Every good weather day is the perfect time to take your little ones camping at William O’Brien State Park, Lake Elmo Park Reserve, or other campgrounds near the Twin Cities. And while your kids enjoy exploring nature, you get the harder job—preparing camping food other than roasting marshmallows.
Luckily, I’ll give you many ideas for fast and easy camping meals for the family. And all you need is basic utensils and a few ingredients to prepare tasty food at the campsite.
Camping Trip Kitchen Checklist
When planning a family camping trip, you should be highly organized. Among other things, that means preparing a detailed checklist for your camp kitchen.
So, the first item on your list should be a camp stove, and remember to bring the fuel! Then, a camping grill and griddle are a must if you’re a family of barbecue lovers.
A dutch oven and a cast iron pan also come in handy for quick camping meals. And you’ll need a frying pan, a pot, a few bowls, and cooking and grill utensils like spatulas and tongs.
My whole family prefers eating most camping meals with their hands by the campfire. But I always bring plates and cutlery for delicacies like stews and casseroles.
Besides kitchen utensils, you also need groceries suitable for campfire cooking. Nothing fancy, just ‘regular’ stuff you can turn into tasty meals with a bit of imagination.
To start, you’ll need bread, eggs, and cheese for a quick camping breakfast. And if you like pancakes, ready-made batter in mason jars is a hit.
Then, depending on your creativity and what your loved ones like to eat while camping, you can bring different meats (beef and chicken are my camping essentials), veggies, fruit, and some dairy.
Finally, don’t forget some snacks like tortilla chips and mini marshmallows. They come in handy when you need a quick bite on the go or for fun nights by the campfire.
Easy Camping Breakfast Ideas
To start your day in nature, you need a hearty breakfast to wake you up, give you energy for long-day hiking, and boost your mood for the great outdoors.
1. Breakfast Burritos
This is one of the best make-ahead camping meal ideas. You can make burritos at home and wrap them in tin foil. Then, when outside, reheat them on the camping stove or throw the foil packets on the campfire for a few minutes.
Burrito recipes are flexible and depend on your family’s taste, so feel free to fill the tortilla with whatever you want. My favorite kid-friendly filling is scrambled eggs with beef bacon, vegetables, and loads of cheese. I also add a drizzle of hot sauce for the parents.
2. Sausage Breakfast Sandwich
Having sausage sandwiches in the morning is a plentiful breakfast that’ll please everyone’s taste buds. You can prepare an eggs-and-meat combo on toasted bread; believe me, it never fails!
As for the meaty part, I usually make sausage patties ahead, so this meal prep is as stress-free as possible. I also tried them with beef bacon and maple syrup, and they’re equally good!
3. Mason Jar Pancakes
My kids love pancakes for breakfast, so I had to find a way to make them on the campsite. And the idea of mixing the batter in a mason jar is phenomenal!
First, put all the pancake batter ingredients in a glass jar. Shake them well, and the batter will be ready in a few seconds.
Then, put the griddle over the campfire and bake your pancakes as usual. Finally, add fruits and maple syrup, and enjoy.
My husband forgot the skillet the last time, so I improvised baking these pancakes in a pie iron. Turns out the idea was brilliant, as the pancakes were so delicious!
4. Mini Pizzas
Making pizza on a campsite isn’t always doable, but feel free to improvise. For instance, you can replace the pizza dough with slices of bread slices for a mini version of this dish. Smear them with store-bought pizza sauce and add toppings of your choice, and you’re good to go.
Finally, put the mini pizzas on the grill or a rack over the open fire, and you’ll have a perfect camping breakfast for kids and adults in a few minutes. Even better, let your kids make this easy camping meal themselves!
5. Hot Dog on a Stick
Hot dogs are the favorite breakfast of many campers, and my family is no exception. It’s a tradition to put them on a stick and roast them over an open flame. And for some reason, everything tastes better near the campfire.
Moreover, you can make a twist on traditional camping hot dogs on a stick by wrapping them in crescent rolls. Or you can make grilled cheese hot dogs in buns. Whichever you prefer, serve them with potatoes, chips, or a side of ketchup or barbecue sauce, and be my guest!
6. Sweet and Savory Hash
This is an ideal dish to prepare when you want a break from meaty meals. And the best point is that you can make it in a dutch oven in only 20 minutes.
A combo of apples and sweet potatoes in this hash is a bit unusual, but you really should give it a go and spoil your tastebuds. And if you can’t go without meat, you can enrich it with beef bacon, sausage, or grilled chicken.
This filling recipe is all about cooking diced ingredients on medium heat. The point is to caramelize sweet potatoes first, then add the apples, cooking oil, additives, and spices as desired.
Easy Camping Dinner Ideas
After a hearty breakfast and morning coffee, it’s time for outdoor games and adventures in nature. And in a blink of an eye, it’s time for the next camping meal. But don’t worry, making lunch or dinner at the campsite can be a breeze with these easy recipes.
7. Camping Quesadillas
Quesadillas are a quick campsite lunch that’ll please your family. All you have to do is put the eggs, meat, cheese, salsa, and vegetables on the picnic table and let everyone make their own wrap. Then, bake them in the cast iron pie.
