38 Unbelievably Easy Camping Meals Your Family Will Love

By "Just In Case" Jack | Updated: 05/17/2024

Today, I have something really special to share…

The Best Easy Camping Meals To Keep Everyone Satisfied

Because I’ve been camping now for 40+ years!

Needless to say, I’ve made a TON of meals around a fire…

And out of all my campground meals, 38 are my absolute favorites.

Pick and choose your favs from my list and start eating well in the woods:

TOPICS IN THIS GUIDE…    ↓(click to jump)
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7 Time-Tested In-Camp Breakfast Recipes

Waking up in camp is always exciting.

But I can never quite get rolling first thing in the morning until I’ve had something to eat (and a coffee).

Here are a few delicious recipes for some hearty in-camp breakfasts.

The type you can prepare in camp before heading out to a day full of adventure.

Or let’s be honest, before a date with a hammock and a good book.

↓ 11 Super Easy Camping Breakfast Ideas

1. Camping Breakfast Sandwich ( click for recipe)

For breakfast sandwiches, we’re looking at a pretty simple formula.

Muffin (or biscuit, if you ask me) + egg + cheese + meat = perfection!

I like to make it even easier by using up some of the leftovers from the night before.

I love using leftover BBQ pork and crispy fried eggs to start the day!

2. Bacon and Cheese Pull-Apart (click for recipe)

This one works well if you want to pull out the Dutch oven and get a fire going in the morning.

These bacon and cheese pull-parts are a great way to start the day.

I mean, come on, cheesy goodness and chunks of savory bacon, what’s not to love?

They’ll keep you feeling full and warm all morning long.

3. Farmers Scramble Breakfast (click for recipe)

If you tend to head straight to the “skillet with potatoes” section of the breakfast menu, this one is for you.

This camping breakfast recipe combines crispy browned potatoes and fluffy scrambled eggs.

You can also add some fried onions and bacon.

This Farmers Scramble hits all the bases – carbs, protein, salt, and fat.

It’ll leave even the biggest eaters satisfied!

4. Campfire French Toast (click for recipe)

Whenever I’ve tried to make French toast in camp, it’s been at the pace of a single slice on the griddle at a time.

But that’s not an efficient way to get breakfast out to a big group.

So, here’s a recipe that makes an entire loaf of bread into French toast.

It’s sure to please the group, and it’s way easier than I’ve always done.

5. Egg and Sausage Breakfast Taquitos (click for recipe)

If your only experience with taquitos is in the frozen foods aisle, you owe it to yourself to try them!

They’re quick to prepare with sausage links and a pile of scrambled eggs.

You can customize them with whatever extra ingredients you have in your pantry.

I like adding a little hash brown to mine; cheese also works.

You’ll want to make a double batch because they will go fast!

6. Crispy Campfire Bacon (click for recipe)

Cooking bacon over an open flame is one part of culinary skill and two parts daring!

A well-meaning friend (but not a skilled grill master) tried it on my grill in college.

He nearly burned our deck down in the resulting grease fire.

So if you want to try this one, use stainless steel skewers instead and thread the bacon with space between the folds.

This strategy allows the bacon to cook evenly, thoroughly, AND safely.

Yes, you’re bound to get some small flare-ups as the fat renders out and drips.

But slow cooking over low heat helps to minimize these flare-ups and leaves you with crispy, extra-smoky bacon.

NEVER leave it unattended!

7. Dutch Oven Biscuits And Gravy (click for recipe)

Biscuits and gravy are a classic breakfast menu item, but they can also be an in-camp breakfast treat!

A Dutch oven is a perfect tool for cooking some fluffy biscuits.

Add some warm, rich sausage gravy, and you’ll have a delicious and filling breakfast.

5 Easy On-The-Go Adventure Lunches

Camp lunches can mean anything from a quick snack to a full meal prepared in camp.

The name of the game is flexibility, as you never know how your plans will change or when everyone will start feeling hungry.

Individual portions help prevent a big setup and put away challenges…unlike a big spread.

Leave the bigger meals for breakfast and dinner.

↓ 3 Super Easy Lunch Ideas For Camping

8. Salads To-Go (click for recipes)

Yep, I said salad!

Salads are NOT the first thing you think of for camping.

