20 Comfort Foods for the Survival Pantry

Avatar Gaye Levy  |  Updated: December 16, 2020
20 Comfort Foods for the Survival Pantry

For better or for worse, our lives are full of stress.  The weather, our jobs, the economy, financial woes, and poor health can all contribute to stress.  In addition, for most of us, the biggest stress is simply that there are not enough hours in the day. Add prepping and learning new skills to the mix and life can get dicey.

Whatever the reason, many of us are under a relentless cloud of stress that never lets up.  We find ourselves enveloped by an undercurrent of tension that exists as we go about our day, even during normal times.  I can only imagine what stress will be like following a disruptive event such as a disaster or collapse of some sort.

20 Comfort Foods for the Survival Pantry - Backdoor Survival

I am here to tell you that comfort foods can be a great stress-reliever, expanded waistlines notwithstanding. For better or for worse, comfort food can, for a short period at least, bring back nostalgic memories of better times.  For lack of any other reason, that alone, dictates that comfort foods belong in the survival pantry.

Comfort Food to the Rescue

Before we jump into 20 comfort foods for the survival pantry, let me give you some personal background: I have a reputation for being a food snob.  I prefer natural foods, preferably fresh and organic and simply prepared without excess adornment.  Even so, I recognize the value of comfort food when life is not going according to plan.

What do I mean by comfort foods?

As I stated above, these are foods that take us back to a time when we were carefree and stress-free.  For many this was childhood and before the big “R” (Responsibility) became a part of lives.  It should come as no surprise, then, that many comfort foods are soft, smooth, soothing foods that go down easy and make you feel happy.

The bottom line is that coping after a disruptive event is going to be difficult.  We may be confined to our homes and unable to get to the store to purchase fresh food.  Even if we did, the shelves are likely to be bare.  Over an extended period, we may have to settle for a diet of rice, beans, oatmeal and other bulk foods that are supplemented by whatever we have growing in our gardens.

If that happens, comfort foods are going to be necessary not only to add variety to our daily fare, but also to mitigate food fatigue and boredom, and to serve as a stress reliever.  Although comfort foods transcend our quest for proper nutrition; it becomes “mental health” food, and I make no apologies for that.

What Are Some Common Comfort Foods?

I am so glad you asked.

Here are 20 of the comfort foods in my own survival pantry.  Note that this list includes many items that are suitable for short term storage and, although with proper packaging and storage conditions, may be viable for a lot longer than that.  I am purposely not including specialty freeze-dried foods (brownie mixes, ice cream bars, and the like) but of course, they too would be a welcome addition to the food storage pantry.

1.  Popcorn to prepare the old fashioned way in old pot sitting on top of the burner or the campfire

2.  M & Ms or what I like to call, “Survival Tranquilizers”

3.  Hard Candies such as butterscotch drops or Lifesavers

4.  Chocolate Pudding Mix

5.  Dark Chocolate Bars

6.  Granola Bars

7.  Kraft Mac & Cheese

8.  Hot Cocoa Mix

9.  Coffee, or in my case, French Roast Beans

10.  Raisins, Craisins, Trail Mix and Other Dried Fruits and Nuts

11.  Biscuit Mix to enjoy with jam and honey

12.  Hostess Cupcakes – don’t laugh; they never go bad

13.  Mashed Potatoes made from Instant Potato Pearls

14.  Peanut Butter

15.  Spaghetti and Pasta Sauce

16.  Chicken Noodle Soup

17.  Campbell’s Tomato Soup

18.  Canned Chili and Baked Beans

19.  Oreo Cookies

20.  Organic, Unprocessed Honey – so good, you can eat it by the spoonful straight from the jar!

The Final Word

Food rotation is especially important with your comfort foods since most are not easily packaged for long term storage.  Once exception is popcorn which stores extremely well.

Now for some homework.  This is my list.  What about you?  What items additional items would you include as comfort foods in your own food storage pantry?

Enjoy your next adventure through common sense and thoughtful preparation!

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I frequently emphasize the importance of “Comfort” when it comes to survival.  Whereas being truly comfortable during and following a disruptive event is an oxymoron, there are items that I feel will contribute to our comfort, for better or for worse.

Let’s start with something we can use to brew coffee and move on from there, ending with some games to keep our minds occupied.

Farberware Classic Stainless Steel Yosemite 8-Cup Coffee Percolator:   I own this manual coffee grinder but have not used it yet although the reviews are good:  Hario Ceramic Coffee Mill.  Note that whole beans store well when sealed in a Mason Jar (see How to Use a FoodSaver for Vacuum Canning).

