21 Fail-Proof Camping Recipes for Your First Camping Trip

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If you’re new to camping (or even if you already have a few trips under your belt), we’re excited to let you in on a secret: food tastes better outdoors! Whether it’s the fresh air, the smell of the pines, or the kitchen with a view, there’s just something about enjoying a camp meal that can’t be beat.

Michael is holding a mug of coffee in one hand and is holding a spatula to flip a sausage on a griddle with the other hand.

And, the good news is that camp cooking is probably way less challenging than you might think! Armed with a few solid camping recipes and a willingness to go with the flow, you’ll be a camp cooking pro in no time—without having to rely on basic things like PB&J’s or hot dogs. 

In this post, we’re sharing some of our best camp cooking tips and fail-proof camping recipes to help you navigate mealtime during your first few camping trips. Then, once you’ve gained some experience, the sky’s the limit as to what you can cook up at your campsite!

Camp Cooking Tips for Your First Camping Trip

  • Make a menu, write out your grocery list, and go shopping a day or two before your trip. We find it way less stressful to go about it this way, rather than showing up at the grocery store without a plan on the way to the campsite. If needed, print out any recipes you need so you don’t have to rely on cell service in the woods.
  • Prep as much of your food ahead of time as possible—you’ll appreciate not having to chop veggies or put together marinades or sauces at the campsite.
  • Learn how to pack a cooler so you can safely transport perishable items like meat and eggs—a lot of your cooler’s performance comes down to how you pack it, not which cooler you use!
  • Try out your camp stove before your first trip (this was our first camping stove, and this is the one we own now). Set it up out on your patio or other outdoor space and cook a dinner or two on it. This way, you can get a feel for how it works without the high stakes of being at a campground.
  • Organize your camp kitchen in a bin before your trip, referencing your camping checklist, so that you don’t forget a critical item at home. If you plan on going camping a lot, you may consider picking up duplicates of common items, like spatulas, knives, and a can opener, so that they are always in your camp bin and never left behind.
  • Start cooking a bit earlier than you think you need to. If all goes to plan, you’ll just eat dinner a little early, but if there are any hiccups along the way, at least you won’t be eating and cleaning up in the dark!
  • Everyone’s least favorite camp chore is doing the dishes, but you should think about how you’ll take care of washing up after meals. Some campsites will have dishwashing stations, while others will require you to rig up your own using a wide pot or shallow bucket, so be sure to check the campground facilities before you arrive.
  • Double-check ahead of time whether your campground will have running water! Many forest service campsites will require that you bring your own water. If that’s the case, we recommend a durable water storage container like the Sea to Summit Watercell.

Our Best Fail-Proof Camping Recipes

French Toast Sticks fanned out on a blue plate with a small bowl of syrup.

French Toast Sticks

These French Toast Sticks are a fun breakfast for kids and adults. What we love about this recipe is that you can arrange the sticks in your pan in a way that really increases your French toast production—so you’re done in less time than if you were to use whole slices of bread.

Side view of two sausage and egg sandwiches with runny yolks.

Apple Maple Breakfast Sandwiches

These breakfast sandwiches can be partially made ahead of time, cutting down on in-camp prep. Make the sausage patties at home and store them in your cooler. Then in the morning, fry up some eggs along with the sausage, and then assemble and enjoy!

Chickpea hash with two eggs on a blue plate next to a cast iron skillet

Chickpea Hash with Summer Veggies

Chickpea Hash is a great protein-packed vegetarian camping breakfast. Throw in your favorite veggies and you’ll have a filling meal that will stick with you throughout the morning’s adventures.

A stack of pancakes on a blue plate, topped with slices of bananas and walnuts.

Banana Bread Pancakes

You could make regular pancakes while camping, but why not step it up a notch and make Banana Bread Pancakes?! By adding a mashed banana to the batter, you’ll infuse every bite with great banana flavor. Chopped walnuts add a bit of crunch. This is a low-effort upgrade to a camp classic.

Maple syrup being drizzled over a slice of baked French toast.

Dutch Oven French Toast

This Dutch Oven French Toast is a great starter Dutch oven recipe. Just mix up some eggs and milk and toss with cubed bread. Layer into your Dutch oven (line it with parchment paper for easy peasy cleanup!) with fresh berries and bake it over your campfire embers. The result is breakfast that requires no stirring, flipping, or fussing, so you can help yourself to that second cup of coffee and kick up your feet.

Megan holding a plate with grilled cheese and chips. She is holding one of the sandwiches.

Apple Bacon Grilled Cheese

This is a great lunch recipe that takes a camp classic and makes it ~fancy~. Fry up some bacon (or make extra in the morning and save it) and layer it onto sandwich bread with cheese and thinly sliced apples for a “gourmet” grilled cheese.

