Your Guide on How to Stock Your Pantry in Case of an Emergency

Be prepared for severe weather and unexpected events with this handy list.

It's always ideal to be completely in control, but things like the weather and unexpected illnesses can disrupt our plans. The best thing you can do to handle unforeseen circumstances is to always have a plan, starting with your food and water. (We need both to survive, after all.) The emergency food pantry list below will come in handy for bad weather, power outages (when it's possible your supermarket could be closed), and other unexpected crises.

There are important details to remember when considering what to stock in a pantry. Choose foods your family will eat. In other words, skip anything on this emergency pantry list you wouldn't eat normally to cut down on potential food waste. And take note of any special dietary needs or food allergies, and adjust our list accordingly. Also, don't forget about your pets. Just as important as stocking an emergency food pantry: Refilling any prescriptions or equipping your family with enough prescription, over-the-counter medications, and vitamins that might be needed in an emergency.

pantry items overhead on kitchen counter
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What to Stock in a Pantry for a Two-Week Supply

Experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Homeland Security, and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) recommend the following items for a stocked pantry.


Aim to keep a balance of foods that provide essential nutrition if you won't be able to get to the store for many days.

  • Ready-to-eat canned meats, fruits, and vegetables, and a can opener such as the Farberware Professional Portable Can Opener ($6, Walmart)
  • Pasta, rice, and whole grains
  • Instant rice and potatoes
  • Protein bars
  • Protein powder
  • Dry cereal
  • Instant oats
  • Dried soup
  • Shelf-stable boxes or cans of juices and milk
  • Crackers and/or pretzels
  • Nuts and/or trail mix
  • Nut butter
  • Jelly
  • Jerky
  • Dried fruit
  • Stock/broth
  • Condiments
  • Jarred baby food and formula
  • Baking staples: Sugar, flour, salt, pepper, honey, oil, etc.
  • Comfort foods: Candy, cookies, instant pudding, coffee, tea, etc.

In the event of a non-power event, you can also utilize refrigerator and freezer staples, including:

  • Eggs
  • Butter
  • Cheese
  • Fresh and/or frozen fruit
  • Fresh and/or frozen vegetables
  • Yogurt
  • Meat, poultry, and/or fish
  • Bread (store in the freezer and use as needed to prevent spoilage or staleness)


Just in case tap water isn't safe or clean to drink, add one gallon per water per day to your stocking the pantry list, the American Red Cross Recommends. A two-week supply should keep you covered (that's 56 gallons for a family of four), and snag an extra water filter or pitcher filter to store in the back of your emergency food pantry.

Buy It: PUR 11-Cup Water Pitcher with Filter ($35, Bed Bath & Beyond)

Aim to fill your stocked pantry with enough to fuel every family member with about 2,000 calories per day. If you have time before shopping for your emergency food pantry, it can be helpful to jot down a tentative meal plan to make the math a bit easier.

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