What Canned Food Lasts the Longest?

Canned food is a practical and convenient way to stock up on pantry staples, but it has one major downside: it doesn’t last forever. How long canned food lasts depends on the type of food, the storage conditions, and the date on the can.

Types of Canned Food

The shelf life of canned food varies widely depending on what type of food is in the can. Low-acid foods such as vegetables, meat, fish, and soups will last for years when stored at temperatures below 75 degrees Fahrenheit. High-acid foods such as tomatoes, fruits, pickles, and sauerkraut can last for 18 to 24 months when stored under similar conditions.

Date Codes

Most canned food products have a “best by” or expiration date stamped on them. The date code is usually printed on the side or bottom of the can and typically ranges from 1-4 years from the date of purchase. It’s important to check this date before buying or consuming any canned food product as expired cans may contain harmful bacteria that can cause illness if ingested.

Storage Conditions

Canned foods should always be stored in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and heat sources like ovens or stoves. Cans should never be stored in temperatures over 75 degrees Fahrenheit as this can lead to spoilage over time. Additionally, cans should not be exposed to moisture or extreme changes in temperature as these can cause corrosion which could lead to contamination.


In general, low-acid canned foods will last for years if stored properly while high-acid foods will last for 18-24 months. It is important to pay attention to expiration dates and storage conditions in order to ensure that canned foods stay safe for consumption for as long as possible.