You’ll Never Go Hungry Again After Learning These Shocking DIY MRE Preparation Secrets

Preparing for emergencies is crucial, and having a sustainable food supply is one of the most important aspects of being ready for any crisis situation.

When it comes to long-term food storage, few options are as convenient and shelf-stable as Meals, Ready-to-Eat (MREs). While military-grade MREs are available commercially, making your own DIY MRE preparations allows you to customize ingredients to your taste, dietary needs, and budget.

In this comprehensive guide, you’ll learn everything you need to know about creating your own delicious, nutrient-dense, and long-lasting MRE meals and kits from scratch.

Key Takeaways

  • Understand the benefits of homemade MREs over store-bought options
  • Learn how to source and store the essential non-perishable ingredients
  • Get step-by-step instructions for preparing, packaging, and storing DIY MREs
  • Discover creative recipe ideas and meal kit variations to suit any taste
  • Gain insights into best practices for long-term emergency food preparedness

By the end, you’ll have the knowledge and skills to build an extensive, tailored stock of homemade MREs to keep your family self-sufficient through any emergency.

Reddit Weighs In

In the world of prepping, having a reliable and convenient food source is crucial. DIY MREs (Meal Ready to Eat) have become a popular topic for preppers looking to create their own portable, long-lasting meals.

This case study explores the insights and experiences shared on various Reddit threads, where members of the prepping community discuss the process, challenges, and benefits of crafting homemade MREs.

Objective: By analyzing these discussions, we aim to provide readers with a comprehensive understanding of DIY MREs, covering everything from ingredient selection and preparation methods to storage techniques and cost-effectiveness.

Background Information

Context: The Reddit threads examined in this case study originate from subreddits like r/PostCollapse, r/MRE, r/preppers, and r/Survival, where individuals passionate about emergency preparedness and self-sufficiency gather to share knowledge and experiences.

Community Profile: These communities are comprised of preppers, survivalists, and outdoor enthusiasts who value self-reliance and seek practical solutions for emergency situations, whether it’s a natural disaster, societal collapse, or extended camping trips.

Analysis of Discussion

Key Points: Throughout the threads, users share their DIY MRE recipes, ranging from simple combinations of shelf-stable foods to more elaborate, nutritionally balanced meals. Common ingredients include canned goods, dehydrated vegetables, protein sources like jerky or tuna pouches, grains, and energy bars.

Insights: One recurring theme is the importance of balancing caloric density, nutritional value, and weight considerations when crafting DIY MREs. Users emphasize the need for a mix of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats to maintain energy levels during emergencies or physical exertion.

Personal Stories or Quotes

Contributor Highlights: “I’ve just gotten in the habit of dehydrating leftovers as experiments. Then I’ll haul a few extra meals with to try and if they are terrible (and some are) I have a spare and I’m just out 30min to make my backup. A lot of stuff comes out surprisingly good.” – u/Vandilbg

Differing Views: While some users advocate for the convenience and shelf-life of commercial MREs, others argue that DIY options offer more cost-effective and customizable alternatives tailored to individual tastes and dietary needs.

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Practical Applications

Recommendations: Based on the discussions, users recommend vacuum-sealing DIY MREs to extend their shelf-life and incorporating oxygen absorbers to prevent spoilage. Portion control and calorie-dense ingredients are also emphasized for efficient packing and sustenance during emergencies.

Implementation Tips: Start by experimenting with dehydrating familiar meals or leftovers to get a feel for the process. Gradually transition to assembling complete DIY MREs, incorporating a balanced mix of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Regularly rotate stock to ensure freshness.


Summary: DIY MREs offer preppers a cost-effective and customizable solution for creating long-lasting, portable meals. By leveraging the collective wisdom of online communities, preppers can learn techniques for crafting nutritionally balanced MREs tailored to their individual needs and preferences.

Reflection: The discussions highlight the resourcefulness and creativity of the prepping community, as members share innovative ways to repurpose everyday ingredients into survival rations. DIY MREs empower preppers to take control of their emergency food supply, ensuring they have access to sustenance in times of crisis.

Call to Action: Explore the original Reddit threads (r/PostCollapse, r/MRE, r/preppers, r/Survival) to gain deeper insights from the prepping community. Share your own experiences or tips for creating DIY MREs in the comments below, and consider implementing these strategies to bolster your emergency preparedness.


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Introduction to DIY MRE Preparation

Preparing for emergencies requires planning and foresight when it comes to food storage. Enter Meals, Ready-to-Eat (MREs) – compact, self-contained meal kits designed for survival scenarios. While military-grade MREs are available commercially, making your own DIY MRE meals allows you to customize ingredients to your taste and dietary needs.

