How Long Do MRE Last?

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If you’re looking for an easy and convenient way to have a meal ready to eat, you might want to consider MREs. MREs, or Meals Ready to Eat, are pre-packaged meals that can be eaten without any preparation. They are perfect for emergencies or for when you’re on the go. 

But how long do MREs last? And when do they expire? In this blog post, we will answer those questions and more! How long do MREs last or how long are they good for is one of the most asked questions by people looking to buy. 

If you have ever been in a survival situation or if you expect to get into one, then you probably want to stock up on some food supply. The best ones will be in the form of Meals Ready-to-Eat (MRE). But just like any other food item, there comes an expiration date. 

How can we determine that, and why does it matter anyway? How Long Are Mre Good For? The answer depends on where your MRE was manufactured and what type it is. In general, however, military-grade meals can survive extreme conditions you will most likely never be in.

What is an MRE, and what are its components?

An MRE or Meal Ready to Eat is an individual portion of dehydrated meals that comes with a variety of food items. It may include crackers, main course, spread, and sweets. These are meant for soldiers who need portable sustenance during their missions. 

This is why it should be lightweight, not require preparation, and remains fresh even after several days. In the US military alone, this component provides 13% of the daily calorie requirements per soldier, which includes 2000 calories per day since they have to use so much energy in their assignments outdoors. 

MREs may come with other components aside from food, such as heating elements like flameless ration heater (FRH) for hot drinks or meals without using fire, utensils, and a napkin. The components of an MRE may vary per manufacturer, but usually, it contains the following:

  • Main course (beef stew, chicken with rice and vegetables, etc.)
  • Crackers or bread item
  • Spreads like peanut butter, jelly, cheese spread, etc.
  • Dessert items like cake or cookies
  • Hot beverage mix
  • Instant coffee (regular and decaf)
  • Utensils, napkin, and condiments pack that includes a spoon, salt, pepper, creamers for hot drinks, etc.

How long do MREs last, and how should they be stored?

MREs have a shelf life of about three years, but they can last up to five years if stored correctly. They should be kept in a cool, dry place with low humidity. Avoid storing them in direct sunlight or near any heat sources. 

MREs can also be frozen, but this will reduce their shelf life. If you’re going to freeze them, make sure you eat them within three months after thawing. The colder the temperature, the longer they will last. 

It’s best to keep them at room temperature or below. If you do freeze them, make sure they are completely thawed before eating because MRE packages are made up of plastic and metal that could be damaged by freezing temperatures. 

When it comes down to the food itself, the individual components may have different expiration dates than the whole meal kit itself! For example, if an MRE says “Best Before 11/2021” on its package but inside there is an apple sauce pouch with a date code of 05/2019, then this means that part has already expired! Be careful about combining outdated pouches into new meals as well since those too will go bad sooner than fresh ones would (even though).

Are MREs a good source of nutrition?

MREs are complete meals, so they contain all the nutrients you need to thrive for a day. MREs can also be used as an emergency food supply and survival kit. These kits provide a variety of foods such as beans, fruit, vegetables, meat, and grains that will keep you going in case of an emergency. 

MREs are a good source of nutrition for short-term emergencies. They have a long shelf life and provide all the nutrients you need.

What are some alternative food options for emergencies or outdoor activities?

MREs are not the only option when it comes to food in emergencies or outdoor activities. There are many other types of food that can be stored and used for these purposes. Some alternative food options include:

  • Canned goods: Canned goods are a great option because they do not need to be refrigerated and they have a long shelf life.
  • Dehydrated foods: Dehydrated foods are lightweight and easy to store, making them a good option for emergencies or outdoor activities. They also have a long shelf life.
  • Freeze-dried foods: Freeze-dried foods are lightweight and have a long shelf life. They also taste good, which makes them a good option for emergencies or outdoor activities.

How to choose the best MRE for your needs?

MREs, or Meal, Ready-to-Eat, is a type of pre-packaged meal that is designed to be nutritionally complete and provide sustenance in the event of an emergency. They come in a variety of flavors and can be stored for long periods of time. But how do you know which MRE is right for you? Here are a few tips to help you choose the best MRE for your needs:

  1. Consider your needs and preferences. What type of food do you like? What type of meals do you feel comfortable eating? Choose an MRE that includes meals that you will enjoy eating.
  2. Consider the nutritional content. Each MRE provides a different level of nutritional content. Choose an MRE that provides the number of calories, fat, and protein you need to sustain yourself in a disaster situation.
  3. Consider your budget. Some MREs are more expensive than others, so choose one that fits within your budget. If you can’t afford an expensive MRE, consider buying smaller quantities or splitting the cost with friends or family members who also want to be prepared for emergencies.

Tips for preparing and eating MREs?

