10 Things to Eat for Dinner on Your Next Camping Trip

Published on 04/13/2023 · 19 min readMeal planning for camping trips can be stressful, but it doesn't have to be! Check out these 10 dinner recipe ideas for your next trip!
Hunter Reed, Camping Expert
By Camping Expert Hunter Reed

Photo by Toa Heftiba

Are you tired of eating bland, pre-packaged meals on your camping trips? Do you crave a warm, hearty dinner after a long day of hiking and exploring? If so, you're in luck! We've rounded up 10 mouthwatering camping dinner recipes to impress even the pickiest eaters on your next camping trip. Best of all, you can make most of these meals gluten-free, vegetarian, or vegan with some simple substitutions. So, whether you prefer meat-free burgers or gluten-free tacos, we've got you covered. So grab your cast iron, gather around the fire, and get ready to whip up some delicious campfire food!

1. Campfire Pizza

Photo by Laure Noverraz

Pizza is one of my favorite foods, and there’s no reason you should have to go without it during a camping trip! Campfire pizza is a fun and easy meal to make, and it’s a great option if you’re trying to plan camping dinners for a group of people who might have different dietary needs since everyone can just choose their own toppings!

What you’ll need:

  • Cast iron skillet or Dutch oven
  • Long tongs or spatula
  • Aluminum foil
  • Knife or pizza cutter

Ingredients:

  • Pre-made pizza crust (store-bought or homemade)
  • Pizza sauce
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Toppings of your choice (pepperoni, veggies, etc.)

How-To

  1. Prepare your toppings ahead of time, cutting them up if necessary.
  2. Get your campfire going and let the flames die down to hot coals. (You can use a camping stove if open fires are not allowed.)
  3. Place your cast iron skillet or Dutch oven over the hot coals to preheat.
  4. While the skillet is heating, stretch out your pizza crust to the size of the skillet. You can do this by hand or rolling it out on a flat surface.
  5. When the skillet is hot, lay a piece of aluminum foil on the bottom to prevent the pizza from sticking. I also recommend putting some olive oil between the pizza crust and foil so the foil isn’t hard to get off.
  6. Carefully transfer the pizza crust to the skillet using long tongs or a spatula. Allow it to cook for a few minutes until the bottom is crispy and slightly browned.
  7. Flip the crust over using tongs or a spatula.
  8. Spread pizza sauce on the cooked side of the crust, leaving a little room around the edges for the crust to puff up.
  9. Add your cheese and toppings.
  10. Cover the skillet with a lid or aluminum foil and let the pizza cook for 5-10 minutes on the hot coals until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  11. Remove the skillet from the fire and let it cool for a few minutes before cutting and serving with a knife or pizza cutter.

2. Shrimp Boil Foil Packets

Photo by Jordan Graff

I came across this recipe a few years ago and now make it almost every time I go camping. I try to make it on the first or second night so the shrimp isn't sitting in my cooler for too long! Foil packet dinners are super simple, and there are tons of options of what you can add to them, but this one is my favorite dinner. One of my favorite things about this is that there’s not really a mess afterward since you aren’t cooking in a pan. After it's cooled, I eat out of the foil and toss it in the trash when I’m done.

What you’ll need:

  • Aluminum foil
  • Grill or campfire
  • Tongs
  • Cutting board
  • Sharp Knife

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 lb. small red potatoes, quartered
  • 4 ears corn, shucked and cut into 2-3 inch pieces (still on the cob, though you can cut it off the cob if you prefer easier eating!)
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 lemon, cut into wedges
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 T. Cajun seasoning
  • 1/4 C. unsalted butter, melted
  • Salt and pepper to taste

How-To

  1. Cut four 12x18-inch sheets of aluminum foil and stack them on top of each other.
  2. Divide the shrimp, potatoes, corn, onion, and garlic evenly among the four foil packets.
  3. In a small bowl, mix the cajun seasoning and melted butter.
  4. Drizzle the butter mixture over the shrimp and vegetables in each foil packet.
  5. Season each packet with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Fold the sides of the foil over the shrimp and vegetables, then fold the top and bottom edges over to create a sealed packet.
  7. Place the packets on a grill or over a campfire and cook for 10-15 minutes, flipping once, until the shrimp are pink and cooked through, and the potatoes and corn are tender.
  8. Using tongs, carefully remove the packets from the grill or campfire and allow them to cool for a few minutes.
  9. Open the foil packets, squeeze a lemon wedge on the food and serve hot.

