Non-Perishable Foods with the Longest Shelf Life: Full List

foods that last a long time have the longest shelf life

Recently I was doing an inventory of our long and short-term food storage and I noticed that we had a wide variety of non-perishable foods that have a long shelf life. I felt great comfort and security knowing that I have a wide range of different types of shelf-stable foods.

I started to think of additional foods that I could add to my pantry and cold storage that would last for years and balance out my family’s diet in the event of an unforeseen emergency. So I asked myself, what types of non-perishable long-lasting foods should I add to my long-term food storage?

The best non-perishable foods that have the longest shelf life in your home food storage include freeze-dried foods, dehydrated foods, canned foods, frozen foods, grains, beans, nuts and seeds, sugars, and seasonings.

It is essential to plan ahead and know how much nonperishable food you should have stored for you and your family see our food storage calculator. Also, specifically, foods that last a long time without refrigeration.

There are several places that are good for buying shelf-stable foods including online (Amazon and food storage companies) or in-person grocery stores (see which grocery stores have the cheapest groceries) especially bulk food stores. We really like some Amish bulk food stores (see this list of 400+ Amish stores to find one near you).


Freeze Dried Foods

One of the best foods to store long-term is freeze-dried food. Freeze-dried food can stay good and maintain its nutritional value for up to 30 years. Its long shelf life, wide variety, various uses, and original taste make it a perfect long-lasting food for anyone to store at home.

You can freeze-dry most foods (see a complete list of what can and cannot be freeze-dried) including such things as full meals (including leftovers) which makes the varieties of freeze-dried foods that last a long time almost limitless.

Types of freeze-dried foods that last a long time include:    

  • Full Meals
    • Beef Stroganoff
    • Casseroles (various kinds)
    • Chili
    • Enchiladas
    • Ham Fried Rice
    • Lasagna
    • Mac and Cheese
    • Pasta
    • Pizza
    • Soups (various kinds)
    • Stew
    • See more
  • Fruits (home garden or store-bought)
    • Apple Slices
    • Bananas
    • Blueberries
    • Coconut
    • Kiwis
    • Mango
    • Mixed Fruit
    • Peaches
    • Raspberries
    • Strawberries
    • See more
  • Vegetables (home garden or store-bought)
    • Beans
    • Carrots
    • Celery
    • Corn
    • Green Beans
    • Onions
    • Potatoes
    • Squash
    • Tomatoes
    • See more
  • Meats (beef, pork, poultry, fish: raw and cooked)
    • Chicken
    • Beef (various types)
    • Pork
    • Sausage
    • Turkey
    • Venison
    • See more
  • Dairy (including milk, cheese, and buttermilk)
    • Milk
    • Cheese
    • Sour Cream
    • Ice Cream
    • See more
  • Eggs (raw and cooked eggs)
  • Deserts, Snacks, and Candy (including Skittles)
    • Cookies
    • Cheesecake
    • Ice Cream Sandwiches
    • Jelly
    • Marshmallows
    • Pie
    • Pudding Skittles
    • See more
  • Drinks (orange juice)
    • Coffee
    • Orange Juice
    • Smoothies
  • Herbs and Spices

Individual food items and full meals that have been freeze-dried can be purchased or freeze-dried at home using a home freeze-dryer (see if buying a freeze-dryer is right for you).


dehydrated food that lasts the longest in your food storage

Dehydrated Foods

Dehydrated foods are a great survival food to have on hand. It lasts a long time and is easy to do yourself at home. Dehydrated foods are lightweight and easy to store. Most dehydrated foods can last over 10-15 years when stored correctly. Buying your own dehydrator is very affordable and a great option for most people to preserve their own food. See how to choose the best dehydrator for you

Types of dehydrated foods that can be stored long-term include:

