10 Things to Pack in Your Thermos for a Hot Lunch (Besides Soup)

(Image credit: Faith Durand)

While a crisp salad or cold sandwich for lunch can satisfy on most occasions, sometimes what you really crave is something warm. But that doesn’t have to always mean last night’s soup. The warm lunches you can pack in a Thermos go far beyond minestrone. Here are 10 great ideas.

1. Savory Oatmeal

Don’t just limit that bowl of oats to breakfast. Top it with a handful of savory items like cheese, veggies, and spices and it can totally play the lunch game.

2. Warm Bean Salad

Bean salads are always a hearty option for lunch, but when served warm, they become even more satisfying.

(Image credit: Sarah E Crowder)

3. Grain Bowl

Instead of spending $10 on that grain bowl at your nearby lunch spot, pack one up yourself in your Thermos. Leave any cold elements like avocado or nuts on the side to add at the last minute.

4. Ramen

Asian noodle soups like ramen are especially comforting. Spend a little time cooking up a pot over the weekend and enjoy it throughout the week.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

5. Curry

The best thing about curries is that their flavor actually deepens as they sit, so they taste even better for lunch the next day — just don’t forget the naan.

Get a Recipe: Chicken Tikka Masala

6. Pasta

Pack your favorite pasta, sauce and all, right in the Thermos for an Italian-inspired lunch. Bring along some grated Parmesan cheese to sprinkle over the top before eating.

Get a Recipe: Penne alla Vodka

(Image credit: Kelli Foster)

7. Warm Wrap

Cold sandwiches can get old fast. Luckily, a wrap that’s stuffed with warm ingredients like roasted vegetables or chicken can usually tuck into a Thermos quiet nicely — wrap it up in foil before putting it inside to ensure it stays warm.

8. Chili Cheese Nachos

If you’re feeling a little indulgent (and want to make your coworkers jealous), pack chili topped with grated cheese in your Thermos. Come lunchtime, pour it over the tortilla chips you packed and just go for it.

(Image credit: Emma Christensen)

9. Stew

While there’s nothing wrong with a simple soup in a Thermos, a stew is even more rib-sticking. Plus, like curries, its flavor improves in leftover form.

10. Meatballs

Fill your Thermos with your favorite meatballs and pack some crusty bread for dipping and dunking. Or bring along a split roll and turn it into a hot sub.

Get a Recipe: Easy Weeknight Meatballs