When you think of campfire cooking, you probably think of roasted marshmallows, hot dogs, or baked beans in a can. But there are so many more delicious options! From meatball subs to nachos, you can make just about anything over a campfire. In this article, we’re sharing our roundup of the best camping meals, as well as some tips to help you get started with campfire cooking.
Tips for Campfire Cooking
Cooking over a campfire may seem scary for first-timers. However, it’s pretty simple with the right tools and know-how.
First, you need to build a fire that will burn well for cooking. To make the best camping meals, you’ll want plenty of hot coals and low flames. The platform fire-building technique is ideal for achieving this.
Second, you’ll need the right tools. The most common tools are a grill grate and a cast-iron pan or dutch oven. A grill grate will give you a flat, sturdy surface to cook on, and a cast-iron pan can withstand the flames. You’ll also need steel tongs and grill gloves, which can be used for removing food from the fire.
Lastly, you’ll want to practice good fire safety and food safety. Always build your campfire in a fire pit or ring, and make sure there is no dry grass or foliage close enough to catch fire. Keep a bucket of water nearby, as well, to extinguish the flames when you’re done.
As for food safety, store perishable food below 40℉ and cook food until it reaches an internal temperature of 165℉. Remember, the cooking utensils and food will get hot, so use caution when removing your meal from the fire.
10 Best Camping Meals
While chilaquiles are usually thought of as breakfast food, we believe this is the perfect “anytime meal.” Breakfast, brunch, dinner – it doesn’t matter! This layered Mexican dish will satisfy your cravings for something warm and melty.
The dish starts with layers of corn tortillas, enchilada sauce, and crumbled cotija cheese; then it gets topped off with a few cracked eggs. You could also add additional filings between the layers, such as chicken, pork, or roasted corn. All of this comes together in a dutch oven to cook directly over the campfire for about 20 minutes, or until the dish is warmed through and the egg whites have set with runny yolks.
Campfire Breakfast Burritos
These campfire breakfast burritos are great for on-the-go campers. Have a big day of hiking planned? Simply wrap your burrito up in some foil, toss it in your bag, and you’re ready to go!
For this recipe, you’ll need a cast-iron skillet. Start by cooking bacon or sausage in the skillet over the fire, then remove and add some whisked eggs into the same pan. Once the eggs are scrambled to perfection, you can start assembling your burritos. Spoon the eggs and meat into a burrito-sized flour tortilla and top with shredded cheddar cheese. Roll up the tortillas and serve with your favorite hot sauce, salsa, or sour cream.
Campfire Cinnamon Roll-Ups
If you’re looking for one of the best camping meals, look no further than cinnamon roll-ups. Devour these sweet rolls alongside a cup of coffee in the morning, and be sure to save any leftovers. We know you’ll be craving one later as an after-dinner dessert.
Three simple ingredients are all you need for this recipe: cinnamon, sugar, and store-bought crescent rolls. In a small bowl, combine the cinnamon and sugar. Then separate the crescent dough and wrap each piece around a skewer. Roll the dough in the cinnamon-sugar mixture, then cook each one over the campfire for 5 minutes. You’ll want to rotate the skewers frequently, like a roasted marshmallow, to prevent the roll-ups from burning.
Hot Ham and Swiss Croissants
Hot Ham and Swiss croissants make another perfect anytime meal. These hot sandwiches are quick to assemble with everyday ingredients. Plus, they’ll leave you feeling cozy-warm on a cold day.
The ingredient that makes these croissant sandwiches so memorable is the honey mustard sauce. It’s simply Dijon mustard, honey, and brown sugar mixed together, but boy, is it delicious! Spread the honey mustard on both sides of a split croissant. Then place two slices of Swiss cheese and a pile of deli ham in the middle. To heat the croissants, wrap the sandwiches in foil and toss them on the fire. Leave them there until they are warmed through, and the cheese is melted. Serve and enjoy!
