With camping season upon us, it’s time to get planning! The top ingredients for a perfect camping trip includes friends, food and fun. We have you covered with our favorite easy camping meals for family and friend get togethers. These are some of our tried and tested favorite easy camping recipes that we eat on almost every campout!
If you haven’t quite figured out where to go camping, our top spots for camping in Southern California is a great place to start. For now though, get busy planning what you will eat on your next camping adventure! Below are our favorite 10 easy camping meals that are perfect for your campouts big or small!
Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. This post is sponsored by Boiron, maker of Acidil, which provides homeopathic heartburn relief powered by plants so that you can continue your campout ache free!
Keep reading for a summer prize giveaway sponsored by Boiron, maker of Acidil.
How to Cook While Camping
Camp cooking can come in many forms. From a portable gas stove to cooking over charcoal to cooking right over the open fire – there is no right way to cook on a camping trip. In the best scenario, you will probably want to utilize all of these options during your camping trip.
We highly recommend new campers invest in a simple camping stove. These are fairly economical, last forever and are easy to use, much like your stove at home.
Our second favorite option for cooking while camping is in a dutch oven over coals. I love cooking in the dutch oven because once you have heated the coals and prepared the dish, most of your work is just watching and waiting.
Lastly, the kids will always love cooking over an open flame. Anything from hot dogs to marshmallows, breakfast cinnamon rolls or treats in a pie iron are great options for campfire cooking! Below we share recipes to help you plan easy meals that include options for all of these types of cooking.
Cooking Camping Planning Tips
If you are new to camping and still feel nervous about camp cooking, let me share a few tips we have learned over the years. I was always a nervous camp cooker to be honest. Using the dutch oven and cooking over coals scared me, so I stuck with my camp stove 90% of the time. I never had the luxury of making traditional easy camping meals like hot dogs or hamburgers since my son didn’t like either of these. Instead, I was forced to venture out of the box sooner rather than later. Here are a few of our tried and tested camp cooking planning tips to reduce the stress and get the most out of your camping cooking experience.
- Prep Everything Possible in Advance: From your shopping and menu list, to cutting veggies in advance.
- Keep the Meals Simple
- Use aluminum foil and/or aluminum liners to minimize dishes
- Bring Only What You Need: Pack spices, condiments, etc in smaller containers.
- Pack Your Cooler Smartly: Last day’s meals & frozen meats on the bottom. Also pack frozen water bottles for ice.
- Include lots of Fresh Fruit / Veggies for snacks and sides
If you are looking for more camping tips, check out our post on car camping essentials which outlines everything we use when camping.
How to Make Sure You Feel Great While Camping
While camping is great fun for most people, it also causes a bit of stress and anxiety for others. Throw in rich, spicy meals that you may not be used to eating and you could be left with an upset stomach. Because of this, there is one thing I make sure to always have on hand – heartburn/stomach medications.
My go to is Boiron Acidil “meltaway” tablets because they dissolve easily in your mouth without water to relieve acid indigestion, bloating, and upset stomach. If you are like me, stomach problems always start in the middle of the night when I’m tucked away in my tent, which make these super convenient to take when you don’t have water nearby. After years of living in India and using homeopathic medications to ease our aches and pains, I’m loving these plant-powered tablets that offer relief for heartburn and acid indigestion. (For a $2 off coupon, go here and enter your email address.). You can find Acidil at your local Walgreens, Rite Aid, Sprouts, Whole Foods and of course on Amazon.
10 Easy Camping Meals You Will Love
So now you are prepared, feel good and are ready to get cooking. Below we share our current go to favorite easy camping meals that we pretty much eat on every camping trip. Some of these make great leftovers which helps reduce the stress of additional meals and I love that all of these recipes are kid and parent approved.
