Best Long-term Dehydrated Canned Foods (#10 Cans) has been live since September 2011, we specialise in both expert prepper guides, and a daily curated feed of the best prepper content online.

Long-term food storage elevates to the next level with dehydrated canned food, specifically in #10 cans, creating an essential for those desiring to prep for unforeseen situations or simply love the ease of having varied non-perishable ingredients at their fingertips. Throughout this piece, discover the top long-term dehydrated canned foods you should consider stocking in your pantry or emergency food cache.

These dried staples, perfect for long-lasting food stores or those favoring stand-alone ingredients over prepared meals, can have a shelf life spanning decades. Let’s guide you through a taste-test review, outlining the basics and introducing you to the top-tier brands.

Preparedness-focused suppliers offer a wide range of canned foods that are not commonly found in traditional cans, such as bananas, broccoli, celery, and eggs. These foods undergo a special drying process and are packaged with oxygen absorbers to prevent spoilage. Unlike regular canned wet foods found in supermarkets, which have a shelf life of only a few years, these dried foods can remain unopened on the shelf for decades. Once opened, they can still maintain their quality for months.

Certain food undergoes a freeze-drying process to help retain their delectable flavors, textures, and nutritional values while considerably reducing their weight. This process can preserve meats, vegetables, and even complete meals.

In contrast to the familiar cans you might be accustomed to, these dehydrated foods are packaged in large #10 cans, resembling coffee cans. These durable containers are specifically designed for long-term food storage.

Remember, these foods may carry a heftier price tag and might not tantalize your taste buds like fresh or wet-canned equivalents. They shouldn’t form the basis of your food storage but, instead, add diversity to your stored fare, making dish creation easier during stressful periods.

The most important bits:

  1. Dehydrated foods are typically packaged in large #10 cans, which is an industry classification for can size.
  2. Dehydrated foods are ideal for storing products that are typically difficult to store for the long term, such as butter, eggs, and milk.
  3. They are also a good option for foods that don’t work well with traditional canning methods, including grapes, cauliflower, and celery.
  4. Unopened dehydrated food can last for decades on the shelf, and even after opening, it can remain usable for up to a year.
  5. While many foods are available in #10 cans, it may not be necessary to purchase items like salt and sugar this way, as their shelf life is already sufficient in their supermarket versions.
  6. Dehydrated foods often have different characteristics compared to their fresh counterparts, including variations in smell, taste, and texture. However, they can still be used effectively in baking, as the cooking process can help mask any off flavors.

1. Mountain House Freeze-Dried Meals

Mountain House is a recognized brand renowned for creating top-tier freeze-dried meals possessing shelf lives extending to 30 years. They offer a gamut of delicious and nutritious meal options in their #10 cans, from bacon and scrambled eggs breakfasts to dinners such as beef stroganoff and chili mac with beef. All require just the addition of hot water and a few wait minutes to rehydrate your meal.

Price: $65.35

2. Augason Farms Dehydrated Vegetables and Fruits

Augason Farms offers an extensive selection of dehydrated vegetables and fruits in #10 cans, providing essential vitamins and minerals for a balanced diet. Some popular options include dehydrated apple slices, potato flakes, and freeze-dried strawberries. These products can be used in a variety of recipes or eaten as-is for a healthy snack.

Price: $114.95

3. Legacy Food Storage Dehydrated Beans and Legumes

Beans and legumes are excellent sources of plant-based protein and essential nutrients. Legacy Food Storage offers a variety of dehydrated beans and legumes in #10 cans, such as pinto beans, lentils, and black beans. These products have a shelf life of up to 25 years and can be easily incorporated into a wide range of dishes.

Price: $115.00

4. Honeyville Dehydrated Dairy Products

Honeyville carries a line of dehydrated dairy products, inclusive of powdered whole milk, butter, and cheese in #10 cans. These products offer extensive shelf lives and can be rehydrated easily for recipes calling for dairy. This is a great option for those requiring dairy but can’t easily procure fresh dairy.

Price: $28.59

5. Harmony House Dehydrated Soup Mixes

Harmony House offers a variety of dehydrated soup mixes in #10 cans, making it easy to prepare a warm, comforting meal in no time. Options include vegetable chili, minestrone, and chicken noodle. These soup mixes can also be customized with additional ingredients, such as meat or extra vegetables, to suit your tastes.

