17 Best Camping Food Ideas | Classic, Easy to Make Meals (Recipes and Photos) For Families and Large Groups 

17 Best Camping Food Ideas | Classic, Easy to Make Meals (Recipes and Photos) For Families and Large Groups  | By Sherry Trautman | Travel-Mi.com

There's something so exciting (and satisfying) about cooking a hot meal over an open fire while camping. 

At the end of a fantastic day filled with exploring, hiking or kayaking, we love to prepare easy, delicious, stick to your ribs dinners for large groups. Everyone tends to gather around the fire if someone is stirring a hot pot of chili or making campfire pies.

Lots of easy ideas, some with no fire or no cooking needed! Perfect for breakfast, lunch and dinner for large groups or family.  

Also some ideas for kids to help make delicious meals and make ahead camping meals.

A few avid camping bloggers from all over the world and I put together a helpful checklist of our favorite camping food ideas to help you plan your next camping trip.

  • Check out our camping necessities at the end of this post!

We hope you try our camping meals, hacks and food ideas while camping at Michigan's campgrounds or wherever your travels may lead you!

What is the best food to take camping?

We like to bring ingredients that we can pre-pack at home to make campfire cooking easier.  We pre-make burgers or taco meat, crack eggs into empty water bottles for easy transportation, bring small spice packets and travel sized condiments.

It's always important to bring meals packed with nutrients instead of just snack food. Below are several fabulous meal ideas for your next camping trip.

Thai Green Curry

Best Camping Food IdeasBest Camping Food Ideas. Photo by Sienna of Sienna's World

By Sienna of Sienna's World

If you're camping and cooking for a group of people, a big, hearty one-pot meal is the way forward. I'd recommend using a Dutch oven - a big, heavy bottomed pot that cooks your food evenly on an open campfire.

A Thai Green curry is my go-to for communal camping meals, and the best part of it is that you can vary up the ingredients depending on what you like and what you have at home before you head off on your camping trip.


Heat a little oil in a Dutch oven (you can decant your oil into a small travel sized bottle at home so you don't have to bring a whole bottle), and once it is hot, sauté a sliced onion, 2 cloves of garlic, a knob of chopped ginger and a couple of chillies. Cook them off for about 6 minutes.

Add 2 tablespoons of Thai green curry paste and throw in a 2 full 400ml cans of coconut milk. Add salt and pepper.

Then you want to add your main ingredient - I use cubed tofu, but you may want to use meat if you have a way of keeping it fresh while camping.

Add your vegetables - you can use whatever you like, but I usually use red pepper, green beans and broccoli. Allow them to simmer in the coconut milk for 5-10 minutes until they have softened. 

Take the curry off the heat, stir in some chopped coriander, season again, and serve.

Tasty Polish Kielbasa

By Karolina Klesta of Polish Foodies

The best food to bring on a camping trip should be easy to cook and requires just little utensils. This makes the Polish Kielbasa one of the best camping food ideas. Full of flavor, it can be grilled and eaten on its own or in a bun garnished with coleslaw or smothered with mayo and mustard.

To get that perfect texture that is crisp on the outside and tender and juicy inside, cut across the surface of the sausage with a depth of around ¼". This will also ensure that the sausage does not burst while you are grilling it.

To add to the taste, sprinkle some herbs or spices on the kielbasa as it is grilling in the barbecue.

Depending on the temperature of your grill, you will need to allow it to sit on the grill for 5 to 15 minutes on each side. Once you see that the skin has turned dark brown and crispy, then it is ready to be enjoyed.

Easy But Delicious Pasta Sauce for a Camping Trip

Recommended by Lotte from Gezond Weekmenu. She makes this easy but delicious pasta sauce for camping trips. 

This recipe was given to me by my mum who has it from her Italian aunt so this pasta sauce is 100% authentic. It's a great dish for camping as you don't need many ingredients and most of the ingredients (except for the meat) can be preserved for a long time, which is great if you are planning to stay off the grid for a couple of days.  

For two people, you need minced meat, a couple of onions (2-3), 2-3 cloves of garlic, tomato sauce (just the plain one without any additional flavors), a can of peeled tomatoes, pepper, salt, and oregano. 


Fry the minced meat in a large saucepan and add the garlic (cut very small or use a garlic press), chop the onions and add to the meat.

