Camping Recipes That Are Best Enjoyed Fireside

·8 min read

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It's a given: Food that's been cooked over a campfire just tastes better. You get that distinct smoky flavor and, often, charred bits, which you get to savor while dining al fresco. And after going to all the effort of packing for your trip, pitching a tent, and starting a fire, settling in to enjoy a meal can feel extra sweet.

Speaking of all that effort, it's natural that you might not feel like taking on laborious recipes while camping or glamping. That's why it makes sense that s'mores, mountain pies, or any other classic camping food recipes couldn't be easier to execute. (Related: The Best Camping Stoves, According to Customer Reviews)

Still, if you need a real meal in your belly to take on the hike you have planned the next day, you can strike a balance between keeping things simple and going all out. For camp cooking inspiration, look no further than these camping recipe ideas from The Campfire Cast Iron Cookbook (Buy It, $16, and Cooking with Fire (Buy It, $19, Each is relatively simple but not entirely basic. They're quick creations that require minimal cleanup but just a little effort where it really counts, i.e. seasoning your beef with a spice rub that can be prepped in advance and making homemade brownies rather than from a mix. To save time during prep, you can screenshot or print out the below shopping list and bring it to the grocery store to shop for everything you'll need to whip up these camping recipes. (Related: Cute Camping Gear to Make Your Outdoor Adventures Pretty AF)

Camping Recipes Shopping List
Camping Recipes Shopping List

The theme of these camping recipes is comforting classics. An apple skillet pancake, beef and mushroom skewers, mac and cheese, and gooey brownies are all on the menu. They'll enhance your next camping experience and help to keep you fueled for whatever you have planned. (Related: The 12 Best Camping Tents, According to Outdoorsy Reviewers)

Easy Camping Recipes

Skillet Apple Pancake


Courtesy of Cider Mill Press Book Publishers LLC

Makes: 4 to 6 servings

Total time: 1 hour


  • 4 eggs

  • 1 cup whole milk

  • 3 tablespoons sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 2 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced thin

  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

  • Dash of ground nutmeg

  • Dash of ground ginger

  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar

  • Confectioners' sugar, for sprinkling (optional)


  1. Position a grate over fire using gloved hands and tongs. Make sure grate is as secure and level as possible.

  2. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, sugar, vanilla, and salt. Add flour and whisk to combine. Set batter aside.

  3. When coals are glowing, place a 12-inch cast-iron skillet on grate and add butter, tilting the pan to thoroughly coat the bottom.

  4. Add apple slices and top with cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Cook, while stirring, until the apples begin to soften, about 5 minutes.

  5. Add brown sugar and continue to stir for a few minutes until apples are very soft. Pat cooked apples along the bottom of the skillet to distribute evenly.

  6. Pour batter over apples, coating evenly. Cover and bake for about 20 minutes, turning skillet every few minutes to avoid burn spots.

  7. When pancake is browned on top and puffy, remove from heat and sprinkle with confectioners' sugar, if desired. Serve immediately.

Excerpted from The Campfire Cast Iron Cookbook by the editors of Cider Mill Press, used with permission from Cider Mill Press.

Beef, Red Pepper, and Mushroom Skewers

Camping-Recipes-Shish-Kabob-Courtesy Keller + Keller Photography
Camping-Recipes-Shish-Kabob-Courtesy Keller + Keller Photography

Courtesy of Keller + Keller Photography

Makes: 6 to 8 servings

Prep time: 30 minutes

Total time: 45 minutes (or 90 minutes, including marinating time)


  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns

  • 1 tablespoon coriander seeds

  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds

  • 3 cilantro roots (about 1/2 tablespoon), minced (if available)

  • 4 cloves garlic or 2 garlic scapes, minced

  • 1/2 teaspoon flavorful hot red pepper, like New Mexico chile or Aleppo pepper

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

  • 1 tri-tip beef roast (about 2 pounds), cut into 1-inch chunks

  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut in 1-inch bits

  • 12 ounces button mushrooms, halved or quartered

  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves and stems, roughly chopped


  1. Using a mortar and pestle (or small bowl and bottom of a heavy cup, if needed), crush pepper, coriander, and cumin into a chunky powder.

