essentials for cooking in the survival kitchen

Some Cooking Essentials for the Survival Kitchen

Lets list some of the essentials for cooking in what I call the survival kitchen. A kitchen that’s set up for prepping & preparedness for ‘just in case’. Maybe due to the potential for supply chain issues, or any of the many possibly disruptive events. Whatever the motivation for your own survival kitchen, what are some of the so called staple items or essentials that you should have?

I’m not talking about every little thing. That list could be quite long. Most every kitchen already is set up with many of the ordinary essentials.

Instead, lets try to focus it down to so called essentials from a preparedness outlook. For example, if the power is out (what if for a long time..). Or, do you have enough of commonly used ‘essentials’. Yes it’s a matter of opinion, but that’s a good place to start.

So I’m going to look at it from the perspective of hardware/appliance essentials, and food-related essentials for cooking/preparing.

Survival Kitchen Appliance Essentials

  • Butane fueled portable stove/burner. I like the Iwatani brand (Japan). I wrote about that awhile ago (Indoor Butane Stove). And don’t forget the extra fuel canisters.
  • Hand grain/flour mill. Used to grind up most any grain for further processing or consumption. A related article with several choices (here).
  • Cast Iron Dutch Oven. For cooking over a fire (or in the coals) – just in case (good example on amzn). I bought one years ago, along with a tripod to hold it.
  • Manual can opener. So many of us have electric can openers. But a good quality manual one is a must. I’ve always like OXO the best.
  • Coffee Percolator. Electricity out? No problem. Well I suppose you could also stock up with freeze-dried coffee instead (or in addition to).
  • Countertop gravity-fed water filter. Oh my, this is quite essential in my opinion. Most of you know the one I prefer… (USA Berkey Filters)

Survival Kitchen Cooking Essentials

  • Oils. I can’t imagine cooking without a supply of oils. I stock Olive oil,
    Avocado oil (has a higher temp. smoke point), and Coconut oil (because I like it with some things). Store extra in freezer for shelf life longevity.
  • Salt & Pepper. Though everyone has it, but do you have enough bulk? I use Kosher (meats), and Redmond (most else). For pepper, I store plenty of peppercorns and use with a grinder (tastes better that way anyway).
  • Yeast for making breads. Many preppers have a supply of wheat for breads. Unless you’re doing a sourdough method, a supply of yeast sure helps! (Here’s how to) store yeast long term.
  • Baking Soda, Baking Powder. Again, a baking essential. Got enough?
  • Herbs, Spices. We all have our own favorites. Choose those which you use the most, and buy it in bulk.
  • Canned butter. For when your fridge/freezer is no longer powered to keep dairy fresh. Maybe a luxury essential, and it’s expensive, but it’s butter.. (an article about Red Feather)

Okay, I’ll stop there for the moment. Lets hear from you. What would you add to these lists as far as what you might consider cooking essentials (staples) for the survival kitchen? This assumes you already have enough various foods for ‘just in case’.

33 Comments

  1. Morning ya’ll. I consider durable spatulas a must. Nothing scrapes out all of the food like a spatula. The last bits and bite might mean a lot shtf. There are wooden types and silicon spats as well. OXO has a durable silicon version.

    1. I have “spare” pressure weights (keep them in the vault as if gold!)

  2. Buildng a Survival Kitchen.
    Take a good hard look at your existing Kitchen and replace EVERY electrical item with something that needs absolutely no/zero power/electricity. Also you had better think on how long that Propane and Butane will last, can ya say Wood Cookstove?
    Everything from the Lights to the cooking timer that use power could be worthless.
    THEN toss most of that out “modern” stuff out
    A couple of essentials:
    Get rid of those fancy pots and pans, replace with Cast Iron.
    Get some heavy duty dishwear, plates, bowls, use canning jars as glasses.
    Also make sure you have some GREAT knives, you’ll probably be doing a lot of hand cutting of your foods, no more processed foods comming. Ever try skinning a rabbit with a dull, crappy knife?
    As far as foods, ya had better be going “Back to Basics”, also learn how to cook, not just opening packages and heating that crapo up.
    A Survival Kitchen? Better be thinking 1700-1800s Kitchen, you know, the way Great, Great, Grandma did things.

