Best Freeze Dried Foods: Must-Haves For Any Circumstance

best freeze dried foods and meals

I have tried a large variety of freeze dried foods from several different companies and have compiled a list of the best freeze dried food for camping, backpacking, food storage, or any emergency circumstance. I also own my own freeze dryer and love freeze drying my own meals and food. However, I have still found it useful to also order freeze dried meals/foods from reputable food storage companies to help increase my stockpile of shelf-stable foods. 

The best freeze dried food/meals include premade full meals (for camping, hiking, hunting, and food storage), individual fruits and vegetables, meat (protein), dairy (milk, cheese, butter, and eggs), soup mix, snacks, and a bulk meal buckets. I find it useful to buy individual food items in addition to full meals so that I can have them on hand and easily include individual freeze dried items in my everyday cooking. For example, freeze dried onions or ground beef work well in common recipes.

Freeze dried food is one of the best ways to preserve and store foods/meals to have on hand for any circumstance. Freeze dried food not only stores longer but also preserves nutrition better than other forms of food preservation. Freeze dried food keeps about 97% of its original nutrition whereas dehydrated food only maintains 60% and canning only 40% of its original nutritional value. 

Freeze dried food benefits

25+ year storage life

Light weight (backpacking, camping, grab and go bag, etc.)

Easily stored at room temperature

Easy preparation/ rehydration

Ingredient substitutions in cooking

Full ready to go meals

Only requires water to reconstitute or can be eaten as is

Long shelf life candy and snacks

harvest right home freeze dryers

Are you interested in preserving your own produce, leftover meals, or other foods? I own my own Harvest Right Freeze Drier and it is my favorite way to preserve my own food. If you are thinking about buying your own home freeze drier please check out my article Buying a Home Freeze Dryer, What You Need to Know First. It will help you know if buying a home freeze drier is right for you.

How I choose the best freeze dried food/meals

  1. Nutrition – Does the freeze dried food hold the nutrients that your body needs to not only survive but keep you healthy? The positive thing about freeze dried foods/meals is that they maintain about 97% of their original nutritional value. So all you really need to do is determine the original nutrient value of the food and you’ll know roughly what the freeze dried version’s nutritional value will be.    
  2. Taste – it’s true that you can survive on food that you hate the taste of but life is much better if you like the taste of the food that you eat. Test different freeze dried foods and cook with them to determine what you like the taste of best. Once you know what you like then buy in bulk to build a large food storage for you and your family.
  3. Shelf-life – Common range is between 10 and 30 years. 
  4. Cost – Freeze dried food can be expensive so determining what is important to you (nutrition, taste, gluten-free, etc.) versus the price is essential. The best deals usually come when buying in bulk. I would first find out what freeze dried meals/food you like and then find bulk options to expand your storage. 
  5. Ingredients – Look through ingredients to make sure there isn’t any undesired additives or fillers. For ease I’ve only included freeze dried foods and meals that I don’t have concerns about.
  6. Cooking time and difficulty – How much time is required for preparation (usually not any more than 15-20 minutes) and how much water is required to reconstitute food or meal.
  7. Packability – Determine if the freeze dried food item is right for hiking by how well it fits in a backpack or if it’s right for camping by easily fitting in with your camping gear. Lastly, make sure the freeze dried food that you keep for emergencies with your to-go bag fits and is enough to feed your whole family for at least 72 hours (3 days). The buckets that I have included all have individual pouches in them that can be packed fairly easy.   

It’s important to include a variety of shelf-stable foods in your food storage so also check out our article Food Storage Items List: The BEST foods for long-term storage. To know exactly how much food you’ll need to store try our FREE Food Storage Calculator Tool.

Food Storage Cookbook pdf download with more than 100 recipes

How to Use Your Food Storage

Know exactly what to buy and how to use it in recipes that everyone in your family will enjoy so that nothing goes to waste. Plus long-term food storage substitutions and how to make your own ingredients! Check out the Food Storage Cookbook


Full Meals (backpacking, camping, hunting, food storage, and emergency)

Best Freeze Dried Meals for Backpacking, Camping, and hunting

When picking freeze dried meals for camping, backpacking, or hunting my priorities are (1) packability (2) Cooking time/difficulty (3) cost (4) Taste (5) nutrition.

