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Top 20 Survival Foods to Stockpile In Your Prepper Pantry

Emergency preparedness is becoming increasingly important and going mainstream. One aspect of emergency preparedness is ensuring that you have the right emergency foods for yourself and your family in the event of a disaster or other emergency. Canned foods, freeze-dried meals, and other long-term food storage options are all popular choices when you begin to stockpile survival food.

The challenge is that with so many options available, it’s difficult to know which foods to stockpile. We’ll discuss some of the best options for emergency food supplies and explore the benefits of each. We’ll cover a range of options from canned tuna to dried fruit to help you make an informed decision.

Why These Foods Are In Our Prepper Pantry

Our prepper pantry is stocked with a variety of nutritious foods that are specifically chosen to provide us with the healthy calories we need during an emergency. From canned foods with a long shelf life like canned meat and canned vegetables to freeze-dried foods such as fruits and meals, we have an array of options that will help us weather a crisis.

Dehydrated food like dried beans and fruits, along with shelf-stable foods such as baking soda, salt, and apple cider vinegar, are important items in our pantry. In addition to the top 20 SHTF foods, we’ve added some hints of nutrient-dense foods like coconut milk, olive oil, and potato flakes to help with some prepper recipes.

By having a variety of shelf-stable foods, we feel confident that we’ll eat during an SHTF situation. From our emergency food supplies, you could assemble survival food kits, if you had to bug out.

Nutrition in Your Prepper Foods

Nutrition plays a critical role in ensuring that your body functions optimally. A well-stocked prepper pantry containing a range of survival food to provide essential nutrients is key.

Vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C and iron, help the body ward off infection and disease. Carbohydrates provide energy to keep you going. Fats are important because they help to insulate and protect vital organs, and aid in the absorption of certain vitamins.

When picking prepper foods, it’s important to consider their nutritional value to fuel your body’s needs in times of crisis. Build up a variety of nutrient-dense foods to maintain a balanced and healthy diet.

Caloric Intake

The number of calories you consume is an important consideration for anyone planning a prepper pantry. Knowing how many calories you need every day is pivotal for planning and stockpiling the right amount of food.

The number of calories you need depends on various factors, including your age, weight, height, and activity level. To calculate your daily caloric needs, you can use a simple equation. The basic equation is to multiply your weight in pounds by 12-14 for moderate activity. This will give you an estimate of the number of calories you need each day to maintain your energy and health.

As you start working through your SHTF planning, think through the activities that you’ll have to perform. You’ll want to plan rest days and work days. From there, you can plan menu options and create meals with the calories and nutrients you need. Then you can back into your stockpile food list.

Shelf Life

Shelf life is an important factor to consider when stockpiling survival food. Canned foods can last up to several years, while dried foods like rice and beans can last up to a decade. Freeze-dried foods can last even longer, sometimes up to 25 years.

As we began doing our SHTF planning we wanted a list of prepper foods with a very long shelf life. If we wind up in a long-term SHTF situation our plan assumes that we’ll have to grow our own food and we’ll rely, in part, on some stored food until our crop comes in.

Top 20 Best Foods to Stockpile

stockpile these foods in your prepper pantry

What follows are the 20 best survival foods to stockpile in your basic SHTF preps that offer long shelf life and good nutrition. These foods offer a range of essential nutrients, including protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals, to keep you healthy and energized.

We tried to balance nutrition and caloric intake in meals you’ll actually like when choosing your prepper pantry items. By stockpiling the most nutritious foods (and some compliments we mention), you’ll be well on your way to stocking your pantry with balanced long-term survival foods.

Canned beans

Canned beans are an excellent source of protein, fiber, and carbohydrates, easily making them one of the top survival foods to stockpile. They come in a variety of flavors like black, pinto, kidney, navy, and chickpeas, and are used in a variety of dishes, from salads to soups to casseroles.

One cup typically contains about 15 grams of protein, 15 grams of fiber, and 40 grams of carbohydrates, making it filling and nutritious. Canned beans are also a good source of iron, potassium, and folate.

Canned beans can be stored up to five years, making them one of the best canned foods and an easy choice for long-term storage.

One cup of canned beans contains around 220-240 calories, depending on the type of bean. They belong in a variety of recipes, such as bean salad, chili, bean soup, and hummus. To make a quick and easy bean salad, simply combine a can of drained and rinsed beans with chopped vegetables, like onions, tomatoes, and bell peppers, and a simple dressing made with oil, vinegar, and spices.

