breakfast food for emergency storage

Breakfast Food for Emergency Storage – Oats

Breakfast food for emergency / long term storage — and for occasional everyday use. Breakfast food that’s not only a good choice for stocking up for emergency, but also good for normal consumption once in a while! Remember, it’s a good idea to “buy what you eat and eat what you store” when it comes to emergency food storage. That way, you won’t waste it. Eat some regularly, and then rotate/replace it.

Emergency food for breakfast. Lets focus on that meal. I wonder what breakfast foods might store well (for use as an emergency supply), while also being good for normal consumption too. Here are some of my thoughts about that…

Foods have their own shelf life. And it’s usually beyond that which is stamped on the package…but that’s another story (I’ll link an article about it below). One food type (group?) that can be a good choice and last a long time are dry foods. With reference to breakfast food for emergency storage, Oatmeal comes to mind. And you’ve got a number of options…

Oats for Emergency Storage of Breakfast Food

How long does oatmeal last? Well, that depends on specifically what you get, the extent of processing, and how it’s stored. Here’s some info about the topic…

Types of Oats

There are a bunch of different types of oats. And I’m not going to get into the specifics of all that. However, here’s a summary.

Whole grain oats, called groats. It’s the whole oat kernel. Not commonly used compared with the others.

Steel cut oats. They are the least processed of the others. They are made from an automated process of chopping/cutting oat groats into pieces with a steel blade. Steel cut oats take about 20 – 30 minutes to cook, and have a sort of nutty flavor and creamy/slightly-chewy texture.

Old-fashioned rolled oats. They’re quite popular. They look kind of flat. That’s because they’re made from squishing oat groat between steel rollers (after they’re first steamed to make soft). They only take 5 – 10 minutes cooking to produce a creamy soft texture that people have come to know and love.

Instant oats. They are steamed and pre-cooked oat groats that are then dried, rolled, and pressed slightly thinner than rolled oats – then chopped smaller. This processing enables very quick cook times of 1 – 3 minutes. The result is a creamy consistency but can be a bit more mushy / gummy. This type of oat process is commonly used form the many various instant packets with a wide variety of other additives (dried fruits, etc..).

Shelf Life of Oats

Whole grain oat groats can have a very long shelf storage life under the right storage conditions and containment packaging (10 – 30 years!) (e.g. #10 cans, sealed Mylar/buckets with oxygen absorbers). However again, groats aren’t commonly ingested or popular for eating compared to the other oat choices. Groats need a slight bit of processing for edibility.

Steel cut oats will also store very well. And for a long time, likely similar to groats (decade+) under ideal conditions in an oxygen-free environment and good containment. But are steel cut oats a good choice for breakfast food emergency storage? Although they have the potential to store quite well, I don’t like the fact that it takes so long to cook them. That’s a lot of extra energy and fuel consumption compared with the following choices…

Old-fashioned rolled oats are a good choice for emergency storage breakfast food (along with having some instant oats too, which I’ll talk about in a second…). If stored right (referenced above, and/or vacuum-sealed), you’re still likely looking at 10+ years (1 – 2 years with just the store packaging paper/cardboard which lets the air seep in). Some may not agree with me on this choice because steel cut may store better/longer due to a bit less processing. However the extra cooking time is mostly a non-starter in my opinion…

Best Choice of Oats For Breakfast Food Emergency Storage

Actually, two. Lets start with rolled oats. Here’s an example already packaged for long term storage. It’s from Augason Farms, who I use for some of my emergency preparedness food supply.

10 pound bucket

I’ve chosen rolled oats as part of the breakfast foods portion of my overall long term emergency food preparedness. I’m using the 5-gallon bucket method for the long haul.

Rolled oats, straight up, will be a great choice for the long term. Either do it yourself, or buy some pre-packaged for the long haul. That’s assuming you like oats good enough for breakfast :=)

However in addition, and one that I feel is a great choice for a quick-and-easy short term solution to also help mitigate filling your breakfast food emergency needs, is instant oatmeal. The packets are so easy. Yes it’s the most processed, and it won’t last as long either (more if you take the time to store it differently than the store packaging). But if you go through it regularly, it won’t go bad.

Note that commercial processed oatmeal can last up to 1–2 years in normal packaging when kept in a cool, dry place with minimal exposure to moisture, air and light. However bear in mind that most flavored/cream-variety instant oatmeal (depending on what they add to the packet ingredients) will likely have a shorter shelf life / expiration. Maybe even 6 months. So be aware that some instant oatmeal packs may have varying shelf life expectancies. Again, read my article about ‘best purchased by’ dates, linked below.

