45 Make Ahead Camping Meals to Simplify Your Camping Menu

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These make ahead camping meals are a must-have for your camping trip! With a little prepping ahead of time, mealtime at camp will be a breeze.

Camp days can often be jam-packed with adventures–and very little time for much else. When we finally have time to relax around the fire, it can be a bummer to have to prep and cook an entire meal instead. Make-ahead camping food to the rescue! 

These make-ahead camping meals are such a lifeline for the weary (and hungry!) camper. You’ll be so glad you added them to your camping menu!

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Types of Make Ahead Camping Meals

  • Some camping meals can be entirely made beforehand—just reheat and eat. Those meals are especially nice for your first day at camp when much of the day has been spent traveling and setting up. You’re likely going to be hungry, tired, and/or short on time–and these make ahead meals for camping deliver!
  • Another make-ahead camping food solution is to prep some or all of the ingredients beforehand. Once you’re at camp, just complete any remaining prep and cook your meal on your grill or over the fire for way less effort. 

No matter how you approach it, you’ll love how easy make-ahead camping food make breakfasts, lunches, and dinners when you’re on your camping trip! These make-ahead camping meals give you more time to enjoy the great outdoors—that’s what it’s about, after all! 

A cooler filled with ice, coleslaw components, and other items.

Pack your cooler like a pro.

Knowing how to properly pack your camp cooler is essential when you’re bringing made-ahead meals. Lucky for you, we have a guide to help you master the art of packing a cooler to maximize ice retention and keep your food safe (oh, and it doesn’t require a super expensive cooler, either!)
Pulled pork sliders arranged in a white dish.

Instant Pot Pulled Pork

BBQ pork is so tender and delicious, with irresistible barbecue flavors and serious crowd-pleaser status. Make it ahead of time and reheat at camp for easy Pulled Pork Sliders, saucy nachos, and so much more. 

Instant Pot Pork Carnitas served in a dish with fresh limes and slices of jalapeno peppers.

Instant Pot Carnitas

Full of flavor with crispy edges, this shredded pork is endlessly versatile, which it the perfect make ahead camping food. Whip up a batch before you head out camping and store them in your cooler for quick and easy tacos, bowls, burritos, nachos, and more!

Coleslaw in a yellow dish.

Coleslaw

With fresh, crisp cabbage in a creamy and tangy dressing, this coleslaw recipe is the perfect side for BBQ style meals. Serve with (or on!) pulled pork sandwiches, with hamburgers, alongside hot dogs, or on grilled chicken tacos! Make this one ahead of time and store in your cooler until you’re ready to eat.

Sloppy joes on a board.

Sloppy Joes

With warm and saucy ground beef served over soft rolls, this classic dinner is the perfect make ahead camping food.

Just make the sloppy joe filling ahead of time, place it in an airtight container, and pack it in your cooler.

At camp, just warm the filling back up and serve over rolls and one of these great sides for sloppy joes to make a complete rib-sticking dinner everyone will love!

Cinnamon rolls with icing in a Dutch oven

Dutch Oven Cinnamon Rolls

Soft homemade dough stuffed with cinnamon and sugar, then drizzled with sweet icing … these cinnamon rolls are incredible for enjoying at camp and are super easy to make ahead of time.

You have a couple of options for making these: 1) Premake the dough and assemble the rolls and cook at camp, or 2) Bake them at home and place them in a foil pan or Dutch oven to reheat over the campfire.

Either way, don’t forget to finish them with the delicious buttery glaze!

A blue bowl of red beans and rice with a Dutch oven in the background

Dutch Oven Red Beans and Rice

With hearty beans simmered in savory Creole spices and served over tender long-grain rice, this beans and rice recipe is going to hit the spot.

You can either prep your ingredients at home and make it easily at camp, or make it completely ahead of time and reheat. 

Two stacked breakfast sandwiches on a blue plate. A hand is picking one up.

Maple Sausage Breakfast Sandwiches

Homemade apple-maple sausage patties are juicy and delicious and can be made ahead of time! Cook them on your skillet or griddle along with fried eggs and layer them into toasted English muffins along with a slice of melty Swiss cheese. They’re definitely an excellent way to start the day! 

Two blue bowls of white bean chili on a table

White Bean Chili

Whip up a batch of this hearty white bean chili, then pack it up and bring it with you for a reheat-and-eat dinner.

Bonus: This chili tastes best a day or two after it’s made so the spices can really mingle together, making it extra perfect as a make-ahead camping meal!

Coconut chocolate granola dotted with raspberries in a green bowl

Coconut Chocolate Granola

Rib-sticking granola is an awesome make-ahead camping food! This decadent-tasting granola features protein-packed nuts, coconut, cacao powder, and more plus freeze-dried raspberries for a sweet berry touch. Just add milk!

