Food can be obtained by foraging, trapping, farming or hunting mobs. Food refills Hunger and may restore some Health along with Sanity, depending on the quality of the food eaten. Eating some foods, such as Monster Meat or Durians, can damage the player's health instead of restoring it. Some foods, such as raw Meat or Morsels, will damage a player's sanity if eaten. Mushrooms have varying effects on Health and Sanity depending on their color. Some special food items, such as Glow Berry, have additional effects when eaten.
Almost all raw food can be Cooked on a Campfire to increase the amount of Health/Hunger/Sanity restored or reduced, and sometimes remove Health/Sanity penalties from eating it. Some raw food items, most notably Meats, can be dried on a Drying Rack to produce long lasting food items with increased Health/Hunger/Sanity values. Additionally, a Crock Pot can be used for making foods that have additional benefits.
Food items also have other uses than eating them directly. Meat can be used as bait for carnivores, for the recruitment of Pigs, and as an offering to the Pig King for Gold Nuggets. A renewable way to gain Eggs is by giving meats to birds housed in Bird Cages. Meat is also a requirement to construct the Meat Effigy. Bunnymen can be befriended using Carrots and will become hostile if meat is in the player's inventory. Vegetables and Fruits can be used as bait for herbivores and given to Pigs to obtain Manure. Seeds can be used to bait Bird Traps.
Being of the most important items in the game, (and part of the game's namesake, to not starve) food is typically very valuable in any world; however, given the layouts of different maps and what spawns in them, food availability can vary from being abundant, to dangerously short. Food is affected by the seasons, which likely encourages the player to take advantages of seasonal diets and also take advantages of the food's shelf life.
With the introduction of Overheating mechanic in the Reign of Giants DLC (and carried over to Don't Starve Together and the Shipwrecked DLC), some foods are classified as hot or cold, providing an alternative way to combat Freezing and Overheating, respectively.
When players eat Foods that count as Meats, they will have a chewing animation and are not able to perform other actions for a relatively long duration. When eating Foods that are not Meats, they will just put it into their mouth very fast.
- For Information on Food values and Priority, see the Crock Pot page.
There are several Food categories:
Most food and some non-edible items have a perish time, eventually turning into Rot, turning into another food or item, or disappearing completely.
|Container||Spoilage Rate (higher = spoils faster)||Notes|
|0||Several items cannot be put inside, such as itself and Chester's Eye Bone.|
|0||Several items cannot be put inside, such as itself and Chester's Eye Bone.|
|-0.33||Only Ocean Fishes can be put inside, and they will regain freshness.|
|0.25||Only Light Bulbs and Glow Berrys can be put inside, and each slot accepts a single item only.|
|0.25||Only Light Bulbs, Glow Berrys, Mushroom Spores and Festive Lights can be put inside, and each slot accepts a single item only.|
|0.25||Doesn't accept Crock Pot dishes, plantable items such as Seeds, and items that do not have a cooked form, such as Honey or Ice.|
|0.25||Only applies to living fish in inventory.|
|0||Only Honeys and Nectars can be put inside.|
|0 / 0.25||Only Birds can be put inside.|
|0.5 / 0||0 only applies to /.|
|0.5 / 0||0 only applies to /.|
|0.5 / 0.75|
|In player's inventory, Chests, etc||1|
|1.5 / 3||3 only applies when poisoned ().|
|losing 7% of freshness every 1 second|
|Player with ///equipped||1.5||Include items in inventory and equipment slots.|
|On ground, Ocean||1.5|
In addition to above modifiers, the same items can be affected by some other modifiers if any of the condition below is true:
|Condition||Spoilage Rate (higher = spoils faster)||Notes|
|Wet state||1.3||Most food floating on Ocean is wet until picked up and dried off.|
|World temperature below 0||0.75 / 0||Mostly in Winter, 0 only applies to /.|
|Melting near Heat Source||30||Only applies to /.|
|World temperature above 70||1.25||Mostly in Summer or Dry Season .|
|Custom Modifier||0.25 applies when in inventory,|
For example, according to tables above during winter, when temperature is below 0°, Soggyperishable items in the Ice Box or Snow Chester will spoil at 0.5 × 0.75 × 1.3 = 0.4875 rate.
- Any kind of cooked meat lasts longer than any raw meat, but any kind of raw vegetable lasts longer than any cooked vegetable. The exceptions are Popcorn, which lasts longer than raw Corn; Mushrooms, which last the same amount of time whether cooked or raw; and Seaweed in Shipwrecked lasts longer when cooked.
