Peanut Butter as a Survival Food: Pros, Cons, Considerations

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By Bryan Lynch •  5 min read

When shopping for survival food, inevitably the one item I always make sure to pick up is a jar of peanut butter. 

Peanut Butter as a Survival Food Pros, Cons, Considerations

I mean who does not like peanut butter? Other than people who do not like peanuts or have a nut allergy that is.

This stuff is great on bread, used in baking, and if I may be so bold, delicious to eat right out of the jar. 

But is it a good survival food?

I think it is a great survival food!

It is packed with carbs, protein, fats, and other nutritional tidbits. 

Some people frown upon eating this creamy goodness because it is so high in carbs, proteins, calories, and fats. But ironically, in a survival situation, those are the things that will keep our bodies going

If you are on the fence about peanut butter here are some things to consider. 

Types of Peanut Butter to Store 

Below I will be offering two different types of peanut butter and one of them you may have never heard of. 


Unfortunately, I will not be getting into the age-old debate of creamy vs crunchy as that is a very personal choice. 

But for this article, you can think of both of those options under this category. 

Creamy peanut butter is very affordable and can easily be picked up wherever food is sold.  

As I mentioned earlier it is packed with a lot of good stuff, such as:

They come in lightweight and easy to store resealable containers, which is a  great combination for storing food long term.

Speaking of long term, how long does this peanut butter last?

Unopened, peanut butter can last up to a year or two. After opening it begins to deteriorate but will remain good for several months.

To get the longest shelf life out of your peanut butter, be sure to store it in cool, dry locations and out of direct sunlight. 




Powdered peanut butter offers many of the great characteristics as creamy but in a different form. 

In powdered peanut butter much of the oil is pressed out of the nut before grinding it into a powder. This takes away a lot of the oil content and calories but certainly improves its shelf life. 

Unlike creamy peanut butter that has a shelf life of a year or two, some powdered peanut butter can last between five and ten years!

Other than the loss of oil and calories, its biggest downfall is texture. Powdered peanut butter is reconstituted with water before eating but it will never be as smooth as its creamy counterpart due to the lack of oil. 

Powdered peanut butter can also be difficult to come by locally unless you live near specialty stores. For this reason, your best bet may be to order it online. 



Open Questions about Peanut Butter

How to Store it Long Term

Peanut butter is best kept in an airtight, waterproof container. Then placed in a cool, dry location out of direct sunlight.

Under these conditions, creamy peanut butter will have a shelf life of one to two years. While powdered peanut will last between five to ten years. 

Some people have made their creamy peanut butter last even longer by placing a jar in the freezer. As I have never done this, I can not attest to its effectiveness but the consensus is that it works very well. 

How to Tell if Peanut Butter Has Gone Bad

Bad Smell. If your nose turns up after opening the jar, you should probably throw it out. 

Visible discoloration or mold. If you notice that your peanut butter displays an odd-looking color or mold is visible, then the jar should go in the trash can. 

Consistency. This doesn’t have anything to do with the layer of fluid sitting on the top of the peanut butter, that just simply an indication of the peanut butter needing to be stirred. However, if the peanut butter is drying out and becoming hard or tacky, it is going bad.

How Much Peanut Butter Should you Store for a Year?

Use our calculator below to figure out how much you need to store for a specific number of people you are prepping for:

This is a personal choice that depends on how much peanut butter you and your family consume.

But I have found that a 1 lb jar for a family of four lasts anywhere from two weeks to a month. Based on that estimate I would store between 12-24 jars of peanut butter for a one-year supply. The calculator above will provide the results you need.

Wrapping It Up

Peanut butter is a great survival food that will keep us going during difficult times.

But since it does not provide everything we need, do not plan on surviving on it alone. Be sure to keep your diet well rounded with fruits, vegetables, grains, and meats. 

What do you think of peanut butter as a survival food? Sound off in the comment section below and let us know! Thanks for reading and stay prepared!

Bryan Lynch

Bryan grew up in the Midwest and spent every waking moment outdoors. Learning how to hunt, fish, read the land, and be self-reliant was part of everyday life. Eventually, he combined his passions for the outdoors, emergency preparedness, and writing. His goal was to spread positive information about this field. In 2019, Bryan authored the book Swiss Army Knife Camping and Outdoor Survival Guide. His second book, Paracord Projects For Camping and Outdoor Survival, is scheduled to be released on March 2, 2021.