Making biscuits in a cast iron pan - Backdoor Survival

Lodge Logic Cast Iron Pre-Seasoned Drop Biscuit Pan: Biscuits with jam is one of my favorite comfort foods.  This is the pan I purchased for biscuit making and to me, it was worth the cost.  If you don’t mind seasoning your own (it’s easy), you can save some money with this one Texsport.

Dorcy LED Wireless Motion Sensor Flood Lite: Having adequate light when the grid is down is another key to comfort.  Don’t let the price lead you to think this wireless flood light is wimpy. I have two of these and feel that these lights are worth double the price.

Coleman Mini Lantern:  You already know that I have a think about flashlights but this is a slightly different take on portable lighting.  It is 7.5 inches tall lantern and weighs just seven ounces, including batteries.  And boy does it give off light.

Mr. Heater Portable “Big Buddy” Heater:  Off course you are going to need a heat source.  With Mr. Buddy heater, you can use propane indoors safely.  It features an automatic low-oxygen shut-off system that automatically turns the unit off before carbon monoxide fumes reach dangerous levels in the home.  To learn more about propane, read the series Propane for Preppers.

Ticket To Ride: This my favorite board game, bare none.  Family friendly, you will spend hours in front of the fireplace playing Ticket to Ride with your favorite people.  This is worth the splurge.

Bicycle Canasta Games Playing Cards:  This timeless classic will keep the entire family occupied when the power it out.  Playing cards or board games should be in everyone’s preparedness kit.

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21 Responses to “20 Comfort Foods for the Survival Pantry”

    • Hi!

      I see you mentioned ” Anderson Pea Soup”. Is this a soup that mixes with water only? If so, would you endorse or reccomend any other ” just add water” soups?

  1. Sheila,
    How long will the jars last. I’ve been thinking about doing that for the triscuits and other crackers. Supposedly if you “dry” can the crackers, they’ll last a long time with out going stale. Didn’t think of doing the cornstarch, cocoa, etc that way as well
    Thanks for the tip

    • According to the lady, sorry can’t remember her name, from LES video on YouTube, the chocolate chips, not milk chocolate, will store indefinitely if vacuum sealed. Dark chocolate preps best but I don’t like dark chocolate. I’ve also added hard candy like butterscotch, lemon drops. All these items are stored in jelly jars just incase of lid failure. Vacuum seal crackers, obsessiveprepperaz, shows 2 ways.

  2. Chocolate chips (vacuum sealed) in mason jar, Easter egg dye kit, trailmix bars (these are everywhere, food storage, bob, car). Will be dehydrating tater tots (thanks to Bexar Prepper for that idea). Chocolate pudding, jello, Hersheys cocoa. I do a lot of vacuum sealing. Cocoa and pudding are hard to vacuum seal, like cornstarch, so I put my jars in a 200 degree for 20 minutes to heat the jars, then fill them and they make their own seal.

    • Good Morning!

      Do you think that heating a canning jar, lid and ring for 20 minutes and then filling them would be a good reccomendation for any or all “tender” items? Should you cool the jars after heating but before filling and sealing?

