When it comes to camping, excitement comes from the exploration and discovery of the great outdoors. It’s a time to explore rivers, mountains, and trails. So you’ll want to make sure your cooler is stocked with amazing meals to fuel your body for plenty of camping adventures.
Forget the hot dogs and peanut butter & jelly, it’s time to elevate the flavors and options of camp cooking. Today we share a select list of carefully chosen resources, tips, and meal ideas so you can spend less time cooking while taking your RV and campsite meals to the next level. These are some of our favorite camping lunch ideas.
This list of easy camping lunch ideas is based on our outdoor cooking experiences, comments from readers, and feedback from friends and family. We consolidated all the ideas to provide a broad list of options so that you can find easy camping meals that will please the whole family.
The recipes that made this list are both delicious ideas and easy meals to prepare for an outdoor lunch. From simple snacks to specialty grilled cheese sandwiches to grilled pizza, you’re sure to find something on this list for every person in your crew.
Our Favorite Camping Lunch Ideas
Dutch Oven Pizza
Stoke the fire and get those coals hot for some amazing camping lunches. Here is a list of our favorite hearty and delicious lunch ideas you make in a Dutch oven.
A great way to make this as simple as possible is to use prepared pizza dough from the grocery store. I usually find the dough in the refrigerated deli section, but you may also find it near specialty cheeses. Pillsbury also makes a prepared pizza crust, which is packaged in a small cylinder similar to the brand’s cinnamon rolls and biscuits.
It’s fairly simple to make your own homemade pizza dough. You only need a few simple ingredients – flour, water, yeast, sugar, olive oil, and salt. Yes, it takes a bit of time, but you can make it ahead, or you may even be able to pack your camping bags while the yeast is proofing.
Try this simple homemade pizza dough recipe from Joy Food Sunshine.
How to Make Dutch Oven Pizza
Coat the inside of the Dutch oven with non-stick spray or line it with parchment paper. Spread the pizza dough in an even, flat layer on the bottom.
Top with your favorite sauce and toppings (pepperoni, mozzarella, caramelized onions, etc.). Cover and cook on the hot coals for about 30 minutes.
If you prefer to use a cast iron skillet, check out this short list of easy campfire pizza recipes from RV Miles. Another popular cooking tool to use at the campfire is a pie iron. For individual pizza pockets that are fun to make with the kids, try the Pie Iron Pizza Pocket recipe from Amanda Outside.
Related Reading: Easy Recipes for RV Travel Days
The best thing about a grilled kabob lunch is being able to easily customize the meal for each person. You can make grilled beef, chicken, shrimp, or vegetable skewers. Moreover, much of the prep can be done at home before leaving on your road trips. That gives you more time to enjoy outdoor activities once you reach the campground.
Here are a few of our favorite recipes for grilled kabobs:
Pasta salad is both versatile and generic enough that you don’t need a detailed recipe. A couple of weeks ago, I chopped leftover grilled chicken and combined it with red onions, mozzarella, cucumbers, baby tomatoes, fusili pasta (extra, unused cooked pasta from the night before), and Italian dressing in a covered plastic bowl. I shook it up a few times, removed the lid, and topped it with avocado.
It’s too simple to count as a recipe, but it was delicious enough to share. I guess anything can taste good when you enjoy it outdoors in the fresh air. If I published a recipe, the title could be “Whatever is in the Fridge Pasta Salad.”
But, if you prefer having specific ingredients, then try this Easy Pasta Salad recipe made with cherry tomatoes, chickpeas, arugula, feta cheese, and homemade dressing.
One great thing about pasta salad is you can serve it as a main meal or side dish. Another is that it lasts in the fridge for a couple of days, or until someone eats it late at night while stargazing, whichever comes first.
I find that chilling the pasta salad overnight in the refrigerator after it’s mixed with the dressing helps the flavors develop. That is another reason this is a great make-ahead recipe you can prepare a day before departing for your camping adventures.
Rainbow Pasta Salad
Another great option is the Rainbow Pasta Salad recipe from Allrecipes. It’s perfect for a picnic or barbecue party. I have made this salad at least a dozen times and every time I bring it to a gathering, someone requests the recipe.
With a few simple ingredients, you have a tasty meal within an hour. The recipe calls for tri-color pasta, tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, and Italian-style dressing.
This is a simple recipe to customize and make it a family favorite. Try any substitution such as using heirloom or baby tomatoes, or adding parsley, Parmesan, salami, or ham.
Serve it with bread toasted on the grill.