Your kids will love it… (maybe)

Got kids at home? Chances are they’ll eat some of this (yes, the packets typically have sugar added too). There’s quite an array of yummy instant oatmeal packets that you can get. You might simply buy a bunch of boxes and set it aside for emergency. But don’t forget about them… use them up over a period of time – while replacing what you consume so you’ll always have an emergency breakfast food inventory!

It might make sense for the prepper to keep some rolled oats packaged for the long haul. But also, keep some at the ready for occasional daily use too. Your opened ‘ready’ supply won’t store as long (because it’s opened up and exposed to air and elements), but it will still be fine for a year or more afterwards. You might choose a container for everyday use – but with a decent airtight lid for in-between use.

An example of two decent container choices for everyday use, and made in the USA, are (this one) or (this one) as viewed on their storefront at amzn.

Okay, this has been a focus on oats for breakfast. There are other breakfast food for emergency storage options too! Lets hear your opinions on this topic…

[ Read: Best-by, Use-by, Expiration Dates on Food Packaging ]

[ Read: Taste Some Of Your Long Term Food Storage To See If It’s Any Good ]


  1. Good post. I’ve been taking a red yeast rice supplement for my cholesterol but I’ve read that oats may be just as beneficial. Thanks for the descriptions. I now know what “steel-cut” oats are.

  2. Those with blood sugar issues high or insulin resistance of hypoglycemia, need to check the amounts of this grain one tolerates.I found i only tolerate 1/3 portion if i consume with a high protein.3 servings of 1 oz.= 3 large eggs.. No protein for me is zero tolerance=one hour hunger.
    My answer to hot cereal is wheat, either wheat berries cooked whole or cream of wheat. I keep a pint of it in a tightly sealed jar. handy..add butter./or if you can have it peanut butter.

    1. The Original Just Sayin’,
      growing up there was a hot cereal called wheat hearts. i have not seen it in years but i remember that it tasted good. they may not make it anymore. it would be good to have if you can find them.

  3. I have groats and still have not bought a flaker for them! I also like Bobs Red Mill brown rice cereal. Really smooth and could be used for babies.

    1. Mrs.U
      Everything from Bobs Red Mill is great. My wife loves the steel cut and we soak it overnight. I’m just a plain rolled
      oats fan with brown sugar and half&half.

      1. I can’t make oatmeal cookies because I like them tooooo much!!! The little evil dude on my shoulder keeps saying “oh it is ok just one more”. NO NO I am not going to listen…. ok just a half one. I put a cup of oat bran in my bread to help the cholesterol.

        1. Mrs. U,
          oatmeal cookies with raisins are my favorite. they don’t last long at my house.

        2. tony: you should try oatmeal cookies with chopped dates. a nice change from raisins.

        3. Mrs. U, I can’t make oatmeal cookies because the delicious dough just seems to disappear over time.

        4. LoL, I was thinking the same thing. The dough some how shrinks in half between the bowl and the oven

        5. Mrs U, make one batch and then only bake a handful – like 8 cookies. Put the dough in frig or freezer for next batch. 😁. I do this so I have quick treat from oven when someone stops by. Also, I have an oat roller/Flaker that I love. I will have to look up where it was purchased because I love this one.

          For oatmeal, roll the oat groat, measure half cup rolled oats, cup and half water, cinnamon, dash maple syrup. Cook for 5 minutes – don’t forget to stir. When done with add fresh cow milk and a little more syrup if we wanted sweeter. Often times we had fresh fruit like blueberries and raspberries peaches near the end. My brother-in-law who has high cholesterol swears eating this each morning get his cholesterol work needed to be

        6. DAMedinNY
          Ive been wanting to get a flaker, nice to have, plus then its easier to make stuff from my groats and such, that and a good corn grinder are on the list, want to get the units from grainmaker but are quite expensive, worth it though if my grainmaker flour mill is any indication, i love that thing.

        7. I got my oat flaker, the Marga Molina from thewholetruthdotorg. They are currently sold out. I really like it and use it a lot. Everyone that has tried fresh rolled oats refuses to go back to anything store bought. This includes my entire extended family and all my friends. Oats are a big part of our LTS but are used regularly in our weekly menu.

