Everything You Always Wanted to Know About MREs but were Afraid to Ask...

"Mr. E" (mystery), "Meals Rejected by Everyone", "Meals, Rarely Edible", "Meals Rejected by the Enemy", and of course, the world-famous 'Four Fingers of Death"

No matter what you called MREs, we all had our favorites (Chili-Mac) and the ones we wouldn't feed to a mangy Iraqi dog (Veggie Omelette). I decided that it was high-time I dove into the history of the chow we all loved to hate to find out a little more about these fine delicacies.

I hope you enjoy this collection of useless information while waiting for final formation or during an extended trip to the head (that's a 'bathroom' for all of you that have been out a long time....like me)


MRE fun facts headerMREs are designed to withstand parachute drops from 1,250 feet and non-parachute drops of 100 feet. (Especially the least popular ones)

The FRH will heat the entree of an MRE by raising the temperature of the 8-ounce entree by 100 F in 12 minutes.

Your Tabasco sauce may be used as a gargle for sore throats

Use a pinch of instant tea from your MRE and apply it to your gums to help eliminate canker sores. (Note: instant tea is ineffective against whatever you caught from Misty at the club last Friday)

During Operation Desert Storm many U.S. Forces ate MREs for 60+ days straight. (That sucks.) 


MRE Recipes header

(via Survival Gear Source)

Pot Luck Pie
1 pouch Beef Stew
½ packet Cheese Spread
4 dashes Hot Sauce (optional)
½ pack Crackers (crumbled)

Heat Beef Stew and Cheese Spread in heater
Combine Stew, Cheese Spread, Hot Sauce and top with crumpled crackers to taste.

Enchilada Soup

1 pouch heated Beef Enchiladas
1 packet Cheese Spread (heated)
4 ounces heated water (1/6 canteen cup)
Hot Sauce to taste

Slice Beef Enchiladas into small pieces
Add cheese spread, water and hot sauce. Mix well while humming the Hat Dance.

Birthday Cake

MRE Pound Cake
1 Package of MRE Crackers
1 Pack of dairy creamer
1 Pack of cocoa mix
1 Pack of MRE Sugar
1 Water and a canteen cup with a spoon to mix
1 Book of matches

In the canteen cup mix cocoa powder, dairy creamer, pack of sugar, and some water. Adjust thickness of the icing by adding more or less of the cocoa mix. Mix them all together.

Add icing to the top of the poundcake and enjoy the hell out of it.

Ranger Pudding

You will need to cut some deals to acquire all of the ingredients needed: 
 peanut butter

 hot cocoa


With the package unopened, pulverize the crackers.  Peel open the package of crackers about 1/4 to 1/2 inch from edge and tear straight across; this will become the top of the preparation.  Pull open the sides of the crackers package such that with the opening on top you have a makeshift cup.  Now add the peanut butter then a little water.  Stir the crackers in to give it a crunchy pudding consistency.  Add the sugar, hot cocoa, and coffee to give it the taste.  Add more water if needed, my personal preference was to fill it about 3/4 of the way up with water after adding the entire peanut butter package.  

For more delicious MRE recipes please visit: http://www.survivalgearsource.com/mre_recipes.html 


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  • Jeff Fournier says...

    I find it hard to believe that the dehydrated beef patty and the dehydrated pork patty have not been brought up yet. Now that was back in the day.

    On Mar 14, 2017

  • Bobby Thornton says...

    In the early 80s in Germany we had C-rats. Everyone hated the green eggs and ham! I loved them and would trade for them but I always got the best deal as I would ask for the fruit as well as the green eggs and ham. Hated the pork patties, 1 ounce of pork and 4 ounces for fat and gristle !

    On Mar 13, 2017

  • Felipe Salazar says...

    So i had to eat C-Rats every morning for breakfast and MRE’s for lunh and dinner FOR 6 F#$@&% MONTHS in El Salvador in 95’.. now talk about gagging everytime u smelled an MRE towards the end of that mission!! I was askeleton when i got back.

    On Mar 08, 2017

  • Andrew S. says...

    Tuna with noodles. Slice packet long ways. Add cheese spread, crushed crackers, & tobasco. Mix well. Yummy

    On Mar 06, 2017

  • Tucker Black says...

    The Army was researching how to make chocolate that didnt melt, to put in an MRE. They test everything with active duty soldiers (believe it or not). One fateful day some SFC was part of the test group. He tried the waxy non melting chocolate bar, and promplty spit it out and said “Id rather eat melted M&Ms than this s*&!” And thats when the Army decided to include M&Ms in your MRE. You are welcome other branches….

    On Mar 03, 2017

  • Brad Baxter says...

    I first enlisted Jan 82. Ft. Dix NJ. D 1 3. It was C Rats. At the range there be long tables with the boxes. The entre would in an immersion heater. Ill never forget when we were in the target pit. A soldier from the cadre showed me how to take a can of peaces. Mix in crackers. And powdered creamer to make Peach cobler. 35 years later i can still vision the whole thing.

    Sfc Baxter
    Retired Army 33yrs

    On Mar 01, 2017

  • Doug says...

