How to Make Homemade MREs (Step-by-Step Guide)

In this article, I will show you how to make homemade MREs step-by-step.

While canned and preserved goods might keep you going for days or even weeks, they are not without their drawbacks.

Their containers are typically large and bulky, consuming valuable energy and space in your bug-out bag. They frequently necessitate the use of equipment to open, cook, and consume them, and once opened, they go bad quickly.

MREs are light and small, taking up less room in your luggage and making them easier to carry, allowing you to cover more area.

They’re also incredibly easy to prepare and have a lengthy shelf life. Even after being opened, MREs are used by the army, as well as government disaster agencies, adventurers, campers, and, of course, preppers, for these reasons.

Let’s dig in.

Peppered Beef Jerky Recipe slab of beef batches of her famous jerky enormous fan of homemade beef classic jerky flavor best way best homemade beef

Here are what kinds of foods you should pick:

  • Compact in size and lightweight
  • Have lengthy storage life
  • After it’s been opened, it has long shelf life
  • Simple to prepare
  • Cooking time is minimal or non-existent.


Jerky is typically found in military field rations due to its lightweight, long shelf life, and high nutritional content. You may make your own jerky or purchase it from a supermarket aisle.

Here is how to make jerky the fastest way.

Instant Ramen

Instant ramen is pre-packed, lightweight, and requires only hot water to cook. They come in a variety of tastes and may be prepared in under 3 minutes. When purchasing instant ramen for your MREs, consider those that come in plastic packets rather than cups for easy packaging.

Energy Bars

Commercially accessible high-energy food bars, such as protein, granola, or muesli bars, are available in supermarkets, but they can also be made at home. They can give you a lift and keep you from collapsing during physically strenuous activities.


Oats are a good source of fiber and minerals, in addition to having a long shelf life. They come in various shapes and sizes (steel-cut, rolled, instant), and while their cooking times, texture, and flavor varied, their nutritional contents are similar.


Hardtack is another great food that lasts a long time, sometimes over 100 years, and can be potentially nutritious. Here is how to make hardtack.

If you haven’t already, check out our article on the best survival food list with all the best foods, you should hoard.

Dehydrating & Freeze-drying

dehydrated fruits and veggies

Foods that have been freeze-dried are excellent for survival. The technique preserves the nutrients, and freeze-dried foods are usually tasty. The main drawback is that freeze-dried meals do not shrink, so they take up some room.

Dehydrating is your only option if you want to prepare your MREs out of fresh items.

Here are 15 things you should know before you dehydrate food.

Supplies Needed

  1. Dehydrator – Recommended (Amazon link)
  2. Mylar Bags – Recommended (Amazon link)
  3. Vacuum Sealer – Recommended (Amazon link)
  4. Oxygen Absorber – Recommended (Amazon link)

How to Make Homemade MREs

how to make homemade mres

I recommend you group your foods in such a way that each pack has a “full” meal (carbohydrates, some protein, and vitamins and minerals). You can change it up a little to avoid eating the same thing every time.

Individual packets of salt and seasoning (you can buy these in bulk and separate them later in smaller packets, or just preserve the packets you get when you go to restaurants or order food delivery) can also be added, or the little packets can be taped to the big packs later.

Put every meal’s worth of food in a mylar bag and seal it with a vacuum sealer to remove the air and compact it. If the individual components have expiration dates on them, try to match them as closely as possible while packing each ration.

Consider puncturing the package of some of the dry components (such as instant ramen) with a needle or a thumbtack to let the air inside out before vacuum sealing to make your MREs more compact.

Final Thoughts

The MREs will last you at least years, if not decades, with these additions and give you emergency food packs that you can simply take and throw in your bag during an emergency.

Even if nothing happens while you have your homemade MREs on hand, you can rotate them and use them as food packs when you go hiking or camping.

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2 thoughts on “How to Make Homemade MREs (Step-by-Step Guide)”

  1. I live alone with an out-of-this-world busy schedule, and I also have a particular preference in flavor. This guide on how to make homemade MRE is a great reference to have! I’m going to give it a try!


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