    2. Mrs. U. and others that like Bob’s Red Mill. If you watch vita-cost, they often have specials on this brand. Hitting it right, you can double up on the coupons with one when you take 20% off your order, plus the Bobs coupon. There is free shipping over fifty. I get my raw walnuts from them. I also like their muffin liners for easy clean up.
      Another discovery I have with Bobs’ is that the flour keeps a really long time, even if you forget and leave some in the original package. Artisan and pastry flours have kept well for me. I don’t buy any bread, buns, etc, so I do go through it, but at a year and a half old, it still baked great bread and treats. I now keep it in five pound mylar, as it is easier to handle the a big bucket. There almond flour keeps pretty well. I do use their muffin mix, because when blueberries are ready so is everything else. It is gluten free and they only mix I use, unless the grandkids want to bake and I don’t have time. For this, I use cheap cake mixes.
      Good article on oats! Another one of their blessings is that they can be used with dried fruits (raisins, apples, prunes, cranberries, etc). Which also store well. I dry apple rings, sprinkle with cinnamon and keep them in big jars, with oxygen absorbers.

  4. Oats are good, many uses, gluten free alternative to grind into flour.
    Thanks for the info, was kinda curious how long my oats would last

  5. Say what you will, but I love Quaker instant oatmeal. Especially the Peaches and cream. Yum! Don’t know how long they last, but I guess I could eat plain oats if I had to. Guess I’m a little spoiled.

  6. For that type of breakfast food I prefer some type of granola. It seems to store well. For easy hot breakfast, I prefer corned beef hash, especially when out in the field. I recently found a misplaced 8 year old can of corned beef hash, it was delicious. Of course, I often have non-breakfast food for breakfast, including leftovers. Finally, breakfast is my favorite meal to just skip.

  7. I wouldn’t say they are LONG term for storage, and I really don’t keep any stock in them because I eat them every day. Ritz peanut butter crackers. I’ve tried all the other brands and nothing even comes close to taste and consistency. I think the trick is the salt they put on the Ritz. Most others have no taste of salt. I’ve pulled and eaten 3 year old Ritz packs from my glove box and swilled down with some hot java es muy bueno! The peanut butter gets a little dry. But the crackers are anyway so that’s what the coffee is for. I usually have two packs in the morning with coffee, that’s it. I don’t really know if I could stock enough that they would go bad before I eat them :-) Now that I think about I should try a test and vacuum pack some and put in the long term bins. I’ll check back in 10 years with results.

    1. Oh and when I’m at my cabin which is 3 mornings a week its 2 Ritz packs and a cup of Quaker Maple & Brown Sugar Oats.

    2. Prepared, I found with canning crackers, the ones with the least oils stored the longest. Others had that rancid oil taste. Others may have had better experiences. I love the idea of keeping Ritz in the sleeve! That is a great tip.
      Although I have recipes to make wheat crackers, I must confess, I have not tried it yet. Anyone have a success story in that department.?

      1. This just reminded me. I think I actually took a box of Ritz with the 4 sleeves, put the sleeves into a Vacuum seal back and gently sealed it. Then I put it back into the box, into storage and forgot all about it. That was back in 2012. I think I’ll hunt for it this weekend to see how they made it if at all. Lesson learned to keep better track. Might be time to come up with a better spreadsheet…..

        1. If I look hard enough I think I might have some old travel/camp totes that might just have some of those Ritz packs. They’ll be 10+yo for sure, if I can find them.

      2. Ariel, I purchase large boxes of Ritz. Put 4 sleeves in smallish Mylar bag and one 300cc O2 absorber. We just ate some crackers that were over 5 yrs old. They were delicious! No rancid flavor at all. Taste like I just bought them.

      3. Hi Ariel, I used to make my own crackers. As with any recipe, it took a few tries to get it right. The first few batches were to heavy; like I used too much flour or maybe didn’t mix it up properly. I often mixed in herbs or pepper. Substituted olive oil instead of butter a couple times to see if it tasted different. Kids always liked them. Haven’t made them in a while, but I know I can if I ever want to again!

  8. For LTS I get 25#bags of Bob’s from the restaurant supply. Price has gone up. It’s about $1/pound right now.

  9. I eat probably quarter cup of rolled oats every other day. Good for lowering cholesterol levels and keeps you fuller longer. We’re constantly rotating through probably 8-10 of the cardboard containers they come in but I’ve never thought about adding to longer term storage. Assumed they wouldn’t keep well (know what they say about assuming). Great article Ken

  10. I am with Chuck in that I like steel cut oats served with brown sugar and half and half if I am to eat oatmeal plain in the morning. Steel cut oats have a nice flavor and they are worth the extra cooking time. I like the versatility of rolled oats for making oatmeal cookies with dried fruit. (raisins and diced mango). I grew up eating oats from a round cylinder with the Quaker on the label. My wife introduced me to steel cut oats.
    Old Alaskan mentioned corned beef hash in the morning. I used to eat this most every day if I had a hot breakfast. I liked to cook the hash until it has crispy bits and top it with an egg that has a cooked white with a runny yolk. I still have a fair amount of canned hash in my storage though I do not eat it as frequently in an effort to reduce my cholesterol. My Japanese relatives referred to this as American Caviar. Many Japanese exchange students returned home with the knowledge and ability to fix hash and eggs and do a good job grilling a steak.