What are MREs and Why Make Your Own?

MREs are portable, calorie-dense meals in lightweight packaging designed for long-term storage. Key advantages of MREs include:

  • Long shelf-life: Up to several years with proper storage
  • Self-contained: No prep required, just add water for heating
  • Compact: Space-saving for emergency kits and bug-out bags

While commercial MREs suffice, DIY alternatives offer several benefits:

  • Cost savings: Significantly cheaper than pre-made options
  • Dietary control: Omit allergens, add preferred ingredients
  • Variety: Create your favorite meals instead of standard military fare

Benefits of Homemade MREs

Making your own MREs allows for customization to meet your family’s preferences and needs. Additional benefits include:

  • Ingredient transparency: Know exactly what’s in your food
  • Better taste: Cook favorite recipes instead of mass-produced meals
  • Portion control: Tailor calories per serving for different needs
  • Longevity: With proper techniques, shelf life of 5-25 years

With a little preparation, you can create tasty, nutritious MRE meals tailored to your needs for long-term emergency self-sufficiency.

Essential Ingredients for DIY MREs

Building your own MREs starts with stocking up on the right shelf-stable ingredients. Focus on nutrient-dense, non-perishable pantry staples that have an extended shelf life for long-term food storage.

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Non-Perishable Pantry Essentials

The core ingredients for homemade MREs should provide calories, protein, vitamins and minerals. Essential non-perishables include:

  • Grains: Pasta, rice, crackers, cereals
  • Proteins: Canned meats, fish, beans, powdered eggs
  • Fruits & Veggies: Canned, dried, powdered varieties
  • Healthy Fats: Nuts, nut butters, olive oil
  • Calories: Honey, sugar, powdered milk
  • Seasonings: Salt, pepper, spices, bouillon

Long-Term Food Storage Options

With proper packaging and storage conditions, many shelf-stable foods can last for years. Here are some top long-term storage foods:

FoodShelf Life
White Rice25+ years
Dried Beans25+ years
Powdered Milk20+ years
Canned Meats/Fish5-10 years
Dried Fruits1-2 years
Nuts/Nut Butters6-12 months
  • Mylar bags with oxygen absorbers extend shelf life drastically
  • Store in cool, dry, dark areas away from heat and pests
  • Rotate oldest food to front when restocking pantry
  • Note “best by” dates and adjust storage time as needed

By stocking your pantry with the right long-lasting ingredients, you’ll have the essentials for crafting nutritious, sustainable DIY MREs.

Step-by-Step Guide to Making MREs

With your pantry stocked full of shelf-stable essentials, you’re ready to start assembling your own homemade MRE meals. Follow this step-by-step process to create portable, long-lasting ration packs.

Step 1: Choose Recipes & Ingredients

The first step is selecting MRE-suitable recipes and ingredients:

  • Quick-cooking: Rice, pasta, instant potatoes
  • Shelf-stable proteins: Canned chicken, tuna, beef
  • Low-moisture: Dehydrated veggie mixes, powdered sauces
  • Compact: No bulky ingredients that waste space

Step 2: Prepare Components

  • Dehydrate fresh ingredients like meats, fruits, veggies
  • Pre-cook grains, legumes, etc. until just tender
  • Portion out quantities needed per meal

Step 3: Assemble Meals

  • Layer components in order they will be rehydrated
  • Include drink mixes, utensils, condiments
  • Note any additional items like stove fuel needed

Step 4: Pack & Seal Meals

Proper packing is crucial for extending shelf life:

  • Use oxygen absorber packets to remove air
  • Vacuum seal meals in mylar bags or jars
  • Clearly label all packages with contents and date

Step 5: Proper MRE Storage

  • Store in a cool, dark, dry place away from heat
  • Pack in durable containers like ammo cans or buckets
  • Rotate oldest meals to the front when restocking

By carefully preparing ingredients, combining into meals, and packing with oxygen absorbers, your DIY MREs can last 5-25 years! With this guide, you can economically create customized emergency foods.

MRE Meal Ideas

Get creative mixing and matching pantry staples into flavorful MRE meals like:

Granola with Powdered MilkBeef StewTrail Mix
Protein Powder PancakesChicken Teriyaki RiceCanned Fruits
Oatmeal with Dried FruitsPasta PrimaveraNut Butters with Crackers

MRE Packaging Tips

Proper packing is crucial for extending the shelf life of your homemade MREs:

  • Use oxygen absorber packets to remove air
  • Vacuum seal meals in mylar bags or jars
  • Pack components separately for easier meal assembly
  • Clearly label all packages with contents and date
  • Store in a cool, dark, dry place away from heat
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Emergency Food Prep and Survival

Creating a sustainable emergency food supply is critical for weathering any crisis or disaster scenario. From short-term disruptions to long-term breakdowns, having a well-stocked survival food stockpile can be the difference between safety and going hungry.

