Best Camping Meals: What to Cook When Living Outdoors

Cooking fire
Written by Russell McCarty

Although outdoor living can be tough at times, you can still enjoy delicious food if you know how to cook some of the best camping meals that are healthy and nutritious as well. Your camping trips do not have to be without the right meals.

See also: Freezer Bag Cooking: Easy Meals For the Lightweight Backpacker

Instead, you can enjoy being on the trail and at the same time benefit from easy prepared meals that are exceptional mouthwatering dishes. Prepare the following meals when you are in the bush or on the trail and you can still stay fit as well as healthy just like you are still at home.

Breakfast Meals to Start Your Day

Your camp breakfast meals can be as invigorating as any other of the best camping recipes you get anywhere else and you do not necessarily have to put out plenty of effort to prepare them. Use an outdoor stove to get your mornings off to a good start.

Scrambled eggs with veggie or tofu

Scrambled eggs with veggies or tofu can easily be cooked on your outdoor stove in the mornings. You can chop the veggies from home so you do not have to waste time doing it, especially if you are pressed for time in the mornings.

Other than bringing along your prepared veggies, you should remember not to forget to take along additional ingredients that you will need to prepare this exciting dish. Ingredients include sweet potatoes, potatoes, red peppers, arugula, onions, butternut squash, cilantro, tomatoes, tomatillos, spinach and other tasty ingredients of your choice.

The simple way to do this dish is for you to start by combining the ingredients in a single container then start heating them. Your final step is to add eggs and tofu in the last 10 minutes of cooking time.


Preparing a hearty-filling breakfast of pancakes is one of the easiest ways to complete cooking in the morning. This is even more enjoyable if you should have children with you because this dish is one of the most well loved meals by them.

You can carry along some pancakes mix and all you then have to do is add some water to the mixture and wham, you have your ready pancakes. If you prefer, you can buy do-it-your-self mix, add a few eggs, milk, honey and oil and you have your pancake breakfast ready in no time.

Blueberry muffins

Blueberry muffins only take about 20 minutes to prepare so that you do not have to waste lengthy time near your outdoor stove. You can buy the prepared one in the box or you can prepare your own from home and take it along with you.

To prepare this dish, just follow the following easy steps:

  • Have your outdoor oven heated to 375 degree.
  • Have your muffin cups greased and ready.
  • Mix some butter in a bowl until the substance becomes creamy.
  • Beat a few eggs into the mixture. Do so with each egg one at a time.
  • Place in the mixture some vanilla, salt and baking powder.
  • Put in about half of flour and half milk into the batter. Do a repeat.
  • Fold in blueberries.

If you have no muffin holder, you can always use a few oranges to get the job done. Please see easy to do it tutorial below.

Gravy and biscuits

You can make scrumptious gravy and biscuits from home and take them along with you on your camping trip. If you prefer, you can buy a can of premade biscuits at a nearby shop and take it along on your camping trip.

However, if you are the adventurous type, you can try the bold approach and do them while at your outdoor camp site. If you are cooking gravy and biscuits outdoor then follow the simple way of doing so below.

Have the following ingredients ready:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 pack Jimmy Dean sausage roll
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 4 packs Pillsbury uncooked biscuits


  • 2 frying pans
  • 1 spatula
  • 2 lids
  • 1 fork

Now for the cooking part:

Sausage gravy:

  1. Put the skillet on the stove and place a low fire under it, in the meantime have the Jimmy Dean sausage rolls ready on hand.
  2. Cook the sausage rolls in the frying pan using a low heat to do so. While cooking, keep mixing the pot with the spatula.
  3. Slowly begin to put in the sifted flour and with the help of a fork mix in the flour until you start seeing the mixture looking like dough.
  4. Start to pour in the milk slowly and continue mixing. Mix until the substance becomes creamy and the lumps disappear.


  1. Put skillet on the stove and place a low fire underneath. In the meantime have your Pillsbury biscuits ready.
  2. Melt about ½ cup butter in the frying pan. This should take about 1 minute to complete.
  3. Begin to put biscuits in a circular pattern into the frying pan. You can put in as many biscuits as the pan can hold. Cover the frying pan with the lid.
  4. Biscuits should take about 3-5 minutes to brown. You can have them golden brown or crispy, whichever you prefer.

With gravy and biscuits cooked, you now have a terrific camp side breakfast to enjoy. Do read our camping meal ideas to give you more food options.

Lunch Meals Done Campfire Style

An appetizing lunch done campfire style can keep you going during the day until dinner time. Here are some easy outdoors lunch meals you can prepare in minutes.

Baked blueberry doughnuts

As adventurous as you are, you cannot refuse this one-of-a-kind camp lunch meal known as baked blueberry donuts. These appetizing donuts can be served for breakfast as well as for lunch and they will leave you or the kids begging for more.

