Recipes

Campfire Cooking Tips and Tricks For Beginners

Campfire cooking doesn’t have to be difficult! If you’re spending more time outdoors with your family, learn a few tips for making delicious meals.

Campfire Cooking sausages and vegetables in an orange pan over a fire

When you are brand new to campfire cooking, it can be intimidating. It seems like there is so much you need, from cookware and utensils, to various tools and supplies just to make basic foods. The information provided in this report is for beginners. It is meant to give you some basic things to start with, from lists of items to bring with you, to easy and delicious meals to begin with. It is a great starting off point for your campsite cooking adventure.

Cookware and Utensils You Need For Campfire Cooking

Before learning about the different foods and snacks you can prepare for your family during the camping trip, it helps to learn about some essential supplies you will need. Don’t feel pressured to purchase all of this gear, since as you will soon learn, some foods need nothing more than some aluminum foil or a skewer stick. However, it is a good idea to stock up slowly and gradually add these items to your camp cooking set.

Starter Campfire Cookware and Utensils

This list encompasses a good starter kit to begin campfire cooking. It includes no-frills cookware, some of which you might have at home that you can bring with you. However, if you plan to camp often, you might want to purchase these items separately to be used just for camping. That way, they are kept in a container that includes only camping supplies that is easy to put in your car when you’re ready to head out. Some cookware to start campfire cooking with is:

Additional Campfire Cooking and Eating Supplies

For cooking and eating, you might need a few other supplies. Here is another list to check off when getting ready for your camping trip:

You can add other items to your list, depending on what you intend to cook or prepare on the campsite. Making that handy list during the planning stages of campfire cooking will help you determine what else you should bring with you.

Smores supplies on a wooden board next to a campfire

Campfire Cooking – Foods You Can Eat on Sticks

Now let’s get into the foods you can cook when you’re on your camping adventure! Foods on sticks is actually perfect for a beginner because they are easy to do and don’t require a lot of fancy cooking utensils and equipment. As you begin gradually buying your cookware, you can still head out on camping or fishing trips with some basic skewers.

When you are cooking food directly over a fire, just remember to keep rotating the stick in your hand. This allows the heat to be evenly distributed. It is especially important if you are dealing with raw meat. Now without wasting anymore of your time, here are some quick, easy, and delicious foods you can cook and eat on sticks.

Hot Dogs

Hot dogs are naturally one of the staples to camp food, since they’re so easy to do. They are good for roasting your lunch or dinner over a fire since they aren’t technically raw meat, which means all you are doing is heating it up. That makes it perfect for someone just starting out with cooking over a fire. Make sure your skewers are the extra-long kind so there is sufficient room to hold the stick over the fire without burning your hands. The really long ones even have enough room to slide two hot dogs on at a time. Just rotate the hot dog until you like the amount of char on it. Bring along some buns to create a traditional hot dog or eat it straight off the stick.

Shrimp

Here is a food many people don’t think about when campfire cooking, but why not? You might have had shrimp over the barbecue as kabobs during a cookout, so there is no reason you can’t bring it along on your camping trip. Remember when packing it up that it needs to remain cold and fresh, so it should stay in the coldest part of your cooler and preferably be cooked the night you begin camping. If you feel more comfortable, you can cook it before you leave and just heat it up on the sticks.

For shrimp, marinate or season it however you like. You can go simple with just some salt, pepper, and garlic, or make a spicy shrimp with Worcestershire sauce or chipotle sauce. Place shrimp on the skewers alone or with some veggies, then roast away.

Vegetable Kabobs

For a side dish, vegetable kabobs are perfect when you are campfire cooking. These are great because you have full control over what vegetables to use and how to add them to the skewers. You can use vegetables like potatoes, squash, zucchini, carrots, celery, bell peppers, onions, and anything else you like. Sprinkle some olive oil and seasonings to them before you begin roasting.

Bacon

Yes, you can make bacon on a stick! This is a godsend for anyone who wants some bacon with their other breakfast dishes. Get the fire going, then get out your package of uncooked bacon. Wrap a piece of bacon around the stick you’re using and hold it over the fire. Some skewers or sticks have little nubs that provide traction, but even if they don’t, the raw bacon should stick pretty good. Rotate the stick until the bacon looks fully cooked. You can also wrap veggies in bacon to cook — try my Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus when campfire cooking.