  2. Add cilantro roots, garlic, red pepper, and salt, and pound into a rough paste. Work in oil and vinegar, mashing well together.

  3. Massage spice mixture into beef chunks and let it come to room temperature, covered. (Alternatively, you may prepare ahead to this point and chill until ready to proceed.)

  4. Prepare a medium-hot bed of hardwood coals.

  5. Thread meat and vegetables alternately on bamboo or metal skewers. Grill, turning to brown all sides.

  6. Slip off skewers and toss with chopped cilantro before serving alongside a flatbread or grain dish. (BTW, this is why cilantro tastes like soap for some people.)

Excerpted from Cooking with Fire by Paula Marcoux, photography by Keller + Keller Photography, used with permission from Storey Publishing.

Related: 3 No-Cook Skewers for Healthy Portable Snacks

Dutch Oven Mac and Cheese


Courtesy of Cider Mill Press Book Publishers LLC

Makes: 6 to 8 servings

Total time: 1 hour


  • 1 pound elbow macaroni or preferred pasta

  • 1 tablespoon salt

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

  • 3 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk, at room temperature or slightly warmed

  • 1/4 cup sour cream

  • 3/4 lb sharp white cheddar cheese grated

  • 1/4 lb Gruyère cheese, grated

  • Salt and pepper, to taste

  • Dash of cayenne pepper


  1. Position a grate over fire using gloved hands and tongs. Make sure grate is as secure and level as possible.

  2. When coals are glowing, put macaroni in a cast-iron Dutch oven and add cold water. Stir in salt and cook macaroni for about 10 minutes, total. Test a piece after about 7 minutes. The pasta should be al dente — nearly cooked through but still a bit chewy.

  3. When cooked, drain pasta in a colander over a large mixing bowl so water is retained.

  4. Put Dutch oven back over the fire and add butter.

  5. When butter is melted, stir in flour to prevent lumps from forming.

  6. When mixture's starting to bubble, start slowly adding milk while continuing to whisk. Add about 1/2 cup at a time, making sure to whisk thoroughly before continuing.

  7. Once all milk is stirred in, let sauce simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes.

  8. Move sauce further from center of the fire and stir in sour cream. When mixture is warm again, add cheeses, stirring gently as they melt. Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne.

  9. Finally, add macaroni gently into the cheese sauce. If it seems too thick, add some reserved water. The consistency should be like a thick stew.

  10. When noodles are hot, cover Dutch oven. Bake for about 15 minutes, turning every few minutes to avoid burn spots, and check dish; it should be bubbling and the cheese on top starting to brown. This takes somewhere between 15 and 25 minutes. Let the macaroni cool slightly before serving.

Excerpted from The Campfire Cast Iron Cookbook by the editors of Cider Mill Press, used with permission from Cider Mill Press.

The Best Skillet Brownies


Courtesy of Cider Mill Press Book Publishers LLC

Makes: 6 to 8 servings

Total time: 1 hour and 30 minutes


  • 10 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1/2 pound semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 3 eggs, at room temperature

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour, plus 2 tablespoons

  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips


  1. Position a grate over fire using gloved hands and tongs. Make sure grate is as secure and level as possible.

  2. When coals are glowing, melt 9 tablespoons of butter and chopped chocolate pieces together in a heat-proof bowl. Cook in 15-second increments, stirring after each until butter and chocolate are just melted together and smooth.

  3. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and eggs. Add vanilla and stir to combine. Working in batches, start mixing melted chocolate into mixture, stirring vigorously to combine after each addition.

  4. In a small bowl, mix flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Gently fold dry mixture into chocolate mixture. Next, fold in chocolate chips.

  5. Melt remaining butter in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet then pour in batter. Cover and bake, turning skillet every few minutes to avoid burn spots for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few moist crumbs. It may need a couple more minutes, but be careful not to overbake or you'll lose the gooeyness that makes these brownies so great.

  6. When brownies are ready, remove from heat and allow to cool for about 10 minutes.

  7. Dig right in, or scoop into bowls and serve

Excerpted from The Campfire Cast Iron Cookbook by the editors of Cider Mill Press, used with permission from Cider Mill Press.

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