Southwestern Pasta Salad
Try a delicious Tex-Mex camping recipe that can be made ahead. Ah, music to my ears. As with most pasta salad recipes, you can adjust the ingredients for your individual cookout. The Southwestern Pasta Salad recipe from The Pioneer Woman calls for the following ingredients:
- Corn, Shell pasta, Pinto beans, Mexican cheese
- Bell pepper, Red onion, Cilantro, Avocado
- Sour Cream, Mayonnaise, Ranch seasoning mix, Lime
Related Reading: Vegan Camping Meals
Elevate your grilled cheddar cheese sandwiches by adding special ingredients.
I like to prep various items such as grilled mushrooms and peppers, sliced red onion, crumbled goat cheese, diced tomatoes, and caramelized onions. Set the ingredients in a buffet-style arrangement with the bread and cheese. That way, each person in your camping party can create their own customized sandwich.
Easy & Delicious Specialty Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
Add pastrami, thin-sliced steak, grilled peppers, or caramelized onions. Use flavorful cheeses that melt well such as Gruyere, Gouda, Pepper Jack, or American.
Campfire Grilled Cheese Sandwiches
When cooking for a crowd, you can use a campfire griddle to cook all the sandwiches at once. If you’re traveling solo or as a couple, I recommend using a pie iron to cook your grilled cheese sandwich to perfection. It turns a plain sandwich into one with a delicious crispy crust and a melted cheese center.
Fancy Campfire Grilled Cheese Recipes
Here are my go to fancy grilled cheese sandwich recipe ideas.
Related Reading: Camping Sandwiches for Easy Outdoor Meals
Packable On-the-Go Lunches
If I list out all my favorite things about camping, a peaceful early morning hike is always in the top five. These are the days when I pack my backpack with a few snacks and a tasty lunch that will provide enough energy for a safe descent back to camp.
For snacks or shorter hikes, a tasty lunch may be as simple as hard-boiled eggs, trail mix, and a mozzarella cheese stick. These items are easy to pack for the trail. Another benefit is the only thing you’re left carrying back to camp is a lightweight reusable Ziploc bag.
Simple Ideas for a Packed Outdoor Lunch
Instant Pot Lunch Recipes
The Instant Pot is my go to appliance when it comes to RV cooking. It keeps things so simple in the kitchen that I’ll take the same approach in this article. Here are my favorite simple recipes to make using an Instant Pot:
Related Reading: Top Tips for Using an Instant Pot in Your RV
Campfire Cooking Tools
Here are the essential tools we use when we’re cooking in the RV, the outdoor kitchen, our small portable camp stove & grill, or when grilling on an open fire (where permitted).
Camping Grill Grate
We always prefer to bring our own grill grate whenever we are camping at an RV Park or campground that permits an open fire. Yes, sometimes those campgrounds have built-in grates over the fire ring. But, I like to know how my cooking tools were used before putting our food on top.
A Dutch oven is a must-have for campsite cooking. It’s versatile, easy to use, and has the capacity to cook for a crowd.
Pie irons are used to make sandwiches, pizzas, and other quick and easy lunch meals. The long handle makes it easy to turn over and adjust where it’s placed on the fire.
Look for long-handled BBQ grill tools. I like to have tongs, spatula, a fork, and a basting brush. Be sure that your tools use silicone or high heat-resistant rubber and stainless steel that won’t rust.
High Heat Thermal Resistant Gloves
While not required for camp cooking, a nice pair of fire resistant gloves does make the process more comfortable.
If you’re RV camping, then consider packing an Instant Pot. From soups to stew to brisket, it’s as simple as combining the ingredients and pushing a button. Using an Instant Pot is one of my favorite ways to whip up easy camping lunches (and easy camping dinners), especially after a long day of hiking.
Related Reading: Tasty Instant Pot Recipes to Cook in Your RV
What is Your Favorite Camping Lunch?
We hope our list helped you find a few delicious meal ideas that will bring your friends and family together at the campfire and make your next camping trip both easy and memorable.
If you have other ideas for delicious food in the great outdoors, please provide your feedback in the comments section below. I imagine many other RV and Camping enthusiasts would love to hear your tips and recommendations!
Thank you and bon appetite!
Easy & Delicious Camping Recipes
After graduating from college with a degree in animal behavior, Isabel allowed herself some time to get closer to nature. She took a leap to the European countryside and hiked her way through Switzerland, Italy and Portugal before returning to the US. It’s clear now she was meant to be an outdoorsy gal as she spends her days camping and hiking the trails along both coasts and cozies up to the campfire with pen and paper to chronicle her travels. TREKKN is fortunate to have her on the team.