  1. Cook-in-Pouch Freeze Dried Meals by ReadyWise

22.5 servings | 9 pouches | 4 pounds total | prep time 12-15 minutes | 5,340 Calories

See ReadyWise Freeze Dried Meals price on Amazon »

Includes: Creamy Pasta & Chicken, Chili Mac with Beef, Pasta Alfredo with Chicken, Lasagna with Sausage, Noodles & Beef, Teriyaki Chicken & Rice, Strawberry Granola Crunch, and 2 Appalachian Apple Cinnamon Cereal pouches

Cooking/prep: Only requires 8 oz (1 cup) of water per serving

Nutrition: Real ingredients including meats (on average 30 grams of protein)
Just below-average amounts of sodium compared to competitors

Cost: Average

Shelf-life: 15-year shelf life


  1. Variety Meal Pouches by Peak Refuel

10 pouches | about 5 oz per pouch | 40+ grams of protein per pouch | prep time 10 minutes |

See Peak Refuels Meal Variety Pouches price on Amazon »

Includes: Breakfast Skillet, Strawberry Granola, Beef Stroganoff, Sweet Pork & Rice, Chicken Alfredo Pasta

Cooking/prep: Only requires 10.5 oz of water or less
10 minutes or less meal prep and eat in a pouch

Packability: Between 4 and 6 oz in net weight

Nutrition: Real meats that are high in protein (around 40 grams of protein per pouch).
Non-GMO ingredients. 
Less sodium than the majority of competitors.

Cost: Cost is greater than other common brands like Ready Wise or Augason Farms

Shelf-life: 15-year shelf life


Best Freeze Dried Meals for Food Storage

  1. ReadyWise Long Term Emergency Food Supply, Breakfast and Entree Variety

240 servings | 2 buckets | 40 pounds | prep time 12-15 minutes | 57,320 Calories

See ReadyWise Long Term Food Supply’s price on Amazon »

Cooking/prep: Only requires 8 oz (1 cup) of water per serving and 12-15 minute prep time.

Nutrition: Real ingredients including meats (on average 30 grams of protein)
Just below-average amounts of sodium compared to competitors

Cost: Average or slightly less than average

Includes: 1 month supply – 2 servings of food per day for 4 adults or 2 adults and 4 children or
4 month supply – 2 servings a day for 1 adult.

2 pouches of Cheesy Lasagna (8 total servings), 3 pouches of Creamy Pasta (12 total servings), 2 pouches of Pasta Alfredo (8 total servings), 2 pouches of Chili Mac (8 total servings), 3 pouches of Chicken Noodle Soup (12 total servings), 3 pouches of Savory Stroganoff (12 total servings), 2 pouches of Hearty Tortilla Soup (8 total servings), 2 pouches of Potato Pot Pie (8 total servings), 1 pouch of Teriyaki and Rice (4 total servings), 2 pouches of Baked Potato Casserole (8 total servings), 3 pouches of Tomato Basil Soup (12 total servings), 3 pouches of Southwest Beans and Rice (12 total servings), 2 pouches of Cheesy Macaroni (8 total servings), 5 pouches of Strawberry Granola Crunch (20 Servings), 10 pouches of Brown Sugar and Maple Multi-Grain Cereal (40 Servings), 5 pouches of Crunchy Granola (20 Servings), 10 pouches of Apple Cinnamon Cereal (40 Servings)

Shelf-life: 25-year shelf life


Fruit

The top ways that I like to use freeze dried fruits are in pancake or muffin batters, in cereal, smoothies, and in yogurt or ice cream.

  1. ReadyWise Emergency Food Supply, Emergency Freeze Dried Fruit Bucket

120 servings | prep time 12-15 minutes |

See the price of ReadyWise Freeze Dried Fruit Bucket on Amazon »

Cooking/prep: Eat with no preparation as a snack right out of the packaging, use in salads/yogurts, or reconstitute in water (prep time 12 to 15 minutes). I have found that Freeze dried fruit works well to use as an ingredient in cooking (substitute for fresh fruits).

Nutrition: Real fruit is used (freeze drying fruit maintains about 97% of its original nutrients).

Shelf-life: 20+ year shelf life


  1. Individual Cans of Augason Farm Freeze Dried Fruit

I have almost all of these Augason Farm freeze dried fruits and I have found them to be very helpful to

See all individual freeze dried fruit options on Amazon »

Cooking/prep: Eat with no preparation as a snack right out of the packaging, use in salads/yogurts, or reconstitute or use as an ingredient in cooking.

Nutrition: Real fruit is used (freeze drying fruit maintains about 97% of its original nutrients).

