Prepping with Rice and Beans: Ultimate Survival Food

Rice and baked beans image

Whether you’re preparing for natural disasters, economic instability, or simply looking to build a more resilient pantry, rice and beans should be at the forefront of your prepping strategy.

These humble staples are not only affordable and long-lasting but also packed with essential nutrients. In this ultimate guide, we’ll explore the many facets of prepping with these ingredients, from selection and storage to cooking and creating diverse meals.

rice image

1. The Power of Rice and Beans

Nutritional Powerhouses

Rice and beans are a dynamic duo when it comes to nutrition. Together, they provide a complete protein, offering all the essential amino acids your body needs. Additionally, they are rich in complex carbohydrates, dietary fiber, and various vitamins and minerals. This combination makes them a crucial component of a balanced diet, even in emergency situations.


One of the most appealing aspects is their cost-effectiveness. They are some of the most budget-friendly foods available, making them accessible to a wide range of preppers. Buying these staples in bulk can yield significant savings and ensure you have a reliable source of sustenance in times of need.

Long Shelf Life

Rice and beans have an exceptionally long shelf life, especially when stored properly. With the right storage conditions, they can remain edible for years, making them ideal for prepping. When stored in a cool, dry place, away from pests and humidity, these staples can outlast many other food items.

different types of beans

2. Selecting the Right Varieties


There are many types of rice to choose from, but for prepping purposes, consider stocking up on long-grain white rice or brown rice. White rice has a longer shelf life due to its lower oil content, while brown rice is more nutritious but has a shorter shelf life. Both options are versatile and can be used in a wide range of dishes.


Beans come in various forms, including black beans, pinto beans, kidney beans, and more. Opt for dried beans over canned ones, as dried beans have a longer shelf life and are less prone to spoilage. Diversify your bean stockpile to keep your meals interesting.

Storage containers

3. Proper Storage Techniques


Invest in airtight containers such as food-grade buckets, Mylar bags, or mason jars for storing rice or beans. These containers will keep moisture, pests, and oxygen out, ensuring the longevity of your supplies.

Oxygen Absorbers

Include oxygen absorbers in your containers to further extend the shelf life of your rice or beans. These small packets remove oxygen, preventing the growth of bacteria and molds.

Rotation System

Implement a “first in, first out” (FIFO) system when organizing your pantry. This ensures that you use the oldest supplies first, maintaining freshness and preventing waste.

Cooked rice and bean meal

4. Meal prep recipes with rice and beans

Beans and rice recipes offer a perfect combination of convenience, nutrition, and flavor.

These recipes are a testament to the versatility of these humble staples, as they can be transformed into an array of delicious and balanced meals. These recipes often incorporate a variety of spices, vegetables, and proteins to create diverse and satisfying dishes.

From vibrant bean salads to hearty burrito bowls and comforting soups, meal prep with rice and beans allows you to simplify the cooking process while still enjoying delicious and nutritious meals throughout hard times. Here’s one delicious option to try:

Black Beans and Rice


  • – 1 cup of black beans (soaked and cooked)
  • – 1 cup of white rice (cooked)
  • – 1/2 cup of salsa
  • – 1/2 teaspoon of chili powder
  • – 1/4 cup of chopped cilantro
  • – Optional toppings: diced avocado, spicy sauce

Cooking Instructions:

  • 1. In a skillet, heat the cooked black beans and salsa over medium heat until warmed through.
  • 2. In a separate skillet or saucepan, simmer the cooked white rice.
  • 3. Combine the black beans, salsa, and rice in a bowl, then stir in the chili powder and chopped cilantro.
  • 4. Serve the black beans and rice mixture in individual meal prep containers.
  • 5. Optional: Top with diced avocado and spicy sauce for added flavor.
micowave on a worktop

5. Tips for reheating

It is crucial to properly heat rice and beans in order to preserve their flavors and textures. Here are a few tips: 

Best methods for re-heating

The best methods for heating rice and beans depend on personal preference and convenience. Some popular options include:

Microwave: Place your meal prep container in the microwave and heat in 30-second intervals until the desired temperature is reached. Stir occasionally to ensure even heating.

Stovetop: Transfer your rice or beans to a skillet or saucepan and heat over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through.

Oven: If you have a larger batch of rice and beans, you can warm them in the oven. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C), place the rice and beans in a baking dish, cover with foil, and bake for about 20 minutes or until heated through.

Preventing rice and beans from drying out

To prevent rice and beans from drying out, you can add a splash of water or broth before heating. This will help add moisture and prevent them from becoming too dry.

Enhancing the flavors when reheating

You can enhance the flavors of rice and beans by adding additional seasonings or toppings. Consider adding a squeeze of lime juice, a sprinkle of fresh cilantro, or a drizzle of hot sauce to liven up the flavors.

rice in preserving jars

6. How long can rice and beans be stored?

Rice and beans can be stored for different lengths of time, depending on the storage conditions. Here are some general guidelines:

Indications of spoilage

To determine if rice and beans have spoiled, look out for signs such as a foul smell, mold growth, or any noticeable changes in texture or appearance. If in doubt, it is best to discard them to avoid any potential foodborne illnesses.

Using leftover rice and beans

If you have leftover rice and beans, don’t let them go to waste! There are many ways you can repurpose them into new dishes. Consider using them as filling for burritos or tacos, adding them to soups or stews, or using them as a topping for salads.

beans in large bags

7. Additional tips and tricks for prepping with rice and beans

Here are some additional tips and tricks for prepping with rice and beans:

Adding flavor with herbs and spices

Experiment with different herbs and spices to add flavor to your rice and bean dishes. Common options include cumin, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder or a bay leaf.

Using beans and rice in a variety of dishes

Rice and beans are not limited to just traditional rice and bean dishes. They can be used in a variety of cuisines and dishes, such as stir-fries, grain bowls, fried rice, and bean salads.

Choosing the right rice-to-beans ratio

The ratio of rice to beans can vary depending on personal preference and dietary needs. Experiment with different ratios to find what works best for you. Some people prefer a higher rice-to-beans ratio, while others prefer a more equal balance.

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