    Escaloped potatos and ham and beans and franks were my favorites.

    And there was a terrible version of a three musketeers bar that was not edible.
    86 to 88

    On Feb 27, 2017

  • Scott ferrell says...

    Chilimac was the king of mre’s. a little cheese spread and tobacco you were good to go.

    On Feb 27, 2017

  • Shriver says...

    Every time my hubs comes back from training/late nights, he brings home left over MREs. He cant stand them but our son loves them. I personally enjoy the fruit punch drinks and creamcicle cookies. Our boy eats everything and anything.

    On Feb 27, 2017

  • Rick Thompson says...

    Seeing that i served in the late 70’s in Germany, MRE’s were just in the pipeline, so we had the good ole’ C rations. The Germans use to love them. I was in a MASH unit, and each winter we would test the other US medics for Expert Medical Field Badge during the winter near Freidburg, where Elvis was stationed. We had one kid who would pull his sled through the woods every evening with a case of German beer, and we would trade him a case of C rats. He didn’t speak much English, but then again food and alcohol are universal language. One of the guys started busting his balls by telling him to bring back his sister-mother-grandmother, I think your getting the picture. Instead, he shows up with the beer, a bottle of red vodka and a bottle of Appfelkorn and Yeager. Needless to say, we took care of this kid! The best C rats were pork slices- the worst eggs and ham aka ham and motherfuckers. You would rather die than eat that shit!

    On Feb 17, 2017

  • Chad says...

    During Desert Storm, the MREs sat in the sun in conex boxes for so long that by the end we all got food poisoning from the Chicken-ala-king. We called it chicken-ala-ding-ding after that.

    On Feb 16, 2017

  • Simon says...

    My personal favorite was the ghetto slop. Pork with rice in BBQ sauce. I was very, very sad when they phased it out.

    On Feb 16, 2017

  • Clint Milner says...

    Back in 2001 I has TCN duty at Prince Sultan I had grave shift and when I reported in was always right around the time the days cases of MREs would come in so I was always able to pick whatever I wanted that day!

    On Feb 16, 2017

  • Ernie Johnson says...

    Back during the Desert Shield/Storm, we could use the oatmeal cookie to reinforce bunkers. The most useless thing was the toilet paper. After eating cheese spread,you didn’t need it for awhile.

    On Feb 14, 2017

  • Jim Larens says...

    Yeah, was one of the lucky ones during desert storm. Only time we didn’t was when we ran into some Brits, traded 3 cases with their sergeant major, they had wonderful c rations. Other than that, I always ate the omelette, could slap it against the exhaust of a track and eat on the move. No heaters back then!
    We made do!

    On Feb 11, 2017

  • Potter says...

    My fave was the maple sausage patty and I loved the bread slices.

    On Feb 10, 2017

  • Bob Kuningas says...

    I traded with the Belgian Army when I was there in 1986. They loved them and would give me there lunch. I was a cook so I worked with their cooks. It was funny.

    On Feb 09, 2017

  • David Escalante (Ret E9) says...

    Whenever I deployed, I would not eat all my MRE’s so I would bring them home with me. My kids could care less if I was gone on extended deployments, all they wanted was the MRE’s and my camo stick so the could play Army in the living room.

    On Feb 05, 2017

  • Rossinbag says...

    You can use the Tabasco and the frameless heater to make CS…

    On Feb 04, 2017

  • Keith Mayo says...

    Towards the end of my first tour as a DI at Parris Island, we made the transition from C-Rats to MREs. For the “Hats” it was a great change. Now instead of having to requisition a van to haul enough C-Rats for and entire series out to Page Field during ICT (now called “The Crucible”) we gave each Recruit his entire issue of chow for the whole training period. Also the after chow clean-up was better as there was nothing that couldn’t be burned in the bivouac fire pit.

    On Jan 31, 2017

  • Matt Nichols says...

    1992-95 era..
    Some weren’t bad. I remember the corned beef hash, tuna with noodles, chicken aka king and ham slice being ok.
    Omelette was damned near inedible…
    Always nice if you could score some shelf stable bread to go along with them.

    On Jan 30, 2017

  • Nate says...

    In the dark brown packages, I liked the tuna casserole. It came with a vanilla pound cake and dehydrated strawberries. Putting them together made a field expedient strawberry shortcake. In the lighter brown ones my favorite was the ham slice, I think I’m the only person who liked it. I would cook up the ham slice, buttered noodles, and heat up the cheese spread. I made a bowl out of the MRE sleeve and mix it all together, crush up the crackers and pour it on top. It made a decent little meal.

    On Jan 27, 2017

  • Shawn says...

    I always loved MREs and have enjoyed them after leaving the Army.

    On Jan 22, 2017

  • Kevin Wolfe says...

    This was back in late 1995. I actually had the oppurtunity to talk to a lady whose husband was a higher ups were they made the MREs at. She asked me what i thought of them. This was when they were still in the dark brown packages.i told her we didnt like most of them. She said she would pass it along to her husband and 6 months later we had new ones in the light brown packages. So i dont know if what i told her had anything to do with them making new ones or not.

    On Jan 20, 2017

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