Price: $19.95

6. Nutristore Freeze-Dried Meats

If you’re looking for long-term meat storage, Nutristore provides a range of freeze-dried meats in #10 cans, including beef, chicken, and pork. Rehydrate these meats effortlessly and add them to your favorite recipes for a protein boost. With a shelf life of up to 25 years, these products are excellent for emergencies.

Price: $69.99


Our Picks

Ready Hour’s Powdered Eggs

Price: $49.95

Emergency Essentials Powdered Milk
Price: $29.99

Here is a curated list of some highly regarded brands that offer top-quality dehydrated food products:

  1. Augason Farms
  2. Emergency Essentials
  3. Mountain House
  4. Rainy Day Foods
  5. Ready Hour

What Kinds of Food Come This Way and Which Ones to Avoid

The assortment of dehydrated food available might astound you. While powdered eggs and dried milk powder are fairly familiar, explore other surprising examples here:

  1. Butter
  2. Green beans
  3. Ground beef
  4. Peaches
  5. Peanut Butter
  6. Salt
  7. Sugar
  8. Tomatoes

Remember that procuring dehydrated food typically incurs a higher cost than making supermarket buys. So, it’s prudent to avoid purchasing foods that can more easily be stored more cheaply. Find some examples below:

  1. Dry beans (properly packaged, they can last for years)
  2. Honey (it lasts indefinitely, and crystallized honey can be revitalized by soaking in warm water)
  3. White rice (if properly packaged, it can last for years)
  4. Salt (it lasts forever with minimal effort)
  5. Sugar (it also lasts indefinitely with minimal effort)

When considering what foods to buy in dehydrated form, focus on those that are typically not shelf-stable, not readily available in regular cans, and regularly consumed by you and your family. Here are some excellent examples:

  1. Powdered milk
  2. Powdered eggs (usually not found in supermarkets)
  3. Powdered butter (regular butter requires refrigeration)
  4. Cheese (you can purchase both powdered cheese and freeze-dried shredded cheese)
  5. Grapes (rarely available in wet-canned form)
  6. Broccoli and cauliflower (usually not found in wet-canned form)
  7. Celery (not sold in wet-canned form)
  8. Berries and other fruit (available in wet-canned form, but often packed in sugary syrup)
  9. Banana chips (not typically canned)
  10. Tomato powder (canned tomatoes have a limited shelf life due to their high acid content)
  11. Ground meat

There are other foods that fall into a borderline category. For example, flour can be purchased inexpensively at the supermarket and stored in mylar bags for a few years, but some may prefer the convenience of storing it in #10 cans.

In our testing, one of the most beneficial uses for these dehydrated ingredients has been baking. While staples like flour, salt, and oil are shelf-stable, other key ingredients like butter, eggs, and milk have shorter lives, even when refrigerated.

#10 Can packaging

Dehydrated ingredients are often packed in #10 cans, bags, or buckets. The “number ten” part refers to the can size not its weight, they measure about 6 3/16 by 7 inches, and can hold approximately 12 3/4 cups. To give you a size perspective, they are comparable to a coffee can. The smaller #300 cans are likely more common in many pantries.

Three #300 can on top of a #10 can.

Standardized can sizes offer the advantage of easier stacking, even if you have ingredients from different suppliers. These steel cans are durable, effectively block light, and provide airtight seals to keep out oxygen. When unopened, many of these ingredients can last for decades, and even after opening, they remain usable for months.

Larger sized cans, like the #10, are practical for storing many ingredients that preserve their quality for an extended time post opening. Unlike perishable canned vegetables that require immediate use, you can use the contents of a #10 gradually. Surprisingly, #10 cans save space compared to #300 cans despite their greater size.

#10 cans house a broad spectrum of food items. You might spot them in your local supermarket or warehouse outlets, and they’re regularly used for large gatherings and institutional purposes. However, the spotlight of this review is dried food ingredients with long shelf lives.

How Do They Make This Stuff?

Freeze-drying is a common method used to preserve certain foods like green beans, coffee, and ice cream. This process involves removing all moisture from the food while maintaining its composition and structure. To achieve this, the food is frozen and placed in a vacuum chamber where the air is removed. A slight amount of heat is applied, causing the ice in the food to undergo sublimation, transforming directly from ice to water vapor and being eliminated from the chamber. The resulting freeze-dried foods are significantly lighter in weight.