Megan holding a handful of homemade granola

Trail Mix

While many wouldn’t consider trail mix a meal, if you’re out on a hike it makes for a great trail lunch when paired with some salami and Baybel or sliced hard cheese. We have a whole round up of our favorite trail mix recipes that you can choose from!

Sliced quesadillas stacked on an orange cutting board.

BBQ Chicken Quesadillas

Quesadillas are a great lunch or dinner to cook on your camp stove. Everyone loves them and they are so simple to make! This recipe calls for chicken that is cooked in a skillet and tossed in BBQ sauce—a step you could totally do at home. Then in camp, you just have to reheat the chicken and melt the cheese in a big tortilla and you’re done!

Pineapple chicken kabobs on a blue camping plate

Chicken Pineapple Kabobs

Kabobs are a great camping meal, and these Chicken Pineapple Kabobs are some of our favorites! Sweet and savory, they are a fun and easy dinner to make over your campfire.

A blue bowl of red beans and rice on a natural surface

Dutch Oven Red Beans and Rice

A riff on the New Orleans classic, this version of red beans and rice cooks right in your Dutch oven, making it a simple but flavor-packed one-pot meal.

Megan holding a bowl of chili mac

One-Pot Chili Mac

Another one-pot favorite, Chili Mac is a camp meal that you just can’t go wrong with. Brown some ground beef (or use meatless crumbles to keep it vegetarian!) with spices, then add beans, noodles, and broth and simmer until the noodles are tender. Stir in some cheese and you have a homemade chili mac on the table in under 20 minutes.

Three grilled chicken tacos on a plate

Cilantro & Lime Grilled Chicken Tacos

A zesty, tangy marinade is an easy way to add flavor to chicken before grilling it to make these Cilantro Lime Grilled Chicken Tacos. Pack along all your favorite toppings and everyone can make their version of a perfect taco around the campfire.

Megan holding a blue plate with a sweet potato. She is picking up chopped onions off a cutting board.

Foil Wrapped Sweet Potatoes and Chili

In this baked sweet potato recipe, you just need to wrap sweet potatoes in foil and place them on the grill or in your campfire embers. While they are baking, you can cook up this easy vegetarian chili, or simply reheat it if you made it ahead of time—or bring along your favorite canned chili!

Chicken and vegetable skewers on a silver camping plate

Tzatziki Chicken Skewers

Grill up some lemon-and-herb marinated chicken and veggies, then serve it in a pita or over pilaf with tzatziki sauce (buy it at the store or make your own at home) for this easy souvlaki-inspired campfire meal.

Woman holding a shrimp boil foil packet on a blue plate

Shrimp Boil Foil Packets

Shrimp and vegetables seasoned with Old Bay and Cajun-style spices, cooked in a foil packet over your campfire and grill. These Shrimp Boil Foil Packets are an easy cleanup meal that is a great intro to foil packet cooking.

Overhead view of asparagus orzo in a camping bowl on a picnic table

Cheesy Asparagus One Pot Orzo

This creamy one-pot pasta is reminiscent of risotto, but so much easier to make at camp! Simmer orzo, chopped asparagus, and sun-dried tomatoes in a pot, then stir shredded cheese into the leftover pasta water at the end to make a cheesy, creamy sauce. This is a great meal on its own, but would also make a nice side dish for grilled fish, chicken, or steak.

Four Elotes - grilled Mexican street corn - on a blue camping plate. A hand is reaching in to pick one up.

Grilled Mexican-style Street Corn

This appetizer or side dish is as easy as grilling corn on the cob, then slathering it with a zippy mayo-lime-chili sauce, and sprinkling it with Cotija cheese. So easy and so fun!

Megan holding a bowl of panzanella bread salad

Summer Panzanella

Tomatoes, peaches, and basil are essential summertime ingredients, and this recipe joins them all together in an easy Panzanella bread salad. Perfect for pairing with grilled meats!

Nachos in a Dutch oven over the campfire

Campfire Nachos

Sometimes we call this recipe an appetizer… and sometimes we call it dinner. Either way, this is an easy and endlessly adaptable recipe that utilizes your Dutch oven to create the cheesy, melty perfection that is nachos.

Three banana boats in foil

Campfire Banana Boats

Campfire Banana Boats are an entertaining and delicious dessert. There are so many ways to make your own unique take—this post has nine fun ideas to get you started. Best of all, since they cook in foil, there are no sticky dishes to wash up later.

Apple crisp with whipped cream in a blue bowl

Easy Campfire Apple Crisp

When we say “easy” we mean it! This Campfire Apple Crisp requires such little prep–just slice apples, stir them together with the sauce ingredients and simmer over your campfire (or camp stove). Top it off with your favorite granola and mayyybe some whipped cream if you’re feeling decadent.

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3 Comments

  1. I need to tattoo tip #6 on my forehead! I’m always amazed when it takes me 3x longer to cook something at camp… no matter how many times it happens!

  2. Love these recipes, can’t wait to try them out!