woman looking into empty pantry

The Emergency Food Items You Need to Stock Up On Now

No one knows how long these challenging times will last. This could drag on for a while; it may be over fairly soon. And there may be new, unexpected national or global crises right around the corner. One thing we know for sure: Life is uncertain. Every home needs a stockpile of non-perishable shelf-stable emergency food items. It’s part of any sensible emergency preparedness plan. You need to stock up now. Today.

woman looking into empty pantry

Good news! You can have all of these emergency food items delivered to your front door by Amazon or by a local grocery store in your area that offers online ordering with pick up or delivery.

What follows is a list of the essential pantry items that need to be stocked in your cupboards and pantry. You may have some of these already. It’s time to check and take inventory.

I include a few Amazon links to make sure you have the correct information to select the specific items in those categories that appeal to you.

What follows is not an exhaustive list, nor is it mandatory. This is a guideline for essentials that show up in most recipes. These are food items you will need for recipes that you will supplement with meat, poultry, and produce—as available and warranted.

I am also linking to recipes, my favorite recipe sites that may l be so helpful for you as you prepare quick, low-cost, delicious, and nutritious meals during good times and, well, more challenging times!

Beans and Legumes (dry and or canned)

  • white beans
  • lentils
  • black beans
  • kidney beans
  • whole coffee beans


A bowl of food on a plate, with Bean and Rice

Red Beans and Rice courtesy of Food Channel’s Robert Irvine (fabulous!)


The Protein in Rice and Beans. Rice and beans may seem like a simplistic meal without enough protein or nutrition. However, it turns out that rice and bean dishes have complete proteins, are packed with carbohydrates, protein, and nutrients you may need for a vegan diet or fitness plan, and are totally delicious.

Red Beans and Rice courtesy of Food Channel’s Robert Irvine.

The Bean Cookbook is a free download from The Bean Institute that will teach you everything you need to know about preparing and enjoying beans. Honestly, I had no idea. I’ve learned so much. Plus hundreds of really awesome recipes! FREE download.


Whole Grains and Bread

  • oatmeal, steel-cut oats
  • quinoa
  • rice
  • bread
  • tortillas


Instant Pot Steel-Cut Oats (foolproof!)

Kale and Quinoa Salad

How to cook rice – easily and perfectly (easy lessons with pictures!)

Canned Goods


Brazilian Coconut Chickpea Curry


  • spaghetti
  • penne



Best Instant Pot. You can order today and have it within days. If that fits within your budget, an Instant Pot will greatly simplify your meal prep and cooking going forward. There are thousands of online recipes and resources for how to get your Instant Pot turning out the best food you can imagine—easy, quick!


  • all-purpose flour
  • white sugar
  • brown sugar
  • baking soda
  • baking powder
  • yeast
  • dry milk

A sandwich cut in half on a plate, with Bread and Butter

Condiments and Sauces


20 Asian Meals on the Table in 15 Minutes (you’re going to love these!)

7 Easy Ways to Give New Life to Leftover Rice


  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic
  • cumin
  • Italian seasoning
  • crushed red pepper
  • onion powder
  • garlic powder

Oils and Vinegar

  • olive oil
  • cooking oil
  • sesame oil
  • white vinegar
  • apple cider vinegar

There you go … a guide so you can move quickly to stock your cabinets and cupboards with emergency food items you will need and use. I don’t want you ending up with a bunch of food that will spoil quickly or that you will never use.


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8 replies
  1. Vickie says:

    I need some guidance on what needs to be frozen or refrigerated. I’ve had some stuff develop a stale taste and had to throw out, including nuts and spices. Also, I know fresh produce is best, but I just can’t use it up fast enough and don’t want to be making all those trips to the grocery.

  2. Glenda says:

    Your site is very helpful to me. I’ve been here since cheapskate monthly! Thank you for this list and all your info….it’s all so down to earth and useful. Thanks again Mary!

  3. Sheri says:

    I wish you had a link to a format of taking inventory of what we have. I really don’t know how to do that.
    It’s over whelming. (everything in my cabinets, Pantry, Refrig, Freezer, spices too)

  4. cheryl says:

    I have 2 sites that i love to go visit for recipe inspiration…… https://bigoven.com and allrecipes.com. I can find easy or hard recipes for just about anything on these sites…reviews from others make it easy to decide whether to make it or not. With Big Oven i type in ingredients i have and get recipes, or type an ingredient i need to use up, and get recipes. Allrecipes will deliver to you inbox daily emails w/ links to recipes if you want them to. Try it it can’t hurt, and they are free. Big oven does have a Premium site, but i just use the free one.


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