20 Year Shelf Life Food: A Prepper’s Handy List

In survival situations, life may never really go back to normal, so it’s important to store up foods you can eat over an extended period. Understanding and storing up on these long-lasting food items, such as 20 year shelf life food, can help you create a reliable emergency food supply that will endure the test of time.  

Food items that have a shelf life of up to 20 years include white rice, oats, corn, pasta, wheat, lentils, and dried beans. Dehydrated fruit and vegetables, freeze-dried food, canned meat, honey, maple syrup, and alcohol can also be included in the list.

Before we get started, it’s crucial to remember that these foods will only last for 20 or more years if they are stored properly.

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White rice

White rice has a shelf life of more than 20 years, so the number of people surviving on it may rise even more after a calamity.

White rice

If you store it correctly, you may keep white rice for up to 30 years in a cold, dry environment. You can easily make rice by simmering it in water, and it uses little energy to cook. 

On the other hand, brown rice only has a shelf life of a few months compared to white rice. Therefore, you should avoid keeping it for long-term storage.  


This food is excellent for everyone who enjoys a hearty bowl of oats every morning. Both rolled and whole oats may survive for more than 30 years.


Minerals and antioxidants are abundant in oatmeal. This meal provides the 5% to 9% of good fat you need for a survival diet. For a survivor, oats may improve immunological function, decrease blood pressure, and lower cholesterol. 


Corn is a fantastic survival food. You may eat it as-is, grind it into cornmeal, or store lots of popcorn kernels.


If kept in the right circumstances, freeze-dried corn, which goes through a dehydration process, may have an indefinite shelf life. You may ensure the quality and safety of the corn product by checking the expiry date and according to storage guidelines. 


Although finding the right ingredients to season pasta may be more complex, the pasta itself has a long shelf life. 


Pasta is one of the most excellent portable meals for a survival diet. Durum wheat semolina and water are the critical components of most pasta. Durum wheat is distinct from bread-making wheat. It contains a lot of proteins.  


Wheat has a remarkable shelf life of up to 20 years or even longer when kept in sealed containers and under optimal circumstances.


Because they contain little moisture, whole wheat grains like hard red wheat and soft white wheat have a long shelf life by nature. 

The secret to keeping wheat fresh for a long time is to have it properly stored somewhere cold, dry, and dark free of moisture, and bugs.

You may preserve wheat’s quality and nutritional content for long-term storage using vacuum-sealed containers or food-grade buckets with oxygen absorbers. 


Due to their unusual nutritional makeup, lentils are a relatively versatile meal. They taste good and nutritious. These are excellent foods since they come in one-pound sacks and contain protein. 

Lentils expand in size during preparation. They are effortless to prepare. Legumes have a very long shelf life. They may endure up to 30 years if properly preserved. They were often kept in clay pots for use during severe winters and times of hunger. 

Dried beans

Dried beans are an essential meal for survival and, with careful storage, may endure for more than 30 years. You may keep beans securely without refrigeration, which is an excellent protein source. They go right with many dishes as well. For instance, a simple bean and rice meal might be delicious. 

The shelf life of freeze-dried split peas and adzuki, mung, pinto, kidney, cannellini, garbanzo, pink, lima, navy, black, black-eyed, and black turtle peas is up to 30 years.

You should purchase 4 to 5 pounds (2.27 kg) of dry beans every time you shop and keep them in a cold, dark spot.  

Dehydrated fruit and vegetable

You may preserve fruits and vegetables for over 25 years if you have a dehydrator (or know how to create a basic one). The variety of dried fruits is nearly as great as that of fresh fruits. 

Many more options are available at local markets and health food shops. Dried fruits are abundant sources of nutrients, bioactive substances, and carbs.

Dates and raisins are the two fruits that have the highest calories. Additionally, dried fruits are an excellent supply of carbohydrates like fructose and glucose. 

Freeze-dried fruit and vegetables

Freeze-dried foods, such as frozen fruit and vegetables, have an incredibly long shelf life especially when appropriately packed and kept in ideal storage. 

Freeze-dried fruit and vegetables

Proper upkeep is really crucial for freeze-dried food to retain its quality and flavor over time. Due to their convenient and extended shelf life, freeze-dried meals are helpful in disaster preparation and long-term food storage.  

Freeze-dried cheese

Freeze-dried cheese may have a shelf life of up to 20 years or longer, provided it is adequately packed and kept in ideal circumstances. 

Keep the freeze-dried cheese in airtight containers in a cold, dry location away from heat, light, and moisture.

Although the texture and flavor of freeze-dried cheese may not be the same as that of fresh cheese, it may still be a valuable alternative for long-term preservation in emergencies or outdoor sports. 

Canned meat

When kept in good condition, canned meat may have a shelf life of up to 20 years. Depending on the particular product, the way it was processed, and the storage environment, canned meat’s shelf life might change. 

