The Camping Recipes for the Great Outdoors

After a long day spent hiking and exploring the great outdoors, campers often gather around the campfire for stories, songs, hot food, and some well-earned respite. Camping food is often relegated in the collective unconscious to dishes like hot dogs, marshmallows, and similar foods that can be roasted over the campfire on a skewer. This can cause problems for campers who are vegan or just prefer veggies in general.

And for other campers on long camping trips, eating nothing but hot dogs and canned food gets old pretty fast. With a small investment in a camping stove or some campfire building know-how, any camper with some knowledge of a few easy camping recipes will delight fellow-campers, who often return to the campsite with a huge appetite after hiking, biking, or backpacking through the backcountry. 

Camping meals can contain many steps and skills that may seem too complicated or require specialized ingredients that many campers wouldn’t think to bring along with them to the campsite. But there are easy camping recipes for many interesting meals like tacos, burritos, casseroles, cornbread, BBQ, nachos, kabobs, and fried chorizo. For a nice camping breakfast to give you the energy you need for a hike, consider granola, hash browns, breakfast burritos, cinnamon rolls, or muffins. Desserts made on the campfire range from the classic s’mores to more involved camping recipes like sweet potato pie, pound cake, or chocolate chip cookies. For a snack you can carry along with you, consider trail mix or granola bars. 

There is a wealth of camping recipes for meals that will surprise and delight campers gathered around the campfire at the end of a long day outdoors. With a few added items in your bag to spice up your camping meals, time spent preparing and eating food at the campsite will no longer feel like an interruption in the middle of the enjoyable parts of your camping trip. No one will judge you for packing zesty ingredients like chorizo, jalapenos, or cilantro in your backpacking backpack if you know what to do with them at dinnertime. Bring these easy camping recipes along on your next camping trip and you and your fellow campers will be able to enjoy gathering around the campfire for fellowship and a filling, hot meal. 

 

Mean and vegetables on a cooking pan.

Chorizo can spice up many camping recipes like burritos, hashbrowns, and casseroles.

 

Camping Breakfasts

 

1. Dutch Oven Mountain Man Breakfast

This hearty one-pan camping breakfast will satisfy the whole campsite. It’s very simple to make with a camp stove or right on the campfire. All you need to bring with you is a cast iron pan or a dutch oven with a lid. Build your campfire and keep it stoked until a bed of coals has built up, and then you can place coals beneath the cast iron pan and also on the lid for bi-directional heat cooking. The best part about this hearty dish is it can be repurposed with other ingredients to make several other campfire recipes. The Dutch Oven Mountain Man Breakfast can be spiced up with jalapenos or chorizo, add some zing with cilantro, replace the cheddar with Monterrey-jack, or serve it on bread or a tortilla to make scrumptious breakfast sandwiches and breakfast burritos. 

This easy camping recipe makes a ton of food and is easy to reheat later on, so it’s perfect for the last morning of the camping trip when all the campers are hungry but concentrated on packing up to leave. The Dutch Oven Mountain Man Breakfast is super-easy to make vegetarian by swapping the sausage out for black beans or zucchini, but vegan campers will be harder to accommodate since the eggs are an integral part of this camping breakfast recipe. 

 

Ingredients: 

  • 1 pound pork sausage
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 (2 pound) package frozen hash browns
  • 12 eggs, beaten
  • 1 (16 ounce) package of cheddar cheese

 

Recipe:

 

1. After the campfire is built and you have plenty of coals, cook and stir the sausage, onion, and garlic in a 12-inch cast-iron Dutch oven with lid, raised over the coals to medium-high heat, until the sausage is no longer pink and the onion is tender. Stir in the red bell pepper, green bell pepper, and hash brown potatoes until evenly mixed. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes, until the hash browns are hot and the peppers are tender.

 

2. Pour the beaten eggs evenly over the top of the potatoes, allowing them to sink into the potatoes. Cover the Dutch oven, and place 6 to 9 coals underneath, and 12 to 18 on top. Leave cooking until the eggs are firm, about 40 minutes. Sprinkle with Cheddar cheese, cover, and continue cooking about 5 minutes until the cheese has melted.