Cornbread Breakfast Casserole
One of my favorite meals at home or at camp is breakfast. I am a huge fan of breakfast burritos and the breakfast sandwich, which are simple to make and create smiles all around! They can be made a ton of different ways, with whatever ingredients you have on hand. Breakfast burritos are a quintessential easy camping meal, but occasionally I like to get a little fancy for breakfast and this cornbread breakfast casserole is my go to. We also like this version with biscuits, but we have found that using canned biscuits makes the dish a bit more doughy. This is one of my favorite delicious breakfast options we plan while camping, even though it does take a long time to cook!
Cornbread Breakfast Casserole
A country breakfast that takes a bit of time, but will be worth it when it's done!
- Boxed Cornbread (don't forget ingredients needed for this - oil and eggs typically)
- 6 eggs
- 1 bag of shredded Mexican Cheese (or any type you prefer)
- 1 package of ground sausage
- Onions, peppers, jalapenos (to taste)
1. While your coals are heating up, cook your sausage on your camp stove in the dutch oven (or another pan if you don't mind more dishes!)
2. If you are adding onions, peppers or jalapenos, add them to your sausage just before it's finished.
3. Break eggs and mix together in a bowl - set aside
4. Make your cornbread according to directions - set aside
5. If you didn't use your dutch oven to cook the sausage, place a liner in the dutch oven before you put over the coals to reduce clean up later.
6. Once the coals are ready, place 10-12 hot coals on the bottom of the dutch oven.
7. Now add in the sausage/onion mixture on the bottom. Next add the scrambled mix of eggs. Layer your cheese next.
8. Lastly layer on your cornbread mixture to the top. It should sit on top of the egg mixture.
9. Cover the dutch oven, 10-12 coals on top.
10. Cook for 30-45 minutes or until a knife in the cornbread comes out clean.
Alternative: Instead of cornbread, you could also use Bisquick biscuit mix which requires only the mix and milk. Spread a layer over the top instead of the cornbread.
Simple Cheese & Spinach Dutch Oven Lasagna
I’ve recently become obsessed with dutch oven cooking while camping. If you do it correctly (i.e use liners!), there is little mess, which means less time cleaning dishes and more time enjoying down time. This Dutch Oven Lasagna is a super easy camping meal and can be modified however you like with other veggies, ground beef or turkey or extra cheese. Use this just as a guide to get you going. (And for the record, that lasagna slice is not from the dutch oven because it is often quite messy looking coming out of a round pan!)
Simple Cheese & Spinach Dutch Oven Lasagna
The ultimate comfort food can be easily transformed on the campground with this simple Cheese & Spinach Dutch Oven Lasagna recipe. Using no-boil noodles, pre-made or bottled pasta sauce and shredded cheese, you will have this cooking in no time. For those who want to add meat, either pre-cook meat before you leave home for no mess on site or cook on a stove-top while camping.
- Olive Oil
- 1 24 oz Jar of Pasta Sauce (we like Whole Foods' Tomato & Mascarpone)
- 1 package of no-boil lasagna noodles
- 3 cups of Fresh Spinach
- 2 cups of shredded Italian blend cheese (or a mixture of your favorite white cheeses)
- 1 Tbsp Dried Italian seasoning blend
- Dutch Oven Liner
- Optional: 1 lb of cooked meat (we prefer ground turkey)
- Optional: 1 tub of soft cheese like Ricotta or goats cheese
Oil the bottom of the dutch oven liner with oil and then spread a thin layer of pasta sauce on the bottom.
Next create a layer of noodles so that they don't overlap. Top with more sauce, spinach and cheese. If you are using meat or soft cheese, layer that here as well.
Continue your layers until you have reached the top of the liner or have used all of your ingredients. Typically about 3 layers. Finish with a layer of cheese and sprinkle with Italian seasoning.
Cover the dutch oven and place it on a bed of 8-10 hot coals, with 20 coals on the lid. Bake for 50-60 minutes checking every 10-15 minutes to make sure it isn't burning the cheese, but that the noodles are becoming tender.
Note: Before you begin preparing your dish, start a chimney full of coals so they will be ready when you are done preparing the lasagna.