3. Quesadillas

Photo by Lottie Griffiths

Another really easy one. Quesadillas are a great option for people with different dietary restrictions since it’s easy to substitute non-dairy cheese for vegan campers or leave out the chicken for vegetarian campers.

What you’ll need:

  • Cast iron skillet or Dutch oven
  • Long tongs or spatula
  • Aluminum foil
  • Knife

Ingredients:

  • Flour tortillas
  • Shredded cheese (cheddar, jack, or a blend)
  • Cooked chicken, beef, or vegetables (optional)
  • Salsa, guacamole, or sour cream (optional)

How-To

  1. Preheat your cast iron skillet or Dutch oven over hot coals or a camping stove.
  2. While the skillet is heating, lay out a tortilla on a flat surface and sprinkle shredded cheese over half of the tortilla.
  3. Add any cooked chicken, beef, or vegetables on top of the cheese (optional).
  4. Fold the tortilla in half, pressing down lightly to seal.
  5. Wrap the folded tortilla in a piece of aluminum foil. (If you have a pretty stable flame, you can skip this and just cook directly over the fire, but I find a lot of times the flame moves around a good bit and it doesn’t end up cooking my quesadilla evenly, so the foil helps trap the heat in.)
  6. When the skillet is hot, carefully place the foil-wrapped quesadilla on the skillet using long tongs or a spatula.
  7. Cook for a few minutes on each side until the cheese melts and the tortilla is slightly crispy.
  8. Remove the quesadilla from the skillet using tongs or a spatula, and carefully unwrap the foil.
  9. Cut the quesadilla into wedges using a knife.
  10. Serve hot with salsa, guacamole, or sour cream, if desired.

4. Campfire Nachos

Photo by Ted Murphy

Similar to quesadillas, with campfire nachos, you can adjust and do a few batches if the people you’re camping with have different dietary restrictions. They are easy to make, gluten-free, can be made with or without meat, or substituted with dairy-free cheese for those who are vegan. Though you could make campfire nachos on a low flame over a camp stove, this one is much easier and more successful over a fire.

What you’ll need:

  • Campfire grill grate or cast iron skillet
  • Tongs
  • Mixing bowl
  • Spoon or spatula
  • Sharp knife
  • Cutting board
  • Aluminum foil

Ingredients:

  • Tortilla chips
  • Shredded cheese (cheddar or a blend)
  • Canned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • Diced tomatoes, onions, jalapenos, olives, or whatever other veggies/toppings you want
  • Shredded chicken, beef, or tempeh (optional)
  • Sour cream, guacamole, or salsa (optional)

How-To

  1. Preheat your campfire grill grate or cast iron skillet by placing it over the campfire and letting it heat up for a few minutes.
  2. While the grill is heating up, prepare the toppings. Dice the tomatoes, onions, jalapeños, olives, and other veggies and set them aside in a bowl or on a plate.
  3. Spread a layer of tortilla chips over the bottom of the skillet or grill grate. Make sure they are evenly spread out.
  4. Sprinkle a layer of shredded cheese over the tortilla chips. Next, add a layer of black beans and diced tomatoes.
  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until you have used up all of your ingredients. Ensure the top layer is cheese, and the beans are on the bottom.
  6. Cover the skillet or grill grate with a sheet of aluminum foil.
  7. Place the skillet or grill grate over the campfire and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
  8. Use tongs to remove the skillet or grill grate from the campfire carefully.
  9. To serve, remove the foil and top the nachos with sour cream, guacamole, or salsa!