Let the onions cook slowly so they can caramelize. Once the onions taste nice and sweet, add the tomato sauce and the peeled tomatoes. Season with salt, pepper, and oregano and let it simmer for at least 30 minutes. The longer the better as the flavor gets more intense if you leave it on the longer.

Cook some pasta and serve with some Parmesan cheese and basil leaves.

Bon appetit!

Yummy Oatmeal

By Wendy Werneth of The Nomadic Vegan

A warm bowl of oatmeal is a perfect way to start the day, whether you're at home or out exploring the wilderness. Filling, nutritious and quick to prepare, it's a one-pot wonder.

If you're bringing a cooler with you on your camping trip, remember to pack your favorite type of milk (I use soy milk). If you're on a longer camping trip and won't have a way to refrigerate food, you can bring powdered soy milk instead, which is available in many Asian grocery stores.

Or to keep it simple, you can even make oatmeal with just plain water. In that case, though, I suggest bringing some extra add-ons and toppings to enhance the flavor profile.

One of my favorite combinations is cacao powder and peanut butter, with a mashed banana mixed in for sweetness. It tastes as decadent as eating Reese's peanut butter cups for breakfast, and yet it's super healthy! And as long as you used plant-based milk (or water), it's also a totally vegan camping meal.

Protein-Rich Power Salad

By Megan J. Anderson of Packing up the Pieces

When camping, I love carrying this easy Protein-Rich Power Salad. This healthy salad can include leftovers, be altered to your liking, and can be modified in a variety of ways. There’s no meat in this dish, but it still provides plenty of fuel for intense day hikes or multi-day treks.

I use a mixture of cooked quinoa, lentils, and garbanzo beans. I always cook all my own beans, so that I can add in the savory juices and it helps enrich the flavor of the salad.

It’s best to use a mixture of grains and legumes to create a hearty base. This results in a more dense and nutrient rich salad, which helps to stretch it out over a couple of meals.

Next, I add veggies like onions, carrots, tomato, avocado, and fresh herbs. Drizzle it with olive oil and red wine vinegar. Finish with a dash of salt and pepper.

Another great modification to this power salad is to roast veggies like cauliflower, potatoes, carrots, garlic, onions, and fresh rosemary. Once the veggies cool, mix them in with the quinoa, lentils, and garbanzo beans. Yummy!

*Pack it like a pro and use a reusable plastic container that locks. When you’re finished with the salad, use the multi-purpose container as extra food storage, a garbage can, a vessel to wash dishes, or even to carry extra water!

Artisan Pizza on a BBQ

By Tracey of Pack The PJs

When we invested in camping gear, a key purchase was the BBQ we’d use to cook our meals on. We picked a gas-powered braai and an optional extra was a pizza stone.

Making our own pizzas when camping proved to be lots of fun and a whole-family activity.

We made the dough – bread flour, yeast, salt, sugar, glug of oil, and worked in warm water – then set it aside to prove. We made a tomato base using passata and herbs, and grated cheese … toppings were then whatever we could find in the local shops.

Once the pizza stone is hot, using a pizza paddle covered in a dusting of semolina, place your hand-stretched pizza base, tomato sauce, and toppings, and gently push onto the hot stone.

Each pizza takes around 2-3 minutes to cook. Pizzas when camping are a definite crowd-pleaser – and SO much better than shop-bought ones.

Delicious Bacon Chili Mac

By Meg Atteberry of Fox in the Forest

One of the simplest dinner recipes while camping is bacon chili mac. First, you'll want to make sure you have a camping stove, one of the essential pieces of camping gear. Try to choose a stove that can boil a large amount of water quickly. Next, you'll need to gather the following ingredients:

  • 2 boxes of mac n cheese
  • 1 small can of green chilis
  • 1 container of bacon bits
  • Small quantity of milk (see mac n' cheese box)
  • Small quantity of butter (see mac n' cheese box)
  • In order to not take the entire fridge, I'll put the milk in a small water bottle and place the butter in a silicone reusable baggie. Make the mac n' cheese according to the instructions on the box.

    Be sure to dump any cooking water at least 200 feet (70 adult steps) from camp in order to ensure that you do not attract unwanted wildlife. If you're in a bear-prone area, dig a 6 inch cat hole to dump the water then cover, just like you would if you were using the bathroom.

