( Top 30 ) Bunker Foods

Spread the love

Survivalists have recognized for a while that doomsday preparation involves acquiring foods and essentials capable of enduring for extended periods.

When adequately sealed and stored appropriately, certain foods can remain viable for years or even decades.

Optimal choices for bunker food include grains, canned products, honey, dried beans, dehydrated meat, coffee, dried dairy, MREs (Meals Ready to Eat), survival bars, and water.

When strategizing your bunker food inventory, it’s essential to account for the expiration dates of the chosen items, with a recommended shelf life ranging from 5 to 25 years. Opt for food items with high nutritional value, convenient storage properties, and minimal moisture content.

For more in-depth information about Prepping Click here to check out my recent guide

Best Bunker Food


When arranging provisions for a bunker food reserve, my approach is to begin with the utmost vital items. I consistently prioritize nutritional value and extended shelf life while curating my selections, which underscores why grains constitute a fundamental cornerstone of my bunker storage.

While they may not boast the most thrilling or tantalizing flavors, the value of stocking up on grains becomes evident in scenarios where food supplies become scarce or unavailable. In such circumstances, having a reserve of grains proves to be a prudent decision.

Grains invariably stand as the top preference for survivalists when it comes to selecting bunker sustenance. If you want to know how to store lentils long term then check out my recent article Store Lentils ( 30 Year Shelf Life ).


Rice holds a special place among preppers and for good reason. It’s one of the most straightforward and dependable food staples for inclusion in your bunker supplies, making it a staple choice among survivalists.

Assuming your bunker is designed to optimize food preservation, rice can easily maintain its quality for a minimum of 10 years under stable conditions. However, by implementing additional measures to ensure optimal storage conditions, many preppers manage to extend the shelf life of this ubiquitous grain to over 25 years or even more.

For those aiming to maximize the longevity of their rice stock, I recommend opting for milled rice for your bunker. When stored in the appropriate conditions, milled rice can potentially have an indefinite shelf life.


In times of disaster, it’s a predictable pattern that grocery stores will be among the first places to experience a rush of activity. During such scenarios, wheat and flour tend to fly off the shelves as people scramble to secure their basic food needs. A prudent prepper, however, anticipates this and takes action to build their stockpile well in advance.

Wheat stands as a fundamental grain that holds immense importance for most individuals. Similar to rice, storing wheat is a straightforward process, and it boasts a shelf life of at least 8 to 12 years. Yet, with the implementation of measures to ensure dryness and airtight storage, you can extend its longevity even further.

A well-rounded bunker supply wouldn’t be complete without a substantial stock of wheat. This grain offers versatility and indispensability, enabling you to craft a variety of meals. By grinding wheat into flour, you open up a world of culinary possibilities, enhancing your baking and cooking options. If you want to know how to make coffee without power then check out my recent article Make Coffee Without Electricity ( Top 14 Ways ).


Amidst the contemporary buzz surrounding quinoa, its value goes beyond mere trendiness. Over the past decade, quinoa has earned its place as a staple in the spotlight, and this recognition extends to its importance within your bunker storage.

The standout feature of quinoa lies in its nutritional profile. Unlike rice and wheat, which predominantly offer carbohydrates, quinoa stands out as a grain rich in essential amino acids – the foundational components of protein.

This means that with just one grain in your bunker, you can access a balanced array of protein, carbohydrates, fiber, fats, and more. In times when you tap into your bunker supplies for survival, ensuring your body receives sufficient nutrients becomes paramount.

Quinoa serves as a versatile nutritional powerhouse, capable of enhancing a diverse range of meals while providing vital nutrients. It’s a superfood that earns its spot at the top of your bunker storage list. It’s worth noting, however, that quinoa doesn’t boast the same extended shelf life as rice and wheat. Therefore, strategic planning and optimal storage conditions are key factors to keep in mind.

Canned Foods

In preparation for scenarios ranging from apocalyptic events to potential zombie outbreaks or pandemics, it’s essential to prioritize stocking your bunker with an abundance of canned food items. Canned goods prove to be invaluable additions to bunker supplies, offering ease and convenience during emergencies.

Among the many merits of canned goods, one standout is the minimal preparation they require, facilitating swift and hassle-free meals without the need for elaborate cooking procedures. Yet, the diversity of available canned food options is extensive, making it important to tailor your stockpile to your specific survival goals – whether short-term or long-term.

