Camp cooking doesn’t need to be a hassle, and Dutch oven camping recipes can make even the most complicated camping meals easy. Here’s some information that will help you get to know your Dutch oven a little better and some yummy Dutch oven camping recipes to try at home or on your next camping trip.
The Best Camping Dutch Ovens
When it comes to Dutch ovens, they are not all created equal. A low-quality Dutch oven may rust, will be harder to maintain, and will likely heat unevenly due to poor construction.
On the other hand, a quality Dutch oven will be much more durable and will literally last you a lifetime. Here are two of the best Dutch ovens for camping.
1. Lodge Dutch Oven
Lodge products are the top of the line camping and bare cast iron cookware on the market. While they make a truly beautiful product that will last a lifetime, they have a price tag to match. The 12-inch/6 quart Dutch Oven is perfect for transporting on an outdoor adventure.
The three benefits that make it stand out from the competition are:
- The lip around the lid is high which helps the coals stay on top without shifting
- The depth of the pot itself (without the lid) is almost two inches deeper, which is helpful if you are roasting meats or making large meals where you need more space to fit everything. It can also help with extra room for boiling without boiling over.
- Lodge products are made in the USA.
2. Camp Chef Dutch Oven
The Camp Chef oven also has a very solid design and good quality cast iron. This means there aren’t any noticeable hot spots that can lead to uneven cooking or burning.
The deluxe version of their Dutch ovens come with feet on the top of the lid so you can use it as a skillet when you’re not baking in your oven.
While the lids on their ovens have a slightly more shallow ridge than the Lodge lids and Camp Chef’s products are made in China, the quality of the ovens are very similar. If you’re looking for a good oven on a budget, or are trying to buy multiple sizes the Camp Chef ovens stand up just as well as Lodge.
Other Recommended Gear for Dutch Oven Camping
- Dutch Oven Liners – Avoid the need to clean your Dutch oven after every use with liners. They will protect the interior of your oven from losing its seasoning since you won’t need to wash it as often.
- Lid Holder and Serving Stand – Don’t put your lid on the ground when you move it to stir. A lid holder will keep it safe and secure. It is also a good place to put your whole oven once it comes off the coals.
- Gloves – When you are dealing with hot coals and potentially flames, it is important to have a good pair of heavy-duty fire-safe gloves to protect your hands.
- Tripod – If you want to try cooking off the coals, you will need a tripod. Make sure you choose one that is sturdy and well-built.
- Wooden Spoon – A wooden spoon will help protect your oven from scrapes and dings when stirring and serving. Choose one with a long handle so you can stay a little further back from the coals.
- Coal Shovel – Bring a small coal shovel with you to help move the coals around when you need to spread the heat.
- Steel Table – If you want to upgrade your camp kitchen, or just have a bad back and don’t want to bend, try a steel table. You can place your coals and oven on it and cook at a more comfortable height.
- Whisk Broom – A good little broom comes in handy when you’re trying to brush the ash off the lid before stirring and serving.
- Charcoal Chimney Starter – A charcoal chimney starter is just a metal cylinder that helps light the coals and get them hot quickly and evenly. It can significantly reduce cooking times.
- Storage Bag – Looking for some added protection for your oven against the rest of your camping gear and the elements, get a storage bag.
What to Cook in a Dutch Oven When Camping
If you’re wondering what to cook in cast-iron Dutch oven over fire, you’ve come to the right place! Check out these 35 recipes for Dutch oven camping meals and desserts!
Dutch Oven Camping Recipes for Chicken
Who doesn’t love chicken? Well, vegetarians. But if you’re looking for a versatile meat to bring along on your next camping trip, chicken is the way to go. Here are a few delicious Dutch oven campfire chicken recipes that you will love.
Chicken and cheese enchiladas are a fantastic and satisfying meal, providing a delightful blend of flavors and textures. Dutch ovens are excellent for slow-cooking and infusing flavors, making them ideal for enchiladas.
This Dutch Oven Grecian Chicken recipe is a superb option for a tasty and tender chicken dish infused with Mediterranean-inspired flavors.