  3. I am in the process of completing my outdoor kitchen. Wood burning oven, charcoal/wood grill, 2 4 burner gas grills; one with an extra burner for sides, sink, and 2 drawer fridge that can be electric or propane by the throw of a switch. I have a counter-top solar oven and a countertop camp chef propane oven that will be set up out there as well as the free standing charcoal/wood smoker and a two large burner camp chef for canning pots.
    I am hoping that aside from being able to process all the home grown meats and milk, canning all the home grown fruits and veggies, that this will prove beneficial for large family gatherings. The “roof” extension is almost done, and the kitchen (all stainless steel) can be set into place and bolted together against the winds shortly thereafter. I think we are about 10 days away from being able to use…(fingers crossed and weather permitting).

  4. We keep a variety of sauces; BBQ, A1, teriyaki, mushroom soup and war sauce. Any road kill taste better with the right sauce. And yes we have used some of these that were 2-3 years past the best by date and they were fine. We have a good collection of cast iron but we found a set of 3 small ci skillets for $10 at rural king. We bought 4 sets. They make good gifts for young families and even the cheap ones will last forever if you take care of them.

  5. Have all the basic stuff most folks like yall have, camp stoves and ovens, all manner o utensils and such and supplies, i dont have a gas grill, but built a wood fired grill and have a cast griddle that fits perfect on it with a little space to spare, it works good for cooking anything and works pretty well even with pots n pans.
    We have a lot of wood around, close by too so not worried about fuel. Giant sized Dutch oven will work pretty good for basic baking needs.
    Have a big square steel fire pit on legs i built too that has a detachable arm with swing out grill, its big, kinda fun though, really only done marshmallows on it.

    1. nice. I have a tripod for my cast iron pot over an open flame…yard fire pit near the soon to be open air kitchen…could put that to work as well!

  6. On a serious note, if it all goes to heck with people fleeing?
    One thing I intended to do and only if homes were abandoned is use the diesel tractor to swipe a few 500 and 1000 gallon propane tanks.
    The 250’s and 500’s would be far simpler to move and hide.

    Locate them around the property hidden in the woods.
    One 250 gallon tank is cooking fuel for over two years.

    1. Hm. A reminder of one more security detail. If you’ve thought of taking them from abandoned homes, there are people out there who won’t wait.

    2. Horse,

      Risky business at best. What/who/for how long determines it’s abandoned property? At what point does scavenging not equate to theft? What’s the threshold?

      I arrested many a thief who would justify their stealing because, in their words, “if they didn’t want it stolen, why did they leave it outside where everybody can see it?” or, “Officer, how can it be burglary if they left their door unlocked?”

      Just curious as to what would be the criteria needed to declare property as truly abandoned.

    3. Horse, Out here there are parcels where folks do not live. However, some are BOLs for folks who live closer in to work. Others are stash/cache places for their owners who live not far. Strangers/squatters/thieves are easily spotted and reported widely.

  7. I’m also checking St Vinnies for old American made solid kitchen knives.
    None of those new SS ones from chinaland that some how rust??

    Plus that $4.50 4q pressure cooker I picked up at the resale shop today.

    1. Horse, look into Rada Made in the USA knives. I have several and been using them for many years. Easy to sharpen too! Stainless with aluminum handles and do not rust.

  8. One thing that always comes back around when talking about post collapse food and cooking and looking back at our ancestors, is the simplicity needed.
    For us, vegetables and a garden, eating fresh, then storing grains, like rice and wheat or oats.
    In a simple old school kitchen like the one pictured above i can imagine grinding wheat or oats for the daily bread, cooking up beans, and boiling up some squash and such.
    Meats are the thing im not so sure about beyond canning them, i am guessing that the occasional meat will be shared around and some canned if able, canning becomes a much more difficult task without propane burners or electric hotpads. And for us honestly smoking or drying while doable will be difficult. High humidity and cloudy skies dont lend well to drying meats or fish for that matter.
    Stuff to ponder, i know i can grow food, ie vegetables, small meat animals like rabbits could be a possibility but getting the other half on board is tough.
    It looks more like vegetarian and simple stuff only really, it aint going to be easy, but with a basic cooking setup relying on wood for the fuel it makes the most sense.

