In addition to helping you keep your pantry well stocked, this guide reveals how long things you already have can last on the shelf.

By Katlyn Moncada
May 04, 2020
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Now is a great time to make sure your pantry is well-stocked and organized. To help you keep your pantry stocked with foods that won't expire quickly, we've created this guide for your next grocery run. The foods we've included will last a year or longer on the shelf. Oh, and don't forget: if you stumble upon a bag of rice or can of corn that's past its expiration date while cooking from your pantry staples, you probably don't have to toss it. As long as your food is stored safely (at or below room temperature per the USDA's guidelines), you can still use your pantry goods and prevent food waste.

Credit: Shaun Sullivan

Foods That Will Keep for a Year

These are the shelf-stable items that will last at least a year in your pantry.

  • Applesauce
  • Boullion
  • Beans, dried (They will last longer than a year, but you might need to increase the cooking time since they get harder with age.)
  • Brown rice
  • Cake mix
  • Chia seeds
  • Cocoa
  • Coffee, instant
  • Condiments
  • Flour (Freeze or refrigerate opened flour for longer shelf life.)
  • Fruit, dried
  • High-acid canned goods such as juices, fruit, pickles, sauerkraut, tomato soup, and foods in vinegar-based sauces can last up to 18 months.
  • Jams and jellies
  • Jerky
  • Lentils
  • Milk, condensed or evaporated
  • Mushrooms, dried
  • Nuts, canned or jarred
  • Oats
  • Olive oil, unopened (Use opened oil within 6 months for best quality.)
  • Spices, unopened
  • Spaghetti sauce, jarred

Foods That Will Keep 2 Years (or More)

You can count on these products to last for at least two years in your cool, dry pantry.

  • Gravy, dry or canned
  • Honey
  • Low-acid canned items (meat, poultry, fish, gravy, stew, soups, beans, carrots, corn, pasta, peas, potatoes, spinach) will be safe to eat well past the ‘use-by’ or ‘best by’ date as long as the can shows no dents, rust, or swelling.
  • Molasses
  • Nondairy sauce mixes
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • Pasta, dry
  • Peanut butter, unopened
  • Powdered drink mixes
  • Quinoa
  • Rice, white or wild
  • Sugar (Sugar won't spoil, but for best quality use within 2 years of opening.)
  • Sugar substitutes
  • Tea bags
  • Textured soy protein
  • Vegetable juice, shelf-stable
  • Vegetable oil (1 year opened)
  • Vinegar

Foods You Shouldn't Consume After Expiration

Some foods, ingredients, and baby formula should not be consumed after the "best by" date.

  • Baby food and formula
  • Baking powder and soda
  • Yeast

If a can is damaged or the product has an off odor, bugs, or mold, toss it. According to the USDA, quality, not safety, is the reason manufacturers will recommend you refrigerate certain products after opening; by refrigerating a product, you can extend its shelf life. For specific items not listed here, you can search for it using the Foodsafety.gov's FoodKeeper app.

Comments (1)

Anonymous
May 30, 2020
I agree with everything was listed except one thing. If when you buy your yeast, you put it into the freezer, and store it there, the shelf life is almost indefinite.