One of my favorite things about camping is the food. There’s just something different about a meal eaten around a campfire…whether it was actually cooked over that campfire or not!
Whether you’re a die-hard camper committed to traditional tent camping or prefer the glamor of glamping, here is a list of the best camping meals for every type of camper. Let’s take a look…
Best Camp Stove Meals
The capability of your camp stove will vary according to what sort you purchase. I personally recommend anything Camp Chef.
You can get the full setup with the Camp Chef Flat Top Grill (I cannot fully express how amazing this is, I take it everywhere), or you can go a bit more travel-friendly with the Teton Two-Burner Stove, and plenty of other pieces of equipment for all your camp cooking needs.
Big Brunch Buffet
This is the camping meal I most look forward to on every family camping trip. Our Camp Chef has enough griddle space for us to make any combination of bacon, eggs, pancakes, sausages, hash browns, etc.
(If we get really ambitious with this camping meal, sometimes we even throw some French toast into the mix!)
You’ll want to space out what you throw on the griddle according to their cooking times, but if you plan it right, you can have a hot breakfast/brunch spread ready in just an hour or two.
You’ll be the envy of the campground with the smells wafting out of your campsite, and it’s a great way to fuel up before a day of hiking, fishing, kayaking, etcetera.
Quesadillas are another great camping meal that lends itself well to the camp stove life.
You want to make sure you slather some quality butter on your tortilla before slapping it on the griddle. It’s just not the same without that crispy golden exterior.
Of course, the shining star of your quesadilla is going to be your cheese. I recommend Tillamook Colby Jack.
Most of the time, quesadillas are made with chicken, which you can easily grill on your camp stove. Don’t be shy with the seasonings.
This camping meal can be pretty mild on its own. Many people add additional ingredients like bell peppers, jalapeños, onions, and even quesadilla sauce for dipping.
What makes fajitas and quesadillas different? Put simply, quesadillas are a purely Mexican creation, while fajitas have a bit of American influence.
Where cheese will be the hero of your quesadillas, the star of any fajita recipe is the meat. Where quesadillas usually use chicken as the main meat, you’re more likely to find skirt steak at the center of a fajita.
Fajitas are also filled with similar additions, such as peppers and onions, but cheese usually doesn’t make an appearance.
I highly suggest marinating your steak before use in order to pack the biggest punch with your flavors. Any marinade highly based in lime juice will be the perfect complement to your fajitas!
Burgers and (Home) Fries
Burgers are another classic camping meal, and there’s no better side dish for burgers than fries…but it can be difficult to get a deep fryer going while camping.
Luckily, there’s an alternative: home fries!
Home fries are potatoes that have been chopped into small chunks and roasted (or sautéed!). They’re easy to make in an oven or skillet at home, but you can pull them off on your camp stove just as easily!
All you need for home fries is a little vegetable oil, whatever spices you prefer (I personally love some fresh-ground black pepper and garlic salt), and chopped potatoes!
Coat your potatoes in the oil and spices before dumping them onto the griddle surface. “Stir” with a spatula every so often until they’re golden-brown and perfect!
Best Campfire Meals
Pie Iron Sandwiches
Have you REALLY gone camping if you’ve never had a sandwich cooked in a pie iron over a bed of red-hot embers? I think not.
While it’s called a “pie iron,” one of my favorite camping meals to make inside these nifty camping gadgets is a grilled cheese sandwich.
It’s a very simple process: just like a normal grilled cheese, you start with two slices of bread. But rather than buttering the bread itself, you’ll want to slather butter over the inside of the pie iron to prevent any sticking.
Once you’ve buttered the inside of the pie iron, pack in your pieces of bread, then add your cheese.
Shut the iron, secure it with the metal loop over the handle, stick it in the coals, and let it cook! Be sure to flip every little while in order to get an even cook.
When removing the sandwich, make sure you’re careful not to drip any melted cheese on yourself! It’s very easy to get burned. Use a fork or some tongs to remove.
Grilled cheeses aren’t your only options for pie iron sandwiches; you can make any sandwich you like over your fire!
Classic Campfire Hotdog
When you think about camping meals cooked over a fire, your mind probably immediately jumps to hotdogs. And while this certainly isn’t your only option any longer, it’s a classic for a reason!
If you’re craving some campfire hotdogs, the process is simple enough. Toss a hot dog on a two-pronged skewer, hold it over the fire, and rotate until fully cooked.
Best Camping Meals for an RV Kitchen
RVs come outfitted with many extra amenities, particularly the models that include kitchen space.
If your RV happens to have an oven, it’s a great way to add to your camping menu options…but keeping in mind that you also have limited counter space to meal prep, you still want to keep it simple.
Enter mini pizzas!
You can create this camping meal any way you like. You can make your own dough, get it store-bought, or even use some mini naan breads.
As for toppings, the sky’s the limit. (Though, I’d avoid anchovies. The last thing you want is an RV filled to the brim with fish smell.)
My favorite thing about RV camping is that it allows us to bring certain foods and ingredients along for our camping meals that we couldn’t otherwise bring…specifically frozen ones.
As much as we sometimes would like to pretend otherwise, there are many frozen foods that double up as comfort foods for us adults…or easy snacks for picky kids!