5. Fried Rice

Photo by Jules

This one is a favorite of mine to make towards the end of a trip. Typically at the end of a trip, I will have some leftover veggies or rice from the previous night's dinners, and it’s easy to toss those into fried rice instead of tossing them in the trash and having extra garbage to pack out from the campsite! Usually, I serve it with store-bought kimchi or some store-bought frozen potstickers as side dishes, but you can get creative with that part! Equally easy to make this over a camp stove with the same instructions if a fire isn’t an option. You can also toss in some chicken, ham, or tofu if you want some extra protein!

What you’ll need:

  • Campfire grill grate or cast iron skillet
  • Tongs
  • Mixing bowl
  • Spoon or spatula
  • Sharp knife
  • Cutting board
  • Aluminum foil

Ingredients:

  • Cooked rice (leftover or freshly cooked)
  • Eggs
  • Diced vegetables (carrots, peas, mushrooms, corn, onions, etc.)
  • Soy sauce (I like the small to-go packets you typically get with takeout; they’re less of a mess!)
  • Vegetable or olive oil
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)

How-To

  1. Preheat your campfire grill grate or cast iron skillet by placing it over the campfire and letting it heat up for a few minutes.
  2. While the grill is heating up, whisk the eggs in a mixing bowl and set aside.
  3. Dice the vegetables and set them aside.
  4. Once the grill is heated, add a few tablespoons of vegetable or olive oil to the skillet or grate.
  5. Add the diced vegetables to the skillet and cook for a few minutes until they are slightly softened.
  6. Push the vegetables to one side of the skillet and pour the whisked eggs into the other side.
  7. Scramble the eggs until they are fully cooked, then mix them together with the vegetables.
  8. Add the cooked rice to the skillet and stir to combine with the vegetables and eggs.
  9. Drizzle soy sauce over the rice and stir to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  10. Cook the rice for an additional 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the rice is heated through and slightly crispy.
  11. Use tongs to remove the skillet or grill grate from the campfire carefully.
  12. Serve with kimchi, potstickers, another side, or alone!

6. Campfire Mac and Cheese

Photo by Angry Wayne

Mac and cheese is a great comfort food I love after a particularly cold day or when I’m super hungry. There are many options of things you can add to this to make it more exciting. A few that I like are green peppers, bacon, or chicken. I also like putting bread crumbs on top right before I serve it! If it’s easier, you can use a store-bought pack of mac and cheese, but I like making my own better. You can also make this one on a camp stove, but these instructions are for a campfire.

What you’ll need:

  • Large pot
  • Wooden spoon or spatula
  • Colander or strainer
  • Aluminum foil
  • Tongs or gloves

Ingredients:

  • Macaroni (I like elbow, but you can use any pasta)
  • Unsalted butter (about 4 T.)
  • All-purpose flour (same amount as the amount of butter you use)
  • Milk
  • Salt and pepper
  • Shredded cheese
  • Breadcrumbs and whatever other add-ins you might want (optional)

How-To

  1. Start by boiling water in a large pot over the campfire. Add salt and macaroni and cook until the macaroni is tender but not mushy, stirring occasionally.
  2. Once the macaroni is cooked, strain it in a colander or strainer and set aside.
  3. Melt the butter over the campfire in the same pot you used for the pasta.
  4. Add the flour and whisk until smooth. Continue cooking and whisking for about a minute until the mixture is slightly golden.
  5. Gradually add about a cup and a half of milk while constantly whisking to prevent lumps from forming. Keep stirring until the mixture is smooth and thickened, about 5-10 minutes. If you want it less wet, use less milk.
  6. Add salt and pepper to the mixture and stir well.
  7. Add the shredded cheddar cheese to the mixture and stir until the cheese has melted.
  8. Add the cooked macaroni to the cheese sauce and mix well. If you are not adding breadcrumbs, you’re done!
  9. If you add breadcrumbs, remove the pot from the heat and transfer the mac and cheese to a cast iron skillet or baking dish. Top the mac and cheese with breadcrumbs and cover the dish with aluminum foil.
  10. Place the skillet or dish over the campfire and cook for about 10-15 minutes until the cheese is bubbly and the breadcrumbs are golden brown.
  11. Using tongs or gloves, remove the skillet or dish from the campfire and let it cool for a few minutes before serving.

