Are you considering full-time RV living? If so, research is the best way to get ready. Preparation can help ensure life in the great outdoors is a success. It’s a lot to take on when you combine travel days with work and everyday living. So I’m here to help you with one critical part of RV life – preparing your RV Kitchen! A critical tip I recommend is that you avoid over packing. RV kitchens are small. Very small. Equally important, make sure you do pack the essential RV kitchen supplies.
Downsizing to an RV Kitchen
When we transitioned from a house to full-time RV living within 100 days. During that major life change, one concern of mine was cooking. We were leaving our house, which had storage space for easy access to all my kitchen appliances.
Now I have to make do without a lot of space. Will I have room for the rice cooker, slow cooker, and the coffee maker?
Spoiler alert: no, you won’t have room for everything. Don’t worry, I’ll help you identify the best RV kitchen accessories – those that are a must-have item.
Will I Enjoy Cooking in an RV?
I really enjoy cooking. That’s easily said when I prep our favorite meals on an open counter and season with lots of flavors from the large spice rack. It’s easy to whip up tasty meals when I have many different cookware options in a large pantry.
Well, I hoped that I’d love cooking in a tiny home, in tight spaces, and on the upcoming camping trip we had planned. That thought made me wonder how our food would taste when served on paper plates.
No matter, we had decided to live in the RV full-time so I had to find answers to all these RV cooking questions.
Yes, I knew I had to make it work. I would find a great way to plan our RV road trip meals and creative solutions for how to use the limited space that could hardly be defined as a counter.
WITH THE RIGHT TOOLS, RV Cooking IS A JOY
Looking back I realize this decision we made was the best thing for our family. I’ve been preparing meals in our RV kitchen for over a year now. I’m sure there is a lot more to learn, but now I’m comfortable.
In fact, I love solving the puzzle, finding a perfect solution for how to fit all the groceries in an RV fridge. There’s a bit of joy in finding collapsible measuring cups.
And I’m at ease putting the dutch oven on the campfire grill. Believe it or not, I actually enjoy it when 5:30 rolls around and it’s time to cook!
Here are a few of my favorite recipes I’ve prepared in our RV:
OK, let’s get started. These are my personal favorite RV kitchen essentials (with some tips sprinkled in) that make mealtime a little less stressful.
My Favorite RV Kitchen Accessories
#1. Small Folding Table
Since we live in a 26ft. travel trailer, counter space is pretty laughable. Literally. I laughed when we toured this model and I saw the kitchen.
But, I knew this leap we were taking was going to require sacrifices. One of those is space.
RV COUNTERSPACE IS PREMIUM REAL ESTATE
The small piece of counter space we do have is taken up by a coffee pot, kettle, and a divided container for kitchen utensils and our silverware. Needless to say, there’s pretty much zero space to work with when it comes to meal prep.
It’s a great thing we bought this small folding table. It easily fits behind our couch and I use it for extra counter space for during prep. The perfect solution.
#2. Large Cutting Board
The reason this is such a good idea is because it’s multi-functional. I use it as a cutting board and to create extra space for cooking. When I’m not using the stove, I place the cutting board on top. It fits perfectly and creates another flat surface for meal prep.
If I am using the stove, I place the board over the sink. We have sink covers, but they’re not as useful so we keep them stored. The cutting board, on the other hand, is always in use.
There are many size and material options available. Measure your counter, stove and sink area before purchasing a board. I recommend heavy duty plastic. Wood is porous and it’s difficult to sanitize in an RV (think raw chicken).
#3. Utensil Caddy
A silverware drawer is non-existent in the travel trailer model we own. I needed something to keep my utensils organized and easy to reach. A utensil caddy has been perfect for our needs. It’s where I keep the everyday silverware as well as cooking utensils like wooden spoons and spatulas.
On RV travel days, I simply place the utensil caddy and other loose items into a container on the floor. That’s pretty easy storage, right?
#4. Instant Pot
Let’s just take a moment of silence to appreciate what the Instant Pot has done for my life.
I stayed away from the Instant Pot (or Instapot as I once thought it was called) craze for as long as possible. My sticks and bricks house kitchen was already filled with gadgets I had to have. Gadgets that made my life easier. Tools that helped me put the best meals in the world on the table. I thought the variety was essential to cooking a great meal.