When storing canned beans, rotate your survival food regularly so that you’re using the oldest cans first and they remain fresh.

Brown rice

Brown rice is a versatile and nutritious food that can be stored for up to six months.

It’s rich in essential vitamins and minerals, including magnesium, phosphorus, and thiamine, which help support a healthy immune system and promote overall health. You’ll get approximately 216 calories per cooked cup, making it an excellent source of energy for preppers.

It works in prepper meals ranging from stir-fry to casseroles. One easy prepper recipe idea is to mix cooked brown rice with canned black beans, diced tomatoes, and chili powder for a delicious and hearty meal.

Overall, rice is a nutritious, shelf-stable, and calorie-dense food that is a must-have in any prepper pantry. Its versatility and ease of storage make it an essential ingredient for preppers looking to eat healthy and filling meals in times of emergency.

Canned vegetables (tomatoes, peas, and carrots)

Canned vegetables like tomatoes, green beans, peas, and carrots are valuable items on your emergency foods list because they last longer when properly stored and have great nutritional value.

Canned vegetables retain most of their nutrients because they’re canned at the peak of freshness. Tomatoes are a good source of vitamin C, potassium, and lycopene, which has been linked to reducing the risk of certain cancers. Peas are high in fiber, protein, vitamin A, and iron. Carrots are rich in vitamin A, which is important for eye health.

Canned veggies can typically be stored for 2-5 years. They’re used in a variety of prepper recipes for stews, soups, and casseroles. They’re also great for adding flavor and nutrition to rice dishes, pastas, and stir-fries.

From an energy perspective, canned vegetables are a low-calorie option. Their real value as survival food is their vitamins and minerals. One cup of canned peas contains only 62 calories, while one cup of canned diced tomatoes contains only 35 calories.

For a delicious prepper recipe idea, try making vegetable soup with canned tomatoes, peas, and carrots. Combine the vegetables with some rice, broth, herbs, and spices, and let simmer until the flavors meld together. These fixings can be stored in your pantry for a quick and easy meal during an emergency situation.

Peanut butter

Peanut butter is a versatile food that has many benefits. It’s a good source of protein, healthy fats, and other essential nutrients like vitamins E and B6. Peanut butter is also high in calories, making it a great energy source during times of crisis.

Peanut butter isn’t just for sandwiches. It can be used in energy bars and peanut butter cookies. It can also be added to smoothies and used as a dip for fruits and vegetables. In an emergency situation, a simple peanut butter and jelly sandwich can provide a quick and satisfying meal.

It stores for a long time, making it an ideal choice for preppers who want to stockpile food.

Whole-grain pasta

Whole-grain pasta is an excellent survival food choice for preppers due to its nutritional value and long shelf life. It’s fiber-rich and contains a variety of essential vitamins and minerals including iron, magnesium, and selenium. It has a lower glycemic index than refined pasta, making it a healthier option for managing blood sugar levels.

Whole-grain pasta has a shelf life of around 1-2 years. It’s important to check the expiration date before eating and discard any pasta that appears discolored or has an off smell.

Energy-wise, whole-grain pasta is an excellent source of complex carbohydrates and provides sustained energy for physical activity. One cup of cooked whole-grain pasta contains around 174 calories, making it a filling and satisfying meal.

For preppers, whole-grain pasta is an ideal ingredient in a variety of dishes, like pasta salads, casseroles, and soups. An easy prepper recipe idea is to cook whole-grain pasta and mix it with canned tuna and peas for a protein-packed and delicious casserole.

Steel Cut Oats & Rolled Oats

Steel-cut and rolled oats are nutrient-dense grains perfect for stockpiling. They’re an excellent source of dietary fiber, protein, and essential nutrients, including magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc.

Rolled oats, a.k.a. old-fashioned oats, have a longer shelf life than steel-cut oats because of their lower oil content. Steel-cut oats have a nuttier flavor and chewier texture. Both types of oats have a low glycemic index, making them ideal for managing blood sugar levels.

Rolled oats have 150 calories per 1/2 cup, and steel-cut oats have 170 calories per 1/4 cup.

A prepper recipe idea for oats is granola bars made using oats, nuts, dried fruits, and a little brown sugar for a healthy and tasty breakfast.

Canned fruits (peaches, pears, and pineapple)

Canned fruits like peaches, pears, and pineapple are a great addition to any prepper’s pantry. They’re delicious, and a great source of vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, potassium, and fiber.