A sweet potato black bean burger stacked between two buns, avocado, and spicy mayo on a plate with a natural backdrop.

Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers

With hearty grated sweet potatoes, tender black beans, and Tex-Mex spices, these veggie burgers can’t be beat!

Make your patties ahead of time and store them in a large airtight container with waxed paper or parchment between the patties to prevent sticking.

Pull them out of your cooler when it’s time to grill and enjoy them on golden buns with spicy mayo and creamy avocado.

Potato salad in a red enamel bowl

Potato Salad

You’ll love having this classic potato salad at the ready for an easy side that goes so well with hot dogs, hamburgers, and more. Just assemble the salad at home and tuck it safely into your cooler for creamy, hearty potato salad bliss whenever you’re craving it.

Chicken Marbella in a Dutch oven over the campfire

Dutch Oven Chicken Marbella

How about a gourmet meal on your next camping trip? This elegant chicken dish with juicy thighs, olives, garlic, and bits of sweet chopped prunes can be mixed together at home, stored in your ice chest, and then cooked within 48 hours at your campsite. 

Four grilled chicken tacos on a plate with a green drinking glass in the background

Chipotle Grilled Chicken Tacos

Assemble the marinade at home for these easy chicken tacos with spicy chipotle and smoky cumin. Add the chicken to the marinade a couple of hours before mealtime, then cook the chicken and serve it up in warm corn tortillas with assorted toppings. Easy and delicious!

Grilled chicken pineapple kabobs on a blue camping plate

Chicken Pineapple Kabobs

With savory chicken, juicy sweet pineapple, and perfectly cooked red onion, these kabobs are a delicious make-ahead camping meal!

Just cut up the chicken and pineapple at home and store it in separate bags. Marinate the chicken a few hours before mealtime, build your kabobs, and grill!

Grilled veggie & chicken skewers on a blue camping plate.

Grilled Chicken Skewers with Veggies

Juicy chicken lined up with tender veggies makes an excellent camp dinner!

Prep ahead of time by cutting up the chicken and veggies at home and storing them in separate bags. Stir up the marinade and place it in a separate container.

Tuck it all in your ice chest, then marinate your chicken a few hours before mealtime. You can even make it a family affair when everyone laces their own kebabs exactly how they want them before grilling them to perfection.

Cheesy scrambled eggs and potatoes in a cast iron skillet

Mountain Breakfast Skillet

When you use frozen potato cubes and chop up your veggies before you leave home, this mountain breakfast skillet comes together quickly at camp–just scramble it up with eggs and, if you like, sausage and cheese. 

Red lentil sloppy joes on a blue camping plate with grilled corn.

One Pot Red Lentil Sloppy Joes

Vegetarians and vegans, come hither! These savory sloppy joes are entirely plant-based, made with protein-packed red lentils in a saucy base, served over golden toasted buns.

The filling is perfect for making ahead of time and reheating at camp, but it’s also super easy to prep the ingredients and the sauce at home, and then cook them at camp.

A foil tray of golden macaroni and cheese sits over an open campfire.
Photo credit: Live Eat Learn

Campfire Mac and Cheese

Make your sauce and cook your pasta ahead of time, then pour it into a pan, smother with cheese, cover with foil, and place it in your cooler.

When it’s almost time for lunch or dinner, it’s time to warm your perfectly creamy and cheesy mac and cheese right over the fire! Who says you can’t have comfort food at the campsite?

A jar filled with layers of overnight oats, topped with fresh strawberries and banana slices, sits on a rustic wooden table surrounded by scattered ingredients.
Photo credit: Minimalist Baker

Overnight Oats

Overnight oats is an amazing camping breakfast hack! Just make these peanut butter oats the night before and store in your cooler for a super easy and hearty breakfast.

A pasta dish garnished with herbs, cherry tomatoes, ground meat, and olives, is placed on a rustic wooden table.
Photo credit: Carlsbad Cravings

Cowboy Pasta Salad

This one’s truly a meal in a salad! With ground beef, bacon, corn, black beans, and pasta in a creamy southwestern-style sauce, this Tex-Mex-inspired pasta salad is the perfect make-ahead camping meal. Just store it in your cooler for a quick and easy no-cook lunch or dinner.

Grilled tofu skewers glazed with a savory sauce, accompanied by charred corn on the cob, all served on a rustic table basked in warm sunlight.
Photo credit: Live Eat Learn

BBQ Tofu

Another protein-packed option for meatless folk are these tangy tofu cutlets. A double dose of flavor in the form of spice rub + barbecue sauce makes these tofu hunks so tasty!