While the allure of appetizing instant meals and soups in cans may be strong, considering nutrition-dense canned foods that provide quality protein, carbohydrates, and vitamins can be strategically advantageous. Such considerations ensure that your bunker is equipped to address genuine emergencies with well-rounded sustenance.

Survival Foods

Survival food encompasses various food items intentionally crafted for extended storage and sustenance during challenging circumstances. As the world’s unpredictability persists, the practice of prepping has gained significant traction, resulting in a broader array of survival food choices.

While I recommend assembling a bunker stockpile with an assortment of raw ingredients and foodstuffs, having a supply of survival food is an excellent strategy to ensure you have accessible, versatile, and convenient meal options at your disposal.


Originally developed by the United States military, MRE meals quickly found favor among survivalists due to their exceptional practicality. Unlike most of the food items I’ve discussed, MREs demand minimal to no preparation.

The beauty of MREs lies in their convenience. They are typically designed to be consumed straight from the packaging, requiring no cooking whatsoever. Depending on the brand, some MREs can be enjoyed as is, without the need for heating or boiling water.

However, it’s important to note that certain MRE brands may necessitate the addition of hot water. If this poses a concern for your bunker storage, be sure to carefully review the instructions before purchasing. A notable advantage of MREs extends beyond their ease of consumption—their diverse flavor options. Contemporary MRE brands offer flavorsome and nourishing options that boast a lengthy shelf life, making them a smart addition to your supplies.

Pure Vanilla Extract

To enhance the flavor of your foods, consider storing pure vanilla extract. This extract can remain viable indefinitely and might even improve over time due to its alcohol content of 35%.

Survival Bars

Genuine emergencies can often leave you powerless and devoid of cooking methods. In such circumstances, relying solely on raw ingredients might prove impractical, as you could end up with an assortment of food and no means to prepare it.

This is precisely where survival bars prove invaluable. Comparable to conventional protein or energy bars, survival bars are elevated in nutritional value to cater to emergency scenarios. Certain options pack as much as 2,400 calories into a single bar, meticulously formulated to withstand the test of time, lasting for years.

Meal Bars

In contrast to survival food bars, meal bars are designed to offer a pleasing taste experience. They are available in a wide variety of flavors and nutritional profiles, spanning from enhanced candy bars to performance-oriented sports fuel. The shelf life of meal bars generally ranges from 1 to 5 years, depending on their composition.

Packaged Emergency Meals

These meals are crafted using dehydrated or freeze-dried components and are commonly utilized for backpacking. Although they typically need cooking, their preparation is significantly quicker compared to making a meal from scratch.

Survival Crackers

Crackers held a vital place in Civil Defense fallout shelters, offering a lasting food source. Storing dry crackers in airtight containers protected them from moisture and extended their shelf life for years. Today, you have the option to acquire tins of pilot bread for your bunker stockpile. These can be dipped in oil or soup mix to create a straightforward meal.

If you’re inclined toward a do-it-yourself approach, you can create hardtack. Combining the ingredients for hardtack results in increased longevity, making it a suitable choice for long-term storage.

No-Cook Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates are excellent options for bunker food due to their affordability and shelf stability. However, many carbohydrate sources require extended cooking periods.

Opting for no-cook carbohydrates is a wiser selection for bunker food. These types of carbohydrates can be prepared using the cold-soak method, where you simply soak the dry carbs to soften them. While they might be more palatable when warmed, they can still be adequately prepared using cold water.

DIY Dehydrated Foods

With a home dehydrator at your disposal, you have the opportunity to experiment with inventive bunker meals. You can go as far as dehydrating complete meals, allowing for easy reconstitution when it’s mealtime. By adding water and waiting for 5-20 minutes, you can quickly enjoy a rehydrated meal.

For home-dehydrated foods without preservatives, it’s crucial to ensure they are extremely dry before storage. Just like commercially available dehydrated foods, these items should be packaged in containers that are impermeable to moisture.

Dried Beans

In the realm of essentials, protein stands as a non-negotiable requirement. When faced with an emergency, ensuring your body receives vital nutrients becomes paramount, and protein takes center stage in any well-prepared bunker stockpile.

Neglecting to address your protein needs in a crisis can have dire consequences for long-term survival. Thus, it’s highly advisable to prioritize a substantial supply of beans within your bunker. Beans, being a readily available and natural source of protein, play a crucial role in your sustenance strategy and can be conveniently stored.