You can also make quesadillas the night before your camping trip and thus save time. Wrap them in aluminum foil and put them in a plastic bag. And when the campsite lunchtime comes, just unwrap your quesadillas and bake them over the roaring fire.
8. Campfire Potato Boats
My family loves potatoes, so they’re included in most of our camping meals. A creative way to serve them outdoors is to make potato boats filled with beef bacon and cheese. And we enjoy making them from scratch, with potatoes slowly cooking in hot coals and cheese melting all around.
Potatoes wrapped in tin foil and thrown in the campfire need time to bake. But after about an hour, you can take a baked potato and fill it with toppings of your choice. I suggest cheddar cheese, sour cream, and chives. Yummy!
9. Super-Easy Meatball Sliders
Sliders are ideal camping meals because you can eat them without worrying about getting messy. And meatballs on slider buns with cheese, sauces, and optional toppings are a score.
Store-bought meatballs are handy for this camping meal, but I prefer to make them at home. Mine are made of beef, but turkey or chicken can work too. But in my version, I don’t skimp on sauce, cheese, and pickled jalapeños (coleslaw for kids).
Also, you can make and bake these sliders in a single casserole on the campfire, so you’re spared dirty dishes. Then, add a dip on the side and have a perfect outdoor lunch or dinner.
10. Easy Sloppy Joe
Sloppy Joes seem like a mess, but they bring back fond childhood memories. Today, they’re among my family’s favorite camping recipes.
First, they’re super easy and need a single cast iron skillet for prep. And let me tell you one of my camping hacks—the secret is in a ready-made Sloppy Joe spice combo from Walmart.
Next, Sloppy Joes are a hearty ground beef meal. I’ve tried substituting beef with chicken, but it lacked the taste. The same goes with baked beans instead of meat; that’s just not it. So I stick to the traditional, meaty recipe.
Sloppy Joes become a great, well-balanced camping meal when you serve them with a salad on the side. And it’s a delicious way to add an extra portion of vegetables to kids’ meals.
Finally, I don’t worry about the inevitable mess when we’re outside by the campfire. After all, what’s the fun if you don’t get sloppy while eating Sloppy Joes?
11. One Pot Veggies-Loaded Chili
Camp cooking should be quick and easy but deliver tasty foods your loved ones will enjoy. And among so many one-pot camping meals, chili is one you shouldn’t miss.
Chili is a camping meal that’ll challenge your creativity. But you don’t need to go the extra mile and add meat. Instead, you can make perfect meatless chili in a dutch oven. It quickly became one of my kids’ faves as they enjoy dipping bread in it. It’s loaded with veggies, and no one complains about that!
Easy Camping Dessert Recipes
No lunch is complete without dessert, even at the campsite. So when planning your next camping trip, bring some of these necessary items to sweeten your feast in nature.
12. Marshmallow and Fruit Kebabs
Just like hot dogs, marshmallows are a synonym for camping food. And you can bring them to the next level by adding fruit and making sweet kebabs.
Of course, you’re free to mix fruits of all kinds. My favorites are bananas, strawberries, and pineapples. They’re loaded with sugars that give these fruity kebabs a yummy, caramelized flavor.
An awesome twist to these sweet kabobs is pound cake chunks on sticks, along with fruits and marshmallows. Lastly, let this camping dessert be kissed by the campfire and serve it with whipped cream.
13. Campfire Banana Boats
Bananas filled with marshmallows and chocolate chips are an excellent meal when you need an energy boost. And my personal touch to this camping food is cereals and whipped cream to make it more filling.
Let your kids help you with easy camping meals like this one. Show them how to stuff the sliced banana with filling, put it into a foil packet, and bake it in hot coals.
The sweetness and the taste richness of this meal are incredible! Plus, kids will enjoy a campfire snack they’ve made all alone.
14. Peach French Toast
Peach french toast is among camping recipes that can be both a sweet treat and a plentiful breakfast.
But you should do yourself a favor and make the batter at home (mix eggs, butter, milk, and spices and leave them overnight in a fridge). That, and using canned fruits as toppings, are my camping hacks that make lives easier.
So get that skillet on the campfire and give those peaches a little burn. Then, dip the bread into the batter, and fry it slightly in the caramelized leftovers for extra yumminess. Finally, get everything together, add a dollop of cream, and voila!
15. Campfire Cinnamon Rolls
You can make delicious campfire cinnamon rolls in many ways, from baking them in a dutch oven to roasting them on a stick; it’s all a matter of your taste.
Making the dough ahead at home is a life-saver, as you probably need more time and dishes to knead it by the campfire. So make your cinnamon rolls ahead, pack them in cooler-safe plastic bags, and you’re good to go.
To Sum Up
These easy and delicious camping meals prove that camp food doesn’t have to be bland. With some planning and a dash of creativity, you can impress your family members with tasty breakfasts, dinners, and even desserts. So check my list, plan ahead, and enjoy an unforgettable camping trip with your kids!