    Next, add in the green chilis and bacon bits. Voila! You're all set for a delicious camping meal for two.

    To clean, put some water in the pot and heat it up, you can use a sponge, your finger, or paper towel to wipe out the excess cheese with a little soap. Use the pot to also clean your bowls and spoon. This quick-and-easy meal is perfect after a fun day adventuring.

    Great camping food ideas!

    Simple and Delicious Fish Soup

    Tatiana Sorokina of Family Road Trip Guru makes an easy yet tasty fish soup.

    Tatiana says, "when we go camping we always make fish soup from canned salmon. It is very easy to make but at the same time it is very healthy and nutritious."


    Start with boiling some peeled and diced potatoes and carrots and add 1 peeled whole small onion.

    You will need 2 liters of water for each standard 15 oz can of salmon. Once the potatoes and carrots are ready, toss away the onion and add the entire contents of the can of salmon (with its juices) into the pot.

    Add salt and pepper to taste as well as a couple of bay leaves for flavor. Boil 5 more minutes and it is done and ready to serve.

    Did I tell you that it is also super delicious?

    And here is an additional bonus: If you went fishing and did not catch any fish this is kind of a consolation prize. ;)

    Chickpea Flour Pancake

    By Anuradha from Country Hopping Couple

    Chickpea Flour Pancake (also known as Besan Ka Chilla in India), is one of the simplest, easiest and healthiest foods that easily fits into breakfast, lunch or dinner.

    This filling food is also easy to make in a jiffy.  Chickpea flour is the main ingredient. You can top this up with salt, paprika powder, turmeric, crushed peppers and add some veggies of your choice - like diced onion, tomatoes, green chilies, grated carrots or coloured peppers.

    Give the mixture a good mix by adding sufficient water to make it into a batter (consistent like a pancake batter). Heat the pan, and pour a ladle of batter into the pan to make it into a circle.

    Spread a little bit to make it even and add some oil on the ends. Flip the pancake for it to cook on the other side. In minutes, you will have a tasty dish ready.

    Chickpea is high in protein and is really filling, making it an ideal choice of food while travelling/camping

    Instant Noodles

    By Marya Sutimi of The Beau Traveler

    Easy, simple, light, and delicious are the food categories you should consider before going camping. When you go camping, the last thing you want to do is pack a lot of stuff as the equipment alone is heavy enough to fit your backpack.

    So, what's better than eating delicious meals while enjoying your camping site's view without spending extra time on the hassle of preparing it? That's why I think instant noodles would be a perfect go-to food for camping.

    Instant Noodles doesn't take too much space in your backpack, it's easy to cook and is suitable to enjoy after hours of hiking. If your camping spot has cold weather, the hot broth of noodle soup could warm your body while enjoying the fireworks.

    • All you need to do is just boil some water, wait for 5 minutes, and it's ready to serve!

    The good thing about instant noodles is that not only is it available in various flavors, but also you can quickly get it from the nearest supermarket for an affordable price.

    You can serve it for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Packing some instant noodles will surely save you a lot of time! We love these camping food ideas!

    Vegan Tofu Scramble With Mushrooms and Onion

    By Linn Haglund of Easy Way To Vegan

    One of my favorite camping foods is tofu scramble. It's easy to make at home and bring in a cooler or simply make it over the camp stove.

    Generally, a vegan tofu scramble recipe doesn't require many ingredients, but there are a few spices you should bring if you choose to make it at the campsite.

    Simply measure it up and mix it up front and bring it in a small bag, so you don't have to carry all the spice jars. A bit of black salt, turmeric, black pepper, and curry powder will do. And of course, salt to taste, but you might bring salt anyway.

    To make it on site, simply cook up the veggies, crumble and add the tofu, and stir in the spices. This is a great protein rich, vegan breakfast or lunch that is handy to stuff in baguettes too for your day's adventures.

    Such great camping food ideas!

    Easy Banana Pancakes

    By Christine Rogador of Hop Upon 

    One of my favorite and easy to make camping food is the classic pancake. But mine is normally the healthier version - a gluten-free banana pancake. It's super easy to make so it's an ideal camping food and it only requires 3-4 ingredients depending on your preference.


