Food preservation

How To Keep Food Hot In A Thermos

Almost everyone has a thermos, and in most households, it is a greatly underutilized piece of equipment. A thermos can be used for much more than keeping coffee hot on fishing trips. It can also keep meals and sauces piping hot so you can enjoy them steaming and tasty no matter where you are.  

To keep your food hot in a thermos, it helps to preheat the inside using boiling water. Ensure that the food is piping hot when it is added. Fill the thermos as much as possible to avoid empty spaces inside. Then quickly screw on the lid to trap the heat inside, and place the thermos in an insulated bag.

Knowing how to keep your food warm in a thermos can save time and money, as you can always have a hot meal on hand. Learn how to pack your thermos like a pro to keep your food hot until you are ready to enjoy it.

How To Keep Your Food Hot In A Thermos

Knowing how to use your thermos to keep food hot can change how you meal prep. Instead of only cooking for a single meal, you can reheat leftovers and enjoy the hot food again at lunch the following day.

Dense liquid food will stay hot the longest inside a thermos, but that doesn’t mean you can only pack soup. Everything from chili to stews and delicious pasta dishes can be hot-packed and stay hot for hours. 

To keep food hot in a thermos, there are five tips to follow:

  • Warm Up the Thermos – This is critical. You do not want to add hot food to a cold thermos as it will immediately lower the temperature of the food.

All you need to do to warm the thermos is fill the thermos with boiling water from the kettle. Let it sit for a few minutes. Then empty the water and immediately add the hot food.

  • Start With Hot Food – The food you put in the thermos can be hotter than you could eat it. The hotter it goes in, the longer it will stay hot. Heat the food until it is piping hot before adding it to the preheated thermos.
  • Fill the thermos to the top – If possible, fill the thermos with hot food to avoid empty spaces inside the insulated chamber.
  • Seal Tightly – Close the thermos tightly as soon as it has been filled. Avoid opening it before you use the food inside, as it will allow heat to escape.
  • Keep the thermos warm – If the weather is cool, it helps to keep the thermos of hot food in an insulated bag or cooler. That will provide the thermos with another layer of insulation that will help keep the food inside hotter for longer.

Adding hot food to a preheated thermos and closing it right away lets you enjoy healthy, hot, home-cooked meals long after they are packed. In addition, a thermos is a great way to keep food warm on picnics.

How Long Will A Thermos Keep Food Hot?  

Food that has been hot packed into a preheated thermos can stay hot for between 5 and 12 hours. The length of time that it remains warm depends on the quality of the thermos you have and the amount of liquid in the packed food.

Double-insulated thermos flasks will keep food hotter for longer than standard versions. However, even regular thermos flasks can do an admirable job of keeping hot food hot until you are ready to eat it.

Frequently Asked Questions

Realizing that you can use your thermos to transport and enjoy hot food can be quite a mind shift. Let’s review a few frequently asked questions so you can pack hot food confidently and safely.   

How Long Can Hot Food Be Kept In A Thermos?

While warm food can stay hot for at least five hours if packed inside a thermos, it will eventually start cooling down. Each thermos should have directions indicating how long it can keep hot food safe.

Any food not eaten when the thermos is opened must be thrown away. It is not safe to reseal the thermos and eat it later. By then, the food will have cooled to below 140F, which is regarded as the danger zone for bacterial growth.  

Is It Safe To Pack Chicken In A Thermos?

It is safe to put the chicken in a thermos, provided it is thoroughly cooked and very hot when it is placed in the thermos. Like all hot food stored in a thermos, chicken products like nuggets that are not eaten when the container is opened the first time must be discarded.

What Hot Food Can You Put In A Thermos?

Realizing that a thermos can keep food hot is like unlocking a world of possibilities. While food that contains a high liquid content work best, any food that is hot packed that will fit inside the thermos will work.

Some good choices to keep hot inside a thermos are:

  • Shepherd’s pie
  • Noodles
  • Hot oatmeal
  • Chilli
  • Scrambled eggs
  • Nacho cheese sauce
  • Pulled pork – (pack buns on the side)
  • Mac and cheese
  • Pancakes

How Do You Prevent Hot Food From Getting Soggy In A Thermos?

When packing ‘dry’ hot food like hotdogs or chicken nuggets, the hot steam inside the chamber can make the food soggy. All you must do to solve this problem is stuff a paper towel in the base of the thermos. The condensation will be absorbed, and the food will stay crisp, hot, and tasty.

Is It Safe To Keep Food Warm Inside A Thermos?

Hot food is safe to eat as long as it stays above 140F. Always put hot food into a warm thermos when it is piping hot so it stays at a high temperature for as long as possible.

It is essential to anticipate when the hot food stored in the thermos will be eaten. Food packed in a thermos in the morning will stay hot enough to be safe to enjoy at lunchtime. However, it would not be safe to eat for dinner as the food’s temperature would have fallen into the food danger zone.

How Do You Pack Hot Food For School Lunch?

A practical and effective way to pack hot food for school lunches is to use a thermos. Microwave the food to superheat it before adding it to a warmed thermos. The food will stay warm for 5 -7 hours.

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