With regard to shelf life, canned fruits can last for up to two years. This makes them an ideal survival food item for preppers.

Canned fruits are relatively low in calories, making them a healthy snack option. One canned peach contains around 60 calories, making it a great snack for anyone looking for lean energy.

One prepper recipe idea for canned fruit is a fruit salad made using a combination of canned peaches, pears, and pineapple. Add some honey, and nuts for a delicious and healthy snack. Another idea? Canned peaches are great on their own and canned pineapple is great in a stir-fry. The possibilities are endless!

Nuts and seeds (almonds, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds)

Nuts and seeds, like almonds, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds, are nutrient-rich foods that provide a wealth of benefits to your diet. Almonds are a great source of protein, healthy fats, fiber, vitamin E, and magnesium, while sunflower and pumpkin seeds are packed with protein, healthy fats, fiber, zinc, and iron.

Nuts and seeds also have a long shelf life, making them perfect for stockpiling. They can be stored for up to a year at room temperature or longer in the refrigerator or freezer. They also provide a good amount of calories per serving, making them a great source of energy during emergencies.

A delicious prepper recipe idea for nuts and seeds is to make a trail mix. Mix your favorite nuts and seeds with dried fruits and chocolate chips for a tasty and nutritious snack that can be enjoyed on the go. Another idea is to mix pumpkin seeds in a bowl with olive oil, salt, garlic powder, paprika, and black pepper. Spread the seeds on a cookie sheet and roast for 15 minutes.

Canned meat (tuna, chicken, and beef)

Canned meat is a great source of protein and an important food for preppers. Nutritional value varies depending on the type of meat, but generally, canned meat provides protein, essential amino acids, iron, and vitamin B12.

Canned tuna, chicken, and beef have a relatively long shelf life and can be stored for up to several years.

Caloric value also varies depending on the type of meat, but canned meats are generally a good source of energy, making them ideal for preppers who need to maintain their strength during an emergency situation.

Canned meat is used in a variety of recipes, including stews, soups, and casseroles. One easy and delicious prepper recipe is to mix canned chicken with canned vegetables and canned cream of mushroom soup to create a hearty and filling chicken pot pie. With the right ingredients and recipes, these can be a valuable addition to any prepper’s pantry.

Dried fruits (raisins, apricots, and figs)

Dried fruits are a “must-have” in any prepper’s pantry. They’re an excellent source of nutrients and can last a fair amount of time without spoiling. Dried fruits like raisins, apricots, and figs are particularly high in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, making them a healthy and delicious snack option.

As far as shelf life; dried fruits don’t have the longest shelf life but can last for several months if stored properly in an airtight container. They’re also a great source of energy, with a lot of calories in a serving. Dried fruits also tend to have a higher sugar content than fresh fruits, so it’s best to consume them in moderation.

As mentioned earlier, dried fruit is a must-have in a trail mix. Another option is to rehydrate the dried fruits in hot water and use them to bake in bread.

Canned soup

Canned soup is a quick and tasty option for preppers to consider in their emergency food supply. It has a long shelf life, ranging from one to five years depending on the type of soup and storage conditions. Popular canned soup varieties include chicken noodle, tomato, and minestrone making them a great addition for morale.

As canned foods go, canned soup is a good source of vitamins, minerals, and protein. Check the label and choose lower sodium options because many canned soups are high in sodium. Also, some canned soups contain added sugars and preservatives.

Canned soup is a versatile ingredient for prepper recipes. You can use canned soup as a base for a hearty and filling soup or stew by adding in other canned or dried foods like vegetables, beans, or grains. Soup is also a great way to soften your hardtack. Another idea is to use canned soup as a sauce for pasta or rice dishes by adding in some cooked meat or vegetables.

Overall, canned soup has a short prep time and is a versatile option for preppers to consider as part of their emergency food supply.

Dried beans (black beans, kidney beans, and lentils)

Dried beans, including black beans, kidney beans, and lentils, are great sources of protein, fiber, and nutrients. They also last a long time, making them ideal for preppers.

Black beans are high in antioxidants, fiber, and protein, and can be stored up to 10 years. Kidney beans are high in fiber and protein and can be stored for up to 8 years. Lentils are a great source of fiber, protein, and iron, and can be stored for up to 5 years.

One cup of cooked beans provides around 200-250 calories, depending on the type of bean. Dried beans are low in fat and high in complex carbohydrates, making them an excellent choice for a healthy diet.

