My Top 5 Favorite Camping Recipes

Camping & Hiking Expert Kat Smith shares her five favorite recipes to make while camping. From breakfast to dessert, she covers it all!

Photo by Kaylin Pacheco

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There are many reasons why I love camping—quality time with my family and friends, connecting with nature, exploring a new and unique landscape, hanging out around the campfire, and the list goes on! But one of the things I get the most excited about when I am planning a camping trip is the meals!

There’s nothing better than food cooked over the campfire, as it gets a delicious, smoky flavor that just can’t be replicated at home. When I first moved to Utah and started camping regularly, I had a few very simple go-to camping meals, including hot dogs roasted in the fire on a stick and instant oatmeal. As I’ve camped more and more, I’ve learned different camping cooking methods (Check out my article “How to Cook While Camping”), and now my camping recipe box has greatly expanded!

Here are my top five favorite camping recipes, with tips on how to do the bulk of the prep work at home so you can enjoy delicious food quickly and easily at your campsite!

The Complete Camping Meal: Burgers, Sweet Potato “Fries”, and Corn on the Cob Over an Open Fire

An image of the author's burger made on a grill grate over a campfire. There's lettuce, red onion, and cheese on it.

Photo by Jos Smith

This meal is always on the menu when I go camping! You may wonder how it’s any different than just making a burger at home, but I swear, nothing beats a burger cooked over the campfire! The sweet potato “fries” and corn on the cob round out the meal. This recipe is versatile enough for a crowd—just pack enough burger toppings and condiments to satisfy everyone! And If you eat vegetarian or are camping with someone who does, swap out the ground beef for black bean burger patties!

Serves: 4

Equipment:

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 4 hamburger buns
  • 4 slices of cheese of your choice (I prefer pepperjack!)
  • Burger toppings and condiments of your choice
  • 2 large sweet potatoes
  • 4 ears of corn in the husk
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions - Burgers:

At home:

  1. Season the ground beef with salt and pepper and shape it into four equal-sized patties.
  2. Wrap the patties in saran wrap, then wrap them again in foil.
  3. Store the patties in your cooler until you are ready to cook at your campsite.

At your campsite:

  1. Place burger patties on the grill grate over indirect heat.
  2. After about 10 minutes (or more if you prefer a well-done burger), flip the burger patties.
  3. Add cheese immediately, since it will take some time to get melty without a cover.
  4. Once the cheese is fully melted after about 5 minutes, take the burger patties off the grill grate.
  5. Build your burgers to your liking!

Instructions - Sweet Potato “Fries”:

At home:

  1. Cut your sweet potatoes into french-fry sized slices, keeping them somewhat large so that they won’t fall through the grill grate.
  2. Put all the potato slices in a large Ziploc bag and add olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  3. Shake it all up so potato slices are evenly coated.
  4. Store in your cooler until you are ready to cook at your campsite.

At your campsite:

  1. Place sweet potato slices on the grill grate over an indirect flame.
  2. Cook for 5 minutes, then flip each slice.
  3. Cook for 5 minutes, then flip again.
  4. If you like softer sweet potatoes, continue to cook for 5 minutes per side until they have reached desired firmness. Flipping the potatoes every 5 minutes will prevent burning/charring. If you prefer firmer sweet potatoes, remove them from the grill after 10 minutes and enjoy with condiments of your liking!

Instructions - Corn on the Cob

  1. Place corn inside the fire ring along the edge, not in the direct flame.
  2. Rotate the corn every 5-10 minutes so they cook evenly.
  3. After about 30 minutes, remove corn from the fire and allow them to rest until they are cool enough to handle.
  4. Remove husk.
  5. Enjoy as-is or add salt and butter!

Cast Iron Skillet Pizza

Who doesn’t love pizza? And a hot, cheesy pizza after a long day of hiking, climbing, kayaking, or whatever fun outdoor activity you do while camping is even better! Change up the toppings based on your preferences, and add more or less sauce and cheese depending on what you like. And just like with any camping meal, do the prep work at home to make cooking at your campsite fast and easy!

