Long Term Food Storage List

In prepping, nothing is more important than having good basic survival supplies. Of course, the things we are talking about here are none other than food, water, security and shelter. However, for many people, the biggest challenge is to find a product that can last or be used for a long time. First off, let us ask ourselves, what is a prepper? Basically, it is a person who prepares as much as possible. A prepper is someone who makes extensive plan in preparation of surviving an unforeseen events and major disasters. That means disasters both local or global. It is kind of a lifestyle as well, a “survival lifestyle” or just embracing “survivalism”.

But you should know, there are different levels to being a prepper. Some preppers keep food and water only for minor emergencies while others keep a doomsday scenario at the back of their minds. No matter what level of prepping you are doing, some food products don’t last as long as we expect. However, there are many products with a long shelf life that are perfect for filling up your food closet. It makes sense to always keep these products in store, but most especially, when you can’t leave home at all.

In this article, we will discuss the best prepping foods that can be bought from the grocery and learn how to properly store each of the products to extend its lifespan.

By the way, some of the food products listed down below is not “ready-to-eat-food” as they cannot be eaten as they are, but rather necessities for everyday cooking. They primarily contribute to the flavor while also improving the texture and/or nutritional value of the meal.

  • Distilled Water

Water is not usually a food product to stockpile but we certainly cannot live without it. Water does carry a lot of health benefits when we drink it, even though we can’t actually distinguish the positive effects of it on our body while spending our lives on a regular basis. Moreover, if your taste bud is looking for something tasty to drink, you can easily make juice out of powdered juice packs.

If distilled water is stored properly and does not come into contact with any contaminants, it can last indefinitely. Bottled distilled water usually has a best-before date. If you store the water correctly, it can still be safe to drink or use even after past its date. Distilled water can be best stored in a cool, dark place. A refrigerator or pantry is a good choice. Just in case cooling does not extend the life of the water, but keeping the water away from direct sunlight is a reliable way to keep it clean for longer.

  • White Rice

Rice is one of the essential food reserves simply because it can be bought at an affordable price, mostly available in the market and easy to store for a long time. Rice can be stored for up to 30 years without any problems, but take note, it must be stored in food-grade containers and storage bags.

  • Canned Goods (Fruits, Vegetables and Beans)

Canned foods can be stored for a long period of time beyond its maximum shelf life, but of course, the sooner you open and eat it, the better. If you find a can of fruit that is six months old in the back of the closet, you can still eat it or add it to one of the recipes with the need of it. It can last up to six years just as long as it is stored properly in your food closet.

If the can is dented or swollen, don’t eat it. It is no longer safe to consume. A damaged can may indicate that the contents are not properly preserved, so concerning your safety, avoid them. Botulism is no joke, and deadly.

  • Canned and Dry Meat

Canned meat has a longer shelf life than canned fruits and vegetables. Canned meat can be stored for up to 5 years. Canned spam, canned chicken, and canned tuna are all reliable options for storing valuable protein. This may not be your first option for a meal, but in the event of a disaster, they will come in handy. Sausages and jerky can also be stored for 2 years or more. Just make sure that you store it in a right room temperature where moisture will not occur on the insides of the can.

  • Pasta

Most of the pasta products are sold in a sealed plastic bag and you safely store it as it is in your cupboard. However, torn off or opened pasta must be transferred to an airtight container to keep it in place for as long as possible. Also, you do not want your dried pasta get exposed to air for too long. Pasta can last up to three years.

  • Raw Honey

Raw honey will definitely last forever—it must be stored it in a tightly sealed jar. This is a great ingredient to make your meals sweeter. Honey will crystallize over time, but it will not deteriorate. Archaeologists have found honey in ancient Egyptian tombs that they say is still edible. 

  • Ramen Noodles

Ramen is not the healthiest nor most suggested food to survive through tough times, but it is easy to prepare and can be kept in its original packaging for several years if the right conditions are achieved. Always check the packaging if there’s any tear or hole to avoid getting it exposed to air.

  • Salt and Sugar

Although you can use honey as an alternative for sugar, which also has an indefinite shelf life, sugar and salt are great food additives and are the main ingredients in most of the recipes out there.