    1. I prefer the steal cut as well. You can finish cooking them in your thermos pot, or a sun oven in good weather.
      Today only 20% off Vitacost, on food items. Code FOOD10.

  11. Reply to Wooly Bugger on rat bait: According to Robert Sullivan the author of “Rats” the best bait for New York rats were chicken pot pie. I have found that mixing oats with peanut butter (Jiff will do. Does not have to be organic) is more versatile and easier to work with. I would also add a few drops of the oil left over from a tin of oil packed sardines as nocturnal animals are strongly driven by scent.
    Have you placed some carbide in their tunnels yet like Dennis recommended?

    1. Calirefugee, as a kid, I trapped hundreds of mice and rats using peanut butter.

    2. Been busy starting seeds for the garden. I haven’t found a source of calcium carbide yet. People on this site have been so helpful with all their suggestions. I’m going to be busy all summer killing rats.

      1. put out cornmeal w/baking soda- half and half cover w/something like old cola crate/ cardboard to keep out water.

      2. Check your local Army Surplus store for carbide. Makes a great emergency wet weather fire starter too!

  12. So far I have not seen anyone mention that eating oats (say oatmeal for breakfast) is a way to significantly lower your cholesterol.

  13. Also take note that eating red yeast rice ( under your doctor’s advice) can help you eliminate statins from your daily medications.

  14. I would never take stations, as they can cause rhabdomyolysis. If I did take them, I would supplement with Coenzyme Q10, to ameliorate the side effects. Of course, this is not medical advice. I am not a physician, and I don’t play one on TV.

      1. Old Alaskan – you are correct about the problem that statins cause

      2. My dad was on Lipitor for years before he died. His muscles shrank to the point where he could barely stand. His doctor insisted on keeping him on it long after it was doing him more harm than good.


  15. Augason Farms price now on amzn:

    Regular Rolled Oats Emergency Food Storage 10 Pound Pail
    $51.99 ($0.32 / Ounce)

    Hard White Wheat Emergency Food Storage 26 Pound Pail (2 pack)
    $153.90 ($0.37 / Ounce)
    (amzn pic shows 24 pound bucket, text says 26 pound)

    Long Grain White Rice Emergency Food Storage 24 Pound Pail

    MY email receipt for the same items on Feb 10, 2015, 9:24 PM from wallmart:
    (yea, obviously I kept that.. gmail)
    Read it and weep.

    Item Qty Price Total
    Augason Farms Emergency Food Long Grain White Rice, 28 lb 1 $29.36 $29.36
    Arrives by Sat., Feb 21
    Augason Farms Emergency Food Quick Rolled Oats, 10 lb 2 $15.65 $31.30
    Arrives by Sat., Feb 21
    Augason Farms Emergency Food Hard White Wheat, 26 lb 2 $15.28 $30.56
    Arrives by Sat., Feb 21

    Subtotal: $91.22
    Shipping: Free
    Tax: $0.00
    Order total: $91.22

    1. Well over 100% price increase above.
      $187.16 today amazon for the three items
      In 2015 $60.29 wallmart for the three items
      I don’t think I mixed my numbers, if I’m wrong, correct me.

      To store my own rice, about 30 pounds -mylar/bucket/o2 absorber/gammaseal lid
      cheapo rice 30 pound $17
      bucket $3.5
      mylar..? say $2
      o2 $1
      gamma lid $8
      Your better off bucketing rice and beans yourself.
      My prices are estimates from my own purchases.
      $31.5 to long term one bucket of rice.
      gammaseal lids obviously not necessary, cheap lids are about $2.5
      I’ll go away now, for a little while.

