Camping Dinner Ideas – 10 Super Simple Dinner Ideas For Your Next Camping Trip

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Written By Jay Clatworthy

Off Grid Camping contributor.

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Why is having dinner together great?

Family meals are essential. They are often overlooked and are taken for granted because of many factors such as school, jobs, and other activities.

However, often, this is the only occasion where all of the family members are gathered together in the same place. It’s one of the several opportunities where people can stay connected. 

10 Simple dinner ideas to prepare for your next camping journey

During camping, most people cannot prepare every dish that they want given the limited ingredients and utensils available. Thus, it is important to plan meals ahead of time and evaluate how difficult or easy they are to prepare, considering the constraints of equipment and other materials needed for cooking.

However, this does not rule out the possibility of a worthwhile experience for campers. They don’t have to limit themselves to pre-packaged meals and canned products because there are various simple dinner recipes to enjoy on every camping trip.  

Quesadillas

Regardless of any occasion, quesadillas are one of the go-to meals. They are easy to make, and they always taste good. This recipe doesn’t require too many ingredients, which is why they are also affordable to make.

How to make Quesadillas:

The classic cheese quesadillas are always the crowd’s favorite. They are made with melted cheese wrapped in a slightly crispy tortilla. However, it’s always good to put a twist. Steak and pepper quesadillas are the best ways to spice up the classic version of this recipe. 

The ingredients needed for this recipe include:

  • Butter
  • Flour tortillas
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Bell pepper
  • Yellow onion
  • Steak

Step 1: Over a medium-high heated iron pan, add 1 tbsp of butter or cooking oil and place the steak. Allow it to cook for 2 minutes on each side. When the steak is done, set it aside and cover it with foil to maintain its heat and prevent it from drying out. 

Step 2: Once the steak is all set, it is time to dice onion and peppers. Again, butter or oil is added to the medium-high heated pan. The vegetables are then sautéed until they begin to turn brown on the edges, which would take roughly 5 minutes.

Step 3: The steak that has been set aside should be chopped up into bite-sized pieces and returned to the pan again together with the vegetables.

For a few minutes, everything should be cooked together to allow all the flavors to blend. Once done, place everything on a plate and allow it to cool.

Step 4: The last and final step is to assemble the quesadillas. This is done by placing half of the tortilla side on the pan and layering it with the desired amount of cheese, along with the pepper and steak mixture.

The remaining half of the tortilla is folded over onto the top. Each side should be cooked for a few minutes under low heat to melt the cheese and achieve the crispy tortilla. 

Tacos

Similar to quesadillas, tacos are also reasonably easy to make. They don’t require too much effort, cooking equipment, and ingredients, making them the ideal camping dinner.

This is a simple dish that almost anyone can make, and they are good sources of protein. It is recommended that when recipes contain meat, these can be cooked ahead at home to make it less of a burden for campers during their trip.

How to make Tacos:

To make tacos, the ingredients needed include: 

  • 1 lb ground beef or turkey
  • Taco seasoning
  • 1 8oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 diced white onion
  • Grated cheddar cheese 
  • Tortillas
  • Toppings of choice (lettuce, tomato, avocado, cilantro, sour cream, salsa, etc.)

Step 1: The first step in making Tacos is to cook the meat. In a pan, heat some oil and add the diced onion and ground meat over medium heat. Continue to break apart the meat to separate them and mix it around repeatedly until it has browned. 

Step 2: Once the first step is done, combine the tomato sauce and taco seasoning in the pan, together with the meat, and blend all of the ingredients until they are well incorporated. 

Step 3: Reduce the heat to low and stir regularly for at least 15 minutes to mix the flavors. Adding water to the pain is essential to prevent the meat from drying out.

Step 4: Once the taco meat is cooked, it is now time to assemble the taco. Lay the tortilla in a bowl and add in the cheddar cheese, followed by the taco meat and the toppings of choice.

Grilled chicken

Grilled chicken is always one of the best recipes to cook during every camping experience. This is easy to make, and each packet contains soft, juicy, and delectable meat and vegetables all in one.

How to make Grilled Chicken:

The ingredients for this recipe include:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (chopped in 1-inch pieces)
  • 2 cups of barbecue sauce
  • 2 cups of drained pineapple tidbits
  • 1 diced red bell pepper
  • 1 diced small red onion

Step 1: Preheat the grill. Take 4 large sheets of foil and lay them out on a flat surface individually.

Step 2: Mix, in a medium bowl, the chicken and coat it with barbecue sauce until the chicken is completely covered.

