Easy and Delicious Camping Side Dishes

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A group of friends eating side dishes on a camping trip.

Planning meals for a camping trip can be stressful. Who wants to spend hours preparing and cooking when you just want to relax and enjoy the outdoors? Today, we’ll make meal planning easier by sharing some delicious camping side dishes. 

With a bit of prep work at home, you’ll find that you won’t dread mealtime at the campsite. Let’s dive in!

What Makes a Good Camping Side Dish?

When planning and preparing meals for a weekend camping trip, you want to keep in mind a few things. First, you want something simple and easy. You don’t want to lug every kitchen gadget in your house to the campsite. There isn’t room in an RV kitchen for a mixer, blender, air fryer, Keurig, Instant Pot, and crockpot.

You also don’t want to wash many dishes after cooking and eating. If you’ve used two or three kitchen gadgets to make something, you’ll have to clean two or three large things. You’d likely want to sit around the campfire after dinner than stand over the sink.

Along with this ease of preparation are the ingredients. Don’t choose a side dish that requires 20 ingredients. Choose something with a few ingredients, preferably ingredients you can also use in other meals. Then you don’t have to stock your RV cabinets with a bunch of items for a two-night camping trip.

Finally, choose a camping side dish that’s easy to eat. Again, you don’t want a mess you’ll have to clean up afterward. If you’re preparing for multiple ages, you also want something that kids and adults can eat independently.

Groups of friends enjoy camping together, which means the kids tend to gather together, and the adults tend to gather together. Prepare side dishes that you won’t have to help your kids eat.

Should You Prepare Meals at Home?

Before heading out on a weekend camping trip, consider preparing meals at home. Although this is more work in advance, it might make your camping adventure more enjoyable. You won’t have to cook anything. Instead, you’ll just need to heat it up. This saves a lot of time. 

If you don’t want to cook or can’t cook the entire meal at home, consider browning ground beef or cutting up fruits and vegetables. This way, at least part of the meal prep is done. You can pull a Ziploc bag out of the fridge and quickly finish the meal at the campsite.

7 Easy and Delicious Camping Side Dishes

Enjoying the outdoors and food just go hand-in-hand. So today, we have seven easy and delicious camping side dishes to complete your meals. These could be healthy snacks and alternatives to chips and cookies. Or put a few of these side dishes together to make their own meal. 

1. Pasta Salad

You can prepare pasta salad at home and store it in a container in the fridge. You don’t need to cook this at the campsite. There are so many different types of pasta salad, too.

Choose one that suits your family’s tastes, prepare it ahead of time, and then pull it out of the fridge when someone needs a snack or as an appetizer before hamburgers.

Close up of pasta salad.

2. Bean Salad

Like pasta salad, bean salad is easy to prepare at home before camping. It’s convenient to just pull the container out of the fridge and serve. For vegetarians, this is also a way to add some protein to your diet when others in your family will be scarfing down roasted hot dogs or tearing into chicken wings.

3. Corn On the Cob

There’s something about corn on the cob roasted over a fire. Many fire pits have grill crates. Prepare some corn cobs however your family likes them, wrap them in tin foil, and then allow them to roast on the grill crate.

Turn them occasionally until cooked through, about ten minutes. There’s no prep work or extra gadgets to cook this delicious camping side dish.

Close up of corn on the cob.

4. Baked Beans

One extra item you might want to bring for a camping trip is a Dutch oven, even though they’re cumbersome. You need a Dutch oven if you plan on cooking over coals. Instead of opening a can of baked beans (which you can certainly do!), try cooking a hearty baked bean dish in a Dutch oven. 

You could also opt for a slow cooker as well. With so many different recipes, you can add ground beef, bacon, or several different types of beans to make this camping side dish a family favorite.

Keep in Mind: Finish off your meal with one of these 11 camping desserts!

5. Grilled Fruit

Although fresh fruit is great in the summer, sometimes you want a warmer snack in the fall. Try grilling pineapple, apples, peaches, or any other type of fruit. Just a bit of charring adds to the taste. You can top it with cinnamon or eat it plain. Eat the fruit as a snack or side dish to a larger meal.

6. Veggies Over the Fire

One of our favorite camping side dishes is vegetables wrapped in foil. If you’re already bringing foil for the corn on the cob, use it again the next night for grilled veggies.

Chop up whatever your family likes and roast the mix on the grill crate. Just the right seasoning and charring make this camping side dish delectable!

Close up of veggies.

7. Dutch Oven Potatoes

Another camping side dish prepared in a Dutch oven is potatoes. This requires more ingredients than the others, but they’re everyday items you’ll use for other meals. There are many different recipes, so find one that best suits your family’s tastes.

Add bacon for a heartier flavor, layer the potatoes, pour the cream, and add the cheese. Let the dish cook for an hour while you enjoy beverages by the fire, a game of cornhole, or a good book in the hammock.

Keep in Mind: Check out these Tips for Camping With a Dutch Oven!

What Camping Accessories Make Cooking Easy?

We’ve already mentioned how a Dutch oven might be worth getting if you enjoy cooking outside over coals. You might also want to consider a Blackstone or Camp Chef griddle. Cooking breakfast or grilling meats is easier with these products.

Camp Chef Reversible Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Griddle, Cooking Surface 14 in. x 16
  • Double-sided grill/griddle combo lets you griddle breakfast, then flip it over and grill dinner
  • Out of the box ready to cook in seconds

The cooking accessories you take camping depend on what you’re fixing. If you plan on boiling water or using a stovetop often, buy a portable stovetop that you can use outside.

Cooking outdoors reduces the accumulation of heat and moisture inside the RV and keeps the interior temperature much more comfortable.

Enhance Your Meals With These Camping Side Dishes

Don’t rely on the standard hamburgers and hot dogs on your next camping trip. Add some easy side dishes your family will love. With some simple prep work beforehand at home, these camping side dishes are simple additions to make mealtime enjoyable and delicious.

What will you try when you head to the campsite?

Last update on 2024-03-03 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

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