One prepper recipe idea for dried beans is to make a three-bean chili using black beans, kidney beans, and navy beans. Soak the beans overnight and then cook them in a solar oven with diced tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, and onions.

Powdered milk

Powdered milk is a versatile and long-lasting survival food that can provide essential nutrients in an emergency. It’s made by evaporating milk until it becomes a dry powder that can be reconstituted with water. One of its benefits is its long shelf life, which can range from 6 months to several years depending on the storage conditions.

It’s also a good source of protein, calcium, and vitamins A and D, making it a nutritious addition to any prepper’s pantry.

Calorie-wise, it’s a relatively high-energy food with around 80 calories per tablespoon. This makes it a great choice for adding some extra calories to meals in a survival situation. It can be used in a variety of recipes, like soups, sauces, and baked goods. One prepper recipe idea is to make a creamy pasta sauce by mixing powdered milk with water, butter, and flour.

Overall, powdered milk is a valuable addition to any prepper’s food stores, providing essential nutrients and long shelf life. It’s easy to use in a variety of recipes and can add some extra calories to meals when needed. When stored properly, it can last for years, making it an excellent choice for emergency situations.

Whole-wheat flour

Whole-wheat flour is a versatile and nutritious ingredient for your prepper pantry. Nutrient-dense, it contains fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals, including iron and zinc. Its shelf life can be extended by storing it in an airtight container.

The caloric value of whole-wheat flour is similar to regular all-purpose flour, at about 400 calories per cup. It has a lower glycemic index which helps with blood sugar levels. This makes it a healthier option for those with diabetes.

Whole-wheat flour is used to make a variety of prepper-friendly recipes, like bread, tortillas, pancakes, and even pasta. You can also use it as a thickener for soups and stews, or as a coating for fried foods. It’s a great ingredient to have on hand when fresh produce isn’t available or to add variety to your diet.

The “Almost” Best Foods to Stockpile

top survival foods to stockpile

What follows are foods that aren’t exactly survival foods in the sense that they aren’t meals within themselves, but they’re helpful when it comes to creating a survival diet that keeps your body and morale going…

Vegetable oil

Vegetable oil is a versatile and essential ingredient in many recipes. It’s a good source of calories, providing 120 calories per tablespoon. It’s rich in healthy unsaturated fats which are essential for maintaining a healthy body. Vegetable oil can be stored for up to a year.

One prepper recipe idea using vegetable oil is to make homemade mayonnaise. Whip together 1 egg yolk, 1 tablespoon of vinegar, and 1 teaspoon of dijon mustard. Slowly add 1 cup of vegetable oil until the mixture is thick and creamy. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Vegetable oil is also used for frying and sautéing. It has a high smoke point, which means it can be heated to high temperatures without burning or smoking. This makes it ideal for frying foods like chicken or French fries.


Honey is a delicious and versatile food that’s used in a variety of ways. It’s a natural sweetener that provides a range of health benefits. It’s high in antioxidants, which can help protect against cell damage and inflammation. Honey is also a good source of energy, containing about 64 calories per tablespoon.

One of the most significant advantages of honey is that it may have the longest shelf life. When stored properly, honey can last for years, making it a “must-have” in any prepper’s pantry.

In a survival situation, honey can be used as a natural sweetener for drinks, desserts, and even as a substitute for syrup. An easy recipe idea for preppers is mixing honey with peanut butter and powdered milk to create a high-protein, energy-packed snack that can be stored for a long time.


Salt is an essential seasoning used for thousands of years to enhance the flavor of food. It’s a staple ingredient in many recipes. While it’s commonly known for its ability to enhance the taste of food, it also plays a significant role in regulating fluid balance, nerve function, and muscle contractions in the body.

Salt has an indefinite shelf life and doesn’t go bad. It can clump over time due to moisture, so it’s best stored in an airtight container.

Salt is a non-nutritive mineral, so it has no calories or macronutrients. However, excessive consumption of salt can contribute to high blood pressure, so it’s essential to use it in moderation.

Having a good supply of salt is critical, as it’s a versatile ingredient used in various recipes. Salt is used to preserve meat and fish, making it an excellent addition to your emergency food storage.

Baking powder

Baking powder is a leavening agent commonly used in baking to make cakes, bread, and other baked goods rise. It’s made up of a combination of baking soda, cream of tartar, and sometimes cornstarch.

Baking powder has a shorter shelf life and can be stored for up to six months. It contains no fat or cholesterol and is low in calories. One teaspoon of baking powder has about 5 calories.