Conversely, numerous other foods undergo a simpler drying process rather than freeze-drying. Take banana chips and tomato powder, which are created by slicing and low-heat drying. In the instance of tomato powder, the dried product is then ground into a powder. However, dehydration is not uniform for all foods.

Certain items, like eggs, butter, and powdered milk, necessitate specialized methods of drying due to their fat structures and water contents. Here’s a look at how they’re processed:

  1. Powdered milk undergoes evaporation to remove some of its moisture. A separator is then used to extract the butterfat, and the milk is mixed to achieve a consistent texture. The milk is then sprayed from a nozzle in a tall drying tower, where the small droplets air-dry and transform into a powder.
  2. Powdered eggs are dried in a similar manner to powdered milk. The egg yolks and whites are sprayed through a nozzle in a drying tower to create fine droplets that eventually turn into powder.
  3. Butter powder involves the removal of water content, leaving behind the fat. The butter fat is processed with milk solids to create a shelf-stable powder, resulting in powdered butter with a milky taste.
  4. Margarine powder is similar to regular margarine but undergoes additional processing on the milk solids to convert them into powder form.

There are also powdered cheese options. True powdered cheese is sprayed similarly to powdered milk, while powdered cheese blends often contain whey powder to reduce costs.

Are Dehydrated Foods Safe?

Generally, dehydrated foods sourced from reputable suppliers in well-regulated countries are safe to consume. Nevertheless, always maintain caution when it comes to processed food.

The dehydration process purposefully eliminates most microbes, yet contamination instances do occur. Past recalls include salmonella contamination in powdered eggs and milk. Note that salmonella contamination can affect a variety of products in the US, not just powdered food.

A health concern relevant to powdered foods is oxidized cholesterol, which can result from air exposure during the food-to-powder spraying process. This oxidization has been linked to chronic diseases. While powdered milk poses less risk due to most fat being removed, powdered eggs are a potential concern.

Often, dehydrated foods contain high sodium levels due to salt acting as a preservative for long shelf-life foods. In a survival situation, when table salt might be limited, high sodium content in food could actually be beneficial.

Lastly, you might wonder about the nutritional value of dehydrated foods. Freeze-drying is one of the most effective methods for preserving food while maintaining its nutritional value. However, with other drying methods, there can be some loss of certain vitamins, such as vitamins A and C.

Shelf Life

Unopened dried foods boast remarkable shelf lives–up to 30 years for freeze-dried foods, 25 years for dehydrated fruits and vegetables, and even 20 years for powdered milk. It’s worth noting that while the foods maintain nutrition with time, their flavor may wane.

Successful storage of these dried foods hinges on counteracting heat, light, moisture, pests, and oxygen – all enemies of a long shelf life. A #10 can provides robust protection, excluding heat, so ensure you store cans in cooler areas and maintain dryness to prevent rust.

Upon opening, the shelf life of dried foods drops considerably, though still endures. According to Ready Store, an opened can lasts between 3 to 12 months, while Emergency Essentials suggests up to a year. However, actual shelf lives hinge on the aforementioned factors. Opened can life spans can be extended with refrigeration, or you can transfer the food to a mylar bag with an oxygen absorber.

How Do I Open The Cans?


Can Opener Quick Picks

Featuring the P-38 can opener

Price: $9.99

P-51 can opener
Price: $12.95

Dedicated preppers often opt for hardcore can opener options such as the P-38 and P-51 can openers, which were originally manufactured by the US Shelby Company for the US military. Among these, the P-51 is particularly suited for opening #10 cans due to its larger size. These can openers are lightweight, simple to use, and can be obtained at a low cost, sometimes as little as a dollar. It’s advisable to acquire enough P-51 can openers to securely attach one to each #10 can for easy access.

Additionally, it’s worth noting that many multitools, like the Leatherman Wave, come equipped with reliable can openers that can serve as a valuable part of your everyday carry gear.

Preparation Tips

Each of these ingredients usually comes with instructions and recommendations printed on the can, as they often have different cooking characteristics compared to their fresh counterparts. Here are some examples:

  1. Powdered eggs require significantly less cooking time compared to fresh eggs.
  2. While it’s common to slightly undercook scrambled eggs for a softer texture, this is not the case with powdered eggs. If you undercook powdered eggs, they will turn out mushy and powdery. It’s important to cook them thoroughly.
  3. It is not advisable to attempt melting reconstituted powdered butter, as it tends to burn easily.
  4. Freeze-dried fruits and vegetables can be rehydrated by adding water, or they can be consumed in their dehydrated form.