This is a unique and delicious recipe that offers a sweet and tangy twist to traditional chicken dishes. Using a carbonated lemon-lime soda like Sprite as a marinade or cooking liquid infuses the chicken with a light, citrusy flavor and tenderizes the meat.
BBQ Dutch Oven Chicken and Potatoes is a delicious and straightforward one-pot meal that combines tender chicken and perfectly cooked potatoes infused with the down-home flavors of barbecue sauce.
Southwestern cuisine often incorporates a variety of ingredients such as beans, corn, tomatoes, and peppers. These ingredients not only add depth to the dish but also offer a colorful and diverse array of textures and flavors. Enjoy them all in this southwestern chicken recipe!
Chicken pot pie is the epitome of comfort food. Its warm and creamy filling, combined with the flaky crust, provides a sense of hominess.
It’s a one-dish meal that combines protein from chicken, a nutrition from vegetables, and crunch from a hearty crust made from pastry or biscuits. This makes it a convenient and well-rounded camping meal.
With chicken marinated in ingredients like olive oil, red wine vinegar, capers, olives, prunes, brown sugar, garlic, oregano, and bay leaves, you can’t go wrong. The marinade infuses the chicken with a sweet and tangy taste.
Dutch Oven Nacho Chicken Casserole is a delightful and hearty dish that brings together the flavors of classic nachos and transforms them into a comforting casserole.
Dutch Oven Chicken Cordon Bleu is an awesome dish due to its combination of tender chicken, gooey cheese, savory ham, and a delicious sauce, all cooked to perfection in a Dutch oven.
The star of this dish is the pulled chicken. Chicken pieces, typically boneless and skinless, are slow-cooked in a Dutch oven until they become incredibly tender and easy to shred with a fork. This cooking method allows the chicken to absorb the flavors of the sauce and become moist and flavorful.
Dutch Oven Camping Recipes for Bread
There is nothing like a loaf of homemade bread. Never made your own loaf before? Give it a try on your next camping trip. And once you taste it, you’ll be hooked. Plus there are so many varieties you’re sure to find a bread Dutch oven camping recipe that you’ll love.
The key feature of this recipe is the “no knead” approach, eliminating the need for traditional kneading techniques. Instead, the dough is allowed to ferment and develop gluten structure through an extended fermentation process.
Dutch Oven Cheesy Garlic Bites are irresistible, bite-sized pieces of dough infused with aromatic garlic and oozing with melted cheese. These delightful morsels make for a scrumptious appetizer or side dish, sure to please any crowd with their savory, gooey goodness.
Dutch Oven Biscuits are soft, fluffy, and lightly golden biscuits that are expertly baked inside a Dutch oven, yielding a perfect balance of crisp exterior and tender interior. The Dutch oven’s even heat distribution and enclosed environment contribute to the biscuits’ consistent texture and delightful taste.
This Dutch Oven Cornbread is amazing because of its perfect blend of a crispy, golden crust and moist, tender interior. Baking in a Dutch oven ensures even heat distribution, resulting in a deliciously consistent texture and enhanced flavors, making it a delightful addition to any meal.
The recipe requires minimal ingredients and is straightforward to prepare, making it ideal for camping where you may have limited cooking equipment and ingredients. Mixing the dough and allowing it to rise is simple and doesn’t demand a lot of hands-on time.
Dutch Oven Camping Recipes for Other Meals and Sides
Here are some incredibly easy Dutch oven recipes that you will have no problem making, even if you are a first-timer.
Campfire Dutch Oven Pizza is a delightful and creative way to enjoy pizza while camping, utilizing a Dutch oven for outdoor cooking.
The beauty of campfire nachos lies in their versatility. You can customize the toppings to suit your taste, whether it’s classic cheese and salsa or a plethora of toppings like beans, meat, vegetables, guacamole, and sour cream. This flexibility allows you to cater to a variety of preferences and dietary needs.
The combination of cheese, eggs, and meat in a breakfast bake creates a harmonious and delicious medley of flavors and textures, making it a beloved breakfast or brunch dish hearty enough to fill anyone’s stomach for several hours.
