34 Staple Foods for Your Stockpile

When SHTF or even during a short term crisis, you need to know that you can feed your family, no matter what. There are a lot of choices about what to store in a SHTF stockpile. But this article will focus on staple foods, which are those foods that can be easily stored long term so that you can eat them when needed during the year, instead of just when they are “in season”.

food stockpile canned food ramen noodles bottled water
A small food stockpile: canned food, canned Ragu, ramen noodles, bottled water, packs of salt, and more.

Staple foods provide a large portion of nutrients and energy the body needs, and are regularly eaten as part of a daily diet, Manufactured food can be considered a staple food for your SHTF stockpile, but only if it can be easily stored long term.

Staple foods typically fall into one of these categories:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Dairy
  • Cereals, Breads or Grains
  • Meats
  • MREs

Although every family is different and what you stockpile will largely depend on the needs and taste preferences of your family members, we’ve put together a list below, separated by category, of 34 staple foods for your stockpile. Consider adding some of all of these products to your pantry as you prepare to survive an extended SHTF event.

dehydrated apples


Fruits have vital nutrients that benefit your body in a SHTF situation. Fresh fruit is best if it’s available, but the “season” for fresh fruits is often short, sometimes a matter of weeks.

So, being able to store fruits so they can be eaten out of season is important. Storage temperature is critical for storing fruit long term. Refrigeration or a root cellar for fresh fruits can help to extend shelf life.

To prepare for a SHTF situation without refrigeration, stockpile dried or dehydrated fruits (90% moisture content removed) and plan to store them free of moisture and at around 60 degrees Fahrenheit for up to one year. In general, the more moisture you remove during the drying process, the longer the shelf life.

Warmer temperatures, up to 80 degrees Fahrenheit will reduce shelf life of dried fruits to six months. You can learn to dehydrate your own fruits or purchase them prepackaged online:

  1. Apples
  2. Strawberries
  3. Blueberries
  4. Cranberries
  5. Peaches
  6. Bananas
  7. Apricots
  8. Cherries
  9. Freeze dried fruits, have 98% or more of their moisture removed. When correctly prepared and stored, the shelf life is up to 20 years, making it a worthy stockpile consideration.
pinto beans


Beans are a popular vegetable option for many preppers who are stockpiling for a SHTF event. Dried beans are easy to store long term, have a nearly indefinite shelf life, and can be used to make a wide variety of meals.

Just about every prepper and even those who don’t consider themselves preppers probably have some beans on hand. If you’re like me, you may have wondered how someone can plan to eat so many beans.

When you stockpile different varieties of beans and you incorporate them into your daily meal plans, it’s easy to see just how flexible your menu can be.

10. Pinto Beans are often used to make refried beans for Latin American recipes such as burritos and enchiladas.

11. Navy Beans Navy Beans are most often used to make soups or to add bulk to stews and other recipes.

12. Kidney Beans are often used in chili recipes and other soups. Store these dried or canned as part of your stockpile.

13. Black Beans, sometimes called “turtle beans”, are a sweeter bean and may be more appealing for children. They are also high in fiber and antioxidants.

14. Chickpea is a very healthy bean to add to your stockpile.

15. Freeze dried vegetables have nearly all moisture removed which means the shelf life is extended to more than twenty years. Pre-packaged freeze dried vegetables come ready to store and are great backup for your stockpile.


Potatoes can be stored long term in a root cellar or similar storage area so that you can eat them through the winter months. You can dehydrate your own potatoes or purchase them dehydrated online, we’ve added suggestions below:

16. Potato flakes unopened in small pouches are lightweight and can store for more than ten years unopened. Reconstitute with boiling water in just minutes.

17. Dehydrated scalloped potatoes are also a great stockpile item. Although best when cooked in the oven, they can be done on a wood cookstove top or even an open flame using cast iron cookware.

18. Canned potatoes will last for 3-5 years:

open can of whole canned potatoes
open can of whole canned potatoes


One of the main staple foods for many people are dairy products. We use milk for our cereal and in recipes, eggs in our baked goods and for breakfast. Many people use cheese in a variety of ways on a daily basis.

Many new preppers mistakenly believe they will have to give up dairy products in a SHTF situation if they can’t raise their own livestock as a source.

But we’ve listed several products below that you can stockpile to help to keep the dairy in your diet, even during an emergency or SHTF situation. Even those who raise their own cows or chickens may want to consider stockpiling dairy in these forms as a backup.

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19. Freeze Dried Cheese has a shelf life of nearly 20 years. Use it in recipes, add it to your eggs in the morning, or melt and make a cheese sauce. Freeze dried cheese is definitely worth considering as a part of your stockpile.