Taste Tests

In our previous tests of various powdered foods, such as sour cream and eggs, we discovered that some products can have an unpleasant taste. While extreme hunger and the addition of hot sauce may help overcome the taste, we aimed to identify the brands that offer the best flavor, allowing you to confidently stock up on them.

For our taste-test, we focused on powdered butter and eggs – items not naturally shelf-stable and available from the four major brands: Augason Farms, Emergency Essentials, Rainy Day Foods, and Ready Hour.

Below is a complete list of the items we included in our testing: 

  1. Augason Farms Dried Whole Egg Powder
  2. Augason Farms Scrambled Egg Mix
  3. Augason Farms Butter Powder
  4. Emergency Essentials Whole Egg Powder
  5. Emergency Essentials Scrambled Egg Mix
  6. Emergency Essentials Butter Powder
  7. Emergency Essentials Instant Nonfat Dry Milk
  8. Rainy Day Foods Whole Eggs
  9. Rainy Day Foods Ova Easy Eggs
  10. Rainy Day Foods Butter Powder
  11. Ready Hour Whole Egg Powder
  12. Ready Hour Scrambled Eggs Mix
  13. Ready Hour Butter Powder

In our household, we conducted a thorough evaluation of these products by assessing their aroma and flavor. We prepared all the powdered egg products by scrambling them in a stainless steel skillet, using an ample quantity of vegetable oil. We tasted the powdered butter in its dry form and also after reconstituting it with water to create a spreadable consistency. As for the powdered milk, we followed the instructions provided and mixed the specified quantity in a large mason jar, sealing it with a lid.

Here’s what resulted from our evaluation:

  1. The variation in quality between different brands of the same product was not significant. While some brands performed slightly better and others worse, most of them were generally unsatisfactory.
  2. The top-performing egg product was Rainy Day Foods’ Ova Easy Eggs, which are in crystalized form instead of powdered. However, they come at a high price of $71.68 for a #10 can, compared to $21.69 for a #10 can of whole eggs.
  3. On the other hand, Rainy Day Foods also produced the worst powdered eggs, making it less appealing in terms of value.
  4. All the “scrambled egg” mixtures yielded unappetizing results, characterized by a mushy texture and unpleasant chemical flavors.
  5. Powdered butter can serve as a decent spread, although it does not exactly replicate the taste of regular butter.
  6. The standout product among the tested items was Emergency Essentials’ powdered milk, which performed favorably.

Based on our personal evaluations, these were our rankings:

  1. Top Powdered Egg: Rainy Day Ova Crystals (although expensive), Ready Hour (best among the powdered options)
  2. Best Scrambled Egg: Emergency Essentials
  3. Best Wet Powdered Butter: Ready Hour
  4. Best Dry Powdered Butter: Rainy Day
  5. Worst Powdered Egg: Rainy Day Foods
  6. Worst Scrambled Egg: Ready Hour, Augason Farms (tie)
  7. Worst Wet Powdered Butter: Emergency Essentials
  8. Worst Dry Powdered Butter: Emergency Essentials

After testing recipes using these powdered ingredients, we determined they provided agreeable results. Here’s what we uncovered:

For the cornbread, we used Emergency Essentials dry milk as a milk replacement and Ready Hour powdered whole eggs. The cornbread turned out well without any unpleasant flavors, requiring slightly less cook time – about 25 minutes as opposed to the standard 30.

In the case of the brownies, we followed the recipe but replaced fresh eggs and butter with powdered alternatives mixed with water. The brownies had a good taste overall, although they were slightly dry and had a milky flavor due to the milk solids in the powdered butter. Adding oil or additional liquid could potentially improve their texture. Nevertheless, in terms of flavor, the powdered ingredients proved to be acceptable.

Overall, the powdered ingredients worked reasonably well in baking and produced satisfactory results, although slight adjustments may be needed for optimal texture and consistency.


Dehydrated canned foods in #10 cans offer a practical and reliable solution for long-term food storage. By investing in a variety of high-quality products, you can ensure you have a well-rounded pantry that can provide for your nutritional needs during emergencies or simply make day-to-day meal planning more convenient. Mountain House freeze-dried meals, Augason Farms dehydrated vegetables and fruits, Legacy Food Storage beans and legumes, Honeyville dairy products, Harmony House soup mixes, and Nutristore freeze-dried meats are all excellent options to consider when building your long-term food storage.