Meal-induced thermogenesis (MIT) research findings have been highly inconsistent, in part, due to the variety of durations and protocols used to measure MIT. In the present study, we aimed to determine the following: (1) the proportion of a 6 h MIT response completed at 3, 4 and 5 h; (2) the associations between the shorter durations and the 6 h measures; (3) whether shorter durations improved the reproducibility of the measurement. MIT was measured in response to a 2410 kJ mixed composition meal in ten individuals (five males and five females) on two occasions. Energy expenditure was measured continuously for 6 h post-meal using indirect calorimetry, and MIT was calculated as the increase in energy expenditure above the pre-meal RMR. On average, 76, 89 and 96 % of the 6 h MIT response was completed within 3, 4 and 5 h, respectively, and MIT at each of these time points was strongly correlated with the 6 h MIT response (range for correlations, r 0·990–0·998; P< 0·01). The between-day CV for the 6 h measurement was 33 %, but it was significantly lower after 3 h of measurement (CV 26 %; P= 0·02). Despite variability in the total MIT between days, the proportion of MIT that was completed at 3, 4 and 5 h was reproducible (mean CV: 5 %). While 6 h are typically required to measure the complete MIT response, the 3 h measures provide sufficient information about the magnitude of the MIT response and may be applicable for testing individuals on repeated occasions.