Check out how they are done below.


  • 1 teaspoonful baking powder
  • ½ teaspoonful of salt
  • 1 full egg
  • 1 teaspoonful of vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoonfuls of softened unsalted butter
  • 1 ¼ cups of whole wheat flour
  • ½ cup butter milk
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup of blueberries (fresh)


  • Make sure the oven is preheated at 375 degree Fahrenheit.
  • Mix together in a bowl baking powder, flour and the required amount of salt. Set aside until ready for use.
  • Cream butter and sugar in another bowl.
  • Add the egg, vanilla and buttermilk to the creamed butter as well as sugar.
  • Add the mixture in the first bowl of flour, baking powder and salt to the butter/sugar mixture. Mix everything together.
  • Fold in the blueberries gently.
  • Use a spoon and put them into your ready greased and floured pan. Fill it up to about ¾ full.
  • Keep baking for about 14 minutes. If before 14 minutes and you lightly press the tops and they spring back, you can consider them done.
  • After cooling, lightly dust them with compressed sugar.

Check out the simple video tutorial below:

Cheesy corn on the cob

The cheesy corn on the cob is a simple recipe to conquer when you are at campsite. You can serve it with almost anything like fish tacos and others.

Kids especially just love this mouthwatering dish when you are out camping with them.


  • 4 teaspoons melted butter
  • 4 ears of corn (husked)
  • ½ cup grated asiago cheese or if you prefer you can use parmesan.


  • Boil an inch of salt water in a large pot.
  • Put in the corn and allow the pot to steam for about 5 minutes.
  • Have your melted butter and cheese ready in separate flat bowls.
  • Remove the corn from the hot water and then roll or brush the separate melted butter on them. Afterwards roll them in the separate flat bowl of cheese.

Cheesy corn on the cob campfire lunch is ready to serve.

Pasta salad

This great dish of pasta salad can be prepared and served while staying outdoors.

The dish is very easy to prepare and you will be sure to enjoy it for lunch while in the bush.


  • 1 ear yellow or white corn
  • ½ cup of asparagus
  • 1 tablespoon of parmesan
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • ½ cup of chopped cherry tomatoes
  • 8 ounces of dry pasta


  • Boil the pasta in a pot (follow the directions on the package).
  • Put the corn and asparagus in the boiling water and allow cooking for about 3 to 4 minutes.
  • Remove the corn and allow it to cool. Remove the corn from the cob and then slice the asparagus into small pieces.
  • Combine all ingredients in a bowl.
  • Your summer pasta salad is ready to serve.

Veggie sandwich

Vegetable sandwiches are great lunch dinners when camping out.

It is enjoyed by adults and even many children as well.


  • 4 tablespoons of sprouts
  • 4 tablespoons of pesto
  • 4 slices Swiss, cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
  • 2 sliced tomatoes
  • 8 slices of whole wheat sandwich bread
  • 2 thinly sliced Persian cucumbers
  • 2 small peeled, pitted and sliced avocados


  • On each slice of bread, spread ½ tablespoon pesto.
  • Place a layer of cucumber slices, avocado slices, tomato slices, cheese and sprouts on one slice of bread and with the other slice make a sandwich.
  • Serve your delicious veggie sandwiches.

Sunflower butter bran muffins

Sunflower butter bran muffins are great lunch dishes to serve for lunch when out on the great outdoors adventure.

The ingredients used in this dish are high in protein and is beneficial to your entire family if you are preparing a lunch meal for them in the bush.


  • 2 ½ cups of cereal bran flakes
  • 1 ½ cups of milk
  • 1 full egg
  • ½ teaspoon of salt
  • 1 cup of all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoonful baking powder
  • ½ lb cup of brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup of oil
  • ½ cup of sunflower butter
  • ½ cup of mini chocolate chip or if you prefer you can use the same ½ cup of chopped dried fruit


  • Prepare the oven at 400 degree heat.
  • Put in a bowl the bran flakes and milk. Let it remain for about 5 minutes and then use the whisk to mix in oil, egg and sunflower butter.
  • Use a separate bowl to prepare the salt, baking powder, sugar and flour combination.
  • Combine the dry ingredients with the wet ones and mix until the combination is final. When done, you can start folding in the mini chocolate chips if you like.
  • Allow it to bake for about 20 minutes or when you can push a toothpick into it and it comes out clean.
  • Serve muffins to family members or friends.

Banana cream cheese Sammie

The banana cream cheese Sammie is a wonderful lunch dish to prepare outdoors in the bush when camping, whether alone, with other family members or friends.

It is full of carbohydrates and is a special favorite around the world. It will keep you and the entire family filled until dinner time.