Also, you will need to keep burning coals during the 1 hour cooking time to replenish any that lose their heat.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 753Total Fat: 47gSaturated Fat: 21gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 20gCholesterol: 189mgSodium: 1472mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 5gSugar: 10gProtein: 56g
Pan Fried Shrimp – Easy Camp Dinner
One of our family’s favorite recipes at home and while camping is Pan Fried Shrimp. This is another super easy camping meal that is extremely versatile as well. You can use the shrimp with spaghetti or in tacos or even over a bed of polenta. You can also eat it plain with assorted veggies cooked or raw.
Pan fried shrimp is easy to transport and quick to cook. I have not tried to do this (yet!) in a foil packet, but I think it would cook really well in foil packets with the oil sauce mixed with a few quick cooking veggies. The sauce for this dish could also be great with grilled chicken cooked over the fire or in a pan.
Pan Fried Shrimp
A mainstay of our camping meals is Pan Fried Shrimp. This easy camping recipe is perfect for families, for groups and as an appetizer. You can use it in tacos, over pasta or even cooked with sausage and veggies for a more filling protein rich meal.
- Frozen Raw Tail off Deveined Shrimp
- Garlic Cloves (to taste)
- Olive Oil
- Red Chili Pepper Flakes
- Dried Oregano
- Salt & pepper
- Shredded Paremsan Cheese
- Optional: Cajun Chicken Sausage
- Optional: Pasta, Tortillas or Polenta
This simple dish requires only a few ingredients. I typically make the marinating sauce before I leave home, but it is also possible to quickly make this while camping. Quantities are based on how much shrimp you use, but in general you want to use enough oil to be able to fully toss the shrimp in.
Combine the minced garlic (to taste - I use about 3 cloves), sprinkling of red chili flakes, again to taste, sprinkling of oregano, and a pinch of shredded parmesan. Mix together enough to cover the shrimp.
When the shrimp are fully thawed and ready to cook, drain excess water and mix with oil mixture and pan fry.
You can now use this over pasta, in tacos or a variety of veggies.
Note: If you would like to make this more filling, pan fry cut up cajun chicken sausages slightly before adding in the oil and shrimp mixture. This makes a great supplement to rice, pasta or polenta!
Dutch Oven Nachos – Best Camp Dinner for Families
These campfire nachos have become a family favorite for almost every campout. It is a super simple recipe, feeds a crowd as an appetizer and is great for leftovers. We often make a bigger batch just to have leftovers to eat for breakfast mixed with scrambled eggs. It’s so delicious and economical too!
Cooked in the fire pit, these are an easy meal at the end of a long day with minimal prep time and easy cleanup. These nachos really are one of the greatest easy camping meals that is a people pleaser!
Dutch Oven Nachos
One of our favorite camping recipes is this simple, filling and kid approved Dutch Oven Nachos. Made inside a dutch oven with a liner, this no clean up meal is perfect for families, just the kids or even as an appetizer for larger gatherings.
- Bag of Tortilla Chips
- 1 Can of Black Beans (drained)
- 1 Can of El Pato Hot Tomato Sauce
- 1 Bag of shredded Mexican Cheese
- 1 Avocado
- 1 bunch of cilantro
- 1 bunch of green onions
- 1 dutch oven liner
Place the liner in the dutch oven with a little oil spread on the bottom so that chips don't stick.
Next, layer the chips, drained black beans, tomato sauce and cheese in 3 layers.
Depending on your tastes you can also layer in the avocado, green onion and cilantro or just add it to the top.
End with a cheese layer and avocado, green onion and cilantro on top.
Close the lid and set on top of about 8-10 coals, with another 8-10 on the lid.
Cook for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is fully melted.
Note: The El Pato sauce can make this a bit spicy for some children, so adjust accordingly. Our family uses the entire can, but some children find it a bit spicy.
Note: Before you start preparing your dish, start your coals so that they will be ready when you are finished layering your toppings.