  • Soft Grains

Like flour, rye and oats can be stored for many years to come. Please note that most flour and oatmeal can be stored in the refrigerator for a longer time. Grain foods such as noodles can also be stored for one year or more.

  • Oils

Oils are one of the most important to store in your cupboard. You simply cannot cook, or live, without oils or some kind of fat. They can last over two years as long as you keep them out of direct exposure from sunlight.

  • Dark Chocolate

Among all types of chocolate, dark chocolate has the longest shelf life. If you like milk or white chocolate, you can eat it all year round. They can last up to two years, just make sure you store them at the right room temperature and wrap tightly in their original packaging.

  • Potato Flakes

Potato flakes can be stored for 30 years or more when stored in a cool and dark room inside a dry container.

  • Herbs and Spices

Herbs and spices are one of the necessities in the kitchen. They enhance or give such twists to the flavor of your meals. Your dried spices do not have an indefinite shelf life, but they can be kept for a long time. The whole spices can be stored for up to four years; ground ones are best within three years. Dried herbs can also be stored for up to three years. Eating old herbs and spices will not make you sick or feel any pain, but they will surely begin to fade its prime over time, so use them within the recommended time frame for best results.

  • Soy Sauce

Due to the high salt content, soy sauce can be stored forever as long as it stays sealed and stored. After the soy sauce is opened, it can be stored in the refrigerator for two to three years, or even longer.

  • Vinegar

Vinegar lasts forever, just store in an airtight container, away from heat, in a cool and dry place.

  • Peanut Butter

For many people’s breakfast, peanut butter is a great ingredient because of its high fat content and high calorie content, which makes it delicious with a variety of foods, especially when it is spread in bread.

Aside from the ready-made bulk jars that you can be usually bought from the grocery stores, powdered peanut butter is already available, which can be stored for a longer period of time and can be used as needed.

Peanut butter powder is up to 15 years, while the shelf life of the pre-mixed batch is 2 years.

  • Dried Beans

Dry beans must be tightly sealed with the use of a deoxidizer to last up to 5 years. I suggest not keeping them longer than that. If you do, though they are still safe to eat, but the cooking time is too long and it is more difficult to chew.

Additionally, pinto beans and split peas should not be stored for more than 3 years; over time, they will become very hard, even if you cook for a few hours, they will not be soft enough that they are difficult to digest.

  • Powdered Milk

Milk powder may not be the first on your shopping list, but it’s best to keep it on hand for baking purposes. Milk powder enriches bread, biscuits and other baked goods. You should properly store it in an airtight container with moisture-absorbent in a cool, dark place; it will last up to 20 years.

  • Dried Corn

Dried corns will last forever. Just keep them tightly sealed in the container placed in your cupboard. You will no longer have to worry having popcorn anytime.

  • Instant Coffee

Although many of us may be addicted to our favorite coffee shop or even just a coffee machine, having instant coffee on hand always helps to indulge in your sudden craving of caffeine.

It can last up to 25 years in your cupboard, but longer in the freezer. When stored in the cupboard, make sure you keep it dry by transferring it to an airtight container.

More Foods and Their Average Shelf Life

Below we will categorize and narrow down the best foods for long term storage by the years of their prime and the types of best food storage containers where you can safely store them in.


The Best Foods For Long Term Storage

One to Three  Years

  • Dried Pasta
  • Meat Jerky / Beef Jerky
  • Oats
  • Oils
  • Canned Tomato Sauce
  • Unopened Jar of Jam or Jelly
  • Ramen Noodles
  • Dark Chocolate
  • Bullion
  • Peanut Butter
  • Tea

Three to Five Years

  • Canned Tuna
  • Canned Meat
  • Herbs and Spices
  • Unopened Jars of Pickles

Five to Ten Years

  • Grains
  • Canned Fruit
  • Dehydrated Potatoes

Ten or More Years

  • Instant Coffee
  • Powdered Milk
  • Freeze-Dried Meats


  • Popcorn
  • Liquor
  • Raw Honey
  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Unopened Bottles of Soy Sauce
  • Vinegar
  • Unopened Bottles of Maple Syrup
  • Corn Starch
  • Dried Beans

As you can see, some foods have a very long shelf life, especially when stored properly. Check out our guide on food storage containers and learn about how preppers can store food long-term on the cheap!