Then something changed my mind. Though I don’t remember what that was or why I finally decided to purchase this amazing cooking tool, I am so happy I did!
I have used my Instant Pot for meals in our RV too many times to count. From Quinoa Tacos to hearty soups to cilantro lime rice, my family has enjoyed lots of tasty meals.
If you can buy only one item, this is it. It’s perfect for any RV owner. I personally think it’s the best gadget I purchased for our RV lifestyle.
INSTANT POT IS ESSENTIAL FOR RV LIVING
Here are a few of my top reasons why the Instant Pot is a must-have item for the RV kitchen.
- It saves time as it cooks things way faster than on the stove
- Using the oven heats up the RV really fast and that’s miserable in the summer
- It’s only one pot I have to clean
- I doesn’t take up too much space (considering it does the job of multiple kitchen tools)
- Rice turns out perfect every time
- Quinoa turns out perfect every time
- Potato soup turns out perfect every time
You get the idea…
#5. An Electric Kettle
I’ll never forget about 8 years ago reading a post by Design Mom about two kitchen tools she used because of her time living in France. One of those was an electric tea kettle.
I immediately went out and bought my very first electric kettle. 🙂
It had a permanent spot in our house kitchen and bringing it with us was a no-brainer. All five of us use it daily! I can’t imagine not having one now.
2 KEY REASONS I RECOMMEND AN ELECTRIC KETTLE
- It heats water at least 4 times faster than our microwave, especially if the RV park has poor electrical connections
- It uses less propane than a stove kettle. Propane is like liquid gold so the less I use, the better
#6. Muffin Tin
A muffin tin is essential? Yep! Hear me out. After more than a year on the road, I am still learning what my oven can and can’t do.
THINGS I CANNOT COOK IN MY RV OVEN
- It can’t roast a chicken, turkey or any other large bird
- It can’t cook more than one thing at a time because it’s TINY
- It can’t cook thick cakes or bread all the way through without torching the bottom
THINGS MY RV OVEN CAN DEFINITELY DO
- It can burn things
- It can still make me laugh when I open it and realize how TINY it is
- It can cook things in muffin form
Before we hit the road, I did learn that putting a pizza stone on the bottom shelf helps spread out the heat for a more even bake. That has proven to be a great tip.
Related Reading: Tips for How to Cook in an RV Oven
But, cooking in an RV is different from using the oven at home. For several months I didn’t do any baking, which is one of my favorite things to do. Sad.
WHY A MUFFIN TIN IS GREAT FOR RV COOKING
Then one day on the road my family mentioned they had a taste for muffins. I made cornbread muffins. No, that wasn’t exactly the flavor they were dreaming about. But, the muffins baked perfectly in our RV oven! What a fantastic side dish for my veggie chili.
I was inspired! Even though our next meal was dinner, the very next dish I made was breakfast muffins. Then I baked cupcakes. And we baked brownie muffins.
Mmm, yes, you read that right. Brownies baked in a muffin tin. We topped them with ice cream and chocolate syrup. Delicious brownie sundae cupcake muffins! You should have seen my family enjoy the single serve Frittata bites and Meatloaf! That was one tasty meal after an all-day hike.
Baking your meals in a muffin tin takes less time (remember, less propane = happy), and the small portions cook more evenly.
#7. Electric Griddle
I almost didn’t add the electric griddle to this list, but I realized how often I use it. It takes up more space than I’d like, but it’s worth it.
With an electric griddle, I an cook an entire stack of pancakes at one time. I also use it to cook the breakfast chicken sausages my kids can’t get enough of.
Non-stick electric griddle with removable handles. 22-inch, 6.5 pounds.
For an exhaustive list of everything I brought with me to set up my RV kitchen, check out my post all about RV Kitchen Accessories.
Are you a full-time RVer? Are there any RV kitchen gadgets you think should be included on this list? Or maybe you have some tips for how to create extra space in the kitchen or the RV fridge.
We always love hearing from our readers. Please include your comments below!
Julie specializes in helping you whip up delicious meals in your tiny RV kitchen, as well as RV organization tips and helping fellow RVers make their RV feel like home. Her favorite RVing spot is in Banff National Park in Canada where yes, the water really is that blue and the people really are that nice.