**Package up any leftovers to mix with scrambled eggs for breakfast.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 348Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 18mgSodium: 573mgCarbohydrates: 39gFiber: 8gSugar: 4gProtein: 11g
Salmon Foil Packs
We are big fish eaters, especially when it comes to camping. Fish is often something people are nervous to bring camping, but we have found if you take frozen fish, it will thaw out nicely and be ready when you are. We have also taken fresh salmon, making sure it is on the bottom of the cooler with the ice to stay very cold.
I also love that fish is a very quick cooking meat with little risk of cross-contaminating other foods. Our go to favorite easy camping meals always includes a salmon fillet cooked in foil packets. We do it differently every single time based on what ingredients we have at home, so again use this as a guide not a must do! This is great as well for campsites without water as there is very little to clean up. You can eat it plain, over pasta or even in tacos.
Salmon in Foil Packets
One of my favorite easy camping recipes for family meals is wild Alaskan salmon in foil packets. It's a super simple dish that can be customized to your tastes and be used as a main or an add on to other items.
- Wild Alaskan Salmon (or whatever you prefer!)
- Oil (or butter or ghee)
- Salt & Pepper
- Any other toppings/spices you would like
- Aluminum Foil
Making Salmon in foil packets is super simple. Our go to recipes include
- garlic, rosemary and lemon with a splash of oil
- Trader Joe's "Everything But the Bagel" Spice Mix with a splash of oil
- Salt & pepper with butter or oil
- Garlic, Herb Butter (combine, butter, fresh parsley, minced garlic, fresh rosemary, fresh thyme, salt and pepper before you leave home)
Once you decide what flavor you will combine with your salmon, it is easy peasy. Lay out a large piece of heavy aluminum foil. Place your salmon skin side down in the middle of the foil. Sprinkle oil, butter, or ghee over the top before adding your dry spices. Finish with a squirt of lemon. Pull both sides of the foil together in the middle and fold over. Pull in the sides to close the packet up completely. The salmon will cook by steam, so make sure it is closed securely. Place on a grill over the fire or over old coals that aren't burning at maximum temperature. Check after 10 minutes and cook until your liking.
Add in quick cooking veggies to your foil packet or put them in their own packs. We love to use asparagus or broccoli with ours.
Use your cooked salmon as a main dish, on top of pasta, in tacos and more!
Dutch Oven Cornbread Chili
Did you even go camping if you didn’t have cornbread or chili? We think not! A recent favorite meal we have been playing with while camping is a dutch oven cornbread chili. We don’t eat beef and I’m not a big fan of cooking poultry outdoors with limited water sources to wash my hands, but this one pot (mostly!) dish is quickly becoming a favorite.
At home mix your dry spices in a small container so they are ready to use while at the campground. Also cut up your onions, peppers and garlic if you want less hassle at the campground. 1. Heat your dutch oven over the fire (or your stove - I prefer the stove at this point) 2. Add the ground turkey, cooking until it starts to brown 3. Add the onions, garlic and pepper mixing it with the cooked ground turkey. 4. Add the spices (chili powder, chipotle powder, cumin) 5. Add the diced tomatoes and tomato paste (we don't love tomatoes so we don't use the entire can of either, but feel free to use them all or to taste) 6. Add a cup of water (or less depending on how liquidy you want it and how thick it is already). 7. While this is cooking (you can move it over to a bed hot coals at this point if you want as it's just simmering), prepare your cornbread mixture following package directions. 8. Pour the cornbread mixture over the top of the chili, cover with the lid and place 20 hot coals on the top. 9. Cook for 10 minutes and check to see if cornbread is done by sticking a skewer or knife through. If it comes out clean, the chili is done.
Dutch Oven Cornbread Chili
At home mix your dry spices in a small container so they are ready to use while at the campground. Also cut up your onions, peppers and garlic if you want less hassle at the campground.