MREs, or “Meals Ready to Eat,” are a type of pre-packaged food that is designed to be durable and easily portable. They are often used by the military but can also be purchased commercially. MREs come in a variety of flavors and can be eaten cold or heated up. Here are a few tips for preparing and eating MREs:

  • Before eating an MRE, always check the expiration date printed on the package.
  • MREs can be eaten cold, but they will taste better if they are heated up first. To heat an MRE, follow the heating instructions printed on the package.
  • Be careful when opening an MRE, as the food inside can be hot.
  • If you are using a stove to heat your MRE, always use a pan or pot to avoid creating sparks that could start a fire.

When Do MRE Expire?

MREs, or “meals ready to eat,” are vacuum-packed military rations that have a long shelf life. They can be eaten cold or heated up, making them perfect for emergencies or camping trips. But how long do MREs last? And when do they expire? 

MREs typically have a shelf life of three to five years, but they can last for up to seven years under optimal conditions. The expiration date is printed on the packaging, so make sure to check it before you stock up on MREs. 

If you’re looking for an emergency food solution that doesn’t require cooking, MREs are a great option. Just make sure you store them in a cool, dry place and rotate them regularly to ensure they stay fresh.

What to Do With Expired MRE?

MRE is designed to last for a certain amount of time, but after that, they may not be safe to eat. If you have MRE that have expired, there are a few things you can do with them:

  • Throw them away. This is the most obvious option, and it’s also the safest one. Expired MRE can pose a health risk, so it’s best to just get rid of them.
  • Donate them to charity. If you don’t want to or can’t throw your expired MRE away, you can always donate them to charity. There are likely organizations that would love to receive these types of donations.
  • Sell them online. Another option is to sell your expired MRE online. There are a number of websites that allow you to do this, and you may be able to get some money for them.
  • Feed them to animals. If you have pets, you can also feed your expired MRE to them. This is a great way to use them up and make sure they don’t go to waste.

How Long are MRE Crackers Good For?

MRE Crackers are a type of cracker that is found in MREs or Meals Ready to Eat. These crackers are made to be durable and last for a long time without going bad. They can be eaten as they are or used as a topping for other food items. 

MRE Crackers are typically good for around two years from the date of manufacture. After this point, they may start to go stale but will still be safe to eat. If you have any questions about how long MRE Crackers are good for, please contact your local military surplus store or manufacturer.

Can You Eat Out of Date MRE?

MREs, or Meals, Ready to Eat, are a type of food that was originally created for the United States military. They are lightweight and easily portable, making them ideal for camping trips or other outdoor activities. 

MREs come in a variety of flavors, and most people find them to be a satisfying and convenient alternative to traditional campfire food. MREs can last for up to five years when stored properly, but they will start to lose their nutritional value after about two years. 

If you have an old MRE in your pantry, it’s probably best to discard it and replace it with a new one. However, if you’re stranded in the wilderness, and all you have is an old MRE, it’s still better than going hungry!

History of MRE

MRE, or Meals Ready to Eat, has been around since the early 1980s. The first MREs were developed for the United States military and were meant to provide a lightweight and calorie-rich meal that could be easily carried and consumed in the field. 

The original MREs were not very popular with soldiers, who found them dry and unappetizing. However, over time, MREs have been refined and improved, and they are now considered an essential part of the military diet. 

MREs are also becoming increasingly popular with civilians. They are a great option for people who want an easy but nutritious meal that can be eaten on the go.

In Conclusion

MREs have a long shelf life and can last for years as long as they are stored properly. However, the nutritional value of MREs diminishes over time, so it is important to consume them before their expiration date. 

Although they may not taste as good as fresh food, MREs are still a nutritious and convenient option for emergencies or outdoor activities. If you are looking for an even longer-lasting food option, consider investing in a freeze-dried meal kit. 

These kits can last up to 25 years when stored properly! The shelf life of an MRE depends on storage conditions, the climate it is kept in, and the type of package. Most MREs will last for about three years if stored at room temperature and four years if refrigerated or frozen.

The average shelf life for a case (12 meals) is about two months when properly stored under cool temperatures. However, this number can vary depending on what kind of food you have inside your meal kit – some items like fruit have shorter lifespans than other types, such as beef jerky, which may last up to six months without losing its flavor or texture quality due to preservatives used during manufacturing processes! 

You may also want to consider purchasing multiple cases so that even though one expires soon, another won’t be too far behind. MREs are a long-lasting and convenient food option for emergencies or outdoor activities. However, it is important to know how long they last so you can store them properly.


Shanna is the 2nd half of Top Outdoor Survival. Like Forest, she has a passion for guns and knives. They love to go on a survival trip at least once a year. They love to go camping, hiking, and traveling.

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