While the inclusion of canned beans in your bunker reserves is feasible, opting for dried beans presents a more dependable and advantageous solution in the long haul. Dried beans not only provide plant-based protein but also furnish an array of vital nutrients, including fiber, magnesium, zinc, and iron, essential for overall well-being.

By storing dry beans in your bunker with minimal storage preparation, you can anticipate a shelf life of around 1 to 2 years. However, using proper storage techniques such as placing dry beans in food-grade containers within a stable environment can significantly extend their expiration date. Preppers who adhere to correct storage practices often achieve an impressive shelf life of 25 to 30 years for dry beans, solidifying them as one of the most dependable food items to have in your bunker.


Pemmican, a survival essential, consists of dried meat, fat, and occasionally berries or other flavor-enhancing ingredients. It boasts an extended shelf life if stored in cool, dry conditions.


During the course of relying on your bunker food stockpile, occasional sweet cravings are only natural. While it’s advised to limit sugary items in your bunker storage, having a supply of honey on hand can provide a much-needed respite for your taste buds during emergencies.

Unlike simple refined sugar, honey offers a more versatile and valuable addition to your bunker supplies. Its inherent resistance to microbial growth sets it apart. Under controlled storage conditions in your bunker, honey has the potential to last indefinitely, making it a prime choice for survivalist sustenance.

Furthermore, honey boasts an array of health benefits that render it an excellent addition to your bunker’s food inventory. Beyond its sweetness, honey can serve as a natural anti-inflammatory remedy, potentially replacing cough syrups in times of cold or illness. Additionally, honey is rich in antioxidants – a precious commodity in disaster scenarios where nutritional options may be limited.

Lastly, the delightful flavor of honey makes it a versatile ingredient that can enhance a variety of meals, infusing sweetness into your bunker storage. The notion that survivalist foods must solely serve utility doesn’t negate the possibility of them being truly enjoyable.

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter was a suggested essential for Cold War bunkers, and it remains a valuable choice for bunker food today. When stored in a cool environment, peanut butter can maintain its quality and last for an extended period. Moreover, it’s a cost-effective source of densely packed calories.

Over time, the fats in peanut butter may become rancid. For enhanced shelf life, peanut butter powder is an option. This product is created by separating the oil and dehydrating the resulting protein. It serves as a versatile addition to smoothies or oatmeal. Alternatively, by adding oil, you can transform it into spreadable peanut butter once again.

Dehydrated Meats

Whether you’re seeking a reliable protein source or savoring the taste, meat stands as a superb addition to your bunker storage. Traditional fresh or frozen meat items, however, prove less dependable for extended storage. This is where dried meat comes in, presenting a viable alternative.

Various forms of dried meat are available for inclusion in your bunker supplies. Your choice between short-term and long-term storage approaches can significantly influence the reliability of dried meat in your stockpile.

Conventional dried meat, like jerky, undergoes dehydration. While suitable for a shorter 6 to 12 months stockpile, I recommend freeze-dried meat for longer-term systems, as it can remain viable for over 25 years when properly stored.

Unlike dehydrated meat, freeze-drying extracts 99% of the moisture, greatly enhancing shelf life. For serious preppers, avoiding dehydrated products in favor of freeze-dried options is wise.

The fat content of the meat you select also matters. While fatty meats offer richer flavor, lean freeze-dried meats are more advantageous. Foods high in fat tend to spoil faster, making lean, freeze-dried meats the optimal choice for ensuring the longevity of your bunker stockpile. If you want to know the shelf life of dehydrated meat then check out my recent article Dehydrated Meat Shelf Life ( How Long Does It Last ? ).


Incorporating indulgent treats like chocolate into your bunker supplies can have a positive impact on morale. When stored properly, chocolate can maintain its quality for an extended period.


Let’s face it, for many of us, coffee is a non-negotiable necessity. While not a dietary staple, coffee holds immense psychological value during emergencies, providing comfort for numerous preppers.

Coffee ranks among the classic items in bunker storage, offering both caffeine and a sense of contentment. While physical survival doesn’t hinge on it, the space it occupies is well justified for that comforting morning brew.

If you’re a coffee aficionado, a manual espresso maker, independent of power, can be your ticket to premium coffee during trying times. Naturally, this entails storing a significant supply of coffee beans, a potential challenge during emergencies.