    1. I think flat breads are a solid thing to be good at, can be whipped up easily, minimal equipment and time needed, and will keep for a day or two or more easily and are pretty portable.

      Think about the diet of folks from the pioneer days, thats what our kitchen will really revolve around. Simple from simple ingredients, i guarantee it wont be tough to lose weight.

      Might be a good idea to look into how to clear out food born illness too, 😳

  9. Here’s a video i was watching on youtube, pretty interesting

    youtube.com/watch?v=NQty1HhFBFI

  10. Been thinking about welding up a wood burning cook stove, something basic, kinda hard to find that stuff over here then the cost is astronomical,

    A couple sheets of steel plate though not too bad, and use the plasma cutter and a couple boxes of rods and i could burn up a pretty decent wood stove.

    PioWs outdoor kitchen has had me thinking, and as usual thinking how to mcgiver stuff to get what i want.

    Ok, ill shut up now, sorry bout all the posts, was just reading the article again and thinking it all through.

    1. Kula
      I’ve built several that way, it’s not rocket science. With your skills, it’s entirely possible for you to build what ever suits your needs.

      Use the bid screw in gate hinges, these small/light duty one were the first to malfunction, had to replace them, which meant taking the stove out and over to the shop, then re-install again.

      1. Was thinking of using these weld on hinges i got left over from another job, a little over sized but are pretty hearty hinges, will be good for an oven door and firebox door. Was thinking about 3’x4’ top with take out circles only over the fire box, double wall between fire box and oven box, flue out the opposite corner from fire box. Whats the worst that could happen eh.

  11. Silicone oven mitts/gloves and smoke detector/fire extinguisher
    (A few weeks ago I set off the smoke detector baking monkey bread in my oven on a normal day…)

  12. Don’t forget a good supply of tin foil to line dutch ovens for baking. Makes clean up so much easier and can be used to wrap up leftovers.

    1. That totally didnt go in the direction i was thinking,

      Saw tin foil and was thinking head gear and lining for my shorts or somethin like that,,

      But yea, what you said makes wayyy more sense

      🤪

    2. Romeo Charlie
      Have you seen the price of tin foil, OMG!!! I got lucky and bought a ton of it YEARS ago, it don’t spoil. 500ft rolls of the heavy, and a whole bunch of the lighter stuff. Guess I was just lucky?

      1. SMG,
        Yep and it’ll just keep getting higher. The GDP for March was only 1.1% and the vast majority of that was in auto sales. Many companies are selling off the bulk inventory they accumulated post-Covid and are not planning on replacing it.

        JIT (Just In Time) got replaced with JIC (Just-In-Case) towards the end of COVID as companies bought up whatever they could get. However companies can’t afford to sit on large inventory stocks and when they don’t replace it or do so minimally, the supply chain will have to be reduced, orders will slow and the fragile JIT system will be back in place.

        Fully stocked shelves are back for now but the average person didn’t learn their lesson in 2020-21 and have quickly gone back to their “It will always be available” mentality. For us, being prepared is a lifestyle not a fad so when the shelves are empty at the grocery stores ours are full.

  13. Yep on the tinfoil…and just happened to catch the current price Monday – oh my! We have an endless supply of ash trees that need to be burned so fuel is covered. Stored leather hot mitts for the cast iron cooking. The charcoal goes faster than we realize and has been replaced. We enjoy smoking meats and that may be a good alternative for you Kula since drying is difficult. We also have cloudy and humid here.

    1. The Emerald Ash Borer wiped out all of my Ash trees. I have cut, split and stacked several but I’m leaving the rest standing for now. Really sad as the Ash were such a nice trees.

  14. Gotta get more tinfoil.
    Have multiple 25′ rolls back when the dollar store was a dollar store.
    Now it’s slightly cheaper to get the 150′ roll at wallchina, or it was last time I looked.

    I still need and want so much but if circumstances dictated I could function without quite a lot of those things.
    tinfoil is more a convenience.
    could always make a sheet metal hat lacking tinfoil.

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