15-Minute Camping Meals

One of the things I really like about family camping is cooking. I don’t get to cook many meals during the week, so when we are camping, I like to make up for that by getting creative with our camping meals. Getting creative doesn’t mean spending a lot of time on meal preparation, though. Here are some great camping recipes that don’t take a lot of time to prepare.

Fish Tacos

Fish tacos (photo by Tammy Camp on Flickr)

Fish tacos (photo by Tammy Camp on Flickr)

Usually, when you think of fish tacos, you think fried fish. They’re just a good – maybe even better, with grilled fish, though. Fish grills-up fast, usually about 4-minutes per side, so it is fast and easy to load everybody up with fish tacos, for lunch or dinner.

1 bag shredded cabbage
1 bag corn tortillas
1 lbs. of any firm fish
Top with your favorite salsa or spicy tartar sauce

Bonus tip: Squeeze a fresh lime over the cabbage and add an avocado slice, or two.


Grilling pizzas on one of our camping trips, this summer

Grilling pizzas on one of our camping trips, this summer

I have talked about pizza before, because it’s one of our favorite camping meals and it’s really easy to make. We usually cheat and pickup some pizzas at Trader Joe’s, because they are really convenient and are actually good. Sometimes we make our own, though, which is a lot of fun for the kids.

Pizza crust, such as Boboli
Tomato sauce
Sliced pepperoni
Favorite veggies, sliced at home and packed in a resealable bag

Bonus tip: If you are cooking your pizza on an open grill, the vegetables will not get cooked before the crust is done. For some people, crispy vegetables on their pizza is just fine, but if that’s not for you then steam your vegetables in a foil pouch before topping the pizza with them.

BBQ Chicken

Grilling chicken over the campfire (photo by Desirae on Flickr)

Grilling chicken over the campfire (photo by Desirae on Flickr)

Always a favorite, chicken grills-up great and it’s a quick meal to make. Cutting-up a chicken at the campsite is a messy affair, so we do that at home and package it up in 1-gallon resealable bags (and freeze them, if it is going to be one of our day 3 or 4 meals). At home, I always make my own bbq sauce, but for camping we buy jar so that we don’t have to worry about packaging and spoilage. Trader Joe’s is one of our favorites – and one of the few bbq sauces on the market that doesn’t use high-fructose corn syrup.

Bonus tip: Pack a brush for brushing-on the bbq sauce.

Hamburgers & hotdogs

What's hamburgers and hotdogs without fries? We are toasting these over the campfire, while we grill the meat

What's hamburgers and hotdogs without fries? We are toasting these over the campfire, while we grill the meat

Seriously, Roy, hamburgers and hotdogs? I know this is the most common camping meal there is, but there is a reason for that: Kids lover hamburgers and hotdogs and they are quick and easy to make. You don’t have to settle for the kids-meal version, though. Substitute spicy sausage for the hotdogs, jazz-up your hamburgers with onions, mushrooms and all the fixin’s.

Bonus tip: After you flip those burgers and hotdogs, throw the buns on the grill and toast them.


Grilling fajitas over the campfire (photo by Jay Wilson on Flickr)

Grilling fajitas over the campfire (photo by Jay Wilson on Flickr)

If hamburgers and hotdogs are the great American outdoor classic, then grilled skirt steak on a tortilla is the Latin American equivalent. Skirt steak is thin, so it grills-up fast, but it’s tough so you need to marinate it for 24-hours before your trip. Everybody has their favorite marinades – I like to start with a bottle of Corona or Pacifica beer and a cup of fresh lime juice. From there, it’s just a matter of what I have in the pantry – cayenne or jalapeño pepper, a dash of oregano, several cloves of garlic – it’s all good.

1 lbs. skirt steak
1 bag tortillas
2 bell peppers, sliced
1 medium onion, sliced

Bonus tip: Olive oil is not a camping staple for most people, but you will need it to stir-fry the onions and peppers for your fajitas.

See also…

43 thoughts on “15-Minute Camping Meals

  1. I love reading camping meal ideas from fellow campers, especially during the winter! We always cook a lot more when winter camping. These look delicious, thanks for sharing.

  2. In times past, this simple pleasure was a nightly occurrence. Every meal was enjoyed and appreciated. But somehow, with the increased pace of life in the modern era, it was lost in the shuffle. The focus put on camping meals by both its preparers and consumers, however, provides campers the rare opportunity to bring back that slowed-down sense of community and appreciation during a great meal.

  3. After a day full of energy-sapping outdoor activities, nothing brings campers around the fire quite as fast as a tasty, satisfying meal. Unlike dinner in other settings, a good camping meal has a few more nuanced qualities than just satisfying hunger.

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  7. Pingback: Camping Meal Ideas | A Listly List

  8. We have camped for years with another family. Our must haves that we prepare at home to take are crusty pound cake that is great with coffee, trail mix made with raisins, m&ms, and peanuts. While there our favorites are taco salads (we prepare burger at home) and burger bundles which is ground beef, various fresh veggies, butter and bouillon cube. Cooked on the coals. Yum. I find the Tupperware products are great for storing (no bugs) and transporting and are green and reusable especially while camping. http://my2.tupperware.com/tup-html/P/patachiafisher-welcome.html

  9. I love cooking over an open fire, but these ideas go far beyond anything I’ve attempted. If I try these recipes, I’ll probably eat better when I’m camping than I do most of the rest of the year…

  10. Can you please help me organise food for a grade 10 camp,It`s my fifst time and i am so depressed.I am 19years old and is an intern at Vision Afrika in Khayamandi Stellenbosch.I need tips of what I can give them an for less the price.Thanx for helping.

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  15. For our pizza’s we cheat (we make egg, sausage pizzas for breakfast too!) and use sourdough muffins (or bagels) and let the grandkids pile on what ever it is they ‘will’ eat on them. I am a packer of EVO and have a small spritzer bottle I use at home so take it along when camping, and just spray the bottoms of each one to ‘crisp’ them up.

  16. Those Fish Tacos are definitely keepers and it looks like the fixins are nearly endless (cheese, chopped onion, jalapeño, chopped cilantro, etc.).

    • We do usually stick to the usual hot dogs. The kids are happy with them as long as they can put them on sticks and cook them over the fire with different things to dip them in.

  17. These look great. My wife and I will try the fish tacos the next time we’re out. May we also suggest taco mac and cheese. Simply make the beef at home, keep it in a cooler on the way to the campground, then in camp make the mac and cheese. Add taco seasoning and the beef. Enjoy! So good.

    Great site!

  18. You got me with the fish tacos. I love them and order them most often when eating Mex. (I actually had them Tuesday evening after that swim in Heart Lake.)