Home » Best non-perishable food(s) for emergencies

Best non-perishable food(s) for emergencies

The best non-perishable food for emergencies has an extended shelf life and doesn’t require refrigeration to keep them from spoiling. Take a look at the list of food below and build your short-term emergency food supply for natural and man-made disasters. Let’s examine non-perishable snacks, the first list of emergency foods to store


Most of these snacks will last months in your emergency pantry so they should be rotated to ensure a fresh supply is always available. Up next is the list of nonperishable snack foods.

25 non-perishable snacks (list)

  1. Peanuts
  2. Cashews
  3. Mixed Nuts
  4. Ritz and Saltine Crackers
  5. Canned Cheese & Cheese Dip
  6. Canned Bean Dip
  7. Canned Salsas
  8. Salted/shelled sunflower seeds
  9. Corn Nuts
  10. Nut Butters
  11. Bags of Pre-Cooked Popcorn (Plain, caramel, or whatever dry spice you choose)-probably only last a week.
  12. Protein Bars
  13. Granola Bars
  14. Freeze-dried fruits: strawberries, apples, apricots, banana slices, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, cranberries
  15. Dehydrated fruits-strawberries, apples, apricots, banana slices, blackberries, blueberries, cherries, cranberries
  16. Energy Bars
  17. Sweet Tooth Bars: Little Debbie Snack Cakes, Moon pies, Oatmeal creme pies, Hostess Ding-dongs
  18. Cookies (There are healthy cookies like Lenny and Larry’s, I like the double chocolate)
  19. Survival Bars
  20. Vacuum-packed tuna and salmon
  21. Chips, pretzels, and other snack-like junk food
  22. Unopened dried/sugared fruits like raisins, dates, and mango
  23. Beef Jerky
  24. Trail Mixes
  25. Meals Ready to Eat (Not really a snack but has snacks that don’t need to be heated)

For more information on stockpiling food for emergencies, check out the excellent Ready Squirrel article, “Food For a Natural Disaster.”

Next, let’s examine the best non-perishable proteins.


The best non-perishable protein-rich foods include meats, soups, stews, and dry staples. Included in the list are shelf-stable foods with a shorter shelf-life that you will want to rotate to ensure a healthy supply in case of emergency.

25 non-perishable proteins (list)

  1. Dried Beans
  2. Grains
    1. Hard-High-Gluten Wheat Berries (husked dried wheat-30 year shelf life in oxygen-free storage)
    2. Quinoa
    3. Rolled Oats (30-year shelf life in oxygen-free storage)
  3. Pulses (dried lentils, 30-year shelf life in oxygen-free storage)
  4. Canned Beans
  5. Canned stews and soups with meat and or beans
  6. Nuts (limited shelf-life due to high-fat content)
  7. Peanut Butter (limited shelf-life)
  8. Peanut Butter Powder
  9. Canned Meat
  10. Meat in retort pouches (tuna & salmon)
  11. Freeze-dried Ground Beef (if you can swing the cost get a Harvest Right home freeze-dryer and do bulk meats at home. Meat protein and fat are the hardest to store and obtain in a long-term emergency.
  12. Freeze-dried steak
  13. Freeze-dried chicken
  14. Protein Powders: Whey, Egg White, Replacement Shakes (just add water for a shot of healthy protein)
  15. Dried Eggs
  16. Whole Egg Powder
  17. Sprouting Seed Mixes (wheat, dry beans, lentils, broccoli, alfalfa, quinoa, soybean, pea sprouts)
  18. Non-fat Dried Milk (non-fat will last 15 to 20 years O2-free, fat milk has a short shelf life due to fats)
  19. Canned Milk
  20. High-protein Bars
  21. Whole Wheat Pasta
  22. Rolled Oats (often overlooked, outstanding carb and protein load, Scotch Highlanders had a diet of oats, fatty milk, butter, and meat when they could get it. (Highland warriors were feared for their strength and stamina.)
  23. Hard Red Wheat Berries (Of the common kinds of wheat, red tends to be the highest in protein. Tastes gamey compared to hard white wheat)
  24. Couscous

Up next, let’s take a look at non-perishable canned meats.