  • 1 banana
  • 4 slices of whole wheat bread
  • ¼ cup of cream cheese, divided


  • Cut the banana into long flat pieces. Half to be used for each Sammie.
  • Take 2 tablespoons of cream cheese and spread it on one side of the sliced bread. Place the sliced banana on the top of the sliced bread.
  • Place another slice of bread on top to complete making the sandwich. This is what you call a Sammie.
  • Repeat the process with any remaining ingredients you have.
  • Serve your banana cream cheese Sammie.

Spinach pesto on rice

Spinach pesto on rice is the ideal lunch meal to enjoy when you are camping in the wilderness.

To get the children interested in this dish, you might want to be a bit more creative when preparing lunch involving spinach. This dish takes only minutes to prepare and is a nutritious lunch meal to have when hitting the trail.


  • ¼ cup of olive oil
  • 1 teaspoonful of salt
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • ¼ cup of toasted pine nuts
  • 2 cups of packed spinach
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of grated parmesan cheese


  • Place all ingredients inside the food processor and blend everything together until it becomes smooth looking.
  • Stir the processed food into rice and start serving it.

If you prefer, you can also include it into some cooked pasta, chicken or fish. See more recipes and tips for backpacking lunch ideas to stay nourished when you go camping.

Dinner Done Campfire Style

It is now sundown and you are looking forward to your favorite outdoor dinner meal. Like most campers, you get hungry after a long hike. So what is for dinner?

Chicken enchilada nacho bowls

Enjoy a wonderful dinner of chicken enchilada nacho bowls after a hectic day outdoors in the wilderness.

This dish can be easily prepared with special ingredients such as tortilla chips, spicy sauce, a little lime and lettuce.

Ingredients for chicken and sauce:

  • 1 medium sized onion. Cut it into half moons
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 cup crushed canned potatoes
  • 2 cups of shredded rotisserie chicken
  • 1 tablespoon packed light brown sugar
  • 1, 10 oz. enchilada sauce
  • 1 teaspoon of dries Mexican oregano
  • 1 can of minced chipotle chili
  • 1, 15 oz. can of reduced-sodium black beans, drained and rinse.
  • Ingredients for nachos
  • Hot sauce and lime wedges
  • 2 cups of shredded lettuce
  • 8 ounces of coarsely crushed tortilla chips
  • 1 ¼ cup of shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ cup of cilantro sprigs


Prepare the chicken mixture at home before leaving out. When you are ready to cook this dish, all you have to do is heat up the mixture and start cooking.

  • Prepare the sauce first. To make the sauce, pour some oil into the frying pan and then put your onions in. Put a medium heat fire underneath the frying pan and heat onion for about 7 minutes until the pieces become soft. Now go ahead and include your other ingredients such as tomatoes, beans, chili, oregano, enchilada sauce and sugar. Continue the cooking process but keep stirring the pot occasionally until the content becomes hot and slightly soft. Do it for about 4 minutes. Put in chicken item and continue stirring. Cooking should take about 4 minutes to complete.
  • Assemble nachos: put the same amount of chips in each bowl. Place on top your chicken mixture along with the cheese, cilantro and lettuce items and you are ready to serve your camp dinner. If you like, you can serve this dish with some hot sauce and lime wedges.

This dish will take up to about 40 minutes to prepare.

Pear and endive chopped salad

During your time outdoors, you might want to take a break from the stove. Go right ahead and do so by having pear and endive chopped salad for dinner.

The camping team and your whole family with love this fantastic dish.


  • 2 teaspoons of sherry vinegar
  • Freshly ground black pepper and Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup of parsley leaves
  • 3 endives weighing about 1 lb. in total. Half and slice them into ½ inch half moons (should be about 5 cups)
  • 2 cored and sliced full pears (cut into quarters)
  • 1, 4 oz. sliced wedge blue cheese
  • ½ cup of toasted chopped pecans


  • Wisk oil, ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon pepper and vinegar in a large bowl
  • Include your endives, pears, parsley.
  • Place pecans on the top along with a slice of blue cheese
  • Camp dinner is ready to serve

Final Words

Spending time in the great outdoors can be an adventure in itself and your campfire meals will make your time spent even more enjoyable.

The meals shared in this post are excellent and you do not need to be a top class chef to prepare them because they are so simple to make. Camping has become better around such scrumptious tasting meals, so have a wonderful time in the great outdoors adventure. For a list of the best no-cook camping meals, see our earlier article for more recipes.

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Russell McCarty

Russell considers backpacking one of his great passions in life. He actually managed to transform his passion into a living becoming a professional adventurer. Russell loves long-distance backpacking and he enriched his portfolio with famous trails like the Alaska-Yukon Expedition or the Appalachian Trail. With thousands of miles under his feet, Russell is the expert to consult when it comes to how to prepare for a successful outdoor adventure.