If you camp in an RV with a freezer included, don’t hesitate to bring along some of your and your kids’ favorite things. Soft pretzels, pizza bagels, fish sticks, and French fries are some of my family’s favorites, but to each their own!
Easy Soup or Pasta
Another perk of RV camping? Many RVs come with a stovetop installed. While you could technically cook pasta or soup in a pot over your campfire, it’s a lot easier to do so the home-fashioned way…in a pot on the burner.
Boxed mac and cheese or canned soups are a quick and easy meal to bring along with you, especially if you’re camping with kids. They’re low-mess, low-energy, and sure to please your crowd of kids without a fuss!
(And, let’s be honest…sometimes, on those cold and rainy camping days, we adults just want to enjoy a bowl of hot soup, too!)
Best No-Cook Camping Meals
It’s always a good idea to bring along foods for camping meals that don’t require cooking, especially if you’re relying on a campfire to do your cooking for you. You never know when a rainstorm might blow in.
My favorite no-cook options for camping meals are bagels, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cereal, and pre-mixed salads.
Best Camping Desserts
Pie Iron Pies
That’s right, we’re back to the pie irons…for dessert this time! You’ll still be using bread for these “pies,” but the filling will be much different.
You can make all kinds of pies over the fire, from apple to cherry to Nutella and marshmallow! (Though again, beware dripping filling—hot marshmallow sticks, and you don’t want burns to treat on your trip!)
The biggest thing to keep in mind here is to be careful of scorching your pie. While a bit of charred bread might add to the flavor of savory sandwiches, it might not be as pleasant with your dessert.
I mean, what camping meal can compete with scarfing down an inadvisable amount of s’mores?
We all know the drill—you take graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate, toast your marshmallow, and make a melty, gooey dessert.
But don’t limit yourself to the classic combo—there are dozens of ways to get creative with your s’mores!
You can switch up every single element of your s’more for something new and different to change up its flavor.
Swap out your common chocolate bar for a peanut butter cup, a dollop of Nutella, dark or white chocolate, or any other chocolate-based candy bar for added flavor and texture.
You can exchange your boring graham crackers for another flavor of graham cracker, peanut butter cookies, or even combine your chocolate and “sandwich” element by using chocolate chip cookies.
You can even change out your marshmallows for chocolate, strawberry, or even caramel marshmallows!
This camping meal is more time-consuming, but worth every second you spend on it. For this campfire recipe, you’ll need a Dutch oven at the ready, as well as charcoal. You need to heat the coals to properly bake the peach cobbler.
You’ll only need a handful of ingredients to pull this off: peaches, yellow cake mix, and butter.
Yes, that’s actually all you need. Easy-peasy, right?
This is a great dish to make if you’re camping with a group, but beware…it disappears fast!
Ice Cream Sundaes
This is a dessert you might need an RV for, since a freezer is necessary to transport the ice cream, but if you happen to be an RV camper, it’s such a fun treat.
My life changed in a big way when I started RV camping, because it meant I could pack ice cream to eat by the campfire.
Ice cream sundaes are crowd-pleasers and budget-savers. They’re a great choice for families with kids…or a couple adults who just really love ice cream.
The best thing about this recipe? The ingredients are entirely up to you. You can pick any flavor of ice cream, any toppings, and any cones!
Cooking While Camping FAQs
Propane for Cooking
Do you need propane to cook camping meals? It depends on whether you’re going to be cooking your camping meals exclusively over the fire, or if you’re using a camp stove or traveling in an RV.
If it’s the latter, you’ll need propane to fuel your stove.
If you’re using a camp stove and camping for a few days in a row, it’s recommended that you bring along a bigger tank of propane.
While most smaller stoves are designed specifically to connect to one-pound tanks, there are ways around this! You can purchase an adapter hose to save yourself the trouble of needing to haul more tanks of propane around with you.
Food Safety While Cooking Over Fire
There are three things to keep in mind in terms of safety while cooking camping meals over a fire:
1. Internal Temp
While you can cook pretty much anything over a fire, you have to remember that the heat isn’t as predictable or consistent. It will probably take longer for your food to reach the appropriate temperature for safe consumption.
The best way to determine whether certain foods are done is by bringing along a meat thermometer to test the internal temperature of the food you’re cooking.
2. Do NOT Use Oil Over a Fire
This might seem like a no-brainer, but many things can go wrong if you try cooking camping meals in oil over a fire.
Any splatters or drips could result in the fire flaring up when you’re not prepared, and the last things you need on your camping trip are burned hands or other extremities.
3. Always Keep Water Nearby
You always want to be ready to extinguish your fire, especially when cooking. Fire is unpredictable even for experienced campers. Better safe than sorry.
There you have it: some of the best camping meals I’ve ever tasted! Which one are you planning to try out first?
Looking for more camping meals to try? Check out our camping food page now!
- About the Author
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Cassidy Eubanks is a proud Michigander, an avid reader, and a writer for Apple Pie Media. Her bachelor’s in Creative Writing has fueled her love of storytelling in all its forms…including campfire stories!
With many years of both tent camping and RV camping under her belt, the ability to roll her ankle multiple times without actually spraining it while hiking, and a foolproof method for making the perfect s’more, Cassidy loves sharing different tips, tricks, and tools on Beyond the Tent to make your camping trip as simple and stress-free as possible.