7. Grilled Chicken or Veggie Skewers

Similar to the foil packets, chicken or veggie skewers are a low cleanup recipe since you don’t need a pan, and you can toss the skewers in the fire when you’re done (as long as they’re wood!). I don’t eat much meat, so I always make these with cubed tofu instead of chicken, but you can use whatever meat or meat substitute you want! It’s typically best to have a grate over your campfire if doing this on the fire to ensure you don’t burn your fingers and get a nice, even cook on your skewers.

What you’ll need:

  • Skewers
  • Knife
  • Cutting board
  • Tongs
  • Mixing bowl
  • Grill or camp stove

Ingredients:

  • Chicken breasts or tofu
  • Bell peppers
  • Red onion
  • Zucchini
  • Any other veggies you might want to add
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Marinade or seasoning if desired (I usually use garlic powder and paprika or soy sauce)

How-To

  1. If using wooden skewers, soak them in water for at least 30 minutes before using them to prevent them from burning on the grill.
  2. Cut the chicken breasts or tofu into bite-sized pieces and place them in a bowl.
  3. Cut the bell peppers, red onion, and zucchini into bite-sized pieces and add them to the bowl with the chicken or tofu.
  4. Drizzle olive oil over the mixture and season with salt and pepper (or any other seasonings/marination of your choice). Toss to coat evenly.
  5. Thread the chicken or tofu and vegetables onto the skewers, alternating between each.
  6. Heat up your grill or camp stove and place the skewers on the grates. Cook for about 5-6 minutes on each side or until the chicken is cooked through or the tofu is slightly crispy and charred.
  7. Once cooked, use tongs to remove the skewers from the heat carefully.
  8. Serve hot, and enjoy!

8. Chickpea Curry

Photo by Jules

This recipe is a little more intensive than the others and requires slightly more cleanup, but don’t let that scare you away! Chickpeas are a great source of protein, iron, fiber, and other vitamins, so they are the perfect thing to include in your dinner after a long day of hiking, climbing, or exploring outdoors! In addition, this recipe is vegan and doesn’t need any adjustments or substitutes. I usually like to serve it over rice or with store-bought naan bread.

What you’ll need:

  • Large pot
  • Wooden spoon or spatula
  • Cutting board
  • Sharp knife
  • Can opener
  • Plates and utensils for serving

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 zucchini, diced
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 T. of curry powder
  • 1 tsp. of cumin
  • 1 tsp. of coriander
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Olive oil

How-To

  1. Heat up your camping stove or fire and place a large pot over it. Add a drizzle of olive oil.
  2. Once the oil is hot, add the diced onion and minced garlic. Stir and cook until the onion is translucent.
  3. Add the diced bell pepper and zucchini. Stir and cook until the vegetables are slightly tender.
  4. Add the can of diced tomatoes, chickpeas, and spices (curry powder, cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper). Stir everything together.
  5. Add enough water to cover the chickpea curry mixture by an inch or so.
  6. Cover the pot and let the chickpea curry simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  7. Once the chickpea curry has thickened and the vegetables are fully cooked, it's ready to serve!

9. Campfire Tacos

Usually, I make campfire tacos with veggies and chicken for those who eat meat. But this can easily be done with veggies or a meat substitute like tempeh. Another build-your-own option for those with different dietary preferences! If you don’t want to deal with the hassle of all the different spices, you can also substitute the chili powder and cumin for a store-bought taco seasoning packet.

