Best MRE – Delicious and Nutritious Meals Ready to Eat

Last Updated on April 23, 2020.

MRE stands for “Meal Ready to Eat.” While convenient preparation and long-term storage capabilities make the MRE perfect for hiking, camping, and emergency disaster preparation, they don’t exactly have a reputation for having a pleasant flavor. However, some survival rations are actually rather tasty. 

Finding the best MREs can be tough, especially since there are so many nasty ones on the market. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of the best MREs available for civilian use. These ready-to-eat meal options are long-lasting, lightweight, highly nutritious, and actually pretty delicious.

  • Calorie Dense
  • Variety of flavors
  • No expiration date

As much as military personnel complain about standard issue MREs, the government actually knows what it's doing. When it comes to field-ready food with an extended shelf life, military surplus MREs are the gold standard. This case of Genuine U.S. Military Surplus MREs contains 12 full meals with everything you need to satisfy your hunger, including an entree, dessert, snack, beverage powder, and water-activated flameless ration heater.

Top MRE Meals on the Market Today

1. Genuine U.S. Military Surplus MREs (Meals Ready-to-Eat) - Best Overall MRE

These genuine US War Fighter Rations are calorie dense and ready for immediate consumption or long-term storage. Each individual MRE provides approximately 1250 calories, about half the required daily calories for a grown adult.

These military MREs also come with an accessory pack that includes seasonings, matches, toilet paper, and other survival essentials. You’ll have everything you need, including a water-activated flameless ration heater so you can prepare your MRE anywhere. 

Each case contains a variety of meals and flavors to help prevent food fatigue. With Asian, Mexican, Italian, traditional, and vegetarian flavors, even the pickiest of eaters will find something they like. For even more variety, each case also contains snacks, desserts, coffee, cappuccino, milk shakes, and beverage base powders.

These meals do not come with an expiration date. However, the manufacturer suggests they be consumed within 5-7 years of the pack date. 

Meals stored at cooler temperatures will maintain freshness longer.

There are no guarantees on which meals or flavors will be packed in each case. While this doesn’t allow you to customize your choices according to personal preferences, it adds an element of Christmas morning surprise to your emergency rations.


  • Calorie dense.
  • Includes accessory pack of survival essentials.
  • Variety of flavors.
  • Includes water-activated flameless heater.
  • No expiration date. 


  • No way to customize the meals you get. 

This 14-day emergency food supply from Mountain House comes with a 30-year taste guarantee. You get breakfast, lunch, and dinner totaling 1800 calories each day for two whole weeks. And there’s plenty of variety to keep things interesting.

The entire package is lightweight (under 13 pounds) and compact (measuring only 20 inches by 20 inches), making it easy to store until you need it. 

Preparation is simple. All you do is add boiling water and your delicious meal is ready to eat in less than 10 minutes. This is the perfect package to have on hand in case the electricity goes out for an extended period, like after a hurricane or other natural disaster.

 And the best thing about Mountain House meals, is the food actually tastes good!

Be aware, almost all breakfast options contain pork. While bacon lovers will be thrilled, if you don’t eat pork, you’ll need to find something else to eat for your first meal of the day.


  • Longest shelf life in the industry.
  • 30-year taste guarantee.
  • Easy to store.
  • Just add water.
  • Ready in less than 10 minutes.


  • Requires boiling water, which can be problematic in disaster situations.
  • Most of the breakfast options contain pork.

3. Mountain House Breakfast Bucket - Best MRE for Breakfast

This ”Just in Case” bucket from Mountain House offers several tasty options for breakfast, including scrambled eggs with peppers and ham, granola with milk and blueberries, breakfast skillet with hash browns and pork crumble, and scrambled eggs with bacon.

Everything comes packed in a convenient, resealable bucket. Just add boiling water and you'll have an enjoyable breakfast ready to eat in less than 10 minutes

Although this bucket is perfect for emergencies and natural disasters, it’s also a great option for campers, backpackers, and survival experts. 

Mountain House foods are consistently ranked high in taste by experts. However, the texture of re-hydrated eggs can be off-putting for some. The texture definitely takes some getting used to.


