Cooking while camping can be a great challenge or a great joy – just like cooking with your kids. Mealtimes can mean pure chaos, with everything from hangry temper tantrums, major messes, and picky eaters. But with the right stove, cook set, ingredients, and attitudes, you can turn your mornings at the campsite from anxious powder kegs to fun, delicious activities for the whole family.
This list gives you five recipes to try out on your next camping trip that will save you time, money, and, hopefully, some of the mealtime chaos. Who says smores and hotdogs get all the fun?
#1: Pancakes – Of Course!
Our first breakfast recipe is the crowning jewel of breakfast items. Flapjacks, hotcakes, pancakes, silver dollars, whatever you call ‘em – kids and adults alike love ‘em, and they’re surprisingly easy to make camping! Here’s what you need:
- 1 ½ cups flour
- 1 ¼ tbsp. baking powder
- 1 tbsp. granulated sugar
- ½ tsp. salt
- 3 tbsp. butter
- 1 ½ cups milk (or equivalent dry milk powder to mix with water)
- 1 egg
- Large mason jar
Before you leave, combine the dry ingredients in a bag. When you’re ready to cook, melt the butter over the campfire, and combine it in the clean jar with the milk and egg. Then add the dry ingredients and shake for about 2-3 minutes – this is definitely a kid job. Once your batter is mixed (but still a little lumpy), heat your skillet on the campfire and add the batter. Flip the pancakes once one side bubbled. Serve with lots of maple syrup and any other desired toppings.
#2: Loaded Oatmeal
Oatmeal is the most famous (or infamous) camping meal. Lightweight, compactible, and easy-to-prepare, there’s really nothing that it can’t do – besides please most kids. Luckily, oatmeal doesn’t have to be the boring, bland, and tasteless glop that it’s made up to be.
To make oatmeal awesome, give your kids a chance to make it their own. Bring bowls and lay out some options so that kids can feel empowered to make their own choices. Often, kids feel emboldened to try new things when in a new environment – and they might just find something they like! Some healthier options include:
- Dried fruit (toasted coconut, mangoes, blueberries, raisins, cranberries, papaya)
- Fresh fruit (strawberries, bananas, apples, raspberries)
- Nuts (almonds, pecans, cashews, peanuts)
Rolled oats are super nutritious and contain a ton of fiber, as well as valuable vitamins and minerals like manganese, B vitamins, and zinc, so let your kids have a little fun with the toppings. Some less-nutritious-but-very-delicious toppings include:
- Maple or berry syrup
- Fruit jams or preserves
- Chocolate chips
- Mini marshmallows
If you’re feeling especially creative, work up games to describe the different things they try.
#3: Toad in the Hole
This recipe is a version of a British casserole that combines savory sausage in a pancake-y batter that’s sure to fill up every hungry camper in your family. Here’s what you need:
- ½ cup fine cornmeal
- ½ cup flour
- 1 tbsp. granulated sugar
- ¾ tsp. salt
- ½ tsp. baking powder
- 1 cup milk
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp. butter
- 12 ounces breakfast sausage (about 14 small links)
- 3 tbsp. maple syrup
- Aluminum foil
Before you go, combine the cornmeal, flour, sugar, salt, baking powder, eggs, and milk and save in a sealed container in your cooler. When you’re ready to cook, heat your skillet and melt your butter. Cook the sausages and set aside. Mix up the batter, then pour into the hot skillet. Place the sausages on top of the batter, drizzle with syrup, and cover with foil until cooked fully – about 15-20 minutes. Then slice up and serve! This hearty breakfast will provide serious fuel for all-day fun.
#4: Eggs and Bacon (In a Bag)
Although there are always new advances in camping cookware which make it lighter, more compact, and easier to use, sometimes you just want to skip it altogether. These next to recipes take a more traditional approach to camp cooking by using simpler, and less conventional, means to get things done.
Eggs and bacon are an American classic breakfast, and there’s nothing more exciting then cooking them over an open flame under the open sky. Enter the paper bag method. You might think that paper bags and fire don’t mix, and generally you would be right, but with the fatty nature of bacon, this technique manages to pull it off. Here’s how it’s done:
- Layer strips of bacon in the bottom of your brown paper sandwich bag
- Crack your egg into the bag, on top of the bacon strips
- Fold the top of the bag over a few times, then poke a skewer or tough stick through it
- Hold the bag over the fire (not in it) until the bacon fat melts and the egg cooks
This technique may take a little practice (your kids will think it’s a lot of fun when the bag catches on fire, trust us), so make sure to have a few extra eggs and slices of bacon handy. But the reward of eating your breakfast from a bag after cooking it this way is novel and fun – and is sure to entertain plenty.
#5: Cinnamon Rolls, Campfire Style
This breakfast is another stick-in-campfire recipe – albeit a little less dangerous one. All you need is a package of refrigerated rolls (our recipe uses cinnamon, but you can use orange, plain, or even croissant rolls if your family likes them better).
Send your kids on a stick-gathering mission to find some good skewers (or, if you’re not into that, use some metal camping skewers). Wrap the biscuit dough around the skewers while it is as cold as possible and stick it in the fire. You want to make sure you cook it quickly so that the dough doesn’t melt, but don’t light it on fire – unless of course, you like the char-broiled taste. Top with cinnamon and sugar, butter, or a sauce of your choice and enjoy right off the skewer! Your kids are sure to enjoy this finger food.
Do you have a camping recipe that never fails with your family? Let us know!
Rebecca lives in USA, but loves hiking all over the world. Her favorite is Everest Base Camp Trek in Nepal. It usually takes 16 days, but she likes to slow down, enjoy mountains, company of other adventurers and take more pictures, so it took her 28 days last time. Another of her passion is the ocean, so all short and long hikes along the ocean shore bring a lot of joy. She also writes for HikingMastery.com.