What you’ll need:

  • Large skillet or pot
  • Spatula or tongs
  • Cutting board
  • Sharp knife
  • Can opener (if using canned ingredients)
  • Plates and utensils for serving

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb. ground chicken or ground beef (or substitute with tofu, tempeh, or beans for a vegetarian option)
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 bell pepper, diced
  • 1 can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can of corn, drained (or use fresh corn if available)
  • 1 tablespoon of chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon of cumin
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Olive oil
  • Taco shells or tortillas
  • Toppings of your choice (shredded cheese, avocados, lime, lettuce, cilantro, tomatoes, salsa, sour cream, etc.)

How-To

  1. Heat up your camping stove or fire and place a large skillet or pot over it. Add a drizzle of olive oil.
  2. Once the oil is hot, add the ground chicken or turkey to the skillet. Cook until browned, breaking up any large chunks with a spatula or tongs.
  3. Add the diced onion and minced garlic to the skillet. Cook until the onion is translucent.
  4. Add the diced bell pepper, black beans, corn, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper to the skillet. Stir everything together.
  5. Let the mixture simmer for 5-10 minutes, occasionally stirring until the vegetables are tender and the flavors have melded.
  6. While the filling is cooking, warm up the taco shells or tortillas over the stove or fire. You can wrap them in foil and heat them directly on the fire or in a skillet.
  7. Once the filling is ready, spoon it into the warm taco shells or tortillas. Top with shredded cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, sour cream, or any other toppings of your choice.

10. Burgers

Photo by Virginia State Parks

And last but not least, another classic, easy camping meal. Burgers! It can be done over a fire, grill, or camping stove. And it’s easy to make veggie and meat burgers for vegetarians and non-vegetarians. Though this dinner idea isn't overly exciting, you can’t deny that burgers are one of the easiest things to chef up while sleeping under the stars, and they don't require a lot of prep or cleanup, which is a win! I usually like to bring a few pre-packaged bags of salad to go along with these.

What you’ll need:

  • Large mixing bowl
  • Large skillet or griddle
  • Spatula or tongs
  • Cutting board
  • Sharp knife
  • Plates and utensils for serving

Ingredients:

  • Burger patties (meat or veggie)
  • Hamburger buns
  • Toppings of your choice (lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles, cheese, ketchup, mustard, etc.)

How-To

  1. Heat up your camping stove or fire and place a large skillet or griddle over it.
  2. Once the skillet or griddle is hot, add the burger patties to it. Cook for 3-4 minutes on one side, then flip them over with a spatula or tongs.
  3. Add cheese to the burgers if desired, and let them cook for another 3-4 minutes on the other side.
  4. While the burgers are cooking, toast the hamburger buns over the stove or fire until lightly crispy.
  5. Once the burgers are fully cooked, and the cheese is melted (if using), assemble the burgers by placing each patty on a bun and adding toppings of your choice (lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles, ketchup, mustard, etc.).

Final Thoughts

Often when planning a camping trip, I find that food is the hardest and most stressful part of the whole ordeal. But it doesn’t have to be that way! As long as you plan out some camping recipes, make a list, and have all the right ingredients and utensils, cooking while camping can be a really fun, delicious experience. If you are looking for a dessert for after dinner, also be sure to check out this article on 10 camping desserts!

Lastly, it's important always to pack your trash and be cautious about dropping food scraps that might attract animals when cooking. It's crucial to be aware of the wildlife in the area and take necessary precautions, such as using a bear canister to store your food at night if you're in a bear area, and storing your trash off the ground when not in use to avoid squirrels or other critters getting into it. By following these guidelines, you can ensure that you're enjoying delicious meals and taking care of the environment around you. So, pack your bags, plan your meals, and get ready for a fantastic camping trip! If you have any other questions on cooking gear for camping, camping gear, or any camp related questions, reach out to a Camping and Hiking Expert here at Curated and we would be happy to help!

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