  • Fruits (home garden or store-bought)
    • Bananas
    • Apples
    • Strawberries
    • Mangos
    • Peaches
    • Raspberries
    • Blueberries
    • Oranges
    • See more
  • Vegetables (home garden or store-bought)
    • Tomatoes
    • Zucchini
    • Peas
    • Onions
    • Carrots
    • Potatoes
    • Celery
    • Green Beans 
    • Corn
    • See more
  • Meats
    • Jerky
    • Ground beef
    • Chicken 
    • Deli Meats
    • Fish
  • Jams/Applesauce (Fruit leather)
  • Yogurt
  • Sauces
    • Pizza Sauce
    • Spaghetti Sauce
    • Tomato Sauce 
    • BBQ Sauce 
    • Ketchup 
    • Mustard
    • Alfredo Sauce
  • Herbs
  • Syrup & Honey
    • Honey
    • Maple syrup
    • Corn syrup
    • Agave Syrup
    • Molasses 
  • Pet Food (Cat and Dog food)

For more ideas see our comprehensive list of the best foods to dehydrate.


canned foods that last a long time in your pantry or cold storage

Canned Foods

Canned foods are great for storing and last for a long time in your pantry or cold storage. The great thing about canned food is that it is easy to find in any grocery store and generally cheap to buy especially during a case lot sale.

  • Vegetables (home garden or store-bought)
  • Fruits (home garden or store-bought)
  • Soups and Stews
  • Stocks and Broths
  • Beef
  • Poultry
  • Fish: canned tuna, shrimp, sardines, and salmon
  • Wild Game Meat
  • Chili
  • Baked Beans

For our comprehensive list of foods that can and cannot be pressure canned.


Frozen Foods

Foods that need to be frozen are technically perishable, however, the below foods if kept in the freezer can be stored for up to 2 years which is why I have included them on the list of foods with the longest shelf life.

Freezing certain foods has helped us extend the shelf life of those foods for a long time compared to the same nonfrozen food. For example, we like to save money by buying beef and chicken in bulk and storing it all in our deep freeze in our garage.

Keep in mind, foods that are stored in the freezer for a long time have the chance of being freezer burnt if not stored correctly. To avoid this food should be in airtight bags or containers whenever possible. We like to use a vacuum sealer to ensure we get all the air out giving us the longest amount of freezer shelf life possible. See if a vacuum sealer is worth it for you.

Here is a list of foods that last a long time kept in the freezer:

  • Chicken 
  • Beef
  • Pork
  • Sausage
  • Venison
  • Freezer meals 
  • Vegetables (blanched then stored)
  • Fruits (single or mixed)
  • Apple sauce
  • Jams 
  • Cooked pasta or rice
  • Flour
  • Grated cheese
  • Butter
  • Bread

grains are food that last a long time in long-term food storage

Grains

Grains such as wheat berries, rice, flour, pasta, and oats are an important part of any long-term food storage. The below list of grains will provide you with a lot of ideas so you can add the types of grains to your food storage that work best for you.

Wheat berries store for longer than flour and produce fresher, better-tasting whole wheat flour after being ground. You’ll want to find the best grain mill/flour grinder for you so that you can make your own flour whenever you need fresh flour.

  • Hard Red Winter Wheat
  • Hard Red Spring Wheat
  • Soft Red Winter Wheat
  • Durum Wheat
  • Hard White Wheat
  • Soft White Wheat
  • All-Purpose Flour (hard and soft red wheat)
  • Whole Wheat Flour (stone ground wheat berries)
  • Bread Flour (hard red spring wheat)
  • Cake Flour (soft white wheat endosperm)
  • Pastry Flour (hard white wheat endosperm)
  • White Rice
  • Jasmine Rice
  • Basmati Rice
  • Wild Rice
  • Red Cargo Rice
  • Parboiled Rice
  • Black Rice
  • Rosematta Rice
  • Brown Rice
  • Arborio Rice
  • Camargue Rice
  • Sticky Rice
  • Sushi Rice
  • Valencia Rice
  • Spaghetti Pasta
  • Fettuccine Pasta
  • Penne Pasta
  • Macaroni Pasta
  • Rolled Oats
  • Quick Oats
  • Steel Cut Oats
  • Oatmeal
  • Cereal