Canned meat

I’ve got to admit it, I’m not a huge fan of canned meats, but most of us don’t have much of a choice when storing food for an emergency. Your other options are one, to go meatless or two raise livestock and learn to preserve it. Following is a list of 26 shelf-stable canned meats. Yum.

26 types of non-perishable canned meat (list)

  1. Spam
  2. Canned Chicken
  3. Canned Beef
  4. Canned Tuna
  5. Canned Salmon
  6. Vienna Sausages
  7. Canned Ham
  8. Corned Beef Hash
  9. Dinty Moore Stew
  10. Sardines
  11. Shrimp
  12. Oysters
  13. Anchovies
  14. Kippered Herring
  15. Crab Meat
  16. Canned Mackerel
  17. Deviled Ham
  18. Pate
  19. Potted Meat
  20. Summer Sausage
  21. Canned Meat Tamales
  22. Meat Chili
  23. Keystone Meats
  24. Costco Meats
  25. Freeze-dried meats
  26. Freeze-dried meals (Mountain House)

Let’s examine the types of non-perishable fruit.


Non-perishable fruit can be canned at home or purchased pre-canned. It can also be freeze-dried, dehydrated, or preserved with sugar and/or alcohol.

An alternative to buying canned fruits is to start a survival garden that includes fruiting trees and bushes. Early colonists planted an orchard before building the house because they depended on ciders as a clean water source and nutrition.

Scott, Ready Squirrel

Up next, is a list of 13 non-perishable fruits.

13 non-perishable fruits (list)

  1. Apricots
  2. Peaches
  3. Mandarin Oranges
  4. Mangos
  5. Pears
  6. Pineapple
  7. Cherries
  8. Mixed or Medley
  9. Grapefruit
  10. Apple and other fruit sauces
  11. Blueberries
  12. Pie Filling
  13. Strawberries

Storage Tip: Freeze-dried fruit has the longest shelf life of nonperishable fruit, 10 to 15 years, but it’s also the most expensive way to store it.

If you are lucky enough to have a fruit orchard in your yard, canning is probably the best DIY method unless you have a home freeze-dry unit like a Harvest Right. Another great way to preserve fruit is with alcohol.

The one prepper tool I want that I don’t have is a freeze-dryer. I imagine purchasing big lots of pork chops and hamburgers on sale and freeze-drying them for 30-year shelf life. Someday.

Preserving fruit with alcohol and sugar is how ancient mariners preserved fruit for long ocean voyages. If this sounds interesting, check out the Ready Squirrel Article, “Can you preserve fruit with alcohol?

Up next, are non-perishable survival and granola bars.

Survival bars

Survival bars, protein bars, fruit bars, and trail mix are excellent sources of instant energy, especially in situations where you are on the move (bugging out) and don’t have the time or resources to stop and make camp.

When I hiked the Vermont leg of the Appalachian trail it took 10 days hiking 10 to 18 miles per day. This trip was similiar to bugging out on foot. During the day I would eat protein and granola bars for enough energency to keep moving.

Scott, Ready Squirrel

Up next, is a list of 13 non-perishable fruits.

18 Non-perishable granola, protein, and survival bars (list)

  1. SOS Survival Bars
  2. Granola
  3. Trail Mix
  4. Datrex Emergency Ration Bars
  5. Battles Bars (Mother of all bars)
  6. Nature’s Valley Granola Bars
  7. Kashi Bars
  8. Kind Granola
  9. Pure protein bars
  10. Cliff Bars
  11. Quest Protein Bars
  12. Jacked Factory
  13. Kind Bars
  14. Power Bars
  15. Level-1
  16. TB12
  17. HealthWise
  18. Nutri Grain Fruit Bars

Coming up next let’s take a look at 20 non-perishable juices and drinks.

Juices & drinks

Most powdered and bottled drinks aren’t especially good for you, but they help ensure you stay hydrated. They are a nice break from drinking water without any flavor and are good for morale.