Serves: 2

Equipment:

Ingredients:

  • 1 pre-made pizza dough (I like Trader Joe’s brand, but any will do, even home-made!)
  • ½ cup pizza sauce
  • 1½ cups shredded mozzarella
  • ¼ cup red onion, diced
  • ¼ green bell pepper, diced
  • ¼ cremini mushrooms, diced
  • 15-20 pepperoni slices
  • 3 tablespoon olive oil, separated

Instructions:

At home:

  1. Dice the onion, bell pepper, and mushrooms and put them in a Ziploc bag or Tupperware container.
  2. Store in your cooler until ready to cook at your campsite.

At your campsite:

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the cast-iron skillet over hot campfire coals or on a grill grate over the campfire.
  2. Add diced onion, pepper, and mushrooms.
  3. Saute for about 10 minutes until veggies have softened, stirring frequently.
  4. While the veggies are sauteing, roll the pizza dough out to a 12-in circle so it fits in the bottom of your cast iron skillet.
  5. Remove the veggies from the skillet, set aside.
  6. Return the skillet to the campfire and heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
  7. Place the pizza dough into the bottom of the cast iron skillet and cover with foil.
  8. Allow pizza dough to cook for about 10 minutes, checking the bottom frequently to make sure it isn’t burning. Move the skillet to less direct flame if the bottom is burning.
  9. Once the bottom of the dough is nicely browned and the dough has puffed up, remove the skillet from the heat.
  10. Flip the pizza dough so the browned side is facing up.
  11. Spread pizza sauce over the dough, using more or less depending on how saucy you prefer your pizza.
  12. Spread shredded mozzarella over the sauce, using more or less depending on how cheesy you like your pizza.
  13. Spread the sauteed veggies and pepperonis on top of the mozzarella.
  14. Cover with foil.
  15. Place the skillet back onto the coals or on the grill grate and cook until the mozzarella is melted and gooey and the bottom of the dough is nicely browned.
  16. Remove the pizza from the skillet, cut it into 6 equal-sized triangles, and enjoy!

Cheesy Potato Foil Packets

Something is wrapped in foil and placed on a grill above hot, smoldering logs and a small flame.

Photo by LUM3N

Foil packets are one of the easiest methods to cook a delicious, filling meal at your campsite! Put together these cheesy potato foil packets at home and store them in your cooler. Then, all you have to do is throw them in your fire ring, wait 30 minutes, and voila! A delicious, hearty meal! I often make these as a side dish, but they can certainly be made as a “hot and a lot” meal if you increase the recipe amounts. And with these potatoes, there are no rules! Add any seasonings and veggies you like, such as garlic powder, onion, or even sausage!

Serves 4

Equipment:

  • Campfire
  • Foil
  • Tongs

Ingredients:

  • 1½ lbs red or white potatoes, thinly sliced (about ¼ inch thickness)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup shredded cheese of your choice (I prefer cheddar)
  • 4 strips of bacon, cooked and cut into small pieces
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper

Instructions:

At home:

  1. Lay four 24” pieces of aluminum foil out on a table or counter.
  2. Place ¼ of the sliced potatoes onto the center of each piece of foil.
  3. Place ½ tablespoon of butter onto each pile of potatoes. You can cut the butter into smaller pieces to evenly distribute it among the potatoes.
  4. Sprinkle ¼ of the bacon pieces onto each pile of potatoes.
  5. Add ¼ cup shredded cheese to each pile of potatoes.
  6. Add ¼ of the sliced scallions to each pile of potatoes.
  7. Add salt and pepper to each pile of potatoes.
  8. Fold the foil over the potatoes and close off the edges, creating an enclosed packet.
  9. Store in your cooler until you are ready to cook at your campsite!

At your campsite:

  1. Place the prepared foil packets into the fire ring along the edges. Alternatively, you can place the foil packets on top of a grill grate.
  2. Using tongs, rotate the packets every 5 minutes for even cooking.
  3. After about 30 minutes, remove the packets from the campfire.
  4. Open, and enjoy!

Cast Iron Skillet Breakfast Scramble

A cast-iron skillet sits on a grate above a campfire. In the skillet is a scramble with a few slices of bacon.

