Can You Heat MRE in a Microwave?

Can You Heat MRE in a Microwave?

I love going for adventures and long road trips, and my biggest challenge has always been packing food that will sustain my family throughout the journey. It is always a daunting task keeping food hot for a long time, keeping it fresh, and avoiding spillage; hence MREs play a significant role by offering a solution to all of these challenges. But my question is Can You Heat MRE in a Microwave?


However, one of the biggest concerns among many MRE lovers is whether or not you can heat them using a microwave. Many safety concerns and questions linger in the minds of many, and they’re always left with a lot of doubts about whether or not to continue heating MREs in a microwave. Read also on how to make popcorn in the microwave.


So, can you heat your MRE in a microwave?


Yes, it is okay to heat MREs in a microwave, but you must do this with some precaution. You need to remove the MRE package before putting it in a microwave. The packaging pouch of the MREs is made of metals and other materials like foil that can ignite, damage your microwave, and harm nearby people.


If you want to learn more about microwaving MREs- whether it is safe to microwave them, how to heat them in a microwave, safety precautions to take while microwaving them, and the time you should take to microwave them, read this piece to the end. We will also highlight what MREs are, how long they can last, where you can get them, why they can’t heat sometimes, and whether you can heat them without microwaving them.


What is an MRE?

Can You Heat MRE in a MicrowaveThe MRE (Meals Ready to Eat) are packaged self-contained meals consumed without cooking. The packaging of the MRE can survive harsh conditions and exposure; hence used mainly by military personnel, and it’s also popular among people who love adventures like hiking, camping, and even fishing.


MRE comes in different menu varieties and components, including entrée, side dishes, crackers or bread, spread, dessert, candy, beverages, hot sauce or seasoning, and accessories, including spoons, matches, sugar, salt, etc. MREs provide roughly 1,250 calories, each equaling a meal; hence three MREs equals a full day’s worth of meals.


Is it Safe to Heat MREs in the Microwave?Can You Heat MRE in a Microwave?

It is safe to heat MREs in a microwave, provided you remove the metal/plastic pouch used for packaging the food.


The packaging pouch is made using metals like foils that can easily ignite, become dangerous, and completely ruin your microwave. Metals are solid and hence can’t escape when heated in a microwave since some will reflect instead of absorbing heat leading to the overheating of the microwave and eventually catching fire.


What are the Safety Precautions I should take when Heating an MRE in the Microwave?

Microwaves are efficient when you want to fix a quick meal, but following specific safety precautions to microwave MREs safely is essential. I always follow the following safety precautions whenever I want to heat my MREs in the microwave.


  1. Check the Shelf Life Period

While MREs are made to last long with longer shelf life, it is essential to know before heating them in a microwave. The actual shelf life varies from three to five years, but this could be affected by exposure to harsh weather conditions.


Read the Manufacturer’s InstructionsThere are different MRE heating instructions from one manufacturer to the other. It is hence vital to read and follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer in order t ensure a safe and evenly cooked MRE using a microwave.


  1. Put the MRE Content in Microwave-Safe Containers

Can You Heat MRE in a MicrowaveYou should always transfer your MRE to a container designed for use in the microwave to ensure safety, prevent contamination and evenly cook your food. Look for the containers labeled “microwave-safe” or with a microwave symbol.

Glass and ceramic containers are the most recommended for microwaving food, while plastics, metal pans, or aluminum foils should be avoided. These materials can contaminate the food or damage the microwave.


  1. Check for Leakages or Spoilage.

While MREs have a long shelf life, this might be affected by their storage and exposure to direct sunlight, making them spoil sooner. It is essential to check for any sign of leakage, discoloration, foul smell, or bulking packaging, and avoid heating if you find any.


How to Heat MRE in a Microwave?

While MRE stands for Meals Ready to Eat, most people, including myself, don’t like eating cold meals. You’ll need to microwave it to serve it warm, and here are the steps to follow when heating MRE in a microwave.

  • Transfer all the MRE content into a microwave-safe container after cutting the pouch using scissors.
  • Cover the container using a container lid or a paper towel
  • Put the container in the microwave and switch the microwave on to heat
  • Switch off the microwave and remove the container
  • Enjoy your meal while warm


Can I Eat an MRE without Microwaving?

Yes, it is possible to heat your MRE using other ways if you don’t have access to a microwave. The following methods can be used to heat your MRE:

  1. MRE Flameless Ration Chemical Heater 

MRE flameless chemical heater is the most common way to heat an MRE without a microwave. The general guidelines for using the MRE flameless chemical heater are as follows:

  • Activate the chemical heater.
  • Slide the MRE pot into the plastic sleeve of the heater.
  • Add water to the heater pouch and wait some minutes for the chemical reaction to begin.
  • Put the heater resting against a firm vertical surface and let it heat for about five minutes or until the MRE ouch is hot.
  • Remove the entrees carefully, as the pouch can be very hot.
  • Your MRE entrée is warm and ready to eat.


  1. Boiling Water

Boiling water is another method used to heat MRE. You will need to boil your water and then reduce the heat before placing your MRE pouch into the water. After boiling for about eight minutes, remove the pouch from the water. Cut open the MRE pouch, and your contents are ready to eat.


  1. Saucepan

If you can access a saucepan, open the MRE pouch and transfer the contents to it. Heat the contents at medium temperature for approximately five minutes while stirring continually. Your MRE is ready to eat; remove the contents, transfer to a dish, and enjoy your meal.


  1. Oven

MREs can also be heated using an oven. You will need to preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cut open the MRE pouch and place the content into an oven-safe dish. Put the dish into an oven and heat for about ten minutes, and your meal will be ready to serve.



How long do MREs Last?


MREs are made with three to five years of shelf life when stored at room temperature. They can have an extended shelf life when stored in a cooler environment like a basement or a refrigerator, but the shelf life can also be shortened with exposure to direct light or hot temperatures.


How long Should an MRE take in the Microwave?


It should take around two to three minutes to heat one pouch of MRE. However, the amount of time might vary depending on the specification of the microwave, more so the wattage and the number of MRE bags you want to heat at once.


Why is the MRE not Heating up?


Different reasons could make your MRE unable to heat up even after trying all the possible ways listed earlier. This rare occasion could result from the MRE expiry, improper storage, or leakages that might spoil the food.


Where Can I Get MREs?


You can buy MREs from different sites or food stores authorized to sell and distribute them. I always order mine from eBay or Amazon.


Can You Microwave MRE in its Package?


You should never put the MRE in a microwave while still in its pouch. The pouch has metals that could potentially destroy the microwave or harm people nearby.



I hope you are now aware of how easy and convenient heating MREs can be if you follow the right safety precaution. Doing it right will help you avoid the destruction of the microwave or harm to you or your loved ones.


It is important to be keen on the manufacturer’s instructions and signs of spoilage or leakages and keep an eye on the MRE while it’s in the microwave. Expired or spoilt MRE might sometimes not heat up, and hence you should immediately remove it from the microwave.


You should be keen on the wattage of your microwave to avoid overheating or underheating your MRE. The time taken to heat an MRE will depend on the power of your microwave and how many pouches of MRE you want to heat.


You can now eat a warm MRE even if you don’t have access to a microwave. Other methods of heating an MRE, like an MRE Flameless Ration Chemical Heater, boiling water, an oven, or a saucepan, will always come in handy.

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