60+ non-perishable foods to consider for your hurricane preparedness kit | Hurricane Center

Non-perishable foods are an essential part of your hurricane kit. Popular South Louisiana dishes are tuna, Viennese sausages, and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

But, there are many other non-perishable or shelf-stable items you should consider in an emergency. Some of them are good to buy now at the start of hurricane season, while others have a shorter shelf life but can last a week without refrigeration, such as bread and fresh fruit.

See more : Read our guide to hurricanes for beginners.

Most emergency planners advise storing enough non-perishable food and water for two weeks per person. The Red Cross and FEMA say every household should have a three-day supply of one gallon of water per person per day, plus more for any instant foods that require water for preparation, such as instant oats, powdered milk and soup mixes.

Expert Advice

Select foods that you like and normally eat. Don’t waste money on food you or your family won’t eat.

You may not have a way to heat food or refrigerate it. Buy individual portions, if possible, to avoid leftovers.

Non-perishable food items are essential in your hurricane supply kit. (File photo from March 2022 by Leslie Westbrook, The Advocate)

Make sure you have a manual can opener with large handles.

Have disposable plates, bowls, cups and utensils so you don’t have to use your water supply to wash dishes.

Don’t forget baby food, special dietary requirements and food for your pets.

Food Safety Reminder

A full, unopened freezer will keep food safe for about 48 hours without electricity; half full for 24 hours. The highly perishable contents of your fridge will stay fresh for only four to six hours after a power outage. Read more tips for fridge safety during power outages.

Non-perishable food products

A good hurricane kit includes ready-to-eat foods, such as granola bars, in addition to foods that taste better heated, such as canned chili. This list includes suggestions for both.

If you don’t have a way to boil water when the power is off, don’t include foods that require hot water. Keep in mind that foods that require water will also consume your water supply quickly.

Meats and proteins

  • Vienna sausages
  • Tuna (cans, seasoned sachets, tuna salad kit)
  • canned chicken
  • canned ham
  • SPAM
  • Shelf stable bacon and bacon bits (fully cooked)
  • Shelf stable meal packets, such as those from Saffron Road
  • Jerky and other meat sticks
  • Shelf Stable Pepperoni Slices
  • canned beans
  • Canned seafood such as kippers and smoked oysters. Check International Markets for a larger selection.
  • Summer sausage, salami
  • canned soups
  • canned pepper
  • Nuts – peanuts, almonds, etc.
  • Low sodium broth


  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • ramen
  • Noodle cups
  • Dried cereals
  • Instant rice packets. Can be eaten as is or boiled to reheat. (Pro tip – if it’s hot outside, leave it on the sidewalk in the sun to warm up)
  • Bulgur wheat, quinoa, couscous and other easy cereals
  • Pop Tarts
  • Instant oatmeal and oatmeal
  • Canned vegetables – tomatoes, potatoes, corn, green beans, artichoke hearts, red peppers, asparagus, etc. Trader Joe’s offers unusual canned options like eggplant, grape leaves and specialty beans.
  • Canned black olives
  • Ready-to-use pizza dough with sauce in a squeeze bottle
  • Tortillas
  • Bread


  • Wasabi peas
  • Trail mix
  • Granola bars
  • Dried and dehydrated fruits – blueberries, cranberries, raisins, mango, papaya, pineapple, coconut, cherries, etc.
  • canned fruit
  • Applesauce (individual portions such as cups or sachets)
  • Shelf stable smoothie, fruit and yogurt packets
  • Crackers
  • Sandwich cookies with various fillings, such as cheese or peanut butter
  • Fleas
  • Popcorn (kernels, not microwave bags)
  • Fresh fruit (good for last minute additions)

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  • M&Ms – do not melt
  • Shelf Stable Jell-O Cups
  • Shelf stable pudding molds
  • Wrapped cookies
  • Cupcakes
  • hard candy
  • marshmallows


  • Water – in gallons and individual servings
  • Coffee – instant coffee, ground coffee, you make it
  • Tea
  • Shelf-stable milk in a Tetrapak like Horizon or Parmalat
  • Powdered milk
  • Alcohol
  • Juice
  • coconut water
  • Lychee juice
  • A soda
  • Sports drinks
  • Beverage mixes to add to bottled water


  • Canned French butter – available in international markets
  • Jar ghee (clarified butter)
  • Shelf-stable cheese, such as parmesan in the shaker container
  • Condiments – ketchup, mustard, barbecue sauce, soy sauce, etc. Restaurant condiment packets work well too.
  • Spices – Pick herbs from your garden before a storm. Have dried spices available.

Culinary advice during blackouts

People cook on gas stoves and outdoor grills during storm-related power outages. Have matches or a lighter for your gas stove, as most lighters are electric and will not work during an outage.


Damaged goods and debris line the front of Jeremy Houston’s home as he cooks chicken on a grill on First Street in St. Rose in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida on Sunday, September 5, 2021. (Photo by Brett Duke, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Lawyer)

If you have a grill, fill it up with propane or charcoal before a thunderstorm.

You can boil water on a grill in a cast iron skillet or any heavy saucepan. An old pot is good. You can use everyday cooking utensils on a grill, but they can become permanently discolored.

Have at least one roll of heavy-duty aluminum foil in your emergency kitchen kit. Aluminum pans are great for baking and baking on a grill.

Other ways to reheat food:

  • Inexpensive small portable grill and charcoal
  • More combustible camp stove
  • Candle or sterno fondue pot, stove or candle warmer
  • Functional interior fireplace, but be sure to open the flue

Never use a charcoal or gas grill indoors. The same goes for generators. NEVER operate a gasoline engine in or near your garage or living/sleeping area. Unfortunately, carbon monoxide kills people in all disaster areas.

New Orleans food writer Judy Walker contributed to this report.

Do you have any other meal suggestions? Email online@theadvocate.com.

Sources: Times-Picayune Archives, LSU AgCenter.

A version of this story originally appeared on NOLA.com in August 2013.

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Val Rainey does his last shopping in Rouses on North Carrollton Ave. before Hurricane ZetaÕs landfall in New Orleans, Wednesday, October 28, 2020. (Photo by David Grunfeld, NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune | The New Orleans Advocate)

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Carlie Kollath Wells is a breaking news reporter at NOLA.com and The Times-Picayune.