Shelf-life: Up to 30-year shelf life


Vegetables

The top ways that I like to use freeze dried vegetables are in soups, casseroles, sauces, and omelets.

  1. ReadyWise Freeze Dried Vegetable Bucket

120 servings | Prep time 12-15 minutes |

See the price of this Freeze Dried Vegetable Bucket on Amazon »

Includes: 4 pouches of Corn (32 servings), 3 pouches of Peas (24 servings), 4 pouches of Broccoli (32 servings), 4 pouches of Green Beans (32 servings)

Cooking/prep: Eat with no preparation as a snack right out of the packaging, reconstitute and use in salads, or reconstitute and use as an ingredient in cooking. We use freeze dried vegetables in our cooking regularly.

Nutrition: Real vegetables are used (freeze drying fruit maintains about 97% of its original nutrients).

Shelf-life: 20+ year shelf life


  1. Individual Cans of Augason Farm Freeze Dried Vegetables

See all individual freeze dried vegetable options on Amazon »

Cooking/prep: Eat with no preparation as a snack right out of the packaging, reconstitute and use in salads, or reconstitute and use as an ingredient in cooking. We use freeze dried vegetables in our cooking regularly.

Nutrition: Real vegetables are used (freeze drying fruit maintains about 97% of its original nutrients).

Shelf-life: Up to 30-year shelf life


Meat (Chicken and Beef)

  1. ReadyWise Freeze Dried Meat Variety Bucket (60 servings)

60 servings | 5.3 Pounds | 3.18 Kilograms | Bucket

See ReadyWise Freeze Dried Meat Variety Bucket on Amazon »

Includes: Stroganoff Beef (8 Servings), Cheesy Ground Beef (8 Servings), Savory Roasted Ground Beef (12 Servings), Teriyaki-Style Chicken (8 Servings), Roasted Chicken (12 Servings), Southwest-Style Chicken (12 Servings), Long-Term Instant Rice (20 Servings)

Cook/prep: Just add water, re-hydration happens within 12 to 15 minutes.
Reconstitute and use as an ingredient in cooking.

Nutrition: Real beef and chicken are used (freeze drying meat maintains about 97% of its original nutrients).

Shelf-life: 15 year+ shelf life


  1. Nutristore Freeze Dried Ground Beef Premium Quality Meat

20 servings per container | 5,000 calories | 400 grams of protein | 1.72 pounds | #10 can

See Nutristore Freeze Dried Ground Beef on Amazon »

Includes: 20 servings, of freeze dried ground beef in a gallon-size #10 can.

Cook/prep: Soak 2 and 1 half cups of ground beef in 2 cups of warm water for 15 – 20 minutes then drain extra water.
I use this freeze dried ground beef as a substitute for ground beef in my cooking.

Nutrition: Real ground beef is used (freeze drying beef maintains about 97% of its original nutrients). USDA inspected and microbe tested.

Shelf-life: up to 25-year shelf life


Dairy (Cheese, Milk, and Butter, and Eggs)

  1. Individual Cans of Augason Farm Freeze Dried Milk, Butter, and Egg Powder

3 # 10 cans | 315 servings | 16, 020 calories |

Includes: 1 #10 can of powdered milk, 1 #10 can of butter powder, and 1#10 can of dried whole egg powder.

Cook/prep: Milk powder and whole egg powder require water (specific amount depends on amount desired, instructions included).
Butter powder is primarily used in cooking.

Nutrition: Real milk, butter, and eggs are used.

Shelf-life: 20-year shelf life

See the price of Augason Farm Freeze Dried Milk, Butter, and Egg Powder on Amazon »


  1. Individual Can of Nutristore Freeze Dried Cheddar Cheese

40 servings | 7,200 calories | 1 #10 can |

See the price of Nutristore Freeze Dried Cheddar Cheese on Amazon »

Includes: 1 # 10 can of freeze dried cheddar cheese. Use in pizza, mac & cheese, nachos, lasagna, quesadillas and more.

Cook/prep: Stir 1 half cup of cold water in 2 cups of cheese until water is absorbed.
I use this freeze dried cheddar cheese as a substitute for cheese in my cooking.

Nutrition: Real cheddar cheese is used (similar nutritional value as nonfreeze dried cheddar cheese).

Shelf-life: 25-year shelf life


Soup mix

  1. Augason Farms Vegetable Stew Blend 2 lbs 0.5 oz No. 10 Can

See the price of Augason Farms Stew Blend on Amazon »

This vegetable stew blend comes in handy and reconstitutes well. I think it tastes good on its own with just water but it also works well in recipes. I like adding it to roman noodles or even adding stew meat in with it.