It’s a key ingredient in biscuits or pancakes, which can be a quick and easy breakfast or snack during an emergency situation. Its kin, baking soda, is a useful substitute for brushing your teeth.


Yeast is a type of fungus that is commonly used in baking to help bread and other baked goods rise. It’s a rich source of protein, fiber, and B vitamins. Yeast is also low in fat and calories, making it a healthy addition to any diet.

When stored properly yeast can have a shelf life of up to two years. It’s important to check the expiration date on the package to ensure the yeast is still active.

Yeast doesn’t have a significant caloric value on its own, but it’s essential in the process of fermentation which is what causes bread dough to rise.

In a survival or prepper scenario, yeast is used to make homemade bread, pizza dough, and even beer or wine. With a little practice and experimentation, you can make delicious and nutritious baked goods with just a few basic ingredients and some yeast.

White Sugar

White vinegar is a versatile and commonly used ingredient in both cooking and cleaning. It has zero nutritional value and low caloric content. Its shelf life is almost indefinite if stored properly.

Many prepper recipes use white vinegar because of its acidic nature, which can help preserve food and stretch its shelf life. A popular prepper recipe that uses white vinegar is pickled vegetables, which can add flavor to a variety of dishes and can be stored for long periods of time. Additionally, white vinegar can be used as a natural cleaning agent due to its antibacterial properties.

Bonus Foods For Your Prepper Pantry List

potato flakes are foods to stockpile

Potato Flakes

Potato flakes are dehydrated potatoes that can be used as a convenient substitute for fresh potatoes in various recipes. While they may not be as nutritious as fresh potatoes, they still provide some nutritional value. Potato flakes contain carbohydrates, fiber, and some minerals like potassium and iron. They’re also low in fat and calories.

One of the advantages of potato flakes is their long shelf life. This makes them a great survival food to have on hand for emergency situations or when fresh potatoes aren’t available.

Potato flakes have relatively fewer calories at 110 per 1/3 cup serving. This makes them a great option for those low-energy days.

A simple prepper recipe idea is mashed potatoes. Simply mix the potato flakes with boiling water and butter or milk until they reach the desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve as a side dish. Another option uses potato flakes as a thickener for soups or stews. Simply mix them with hot water and add them to the soup or stew to thicken it.

Hardtack and Pemmican

Both hardtack and pemmican are great survival foods. Each might be considered “old world” foods as they have their roots in times before refrigerated storage of food was possible.

Pemmican is a dried meat food that has its history with Native American cultures. Hardtack is a baked and dried flour product that has its roots in Europe going back over 1,000 years.

Foods that Never Expire

When it comes to long-term food storage, you need a variety of shelf-stable options on hand. Fortunately, there are several foods to stockpile that can last indefinitely without going bad. Honey is one such food, with its high sugar content and low water activity making it resistant to spoilage. Rice is another pantry staple that can last indefinitely if stored properly. White vinegar is also a great addition because its acidity makes it hard for bacteria and other microorganisms to grow.

Vanilla extract (if properly stored) can also last indefinitely. While the flavor may diminish over time, it won’t spoil or become harmful if consumed. Salt is also known for its long shelf life. Dried beans can also last indefinitely.

Sugar is another common pantry item that can last for years if stored properly. Finally, hard liquor like vodka or whiskey can also last indefinitely if unopened and stored in a cool, dark place. With these foods on hand, you can rest easy knowing that you’ll always have something to eat even in the event of an emergency.

Where To Set Up Your Prepper Pantry

Heat, sunlight, and moisture are enemies of your long-term food storage effort. Consider setting up a purpose-built closet inside your home. Don’t store foods in your garage and if you use your basement consider installing a dehumidifier.

Proper food storage conditions can extend the shelf life of your prepper foods. Keeping them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and moisture can help prevent spoilage and ensure that your emergency food supply is always ready when you need it.

Set Up A Food Rotation Plan

When you set up your food rotation plan for your survival foods, review and record expiration dates regularly. Use a log to maintain a well-organized and efficient food storage system.

Start with an inventory of your stored food and track the expiration dates. Group similar foods together and keep track of what you use and replace. We highly recommend a “first in, first out” (FIFO) system so that older foods are used first. Rotate your food storage every six months to maintain freshness and quality.

Label your stored food with the date of purchase and expiration date. A food rotation plan will help you avoid waste and ensure that your stored food stays fresh and edible.