Maintaining bean freshness and flavor requires a cool, dry storage area. Utilize airtight, food-grade containers, and ensure a consistently cool room temperature. It’s advisable to steer clear of oily beans, as they tend to have a shorter shelf life.

For a straightforward approach, consider instant coffee. Most instant coffee packaging offers a degree of airtightness, allowing you to get your caffeine fix without the need for additional accessories like espresso machines or coffee makers.


Keep in mind that tea serves both as a beverage and for medicinal purposes. To prevent oxidation and nutrient loss, store tea in airtight containers, preferably with oxygen absorbers.

Textured Vegetable Protein

Commonly known as textured vegetable protein (TVP), plant-based dry protein is often available in granular form. It serves as an excellent ingredient in chili recipes or sauces. Thanks to its low moisture content, it boasts a lengthy shelf life when stored properly. In comparison to dried meat, it’s also an economical and affordable protein source.


Candy was also a prominent inclusion in Civil Defense bunkers as a staple food item. Similar to honey, it serves as a rapid energy source. Additionally, candy can play a role in boosting morale, particularly when there are children present in the bunker.

Powdered Dairy Products

Dairy items don’t generally make the cut for survivalists due to their limited shelf life. However, their nutrient content and the attachment people have to their daily milk intake make it challenging to forgo them completely, even in emergencies.

This dilemma has led preppers to suggest incorporating dried dairy products into bunker stockpiles. When stored appropriately, dry dairy products can maintain their quality and last for years or even decades, rendering them dependable additions to your food reserves.

A diverse array of dried dairy products is available for consideration, with taste preferences playing a significant role in your selection process.

However, relying solely on a stockpile of powdered cheese might lead to a lack of nutritional diversity. To ensure your meals remain flavorful and nutrient-rich, it’s advisable to invest in a range of dry dairy products.

Among these options, powdered milk and whey powder stand out due to their substantial content of vital nutrients, particularly protein. Thus, I prioritize incorporating these items into your stockpile.


Olive oil stands as a fantastic addition to your bunker food supplies due to its high caloric content. Just one tablespoon of olive oil packs 119 calories, surpassing the caloric value of a whole large apple while occupying significantly less space. While traditional cooking and baking might not be practical in your bunker, olive oil can be used as a supplement to various foods. For instance, you can enhance instant carbohydrates with a drizzle of oil. Moreover, the inclusion of fat can contribute to a feeling of fullness and satisfaction.


Many bunker foods, such as dry staples and instant meals, may lack sufficient nutrients. To address this, consider stockpiling vitamins and mineral supplements. Ensure these supplements are stored in cool, dry conditions and kept in sealed containers.


While not classified as a food, alcohol is included in the list of valuable bunker provisions. It can serve to uplift morale, function as stove fuel, and even be used as a form of general anesthesia in emergency medical situations. Additionally, alcohol can become a valuable commodity for bartering in doomsday scenarios and holds various practical uses within a survival context.

Bouillon Cubes

These dehydrated seasoning cubes, particularly the vegetarian variants, can remain usable for up to a year after their indicated expiration date. As long as moisture hasn’t penetrated the packaging, their flavor might be diminished, but they won’t pose any harm.


Interestingly, water is often the element that tends to be overlooked the most. While it’s not technically considered a food item, it undoubtedly ranks as the most crucial asset for your bunker storage.

You can endure several days, even weeks, without food, but surviving beyond 2 or 3 days without water is a rarity. Accumulating a substantial supply of water within your bunker becomes paramount for your survival, as you’ll quickly realize that many of your food provisions become virtually useless without it.

For immediate accessibility to hydration during an emergency, I suggest stockpiling a reasonable amount of bottled water in your bunker. However, for sustained provision, it’s imperative to have a reliable water source. That’s why maintaining a sizable barrel of potable water (or more) on your premises is a highly recommended component of any comprehensive survival strategy.

Key Takeaways

Here’s a rapid rundown of the top bunker foods to consider: canned goods, MREs, survival food bars, meal bars, packaged emergency meals, freeze-dried bulk foods, survival crackers, store-bought dry foods and mixes, DIY dehydrated foods, pemmican, peanut butter and PB powder, textured soy protein (TSP), powdered milk and dairy, oil, seasonings, honey, candy, chocolate, coffee, drink mixes, vitamins, and alcohol.