Our selection of quick and easy meal ideas for camping will give you plenty of inspiration to plan your next camping trip – or decide what to cook tonight!
There’s always so much to think about when going away on a campervan trip and you want to make sure you’ve got your bases covered, especially if you’re feeding a crowd.
The last thing you want to be doing once you’ve pitched up is rolling up your sleeves and starting cooking a laborious meal.
Or worse yet, have to go out and look for food when you’re already starving.
Worry not. Own The Outdoors have got you covered with these 19 quick and easy camping meal ideas:
- First night camping dinner
- Camping dinner ideas
- Camping lunch meals or lighter camping dinners
- Camping breakfast food ideas
- More camping meal ideas
We have two gas rings in our campervan and a further two gas rings on our Cadac gas stove. All these meals can be cooked using a gas cooker and in most cases using just two gas rings.
First night camping dinner
I’ll set the scene: you’ve been driving all day, everyone is tired and you’ve just pitched in the tipping rain or howling gale. Everyone is ravenous.
When going away to explore a new area it is our preference to support the local economy by eating one meal out per day if we can. Typically our first night camping dinner needs to be served on site, unless we haven’t travelled far.
Assuming there is no restaurant or food van on site, we need to rustle up something reasonable PDQ.
Our solution is to bring a couple of pre-made meals just for this purpose. They will have been made in advance at home and then frozen into 2 person portions. This gives flexibility when packing the campervan fridge.
We will have defrosted our first-night camping dinner choice and have this ready to go. We’ll keep another couple of meals frozen and have them defrost slowly over the next couple of days and use when required.
Camping dinner ideas
1. Spaghetti Bolognese
Who doesn’t like spaghetti bolognese? Always a winner for our family of four. We use two of our 2-person portions of homemade bolognese sauce and cook dried pasta from our campervan pantry.
My Spaghetti Bolognese recipe is packed with “hidden” veg, so we don’t worry too much about a side salad. We’ll just sprinkle a bit of parmesan on the top.
Super quick and super easy!
2. Chicken curry with basmati rice
This not-too-spicy but very tasty chicken curry is also a good option for a first-night camping dinner. Alternatively, it can be camping night dinner #2 if left to defrost slowly over 24 hours.
Although we actually prefer brown rice over white rice at home, brown rice takes ages to cook so we use white rice when camping. As we’re cooking on a limited gas supply, we want to make the meal choices as least-gas-hungry as possible.
Boil-in-the-bag rice is another option instead of cooking brown rice from scratch. We prefer the flavour of white rice over any boil-in-the-bag rice you can buy from the supermarket. It’s all personal choice though.
This curry is delicious served with naan, greek yoghurt, and mango chutney.
3. Steak or burger served with tayto tots
This meal requires a little bit of home prep too, but just a bit.
As previously mentioned when cooking a campervan meal, you want to be mindful about the amount of gas you’re using. It’s a pain in the neck to go and source a new gas bottle midway through your trip.
“Tayto tots” are something we’ve made up at home. Boil enough potatoes for four people (or how many people you are) and when they are soft enough but still firm enough not to be mushy, cut into small pieces. Allow them to cool then bring in the fridge to be fried up on demand.
Not the most healthy choice but these are delicious. Take the ready-cooked potatoes and shallow fry in butter until they are golden brown.
Serve with a juicy rib eye steak or a tasty burger.
Another side we often prepare in advance is fried onions. They can be fried at home, brought along in a bag in the fridge and heated up in the frying pan with the steaks or burgers. Delicious.
Saves on gas ring space, washing up, and time spent.
4. Fish or prawns in foil served with lentils
This recipe is one you make fresh on-site. Wrap the fish in little foil parcels with some lemon and butter and cook for 12-15 minutes over moderate heat.
The lentil dish is great because they come ready to cook from a tin or packet so can be left as a meal choice for later in the week.
We create a lentil dish of green lentils, onions, garlic, chopped tomatoes and some spices.
This Spanish classic is one of our absolute faves and there’s always plenty to go round. It’s an easy one-pot dish so minimal washing up.
It’s a hearty feast of chicken, chorizo, onions, garlic, peppers peas and paella rice.
Check out our paella with chicken and chorizo recipe for full directions.
6. BBQ chicken and chargrilled veg skewers served with flatbread
These are absolutely delicious and very filling if served with flatbread or stuffed inside a pitta. Again, quick to cook and minimal washing up.
Either marinate the chicken in advance or brush with a tangy BBQ sauce.