      1. Me and DW did the big Beans and Rice stash a couple years ago.
        We did the Costco runs as we were watching folks walk out with the newest biggest LED wide screens they had on Hot Sale. Even during Covid (SMH).
        We did gallon (about 5lb) Mylar’s with ziplock re-sealers and put 10 each Rice and 5 each beans in each tote (ratios from a different thread). Came to 75 lbs, give or take, per tote.
        My advice, ….. use smaller totes.
        The 5lb buckets became available locally and got a few to try.
        Gamma lids – expensive. Regular lids – cheap.
        I figure just buy a few Gamma lids for the buckets you’ll get into often.
        The rest for long term can be regular lids and reuse the Gamma’s.

        But back to the topic at hand.
        Maybe a bulk stash of roll your own oats, so to speak, is in order.
        Or is that sow your own oats? Or roll your own. I get confused with all this prepping stuff.

  16. Reply to No Joke, Old Alaskan and wooly bugger about taking statins: I am very conscious about side effects whenever an MD prescribes something for me to take in the form of a new pill. I work as a nurse dispensing pills and meds to people for a living and one size does not fit all. What works for the goose may not work for the gander. As a person that studied economics, I always ask people what they think of the new medication they are taking and i track responses and figure out people that do not take or do not like the meds and for what reasons.
    For statins like Lipitor, I have seen some 6 of 10 people who were prescribed them did not like them to the point where they had to stop taking the medication. Some of the respondants include some of my own blood relatives. This data was gathered prior to my own MD prescribing lipitor 40 mg tab Q day for me based on my lab values. I chose to not take lipitor and went to work changing my diet on my own. It took a full year but I was able to reverse my HDL/LDL ratio via diet alone. (I cannot say it was easy or inexpensive). Oatmeal is good in that it fills my tummy and crowds out enough space such that I no longer crave the corned beef hash and eggs I used to eat daily. I am not a Saint preaching the gospel of high fiber though. I tend to add unhealthy amounts of half and half plus brown sugar to make my dentists teeth hurt just looking at it. Eat enough good stuff that you do not have room for the bad-for-you stuff.

    1. Calirefugee, thanks for the good report. Due to your knowledge and self discipline, it sounds like you are way ahead of me, healthwise. I think everyone on this blog agrees that investing in our health is the best prep.

  17. Ariel, I purchase large boxes of Ritz. Put 4 sleeves in smallish Mylar bag and one 300cc O2 absorber. We just ate some crackers that were over 5 yrs old. They were delicious! No rancid flavor at all. Taste like I just bought them.

    1. I’m thinking that would work in regular vacuum seal bags, just don’t do the full air extraction so they don’t get crushed and an O2 absorber then squarish bucket to protect them.
      Gonna try that soon, likely only let them idle a year for my test.
      Recently ordered 40 extra 100CC Oxygen Absorbers to seal my unused hand warmers.

      Unsure if it’s a worthy endeavor because of space but I’ll see.

      1. Horse
        If you are looking at these for an emergency situation or long-term storage. Place those crackers in glass canning jars, by that I am referring to any glass jar that was used for food. Including foods purchased at the grocery store, as those glass jars and lids are a blessing most toss into the recycle bin. Clean them up and use the same as a regular canning jar. *Pickle jars do not work for these projects due to the smell-fyi*.

        Place the lid on slightly then place into the correct size vacuum seal bag and process the bag as you would any for any other food product. You will hear the lid click down because the air has been removed. I did this with the small fish cheese crackers. I gave a portion to the neighbor, family and still had more than I could eat. Did this about 4 years ago and I am on the last jar. When I open it up will post the results of the taste and texture of the crackers.

  18. has anyone here ever tried to dry can grains? we have canned many veggies in a canner but we have never tried to dry can anything.
    i’m thinking that after we put grains in a freezer for a few weeks and then dry can it in mason jars, the weevil problem should be no more. i’m sure mylar bags and o2 absorbers work great, but we trust mason jars and it’s all we have to work with. just taking up a lot of room is the only downside for jars. we have them poked everywhere.
    any hands on advice on how to dry can would be appreciated, and thanks in advance.

  19. Three months ago, I started eating oatmeal everyday for breakfast. At first I found that I was hungry within about 3 hours. I bulked up my serving with a tablespoon of pecans or walnuts, sunflower seeds, chia seeds (if I have them), and dried or fresh/frozen berries. Now that is a good breakfast that keeps me through the morning.

  20. I like oatmeal, oatmeal doesn’t like me.
    Those packets I use are 1.3oz, I can tolerate 2 at a time.

    The raisin, date and walnut is my favorite.

    1. Yea, weird huh, i have indigestion issues with oatmeal no matter how much i cook it down, i love the stuff, with honey and some cinnamon or the instant packs with apple etc in them, but man, i eat a couple and within a hour im miserable

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