Cooking Oils for Prepping – What’s Best and How Long Do They Last?

Oils for prepping

Regardless of which disaster you’re prepping for, every good prepper needs cooking oils in their food stores, bug out location, or pantry. Cooking oils are generally used for food prep. However, they can be used when preparing vegetables, nuts and seeds, and meats when water isn’t available. Still, it can even be repurposed into other helpful survival items such as lantern oil, medicine, and a preservative.

We’ve found the best and longest-lasting cooking oils for prepping to be lard, coconut oil, olive oil, and sunflower seed oil. Not only can they be used for cooking, but they can also prove to be useful for numerous other applications such as antibacterials, antimicrobials, soaps, hydrating skin, bug repellent, lamp oil, and more.

In this article, we’ll be reviewing the four best cooking oils for prepping and looking at their quality and shelf life. We will also provide you with ideas of how you can use cooking oils for other survival purposes.


LardCoconut OilOlive OilSunflower Seed Oil
Shelf-lifeup to 3-yearsup to 2-yearsup to 2-yearsup to 2-years
Smoking Point500 degrees350 degrees410 degrees440 degrees
Additional Applicationscooking, soap, cutting oil, medicinal preparations, fuel, lubricantcooking, soap, medicinal preparations, skin hydration, bug repellent, lubricantcooking, soap, skin hydration, lamp oil, lubricantcooking, lamp oil, lubricant


Pork lard in glass bowl

This one will give you an excellent reason to eat bacon all the time.

Lard, or bacon fat, has been used for centuries as a cooking oil. Unrendered lard, which is fat that’s been collected and stored right off the meat, has the most robust flavor and will be the type of lard that preppers who raise and slaughter pigs will be exposed to. There are healthy options available on the market for those who won’t or can’t rear pigs that can be put into storage.

Lard can be heated up to nearly 500 degrees Fahrenheitsafely, making it an excellent cooking oil for skillets and pots. The high smoke point also makes lard great for deep-frying.

Lard is also a very versatile oil. It can be used in baking and sauteing, but can also be used to make soap, used as cutting oil, medicinal preparations, and even fuel to burn.

Lard can be stored in a cool pantry out of direct light or in a cabinet for three months. It will remain fresh in the refrigerator for up to 6 months, and when frozen, pig fat will keep for up to 3 years. Keep in mind that thawing and refreezing lard will result in quicker rancidity.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil used as a cooking oil has become increasingly popular over the last few years due to the movement back towards wholesome eating. It’s one of the healthiest cooking oils, rich in nutrients such as lauric acid and antimicrobial properties, and contains no trans fats.

As with all cooking oils, you want to get unrefined, minimally processed coconut oil to get the most benefits from it. Coconut oil is an excellent option because it has a 350 degrees Fahrenheit smoking point, making it ideal for baking and sauteing veggies.

Coconut oil doesn’t need to be refrigerated or frozen for longer shelf life. When stored in a dark, cool, dry area, coconut oil can last up to 2 years. If you want the coconut oil to keep in a solid-state, you’ll need to keep it in a room that is 75 degrees or cooler.

Olive Oil

Popular in the kitchen, and a long-lasting oil for prepping, olive oil lasts for about two years in pantry or cabinet storage. Olive oil contains many essential vitamins and nutrients, such as Vitamin E and Vitamin K. Additionally, olive oil can be used as salad oil. Having an oil that you can use to dress salads of mixed greens cultivated or foraged.

Olive oil has a low saturated fat content. By comparison, coconut oil has six times the amount of saturated fat per tablespoon, making olive oil the healthiest cooking oil for prepping on our list. You will often see olive oil recommended for people with high blood pressure or high cholesterol levels. It can also be used to make several different types of medicine and balms.

Sunflower Seed Oil

With a shelf life of 2 years (unopened) or one year (opened), Sunflower Seed Oil is another healthy and long-lasting cooking oil for prepping. It has a smoke point of 440 degrees Fahrenheit, making it an ideal choice for all types of cooking, especially searing and sauteing. This oil has many beneficial nutrients, such as Vitamin E and healthy fats.

Sunflower seed oil is seen as being quite healthy. Its good for your heart health because the oil contains more than 80% of monounsaturated fats. It also promotes skin health and hair growth. There are also claims that it works as a natural energy booster, strengthens your immune system, and aids in digestion.

These health benefits could be a significant advantage in a survival situation and therefore push sunflower seed oil into the top of a lot of preppers’ lists.

Other Uses for Cooking Oil

Aside from cooking, some cooking oils can be used for survival purposes, such as:

  • Coconut oil is antibacterial and antimicrobial, meaning it can help heal cuts, burns, and skin rashes.
  • Olive oil, coconut oil, sunflower seed oil, and even lard can make soap.
  • Olive and coconut oil are particularly useful for keeping the skin hydrated and can help prevent chapped hands and other body areas.
  • When applied to the skin generously, Coconut oil has been shown to repel bugs such as ticks, biting flies, and even mosquitoes, making it great as a natural bug repellent in an emergency situation.
  • Olive and sunflower seed oil can be used as lamp oil. Olive oil won’t smoke when burned, though sunflower oil will smoke somewhat. Regardless, both burn bright and long and are ideal for a survival situation.
  • All of the oils listed above can be used as a lubricant. Whether that be for hinges on doors to keep things quiet, or for machines, or modes of silent transportation such as bikes.

You can see why having long-lasting cooking oil on hand is a smart move for the committed prepper by the above uses. However, it is still crucial that you choose the proper oil to store.

So Which Cooking Oil is Best?

In terms of cooking and shelf life, lard is your best bet. It has the highest smoking point out of all of the cooking oils on our list at 500 degrees Fahrenheit, can be stored for up to 3-6 months in a bunker, pantry, or fridge, and frozen for up to 3 years, and can be naturally sourced through rearing your own livestock during an emergency situation.

Regarding the best multi-use oil for prepping, we recommend coconut oil. Coconut oil is recommended because it can be used for most cooking tasks and contains healing properties and bug-repelling properties vital in a survival situation.

Of course, the best oil for you and your family may be something different. Variables such as climate, storage location, financial constraints, and others may impact your final decision. It is crucial to make sure your stores work for you and your particular situation.

Cody Martin

With over 18 years of federal law enforcement, training, and physical security experience, Cody focuses his time nowadays on both consulting and training. He regularly advises individuals, groups, multinational corporations, schools, houses of worship, and NGOs on security threats while conducting customized training as needed.

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