But a quick salad can be an excellent break from the heavy meals you may have planned for the first few days.

Hearty leafy greens (like kale) last longer in an ice-cooler than more delicate ones.

I tend to avoid iceberg or spring mixed greens for this reason.

I recommend you plan your camp salads accordingly.

This recipe calls for individual salads in single-serving containers.

That way, you can grab one at a time from the cooler when you’re ready to eat.

9. Hot Ham and Swiss Croissants (click for recipes)

Whether you eat them hot or cold, these make-ahead ham and Swiss croissants are a favorite camping food.

Again, individual packaging makes it easy to grab them as needed.

AND each person can choose to eat them cold or heat them on the grill or over the fire.

All I know is a gooey melt sandwich tastes so dang good after a long day hiking!

10. Cashew Chicken Salad Wraps (click for recipes)

Wraps are an excellent option for lunch on the go, whether at home, work, or camping.

The variety of flavors of pre-cooked chicken and tuna makes for endless possibilities.

But this cashew chicken salad version is excellent and packs well.

Try toasting the tortilla if you have a fire or want to break out a portable stove.

It makes the wrap so much better, in my opinion.

11. Trailside Hummus (click for recipe)

Hummus isn’t usually considered a “portable” food.

But, with a home food dehydrator, you can dry any flavor of homemade hummus ahead of time.

Just be sure not to add the olive oil before dehydrating since it won’t keep that way.

Pack some buttery crackers or tortillas, and you’ll have a filling lunch on the trail!

12. Crackers/Salami/Cheese (no recipe needed)

Crackers, sausage, and cheese have been a staple on many of my hiking lunches for years.

They’re calorie-dense, pack well, and taste great.

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Want a free camping essentials checklist?

Click here to instantly download this Complete Checklist PDF. No purchase necessary.

5 Delicious Gourmet In-Camp Dinners

Dinner back in camp is a chance to regroup and wind down after a full day.

It’s a chance to make plans for tomorrow and to share stories of what you saw today.

I find that conversations are even more enjoyable over a hearty meal.

One that will keep you (and everyone else) full until morning.

And trust me, there’s nothing worse than having to crawl out of the sleeping bag to find a snack at 3 am.

These are some tested recipes that will tide you over until breakfast.

↓ 9 Easy Camping Dinner Ideas: My Go-To Car Camping Meals

13. One-Pot Beef Stroganoff (click for recipe)

In camp, it seems like every meal needs more seasoning than it does at home.

This one-pot beef stroganoff recipe brings some big flavors to enjoy.

Steak, mushrooms, onions, and garlic meld together to create a filling dish that will surely be an in-camp favorite.

14. Campfire Stew (click for recipe)

If you plan to lounge around the campsite all day, this is a perfect end-of-day meal.

Let this hearty stew simmer over the fire for hours, and it will develop a vast range of flavors.

Slow cooking can turn even the cheapest cut of meat into a tender delicacy.

The swirling smoke will impart a wonderful smoky flavor throughout the campground.

You may have to beat your camping neighbors off with a stick!

You can adapt this recipe for the vegetables and canned meats you have on hand.

Follow the cooking instructions on how to prep it at home or do everything at camp.

15. Dutch Oven Stuffed Sausage and Potato Boats (click for recipe)

This is another camp food recipe that’s easy to customize.

This stuffed sausage and potato boat recipe is super versatile.

Sliced sausage forms a base for potatoes mixed with any toppings you like.

Using a Dutch Oven helps to prevent “drying out,” resulting in a “twice-based potato” texture and awesome flavors.

16. Cast Iron Skillet Pizza (click for recipe)

If you’ve been looking for a crowd-pleaser, this cast-iron skillet pizza is it!

You can make the dough yourself or buy a convenient pre-made shell from the grocery store.

But cooking in a cast-iron skillet will produce a thicker, chewier crust.

17. Dutch Oven Pork Chops and Potato Casserole

Amazing pork chops and tasty potatoes make this an easy Dutch oven recipe for camping.

Cream of mushroom soup and bread crumbs make it an easy camp meal to prep and a surefire favorite!

Just don’t burn the bottom of this casserole, focusing most of the heat on the top of the oven.

7 Foil-Packet Camping Meals

Cooking a delicious meal wrapped tightly in aluminum foil is a time-honored camping tradition.