Step 3: Place the chicken with barbecue sauce mixture onto the foil.

Step 4: Add the pineapple tidbits, red bell pepper, and red onion on top of each chicken breast.

Step 5: Cover it with foil. Fold each side to form a seal while ensuring that air can still circulate inside.

Step 6: Grill for 20-25 minutes on both sides. Serve.

Paella

This dish is a one-pot meal, making it perfect for every camping trip. Since this is a seafood recipe, it provides several nutritional values to the dish, including omega-3 fatty acids, iron, etc. 

How to make Paella:

The ingredients for this recipe are:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 chopped onion 
  • 2 tsps minced garlic 
  • 100 grams of sliced chorizo or spicy sausage 
  • 1 tsp of turmeric powder
  • ¼ tsp paprika powder (Optional)
  • 1 ½ cups of long grain rice
  • 4 cups of hot chicken stock 
  • 1 cup of frozen peas 
  • 1 ½ to 2 cups of marinara seafood mix 
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Step 1: In a medium-high heat camp oven or frying pan, pour the olive oil and butter. Add in the garlic and onion, and sauté for a few minutes until they soften.

Step 2: Add the chorizo or sausage. Fry it until the flavors and oil are released.

Step 3: Add in the paprika, turmeric, and rice. Stir it constantly until the rice is fully coated in the oil.

Step 4: Bring the mixture to a boil by pouring in the hot chicken stock, making sure to stir continuously. Season it with salt and pepper. 

Step 5: Reduce the heat to a low degree, cover with a lid, and cook for 15 minutes, stirring once in a while during the cooking process. It is essential to cover it properly to make sure that steam will not escape.

Step 6: Add the peas and continue to cook for another 5 minutes. 

Step 7: Add the seafood, toss to incorporate, then cover and cook for a few minutes more, or until the fish and rice are done. The rice should be soft and the liquid absorbed in around 20-25 minutes. 

Mac n’ Cheese

Mac n’ cheese is everyone’s comfort food. This is probably one of the foods that not everyone thinks they can prepare during camping, but it is possible. This is the perfect dinner for a cool evening. 

How to make Mac n’ Cheese:

The ingredients for this camping version of Mac n’ Cheese are:

  • 1 ½ cup of elbow pasta
  • 8 oz Alfredo sauce
  • ½ cup cheddar, mozzarella, and parmesan cheese
  • ¼- ½ cup half & half (half whole milk and half cream)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Additional toppings of choice (bacon, jalapenos, bell peppers, etc.)

Step 1: Cook the elbow pasta al dente and drain the water. 

Step 2: Add the alfredo sauce, half & half, salt and pepper to taste, and other additional toppings onto the pan with the pasta.

Step 3: Add the cheese. Mix all the ingredients and cook for 8-10 minutes. Serve. 

Burgers

Burgers are widely popular. The smokey, charred, and juicy flavors of burgers can make every camping experience worthwhile. 

How to make Burgers:

The ingredients for this recipe are:

  • 1 – 1 ½ lb of ground beef
  • 4 sliced carrots
  • 16oz of canned sliced potatoes
  • 2 small green bell peppers, chopped
  • Dried onion flakes
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Sliced cheese
  • Additional topping of choice (tomatoes, lettuce, etc.)
  • Burger bun

Step 1: Divide the meat into four patties. Each patty should be placed in the center of a square-cut foil. Season the beef with onions, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and pepper. Add equal amounts of sliced carrots, potatoes, and peppers on top of the meat.

Step 2: Seal each patty with the foil. Ensure that it is completely covered with foil.

Step 3: Grill for 12-15 minutes and cook for another 10-15 minutes after turning it on each side.

Step 4: Once the meat is cooked, place it in the bun and add the desired toppings on top. Serve.

Sausage and veggies

This recipe is great for camping since it only requires a few cooking materials, and the cleanup is almost non-existent. They are quick and easy to prepare. This dish provides all the caloric requirements and is remarkably nutritious. 

How to make Sausage and Veggies:

To create this recipe, the ingredients include:

  • 1 pack smoked sausage
  • 3-5 pieces of small red potatoes
  • 2 ears fresh corn
  • ½ large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 small-sized zucchini
  • olive oil
  • 1 tsp paprika, garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano, dried parsley flakes
  • Salt 
  • Pepper 

Step 1: Thinly slice the potato, onion, and zucchini in a bowl, then sprinkle a little pepper to taste. 

Step 2: Add the corn into the mixture, followed by the sliced sausage.