 

2. Buttermilk Pancakes

Get campers running out of their tents toward the campfire with the delightful homy smell of these freezer-friendly buttermilk pancakes. This easy camping recipe can even be prepared at home in a freezer bag and carried to the campsite in a cooler. The morning you want to make them, simply cut off one corner of the freezer bag and you have the perfect no-mess piping tool! Add variety with fruits like blueberries or strawberries, or add fun ingredients like chocolate chips or marshmallow creme. 

This easy camping recipe shows how to make delicious buttermilk pancakes from scratch, but campers with little time to prepare can also use pancake mix to make the batter right at the campsite. They’re easy to make and pretty healthy as long as you don’t overdo it with the maple syrup. Vegetarians will love this meatless camping breakfast but vegans will be left out because of the butter and egg.

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp sugar or honey
  • 1 ½ cups buttermilk
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp. melted butter
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • ½ tsp baking powder

 

Recipe: 

 

  1. Mix the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  2. Mix the egg with the buttermilk and add to the flour mixture, stirring until smooth.
  3. Add melted butter and sugar.
  4. Use a ladle or measuring cup to pour about ¼ cup of batter onto a greased griddle at about 325-350 degrees, or onto a greased cast iron pan over a hot campfire. 

 

3. Vegan Banana Muffins

Vegan campers will be really happy to have these vegan banana muffins available at the campsite in the morning. It’s an easy camping recipe, but they can also be prepared at home and brought along in a cooler to be reheated over the campfire. Anyone who’s made muffins before will find this recipe super-easy to complete. For more adventurous campsite chefs, this recipe can be altered to include chocolate chips, blueberries, or perhaps even sweet potato. There are tons of options with this versatile muffin recipe. Non-vegan campers won’t be able to tell there is no milk or eggs in these muffins, and vegan campers will be grateful for the thoughtfulness. 

These muffins make a great snack along the trail as well, as they are portable enough to eat while walking. The only drawback to this recipe is that baking muffins will require a camping stove of some kind, although campers are free to try and cook them in a cast iron dutch oven. Young campers will love being able to help out with this easy camping recipe by mashing bananas or mixing the dry ingredients together. Add a homestyle touch to your next camping trip with these delicious vegan banana muffins! 

 

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups mashed ripe bananas
  • 1 cup canola oil
  • 1 cup coconut milk

 

Recipe:

 

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 12 muffin cups or place paper liners in the muffin pan. 

 

2. Mix flour, white sugar, brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt together in a large bowl. 

 

3. Stir bananas, canola oil, and coconut milk together in a separate bowl. 

 

4. Mix the banana mixture with the flour mixture and combine until smooth. 

 

5. Fill the muffin pan cups with batter and bake in the oven 30-35 minutes. 

 

Mean and mushrooms cooking on a grill.

Many of the best campfire recipes integrate BBQ grilling and healthy veggies.

 

4. Hot Breakfast Couscous

This one-pan recipe for a quick and delectable camping meal will surprise and delight all your fellow campers on the next camping trip. The ingredients are portable and only the milk needs to be kept cold in a cooler. It’s easy to double or triple this recipe for larger groups of campers and additional ingredients can be thrown in depending on your taste and creativity. For some variety on your next camping trip, try this hot breakfast couscous that can be paired with other breakfast foods as a side dish or served with fresh fruit like blueberries, strawberries, or bananas to make a completely healthy camping breakfast that’s easy to digest before a long hike. 

This easy camping recipe becomes vegan by simply swapping the skim milk with a vegan alternative like coconut milk, soy milk, or almond milk. Everyone at the campsite will be relieved for one meal at least not to be having the easier fried dishes we tend to associate with meals around the campfire!

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups skim milk
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 cups dry couscous
  • ⅓ cup dried apricots
  • ⅓ cup raisins
  • ½ cup slivered almonds

 

Recipe:

 

1. In a cast-iron pan over a medium campfire, combine the milk, honey, and cinnamon. 

 

2. As soon as this mixture comes to a boil, add the couscous. Remove the cast-iron pan from the campfire, cover, and let it sit for 5 minutes.