    • 3-4 big bananas
    • 2 eggs (you can bring them frozen in a container if you're worried breaking the eggs)
    • butter or olive oil for cooking
    • Chia seeds, yellow mango, or strawberries - optional but would be great to have as it adds texture and more flavors. But even without these, the pancake will still taste amazing.

    How to Cook Your Banana Pancakes:

    1. Just mash the banana. Make sure it is mashed properly to create proper pancakes.
    2. Mix the eggs with the banana to create your batter.  
    3. Heat the pan and melt the butter or add a small amount of olive oil
    4. Scoop a small amount of the batter and add it to your pan, create small size pancakes so it doesn't break easily. Also, depending on the size of your pan, it might be best to make small size pancakes. Easier to flip them as well if you don't have proper cooking tools when camping.

    Additional Easy Camping Food Ideas

    • Grilled cheese sandwiches-minimal ingredients of bread, butter and cheese slices.
    • Brats and hot dogs are also easy and fun for kids to cook
    • Of course, it's not a real camping trip if you haven't made gooey smores. Just bring chocolate, marshmallows and graham crackers! You can use a stick or long metal skewers
    • Corn on the cob!  Just remove the husk, brush with butter or olive oil and place on the grill. We like to put foil down first so the corn can cook in the butter or oil
    • Vege skewers!  Place mushrooms, red peppers, onions, zucchini and any other veges that you love on a skewer.  Brush with olive oil and add any spices that you like.  We use garlic powder, salt and pepper. 

    Such great camping food ideas!

    Camping Necessities! 

    Grab out Ultimate Camping Checklist as you prepare for your camping trip!

    If you are camping with a vehicle (not hiking), we have a few helpful recommendations. The griddle is fantastic for so many types of food! Steaks, burgers, pancakes and eggs are a necessity!  Use your griddle over a Coleman stove or a grate.  

    Coghlan's Two Burner Non-Stick Camp Griddle *16.5 x 10-Inches


    Great griddle with a Coleman 2-burner stove or a grate.  Burgers, eggs, hotdogs, pancakes! 

    Coleman Gas Camping Stove | Triton Propane Stove, 2 Burner


    Great to grill steaks and chop’s, burgers, bacon, fry potatoes, boil water for coffee

    REDCAMP Folding Campfire Grill Heavy Duty Steel Grate, Portable Over Fire Camp Grill for Outdoor Open Flame Cooking



    Mesh Grill Top allows heat to flow from campfire. Stable folding legs.

    16pcs Camping Cookware Mess Kit, Lightweight Pot Pan Mini Stove with 2 Cups, Fork Spoon Kits for Backpacking, Outdoor Camping Hiking and Picnic


    16 pieces camping cookware kit: 2 non-stick pots, 2 non-stick pans, 1 mini stove, 2 mugs, 2 spoons, forks, knives, 2 cleaning clothes, Carry bag.

    Marshmallow Roasting Sticks with Wooden Handle

    $9.98 for set of 5

    Perfect for grilling hot dogs, sausages, marshmallows!

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    About the Lead Author | Sherry Trautman

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      Sherry Trautman is a seasoned business owner and a multifaceted content creator, deeply entrenched in the world of travel in Michigan. With her extensive background in writing, editing, photography, marketing, website design, web mastering, social media, and publishing, she is the driving force behind the acclaimed Michigan Travel site "Travel-mi.com." A lifelong Michigander, Sherry's journey began in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan led her to St. Joseph during her formative years, and further to Kalamazoo for her higher education. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design and Fine Art from Western Michigan University. Her career initially blossomed in Battle Creek, where she contributed significantly to aviation, marketing, and the art industry.

      In 2018, Sherry, alongside her husband Chris, embarked on a passionate endeavor with the inception of Travel-MI.com. This venture was not just a business but a full-time commitment to exploring and celebrating the diverse landscapes and communities of Michigan. Together, they tirelessly traverse the state, curating unique experiences, capturing stunning visuals, and weaving engaging narratives that showcase Michigan's rich cultural tapestry and natural beauty. From her early experiences in different Michigander locales to her extensive professional background, Sherry's life and work epitomize a deep-rooted expertise in Michigan travel, making her an authoritative voice in this niche.

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