1. Heat your dutch oven over the fire (or your stove - I prefer the stove at this point)
2. Add the ground turkey, cooking until it starts to brown
3. Add the onions, garlic and pepper mixing it with the cooked ground turkey.
4. Add the spices (chili powder, chipotle powder, cumin)
5. Add the diced tomatoes and tomato paste (we don't love tomatoes so we don't use the entire can of either, but feel free to use them all or to taste)
6. Add a cup of water (or less depending on how liquidy you want it and how thick it is already).
7. While this is cooking (you can move it over to a bed hot coals at this point if you want as it's just simmering), prepare your cornbread mixture following package directions.
8. Pour the cornbread mixture over the top of the chili, cover with the lid and place 20 hot coals on the top.
9. Cook for 10 minutes and check to see if cornbread is done by sticking a skewer or knife through. If it comes out clean, the chili is done.
One Pot Cheesy Sausage Pasta
This is one of our favorite at home dishes, that we have translated to the great outdoors. It is super simple and can be partly made in advance and heat up on site or made entirely while camping. This super easy camping meal is a favorite with kids and adults.
One Pot Cheesy Sausage Pasta
Our favorite cheesy, easy camping recipe that is a crowd pleaser from kids to adults.
- 1 Package of Cajun Andouille Chicken Sausage (we use Bilinski's)
- 1 Package of pasta (macaroni, or small shaped pasta that cooks quickly)
- 1 carton of Chicken stock
- small carton of heavy whipping cream
- Parmesan cheese
This is a very easy, quick cooking meal that can be done over the grill or on your camp stove. I prefer it on my campstove with a dutch oven pot or deep cast iron skillet.
1. Heat up oil in cast iron pan.
2. Cut up the sausage into slices & put in pan
3. Once sausage is browned on both sides, pour in the container of chicken stock and bag of pasta. (At home I use the entire contents of the stock, but to reduce cooking times, you only need to cover pasta)
4. The stock will cook down, leaving just a touch of liquid at the bottom. Once this happens, pour in a bit of heavy whipping cream and mix in a small handful of shredded parmesan.
5. Mix well and heat through - serve immediately.
Cast Iron Fruit Cobbler
Why forgo flavour while camping? You don’t need to stick to only marshmallows for dessert. Consider making this super simple fruit cobbler in your cast iron skillet or Dutch oven. This is another great easy camping meal that I was first introduced to from my cooking friend at French Foodie Baby. She is the one I credit the most with giving me confidence to start cooking more when we camp. She always makes some variant of this on our large group campouts, but I have also tried it with non-foodies using canned fruit and boxed mix!
This cobbler is a great way to upgrade your camping dessert game, especially when you are in a small group looking for something other than traditional treats.
Cast Iron Fruit Cobbler
This delicious, easy fruit cobbler is a great camping dessert or weekend treat. This cobbler is filled with fruit topped with a biscuit like batter that adds just a bit of crunch.
- handful of ripe fruit (berries, peaches, stone fruit, whatever you would like!)
- sprinkle of sugar
- 1/2 stick of butter
- 3/4 cup of all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon of baking powder
- 1/2 cup milk
At home, mix your dry ingredients for the batter in a bag to have ready at your campsite. Once you are ready to use it, you can mix in the milk on site.
1. Heat your cast iron skillet with the butter in it either on the stove or on the grill over the fire.
2. While the butter is melting, you can prepare your batter and/or cook your fruit.
*note if you are using canned fruit, you do not need to cook it, just use it as is. If you are using not ripe fruit and want it a little sweeter, you can cook it in over the stove, with a sprinkle of sugar and a bit of water to bring out the juices more.
3. Once your butter is melted, pour your batter into the pan.
4. Next pour your fruit over the batter.
5. Cook for 20-40 minutes (depending how hot your fire is), checking frequently.
6. Your cobbler is done when a toothpick comes out clean.
You can use a cast iron skillet or a dutch oven. If you use a dutch oven, put the lit on the top with a few coals over the top to help speed cooking time.
