Top 5 Shelf-Stable Foods for Long-Term Storage and Survival

shelf-stable products packaged in a green bag. canned food and cereals. stay at home

Explore the 5 best shelf-stable foods for long-term survival, essential for emergencies and uncertain times. Stock up on canned foods, dried goods, freeze-dried options, and more to ensure your family’s well-being.

Canned Foods

Various canned vegetables, meat, fish and fruits in tin cans. On a wooden background.

Canned foods are some of the most popular shelf-stable foods for long-term storage and survival. They are cheap, easy to find, and can last for years if stored properly.

Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, and vegetables, along with a can opener, are essential items for your emergency food pantry.

Canned juices and non-perishable pasteurized milk are also great options. Some of the best-canned vegetables to store include green beans, carrots, and peas.

Canned beans are also a great source of protein and can be eaten right out of the can. Canned or vacuum-pouched tuna is another excellent choice as it is high in protein and healthy fats.

Dried Foods

A closeup shot of juicy Beef Jerky on the table

Dried foods, such as dry cereal, granola, dried fruit, nuts, and trail mixes, are excellent choices for your emergency food pantry.

These foods are lightweight, easy to store, and can last for months if stored properly. They are also nutritious and provide a good source of energy and fiber.

Peanut butter is another great choice as it is high in protein and healthy fats.

Freeze-Dried Foods

Freeze-dried food in a bag. Dried peeled shrimp. Top.

Freeze-dried foods are an excellent choice for long-term storage because they can last for up to 25 years. They are also lightweight and easy to store.

Freeze-dried foods are available in a variety of options, including fruits, vegetables, meats, and grains.

They are also nutrient-dense and free of preservatives, making them a healthier option than many other shelf-stable foods.

Cooking Oil and Spices

Various vegetable and nut oil in bottles on a bright background.

Cooking oil and spices are essential items for any emergency food pantry.

Olive oil and coconut oil are great choices for cooking, while salt, pepper, garlic powder, and other spices can add flavor to your meals.

These items can last for a long time if stored properly and can make a big difference in the taste and quality of your emergency meals.


Plastic bottles on 19 liters is full natural spring water in outdoor

While not a food item, water is perhaps the most important item to have for survival. It’s essential to have enough water on hand for drinking, cooking, and cleaning.

You should have at least one gallon of water per person per day for a minimum of three days.

Benefits of Stockpiling Shelf-Stable Foods


Shelf-stable foods can be just as nutritious as fresh foods. Many canned foods are processed immediately after harvesting, ensuring they retain their nutritional value.

Freeze-dried foods are often picked and processed at the peak of ripeness, meaning they are packed with essential vitamins and minerals.


Shelf-stable foods are often cheaper than fresh foods, making them an ideal choice for those on a budget. Buying in bulk can also save you money in the long run.


Most shelf-stable foods require little to no preparation, making them a great option during emergencies.

Canned foods can be eaten right out of the can, while dried foods can be rehydrated quickly.

By Anita Brown

Anita Brown is our go-to contributor to our emergency preparedness website. Anita brings a wealth of personal experience and professional expertise to the table, having weathered several awful natural disasters. Anita is currently working towards obtaining her Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) certification.