Step 3: Drizzle in the olive oil and season to taste with oregano, paprika, parsley, garlic powder, and salt and pepper.

Step 4: Toss until all of the ingredients are evenly distributed.

Step 5: In a thin foil, distribute the mixture evenly. The foil packs should be sealed tightly to prevent air from escaping, but they should provide enough space for the air to circulate inside. The layer of foil should not be doubled.

Step 6: The mixture should be grilled for 25-30 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked to one’s liking. 

Baked Potatoes

Sometimes, the most delicious meals are the simplest to make. Baked potatoes are one of those dishes that’s impossible to get used to even when they’re on the table for every occasion. This recipe is a must for every camping experience.

How to make Baked Potatoes:

The ingredients for this recipe include:

  • Potatoes
  • Butter
  • Sour cream
  • Fresh herbs (scallions, parsley flakes, dill, etc.)
  • Grated cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Bacon bits

Step 1: Wash the potatoes. Using a knife, poke 3-5 holes in each potato. 

Step 2: Wrap the potatoes in aluminum foil (aluminum foil allows the potatoes to be cooked quicker). It is important to note that each potato should be wrapped in two layers of aluminum foil because the ash from the coal will most likely seep into the aluminum foil, resulting in gritty, unclean potatoes.

Adding an extra layer of foil also ensures that the potatoes have the right mild charr on the outside.

Step 3: Grill the potatoes. They should be flipped on both sides. Allow cooking for 15-25 minutes. To know whether the potato is cooked, use a tong or any utensil to press the potatoes. If they soften, it means that they are done. 

Step 4: Serve the potatoes with each choice of garnish. 

Garlic Lovers Salmon

Salmon is high in protein, making it one of the healthiest foods to eat when camping because it provides the required calorie intake. It contains high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin B12, and potassium.

This is undoubtedly the recipe that everyone should prepare while on a camping vacation. Salmon can be cooked in many different ways, but this recipe is a must-try.

How to make Garlic Lovers Salmon:

The ingredients for this recipe are:

  • 2 pounds side of skinless and boneless salmon
  • 4 tbsps butter
  • 8 cloves of chopped garlic
  • 1/4 cup of dry white wine
  • 2 tbsps of freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup of chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup of thinly-sliced green onions

Step 1: In a pan, add butter over medium-high heat until it has fully melted. Add garlic and sauté it for 1-2 minutes.

Step 2: Remove the pan from the heat. Add white wine and lemon juice.

Step 3: In a foil, brush a spoonful of the butter mixture with a pastry brush until it is uniformly distributed. Put the salmon on a baking sheet that is lined with foil.

Again, brush the remaining butter-garlic mixture over the salmon, making sure it is evenly coated. Season the salmon with a good teaspoon of salt and pepper on all sides.

Step 4: Ensure that the salmon is completely sealed inside the aluminum foil. Grill for 14-15 minutes. In this situation, the cooking time for every salmon varies depending on how thick they are. Thus, it is advisable to check it every few minutes.

Step 5: Cook for another 3-4 minutes, or until the salmon top and garlic are slightly brown, and the salmon is cooked through.

Step 6: Remove from the grill and sprinkle it with green onions and parsley or any additional toppings of choice. Serve. 

Spaghetti 

No one can ever go wrong with this classic, crowd-pleasing dish. Spaghetti is one of those comfort food recipes. The best thing about Spaghetti is that it comes in many versions, one of which includes being “camping friendly.” 

How to make Spaghetti:

The ingredients of this recipe include:

  • 2 tbsps of cooking oil
  • 1 whole chopped onion
  • 3 cloves of minced garlic 
  • 1 pound lean ground beef 
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 cups of beef broth
  • 1 28oz canned crushed tomatoes
  • 1 8oz canned tomato sauce
  • 1 4oz canned tomato paste
  • 8 oz spaghetti that is broken in half
  • Red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Chopped fresh parsley (optional)

Step 1: In a big pot, preheat over low flame for a minute. Cook until the onion is slightly transparent, about 5 minutes. Cook for another minute after adding the minced garlic.

Step 2: Add the ground beef after the onion and garlic are sautéed. Allow the meat to cook thoroughly, roughly 5-7 minutes. 

Step 3: Combine the broth, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, and sauce into the beef mixture. 

Step 4: Add the pasta into the mixture and continue to stir thoroughly. It is important to allow the pasta to be completely saturated in the beef mixture.

Step 5: Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook it uncovered for approximately 10 minutes or until pasta is firm when you eat it. Serve.