For the skillet, if you have a lid you can put it on to help the cooking, but it is not necessary.
Bread on a Stick
One of my son’s favorite camping recipes is bread on a stick. While there are plenty of options for cooking bread out of a can (a lot of people do crescent rolls), the best option is to make it fresh and let the kids knead the dough in plastic bags, getting the full experience. Our friend Helene is the one who first introduced this to us. It has since become a tradition even when we camp on our own!
Below is a very easy recipe to prepare at home. Put all your dry ingredients in a ziploc bag before you leave home and add in the olive oil and water when you are making it out at camp. Send the kids for a hunt for the perfect sticks which will keep them busy for a while. For best results, take the bark off the stick.
Bread on a Stick
A campfire classic - bread on a stick made from scratch is an easy family friendly camping favorite. Prepare the dry ingredients at home in a plastic bag and finish preparing at the campsite.
- 1 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 1/4 cup powder milk
- 1/2 tsp sugar
- 1/8 cup of oil
- 1 cup of water (little by little)
- Mix all dry ingredients in a bag before you leave home
- At the campsite you can add the oil and water slowly, while mixing and kneading.
- Find a stick and wrap around to roast over the fire.
- Roast your bread over the flames/coals until browned and ready to eat.
Breakfast Cinnamon Rolls on a Stick
We don’t always have it in us to make fresh bread on a stick, so the next best alternative is cinnamon rolls on a stick! My son loves messing with fire in any shape he can, so if I can put him to work to make his own breakfast, we all win! One favorite campfire recipes we have discovered is cinnamon rolls on a stick cooked over the fire. This is a super easy camping meal that everyone will enjoy. We experimented with a few different ways of roasting them and found the best way was to keep the roll together! We have considered also trying this method with french toast.. will let you know how that experiment goes!
Cinnamon Rolls on a Stick
A fun, quick yummy breakfast treat that will keep the kids busy making their own meal!
- Can of premade cinnamon rolls
- A stick
While the fire is burning, making hot coals, send the kids off to find good sticks. (Or you can use marshmallow skewers like we have, but the dough does stay more secure on a stick).
Separate each cinnamon roll and put the skewer or stick through the middle. We tested various options and found that to be the best for a thoroughly cooked roll.
Cook over the hot coals until toasty and crispy on the outside but also well done inside.
Spread or pour the icing over the top for a delicious breakfast treat!
Bonus Easy Camping Recipe Idea: Banana Boats
One of our favorite super easy camping meals that we like to eat for dessert are campfire Banana Boats wrapped in foil. You can make them however you wish, but the classic way we have found that we enjoy the most is a banana split in half lengthwise, sprinkled with miniature chocolate chips, miniature marshmallows and sprinkled with crumbled up cinnamon graham crackers. I know some people even put a dollop of peanut butter in theirs which adds even more yummy goodness. The beauty of these sweet treats are you can fix them up with all your favorite toppings, changing it up for your next trip too!
What are your favorite easy camping meals? Do you make the same things each time or try new dishes?
** SUMMER GIVEAWAY **
To help you in your summer camping BBQs, grilling and campfire cooking, we have a very special giveaway for you. We have one grand prize and two runner up prizes. This photo below shows all the amazing items the grand prize winner will receive.
TO ENTER CLICK THIS PHOTO!
[vcex_divider_dots color=”#F97069″ margin_top=”10″ margin_bottom=”10″]
Looking for more camping inspiration? Check out all of our camping posts to get your next camping trip off to a great start.
Top Spots for Camping in Southern California
Camping at Malibu Creek State Park
Camping at Kings Canyon National Park
[vcex_divider_dots color=”#F97069″ margin_top=”10″ margin_bottom=”10″]
If You Enjoyed This Post, Sign Up To Receive Posts By Email or…
- Join us on Facebook for regular updates and related articles
- Check us out on Instagram to see what we are up to in photos
- Follow us on Twitter for links to great travel articles curated just for you
- Or share this post with others by pinning on Pinterest!