- Monster meat is the only meat in the game that lasts longer overall the earlier you cook it (i.e. monster meat will last 15 days total if cooked at 100% freshness, but will last 14.25 days total (3 days raw + 11.25 days cooked) if cooked at 50% freshness)
- Being near the Spore Bomb of a Toadstool will accelerate spoiling rapidly.
- The stale and spoiled effects do not apply to WX-78.
- The effects of eating stale or spoiled food are worse when playing as Wickerbottom. Stale food will only give 1/3 of the hunger and 1/4 of health. Spoiled food will restore only 1/6 of the hunger. The rest of the values are the same as other characters.
- Cooking food on fire or in a Crock Pot halves the spoiled amount of the food (e.g. if it were at 80% freshness when raw, it would change to 90% freshness after being cooked).
- Tallbird Eggs, Mandrakes (raw and cooked), the Deerclops Eyeball, Guardian's Horn, (Glommer's Goop , Jellybeans ) and ("Ballphin Free" Tuna , which gives one Fish Steak when used) are the only Food items which don't spoil (despite Honey being the only food in real life that does not spoil).
- Food cooked in the Crock Pot and meat dried on the Drying Rack do not begin to spoil until picked up. This was changed in the Reign of Giants DLC.
- Spoiled Eggs become Rotten Eggs instead of Rot.
- Spoiled Tea instead becomes Iced Tea, which can then turn into Rot.
A food with a defined temperature effect will increase/decrease the player's perceived temperature by 40°, for varying lengths of time. This effect is not directly related to, or affected by the food's freshness.
Cold foods preserve their full effect until they rot.
Hot foods, however, will cool off over time (shortening the duration of the increased temperature effect, rather than decreasing in temperature) after being made (all hot foods are Crock Pot dishes). Hot foods will cool off four times as fast if put inside a functioning Ice Box. This cool-off increase will also happen inside Snow Chester. The Insulated Pack, Sea Sack, Chef Pouch and the Bundling Wrap will preserve the temperature effect indefinitely.
Splitting a stack of hot food will reset the temperature duration of the new stack, and combining stacks will set the duration to the same as the stack that is being added to.
An exception to the cooling-down effect of hot foods are several non-perishable food items available during Winter's Feast in Don't Starve Together. These foods will keep a long-lasting hot effect indefinitely, making them a great item to keep around static resurrection structures, especially during Winter:
|Cooked Barnacles||1||+12.5||0||15||×0.25 ×0.25|
|Cooked Batilisk Wing||+8||+18.75||0||10|
|Cooked Bean Bugs||+1||+12.5||-5||10||×1.0|
|Fried Blooming Tuber||+3||+18.75||+5||6|
|Cooked Cactus Flesh||+1||+12.5||+15||10||×1.0|
|Roasted Coffee Beans||0||+9.375||-5||15||×1.0|
|Dead Dogfish||+1||+25||0||6||×1.0 ×0.5|
|Dead Jellyfish||+10||+10||0||6||×1.0 ×1.0|
|Cooked Jellyfish||+10||+18.75||0||10||×1.0 ×1.0|
|Dried Jellyfish||+10||+18.75||0||20||×1.0 ×1.0|
|Dead Rainbow Jellyfish||+10||+10||0||6|
|Cooked Rainbow Jellyfish||+10||+18.75||0||10|
|Fried Doydoy Egg||0||+37.5||0||6||×1.0|
|Prepared Dragon Fruit||+20||+12.5||0||3||×1.0|
|Extra Smelly Durian||0||+25||-5||6||×1.0 ×1.0|
|Cooked Eel||+8||+12.5||0||10||×1.0 ×0.5|
|Eye of the Tiger Shark||+60||+75||-15||Never|
|Cooked Fish||+1||+12.5||0||6||×1.0 ×0.5|
|Cooked Fish Morsel||+1||+12.5||0||6||×0.5|
|Cooked Frog Legs||+1||+12.5||0||10||×0.5|
|Gears ( only)||+60||+75||+50||Never|