The chili is a hearty, protein-packed base that’s both comforting and satisfying. Cornbread is the crowning glory of this dish. It’s a dense and slightly sweet bread made from cornmeal, flour, and other ingredients. When baked on top of the chili in a Dutch oven, it forms a wonderful golden crust.
The process of preparing Dutch oven corn on the cob is straightforward. You can shuck the corn, season it with butter and your preferred seasoning, and then place it in the Dutch oven. It’s easy to handle, especially in an outdoor setting like camping.
This recipe typically requires only a few basic ingredients such as potatoes, olive oil, seasoning, and optional herbs. The preparation involves minimal effort, making it ideal for outdoor cooking.
Dutch Oven Spaghetti and Meatballs is a hearty Italian-inspired dish where succulent meatballs and al dente spaghetti are simmered in a rich, flavorsome tomato sauce, infusing the pasta with a delightful blend of savory flavors.
Dutch Oven Beer and Sausages is a savory and hearty dish where sausages are simmered in beer, infusing them with a deep, flavorful essence. The Dutch oven’s slow-cooking method tenderizes the sausages and allows them to soak up the delicious beer-based broth, creating a satisfying and comforting meal.
The Dutch oven allows the ribs to slow-cook in their own juices, resulting in tender, succulent meat infused with the flavors of the BBQ sauce. This method ensures a delicious, smoky taste that campers can enjoy after a day of outdoor activities.
Baked Ziti is a comforting dish, providing warmth and satisfaction after a day of outdoor activities. The Dutch oven cooking process allows the flavors to meld and the pasta to be perfectly cooked, resulting in a delicious and filling camping meal.
Dutch Oven Camping Recipes for Desserts
Dessert is always a welcome addition to the day, especially when you’re camping. If you’re looking for something sweet, warm, and gooey to close out your camping day, but are tired of s’mores, get your Dutch oven ready for these yummy recipes.
Dutch Oven Mississippi Mud Cake is a decadent and gooey dessert that combines a rich chocolate cake with a fudgy layer and marshmallows, resembling the texture of muddy Mississippi Riverbanks.
Baking it in a Dutch oven adds a campfire twist, infusing the cake with a unique, slightly smoky flavor that enhances its overall appeal.
Campfire Monkey Bread is fantastic for camping with kids because it’s interactive, easy to make, and utterly delicious. Children can help tear apart the dough, roll it in toppings like cinnamon and sugar, and watch with excitement as it transforms into a gooey, pull-apart treat over the campfire.
Dutch Oven Peach Cobbler is delicious because it combines the natural sweetness of ripe peaches with a warm, spiced biscuit or cake-like topping, creating a delightful contrast of flavors and textures.
The Dutch oven’s even heat distribution ensures that the cobbler is perfectly baked, allowing the peaches to caramelize and the topping to become golden and crispy, resulting in a comforting and irresistibly tasty dessert.
Campfire Dutch Oven Apple Dump Cake is a heavenly dessert crafted by layering spiced apple slices, cake mix, and butter, resulting in a warm and gooey treat reminiscent of a rustic apple pie.
Cooking over a campfire in a Dutch oven infuses the dessert with a delightful smokiness, enhancing the flavors and creating a perfect outdoor dessert experience.
Lemon Blueberry Dump Cake is awesome because it effortlessly combines the zesty and tangy flavor of lemon with the natural sweetness of blueberries. The “dump and bake” simplicity of this recipe makes it incredibly easy to prepare while still delivering a delicious and visually appealing treat.
Dutch Oven S’mores Cake is a delightful dessert that captures the essence of a classic campfire treat, combining rich chocolate, gooey marshmallows, and crunchy graham crackers into a mouthwatering cake.
This dessert features caramelized pineapple, maraschino cherries, and a buttery, moist cake. The cake is baked upside down, allowing the sweet pineapple and cherries to caramelize, creating a luscious topping that melds perfectly with the soft, flavorful cake when flipped and served.
This dessert resembles the taste of traditional pumpkin pie but in a cake-like form. As it bakes in a Dutch oven, the cake rises to the top while a creamy pumpkin layer forms at the bottom, resulting in a scrumptious, two-layered treat that brings the flavors of autumn to any outdoor gathering.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Oreo Brownies combine layers of fudgy chocolate brownie, creamy cookie dough, and crunchy Oreo cookies to create an indulgent and satisfying dessert.