Prep the tofu by threading it onto skewers and brushing it with the dry rub ahead of time, then storing in your cooler until it’s time to grill them.

A freshly made egg salad sandwich with creamy filling, crisp lettuce, and soft bread is displayed close-up, surrounded by tomatoes.
Photo credit: Simple Joy

Egg Salad

Make this egg salad ahead of time and store in your cooler for easy sandwiches, wraps, or lettuce cups. This one’s a great protein-packed option for the vegetarians in the family, too.

A colorful bowl contains chicken salad adorned with red grape halves, chopped celery, green onions, and walnuts.
Photo credit: Get Inspired Everyday

Chicken Salad

Tangy Greek yogurt lightens up this creamy chicken salad. This is a great make-ahead camping recipe for easy lunches and light dinners–just add a scoop to sandwiches or wraps for a satisfying meal. 

A tray holds chicken salad sandwiches on whole grain bread, layered with lettuce.
Photo credit: Spend With Pennies

Tuna Salad

Creamy classic tuna salad is a great make ahead camping food, especially for simple and hearty lunches! Assemble this tuna salad ahead of time and pack in your cooler for easy sandwiches or wraps at camp.

A bowl, vibrant and colorful, holds black beans and corn salad garnished with fresh slices of avocado, jalapeno, and cilantro.
Photo credit: Love and Lemons

Black Bean & Corn Salad

Black beans, corn, and crisp veggies mingle with creamy avocado and a zesty lime salad dressing for the perfect accompaniment to Tex-Mex meals or a light lunch all on its own. Make this one ahead of time, then just add the avocado right before serving.

A foil-wrapped breakfast burrito filled with eggs, sausage, beans, and cheese.
Photo credit: Creme de la Crumb

Breakfast Burritos

These make-ahead breakfast burritos have it all! Eggs, sausage, turkey bacon, hash browns–a full meal deal wrapped in a tortilla! Make them ahead of time and wrap them in foil for quick reheating at your campsite when it’s time for breakfast.

A serving spoon scoops up a portion of sticky, caramelized shredded chicken, highlighting the glazed texture and sauce-coated meat strands.
Photo credit: Baking Mischief

BBQ Chicken

This saucy BBQ chicken recipe is perfect for making ahead of time! It cooks up in less than 30 minutes, and can be packed away in your cooler until you’re ready to eat. Warm it back up at camp and use it in wraps, on sandwiches, or over an epic batch of nachos.

A close-up reveals vibrant, colorful egg muffins containing spinach, tomatoes, and cheese, perfectly baked.
Photo credit: Well Plated

Breakfast Egg Muffins

Egg muffins are such a great meal-prep breakfast option, and they’re great for camping too! Make them ahead of time and serve them cold or reheated at camp–they’re delicious either way. This egg muffin recipe features tomatoes, bell pepper, spinach, and feta for loads of flavor and nutrients, too.

Homemade granola with oats, pecans, and dried cranberries is laid out on a baking sheet.
Photo credit: Cookie and Kate

Granola

With oats, plenty of nuts, dried fruit, and several ways to customize it, this granola recipe is a great make-ahead camping food. Store it in an airtight container and serve it with yogurt or milk and plenty of fresh fruit for a satiating breakfast.

An Asian-inspired salad in a clear glass bowl is garnished with crispy wonton strips, featuring a colorful mix of shredded cabbage, carrots, and sesame seeds.
Photo credit: Dinner at the Zoo

Chinese Chicken Salad

Colorful veggies, hearty chicken and a tangy dressing make up this delicious salad with an Asian spin.

To make it ahead of time, prep the ingredients by cooking and chopping the chicken and salad ingredients and whipping up a batch of the dressing at home. Store the salad and dressing separately in your cooler, then toss it all together at camp when you’re ready to eat!

A vibrant plate showcases tortellini, cherry tomatoes, diced ham, and artichokes sprinkled with chopped parsley and dusted with grated cheese, accompanied by gold forks.
Photo credit: Spend With Pennies

Italian Tortellini Salad

Make this one ahead of time and store it in the cooler for fresh, easy pasta salad whenever you want it! This one features cheese tortellini with sun-dried tomatoes, olives, salami, artichokes, and more to bring a little Mediterranean flavor to your trip.

A plump double tofu cheeseburger with fresh lettuce on a toasted bun.
Photo credit: Live Eat Learn

Grillable Tofu Burgers

It can be difficult to find grillable veggie burgers, but this burger recipe solves that problem. These sturdy patties can be shaped and marinated ahead of time so all you have to do at camp is throw them on the grill!