So much so that I decided to give them their own category!

There’s something so satisfying about opening that foil packet and sticking your nose close to enjoy the first whiff of a fantastic feast.

Plus, individual packets allow for easy meal customization for each individual.

I’ve found it’s the best way to make even the pickiest eater a happy camper!

↓ How To Make Foil Packets For Camping (aka Hobo Meals)

18. Foil-wrapped Baked Sweet Potatoes and Chili (click for recipe)

Tender baked potatoes and a hearty chili go just great together.

Cooking them over a campfire can help keep you warm and satisfied even on a cold night.

This recipe calls for sweet potatoes and vegetarian chili.

But you can substitute regular potatoes or add in some ground beef if you prefer.

19. Shrimp Scampi Foil Packets (click for recipe)

Sure, it “seems” like taking shrimp is an excessive camping luxury. And it is!

But I’ve made a similar recipe on several sea kayaking trips.

I just used rock crabs I caught by hand instead of shrimp.

Crayfish are also another easy option in certain locales.

So mix your shellfish with a fresh sauce and cook everything in tightly sealed packets.

You’ll be known as the best chef in camp for years to come.

20. Foil Pack French Dip Sandwiches (click for recipe)

French Dips are one of my favorite sandwiches of all time.

Tender roast beef, melted Swiss cheese, and creamy, salty au jus sauce in a giant pull-apart loaf of crusty bread—yes, please!

The French Dip is also perfect for satisfying a hungry crowd!

21. Bacon Ranch Grilled Potatoes (click for recipe)

You really can’t go wrong with potatoes baked in foil.

You can go with a pure blend of baked spuds and a perfect cheese mix.

Or you can add bacon, sour cream, and herbs; you know it’ll taste great and give you plenty of fuel for the next day.

Just lay out pre-sliced potatoes and extras on a table.

This buffet-style meal allows everyone to make their own version of the Bacon Ranch Potato Packets.

22. Grilled Pineapple Chicken (click for recipe)

This recipe is a quick and easy spin on teriyaki chicken.

This easy camping meal is simple to prepare at home by chopping all the ingredients and pre-mixing the sauce.

Once in camp, dish up to foil packets and cook until the chicken is ready.

It should only take about 15 minutes to have dinner on plates!

23. Southwestern Chicken Packets (click for recipe)

Chicken, beans, and pepper jack cheese blend to create a hearty meal to fill you up after a long day in camp.

You can even tailor the spice level to fit each person – a win/win situation when camping with kids!

24. Grilled Caramelized Onions (click for recipe)

This simple recipe takes direct heat and sweet white onions.

This combination helps create a great side dish or addition to other recipes.

You can spread them on toasted crusty garlic bread if you get them caramelized and soft.

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Want a free camping essentials checklist?

Click here to instantly download this Complete Checklist PDF. No purchase necessary.

5 Best Campfire Desserts (other than S’mores)

All right, my favorite section of them all is Desserts!

And while I’m a big fan of S’mores – I can’t do them 3 nights in a row.

I need to mix it up, and I think you’ll agree after you’ve tried a few of these camping dessert options.

↓ 10 Easy Camping Desserts You Have To Try This Summer

25. Blackberry Dutch Oven Cobbler (click for recipe)

This cobbler is a GREAT dessert that’s a super easy camping meal that makes enough for a small group.

The carbonated soda gives it extra rise, making the cake super fluffy with a crispy top.

It also makes a great breakfast if you have any leftovers!

26. Grilled Banana Boats (click for recipe)

This was one of my favorites as a kid – in camp or at home!

They’re simple to prep and don’t take much in the way of ingredients.

Plus, you can store them all at room temp (unless it’s mid-summer and your chocolate is melting).

27. Chocolate Orange Cakes (click for recipe)

Orange cakes are an old standby in Scouts, and they don’t disappoint.

Single-serving cakes, baked INSIDE the hollowed-out peel of an orange wrapped in foil!

Genius!

28. Pineapple Upside Down Pound Cake

Foil packet cooking doesn’t have to end with dinner!

Chunks of fresh or canned pineapple cook to a rich, mellow flavor.

A flavor that pairs well with dense, buttery pound cake.

If you don’t have pound cake, chunks of old-fashioned donuts or even donut holes will work just as well!