Includes: dried potatoes, cabbage flakes, onions, carrot dices, celery slices, and green and red bell peppers.
(2 pounds, 40 servings, totaling 3,200 calories)

Nutrition: Real vegetables are used and it is certified gluten-free.

Shelf-life: Up to 25 years


Snacks and Candy

Freeze Dried snacks and candy are convenient and nice to have on hand because they last on the shelf for years, they maintain about the same nutritional value as the non-freeze-dried version, and they maintain a decent enjoyable taste. These snacks are perfect to put on your shelf for a rainy day, in an emergency to-go bag, in a car when you go on trips, camping, and just to enjoy on a regular basis.

Below is a list of our favorite freeze dried snacks and candy:


Bulk Meals (Best Long-term Food Storage Bundles)

  1. ReadyWise Long Term Emergency Food Supply, Breakfast and Entree Variety

1080 servings | 9 buckets | 186 pounds | prep time 12-15 minutes |

See ReadyWise Long Term Food Supply’s price on Amazon »

Cooking/prep: Only requires 8 oz (1 cup) of water per serving and 12-15 minute prep time.

Nutrition: Real ingredients including meats (on average 30 grams of protein)
Just below-average amounts of sodium compared to competitors

Cost: Average or slightly less than average

Includes: 3 month supply – 3 servings of food per day for 4 adults or 2 adults and 4 children.
12 month supply – 3 servings per day for 1 adult.    

  • 12 pouches of Cheesy Lasagna (48 total servings)
  • 18 pouches of Creamy Pasta (72 total servings)   
  • 12 pouches of Pasta Alfredo (48 total servings)
  • 12 pouches of Chili Mac (48 total servings)
  • 18 pouches of Chicken Noodle Soup (72 total servings)   
  • 18 pouches of Savory Stroganoff (72 total servings) 
  • 12 pouches of Hearty Tortilla Soup (48 total servings)
  • 12 pouches of Potato Pot Pie (48 total servings)
  • 6 pouch of Teriyaki and Rice (24 total servings)
  • 12 pouches of Baked Potato Casserole (48 total servings)
  • 18 pouches of Tomato Basil Soup (72 total servings)
  • 18 pouches of Southwest Beans and Rice (72 total servings)
  • 12 pouches of Cheesy Macaroni (48 total servings)
  • 15 pouches of Strawberry Granola Crunch (60 Servings)
  • 30 pouches of Brown Sugar and Maple Multi-Grain Cereal (120 Servings)
  • 15 pouches of Crunchy Granola (60 Servings)
  • 30 pouches of Apple Cinnamon Cereal (120 Servings)

Shelf-life: 25-year shelf life


Best Freeze Dried Food Companies

There are many great freeze dried food storage companies out there and I believe it is worth trying as many as possible so that you can decide for yourself who your favorites are according to your own preferences. My main preferences include nutrition, taste, shelf-life, cooking time and difficulty, cost, ingredients, and packability. Below are my 5 favorite freeze dried food companies but there are many other great companies to check out.

My Top 5 Favorite Food Storage Companies:

  1. ReadyWise Food Storage Company (Check out ReadyWise’s Food on Amazon)

What I like most – ReadyWise has a great variety of reasonably priced bulk meals that have a good taste (taste is subjective) and they use quality ingredients.


  1. Nutristore Freeze Dried Food (Check out Nutristore Food on Amazon)

What I like most – Nutristore is my favorite top-quality, nutritious freeze dried food. This makes it a little more expensive but well worth it.


  1. Augason Farm Food Storage (Check out Augason Farm’s Foods on Amazon)

What I like most – Augason Farms has a large variety of individual shelf-stable food options (like dried onions) that I like to use in my cooking.

augason farms food storage company

  1. Mountain House (Check out Mountain House’s Food on Amazon)

What I like most – Mountain House is a good company that started making meals for special forces back in Vietnam so they have stood the test of time.


  1. Peak Refual (Check out Peak Refual’s Food on Amazon)

What I like most – Peak Refual has quality freeze dried meals and pouches that are convenient for backpacking, camping, and hunting.


Colton Blair

I'm Colton Blair, co-owner of EZ-Prepping with my wife Kaycee. I value the safety, protection, and well-being of my family above all else. Finding easy and practical ways of prepping for emergencies or unexpected disaster has become very important to me.

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