Tip: Use Coals For Stick Foods

When you make food on sticks, you don’t want the food right in the flames, or it will burn and char. A better idea is to use hot coals to build the campfire. That way, it is the heat from the coals that is doing all the cooking. You also don’t need a huge campfire for these simple campfire foods. You can make them with the little fire ring that comes with a lot of standard campsites. Just take the grates off if you want to do this the old-fashioned way. You can also leave the grates on and cook these foods on sticks like a barbecue.

Fire cooked potatoes - campfire cooking

Make These Foods in Foil

Once you master making foods on sticks, it is time to move on to foil! This is another good method for people just starting out with camping or fishing trip, or who have gone camping but someone else usually dealt with the cooking. It is also ideal if you are on a budget and can’t quite afford a full camp kitchen yet. Another great thing about making food in foil packets is that the foil can be used as the main plate without having to waste any of your paper ones, or even to eat a meal if you forgot your plates – oops!

Tip: Many of these meals and snacks made with foil require some prep work to be done at home, so keep that in mind. If you are currently in planning mode for an upcoming camping trip, now is the time to make notes and lists, and really get this stuff scheduled before you head out.

Chili Cheese Fries

Who doesn’t love some crispy French fries with hot chili and melted cheese on top? These can really take your campfire food to an entirely new level. This actually works best with frozen French fries, not ones you slice yourself from potatoes, so it is also super convenient! Before you head out on your trip, make sure you pack a bag of frozen French fries and keep them cold in the bottom part of your cooler with lots of ice on top. Bring along a few cans of chili (or jars of homemade chili) and some shredded cheese. You can also bring along sour cream and other toppings if you are able to keep it fresh when campfire cooking.

Grab a big piece of aluminum foil and put a handful of French fries – enough for one person – in the center of the foil. Start folding up the edges to begin creating your pocket. When the edges are folded up, you can then add your chili to the foil packet. Finish folding up the edges and sealing the packet. Place it over a fire with coals, putting it directly on the coals, or on the grate of a fire ring. Check every 15-20 minutes to see how the fries are doing. Once they are almost cooked, open the packet, add your cheese, and keep cooking until the cheese is melted.

Breakfast Burritos

Are you looking for something to eat in the morning with the bacon you made on a stick? Breakfast burritos are perfect. Before you leave on your camping trip, beat some eggs in a bowl, then transfer them to a storage container. Keep them cool until you get to the campsite. The following morning, create a foil packet that is just about all the way closed, with just enough room to add some ingredients. Pour some of your scrambled eggs, along with cheese, diced ham, veggies, and anything else you want. Secure the packet and place it over the coals or on the grate. The heat will cook the eggs and other ingredients. Once finished, spread the mixture into a tortilla and wrap it up.

Popcorn

When you get ready to enjoy a relaxing evening in front of the campfire, get your popcorn going! You need a disposable pie pan for this one, which is made of aluminum foil. Fill the pan with about ¼-cup of popcorn kernels and some vegetable oil, then cover it in foil, but create a dome-like shape with it on top of the pan. Place the pan on the grates of a campfire ring, shaking regularly, until the popping stops. This takes about 8-10 minutes when campfire cooking.

Salmon

For an easy dinner over the fire, consider making your family some delicious salmon. Start by preparing the salmon before you leave for your trip. Coat it in olive oil and add your choice of seasoning, such as lemon and herbs. Let it soak in a storage container until you’re ready to cook it, making sure it is kept cold prior to cooking it. Then place the salmon filets in foil packets and secure them tightly. Place them over the fire for about 15 minutes to cook completely.

Delicious Breakfast Ideas

When you are on a camping trip, lunch is usually a light meal, rarely using the fire. Dinner is often a light meal as well, such as those you made in foil wraps or on sticks, while breakfast tends to include all your favorites and is often the biggest meal of the day. It is more common to want to enjoy bacon and eggs, sausage, pancakes, and biscuits when you’re camping and it’s breakfast time. With the right cookware and tools, you can definitely accomplish this.

Here are just a few ideas for making breakfast during your camping trip. Keep in mind you can do your own variations on these ideas, truly customizing it to your family’s preferences.

Pancakes

One of the easiest ways to make pancakes while camping is to prepare the batter before you leave. You can pour it in any container, but using an old ketchup bottle is ideal. The pour spout makes it super easy to squeeze out batter onto the pan. Just mix up your pancake batter and pour it into some empty bottles, then pack it with you.