29. Cherry Hand Pies (click for recipe)

Hand pies take extra work to prepare, but they’re so good they make up for it.

Using pre-made pie crusts is easy.

But you can also do it homemade if you’d rather not have the perishable dough in the cooler.

Either way, be careful with kids around the hot oil and cast iron.

5 Kid-Friendly Camping Meal Ideas

Anyone who has spent time with young kids knows that mealtime can be a struggle.

New foods are not always a hit, especially with overly tired and hungry kids.

That’s why planning a few tried and true favorites is wise.

It can be a camping lifesaver.

Preventing a meltdown and saving your sanity is key to a great time camping with littles.

Plus, any food your kids can “help” cook is food you don’t have to prepare yourself.

And this helps keep them busy (at least for a while).

30. Campfire Cinnamon Roll-ups (click for recipe)

Cinnamon rolls are always a breakfast hit at home or camp.

If you’ve already got a fire going to heat water for coffee, give those bleary-eyed kids a fun task.

Teach them how to whip up some cinnamon rolls on a stick!

Using packaged crescent roll dough makes it fast and has no mess.

Plus, you can tailor the cinnamon/sugar mix to your liking.

31. Make-at-Home Mac & Cheese (click for recipe)

According to my sister, kids can survive entirely on Mac ‘n Cheese and pocket lint.

The bottom line is it’s a surefire hit for kids and simple to make.

Pack homemade mac and cheese into foil wraps and heat them over the fire.

Since it’s fully cooked, you only have to wait for it to heat up to your liking.

But if you let it sit just a little longer, you’ll reap the reward of crispy cheese on the top and bottom.

This added texture and flavor make a kid-friendly dish enjoyable for adults, too.

32. Campfire Cheesy Breadsticks (click for recipe)

Here’s another excellent entry in the “stick-based cuisine” category.

Campfire breadsticks are wrapped around a stick and cooked over an open fire.

There isn’t a kid out there who’s not fascinated by campfires.

So, this is a great way to teach them to use it as a tool.

So wrap store-bought dough around a handy stick and toast to your liking.

These allow your kids to make their very own cheesy breadsticks.

33. Hawaiian BBQ Pork Walking Taco (click for recipe)

Multiple sources call them “a Midwest staple.”

But in my 23 years living in Michigan, I never encountered the Walking Taco.

I learned about this camp-friendly / kid-friendly dinner option after I moved out West.

This knowledge gap isn’t to say they’re not a great idea – because they are!

First, prepare any taco/nacho toppings you like.

Next, open a small bag of chips and layer everything inside on top.

This version used pulled pork and pineapple salsa for a Hawaiian flair.

It’s a self-contained nacho platter in a handy bag.

No mess, no dishes, no cleanup!

The more I think about it, it *DOES* sound like something a Midwesterner would invent…

34. Campfire Pigs In A Blanket (click for recipe)

Both hotdogs and breadsticks can be big kid winners when cooked on sticks over the fire.

But these Pigs In A Blanket take things to an entirely new level!

Be sure to use the loose foil wrap to slow down the cooking.

This method gives hot dogs time to heat up without burning the breadsticks.

Afterward, dip it in ketchup, mustard, or (my favorite) BBQ sauce.

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Want a free camping essentials checklist?

Click here to instantly download this Complete Checklist PDF. No purchase necessary.

4 Lightweight Backpacking Meals

Backpackers are a special breed. It’s all about minimalist camping!

In pursuit of lighter packs for more comfortable hiking, they do all kinds of odd things, especially with food.

But the need for good, filling, and tasty food is at its peak after a full day of hiking.

Something about long hikes and full packs drives a conversation toward camp food.

This hunger, mixed with ingenuity, likely inspired such lightweight backpacking foods.

I’m talking about inventions such as powdered peanut butter, powdered eggs, powdered milk, and freeze-dried roasted veggies.

↓ 3 No Cook Backpacking Lunch Ideas

35. Backpackers Thai Noodles (click for recipe)

You can find plenty of pre-packaged freeze-dried meals on the market nowadays.

But this one is great to customize for yourself.

It’s got some intense flavors with spices that tickle the taste buds.

And the richness of the peanut butter makes it particularly appealing.

