If you’re ever in a situation without electricity, you’ll need foods you can cook using survival methods. Your fancy electric range will be out of commission.

For a snowstorm emergency maybe the electricity remains, but you lose access to a grocery store.

Every survival situation is unique.

Massive floods will ruin unprotected foods due to contaminated waters. Hopefully, you keep your bulk dried food items in watertight sealed 5-gallon containers.

Some crisis might require a bug out escape carrying very few staples. Ones that are not too heavy to carry.

You can’t prepare for every possibility, but there are some best practices for stockpiling the best emergency foods.

Foods You Love To Eat

Eating the same thing day in and day out will get boring. You should include a variety of foods you eat every day. There’s a reason we call these “comfort foods.” It’s those foods that make us smile and bring joy even in times of trouble.

If you love butter, get a # 10 can of butter powder. If you love cheese, go for a # 10 can of freeze dried mozzarella cheese. It’s not only yummy, but it can provide needed fats and calories on an otherwise bland diet.

Don’t just stock items you never eat or don’t know how to prepare because an SHTF scenario is not the time to get creative with your cooking skills.

Long-Lasting Foods

If you’re stockpiling foods before a crisis, it may be months or years before you use them. You can rotate your pantry, but there will always be some foods that will take longer to use than others.

Most preppers take this fact into consideration by opting for foods that are preserved in cans, freeze-dried, or simply have a long shelf-life. The best survival foods last at least one year without refrigeration or are eaten and rotated out before then.

Or you can invest in long-lasting, high-quality freeze-dried food from Valley Food Storage, Legacy Food Storage or Wise Emergency Food.

Note: If you’re serious about investing in freeze-dried meals, make sure to read our survival food reviews: Valley Food Storage review, Legacy Emergency Food Review, and Mountain House Review before you buy.

Nutritionally-Dense Foods

Beans and rice may not be a part of your best emergency foods strategy, but they are long-lasting foods that provide a complete protein when combined.

Beans and rice may not be a part of your best emergency foods strategy, but they are long-lasting foods that provide a complete protein when combined.

You can opt for different types of legumes that you might like better or find easier to digest than pinto beans, like garbanzos, red kidney beans, or lentils.

Augason Farms has a large selection of survival beans.

Flexible Foods

The best survival foods offer your diet some flexibility that is a good way to keep it from getting boring.

Dried powdered milk may not be something that will keep you satisfied on its own, but it can be used to create yogurt, cheese, puddings, and bread.

Foods that have some trading value can also be used in your recipes and as barter for when you get tired of eating out of your stock.

Foods You Don’t Have To Cook

You can include some foods that require some processing before eating, like red wheat berries, but ultimately, in the first few days don’t expect to do much cooking. You will need ready-to-eat foods.

The electricity grid might be down and/or you might also have to leave the area. If you’re on the road, you won’t have time to create a fire and cook.

Plan to have quite a number of light-weight food sources that aren’t required to be heated, like military MREs as some of the best survival foods in your pantry.

Basic Survival Food Groups

With these criteria in mind, let’s take a look at some of the choices you might opt to add to your best survival foods emergency pantry.

Remember that you will need to store these items in bulk.

You will also need to buy additional non-food items to make sure you can prepare the foods, should your emergency situation drag on past the ready-to-eat meals, like wheat grinders.

Create a balanced diet that is nutritionally dense, easy to store long-term, and tasty.

1. Drinks

Bottled water will be the most important food to add to your emergency pantry. You won’t be able to survive more than 3 days without potable drinking water.

However, you can also add calorie-rich powdered drink mixes that will create milk, vitamin-rich waters, or just flavored treats.

Even including Tang orange drink can be a way to get 100% of the RDA of vitamin C in your diet in an emergency situation.

Plus, it just tastes good.

These items are lightweight and also have a trading value. They can also double as medicinal supplies if you include teas and vitamin-powdered drinks.

2. Meats

Meat is the hardest item on your emergency list because it will have to be ready-to-eat. You can’t store butchered meat for long and you will be expected to hunt for food at some point.

You can store ready-to-eat canned meats like spam, ham, and chili, and they will make a satisfying meal. They won’t travel well, should you need to leave the area.

Some people solve the meat problem by raising chickens, rabbits, goats and installing aquaponic systems as ready sources of meat for long-term uses. However, you’ll want a good supply of freeze-dried meat packages too.