For long-term storage, you’ll want to store powdered mixes. For short-term emergencies like the Federal Emergency Management Agencies 72 Emergency kit, you can store canned or bottled juices because they are ready to drink.

If you go with canned or bottled juice, you’ll want to rotate them to make sure they stay as fresh as possible.

Storage Tip: When choosing a drink mix, include the amount of sugar and water you’ll need for preparation. Up next, 20 non-perishable drinks to store for an emergency.

20 non-perishable drinks (list)

  1. Canned Orange
  2. Canned Cranberry
  3. Hawaiian Sun Tropical
  4. Tang Powdered Juice Mix
  5. Country Time Lemonade (Powdered)
  6. Bottled and Powdered Gatorade
  7. Crystal Light Powder
  8. Kool-Aid Powder
  9. Ovaltine
  10. Hershey’s Chocolate Powder
  11. Cocoa Powder
  12. Malted Milk
  13. Low-fat Milk
  14. Milo Malted Beverage
  15. Freeze-dried Coffee
  16. Tea Bags
  17. Yerba Mate
  18. Green Tea
  19. Soda
  20. Protein powders and power drinks

Next, take a look at 8 non-perishable high-energy foods.

High-energy foods

The foods listed below are shelf-stable and ready to eat. Also, they require little time and no preparation or resources like cooking fuel. These are foods you should always have on hand in case of an emergency. Let’s take a look at the list of high-energy foods.

8 Non-perishable High Energy food(s)

  1. Peanut Butter
  2. Nuts and nut mixes
  3. Nutrition-fortified protein, granola, and fruit bars
  4. Honey
  5. Survival Food Bars (SOS)
  6. Coffee
  7. High Sugar Foods like candy bars, chocolate candies, and suckers
  8. Dark Chocolate

Next, take a look at 11 non-perishable dry meals and side dishes.

Dry meals and side dishes

When hiking, I like using high-carb pre-packaged dry foods like Knorr pasta sides, instant macaroni and cheese, and Ramen soup packets because they are simple to make by boiling water with a backpacker’s style camp stove or over a campfire. They also make a great addition to short-term emergency food storage. Let’s take a look at the best non-perishable food for emergencies in the form of dry meals and side dishes.

11 non-perishable dry meals and side dishes (list)

  1. Ramen Soup Packets
  2. Cup-a-noodle
  3. Knorr Pasta Side Dishes
  4. Instant Macaroni and cheese
  5. Freeze-dried backpacker meals
    • Mountain House
    • Backpacker’s Pantry
  6. Couscous
  7. Instant rice meals and dishes (Uncle Ben’s Red Beans and Rice)
  8. Instant Rice-A-Roni and Pasta Roni
  9. Homemade dehydrated meals
  10. Instant rice of all types
  11. Tuna and Salmon in Retort Pouches

Next up, 7 non-perishable meals.


Like me, you like to cook with ingredients, but there are situations where having something you can eat out of a can or boiling water will fit the bill. Imagine using a chainsaw all day to cut up trees in your yard and then having to cook a meal from scratch on your gas grill. No thanks, Instead boil water on a backpacker stove or heat a can.

7 non-perishable meals (list)

  1. Meals Ready To Eat (MRE), military ration in retort pouches, and there are civilian versions (My Patriot Supply, 4 Patriots, BePrepared)
  2. Freeze-dried Backpacker Meals (Mountain House, Backpacker’s Pantry)
  3. Chef Boyardee Beefaroni-Ready to Eat
  4. Hormel type chili-Ready to eat
  5. Dinty Moore type stews-Ready to eat
  6. Canned Soups-Ready to eat
  7. Professionally packaged survival kits (My Patriot Supply, 4 Patriots, Valley Food Storage, Mountain House, Readywise, Augoson Farms)

Thank you for visiting Ready Squirrel. If you have any questions please leave them in the comments.

Keep on prepping!

Best Regards, Scott


Ready.gov, How to build an emergency kit

Leave a Comment