There’s nothing worse than getting excited to use something that’s been waiting in your pantry only to discover it’s no longer good to eat. Everyone has experienced this disappointment, but not all foods cause it. Below, we’ve compiled some pantry staples that you should always have on hand because they almost never go bad.



You definitely already have salt in your pantry, but this staple deserves a mention. Salt is one of the oldest preservatives and flavorings, and for good reason. It can last indefinitely in your pantry, so you’ll never have to worry about it expiring.



Sugar is an indispensable ingredient in baking and cooking. Apart from its flavoring benefits, sugar acts as a preservative and texture enhancer. It’s another pantry champion that, when stored properly, remains usable for an incredibly long time without losing its sweet punch.



A must-have for its versatility, rice is a foundational staple in many cuisines around the world. If you keep it dry and free from contaminants, uncooked white rice can last almost forever, ensuring that you always have a base for countless dishes right at your fingertips.



Vinegar is much more than a salad dressing ingredient—it’s a multi-purpose staple that excels in pickling, marinating, and cleaning, among other uses. Being acidic, vinegar remains stable and effective for an essentially unlimited amount of time, so keeping a bottle in your pantry means you’re always ready for a burst of tangy flavor or a home remedy.



Honey is as delicious as it is resistant to spoilage. Honey’s longevity is legendary; people have found edible honey in ancient tombs! Though it can crystallize with time, especially raw honey, you can de-crystallize raw honey to return it to the state it was in when you bought it.


Dried Beans

Dried beans are an inexpensive protein source that, when stored away from moisture and pests, can last for years. They’re an essential component of nutritious meals, providing vital nutrients without any worry of them going bad anytime soon.


Dried Pasta

Dried pasta is the ultimate convenience food that, when kept dry, will serve you well for many meals to come. Its long shelf life means you can always whip up a quick and satisfying dish with just a few additional ingredients.


Soy Sauce

Lastly, soy sauce is the quintessential Asian condiment that adds depth and umami to your cooking. Thanks to its high salt content, an unopened bottle of soy sauce can remain good indefinitely. An opened bottle lasts two to three years in the fridge, and we all know it never makes it that long!


These pantry staples that almost never go bad are the troopers of the culinary world. Keeping them on hand ensures that you always have foundational ingredients.

Emma Radebaugh

Emma Radebaugh

Emma is a writer and editor passionate about providing accessible, accurate information. Her work is dedicated to helping people of all ages, interests, and professions with useful, relevant content.