  3. Sale trends to help you stock up on your food supply. Yearly Sale Trends
    National Oatmeal Month-Quaker
    Diet Food-Healthy Choice, South Beach, Lean Cuisine, etc…
    Super Bowl-Pepsi, Coke, Chips, Dips, Cheese, Sandwich Items, Crackers, Snacks, Wings, etc…
    Clearance-Christmas Decorations, Toys, Wrapping, etc…
    Winter Health-Cold Medicine and Vitamins, etc…
    Seasonal Produce-Oranges, Pears, Grapefruit, Tangerines, Broccoli, Carrots, Kale, Kiwi, Avocado, Cabbage, Spinach, etc…
    National Canned Food Month-Canned Fruit, Pie Filling, Veggies, Meats (Tuna, Chicken, etc…)
    National Hot Breakfast Month-Malt O Meal, Oatmeal, Eggo Waffles, Syrup, etc…
    Valentines-Chocolate, KY, etc…
    Chinese New Year-Soy Sauce, Teriyaki, Noodles, Canned Water Chestnuts, etc…
    Seasonal Produce-Artichoke, Asparagus, Raspberries, Potatoes, Strawberries, Broccoli, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chard, Collards, Kale, Kiwi, Avocado, Spinach, etc…
    Frozen Food Month-Ice Cream, Frozen Vegetables, Frozen Meals, Foster Farms Chicken, Waffles, Pizza, etc…
    Seasonal Produce-Artichokes, Asparagus, Haas Avocado, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, chard, Collards, Fennel, Kale, Leeks, Lime, Mushrooms, Spring Onions, Oranges, Peas, Radish, Rhubarb, Spinach, Strawberries, Tangerines, etc…
    Easter-Ham, Eggs, Spices, Baking Supplies (Sugar, Baking Mixes, Chocolate Chips, Coconuts, Butter, Marshmallows, Brownie/Cake Mix), etc…
    Earth Day-Organic Food, Energy Savers, Reusable Totes, etc…
    Clearance-After Easter Sales
    Seasonal Produce-Artichokes, Asparagus, Beets, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Grapefruit, Haas Avocado, Mushrooms, Onions, Peas, Rhubarb, etc…
    Memorial Day-BBQ Sauce, Condiments, Charcoal, Salad Dressing, Potato Chips, Dips, Grilling Meats, Hot Dogs, Hamburger, Marinades, Salad Greens, etc…
    Picnic Products-Paper Plates, Plastic Utensils, Insect Repellant, Sunscreen, etc…
    Cinco de Mayo-Salsa, Tortillas, etc…
    Seasonal Produce-Artichokes, Asparagus, Avocado, Beans, Blackberries, Carrots, Sweet Onions, Peas, Potatoes, Raspberries, Strawberries, etc…
    National Dairy Month-Eggs, Milk, Ice Cream, Cheese, Cream Cheese, Butter, Yogurt, Whipping Cream, Whipped Cream, Cool Whip, etc…
    End of June/4th of July Sales-Hot Dogs, Hamburger, BBQ Sauce, Condiments, Charcoal, Salad Dressing, Potato Chips, Dips, etc…
    Seasonal Produce-Apricots, Blackberries, Blueberries, Boysenberries, Cherries, Corn, Cucumber, Eggplant, Grapes, Honeydew, Nectarines, Peaches, Potatoes, Raspberries, Red Onions, Squash, Summer Squash, Strawberries, Sweet Vidalia Onions, Tomatoes, Watermelon, etc…
    National Ice Cream Month-Ice Cream
    4th of July-Hot Dogs, Hamburgers, BBQ Sauce, Condiments, Charcoal, Salad Dressing, Potato Chips, Dips, etc…
    Back to School Sales-Crayons, Pencils, Folders, Binders, etc…
    Seasonal Produce-Asian Pears, Bartlett Pears, Beans, Greens, Blueberries, Corn, Cucumber, Eggplant, Figs, Garlic, Grapes, Nectarines, Onions, Oranges, Peaches, Bell Peppers ,Plums, Potatoes, Summer Squash, Tomatoes, Watermelon, etc…
    Back to School-Pudding Cups, Lunch Meat, Lunchables, Bread, Cold Cereal, Waffles, Lunch Boxes, etc…
    Disinfectant-Clorox, Purell, etc…
    Clearance-Insect Repellent, Sunscreen, Charcoal, etc…
    Seasonal Produce-Apples, Avocado, Green Beans, Beans, Berries, Corn, Cucumber, Eggplant, Figs, Grapes, Melons, Onions, Peaches, Pears, Bell Peppers, Plums, Raspberries, Summer Squash, Tomatillos, Tomatoes, etc…
    Back to School through Labor Day-Crayons, Pencils, Folders, Binders, etc…
    Diabetes-Bayer Glucose Meters, Glucerna Cereal, etc…
    Baby Items-Major Baby Equipment, Baby Safety, etc…
    Seasonal Produce-Apples, Artichokes, Beans, Bell Peppers, Chili Peppers, Cucumber, Eggplant, Grapes, Onion, Oranges, Pears, Pomegranate, Squash, Tomatillo, Tomatoes, Winter Squash, etc…
    National Seafood Month
    Adopt a Shelter Dog Month-Pedigree, Purina, etc…
    Halloween-Candy, Fresh Pumpkins, etc…
    Beginning of the Baking Sales-Canned Pumpkin, Evaporated Milk, Baking Chips, etc…
    End of Day Light Savings-Alarm Clocks, Batteries, Safety Equipment, Smoke Detectors, etc…
    Seasonal Produce-Almonds, Apples, Artichokes, Arugula, Beets, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbages, Chard, Chestnuts, Cranberries, Lemons, Parsnips, Pears, Pomegranates, Potatoes, Sweet Potatoes, Pumpkins, Spinach, Squash, Turnips, Yams, etc…
    Thanksgiving Items-Turkey, Canned Pumpkin, Stove Top Stuffing, Boxed Potatoes, Gravy Mixes, Frozen Pies, Cranberry Sauce, Jello, Marshmallows, etc…
    Baking Sales-Nuts, Chocolate Chips, Evaporated Milk, Sweetened Condensed Milk, Coconut, Cake Mixes, etc…
    Canned Food-Soup, Broth, Vegetables, Fruit, Spaghetti Sauce, etc…
    Hot Drinks-Hot Chocolate, Coffee, Tea, etc…
    Clearance-After Halloween Sales
    Seasonal Produce-Anjou Pears, Beets, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Celery, Conice Pears, Cranberries, Kiwi, Lemons, Oranges, Potatoes, Squash, Yams, etc…
    Holiday Dinner-Egg Nog, Deli Platters, Instant Potatoes, Gravy Mixes, Frozen Pies, Cranberry Sauce, Jello, Marshmallows, Sour Cream, Dips, Crackers, Chips, Soda, Ham, etc…

