Essential Prepper Food List for Emergency Pantries

prepper food list

Putting together your prepper food list is the second most essential step to take when it comes to preparedness. Emergency food is secondary to having your emergency water supply. Yes, you could just go through the aisles of your local grocery store and buy whatever has the longest shelf life. However, I believe you should have a strategy behind each food because they provide their own benefits.

I believe having a prepper food list is more important than stockpiling guns and ammunition regardless of what you are preparing for. This is because you can only survive three weeks without food. As I mentioned, this list is the second most important behind water because you can only survive three days without it.

Undoubtedly, there will be some keyboard commando in comment section who will want to debate this statistic.  These numbers are an average.  Depending on the circumstances, your survival time could be shorter or longer but these are average numbers.

When it comes to recovering from disasters or any type of SHTF scenario you don’t want to be barely surviving.  Most likely if you are looking into preparedness, it is because you want to thrive in these situations.  Having the right food and ample supply can help with that.

Building your prepper food list is going to be dependent upon the mouths that you are responsible for feeding.  There might be some foods that I would recommend that you just can’t stomach.  So I suggest that you adapt your own version of this.

Don’t Build Your Pantry Based on Bare Minimums

You will also want to build this list around your typical calorie intake.  Some preparedness “experts” suggest that you build a stockpile based on the bare minimum.  In other words, they recommend that you possibly go on a calorie deficit.  Again, this is because many have the mindset of barely surviving instead of thriving.

If you have ever been on diet then you know how miserable and tired that you can feel on a calorie deficit.  Everyone’s maintenance calorie levels are going to be different.  If you are pretty thin already then your typical calorie intake is going to be different as compared to someone that is a body builder who can consume 3500 calories a day.

You want to be full of energy and strength during emergencies.  That way you can face potential problems head on and overcome them.  If there is a collapse scenario then you will most likely be forced to do a lot of manual labor.  You won’t have the luxury of spending your days watching Netflix, trolling liberal websites while stuffing your face with a pizza from Dominos.  Instead, you will be forced to hunt and gather your own food supply along with many other aspects of survival.

How Long Your Supply Should Last

Now this list that I am about to get into doesn’t only apply to extreme scenarios like a collapse.  This prepper food list is really designed for short and long term emergencies.  FEMA and other websites recommend having a two week food supply.  However, I recommend having at least three to six months in your pantry.

Foods with long shelf lives

Your prepper food list should start with foods that you can buy at the local grocery store for short term recovery events.  This is because canned and dry goods are cheaper than alternative items like dehydrated and freeze dried foods.  Also, they don’t take up a lot less space.  (You can learn more about emergency food basics HERE.)

Canned foods

Although canned foods are high in sodium and don’t contain all of the nutritional value of other options, they are the cheapest.  The other advantage is that they take up less space in your pantry.  This is ideal unless you have a big ass pantry the size of your wife’s walk in closet.

Being that this option is the cheapest, it gives you the ability to build up a supply quickly.  Now that doesn’t mean you should blow your whole pay check at once to stock up your pantry.  You can do this little by little over time.  I typically will spend only $20 or $30 per pay period.

As I mentioned earlier, I believe you should only build up a three to six month supply of canned and dry goods.  This is because you are going to be constantly cycling out those foods.  Canned and dry goods typically only have a shelf life of one to three years.  Next, let’s talk about the types of canned and dry goods.

Canned Meats

According to another preparedness website, meat isn’t an essential emergency food.  Don’t listen to those morons.  Meat is one of the four basic food groups.  Meat is important because it provides your body with protein to sustain and build muscle.

Yes, you can get protein from other sources like beans.  However, there is more protein in a serving of canned meat than there is in a serving of beans.  This means that you can eat less which helps to stretch out your food supply.  Canned meats are more calorie dense.  This means that it takes less to fill you up.

The Importance of Protein in Long Term Recovery Events

In some long term recovery emergencies like a collapse, you will be forced to do more manual labor.  This labor will require a lot of your muscles especially if you don’t already have the muscle or strength required.

Protein will not only help you build those muscles but also helps them to recover so that you can keep going.  This means it helps sore muscles recover faster.  This is important because in long time recovery events you won’t have much downtime.

If you have ever seen people suffering from starvation then you probably noticed that they are extremely skinny.  This is because the lack of food will force you into a calorie deficit.  This deficit not only causes your body to pull calories from fat supplies but eventually your muscles.

Canned Vegetables & Fruits

Vegetables are typically a good source of fiber.  This helps to keep you fuller and longer.  As result of that, you will be eating less of your emergency food supply.

Canned fruits are high in carbohydrates and sugars which contrary to popular belief, your body needs.  Your body uses carbohydrates to produce energy.  This energy, along with the calories from protein, will be needed in order to stay active.  The final benefit of canned fruits and vegetables is that they are filled with liquids. These liquids can be used as another source to keep you hydrated.