Powdered milk and canned milk provides calcium and other vitamins needed for strong and healthy bones. Storing canned or powdered milk eliminates the need for refrigeration and extends the shelf life.

20. Canned evaporated milk has a shelf life of about 18 months. You can reconstitute evaporated milk using equal parts water and use to over cereal, for baking, or even to drink.

21. Powdered milk can be stored for five years or longer which makes it a great staple food for your stockpile.


Fresh eggs are the best obviously. But did you know that you can store fresh laid farm eggs, unwashed for several weeks at room temperature? In addition, unwashed, fresh laid eggs can be completely coated in mineral oil and will store up to 9 months or longer.

For safety, drop eggs in a cup of water before use. Eggs that float to top have gone bad and should be discarded.

22. Powdered eggs are a great stockpile item, especially as a backup if you run low on fresh eggs or even as your sole source of eggs. If stored correctly, the shelf life of powdered eggs is up to ten years. Store small packages if possible as once opened, the shelf life of powdered eggs drops to a month or less.

Cereals, Breads, or Grains

Pasta makes a great stockpile food because when stored in a cool dry place, its shelf life can be up to several years. Pasta is also extremely flexible when it comes to using it in recipes. After boiling pasta in water, you can add any number of spices, sauces, or veggies to make a filling meal.

23. Pilot Bread with a shelf life of three decades is a great stockpile item. In addition, as long as you have flour, salt, and water, you can also make your own hardtack which has a shelf life of up to 50 years.

24. Quick Oats are great for your stockpile because they are easy to cook and lightweight if you need to bug out. Once cooked, you can add dried fruit or a bit of extra flavor using cinnamon, molasses, or maple syrup.

25. Rolled Oats or old fashioned oats have a shelf life of two years. Make sure to store in a sealed, airtight container once you open the original package.

26. Steel-cut Oats are slightly lower in calories, have a lower glycemic level, and more fiber than rolled oats. The shelf life is about 18 months. Once open, transfer to an airtight container for long term storage.

27. White rice is one of the best staple foods for your stockpile because when stored vacuum sealed, and oxygen free, its shelf life is more than twenty years. As long as your white rice is stored sealed, away from moisture and is free of bugs, it should be fine for up to five years.

28. Brown rice can be stored also but is has a much shorter shelf life, only 6-8 months beyond the expiration date.

29. Wild rice can be a good short term option but again the shelf life is about 6 to 8 months past the printed expiration date.

30. Quinoa is one of the quickest whole grains to cook, it takes just 15 minutes. This makes it great for a SHTF stockpile or even for a bugout. It’s packed with fiber, protein, iron, magnesium, lysine, antioxidants, and B Vitamins. It’s low in calories, gluten-free, and it’s good for your heart. Use as a substitute for rice, grind into flour for recipes, or use as a breakfast cereal.


The best meats are of course, fresh and organic which you get from hunting or by raising your own livestock. But in today’s world not everyone has the resources to raise their own meat and it takes a skilled hunter to provide meat reliably for their family.

We’ve listed some suggestions below that you can add to your stockpile to ensure your family has meat on hand in times of crisis.

31. Freeze Dried Beef can be stockpiled because it has a shelf life of 2 ½ decades. It reconstitutes easily when added to recipes. It’s a great backup to have on hand in case your beef livestock is reduced because of illness or for winter months when hunting is unreliable.

32. Canned Pork, unopened has a shelf life of 2 to 5 years. It’s a great addition to your stockpile. It pairs well with a variety of beans can provide variety to your meals in a SHTF situation.

33. Canned Chicken is something I keep in my pantry all the time. It’s great for making chicken salad for sandwiches or to add to a recipe when you need to save time.

Use it to make chicken quesadillas, for chicken alfredo, or for just about any of your favorite chicken recipes. The shelf life for canned chicken is 3 to 5 years which makes it great for your stockpile too.

Other Staple Foods

34. MREs or Meals Ready to Eat are something that should be part of every stockpile.

How many of these staple foods do you have in your stockpile already? Which ones are you planning to add in the near future? Is your favorite staple food missing from our list? Let us know in the comments below.

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4 thoughts on “34 Staple Foods for Your Stockpile”

  1. Is there any information about the shelf life of quick oats in unopened factory packages? How about rolled oats?

  2. I’ve had pretty good luck with factory packaged quick oats, it lasts several months, in one case nearly a year as I recall. The biggest issue to watch for with oats is bug infestation. As long as it’s bug free, it should be edible. Keep away from moisture and extreme temperatures. But I agree with the comment above, for long term storage, I would vacuum seal.


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