The 11 Best Canned Foods for Survival Kits

In the world of long-term food storage, canned food still stands as one of the best options. Canned food is widely available, easy to store, has a long shelf life, and is typically cheap. There is also a wide variety so you can find the best canned food for your crowd at home based on their taste buds and the nutritional value of what you are storing.

Dehydrators, dryers, and vacuum seals are great for food storage but store-bought canned foods have one thing on all of them: they are simple. One of the easiest ways to begin a food-storage plan is to simply buy a few extra canned goods at each trip to the grocery store. This method, called back stocking, can help you build an initial food storage supply. Later, once you add in more bulk goods, these can still serve to add variety and nutritional value to your survival kit.

The 11 Best Canned Foods for Survival Kits:

Diced Tomatoes

We use diced tomatoes to make salsa with our homegrown peppers, so this is something that we are able to back stock easily in the pantry. Very cheap, versatile, and widely available.


Corn goes great with all sorts of meals. The kids love it and it is an easy way to add a vegetable to the table.

Green Beans

Green beans have been a long-time canned staple. Homesteaders may prefer growing and canning your own, but getting them from your local grocery store is quick and easy.

Baked Beans

Rice and beans are typically stored dry and do not need to be canned, but baked beans are just too good to pass up. They can add much-needed variety to your food stash and are usually a family favorite.

Tuna in Oil

I actually prefer Tuna in water- but in an emergency calorie content is king. The oil adds valuable calories instead of water. Stashing too much tuna- or any fish for that matter- could be problematic long term with mercury content.

Chili with Beans

Chili is just one of those feel-good foods that happens to be great for emergencies. It is no surprise that it is one of our favorite MRE entrees. Luckily, it comes in a can and is dirt-cheap.

Roast Beef

Protein power. Canned roast beef is a great emergency entrée. Just heat and eat.

Beef Stew

Similar to the canned roast beef above, but even a little more versatile. You can splash other ingredients into the stew for different meals using the same building blocks.

Chunk Chicken Breast

My wife uses this to make buffalo chicken dip and it’s crazy delicious. This lets us back stock our pantry with these cans pretty easily.

Hormel Spam

Good old SPAM. This Shoulder of Pork and HAM is about as versatile as it gets when it comes to canned meat. It has been a food storage staple for a long time and should not be surprising that it made the list.

Yoder’s Bacon

Bacon in a can? Yes, this is bacon in a can. Everyone’s favorite staple is available fully cooked and canned. About 50 slices of bacon means 3200 calories with plenty of protein to boot. Not to mention that bacon is just one of those things you may find yourself craving- and it doesn’t hurt to add it to the food stash. If you’ve never tried bacon in a can, you can read some review on it here: Yoder’s Bacon

Canned Food Expiration

Holding canned foods past their printed expiration date is usually not a problem. One of the main reasons for expiration dates is that the taste is affected. There can be a few telltale signs when canned food is no longer good to eat:

  • Bulging cans. This is an indication of temperature problems during storage or bacteria growth. Either way, don’t eat it.
  • Leaking cans. If a can is dripping, oozing, seeping, etc- don’t eat it. A compromised canned good can go bad quickly.
  • Open cans. If you open a can, plan to use it all. Resealing a can is difficult and does not trap sterile air back in the can. If a can has a hole in it and is already slightly open, don’t eat it.

Cans that don’t meet the cut for any of these flags aren’t completely useless: use them for target practice.

Buy Canned Foods You Like

You know you and your family’s preferences better than anyone does. Everyone in my family will gladly chow down on any of the canned goods listed above- especially the kiddos.

Don’t get into an emergency situation just to find out that nobody likes your emergency food.

Canned foods make it easy, since they are usually something that your family is familiar with already. It can be surprising just how big of an impact something like a familiar meal can have during an emergency.

The Final Word

Canned foods are easy to find locally and can help boost your survival kit rations. Boost your calories, variety, and nutrition with canned foods. They are inexpensive, which can help any prepper; whether you already have a long-term storage plan or are just starting out.

Cans are great in the pantry, but don’t limit your food storage to just one type! Check out just a few of our other favorite food storage staples: peanut butter and sunflower seeds. You may be surprised at their versatility.

If we missed any of your favorite canned foods that you keep in your stash, be sure to let us know in the comments below. Keep exploring, stay prepared, and be safe.

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The 11 Best Canned Foods for Survival Kits

Rusty Collins

I am an engineer by day, but a prepper 24/7. I am an Air Force veteran that developed emergency and disaster plans as an emergency manager and responded to many attacks and accidents as a HAZMAT technician. I have been exposed to deadly chemical agents, responded to biological incidents, and dealt with natural disasters worldwide. Check out my full story here: Rusty's Story

4 thoughts on “The 11 Best Canned Foods for Survival Kits

  • Almost all modern commercially packed canned foods are shelf-stable and will remain edible nearly ‘forever’ if the cans are intact and stored at temperatures comfortable for people. Excessive heat or repeated large changes in temperature are problems, but if you keep your canned food indoors in your living space they will probably last as long as you do.

    HOWEVER, the above does NOT apply to “canned” frozen products like concentrated fruit juice or refrigerated products like bread and pastry dough – these products need to be kept at the appropriate temperatures. If kept properly most will last a bit past the “use by” date (especially frozen products, but not nearly as long for refrigerated products). None of the frozen or refrigerated products will last as long as regular shelf-stable canned goods.

  • Spam now has 14 flavors( The teriyaki one is great. The spicy one Is marinated in Tabasco sauce). The roasted turkey one is actually made from TURKEY. Check out http://WWW.SPAM.COM to learn more about the various flavors

    • 🤮 Not exactly a favorite by all but I’m like Mikey. I’ll eat anything.

  • Did you know that SPAM now comes in FOURTEEN Flavors?
    You need to go to it’s website to learn more.


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