Canned Liquids

Speaking of canned liquids, items like chicken or beef broth will also help you to add flavor to your meals.  The thing about eating the same foods over time is that your taste buds get bored.  So much so that eventually you can’t even stomach them anymore.

Dry foods


Beans are a most have for every prepper food list.  There is a diverse selection of beans which gives your meals variety.  They also have other great benefits including long shelf life, are a good source of proteins, and has other nutritional value.


Dairies are a great resource of protein, potassium and fats.  There are good fats and bad fats.  Fat can be good as long as they are digested moderately.

Fats are especially important in the case of emergencies because they are high in calories.  So they can help prevent you from going into a calorie deficit. If you do go into a calorie deficit you will want the calories to pull from your fat supply and not your muscles.  So there are two different types of dairies I would recommend having on your prepper food list which will discuss next.

Waxed Hard Cheeses

Typically when you see waxed cheeses you think more of comfort foods instead of survival foods.  However, waxed cheeses has been a staple for many people around the world for years.  Even to this day a lot of homesteaders and farmers will preserve their homemade cheeses in wax.  (You can read how to wax your own cheese HERE.)

The wax actually protects the cheese from growing mold and bacteria.  Along with that, the wax keeps moisture in the cheese which makes it a great comfort food.  Comfort foods will help to keep your morale high during emergencies.  Waxed cheeses like parmesan can have a shelf life up to 25 years.

Powdered Milk

Powdered milk can also be considered a comfort food.  Along with that they have many uses.  That is why I recommend adding this to your prepper food list.

Some quick examples of how powdered milk can be used includes: cream for coffees and teas, can be used to make gravy and sauces, can be used to make cheeses, etc.  You can many more ways powdered milk can be used at

Other Foods Not Mentioned

As I mentioned earlier, this prepper food list is not exhaustive. I have just included these items as some important ones to have.  But you can definitely go on for hours mentioning other foods like energy bars, cereals, coffees, etc.  Below you find my prepper food list that you can save and keep as a reference.

Prepper Food List Recommendations


Baking Mixes
Biscuit (box)
Brownie (box)
Cake (box)
Corn bread (box)
Frosting (tub)
Muffin (box)
Pancake (box)
Pudding, instant (box)
Quick bread (box)
Canned or Bottled Foods
Applesuace (jar)
Alfredo Sauce (bottle)
Beef (can)
Beef Broth (can)
Black Beans (can)
Chicken (can)
Chicken Broth (can)
Chile (can)
Corn (can)
Cream of Celeri Soup (can)
Cream of Chicken Soup (can)
Cream of Mushroom Soup (can)
Enchilada Sauce (can)
Fruit Cocktail (can)
Green Beans (can)
Green Chilies (can)
Ham (can)
Jam (can)
Ketchup (bottle)
Kidney Beans (can)
Mandarin Oranges (can)
Mushrooms (can)
Olives (can)
Peaches (can)
Peanut Butter (jar)
Pears (can)
Peas (can)
Pineapple (can)
Pinto Beans (can)
Ravioli (can)
Salsa bottle)
Soups (can)
Spaghetti (can)
Spaghetti Sauce (can)
Stew (can)
Tomato Paste (can)
Tomato Sauce (can)
Tomatoes Diced (can)
Tuna (can)
Bread crumbs
Crackers Graham (box)
Crackers Soda (box)
Croutons (box)
Macaroni Noodles (box)
Noodle mixes (box)
Penne Noodes (box)
Rice Mix (box)
Rice, instant (box)
Spaghetti Noodles (box)
Stuffing (box)
Beef Bouillon Granules
Browning and Seasoning Sauce
Chicken Bouillon Granules
Hot Pepper Sauce
Onion Soup Mix
Seasoned Salt
Soy Sauce
Taco Seasoning
Worcestershire Sauce
Baking Ingredients
Baking Chocolate Squares 
Baking Powder
Baking soda
Brown Sugar
Butterscotch Chips
Chocolate Chips
Corn meal
Corn syrup
Cream of Tartar
Evaporated Milk
Food coloring
Gelatin- Flavored
Gelatin- Plain
Maple Extrat
Mint Extract
Nonstick Cooking Spray
Olive Oil
Pie filling
Powdered Sugar
Sweetened Condensed Milk
Tapioca, quick-cooking
Vegetable Oil
Storage, Long-Term 
Dried Beans Black
Dried Beans Kidney
Dried Beans Navy
Dried Beans Pinto
Egg Powder
Nonfat Dry Milk Powder
Oats Instant
Oats Regular
Potato Flakes
Potato Pearls
Wheat Red
Wheat White
Dried Fruits and Veggies
Peppers (bell, hot, etc.)
prepper food list