The shelf life of canned meats such as chicken breast, cattle, pig, and fish may vary depending on the storage. Keep canned meat in a cool, dry location away from strong sunlight and high temperatures to preserve its durability.

Certain canned meats’ taste, texture, and nutritional content may deteriorate with time, even if they may still be safe to eat beyond their expiry date.  


Honey has an indefinite shelf life. It is a delicious and healthful gift from nature, and an excellent survival meal.

Honey is a healthy sweetener with antimicrobial and antioxidant effects. Although pricey, it lasts almost indefinitely when kept correctly.

When stockpiling, purchase little amounts whenever you come across them, and buy only pure honey. Look for organic honey at a shop or try to acquire honey from a farmer. 

Maple syrup

Pure maple syrup has a long shelf life when kept in suitable storage. If kept in a cold, dark location, unopened containers of maple syrup may survive up to many years. But with time, maple syrup’s quality, taste, and consistency might deteriorate. 

It is best to consume maple syrup fresh and to keep it in the refrigerator to lengthen its shelf life for it to taste great longer. 

Potato flakes

Unless you cultivate your own, you won’t be able to enjoy fresh potatoes for very long after a catastrophe, but potato flakes will survive for at least 20 years. You can make a great comfort meal from quick potato flakes as an emergency food supply. 


Add hot water to transform it into potato soup or mashed potatoes. You may mix flour and potato flakes to make flavorful and thick potato bread. Potato flakes have a 25 year shelf life if packaged in airtight food bunker storage bags


It might be challenging to make survival meals taste as wonderful as the food we are used to. But with salt, it’s possible. When kept under appropriate storage, salt may remain fresh forever. 

Since salt is a mineral, it doesn’t rot or become worse with time. Its capacity to withstand microbial development and be stable in various environments gives it such a lengthy lifespan.

Salt may be preserved for many years with little to no quality loss as long as it is kept dry and away from pollutants. Salt is essential to long-term food storage and disaster preparation supplies.


When kept correctly, sugar, especially granulated white sugar, has an endless shelf life. Like salt, sugar is a crystalline material that resists deterioration and rotting.

You can keep sugar for a long time without experiencing noticeable quality changes if it is dry, cold, and free from pollutants and moisture. 

However, owing to moisture absorption over a prolonged time, sugar may harden or clump. Even though sugar may not have an official “expiration date,” using the proper storage techniques will guarantee its quality and usage for a long time. You can also store sugar candy bars in your cupboard for emergencies.  

Instant coffee

After a crisis, stock up on instant coffee to stay energetic. You may stock instant coffee for more than 30 years.

Keep it in a cool, dry location away from heat, moisture, and intense aromas to extend its shelf life. It may stay fresher for a longer time if you seal it in an airtight container.

You can keep it in good condition for longer than its recommended shelf life, although the taste may never be stronger than when it was new and fresh. 

Nonfat dry milk & powdered milk

Powdered milk may stay fresh for at least 20 years—but only if it’s nonfat. The issue with the nonfat dried milk is its unpleasant flavor.

However, this kind of milk may be stored properly in the cupboard for up to 20 years. Although the flavor is unpleasant, it may be a fantastic source of fat, sugars, dietary fiber, carbs, and potassium.

Powdered milk is an excellent substitute for nonfat dry milk. It is delicious, simple to make, and palatable.   



In a survival emergency, you may use alcohol in various ways. You may boil some water for preparing tea or coffee with your alcohol stove. You may clean instruments and wounds with alcohol, an effective disinfectant.

In a survival scenario, you can use alcohol for cooking and food preservation. Vodka, whiskey, and rum are among the alcoholic beverages you may store for emergency scenarios. The shelf life of an unopened bottle of alcohol is limitless. 

How To Make Your Food Last Longer

There are methods of food preservation to guarantee that your food supply can endure for many years without succumbing to moisture, humidity, bugs, or other elements that might spoil it.

Most foods will endure 20 years or more if you keep them properly, enabling you to survive practically any crisis without going hungry. 

Select a room that is dry, well-ventilated, and regular room temperature, away from the sun. Fill Mylar bags with your food and use heat treatment to seal the Mylar bags. On the bag’s exterior, note the date the food was last refrigerated. 


The following are some examples of suitable areas that fit these requirements: closets, pantries, bedrooms, and root cellars. Never keep the food outside. 

Consider investing in the tools necessary to vacuum-pack your rice, beans, and sugar if you’re just interested in the lowest calories and have no regard for a balanced diet or tasty meals.

You will require high-quality fuel that can enable you to function effectively if you ever find yourself reliant on your 20-year emergency food stockpile. 

You might be interested to learn about how to safely store water in a car.


It’s important to emphasize that these food supplies will only last for the time specified with the proper storage. Even goods with an endless shelf life may spoil in days under improper circumstances. 

Don’t put off accumulating food for a disaster or other calamity until necessary. Early preparation offers you plenty of time to choose and stockpile all the emergency survival food you will need to survive a pandemic, emergency, or catastrophe.   

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