The 4 Best MRE Brands – Best Tasting Flavors & Meals Review 2023

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Often considered the best low cost and highly mobile method of feeding soldiers, the MRE (Meal, Ready-to-Eat) has become commonplace with preppers, survivalists, and those simply looking to be a little more prepared. If you are in the market for these meals there are a few things you should know. The best food sources are those with an extremely high-calorie count. This aids in reducing weight (of the food) and thereby making it more efficient. You’ll also need potassium, protein, and sodium to keep your performance high.

The individual meals should be lightweight and easy to pack efficiently. They should also be sealed and protected against the elements, this includes the rain. It also helps if the food tastes good, but to be perfectly honest when your belly is empty you are rarely picky. If you have allergies, you should pay close attention to ensure the food doesn’t contain any of your allergens. The last and most important aspect is understanding how long the meals can last in storage.

Here are our recommendations for the 4 best MRE brands on the market:

U.S. Military MREs

The classic brown bag military MRE are one of the best options for emergency foods on the market. These meals have been issued for quite some time and have also proven to be field ready. These meals are well sealed against the environment and are in ridiculously tough packaging. Inside the brown plastic bags, the food is stored in water sealed pouches and boxed in cardboard.

The meals (see full specs) are extremely high in calories and provide around 1200 calories per meal. The foods themselves typically come with a main meal, a side or two, and a desert. Also packaged is some form of powdered drink mixture and instant coffee. The food can be broken down for easier storage and undesired items discarded to save weight and space. The food is heated with a flameless ration heater that is water activated and easy to use. The food can also be eaten cold, and heating is never required.

These meals are sold by the dozen and you receive a dozen different meals. The combined weight of all 12 MRE meals is right around 20 pounds, and often a meal and a half is all that’s required per day. Flavor is, of course, an objective criteria, but the meals are more than edible, and some are even enjoyable. Regardless of the flavor, these meals are effective and efficient.  These are among the best MRE brands period.

MRE Review - Menu 15 - Mexican Style Chicken Stew (2012)

Mountain House, Just in Case

Mountain House is a company who creates meals ready to eat primarily for civilians and some emergency agencies. Mountain House meals famously come in a bucket. This sealed, waterproof bucket contains twelve pouches, in six different menu options. The actual pouches vary by servings, but in each bucket, you get 29 meals. The meals are incredibly simple to make and require nothing more than water to make. Heating is not required and the meals even include breakfast options. Prep takes less than ten minutes and does not involve any pots, pans, bowls, and can all be done inside the pouch.

The Mountain House meals have a twelve-year fresh taste guarantee. Mountain House has been creating survival and camping foods for nearly 50 years now and have a solid reputation for quality and customer service. The food is broken into individual pouches that are easy to pack and very light in weight. This meals are also malleable in the pouches and can be shoved in nearly any and every free space in a pack.

Although they are nothing like a home cooked meal, these MRE meals are pretty good. Using hot water is preferred but not necessary. It is important to use the appropriate amount of water per meal, or you’ll water them down significantly and ruin the flavor. These are among the best MRE meals you can buy.

Chef’s Banquet All Purpose Readiness Kit

While calling it a Chef’s Banquet may be a bit of an exaggeration, the All Purpose Readiness kit is by far the best set of MRE meals on the market. The All Purpose Readiness kit, or ARK kit (see full specs), is 1 month worth of food for a single person packaged in a ready to go bucket. This bucket is waterproof, sealed against pests, and resistant to light and element exposure.

The bucket is six gallons total and in a survival situation can always be handy. If sealed and left in a cool, dry environment the meals can last twenty meals in the bucket. With a total of 330 servings, the fully packed bucket weighs 23 pounds.

Inside the bucket the food is sealed in pouches is a zip seal Metalite foil container. Preparation includes nothing more than adding water to the pouch, preferably warm water. The bucket contains a total of 2,100 daily calories worth of food for 30 days. The meals themselves are somewhat repetitive but an empty stomach isn’t a picky one.

Emergency Food Supply From Costco. Several Months of Food- 25 Year Shelf Life.


Similar to the military issued MREs but designed for the civilian sector and emergency management, the US MREs are a convenient and easy survival food. The US MREs are packaged in a cardboard case with twelve meals per case. Each meal is two servings giving you a total of 12 servings per case. These cases tightly fit the MREs and protect them for light and exposure to the elements nicely. The case and meals together weigh 6 pounds and are convenient and lightweight.

The meals themselves are 600 calories, which is low, but their size makes them an efficient means of carrying meals. The pouches carry two meals apiece, giving you 1200 calories per pouch, comparable to military MREs. The small serving size makes packing the MREs much easier and allows users to tailor the foods for easy packing, and make field stripping for easier storage possible.

The meals are sealed hermetically and the pouches can withstand impacts and are waterproofed. The pouches are incredibly resistant to pests and are tough enough that they can even be difficult to open without a knife. The meals are packaged with flameless ration heaters than work with nothing more than water. As a kit, these are convenient and affordable for most campers, hunters, hikers and preppers—likely the best MRE brands for the money.

Mystery Food

The MRE may not be the best tasting food, but in a survival situation, they are a reliable source of calories that can be packaged and easily carried in a pack. Outside of the prepping and survivalist market, these foods are quite handy for campers, hunters, and hikers. They are convenient field foods and are hard to beat when times are tough, and we hope you’ve found the best MRE brands for your needs.

  • Owner of, Boyd Smith is a major handgun enthusiast, and although he owns Glocks, he prefers the revolving wheel type. His go-to guns are a Smith & Wesson 642 Performance Center for carry and a Ruger GP100 in the nightstand biometric safe (he has kids). He loads both revolvers with old-school 148-grain Federal Gold Medal .38 wadcutters. It’s OK if you think he’s a wimp. Email him.

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One response

  1. Which ones contain healthy organic ingredients only?
    Trying to avoid the Roundup neurotoxic carcinogen residues in GMO conventional foods.
    Thank you.

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