 

3. Stir in the apricots, raisins, and almonds. 

 

Camping Lunch & Dinner

 

4. Pie Iron Tacos

This easy camping recipe is made using a cast-iron pie iron, which is basically two pans connected on a hinge that allows them to close into a kind of oven that can be placed in the coals of a campfire for omnidirectional heat cooking. This is a versatile recipe because the filling can be used for anything like burritos, tacos, or nachos, depending on what kind of wrap you’re able to bring with you to the campsite. Take out the optional sour cream and replace the meat with zucchini or black beans to make this one-pan dish vegan. Add cilantro and jalapenos to spice things up, and consider using a spicier meat like chorizo if you want to add some zing. 

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 (1 ounce) package tace seasoning mix
  • 12 (15 inch) corn tortillas
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup chopped onion
  • 2 cups shredded iceberg lettuce
  • 1 large tomato, diced
  • 1 (8 ounce) jar of salsa
  • 1 (8 ounce) container of sour cream

 

5. Campfire Foil Packs

These campfire foil packs are an easy camping recipe that can be completely prepared at home and then transported to the campsite in a cooler. When dinnertime comes, campers need only place the foil packs in the campfire or above it on a grill to cook everything. Then simply remove them, allow them to cool somewhat, and enjoy! Tons of spice and herb options are available to add variety to this versatile campfire recipe. Consider subbing the chicken out for chorizo or beef, or perhaps replacing the meat with black beans or zucchini to make this dish vegan. It’s really easy to make several of these convenient tin foil packs, some vegan and others with meat so that every camper can have what he or she would like to eat at the campsite. 

 

Ingredients:

 

  • 1 pound of boneless chicken breast, cubed.
  • 2 onions, diced.
  • 8 ounces of fresh sliced mushrooms
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 4 small potatoes, cubed
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 lemon, juiced

 

Recipe:

 

1. In a large bowl or Ziploc bag, combine the chicken, onion, mushrooms, yellow pepper, red pepper, garlic, and potatoes. Pour in the olive oil and lemon juice and mix everything well. 

 

2. Evenly divide the mixture between 4 large sheets of tin foil. Wrap each with another sheet of tin foil and roll the edges tightly. Wrap once again with tin foil. 

 

3. Cook on the hot coals of a campfire until the chicken is opaque and the potatoes are tender, which should take about 40 minutes. 

 

6. Campfire Chicken Pot Pie

This campfire chicken pot pie is really simple to make with a cast-iron dutch oven around the campfire. It uses mostly store-bought ingredients, but they can be easily replaced with the homemade variety. Campers will love this hearty meal and it can be spiced up with other meats like beef or chorizo, herbs like cilantro, or spicy ingredients like jalapenos. It will restore the energy campers spent hiking all day out in the backcountry and leave everyone contented after the meal around the campfire. Consider following this campfire recipe with s’mores and tall tales for a truly memorable night at the campsite. 

 

Ingredients:

 

  • 2 cans of mixed vegetables with potatoes
  • 1 can of cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can of cream of mushroom soup
  • 2 large cooked chicken breasts, cubed
  • 1 can refrigerated biscuit dough

 

Recipe:

 

1. Stir vegetables, chicken soup, mushroom soup, and chicken cubes together in cast-iron dutch oven with a flat lid. 

 

2. Cook over campfire coals until it’s hot but before it boils. 

 

3. Arrange biscuit dough segments in a layer atop the vegetable mixture. Put the lid on the cast-iron dutch oven and carefully arrange some hot coals atop the lid. 

 

5. Heat 15 to 30 minutes until the biscuits are cooked through.

 

Grilled barbecue on a black grill.

Skewers can be used to make kabobs, roast hot dogs and marshmallows, or add a handle to corn on the cob.

 

7. BBQ Cabbage

BBQ cabbage is the easiest of these easy camping recipes, and it makes a really nice side dish with any of the other campfire recipes on this list. Great for vegan campers but enjoyable for meat-eaters as well, BBQ cabbage is easy to prepare and throw on the grill alongside hot dogs, hamburgers, or chicken breasts. It can also be shredded and added into other dishes or mixed with chorizo and zucchini to make a one-pan dish of its own. While you’re making BBQ cabbage, consider adding some sweet potatoes to the grill for a great dessert without any added sugar that will keep that grilled taste in every camper’s mouth. 

 

Ingredients:

 

  • ½ of a head of cabbage cut into thick shreds
  • ½ cup of soy sauce
  • ¼ cup of butter
  • Ground pepper to taste

 

Recipe:

 

1. Evenly divide the cabbage over 4 sheets of tin foil. Sprinkle 2 tablespoons of soy sauce into each tin foil pack and place 1 tablespoon of butter on top of each one. Season with pepper and fold the tin foil over the cabbage to make a packet. 

