Most pantries have a variety of foods, and many of these are common.

Why are some of these foods recommended for an emergency pantry? First off, they have a long shelf life. In addition, these foods offer convenience and nutrition.

So, let’s look at 23 survival foods that may be overlooked but are essential foods for your pantry.


If you have a compact alcohol stove, alcohol is needed for fuel. It also serves as a disinfectant for tools and wounds. An unopened bottle of alcohol will last a long time; if opened, it has two years of shelf life. To improve the shelf life of fruit, consider improving the shelf life of fruit by soaking it in alcohol (e.g., whiskey, rum, or vodka).

Apple Cider Vinegar

The antioxidants found in apple cider vinegar have many health benefits. The vinegar can improve gut health and soothe a cough. It has a very long shelf life.

Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans)

Chickpeas are high in protein which gives an added boost to any meal with its unique texture, flavor, and nutrients. The shelf life is 30 years or more if stored in an air-tight container.

23 Overlooked Survival Foods You Need To Add To Your Pantry

Coconut Oil

Great for cooking, coconut oil remains in a solid form until used. If stored in an air-tight container and in a dry, cool area, the oil has a shelf life of at least two years.

Related: Long Lasting Oils You Should Stockpile Right Now


Cornmeal can be used to make corn tortillas (without adding yeast). It can also be used to add a corn flavor or thicken a variety of soups/dishes.


Cornstarch can be used as a thickener for gravies, soups, and other dishes. It can also help repel insects, soothe a rash, deodorize, and clean. Besides these unique benefits, cornstarch has a long shelf length.

Dried Fruit

Many different fruits can be dried in a dehydrator or oven. Some popular ones include dates, raisins, figs, cranberries, bananas, cherries, apricots, blueberries, plums, and mango. You might want to experiment with other fruits. Store in an air-tight container to increase the shelf life to an optimal five years.

23 Overlooked Survival Foods You Need To Add To Your Pantry

Dried Veggies

Consider storing dried vegetables to be used in soups and other hot dishes or eaten as is. The dried veggies will keep their flavor for decades.


This tasty food helps sweeten foods and beverages, boosts energy, and soothes sore throats and coughs. The natural antifungal and antibacterial properties will also boost oxygen for healing wounds. Stored in an air-tight container, honey will last a long time. Make sure you look for 100% honey if purchasing in a store.


Beef, turkey, salmon, and chicken can be made into jerky. Jerky is a great source of protein. Consider buying the jerky or even making it on your own.

Related: The 10-Dollar Jerky Maker

23 Overlooked Survival Foods You Need To Add To Your Pantry


Kamut, an often-overlooked grain, is easy to digest and offers much more protein than wheat (40% more). The shelf life is similar to other grains.


High in protein, lentils have a shelf life of up to five years when stored in an air-tight container.

Maple Syrup

This sugar sweetener replacement adds flavor to foods, has more calcium than milk, and contains other nutrients (e.g., zinc, potassium, and iron).

Nonfat Dry Milk and Powdered Milk

With a shelf life of 20 years, nonfat dry milk has high nutritional value and offers a balance of potassium, sodium, carbohydrates, and fiber. Powdered milk is also nutritional and has a better taste than nonfat dry milk. However, the shelf life is shorter (i.e., 2 years for an opened package of powdered milk opposed to 20 years for nonfat dry milk).

Related: How To Dehydrate Milk For Long Term Storage

23 Overlooked Survival Foods You Need To Add To Your Pantry

Nut Butter

Peanut butter, almond butter, and sunflower seed butter are great healthy sources of nutrition and energy. Consider buying this common staple or making your own.


Nuts are a wonderful source of protein, fiber, and necessary fat. They are also rich in iron, selenium, fluoride, zinc, magnesium, potassium, and antioxidants. Stored properly, they have a shelf life of one year.


Offering a good source of carbohydrates and good flavor with various seasonings, unopened dried pasta can last for two years. It is an easy add-on to soups and stews and makes any dish more filling. Pasta is also lightweight for storage making it a top choice for emergency pantries.

Potato Flakes

Easy to make, instant potatoes can be added to thicken soup or other dishes. They can also be turned into flour for making bread. Unopened bags of potato flakes last for up to 15 years. When opened, the shelf life is approximately 6-12 months.

23 Overlooked Survival Foods You Need To Add To Your Pantry

Powdered Drink Mixes

Like lemonade and fruit drink mixes. Many of the powdered drink mixes have vitamin C added. They are an easy way to make beverages and have a long shelf life.


If you want a grain that is full of nutrition (8 grams of protein and 8 essential amino acids in a cup), then quinoa is worth trying. Simply store the uncooked grain in an air-tight container to last up to six months.

Rolled Oats

Offering a great source of antioxidants, minerals, vitamin B6, protein, and fiber, rolled oats are easy to make and equally easy to store. Their shelf life can be about 30 years if they are stored in an air-tight container and in a dry, cool location.

Sugar and Salt

A little sugar and salt add flavor to meals and can last several years. Salt can also be used to preserve foods (like meats).


When stored in an air-tight package and at room temperature, yeast lasts a few years. It is suggested to store the yeast in separate packets to ensure that the product stays air-tight and sealed. Containing protein, fiber, vitamin B, zinc, calcium, potassium, magnesium, and other minerals, yeast is a welcome ingredient to make bread.

Many people have a pantry of common foods that are used quite often. However, you can consider other foods that are great additions to your pantry, especially to be stockpiled in case of any future emergency.

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