Nothing fuels you for a day full of activities like a hot, savory, protein-packed breakfast! When I have a long hike or a big mountain bike ride planned, I always take the extra time to make this delicious and filling breakfast scramble. Make this scramble your own by adding any veggies, seasonings, or toppings you like! Toast a few slices of bread over the campfire or use tortillas to make this scramble into breakfast tacos or burritos!

Serves 4

Equipment:

Ingredients:

  • 12 eggs
  • 4 sausages of your choice (I prefer Trader Joe’s andouille flavored chicken sausages!)
  • ½ cup red onion, diced
  • ½ cup green or red bell pepper, diced
  • ½ cup cremini or shitake mushrooms, diced
  • 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
  • Optional: shredded cheese of your choice
  • Optional: bread to make toast, tortillas to make tacos

Instructions:

At home:

  1. Dice the red onion, pepper, and mushrooms and place in a Ziploc bag or Tupperware container.
  2. Slice the sausages into bite-sized pieces and place in a Ziploc bag or Tupperware container.
  3. Store in your cooler until you are ready to cook at your campsite!

At your campsite:

  1. Melt the butter in the cast iron skillet by placing it on the hot coals or on a grill grate.
  2. Add sausage slices to the skillet, stirring frequently until lightly browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add diced veggies and saute, stirring often until the veggies begin to soften, about 5 minutes.
  4. Crack each of the eggs directly into the skillet (alternatively, you can crack each egg into a bowl, whisk with the fork, and add the scrambled eggs to the skillet).
  5. Using a spatula, stir the eggs, veggies, and sausage until the eggs are scrambled and cooked through.
  6. Optional: add shredded cheese to the scramble, mixing it in until it is incorporated and melted.
  7. Remove the skillet from the coals or campfire, serve the eggs onto plates, and enjoy as is, with toppings of your choice, with toast, or with tortillas!

Classic (and not-so-classic) Pudgy-Pies

A pie iron is held over a campfire.

Photo by RichardBH

Pudgy pies are actually not pies at all, but rather dessert sandwiches! Traditionally made with white bread and strawberry pie filling and cooked in the campfire using a specialty square-shaped cast iron on a long handle, these delicious hand-held desserts are a camping favorite. While the traditional way to make pudgy-pies is certainly delicious, there are unlimited ways to get creative! Below is the recipe for classic pudgy-pies (with a few alternative ideas!), but you can also use the square irons to make grilled cheese sandwiches, breakfast sandwiches, cinnamon buns, and more!

Serves 2

Equipment:

Ingredients:

  • 4 slices of white bread
    • (alternative: cinnamon bread)
  • 1 can strawberry pie filling
    • (alternatives: any other pie filling flavor, peanut butter, Nutella, marshmallow fluff, bananas, jelly)
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Instructions:

  • Rub butter on the inside of both sides of the cast iron square.
  • Make 2 sandwiches using bread and the strawberry pie filling.
  • Place one built sandwich inside the buttered cast iron square at a time, and latch it closed.
  • Place the closed cast iron square with the food inside it directly into the campfire while holding onto the long handle.
  • After about 5-10 minutes, open the cast iron square to check on your sandwich. You want the bread to be lightly browned, toasty and crisp, and the filling to be gooey and warm.
  • Once ready, take the sandwich out of the cast iron square, cut it in half, and enjoy!

When cooking over the campfire, it is difficult to regulate the temperature. Don’t get stuck on the times I have listed in these recipes—use your best judgment and monitor your food so that you get your desired doneness. And be flexible! If your fire flares up while cooking, don’t panic! Just move the food to a part of the grill grate that has less direct heat to prevent burning, and let’s be honest, a little campfire char is part of the camping experience! If your fire starts to go out, add some kindling and get it going again.

So what if the food takes a little longer than usual? Cooking while camping is fun and delicious!

If you have any questions or want to find any of the camp kitchen gear mentioned above, don't hesitate to reach out to a Camping & Hiking expert here on Curated.

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Growing up in a suburb of New York City, most of my outdoor adventures were in the Northeast. Hiking, skiing, horseback riding, or just exploring the woods, when I was outside, I was in my element. Now, I am lucky to call Salt Lake City my home, where the world’s greatest outdoor playground is my ba...

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