You can get freeze-dried chicken or beef that some companies claim have a 25-year shelf life. You will need to rehydrate this, but that’s easily done when you toss them into another recipe.

One of my favorite ways to stockpile meat is by making pemmican. It’s a way you process meat into dried bars that can last at least 50 years if processed and stored correctly.

3. Fish

One overlooked source of essential protein is canned fish.

You can eat tuna, sardines, herring straight out of the can and are all super-rich in nutrients. However, I get it, not everyone gets excited about snacking on fish in a can.

Listen, in a starvation situation that picky attitude will quickly change. After about 4 days of starvation, it’ll become one of the most delicious dishes you’ve ever had.

Plus, these are survival food items that you can stock up even on a limited budget.

4. Dairy

You can freeze some cheeses, however, if your power goes out, so will your frozen food stockpile. That makes dairy one of the hardest food groups to include in your emergency foods pantry.

Learn how to make your own cheeses and yogurts with dried milk.

Own a goat.

Buy canned cheese, but be aware that this may be the first item to disappear off your shelf when people get hungry.

5. Grains, Nuts, and Legumes

Grains, nuts, and legumes, when put together produce a complete protein similar to meat and dairy. They tend to also come in dried forms that store well.

If you store red wheat berries, they can be ground up and made into bread. Combine that with nut or legume and you have a complete protein. You can get very creative in this area.

Pasta and beans comprise a complete protein and both have a long-term shelf life and make some of the best survival foods that are also cheap to buy in large quantities.

Use peanut butter instead of raw nuts to make a complete protein with crackers, and they don’t have to be heated to enjoy.

It’s not all about rice and beans.

Don’t forget to include grains, nuts, and beans that you can sprout for additional nutrition, like wheat berries, sunflower seeds, and garbanzo beans.

These can provide needed greens in a situation where you might have low-light growing conditions.

6. Fruits and Veggies

Dehydrated fruits are easy and light-weight to store. They can be tossed into a variety of recipes to create diversity in the diet.

They are nutrient-rich, too.

They can be used in recipes when you’re not under an emergency situation, too, and rotated out. Combine them with grains and nuts for quick foods that don’t require heating to be served.

Most preppers will assume that they won’t be storing too much of these and instead be focusing on the seeds to grow these in their garden to supplement their other emergency preps. However, there’s no reason you can’t start your fruits and vegetable stocks now.

7. Oils

Oils are required to keep the body healthy and cook food. Sweeteners, spices, and alcohol are not necessary or nutritional but can help you season foods that may not otherwise be palatable.

Are they non-essential? It depends on who you ask.

Pick an oil that you enjoy that has a long life and doesn’t go rancid. Canned butter has a shelf life that exceeds a year.

Extra virgin coconut oil has a shelf life of at least 7 years to 15 years.

It’s one oil that should be considered for its high nutritional value as well as its ability to be solid at room temperature. It has both antifungal and anti-bacterial properties.

Melts with the warmth of your hand and it can work double-duty as a hair conditioner, hand cream, and salve. If you’ve never cooked with coconut oil or used it, you’ll need to experiment before the actual emergency happens, or it won’t do you much good.

If Crisco is something you’re more familiar with, stock up on that. It won’t be as nutritionally dense, but it won’t go to waste either.

8. Sweeteners

Honey is another sweetener that can be stored long-term and has medicinal value.

Some say honey never goes bad, although that may be hard to prove.

For those that prefer something that is not in liquid form, you can store white sugar, which is also said to last indefinitely.

You can use either to preserve foods like wild fruits and berries as well as roots.

9. Spices

Salt was once a trading spice, and can come back again should the SHTF.

It is valuable for making food flavorful and for preserving foods. However, other spices that meet the same criteria are seasoning packets that are cheap to buy and won’t be available at an open grocery store during an emergency.

10. Alcohol

What alcohol might make it into your survival foods pantry?

Don’t go for the flavored liquors and wine.

Instead, focus on distilled spirits that can be used in medicinal applications (sterilize a wound) and can also be used to preserve other foods, like fruits.

Good choices are vodka, rum, and whiskey.

If you learn how to make moonshine or how to ferment foods into alcoholic wines and beers, you will have a skill in demand after the SHTF.