Flour Ginder/Grain Mill

best grain mill flour grinder for producing a fine flour for baking

WonderMill Grain/Flour Mill

Easy for grinding both hard and soft wheat berries into flour for baking. It will also grind corn, rice, legumes, beans, and other small grains like Quinoa and Amaranth.
Click here to see the price on Amazon »


Beans and Legumes

Canned or dry beans are non-perishable food that is good for storing long-term without refrigeration. Most dry beans can last for up to 25 years in Mylar bags or #10 cans with oxygen absorbers. Canned beans can last for a few years. 

The below list can be stored for a long time either dry or canned.

  • Pinto Beans
  • Black Beans
  • Kidney Beans 
  • Adzuki Beans
  • Split Peas
  • Black-Eyed Beans
  • Mung Beans
  • Lima Beans
  • Fava Beans
  • Great Northern Beans
  • Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)
  • Cranberry or Roman Beans
  • Lentils

The most common canned beans are black beans, cannellini beans, chickpeas (otherwise known as garbanzo beans), Great Northern beans (like cannellini, but smaller), kidney beans, and pinto beans.


dried milk and dairy are foods that last a long time in long-term storage

Dried Milk and Dairy

Milk and other dairy products are a big part of most people’s daily diet and are used in so many meals and recipes. Dairy products are perishable and require refrigeration to keep from going bad, however, there are some great alternative dairy products that can be stored for the long term in your pantry.

Here is a list of dairy products that will last for a long time in your pantry or dry storage.

  • Powder Milk
  • Dried Whole Egg Powder
  • Dried Scrambled Egg Mix
  • Butter Powder
  • Buttermilk Powder
  • Sour Cream Powder
  • Dehydrated or Freeze Dried Yogurt
  • Freeze Dried Cheese

Here are some good dairy products on Amazon that last a long time in your long-term food storage.


Nuts and Seeds

Make sure your long-term food storage should have a good balance of protein, carbs, and fat because they are essential macronutrients. Nuts and seeds are a good source of protein, fat, vitamins, and minerals.

Like all foods, there are a few things to remember when storing nuts and seeds. Store dry roasted and salted nuts because they will store longer than raw nuts. See a list of nuts to include in your long-term storage.

  • Almonds
  • Brazil nuts
  • Cashew nuts
  • Hazelnuts
  • Macadamias
  • Pecans
  • Pine nuts
  • Pistachios
  • Walnuts
  • Peanuts
  • Pumpkin seeds
  • Flax seeds
  • Sesame seeds
  • Poppy seeds
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Psyllium seeds 
  • Chia seeds

add sugars to your food storage for longest lasting foods

Sugars

Sugars are another essential food to store for a long time. It is most often stored long-term in 5-gallon buckets with gamma lids for an airtight seal, and in mylar bags for an even longer-lasting even indefinite storage life. We don’t use oxygen absorbers with sugar for storage because it can cause your sugar to become clumpy and hard.

Sugars that are good to include in your long-term storage include:

  • White Sugar
  • Brown Sugar
  • Powdered Sugar
  • Honey
  • Syrup
  • Jams
  • Corn Syrup
  • Molasses
  • Powdered Juice Mix
  • Jello Mix

Cooking Essentials

To enhance your emergency food supply you’ll also need to include cooking/baking essentials in your long-term storage. Your cooking and meals will be far less enjoyable without the following cooking essentials. 

  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Baking Powder
  • Baking Soda
  • Yeast
  • Vinegar
  • Apple Cider Vinegar (very versatile)
  • Garlic
  • Favorite Seasonings
  • Cooking Oil and Shortening
15 Survival Foods That Last a Long Time and Every One Should Stockpile

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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