  4. I have been dehydrating apples – you core the apple, slice it into rings, then sprinkle flavored jello powder on them, each side – I use salt & pepper shakers for different flavors. Our favorite flavors are lime and strawberry. Dip the apples into pineapple juice for flavor enhancement prior to sprinkling with the jello. After they’re dry and crispy you can put them into a mylar bag with an oxygen absorber or you can use your food saver and pull a vacuum on a jar, or put them into bags and pull a vacuum.

    I am also going to be putting crackers into mylar with an oxygen absorber to keep them fresh longer.

    I’ve read that you can successfully store, long term, milk chocolate in wheat bran if you keep it in a cool, dark place. I haven’t tried it yet – it’s on my list.

  5. My list is as complete as Gaye’s and Learners, the first thing in the Bug out bag is dark chocolate bars. Second are almond or peanut M&M’S. I buy them right after the holiday on sale with a coupon so they’re practically free. Sunflower seeds and dehydrated banana chips and pineapple are a favorite too.

  6. Gaye – a great reminder to think outside the standard list of food-stores. I usually keep cheese-n-cracker packs and trailmix in my car’s emergency bag, plus individual drink powders for the water bottles. The funny thing is that I don’t have anything like this in my house for longterm planning. Question: if these are things that will be rotated out more than the staples, do you still vacuum seal them? Or do you just leave them in their packaging, perhaps in a sealed container? I know Twinkies have a never-ending shelf life, but I wonder at things like the cream in Oreos, even if you seal them in a jar.

    • I tend to vacuum seal a lot of things in mason jars. My eating habits are fickle so, with the example of oreos, I may eat five or six then not touch them for months. Also, I live with a two legged pest that tends to get into things (his waistline shows it LOL) but if the goodies are sealed, he thinks twice.

  7. Gaye,
    You are a woman after my own heart. M&M’s are called dragon food around my house, Grandson #3(3 yrs old) named them that after last Halloween. He was a knight riding a dragon and the “dragon” needed some food to keep going 😉 . I added canned cherry pie filling to my list of “comfort” foods. My grandmamma used to do up cherry pancakes for me when I was little, it always made me feel good inside.

  8. Gaye, have you been snooping in my pantry? lol your list is almost identical to my inventory with one swapout. My family is so used to my homemade mac-n-cheese that they would string me up if I tried to serve them Kraft. I haven’t tried to used the freeze dried cheese yet but it’s on my to do list. A few things I have that you didn’t list are: jars of apple butter, bags of chocolate chips, graham crackers, maple syrup, jello, canned pumpkin, and potato chips. I am also going to attempt to dehydrate peperoni slices. My kids (like most) love pizza. I have stored flour, yeast and sauce already. If the slices will dehydrate well enough and I get some freeze dried mozzarella I might be in business.

    • Eighteen years ago we bought freeze dried cheese sauce, specifically to make mac-n-cheese in a disaster scenario. It is pretty bad. I’ve never found a good use for it. Tried using it in casseroles, eggs, added to various pasta and bean dishes, but it just doesn’t taste like real cheese or even like Kraft cheese packets. So while we would eat it in a true disaster, other than that it just sits in our pantry. It’s almost 20 years old and still as good as the day we bought it. So try buying small packets of several different brands before you commit to a large amount. On the other hand, we bought freeze dried pepperoni and sausage both “un-meat”, dried chicken and beef chunks, and a creamy soup base, that are all very good. All from Mountain House.

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