Dehydrated Food + Hot Water + Thermos = Yum!

Dehydrated Food + Hot Water + Thermos = Yum!

If you have a thermos and some dehydrated veggies, beans, or other favorite dried ingredients on hand, you can cook a delicious, healthy, hot meal—whether you are on the trail in the backcountry or making a healthy and nutritious lunch for work. For thermos cooking, all you need is boiling water!

The technique is called thermal cooking and you use it any time you cook your dinner in a Crock-Pot at home. In your thermos, the vacuum insulated steel wall traps in the heat of the boiling water, which then slow cooks your food. Thermos, food flask, vacuum flask, food jar: They go by many names, but any high quality vacuum insulated stainless steel container will work.

Thermos meals save fuel because you don’t need to boil your food in the pot for long periods of time. Just bring the water to a boil and pour it in the thermos with your dried food. The time and fuel saving benefits of thermal cooking makes it a favorite technique for use by backpackers, but it is also great for the boat galley and RV kitchen, too.

Hot Thermos Meals in 10 Easy Steps

  1. Choose a high quality vacuum insulated container (tips below).
  2. Boil water in a kettle or pot using whatever means you have available—gas stove, electric kettle, camping stove, campfire, etc.
  3. Preheat your vacuum flask by pouring in hot or boiling water and allowing it to sit for several minutes.
  4. Pour out your pre-heating water (save in another pot to be reboiled and added to dried food to conserve fuel and water).
  5. Add your favorite dried soup, chili mix, or dehydrated vegetables and beans into the thermos along with any rice, pasta, legumes, or grains you want to eat.
  6. Pour boiling water into the thermos with your ingredients.
  7. Close the lid (make sure it is fully sealed).
  8. Shake to stir.
  9. Allow to sit. (Cooking times vary by ingredients*.)
  10. Eat up!

What is the Best Kind of Thermos for Cooking?

A high quality, stainless steel, wide mouth insulated mug or jar will work best for cooking. Thermos, Stanley, Nissan, Hydro Flask, and Zojirushi are some of the top brands out there. Many of these manufacturers make thermal insulated food jars that are built specifically with cooking in mind. Some even come with lids that function as bowls for soup or chili.

Make sure that the lid will seal tightly! High quality construction really matters when shopping for a thermos to use as a thermal cooker. The last thing you want is boiling water (and your lunch) spilling out in your backpack!

A high-quality vacuum sealed flask or jar should be able to keep your food hot for up to 8 hours, so you can make a large quantity and then eat hot thermos meals throughout the day.

Steel Food Jar Cooking Ideas and Recipes

Rice, beans, pasta, and soup are some of the most popular foods to make in a thermos. But dried and freeze-dried vegetables make it easy to invent your own thermos cooking recipes! Our dried vegetables are already washed, peeled, and chopped or diced. They are ready to be added to your thermos straight from the package.

Our beans, lentils, and peas (including the ones contained in our soup blends) have been cleaned, sorted, and prepared using our own patented process that speeds up cooking time. They will become tender in your thermos in far less time than other types of dried beans.

Add our premium quality dried beans into your thermos to cook up a healthy and tasty chili, soup, or stew. We offer a variety dehydrated beans and legumes:

  • Black Beans
  • Garbanzos
  • Kidney Beans
  • Lentils
  • Navy Beans
  • Northern Beans
  • Pinto Beans
  • Red Beans
  • Split Peas

The veggies and beans in our dried soup and chili mixes can be used to make or enhance tons of thermos cooking recipes.

To make a delicious and healthy soup, just add boiling water and Harmony House Dried Soup Mix to your thermos. Use 2 parts liquid to 1 part dried soup or chili mix. After you pour the boiling water into the thermos, allow it to sit for 30 minutes and then check for tenderness.

Check out the Harmony House Dried Soup Comparison Chart to get ideas for which of our delicious dried soups and chilis you want to cook in your thermos on your next backpacking, RV, boat, or office lunch adventure.

*Check out for suggested wait times for pasta, rice, and other staples.

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