Foil packet camping meals cooked over hot coals are classic camp meals. It’s also deceptively simple. Experience has taught us there’s more to foil packet dinners than simply wrapping random ingredients in aluminum foil and tossing it in the fire. For a camping meal that’s tasty not charred, here are the basic steps you’ll want to follow:
Foolproof Tips for Foil Packet Camping Meals
1. Build a campfire and let it burn down to coals. In the meantime, prep the foil and ingredients.
2. Use two layers of heavy-duty aluminum foil for each packet. (Pitmaster's Choice from Reynolds Wrap is specially designed for grilling and foil packets.)
3. Before placing ingredients on the foil, grease the entire surface with butter or cooking spray.
4. Place ingredients in the center of the foil. Bring the two sides together and roll down to form a tight seal.Then roll up each end of the packet. Be sure the foil is pressed flat to the ingredients so there’s no empty space inside the packet.
5. Place the foil packets directly on the hot coals or on a grate above the coals. Keep the packets flat so the ingredients don’t leak out.
6. Use a metal tongs to frequently turn the packets, about every five minutes. Total cooking time will vary depending on the recipe.
Here are some delicious dinner ideas you can cook over the campfire or on the grill.
This easy vegetarian meal (or add ground beef) cooks up fast so don’t let it sit on the coals for too long!
- Tortilla chips
- Black beans or pinto beans (rinsed and drained)
- Sliced black olives
- Shredded cheese
- Diced tomatoes
- Sour Cream
- For each foil packet, place 1-2 handfuls of tortilla chips on a double-layer square of aluminum foil. Top the tortilla chips with your desired amount of beans, olives, and shredded cheese.
- Wrap up the foil packets and place them on top of hot coals or a grate. Turn the packets every couple minutes. The nachos are ready when the ingredients are hot and the cheese is melted. This shouldn’t take long.
- Remove the packets from the fire and open them up. Top with lettuce, diced tomatoes, salsa, and sour cream.
An ordinary roast beef sandwich becomes a delicious French Dip when cooked on the fire.
- 4 hard rolls (or 4 pieces of baguette)
- 8 tablespoons butter, softened
- 1 package au jus gravy mix
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 12 slices provolone cheese
- 1 lb. deli roast beef
- Slice each roll in half lengthwise. Then make the butter spread: In a small bowl, stir together the softened butter, 1 tablespoon of the au jus gravy mix, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, and onion powder.
- Spread the butter mixture on the inside of each sliced roll.Then place 3 slices of provolone and some roast beef in each roll.
- Close each sandwich and wrap each one in two layers of aluminum foil. Place directly on hot coals or a grate and cook for a few minutes, turning frequently. The sandwiches are ready when the cheese is melted.
- While the sandwiches cook, prepare the au jus. In a small saucepan, combine the remaining au jus powdered mix with 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then let simmer for a few minutes until slightly thickened. Serve each sandwich with a side of au jus.
Meat & Potatoes
This classic campfire dinner uses ground beef and vegetables.
- 4 small potatoes, sliced
- 2 cups chopped carrots
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- salt and pepper
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1 package dry onion soup mix
- 1 can cream of mushroom soup
- Grease four double-layer squares of aluminum foil. In a bowl, combine potatoes, carrots, onion, olive oil, garlic powder, and salt and pepper. Divide the vegetables evenly among the four squares of foil.
- In a separate bowl, mix together the ground beef and onion soup mix. Shape the mixture into four patties and place each one on top of one of the piles of veggies.
- Spoon 2 tablespoons of cream of mushroom soup on top of each patty. Wrap up each packet and seal them well.
- Place the foil packets on hot coals or a grate. Cook for about 30 minutes or until meat is cooked and vegetables are tender. (Turn foil packets every few minutes while cooking.)
Salmon & Lemon Herb Potatoes
If you prefer to catch your own dinner, you can replace salmon in this recipe with any other fish.
- 1 large potato
- 1-2 tablespoons butter. melted
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 tablespoon fresh dill
- 2 (6 oz.) salmon fillets
- 1 lemon
- Grease two double-layer squares of aluminum foil. Slice the potato into very thin slices. (This will help it cook faster.) Divide the potato slices between the two foil squares and spread them out so they’re not all clumped together in one pile.
- Drizzle each serving of potatoes with some melted butter. Season with salt and pepper and a few pinches of fresh dill.
- Place a salmon fillet on each serving of potatoes. Season the salmon with salt, pepper, and the remaining fresh dill. Squeeze juice from half a lemon over each salmon fillet.
- Wrap up the foil packets and seal tightly. Place the packets on the hot coals with the potatoes on the bottom. Cook for about 15 minutes. The salmon is done when its internal temperature reaches 145 degrees.
Serve this classic Italian dish with a side of pasta.
- 2 zucchini, sliced
- salt & pepper
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 3 cups pasta sauce
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- Divide the sliced zucchini among four double-layer squares of aluminum foil. Season with salt, pepper, Italian seasoning, and some of the Parmesan cheese.
- Pour 1/3 cup pasta sauce on each serving of zucchini. Place a chicken breast on top. Drizzle a little olive oil on each chicken breast and season with salt, pepper, garlic powder, and remaining Italian seasoning.
- Wrap up the foil packets and seal tightly. Place on hot coals and cook for 5-7 minutes. Turn over each packet and cook for an additional 5-7 minutes. The chicken is done when its internal temperature reaches 165 degrees. While the chicken is cooking, prepare the spaghetti.
- Remove the packets from the fire and open each one. Sprinkle 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella on top of each chicken breast and close up the packets again. Let the packets sit for a few minutes before serving so the cheese will melt. Serve with spaghetti and extra pasta sauce.
This sweet and tangy dinner is perfect for summer.
- 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 2 cups barbecue sauce
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 small red onion
- 2 cups pineapple tidbits, drained
- Cut the chicken breasts into 1-inch pieces. Stir together the chicken and barbecue sauce in a bowl until the chicken is coated. Divide the chicken among four squares of double-layer aluminum foil.
- Cut the red pepper and red onion into 1-inch pieces. Evenly distribute the red pepper, onion, and pineapple among the four foil packets.
- Wrap up each packet and seal tightly.
- Place the foil packets on hot coals or a grate and cook for about 20-25 minutes, turning frequently. The chicken is done when its internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
For more great dinner (and breakfast) ideas, check out “7 Camping Recipes for a Crowd.”