box of emergency food

The Emergency Food Items You Need to Stock Up On Now

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.


box of emergency food

You may still be able to 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.

A list of the essential pantry items that need to be stocked in your cupboards and pantry follows. 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
  • your family favorite



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 quickly 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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  1. Beth says:

    What about dried food? Veggies and fruit. So far I have only seen them at Mother Earth Products where you can buy the individual food and not entire meals. I am sure there are other places.

  2. Vivian Jean says:

    I prep for earthquakes and other possibilities here in Huntington Beach, CA. I have a very large supply of emergency food. I don’t store a lot of dried beans because it takes too much gas or electricity to cook them. And you may not have that if crisis happens. I stay with a little of those but mostly canned and rotate them by date. Also, dehydrated food. I keep at least three sources of heat for cooking and other needs. Propane bbq, wood, charcoal.

  3. Vickie says:

    Just don’t buy your canned supplies that have a pull tab to open the can. The cans won’t last as long as a can that needs a can opener to open.

    • Mary Hunt says:

      I am not aware of a hard copy option. You can download the .pdf (links in the post) and then print it from your home printer. Or you could save it to a flash drive, and take it to a quick print location. It is quite a long cookbook, so I suggest you use your printer’s “both sides” option

  4. Pat A Weiser says:

    People need to exercise a bit of caution doing this. I stocked up on all this stuff and more during covid. I am now faced with beans I’ll never eat, rice we eat sparingly, A pound of yeast in the freezer, a huge container of whole milk powder, Spam, canned meat and old cans of vegetables. I was feeding 3 people and we hardly made a dent in all of it.

    • Mary Hunt says:

      Before you jump to any conclusions, remember that emergency’s are always a potential. Covid was not the only. Having an emergency supply of pantry items with very long shelf lives is akin to having fire insurance on your home. You buy it and pay dearly for it. It is there should you need it. And the next time your premium payment comes due, will you advise others to exercise a bit of caution and perhaps even reduce the amount of fire insurance they carry? Or, God forbid, believe that since they didn’t need it before, it was a total waste of money so they won’t replenish for the future. That would be utterly foolish. The same for your emergency pantry. It’s there for when you may need it. And if you never do? You will not likely wish you’d had an opportunity to need it. Of course you should customize your pantry to hold foods your family will actually eat when the grocery shelves are bare, the supply chain has been broken and no deliveries can be found anywhere. It’s a delicate balance, but one I’m certain you can figure out!

  5. Judith Rettich says:

    Don’t forget cat & dog food! I have ordered extra cases and extra bags of kibble from Chewy every month. I am fortunate that I have a clean cool basement to store the kibble as it would not be good to store in a heated garage.

  6. Kddomingue says:

    Great tips from Mary and friends! For example, it never occurred to me that I could freeze yeast! Speaking of freezing, butter and cheese can also be frozen. And the FoodSaver brand has an attachment (purchased separately) for vacuum sealing canning jars. I also recently bought 2 large containers of powdered milk as opposed to evaporated milk. Jars of peanut butter are on my next shopping list and I’ve added sprouting seeds per Mary Beth’s recommendation.
    Thanks to all for the ideas!

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