The Best Survival Foods: Non-Perishables That Can Outlive You

Whether you’re sick of throwing out food that’s long past its expiry date, or are working on preparing a food stockpile in case of an emergency, consumables that practically never spoil can be a huge asset to your household. This article lists non-perishable food items that not only have long shelf lives, but if taken care of properly, these foods stand a chance of never going bad within your lifetime.

These ideal survival foods will of course need to be stored the right way in order to retain their practically never-ending shelf life. The absolute best place to keep a food stockpile is in a dark, cool, and dry spot, free of humidity, moisture, direct sunlight, and extreme temperatures. Keeping consumables in an air-tight container, or better yet, vacuum packed, is also very important to increasing shelf life.

Although many non-perishable survival foods may change flavour and/or texture over the years, they remain edible and perfectly safe for consumption over indefinite periods of time. Use your senses to judge whether or not food with long shelf life has expired. If it smells off, has become too soft, or has developed mold, it’s better not to eat the item.

non-perishable food items best survival food list

1. Staple survival foods that are non-perishable

You’ll need to be really careful about keeping these completely dry and free from moisture, but if you can manage to store these in air-tight containers, they will keep for an incredibly long period of time.

  • Rice: white, wild, jasmine, Arborio and basmati (brown rice does not keep forever)
  • Hardtack crackers/biscuits
  • Dried cranberries

2. Other survival foods that are non-perishable

Although some of these food items will change texture, thickening or hardening over time, they will only change in terms of taste. These survival foods never spoil, and will still remain edible long after their flavour has changed.

3. Survival foods that if frozen are non-perishable

Though these non-perishable foods last a long time if they’re left out in the open, if they’re frozen, their shelf life extends to indefinite amounts of time.

  • Dried pasta
  • Noodles
  • Dried fruits (such as raisins, dried cranberries, dried cranberries, dried cherries, dried apricots, dried mangoes, dates, dried blueberries, dried plums, banana chips, figs)
  • Instant/freeze-dried coffee

survival foods best non-perishable food list

4. Base ingredients that are non-perishable

Apparently, these base ingredients can be the perfect survival food. According to some sources, if you simply keep them unused, in an air-tight container and completely free of humidity and moisture, and you’re likely to never have to buy them again.

  • Corn starch
  • Baking soda
  • Corn syrup

5. Seasonings that are non-perishable

Seasonings are also excellent survival foods, as they’re food that lasts forever, and only get weaker in strength of taste over long periods of time. Like with the base ingredients, keep these in an air-tight container, free of moisture and humidity, and they’re likely to never expire.

  • Salt
  • Sugar
  • Pepper
  • Spices
  • Dried herbs
  • Pure flavour extracts (pure vanilla extract, etc.)

6. Condiments that are non-perishable

While these foods will likely change in taste after some time, they remain safe to eat indefinitely. The best way to keep these non-perishable foods is in an airtight container, free of moisture, and in a dark, cool spot, away from sunlight. This type of storage will keep your non-perishable food condiments tasting better for longer.

  • Vinegar (white, apple, balsamic, raspberry, rice wine, and red wine vinegar)
  • Worcestershire sauce (unopened)

7. Survival drinks that are non-perishable

Non-perishable drinks are another asset you can add to your survival food stockpile. Any alcohol over 10% that does not contain eggs, milk, and other dairy derivatives (ex. not Baileys, Tia Maria, etc.) should typically last forever in a stockpile. Alcohol also has disinfectant and medicinal properties, so keeping it stocked, especially when it never goes bad, is definitely a good idea for any prepper. Learn more about the best alcohol to stockpile here.

  • Wine
  • Spirits
  • Liquors

best non-perishable survival food list

&&: If you found this article useful, you may also be interested in taking a look at our other survival gear and survival food item lists. Starting with the article, The Ultimate Survival Gear List, we also have one on Winter Emergency Supplies, this article about The Best Survival Foods, an article listing the Most Popular Survival Books as well as more to come.