 

2. Place tin foil packets onto a grill over the campfire and cook 15 to 20 minutes until the cabbage is tender. 

 

8. Chicken Hobo

The chicken hobo is an easy camping recipe that’s pretty similar to the tin foil packs but feature greater versatility and more ingredients. Campers can even make their own chicken hobo tin foil packs with whatever ingredients are leftover at the end of a camping trip so no food goes to waste. Chorizo or bacon goes well in this easy recipe and a marinade for the chicken will add a depth of flavor not usually present in campfire cooking. Vegan campers can replace the meat with zucchini or eggplant for en equally delicious animal-free campsite dinner. Campers might also prefer the fun of taking the ingredients out of the tin foil and roasting them on skewers instead, or making them into kabobs to cook on the grill.

 

Ingredients:

 

  • 1 pound peppered bacon
  • 3 medium potatoes, chopped
  • 3 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 4 boneless chicken breast halves
  • ½ of a cup of butter
  • Garlic salt to taste

 

Recipe:

 

1. Cook the bacon in a cast-iron skillet until brown. Drain, chop and set aside.

2. On 4 large squares of tin foil, evenly distribute the potatoes, carrots, and onion. Arrange the chicken breasts over the vegetables, and sprinkle with the chopped bacon. Top each with 2 tablespoons butter, and season with garlic salt. Fold the tin foil over the ingredients and tightly seal.

 

3. Place tin foil packets on the grill for 20 minutes or until the chicken is cooked.

 

9. Walking Tacos

Called Frito pie in the southern and other regions of the United States, Walking Tacos are a simple and easy camping recipe that is easily transported along a hiking trail to eat at a summit or rest stop along the way. The filling is essentially a taco or burrito filling that is poured over corn ships or directly into a small bag of Fritos and then enjoyed with a fork. As you can imagine, campers will have no trouble eating this dish on the go. Vegans can have almost the same dish, subbing the cheese and sour cream for a vegan option or scrapping it altogether and replacing the meat with black beans or veggies. 

 

Ingredients:

 

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 packet of chili seasoning mix
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes and green chilis
  • 1 can ranch-style beans
  • 5 packages of corn chips
  • Cheddar cheese and sour cream for use as toppings

 

Recipe:

 

1. In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink, breaking into crumbles, 6-8 minutes; drain.

 

2. Stir in chili seasoning mix, pepper, tomatoes and beans; bring to a boil.

 

3. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, until thickened, 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. Pour into corn chip packages and enjoy!

 

A person poring beans into a cup outside.

Many convenient camping recipes like soups and walking tacos can be prepared at the campsite and eaten out on the trail.

 

Final Verdict:

Campfires are central fixtures in any campsite and campers are always eager to try new and inventive campfire recipes to prove their superior adaptability to the great outdoors. There are as many easy camping recipes as there are home-cooked recipes. With enough ingenuity, campers can enjoy tacos, kabobs on skewers, casseroles, BBQ, breakfast burritos, and muffins on their next camping trip. Many things factor into the success of camping meals, such as portability and the storage requirement of the various ingredients. But as we all know, what campers will principally remember and judge all their campfire recipes by is the taste.

It’s simple to add flair to camping food by adding herbs like cilantro, meat like chorizo, or spices like jalapenos. All campers will appreciate the opportunity to sit together and enjoy quality camping food around the campfire after a long day exploring the natural beauty of the backcountry. If you want to make a huge impact on your next camping trip, make sure you bring along this list of easy camping recipes and prepare for gastronomical superstardom.

 

Bonus tip: Indulge your sweet tooth with this campfire recipe video for banana boat s’mores in tin foil!

 

 

Riley Draper

Riley Draper

Riley Draper is a writer and entrepreneur from Chattanooga, Tennessee. As a world traveler, he has been to more than fifty countries and hiked some of the most elusive trails in the world. He is the co-founder of WeCounsel Solutions and has published work in both national and global outlets, including the Times Free Press, Patch, and Healthcare Global. When he's not writing, he's probably on a hiking trip or climbing in the mountains.