1. Travel
You can opt-out at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy for contact information.

5 Tips for Easy Campground Cooking

How to Make Cooking at the Campground Easy and Enjoyable


Cooking at the campground can be simple and easy, yet still delicious. From one-pot meals to gourmet Dutch oven cooking, food will taste best when served in the great outdoors. Common concerns include what food to take camping and how to keep it cold in the cooler. Cooking at the campground can be intimidating -- there is a lot to pack and you don't want to forget any key ingredients, but a few simple preparations and methods can make campground cooking easy, enjoyable and delicious!

1. Prepare your meals ahead of time

Father and son eating at campsite
Henglein and Steets/Cultura/Getty Images

Even if you love to cook gourmet meals at the campground, you’ll make cooking a lot more simple if you prepare some of your meals ahead of time. There are plenty of make-ahead recipes that you can heat up at the campground, or you can simply get a few things ready at home.

  • Marinate meats ahead of time and seal in Ziploc bags or Tupperware.
  • Pre-cook potatoes, bacon, rice or anything that has a particularly long cook time.
  • Pre-package meals and organize day-by day, meal-by-meal so that you don’t have to destroy your kitchen looking for one ingredient.
  • Wash any fresh ingredients at home so you don’t waste water.


More: Make-ahead recipes

2. Freeze jugs of water for ice, then use for water later

If you are using an ice chest, ice can be a commodity and later a mess. Block ice stays cold longer than ice cubes, but rather than buying big blocks of ice that just get your food wet, freeze gallon size plastic jugs at home. Use these frozen jugs in your ice chest, then when they melt, the water is contained and you can use it for drinking water or washing dishes. Any large plastic container works well, just make sure to keep the lid on tight.

3. Create a Camping Pantry

The easiest way to pack your camping kitchen is to leave it packed. If you love camping as much as the next camper, you might want to consider investing in kitchen supplies and dry goods specific for camping. Buy a few large plastic bins for campground cooking supplies, then find a smaller plastic bin for cooking staples like oil, salt and pepper, coffee and your favorite herbs and spices. If you have non-perishable food items in your pantry, you can keep it packed and you don’t have to worry about forgetting the cooking oil!

More: Camping Kitchen Checklist

4. Build your Camping Kitchen

Depending on your cooking style, you’ll want a simplified version of your home kitchen packed in your camping bins. Include key cooking items like your cooking stove, grill, pots and pans, can opener, tongs, spatula, dishes and utensils. Campground cooking will be more enjoyable if you have the right equipment. Who wants to reach over hot coals to flip a steak with a fork, when they can use tongs?

More: Camping Kitchen Checklist

5. Keep it Simple, Silly

While it is nice to have all your favorite cooking gadgets and ingredients, a simple kitchen can make just as tasty meals as a deluxe kitchen, without all the hassle. Don't make campground cooking overwhelming or complicated. Leave the salad spinner, lemon zester, and cheese grader at home, but if you have to bring the corn skewers, then so-be-it.

More: Camping Essentials Checklist

  1. About.com
  2. Travel
  3. Camping
  4. Campground Cooking
  5. 5 Tips for Easy Campground Cooking

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.