Freshly baked muffins with visible fruit and nut pieces are arranged on a teal napkin against a soft-focus background.
Photo credit: Sally McKenney

Morning Glory Muffins

Some muffins seem more like cupcakes than muffins, but these morning glory muffins are NOT an example of that. They’re super hearty and packed with fiber, protein, and nutrients from whole wheat flour, flax, carrots, apples, and more! These muffins are absolutely still tender and delicious, though (and excellent with a cup of camp coffee!) 

Avocado toast with a hard-boiled egg, red pepper flakes, and fresh herbs rests on a dark plate.

Avocado Toast with Hard Boiled Eggs

For a hearty and delicious breakfast, top your usual avocado toast with sliced hard-boiled eggs! Hard-boiled eggs are protein-packed and perfectly portable, which makes them the ideal make ahead camping food. 

A bowl is filled with chili, topped by shredded cheese, a scoop of sour cream, diced red onions, and fresh cilantro; a golden spoon rests beside it.
Photo credit: Food with Feeling

Lentil Chili

Lentils and beans bulk up this full-of-flavor chili that makes the best make-ahead camping meal! Just cook it ahead of time and reheat at camp for a hearty meatless meal.

A grilled cheeseburger with lettuce and onions on a sesame seed bun, served with pickles and sliced onions on a wooden plate.
Photo credit: Jessica Gavin

Burgers

These juicy, perfectly formed hamburger patties can be made ahead of time for a convenient and delicious camping meal. Just store them in an airtight container with parchment or waxed paper between the patties to prevent sticking while stored. Then cook them up at camp and serve them with soft buns and assorted toppings for a crowd-pleasing and easy camp meal! 

A freshly baked enchilada dish garnished with avocado, cilantro, and a lime wedge is displayed.
Photo credit: Creme de la Crumb

Chicken Enchilada Casserole

These cheesy chicken enchiladas are super easy to prep at home. Layer them into a foil pan and pack it in your cooler, then just heat them up at your campsite on your grill!

Grilled pineapple and tofu skewers are adorned with fresh cilantro and lime wedges, accompanied by a side of creamy dipping sauce.
Photo credit: Food with Feeling

Pineapple Tofu Skewers

Juicy pineapple and spicy tofu are a perfect match! This one’s perfect for prepping at home, too. Just marinate the tofu at home, pack it in your cooler, then assemble and grill at camp!

A banh mi sandwich is presented on a wooden table, showcasing a toasted baguette filled with grilled meats, pickled vegetables, fresh cilantro, jalapeño slices and accompanied by lime wedges.
Photo credit: Carlsbad Cravings

Grilled Banh Mi Sandwich

Whip up the marinade for these Bahn Mi sandwiches at home, prep the pork and the pickled veggies, and make the chili mayo. Store all of the elements separately in your cooler, then, the morning of the meal, add the marinade to the pork. Marinate for 6-8 hours, then grill and assemble your incredible (and incredibly easy) camping-friendly Bahn Mi sandwiches!

Grilled kebabs, cucumber tomato salad, and tzatziki sauce are presented on a white platter, accented with lemon wedges and herbs.
Photo credit: Wholesome Yum

Grilled Lamb Kofta

These juicy kabobs are so delicious and it’s easy to prep them at home! Just make the meat mixture at home and form it into shapes. Once you’re at camp, thread the meat onto your skewers and grill to perfection!

Three chicken tacos garnished with pineapple salsa and fresh cilantro are served in soft tortillas.
Photo credit: Jessica Gavin

Chicken Tacos with Pineapple Salsa

Juicy chicken served up in tortillas with a sweet and spicy pineapple salsa? Yes, please! These tacos are fast, easy, and delicious.

To make them ahead of time, make the salsa and the marinade without the lime juice, then add the chicken and store it that way. About 20 minutes before mealtime, add the lime juice so it can do its thing. Cook up your tacos and enjoy!

Blondie squares in a Dutch oven

Dutch Oven Blondies

This sweet treat is so fun to bake at camp! To make them ahead of time, mix up the batter at home and place it in your ice chest. At camp, build your fire, line your Dutch oven with parchment paper, and spread the batter in the pot. Bake until caramelly, melty perfection! 

Negroni cocktail in a mason jar on a table in front of a campfire.

Make ahead cocktails

Mix up a big batch of your favorite cocktail at home and leave all the bottles behind! Negonis are our favorite make-ahead camping cocktail. Premix the cocktail and keep it in a mason jar, then when it’s cocktail hour, just pour over ice, garnish with an orange slice, and sip away!

A close-up of two mugs of marshmallow-topped hot cocoa.

Hot Cocoa Mix

Hot cocoa is a camping must, and it’s even better when you bring homemade hot cocoa mix! This hot cocoa mix whisks together with hot water for fast, chocolatey camp warm-ups. Top with dehydrated marshmallows for the full hot cocoa experience! 

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