The blend of textures and flavors, from the rich chocolate to the sweet cookie dough and the iconic Oreo crunch, make it a heavenly treat for anyone with a sweet tooth.
Chocolate Cherry Lava Cake is fantastic in a Dutch oven because the even heat distribution allows for precise and consistent baking, resulting in a perfectly molten, gooey chocolate center. The combination of rich chocolate and juicy cherries creates a delightful dessert.
Types of Dutch Ovens
There are so many different types of Dutch ovens on the market right now and each one has its advantages and disadvantages. It all depends on what you plan to use it for. Here is a breakdown to help you decide which oven is right for you.
Camp vs. Kitchen Dutch Ovens
If you start exploring your cast iron cookware options, you’ll quickly see that Dutch ovens are mainly broken down into two categories: Camp or outdoor ovens and kitchen ovens or bean pots.
You may be thinking, isn’t a pot a pot? But the subtle differences that help classify each oven can actually give you radically different results in food quality, pot durability and ease of cleaning among other things.
bricks in your firepit. But you will have to go to some lengths if you want to add coals to the top of this oven.
Cast Iron vs. Enameled Cast Iron Dutch Ovens
Dutch ovens typically come with one of two surfaces. You can purchase one with bare cast iron or you can choose to buy one that is enameled.
What is an enameled Dutch oven? It is the same design as a bare cast iron oven, however, it has been painted with a glossy enamel paint. This paint is there to protect the surfaces of the oven from wear and tear. Sounds pretty good right?
Why would anyone purchase a bare cast iron oven then? While the two share a lot of similarities, there are also some key differences that can affect your camp cooking when making one of these Dutch oven camping recipes.
Enameled cast iron has durability on its side. Due to the protective coating, the oven is much less likely to rust. It also stands up much better to acidic foods like tomato sauce or campfire chili.
But bare cast iron has its advantages as well. First, due to the seasoning (as long as you are keeping up with it), the pan is really non-stick. Enamel pans still require some oil or spray to keep food from adhering to the bottom.
Bare cast iron also wins in overall durability. While the enamel may keep the oven from rusting and does protect it from food acidity, it can chip off. It can also be easily damaged by high heat, like the kind you get from a campfire.
Lastly, bare cast iron also wins when it comes to price. Typically, enameled cast iron Dutch ovens will cost a bit more than their more basic cousins.
How Do You Cook Over a Campfire With a Dutch Oven?
At home, most people use their Dutch ovens inside their conventional ovens to cook everything from bread and frittatas to bacon and stews. But while camping, most people don’t have the luxury of a conventional oven at their campsite.
That’s why Dutch ovens are so awesome! They can act just like the oven you have at home as long as you have a good heat source.
But what is a good heat source exactly? It depends on what you are cooking. You can use your Dutch oven as a pot on your propane stove if you want to boil water or heat up a soup. But you’ll get the most out of it if you use it as a real oven.
There are two methods that work best for Dutch oven cooking. One is to cook directly in the hot coals and the other is to hang the oven from a tripod above the coals. You’ve probably seen the tripod method used a lot in old cowboy Westerns, but the traditional way was cooking directly in the coals.
Dutch Oven Cooking in Coals
When cooking directly in a bed of coals (which many Dutch oven camping recipes call for), the best Dutch oven to use is a camp oven.
This is the oven that has the three feet which will keep it stabilized in the coals. It also has a wire handle that will make it easy to pick up and put down, as opposed to the kitchen oven which only has side handles.
It is important that your coals all be approximately the same size. That is why it is so popular to use charcoal briquettes rather than wood coals from a campfire.
But either way, you choose to do it, try and find coals that are all relatively the same size so the heat will be evenly distributed. If they aren’t, you may end up with some burned food on the bottom of your oven.
There is actually a formula for how many coals you should use. The general rule of thumb is two briquettes, or similarly sized wood coals, for each inch of diameter.
So if you are baking in a 12-inch oven, you will want to use 24 briquettes. Here is a good chart to follow for different sized ovens and cooking temperatures.