7. Bacon and pea risotto
This dish is not dissimilar to the paella idea. Another delicious one-pot meal with minimal washing up that’s a real pleaser for the kids.
For full directions, see our bacon and pea risotto recipe.
8. Beef or chicken stir fry with noodles
This is another quick and delicious dinner option, with a cooking smell to work up an appetite.
We get some good quality steak or chicken and stir fry with a bag of ready-to-go stir fry veg. Our personal preference for a stir fry seasoning is the M&S teriyaki sauce. It has a tangy flavour and strong ginger base.
We bring packets of dried noodles to serve with the stir fry and cook on demand. These dried noodles cook really quickly – 10 minutes max.
If we are feeling really hungry, we’ll also cook a pan of rice to have on the side.
Camping lunch meals or lighter camping dinners
When we’re staying on site for lunch or want something light for dinner we go for quick and easy but satisfying. Here are our go-to favourites.
9. Cheese and ham croissants
These can be done on the gas hob on a low heat so as not to burn the croissant but high enough to melt the cheese. Wrapping them in foil offers extra protection against accidental burning.
The cheese and ham croissants can also be cooked in the RidgeMonkey XL. Make sure you keep turning the RidgeMonkey to avoid the contents from burning.
10. Ham and cheese toasties
As above but using bread rather than a croissant. Less greasy and calorific!
If there is some cheese sauce on the go from another recipe, I spread some on the bread before adding the cheese and ham to make it really gooey.
11. Pizza slices
You can fit two triangles of supermarket pizza into the RidgeMonkey XL to make a tasty light dinner or lunchtime meal option. We will usually serve ours with a side salad ready-made from the supermarket for ease and speed.
As with everything cooked in the RidgeMonkey XL make sure to keep turning the cooking pan over to avoid the contents from burning.
Further reading to help prepare for your next camping trip:
12. Spanish Omelette
This is a hearty lunch option or light dinner choice. Thinly slice the potatoes and the onion, fry these off and bind together with egg.
You can make a 1-2 serve Spanish omelette in the Ridgemonkey, or make a larger one in a frying pan to feed 4-6 people.
We find this more filling than a regular omelette and sometimes have some leftover to have as a snack later.
13. Hot dogs
A camping staple. Quick to make using either frying proper sausages or boiling frankfurter style sausages.
Delicious served with fried onions, cheese and lots of sauce. We use fried onions pre-cooked at home to speed things up and save gas.
14. Chicken quesadillas
These super-yummy quesadillas are really quick and easy to make.
Cook some chicken in some Mexican-style spice, like an Old El Paso mix and then layer up a sandwich of two flour tortillas. You can add refried beans (camping-handy tinned food), cheese, cooked onions, cooked peppers, and salsa.
Once you have your “sandwich” made, brush the quesadilla with butter and gently shallow fry until lightly golden.
Cut and serve in wedges with soured cream.
15. Macaroni and cheese sauce
This is another dish where I have occasionally made the sauce at home and brought it along in the fridge.
It will last for a few days in the fridge so can be used over the first few days when required. Perfect for pouring over salmon too.
If the sauce is pre-made then the whole dish just takes as long as the macaroni takes to cook. Nice and speedy.
We’ll sometimes add some ham and peas, if we have them, to add extra flavour and texture.
Camping breakfast food ideas
Our kids are often happy with a quick bowl of cereal in the morning before they go running off to explore the campsite.
When we want them to have something more substantial we turn to these cooked breakfast ideas for making in our campervan or using our camping gas stove.
16. Bacon and egg burger
Another delicious camping staple which always features on our breakfast menu.
Breakfast-in-a-bun also saves on washing up, and our kids love the excitement of eating a burger for breakfast.
We often eat pancakes at home for breakfast and trips away are no exception to this. We serve them up with bacon and maple syrup or lemon and sugar.
18. French toast
Similar idea to pancakes but the dipped bread is fried in butter. Also served with bacon and maple syrup.
19. Full English breakfast
Yet another camping staple. We’ll lob in bacon, sausages, baked beans, scrambled eggs, and toast. If we’ve got the gas ring space we might do some hash browns too. No need for lunch after all that!
More camping meal ideas
This is by no means an exhaustive list of what to campervan food to cook but hopefully gives you some ideas and helps you to decide what food items to pack before you leave for a trip.
If you have any favourite camping breakfast, lunch, or dinners, please let us know. We’d love to hear from you.