Make-Ahead Breakfast Tacos
Similar to a breakfast burrito, these make-ahead breakfast tacos are a fantastic option for a busy day. They’re also a little smaller than a burrito, making them great for those who prefer a lighter breakfast.
Start with a taco-sized tortilla (corn or flour) and top it with scrambled eggs and your choice of meat or veggies. You could use cooked bacon, pulled pork, breakfast sausage, or peppers and onions for a vegetarian take. Sprinkle on some shredded Monterey Jack cheese, roll in foil, and place in a campfire-safe dish. Heat the foil-wrapped tacos over the fire until warm. Then enjoy with your favorite taco fixings, like avocados and hot sauce.
Campfire Meatball Subs
Who doesn’t love a delicious meatball sub? These subs start with premade meatballs to make life easier. But you could certainly make your own if you have a favorite meatball recipe. These make an unexpected and delicious camping meal.
In addition to meatballs, you’ll need marinara sauce, provolone cheese, and sub buns. Any hoagie, Italian or French roll will work well for the bun. Toss the meatballs in the marinara, then spoon the mixture into the sub bun and top with provolone cheese. Again, you’ll want to wrap this recipe in aluminum foil and place it over the campfire for about 20 minutes. Rotate the rolls halfway through for even cooking.
Garlic Herb Steak and Potato Foil Packets
This hearty meal will quickly become a campsite favorite. The classic combination of meat and potatoes is rustic and filling. Not to mention, it’s a one-bowl dish!
Toss cubed sirloin steak, 1-inch diced Yukon gold potatoes, olive oil, minced garlic, dried thyme, and dried rosemary into a bowl. Season with salt and pepper, cover, and let it marinate for 30 minutes in a fridge or cooler. Dish out the marinated steak and potatoes evenly onto four sheets of foil, then wrap the foil tightly around the mixture to seal the packets. Each packet will need to cook over the campfire for about 20 minutes, or 10 minutes per side.
Campfire Nachos will have the whole family (maybe even the entire campground!) gathering around the fire. This irresistible finger food made in a cast-iron Dutch oven goes excellent with a cold beer.
You’ll need tortilla chips and shredded cheese, of course! But the rest is really up to you and what you like on your nachos. This recipe calls for hot tomato sauce, black beans, avocado, green onions, and cilantro, but you could add meat, jalapeños, diced tomatoes, or olives. Layer the ingredients inside the dutch oven, cover with a lid and place over the campfire for 10 minutes.
Cheeseburger Hobo Packets
What’s a hobo packet? It’s meat, veggies, and seasoning wrapped in foil and grilled to perfection. However, with this cheeseburger recipe, no grill is required. You can cook these hobo packets right over your campfire in about 35 minutes.
Simply mix cut carrots and potatoes with seasonings and olive oil, and add them to individual sheets of foil. Then form your seasoned ground beef into hamburger patties and place the patties on top of the veggies. Seal the foil packets and cook over the fire. During the last few minutes of cooking, open the foil packets and add a cheese slice to each burger. Once the cheese is melted, you’re ready to eat!
Grilled Bacon Wrapped Hot Dogs
Hot dogs are a quintessential camping food. But these bacon-wrapped hot dogs take this classic to a whole new level! As far as camping meals go, this is one of the best!
In this recipe, the hot dogs get dressed up for dinner. Start by wrapping the hot dogs in bacon and securing the bacon on each end with toothpicks (Tip: Soak your toothpicks in water to prevent burning.). Then slather the hot dogs with barbecue sauce and cook over the campfire for about 20 minutes, brushing on more barbecue sauce halfway through. When the hot dogs are done, serve in a hot dog bun with some mustard.
There’s a reason humans have been campfire cooking for thousands of years. It’s an easy and effective method for enjoying a hot meal anytime, anywhere. With these ten best camping meals, you’ll be bringing this age-old tradition into the 21st century.