  • Great-tasting breakfast options.
  • Convenient, resealable bucket.
  • Just add water.
  • Ready in less than 10 minutes.
  • Perfect for long-term storage.


  • The egg texture in these breakfast dishes takes some getting used to. 

4. S.O.S. Rations Emergency High Calorie Food Bar - Best Emergency MRE Rations

Perfect for your emergency kit or bug-out bag, these ration bars from S.O.S. are nutrient dense and delicious. Each bar provides 410 calories and a burst of much-needed energy. 

The packaging on these bars is top-notch. The bars come vacuum-sealed in a Mylar wrapper to protect from air and moisture. Inside the Mylar wrapper, each bar is individually wrapped in cellophane to keep them fresh for days, even after the larger package is opened. 

S.O.S. uses a tasty, non-thirst provoking formula to maximize survival capacity in situations where access to potable water may be restricted. 

Although these bars are perfect for emergency survival situations, they aren’t intended to provide long-term nutrition. The main ingredient is sugar, which provides a great boost of energy, but could cause blood sugar issues for some people.

Be aware, almost all breakfast options contain pork. While bacon lovers will be thrilled, if you don’t eat pork, you’ll need to find something else to eat for your first meal of the day.


  • High-calorie, nutrient dense ration bar.
  • Vacuum-sealed in Mylar for long-term storage.
  • Non-thirst provoking formula.


  • The main ingredient is sugar.
  • Does not supply adequate, long-term nutrition.

This durable, 6-gallon emergency food kit from Chef’s Banquet contains 330 delicious servings of great-tasting food. That’s enough to last one person for 30 days in an emergency situation. This kit is a stand-alone food storage solution with a shelf life of up to 20 years

Meals are packaged in sealed metalite pouches which provide a highly effective moisture and oxygen barrier. Additionally, each pouch contains an oxygen absorber for extra protection.

The meals are easy to prepare. Just add hot water, stir, and simmer. You’ll have a warm, satisfying meal in less than 20 minutes

Highly nutritious, Chef’s Banquet meals contain no MSG or high-fructose corn syrup

It would be more convenient if these meals were individually packaged. Instead, you get large 30-serving packages of vegetable stew, cheddar broccoli rice, instant potatoes, and mixed veggies. Once the packages are open, food will need to be consumed quickly to prevent spoiling.


  • Delicious and nutritious.
  • 20-year shelf life.
  • Meals are packed in sealed metalite pouches.
  • Easy to prepare.
  • No MSG or high-fructose corn syrup.


  • Food comes in large bulk packages.

6. Mountain House Rice & Chicken - Best MRE for Lunch and Dinner

Perfect for sharing a meal on the trail, each package of Mountain House Rice and Chicken contains three delicious 1-cup servings. Just add water directly to the pouch, wait ten minutes, and enjoy a fully-cooked meal with a fresh, home-cooked taste. This rice and chicken is perfectly seasoned in a hearty sauce accented with tasty pimentos. 

A little on the pricey side, these meals aren’t the best option for stockpiling. However, they make a delicious addition to your emergency stores and are perfect for a quick meal while traveling, hiking, or camping.

Trusted by the United States military for over 50 years, Mountain House products have the longest proven shelf life in the industry

They are also some of the best tasting MREs on the market.


  • Perfect for sharing.
  • Tastes homemade.
  • Long shelf life.


  • Expensive.

The Final Verdict: The Best MRE

While we almost hate to admit it, Genuine U.S. Military Surplus MREs are still the best on the market. Although there are better tasting options available, the variety, shelf-life, nutritional density, and easy preparation make them the best option, especially if you plan to use them for disaster preparation.

They also come with several other necessary survival supplies, including seasonings, matches, and toilet paper. Military surplus MREs are complete and all-inclusive. You don’t even need to boil water. Just heat them up using the water-activated flameless ration heater. It even includes a spoon and a wet wipe for easy clean-up!

These self-contained meals are everything you need for recreational camping or serious disaster survival.