Camping trips have the potential to be lifelong memories — for good, for bad, or for an amusing story to tell later. While burning all the black bean breakfast burritos and only having trail mix for breakfast is a funny story later on, at the moment, you’re just hungry.
Luckily, with a bit of planning, your next camping trip will be an epic one — it’s the little things that make all the difference between having a good camping trip and an awesome camping trip.
Perhaps you are an expert at backpacking or setting up a beautiful campsite. At home, you are an artist with a Dutch Oven and make the most beautiful cinnamon rolls. However, when faced with the culinary constraints of the campground, you need a little help to move beyond marshmallows.
Camp cooking can be stress-free and fun. Yes, it can be challenging without access to a kitchen, but yummy meals are far more straightforward than campers might think.
Knowing the right recipes and meal ideas for your camping trips is a simple improvement that everyone will appreciate. Lunch is a great meal to have ideas for, as camping lunches are also great hiking lunches for longer hikes for a break in the middle.
Here are three of the tastiest lunchtime camping recipe ideas:
The first easy camping meal is a well-known crowd-pleaser: tacos. Tacos are a great camping meal; they are a breeze to make and are totally customizable. This way, everyone gets exactly what they want.
To make tacos while you are out camping, you are going to need to cook, which will require a camping stove or a campfire that you can safely cook on. You have several protein options, like chicken, steak, or ground beef. Try beans and avocado or tofu for vegetarian and vegan options.
This is a chicken taco recipe, but feel free to swap out your protein; just make sure you cook it properly.
- 6 small corn or flour tortillas
- 1 tbsp of vegetable oil
- 1 small yellow or red onion
- 1 or 2 diced serrano peppers
- 7 ounces of chicken breast meat
- ½ packet of taco seasoning
- 4 ounces of shredded cheddar cheese
- 4 diced radishes
- 1 bunch of diced cilantro
- AT HOME: Pack your vegetable oil in a leak-proof container and pre-dice all your veggies. Chop them into pieces small enough for taco topping, as that is what they will be doing.
- AT YOUR CAMPSITE: When you are ready to eat, heat up your oil in a pot over medium heat. Once hot, add your onions and peppers until they soften (between three and five minutes).
Then stir in the seasoning packet, three tablespoons of water, and your thawed chicken, shredded. Simmer until the water evaporates and the meat has reached a safe internal temperature. Scoop the meat into tortillas and top with cheese, radish, and cilantro.
Pair with some cheesy nachos by melting some shredded cheese on the tortilla chips of your choice.
Another super simple campsite lunch that everyone enjoys is roasting hot dogs over the campfire. Hotdogs are a fantastic option that lets everyone help cook their own meal.
If you want to take this camping food up a notch, try grilling your hot dogs in a skillet with a dash of butter and seasonings. If you grew up roasting hot dogs over the campfire on skewers and want that nostalgia, by all means, go ahead.
If you want something really tasty, give this recipe a try:
- Fixins (buns, etc.)
Set up a two-zone heat setup with your grill grates, with one side a higher heat than the other.
Place your cast-iron skillet over the high heat section and place in your hotdogs, sauerkraut, and a bit of mustard, and allow to come to a simmer to poach the dogs or sausages before they go to the grill.
When it’s time, transfer your pan to the warm section and then place your dogs on the grates of the hot section directly. You want to get a nice char without bursting the hot dog's skin. You can then serve them up once they are ready to go with all your desired fixings.
No matter which camping food ideas you pick, make sure to store your food correctly so that bears don’t invite themselves to your campsite.
A bear-resistant hard cooler can make sure that you, your food, and local wildlife stay as safe as possible.
3. Peanut Butter and Jelly
There’s nothing quite like a classic. While perhaps not the most complicated or most artisanal offering that you could come up with, peanut butter and jelly is a classic for a reason. It is easy to store on camping trips safely, and tastes pretty darn good.
If you want to take your peanut butter and jelly game to the next level, you can. Now this isn’t exactly the healthiest camping lunch, but it’s a fun twist that asks, what if a PB&Js had a child with French toast?
- Slices of bread
- Peanut butter (smooth or crunchy)
- Jam of your choice
- Bananas (sliced into coins)
Heat your skillet over medium-low heat. While it preheats, prepare your sandwiches. On one slice of bread per sandwich, layer on a complete, thick coating of peanut butter. Then on the other slice, place a thin layer of peanut butter on the bread, just enough to barely cover the surface.
This prevents jelly leakage through the soft bread. Then, on the lightly spread side, add a healthy layer of jam. Then, place your banana coins on the peanut butter side evenly. Close up your sandwich, and butter each outside layer. Toast each buttered side in the skillet until golden brown. Once cool, enjoy!
Easy Camping Recipes: The Ultimate Menu
Planning lunches for your camping trips and hikes can be a challenge. But finding solid recipes that everyone will love is a lot easier than you may think.
Whether you want to make tacos, hotdogs, or PB&J, lunch doesn’t have to get crazy complicated to be delicious, simple, and easy.
Whatever you choose, make sure that you properly store and refrigerate your ingredients. They need to be cooled properly for food safety. A high-quality camping cooler is an absolute necessity.
Try any of these lunch recipes, and you and your camping mates will surely find a new favorite.