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7 Quick and Easy Camp Meals for Dinner

Get food on the picnic table faster with’s simple fireside feasts.

By Kathleen Clove
April 23, 2024

Some say nature feeds the soul. Try telling that to your growling belly after a long hike. No, we take a more practical approach — the food’s the thing to lift weary humans. We’ve peach cobblered together some camping meal ideas that will fill tummies and spirits between jaunts into nature. And they’ll probably take less effort than it did to convince your 7-year-old (and 15-year-old) to walk that last half mile.

Prep Cook

The key to easy camp meals is prepping. Chop, slice and dice ingredients in your home kitchen when possible, so you won’t need to pack (and clean) knives and cutting boards. Measure, mix and store seasonings per the meal requirements — no reason to bring an entire spice rack for one dish.

If you’ll be tent camping for several days, plan to use similar foods on the same day. For example, if you’re having bacon for breakfast, have BLT sandwiches for lunch or dinner. Then you won’t need to worry about opened foods going bad.

Using canned and precooked foods is also helpful, especially meats. It’ll cut down on cooking time and the need for refrigeration.

One pot meals make cleanup quick.

Dinner in a Bag

The best camping meals require the fewest ingredients and dishes. One pot wonders? We’re in. Especially if you’re on a backpacking trip. Warm up canned chili over the fire or on your camping stove, then pour some into individual size bags of corn chips. Add as many toppings as your gourmet palate requires. Then, eat right out of the bag. With a spoon, of course. You’re not a caveman. Simple, tasty and filling.


  • Fritos or other corn chips
  • Chili or other seasoned beans
  • Toppings: onions, tomatoes, grated cheese, sour cream

Walking Tacos

To individual servings of Doritos, add seasoned beef and taco toppings. Eat with a fork or spoon — unless you want your fingers to smell like bear food. Another dinner in the bag, literally.


  • Cooked and seasoned hamburger or beans
  • Toppings: lettuce, cheese, tomato, sour cream, salsa

Easy meals get your hungry campers fed in minutes.

Curry in a Hurry

If you’re in a designated campground, you may want to set up a camp stove to make cooking more convenient. But that doesn’t mean you’ll need a lot of cookware for this quick curry dish.

In a saucepan, saute onions in some oil. Stir in spices and coconut milk, then stir in beans. Toss prepared rice into the curry to warm it up. While it’s simmering, warm up some naan bread by skewering it on a stick and holding it over a fire.


  • Oil
  • Chopped onions
  • Coconut milk
  • Chickpeas, pinto or white beans
  • Cooked rice
  • Spices: ginger, garlic, curry powder, ground coriander, cumin

Everyone can cook for themselves on hot dog night.

Hot Dog on an Actual Stick

While they aren’t exactly exciting, hot dogs are a popular food for a reason; all you need is a stick and a bun. What could be better when you’re camping with kids? If you want your meal to be a little healthier, add veggies such as sliced onions and peppers.

To snazz up a plain frankfurter, cut a slit lengthwise down the center and wedge in a sliver of cheese. Then wrap it all with a crescent roll or packaged biscuit dough and cook over a fire. 


  • Hot dogs
  • Buns, packaged buttermilk biscuits or crescent rolls
  • Toppings: ketchup, mustard, relish, onions, cheese, peppers, tomatoes

Living in the Pasta

Like all the best camping meals, Dutch oven mac and cheese is quick and easy. Once the coals are warmed, to the pot add equal portions of macaroni and water, then top with some butter pats. Put the lid on and cover with a dozen or so coals; cook for 10 minutes. Most of the water should be absorbed. 

Remove the lid and stir in seasoning salt and twice the amount of shredded cheese as noodles (i.e., one cup noodles, two cups cheese). Sprinkle with a crunchy topping if you like a little texture.


  • Macaroni or other noodles
  • Water
  • Butter
  • Seasoning salt
  • Shredded cheese (avoid packaged shredded cheese, which doesn’t melt as well)
  • Crunchy topping: crushed crackers, potato chips or panko bread crumbs

Catching your dinner means less food to pack.

Fish Fry

If you’ll be doing some fishing while you’re camping — or maybe camping just so you can go fishing — you won’t need to pack any protein for this meal. Turn your trout — or bass, or catfish — into a taco. All you’ll need are tortillas and toppings. To cook, clean your fish, then rub with oil and season with chili powder and cumin (or your favorite spices). As it bakes, wrap your tortillas in aluminum foil and warm them in the fire. Shred the fish and serve with shredded cabbage and lime wedges.

It’s worth picking up a fish grill basket for cooking; you simply place the fish inside and set in on a grill. Easy camp meals should not include scraping morsels off a questionable grate.


  • Catch of the day
  • Seasonings such as salt, creole or lemon pepper
  • Toppings: cabbage, lime wedges, red onion, pico de gallo


Do-ahead camping meals shorten your time over the hot coals, making for an easy but still hearty supper. The most quintessential of those: The tin foil dinner. Basically, you put meat and potatoes in some foil. Yeah, pretty simple.

At home, season some hamburger and form it into patties. Or, for fancier fare, marinate some diced steak and whole mushrooms in a Brazilian steakhouse marinade. Place the meat in a double layer of foil, then top with shredded cheese along with some diced carrots, onions and potatoes. Fold it up and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Do all the prep work at home, then simply warm your meal on the fire.

When you’re ready to eat, place the wrapped dinners in the coals for 10-15 minutes to warm back up. Just enough time to shake the dirt out of your shoes and wash your hands. When your food is ready, gently open the foil and eat your meal with a fork. No other dishes required.


  • Hamburger, diced steak or other protein
  • Vegetables: carrots, potatoes, onions, mushrooms

You’ve got the recipes. Now find the best camping spots in Utah where you can try them out. Find more outdoor adventure tips on