You can purchase most of the ingredients at a local grocery store.

But the powdered peanut butter and freeze-dried vegetables might be harder to find.

That’s why I suggest ordering such backpackers-focused ingredients online.

36. Spicy Curry Noodle Bowl (click for recipe)

Curries are another easy meal to prep at home and save on food costs.

This one relies on lots of Southeast Asian spices and coconut cream powder for a thick broth that hits the spot.

Add some grilled chicken or pork to the mix if you feel ambitious.

I find such additions can make these meals so much better!

37. Loaded Mashed Potatoes (click for recipe)

Loaded mashed potatoes have been a staple of my backpacking menus since Boy Scouts.

You can start with pre-flavored packets of instant potatoes or add your own spices.

This recipe is perfect if you want to start tinkering with your own flavors—you can add nearly anything!

Mashed potatoes are the multi-tool food of backpacking cuisine.

38. Peanut Sauce Ramen (click for recipe)

This recipe uses easy-to-find ingredients. But you can cut the mess and weight by swapping powdered peanut butter.

This one is a lot like other peanut sauce noodle recipes.

But the ramen spice packet adds more sodium (you’ve likely sweated out a lot after a day on the trail).

And it’s cheaper as well.

It’s an excellent addition to your backpacker meal plan.

Best Strategies & Tips For Camping Meals

Unless you have a big RV with a full kitchen, you’ll have to rethink how you cook at a campsite.

Why? Because there are several unique challenges to cooking at a campsite.

From preventing stored food spoilage to dish clean-up – without kitchen appliances, you’ll need to get creative.

The good news is I have experience with these camp food challenges.

↓ How To Clean Dishes Camping Guide

Keeping Food Cold

Most campers do not have access to a fridge.

So, the food items you bring must either be safe to store outside, or you’ll have to protect them somehow.

Most people use a cooler full of ice to keep things cold on a hot day, which works well.

But you can also put canned and sealed items in cold running river water or a snowbank if needed.

This strategy works well if you’re trying to avoid taking a cooler…

Keeping Foods Warm(ish)

Few people realize you can also use a cooler to keep things from freezing if the temperatures dip too low at night.

An empty cooler will insulate the contents from moderate freezing temps.

And the addition of a hot water bottle before bed can protect from extreme cold conditions.

This strategy is handy during the late fall, winter, or early spring camping seasons when it can dip below freezing at night.

Baking Tools / Strategies

It’s a real challenge to bake in-camp without a standard kitchen oven.

Luckily, if you have to make a batch of fresh cookies, you can use a Dutch oven or a backpacker oven.

However, for most baked goods, it’s easier to cook these items at home and take them on the road with you.

Stovetop Camping Solutions

In-camp gourmet meals require cooking over a portable stove or open flames, so prepare for that.

Depending on the fuel source, these can be messy, sooty affairs for your pots and pans.

They also may get scorched on the outside, so this isn’t the time to take your best pots and pans from home.

Instead, I keep a small camp skillet and an old pasta pot with all my essential camping gear.

That way, I know exactly what I have every time I go.

Grilling Strategies

Taking a small grill along might be tempting if you have some trunk space.

If not, you can usually do most of your grilling directly over the campfire (if the fire ring has a flip grill).

Or, for some recipes, it works well with camping skewers, baskets, or sticks.

Washing Up / Clean Up

Unfortunately, it takes longer to wash up in camp than at home.

Why? Because heating water for wash-up takes time and energy, I often wash in cold water instead.

Yes, it takes a bit more elbow grease and scrubbing.

Use a metal brush and strong detergent to clean your cast iron skillets and ovens.

You want to be diligent about it, as any leftover food smells will surely draw animal visitors.

Some animal scavengers are cute but mischievous squirrels, but there are also dangerous predators like bears.

Final Thoughts

Cooking in camp should always be fun and yummy (as long as the weather cooperates).

And when done right, it can bring everyone together.

Assigning tasks like prep and cleanup to help distribute the load.

And this also helps ensure everyone has time to relax and enjoy their food.

Good camping food is key to keeping you fueled, focused, and ready to enjoy all the moments in the great outdoors.

Hopefully, these recipes give you a starting point to build your next epic camping food menu!

If you enjoyed this article, check out our 20 Camping Hacks article.

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