Cooking for a crowd is challenging enough when you have an entire kitchen you can use. Take away the oven, refrigerator, and running water, and it’s an even bigger challenge. But whether you’re cooking for a weekend-long family reunion or a scout troop camping trip, we’re here to help with 7 easy camping meals for large groups or a family.
One tip for feeding a large group in the outdoors is to choose meals that you can prepare ahead of time. That way, when it’s mealtime at camp, you can simply heat and serve. The following recipes include make-ahead meals as well as simple recipes you can make outdoors.
Make, assemble, and freeze these burritos at home. Then pack them in a cooler for your next camping trip!
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 pepper, diced (red or green)
- 1 lb. red potatoes
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 lb. breakfast sausage
- 1 lb. shredded cheddar cheese
- 12 eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
- 10 tortillas
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Dice the onion, pepper, and potatoes.
- Spread the diced potatoes on a greased baking sheet and season with salt, pepper, and 1 teaspoon of the chili powder. Bake for 15 minutes. Stir the potatoes and bake for an additional 15 minutes or until the potatoes are browned. Let cool.
- Place the onion, pepper, sausage in a large skillet and cook over medium heat until the sausage is browned and the vegetables are soft.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk. Make scrambled eggs by pouring the egg mixture into a large skillet and cooking over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Let the eggs cool.
- Lay a tortilla on your work surface. Spread 1-2 tablespoons of the following in a line down the middle: shredded cheese, vegetables, and sausage. Top with diced potatoes and scrambled eggs. Fold up the bottom of the tortilla, then fold in the right side. Fold down the top of the tortilla, followed by the left side. Place each assembled burrito (seam-side down) on a baking sheet and freeze for 1 hour. Then wrap each burrito in aluminum foil and store in a cooler until ready to use.
- To cook, place the foil-wrapped burritos on the grate over a campfire (hot coals are best). Rotate every few minutes and be sure to check the burrito to make sure it’s not burning.
French Toast Casserole
This casserole can be made in advance and then stored in a cooler overnight. If possible, don’t let it sit in a cooler for longer than one day.
- 1 loaf French bread
- 12 eggs
- 2 cups milk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese
- Dice French bread into 1-inch cubes.
- Beat the eggs in a mixing bowl. Add the milk, vanilla, and maple syrup and stir until combined.
- In a food storage container, stir together the bread cubes and egg mixture until the bread cubes are coated. Seal tightly and store in a refrigerator or cooler until ready to use. (Preferably just overnight.)
- When you’re ready for breakfast, start a campfire and let it burn down to the coals. While you’re waiting, line a 12-inch cast iron Dutch oven with heavy-duty aluminum foil and spray it with nonstick cooking spray.
- Pour the bread mixture into the Dutch oven. Cut the cream cheese into 1/2-inch cubes and stir into the bread mixture.
- Cover the Dutch oven and place it on top of hot coals. Scoop a few coals on top of the Dutch oven’s lid too. Cook for 50-60 minutes. (The casserole is done when you insert a knife and it comes out clean.)
Pancakes are one of the easiest breakfasts to make for a group. Add a side of sausage or bacon, and breakfast is served!
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup powdered milk
- 8 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup water
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
- Mix the flour, sugar, powdered milk, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Pour into a sealed plastic bag.
- When you’re ready to make the pancakes, pour the dry mixture into a mixing bowl. Add the water, eggs, and vanilla extract and whisk together.
- Grease a preheated skillet with a little butter. Once the skilled is hot, pour about 1/4 cup of batter on the skillet for each pancake. Flip over each pancake once bubbles form. Cook for an additional minute or two. Serve with butter and maple syrup.
Lunch or Dinner
These mini sandwiches are great for a group, especially kids. But have some napkins on hand because they can be a bit messy. (Good thing you’re eating outside!)
- 12 small hamburger buns
- 12 large precooked meatballs
- 2 cups pasta sauce
- 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
- 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- Start a campfire and let it burn down to coals. Spray a foil casserole pan with nonstick spray.
- Place the bottom halves of the hamburger buns in a single layer in the bottom of the casserole pan.
- Pour a tablespoon of sauce on each bun, top with a single meatball, then pour a little more sauce on top.
- Cover the meatballs with the shredded mozzarella cheese and place the top buns on the meatballs. Sprinkle the top of the buns with grated Parmesan and the Italian seasoning.
- Cover the pan with aluminum foil and cook over the hot coals on a grate. The sliders are done when the cheese is melted and the meat and sauce are hot.
Mac & Cheese
Prep these single-serving mac & cheese containers at home. Then heat them on a campstove or fire when you’re ready to eat!
- 3 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
- 1 (16 oz.) jar alfredo sauce
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- salt and pepper
- Cook elbow macaroni according to package directions. Rinse and drain.
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together the cooked pasta, alfredo sauce, cheeses, and milk. Season with salt and pepper. (If the mixture seems too sticky, add another 1/4 cup milk. The pasta will absorb moisture as it sits.)
- Spray 8 mini foil pie pans with nonstick spray. Spoon the macaroni into the pans. Tightly cover each pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Store them in a cooler until you’re ready to eat.
- To cook, heat the covered pans of macaroni on a grate over hot coals. The macaroni is done when the cheese is melted and it’s hot all the way through.
Hot Ham & Cheese Melts
These cheesy sandwiches are easy to make at camp.
- 8 croissants or pretzel buns
- 16 slices Swiss cheese
- 1-2 lbs. deli ham
- 2-3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- Split each croissant in half and spread a little mustard on each half. Then add a slice of cheese to each half.
- Place ham on one half of each croissant and place the halves of each croissant back together.
- Wrap each sandwich in heavy-duty aluminum foil and place in a cooler until you’re ready to eat.
- To cook, place the foil-wrapped sandwiches on hot coals or on a grate over a campfire. The sandwiches are ready once the cheese has melted and the sandwich is hot all the way through.
Baked Potato Buffet
For this recipe, prep all your toppings beforehand, then roast your potatoes in a campfire!
- Russet potatoes (1 per person)
- Butter or olive oil
- Pre-made toppings such as: shredded BBQ chicken, shredded cheese, diced vegetables, sour cream, canned chili, etc.
- Build a fire and let it burn down to the coals.
- Poke each potato several times with a fork and smear the outside of the potato with a thin layer of butter or olive oil. Wrap each potato in two layers heavy-duty aluminum foil.
- Place the wrapped potatoes in hot coals and cook for 30-60 minutes or until soft. (You can poke them with a knife or fork to test them.)
- Remove the potatoes from the fire and let cool slightly. Then unwrap and load them up with your favorite toppings!