Food That Lasts Forever – Indefinite Shelf Life

Which foods will last forever? Is there such a thing as an indefinite shelf life? Okay, maybe some of them won’t actually last ‘forever’, but maybe ‘almost’ forever!

When we’re talking about decades, that’s almost forever, right?

Here’s a starter list to get you thinking about some of the foods that last a LONG TIME, perhaps with a somewhat indefinite shelf life…

TWINKIES (They’ve proven this, right?)
SPAM (!!!) (read about it here)
McDonald’s “hamburgers”
FRUITCAKE ‘bricks’ (great for re-gifting)
POP TARTS (everyone knows this, right?)

Okay, all joking aside (or not?), first you might want to read about so called “expiration” dates that you see on most food product packaging. It’s probably not what you think… (hint: foods don’t suddenly “expire”)

[ Read: ‘Use by’ ‘Best by’ dates – What do they really mean? ]


Here are some foods that you might say have somewhat of an indefinite shelf life. Add your own thoughts below…


White rice is a food that will last forever (almost indefinitely) with proper storage (sealed, airtight container in a cool dry place). Cooked white rice has about 200 calories per cup (nearly 700 raw).

[ Read: How To Seal a Mylar Bag in a 5 Gallon Bucket ]

[ Read: How To Cook Rice with 80% Less Fuel ]


Dried beans can last almost indefinitely if stored properly. That said, gradual moisture loss will eventually affect the taste and texture. Old beans will need longer soaking and cooking times (try adding salt toward the end of the recipe to avoid toughening up the skin). Use a pressure cooker to quickly cook those old beans (it works!). Pinto beans are packed with about 250 calories per cup boiled (almost 700 raw).

[ Read: The Best Way to Store Beans ]

[ Read: All American Pressure Canner That Will Last Forever… ]


‘Wheat Berries’ if stored properly will last forever – many decades (or longer!). A flour mill will be needed to grind the wheat into flour (the best way for delicious fresh bread!). There are more than 600 calories in one cup of raw wheat berries.

[ Read: Flour Mill – Hand operated & Electric ]

[ Read: How Much Wheat in a 5 Gallon Bucket? ]


White sugar will store indefinitely. It will last forever. Sugar has an indefinite shelf life because it does not support microbial growth. There are almost 800 calories in a cup of sugar! Not exactly a food, but health issues aside, it’s a common ingredient in so many foods or food preparation…

[ Read: Raw Honey For Nutrition and Medicine ]


Again, not something that you would consume directly, but it’s probably the most common additive to spice up foods. Salt will last indefinitely. It is a mineral and will not spoil. Salt is a powerful flavor enhancer and anti-microbial meat preservative.

Sherpa Pink Himalayan Salt
(view on amzn)

[ Read: 30+ Uses for Salt ]


Raw honey keeps well because it contains practically no water content and it’s loaded with sugar. The consistency and color of honey can change over time. An easy fix for crystallized honey is to gently reheat it. Honey also serves as a topical wound healing treatment. Honey in contact with any bacteria will ‘dry’ it out.

[ Read: The Many Benefits of Honey ]


White Vinegar is made out of corn. Apple Cider Vinegar is (you guessed it) is made from apples. Vinegar contains a low pH and is technically a preserved food. Vinegar can be used as a condiment, a cleaning agent and for many other uses.

[ Read: Practical Uses for Vinegar ]


Powdered milk has pretty much an indefinite shelf life when sealed up. Perhaps a good alternative for long term food storage preps.

Augason Farms Morning Moo’s Low Fat Milk Alternative
(view on amzn)

[ Read: The Benefits of Powdered Milk for Long Term Storage ]


‘Unrefined’ coconut oil is also called virgin coconut oil. This type of coconut oil has the most nutritional benefits. Shelf life has been documented as anywhere from 2-5 years to ‘indefinite’. It can be used in place of butter, shortening, and cooking oil. We use it here at the MSB homestead. Delicious too.

Pure Cold-Pressed Coconut Oil
(view on amzn)


Hard liquor. Distilled spirits will last indefinitely. It will never go bad (even if it has been opened). Be aware that ‘Liqueurs‘ though contain sugar and other ingredients that can spoil over time. Cream liqueurs have dairy, cream or egg and only last about 18 months.

More Food That Lasts Forever…

This article was posted a few years ago. The following are a few more foods with a seemingly indefinite shelf life that you added to the list from your comments back then.

(I’ve cleared the comment slate so you can add your latest opinions)


Thickening agent for gravy and other things.


It’s sweet. Keeps indefinitely.


Useful for flavoring dishes.


The pure kind. Best in glass bottles.


A clarified butter.


Great for enhancing the flavor of your food storage ‘staples’.

Freeze Dried & Dehydrated Foods

Properly sealed. Up to 25 years, depending on food type.


Like rice, oats will keep for a LONG time if stored properly.

Any additional suggestions for naturally long-lasting foods with an apparent indefinite shelf life?