When you are at the campsite, get the heat source going, whether it’s a fire or cookstove. Put a little oil or butter on a skillet, then add your pancakes. Mini pancakes are often better for camping since you want to make a large amount of them in a short period of time. Make them just like you have made pancakes at home. When the top bubbles, you know it’s time to turn the pancake. Enjoy them with your choice of toppings.

Big Egg Scramble

This is a scramble, which is made with scrambled eggs and anything else you want to add to it. An easy way to mix the ingredients when you are campfire cooking is by taking a bag of frozen hash browns that is only half-full, then adding beaten eggs, cheese, salsa, diced sausage or ham, and other ingredients you enjoy. Close the bag and squeeze it to mix the ingredients together. Now heat up a skillet and place it on grates over the fire ring or cookstove. Heat up the mixture until everything is cooked through.

Eggs in a Basket

Another simple breakfast to make if you have a skillet and spatula with you on your camping trip is eggs in a basket, also called eggs in jail and many other variations. What you need for each serving is a thick slice of bread, butter, and an egg. Start by cutting a hole in the middle of the bread, then buttering one side of it. Place it butter side-down on the pan as it heats up, then crack open the egg into the middle hole you made. Let it cook for a few minutes, not turning until the egg has almost completely cooked. With a big skillet, you should be able to fit 2-3 of these at a time.

Desserts You Can Make Over the Fire

Finally the good stuff – dessert! Yes, there are many ways to make dessert with a few simple ingredients and a fire during your camping or fishing trip. You probably already know how to make traditional s’mores, so these will include new versions of that classic campfire treat, along with some others to try when campfire cooking.

Roasted Strawberries and Marshmallow

This is a sweet and fruity twist on the traditional s’mores dessert. All you need are strawberries, marshmallow fluff, and some skewers. You are going to take a strawberry and place it on the end of a skewer. Dip it into some of the marshmallow fluff, then place it over an open fire, rotating it until it gets a nice roasted appearance. It only takes a minute or so for each one, so grab your family together and let everyone roast their strawberries. This is slightly healthier than chocolate and graham crackers, and definitely more budget-friendly.

S’mores Dessert Board from My Creative Manner

S’mores Dip

How about some s’mores dip when campfire cooking? This is a lot of fun and super easy to do when you’re camping. You can pre-prepare the pan of dip ingredients beforehand, or get it ready shortly before dessert time. What you need is a grate over a fire or a portable barbecue, and a tin foil fan. Place an entire box of cream cheese on the bottom, spreading it around the pan. Add some marshmallow cream or fluff, along with some mini marshmallows and chocolate chips. Heat this pan of yumminess on the heat for about 20 minutes or until the ingredients start to melt together. You can dip graham crackers, cookies, pretzels, strawberries, or anything else into the s’mores dip.

Canned Biscuit Donuts

Who wouldn’t love some delicious cinnamon donuts to enjoy for dessert? These donuts are so easy, you will probably repeat the recipe when you get home. For biscuit donuts, you need a can of buttermilk biscuits, sugar, cinnamon, and some vegetable oil. You do need a pot for this recipe, so add it to your campfire cooking supplies. Add some oil to the pot, just enough to fry the biscuits. Take the biscuits out of the can and poke a hole into the center of each one. A screw cap from a water bottle works perfectly for this. Place the biscuits in the oil, flipping with tongs every minute or so. While they are frying, mix some sugar and cinnamon in a freezer bag. When the biscuits are done frying, take them out and place on a paper towel. Now put them in the cinnamon sugar, shake it a little, and put on a plate.

Additional Campfire Cooking Tips

By now, you have a good selection of recipes that will let you cook plenty of delicious meals and snacks when you’re camping. Make sure you create a list of prep work to be done at home before you head out, and have figured out how to keep the cold food fresh during your trip. Here are just a few more tips to keep in mind.

  • Avoid complex meals during your first camping trip; keep it simple
  • Bring extra matches
  • Do meal planning and prep work before you leave
  • Bring extra supplies, including paper plates, cups, bowls, plastic cutlery, napkins, paper towels, and storage bags.
  • Fill the cooler with block ice, which lasts longer
  • Bring supplies to clean your pots and pans
  • Don’t forget an oven mitt for roasting over the fire

Remember to have fun when campfire cooking! Make campsite cooking a family affair, get everyone involved, and just really indulge during your trip. This helps you have a stress-free camping trip with a lot of delicious foods.

What do you take for campfire cooking? Comment below to share!

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