelves is the loss of pantry storage space. 

How Narrow Should Your Pantry Be

You can fit in your pantry even in the most unlikely spots. If your kitchen has a windowless wall, you can get rid of the paneling or drywall and the interior wall’s studs to make room for your new pantry. 

Some types of pantries fit into any available free space. Just take note that if you opt for a narrow pantry, you might not have enough room for more oversized items such as bags of produce, appliances, or cereal boxes that you want to keep out of sight. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are pantries and their different types?

Pantries are small closet-like rooms in homes where beverages, food, and other household items are stored and kept, including linens, cleaning supplies, etc. With a location near the kitchen, pantry layouts get made and installed based on the kitchen’s design.

There are now different layouts for pantries, including butler’s pantries, walk-in pantries, reach-in pantries, and walkthrough pantries, to mention a few. Some of the key fixtures to consider when designing your pantry include the shelving units and their respective spacing and the preferred counter space.

What should you consider when planning your pantry layout?

During your pantry layout planning stage, you must consider a few factors. These include the types of storage you need, the available storage space, the size of a pantry door, pantry sizes, and the specific kinds of items you plan to store. 

It would be best to think of the particular layout aspects that matter the most to you, namely the aesthetics, functionality, and adjustability. Open floor space and ease of use are the two ideals of pantry designs. You can use open shelving to ensure ease of use, while your choice of shelving can create more open floor space. Even the door swing matters because if your storage room is small, you want the door to swing out to maximize space for a standard-size pantry cabinet.

Think about the possible dead spaces or the corners and how to prevent these to maximize storage. 

A great place to check out consumer resources is the National Association of Home Builders. They have an excellent Consumer Resources page. Take a look.

How do you organize your pantry?

When organizing your pantry, your two main goals are to maintain accessibility and maximize storage space. The first step for a pantry organization is to determine what you will store there and group similar items.

You can use and label clear containers to make items easy to find and identify for easy and convenient storage. You can also use crates, pans, or cabinet organizers to separate different groups. Hooks can also be installed for hangable items to improve shelf size and space. You can even integrate some pop-in drawers to ensure that items placed at the back will still be easy to reach and access, especially for tall pantry cabinets. 

What are butler’s pantries?

Historically, butler’s pantries are a space in homes used to store the formal silverware and chinaware of the family. These days, butler’s pantries have started to take the form of prep or staging areas for serving dishes or wet bars. This pantry often includes pantry kitchen cabinets and countertop and usually features a sink or refrigerator. 

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