|Lesser Glow Berry||+3||+12.5||-10||10||×0.5|
|Cooked Gummy Slug||+1||+12.5||-5||10||×1.0|
|Roasted Juicy Berries||+3||+18.75||0||1||×0.5|
|Cooked Kelp Fronds||0||+9.375||-5||10||×0.5|
|Dried Kelp Fronds||+1||+9.375||+10||20||×0.5|
|Winter Koalefant Trunk||+30||+37.5||0||6|
|Koalefant Trunk Steak||+40||+75||0||15|
|Leafy Meat||0||+12.5||-10||6||( )|
|Cooked Leafy Meat||+1||+18.75||0||10||( )|
|Cooked Lotus Root||+1||+12.5||+15||10|
|Lune Tree Blossom||+1||0||0||6|
|Monster Meat||-20||+18.75||-15||6||×1.0 ×1.0|
|Cooked Monster Meat||-3||+18.75||-10||15||×1.0 ×1.0|
|Monster Jerky||-3||+18.75||-5||20||×1.0 ×1.0|
|Cooked Moon Shroom||0||-12.5||-10||10||×0.5|
|Moon Moth Wings||+8||+9.375||+15||6||×1.0|
|Cooked Blue Cap||-3||0||+10||10||×0.5|
|Cooked Green Cap||-1||0||+15||10||×0.5|
|Cooked Red Cap||+1||0||-10||10||×0.5|
|Neon Quattro||+1||+12.5||0||10||×1.0 ×0.5|
|Cooked Neon Quattro||+3||+12.5||0||6||×1.0 ×0.5|
|Pierrot Fish||+1||+12.5||0||10||×1.0 ×0.5|
|Cooked Pierrot Fish||+3||+12.5||0||6||×1.0 ×0.5|
|Poison Dartfrog Legs||-3||+12.5||-10||6|
|Cooked Dartfrog Legs||-1||+12.5||0||10|
|Purple Grouper||+1||+12.5||0||10||×1.0 ×0.5|
|Cooked Purple Grouper||+3||+12.5||0||6||×1.0 ×0.5|
|Raw Fish||+1||+25||0||3||×1.0 ×0.5|
|Fish Steak||+20||+25||0||6||×1.0 ×0.5|
|Cooked Roe||0||+4.6875||0||10||×1.0 ×0.5|
|Cooked Seed Pod||+3||+9.375||0||6|
|Shark Fin||+20||+25||-15||6||×1.0 ×0.5|
|Ripe Stone Fruit||+1||+12.5||0||3||×1.0|
|Cooked Stone Fruit||+3||+12.5||0||2||×1.0|
|Cooked Sweet Potato||+3||+12.5||0||6||×1.0|
|Hatching Tallbird Egg||+3||+25||0||Never|
|Fried Tallbird Egg||0||+37.5||0||6||×4.0|
|Roasted Toma Root||+20||+12.5||0||10||×1.0|
|Tropical Fish||+1||+12.5||0||3||×1.0 ×0.5|
|Bacon and Eggs||+20||+75||+5||20|
|Creamy Potato Purée||+20||+37.5||+33||15|
|Fancy Spiralled Tubers||+3||+37.5||+15||10|
|Fish Cordon Bleu||+20||+37.5||-10||8||Dry/5 minutes|
|Fist Full of Jam||+3||+37.5||+5||15|
|Fresh Fruit Crepes||+60||+150||+15||10|
|Glow Berry Mousse||+3||+37.5||+10||8||Light/2 days|
|Hard Shell Tacos||+20||+37.5||+5||20|
|Hot Dragon Chili Salad||-3||+25||+10||15||Hot/5 minutes|
(over 2 minutes)
(only in )
|Meaty Stew||+12||+150||+5||10||Hot/15 (except )|
|Puffed Potato Soufflé||+20||+37.5||+15||10|
|Shark Fin Soup||+40||+12.5||-10||10|
|Snake Bone Soup||+40||+25||+10||10|
|Spicy Vegetable Stinger||+3||+25||+33||15|
|Steamed Ham Sandwich||+40||+37.5||+15||6|
|Stuffed Fish Heads||20||75||0||3|
|Stuffed Pepper Poppers||+30||+25||-5||15||Hot/15|
|Surf 'n' Turf||+60||+37.5||+33||10|
|Sweet Potato Souffle||+20||+37.5||+15||10|
|Volt Goat Chaud-Froid||+3||+37.5||+10||10|
- Meatballs should be prioritized for most characters excluding those unable to consume meat during the early game as a decent way of dealing with hunger before moving down the list with more elaborated food, such as Honey Ham.
- In order to maximize the endurance of a food item, the player can cook it in a suitable time. Taking into account the difference of spoil rate of the cooked version and the raw version of a certain food can be useful to the player to know whether it's best to cook it or not.
- When cooking sanity restoring food, one should be wary of their freshness, as when they turn stale, they no longer restore sanity. Since most sanity restoring food items require specific ingredients, it's recommended to consume them as soon as possible in order to benefit from the sanity gain without wasting expensive ingredients for small amounts of hunger and little to no health gains.