Emergency Food Storage Best Practices

Proper storage is key to maintaining your emergency rations for the long haul. Follow these best practices:

  • Use airtight packaging like mylar bags and buckets
  • Include oxygen absorbers to prevent food oxidation
  • Store in a cool, dry, dark location away from heat and moisture
  • Secure from rodents and insects with proof containers
  • Rotate oldest food out first based on Best By dates

Survival Food Tips

In a true survival situation, calorie-dense, portable, easy-prep foods are essential:

Food TypeExamplesBenefits
DehydratedDried fruits, veggies, meatsUltra-lightweight, compact
Freeze-DriedScrambled eggs, mealsQuick rehydration
Nut ButtersPeanut, almond, etc.Healthy fats and protein
GrainsRice, oats, wheat berriesLong shelf life nutrition
LegumesLentils, beans, peasFiber, protein, nutrients
  • Focus on complete proteins from combos like grains + legumes
  • Pack extra spices and seasonings to improve bland foods
  • Have backup water purification methods for rehydrating meals

Self-Sufficient Food Preparation

Ideally, your long-term food storage will include ways to supplement preserved rations through:

  • Home gardening: Sprouting seeds, microgreens, potted veggies
  • Raising livestock: Chickens for eggs, goats for milk
  • Foraging: Harvesting wild edibles in your area
  • Food preservation: Canning, dehydrating, root cellaring

With the right preparation, storage methods, and supplemental practices, you can ensure your family has enough nutritious food reserves for any emergency lasting weeks, months or years.

Do-It-Yourself MRE Kits

While assembling individual DIY MRE meals is handy, creating full MRE meal kits adds even more self-sufficiency. With a few extra supplies, you can build out complete ration packs for true survival readiness.

How to Make MRE Meals at Home

To construct full MRE kits at home, start with your homemade meal components and add:

  • Heating accessories: Flameless ration heater bag, fuel source
  • Hydration options: Drink mixes, water purification tablets
  • Utensils: Lightweight spork, napkin, condiments
  • First aid: Modest med kit with bandages, medications
  • Creature comforts: Sanitizing wipes, toilet paper, matches

Once you have all components, vacuum seal the meal and accessories together in a durable outer bag like mylar or plastic. Clearly label contents.

DIY MRE Kit Ideas and Variations

Get creative mixing and matching components into full MRE kits like:

Kit NameMain MealSidesAccessories
Breakfast RationGranola, Powdered MilkFruit, Nut ButterCoffee, Sugar, Creamer
Burger FuelBeefPatties, BreadCheese, BBQ SauceSanitizing Wipes, Tinder
Vegetarian FeastLentil Stew, PitaHummus, Dried ApricotsMultivitamins, Ibuprofen
Hiker’s DelightChicken Teriyaki RiceTrail Mix, JerkyElectrolytes, Foot Powder
  • Customize portions for calorie needs (e.g. 2500-3500 per day)
  • Include special accessories for activities like camping, hiking
  • Pack condiments and seasonings to improve bland meals
  • Strive for dietary balance across meals with nutrients, macros

With some simple additions, you can turn basic meals into well-rounded, self-contained survival kits. Having these DIY MRE packs on-hand provides reassurance for any emergency.


Preparing an emergency food supply goes beyond just stocking up on canned goods. Homemade MREs provide a convenient, shelf-stable solution for long-term survival scenarios. By taking the time to assemble these portable ration packs yourself, you ensure true self-reliance.

Advantages of Homemade MREs

While pre-made MREs are an option, there are significant advantages to the DIY approach:

Homemade MREsStore-Bought MREs
Customizable ingredientsLimited options
Lower costPremium pricing
Control over nutritionHighly processed
Longer shelf life potentialShorter durability
Tailor portion sizesOne-size-fits-all
  • Skip the additives and preservatives in mass-produced MREs
  • Suit special dietary needs like allergies, intolerances
  • Pack family favorite meals instead of generic fare
  • Economical food supply for large groups, long durations

Final Tips for Emergency Food Preparedness

As you build out your homemade MRE stockpile, keep these tips in mind:

  • Follow best practices for storage and packaging
  • Include backup cooking methods like stoves, fuel
  • Supplement with other preserved foods like freeze-dried
  • Cycle through and rotate rations to avoid expiration
  • Have water purification supplies for rehydration
  • Plan for variety and balance across meals/kits

With some upfront effort sourcing ingredients and proper packing, you can economically build an extensive homemade MRE supply. These shelf-stable ration packs provide crucial food self-sufficiency for any crisis.

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