Don’t forget about the lip around the edge of the lid. It’s time to add some of those hot coals to the top of your oven so you can more evenly distribute the heat.
The chart in the link above will also show you how many of your total briquettes should go on the bottom and how many should be placed evenly around the top.
Remember, everything about Dutch oven cooking is hot. The oven is hot, the coals are hot, and the wire handle is hot. Always use some really good fire safe grill gloves to avoid getting a burn. You don’t want to ruin your camping trip just as the food is ready.
Dutch Oven Cooking With a Tripod
First and foremost you will need the right equipment. You must have a Dutch oven that has a wire handle that it can be hung from.
Many kitchen ovens only have side handles and a loop at the top of the lid. Camp ovens are the go-to for this kind of set up, but you can find kitchen ovens with handles, or add your own as long as it is sturdy and will hold up to high heat.
Tripod cooking can be a little bit trickier simply because you need a great set up. Your gear should be top notch. That means a very strong and sturdy tripod that will be able to take the weight of your whole oven and the food you add to it.
The area where you are cooking needs to be generally flat so that your tripod will not be off balance and leaning. Furthermore, the area needs to be free of rocks and other debris including tree roots.
When you set the legs of your tripod, make sure that they are safely secured on, or preferably in, the ground. If they are leaning on a stone, branches, or other debris, there is a good chance it will come tumbling down as soon as you add your oven.
Try setting everything up, even adding your oven to the chain, before lighting a fire. This way you can be sure the set up is sturdy and you won’t have to work around flames and hot embers.
Once your tripod is all set up and you have your fire going, add your food to your oven and hang it by the metal chain from the center of the tripod. The real benefit of tripod cooking is that you can move the oven up or down, closer to or further from the flames and coals, to adjust how much heat it is getting.
Cleaning Your Dutch Oven
When you’re done making one of these Dutch oven camping recipes, you need to clean your oven (unless you used a disposable liner). Cleaning your Dutch oven is easy but different than how you probably clean the rest of your pots and pans. Make sure to follow these few rules when cleaning your oven:
- Don’t overuse soap – soap, in theory, can remove the seasoning (but won’t with simple washing), cause it to rust and damage the oven
- Wash it right away – preferably while the pot is still warm
- Dry it immediately – this will help avoid rust. Even put it on the burner for two to three minutes
- Rub oil on it after each cleaning – once it is completely dry
- Season it regularly – if food seems to be sticking to your pot, you need to season it more often.
If food does get stuck to the inside of the pot and it isn’t loosening easily, try adding a 1/4 cup of coarse sea salt and scrubbing with a non-abrasive brush. If that doesn’t work, fill the pot with water and bring it to a boil. This will soften stubbornly stuck-on food and help it to wash off more easily.
Dutch ovens are also non-stick when they’re seasoned properly. That’s right, no more adding cooking spray, oil, or butter to keep food from adhering to the bottom of your pot. Properly seasoned Dutch ovens are treated with oil and heat to keep food from sticking, and to keep your oven clean and free of rust.
How can you season it while you’re out at a wilderness campsite? Just fry up some thick-sliced bacon or have a fish fry and wipe it clean with a rag afterward. The oil will protect it until you can bake it in your oven at home.
Wrapping up Dutch Oven Camping Recipes
Dutch ovens are one of the original pieces of outdoor cookware. The fact that folks are still using them today speaks volumes to what a versatile and easy option they are for campfire cooking. If you plan to do much camp cooking, get yourself a Dutch oven and try out a few recipes.
- About the Author
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Hey there, I’m Ryan, the face behind Beyond The Tent.
With decades of camping experiences, my journey into the wilderness began on the rustic trails of a farm in southern Minnesota, where my childhood was filled with explorations and camping by a picturesque river.
My family’s adventures across the United States, from the majestic Colorado mountains to the serene national parks and the pristine Boundary Waters Canoe Area of Northern Minnesota have given me a broad perspective. With each journey, whether in state parks or private encampments, and through the homely comfort of our camping trailers, we’ve amassed a trove of stories, experiences, and invaluable camping wisdom.