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    • Elise Xavier says

      Hey thanks again. I did check up on it today and of course you’re absolutely right. It will last a good 10+ years at times, so it has a reasonably long shelf life, but definitely not as long as I thought it would last, so it’s off the list!

  1. Illini Warrior says

    Ditto on the dried milk issue …. long term storage – upwards of 20 years when stored under ideal conditions …..

    • Elise Xavier says

      Yup! Of course you guys are right. Just checked up and most sources say it will last around 10+ years after the expiry date. So 10-20 years is the limit I’m sure. Still a long time, but took it off the list as it doesn’t belong.

  2. maddmac says

    This is the first I’ve heard of Flour, Corn starch, and Baking soda being nonperishable. This has to be the most controversial subject in prepping next to water storage.

    • Elise Xavier says

      Based on the sources I’ve looked at, cornstarch and baking soda, so long as they remain unopened and completely bone dry, won’t expire. That being said, I’ve taken flour off the list after checking a few more sources.

      Definitely a controversial subject, but I thought I’d put the article out there anyway, at least as a gateway to a discussion.

      As much as we (myself included) love to talk about gear, self-defence, knives, ammo stockpiles, etc., basic sustenance is by far the most important factor in long-term survival (as is that water storage problem), and I think it should be discussed more, even though of course it is more controversial.

    • JJ says

      I have flour sealed in mason jars. Good to know about shelf life.
      I’m not living forever and since I’m 63, I’m good for 10 years with the flour.

    • Cynthia Totten says

      We used a lot of food storage items when I was growing up and we learned that while Corn Starch may not go “bad”, it does lose its efficacy as a thickening agent over time. We still have a family joke about lemon meringue “soup” when we were going for pie.

  3. says

    My First time at this Site. Love it already :) I want to thank Kris for Asking “What are gobstoppers? ”
    I Read it and only made a >:-/ Face, LOL

    • Elise Xavier says

      In my neck of the woods, irradiated foods aren’t very common. Only herbs, spices, etc. are really irradiated here (due to industry bylaws and federal regulation). That being said, I don’t know enough about the safety of irradiated foods to have an informed opinion on them. Do you have any experience with them?

    • Elise Xavier says

      Haha yes: minus the gobstoppers and I suppose the Jello as well ;). But I had to include a few sweets on my list, especially since I was always a sucker for gobstoppers as a kid – at least they’re great energy boosts!

      Thanks for stopping by to comment and glad you found the article useful :).

  4. Brando says

    What about unopened flour, rice, beans and sugar in its original packaging and then vacuumed sealed by a food saver of sorts? Seems like it would last longer that way? And if so, how much longer? I’m new to prepping so please enlighten me! Thanks!

    • Elise Xavier says

      Yup! Rice and salt are up on that list because so long as you keep them in proper storage (no moisture, no air, so vacuum sealed counts!), they should last a very long time.

      And certainly the better you package your food the longer the expiry date on it will be. But I’m not quite sure how long flour or beans would last at their very longest, personally! Sorry about that! When in doubt, rotate your stock!

  5. D Taylor says

    Great blog!
    I was despairing for survivable food, as we move a lot. Canned goods are heavy and go bad so quickly….but your suggestions here offer lots of things that are relatively light, nutritious, and energy-maintaining. In fact, we have almost all of them. I just never really thought about their value.
    Thanks much!

  6. John S says

    I’ve found by sad experience as we rotate through our food storage that it is MUCH better to use dried beans and split peas as soon as reasonable, as the time required to cook them to edible consistencies increases with age. We recently made some split pea soup with peas abt 10 yrs old – we cooked the peas 8 hours then pureed the soup and cooked another hour and it was still gritty from the peas. Beans – I’ve cooked some 20 yr old beans for over 12 hours without them becoming edible. At that point, I removed all beans over 10 yrs old from my storage. In a survival situation, I can’t afford to waste the fuel required to cook beans 12+ hours.

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