These make ahead camping meals are a convenient way to eat yummy meals. Whether you have an action-packed camping trip planned or you just want to be lazy and relax on simple camping trips, you don’t want to sacrifice eating awesome food!
This Thai chicken is one of my favorite make ahead meals because it has soooooooo much flavor and it is a really unique recipe. It is another one of my freezer bag meals that you just have to defrost at the campsite and cook in your camp Dutch oven over a campfire.
Try this Thai chicken and you’ll see why it is one of our favorite winter camping recipes that we cook while we gather around a hot campfire!
Big and hearty warm sandwiches are so good for a fast camping dinner meal! This French dip is one of my “dump and cook” freezer meals. Just get your campfire going and simmer this beef in the flavor-filled juice that you’ll use for dipping!
Veggies are easy to prep at home and this beef actually tastes better if it sits in the marinade overnight. That’s why this stir fry makes a great “dump and cook” camp dinner.
This classic one-pot comfort food is easy to make at the campsite but you can also make it at home, refrigerate it for a couple of days and just reheat it at the campsite. The beef, beans, tomatoes, onions and cheese combine with the macaroni to create a meal filled with carbs and protein … perfect for campers who need energy during their trips.
Try this easy and fast steak on your next camping trip! It only takes about 8 minutes to grill! The simple homemade marinade uses brown sugar, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, Worcestershire sauce, rosemary, garlic powder, cayenne pepper and salt to provide tons of flavor to an affordable protein.
Chili is always a great recipe to reheat at the campsite but this can also be prepped ahead and just cooked in a portable tailgate smoker at camp. The amazing flavor comes from the combination of ground beef, bacon, onion, garlic, jalapeno peppers, spices and three types of beans.
Wraps are really easy to make ahead and can be wrapped in plastic or parchment paper for eating later on camp trips or in a vehicle on long road trips.
8. Take-Out Pizza
If you don’t have enough time to make your own food, you can always reheat takeout meals on your trip. If you’ll be eating cold pizza … great. If you want to reheat it, I recommend getting enough smaller pizzas to feed the whole family (large pizzas can be hard to transport, refrigerate and handle when re-heating). Then, wrap them in foil or place them in a large cast-iron skillet with a lid and heat over medium heat from a campfire or camp stove. You don’t want the bottom to burn before the pizza is heated through. Top with a little parmesan cheese and dinner is served!
There are a couple of make ahead options for this stew. You can make the entire recipe at home and refrigerate it until you are ready to re-heat it at the campsite. Or, you can prep the meat and veggies at home, then just cook this hearty stew over your campfire. This is one of my easy camping meals for large groups that is easily scaled-up to feed an entire crowd!
When I make this hobo stew at the campsite, I set up an ingredient bar and let each camper build their own foil packet. When doing this as one of my make ahead meals for camping, I just prep all of the ingredients at home and transport them in individual food storage containers to the campsite. Then I just pop off the lids and set them out to create the ingredient bar.
Let your imagination run wild and create more hobo recipes. Shrimp boil foil packet meals are yummy. So are bbq chicken foil packets. Just make sure you don’t add acidic ingredients, like lime juice, to your packets with your meat and veggies … otherwise, they’ll begin to “cook” in your cooler.
Chili is a hearty meal that always comes to mind when thinking about make ahead camping food. It actually tastes better when it sits for a day or two. You can make this chili at home and refrigerate it for a few days to reheat it at the campsite.
Alternatively, you can make it at home then freeze it for future camping trips. When I do that, I like to make a double batch so I have one dinner for home and a second dinner for a camping trip but only one cooking/clean up event. Making multiple batches of this chili works well if you are feeding a large crowd.
Dump and reheat meals are particularly great for limited mobility camping. For people with mobility challenges, it is easier to prepare food at home in a kitchen that has been modified for accessibility and then just reheat the food at the campsite.
As far as camping recipes goes, this gumbo is one of my most complicated and time consuming recipes but the flavors are worth the effort! Some of our camp days are “lazy cooking days” where we just hang out at the campsite, read a book, play a few games and tend to a long-cooking meal throughout the day. But, you can easily make this gumbo at home and just reheat it at the campsite too.
This beef and broccoli is what I call one of my “dump and cook” freezer meals for camping. You just have to put all of the ingredients in a freezer bag at home, lay it flat in your freezer and freeze it.
I like making these because I just take it out of the freezer and load it into my RV refrigerator or cooler to transport it to the campsite. Then, after it is defrosted, just dump the entire contents of the bag into a camp Dutch oven and cook it over a campfire.
One pot camping meals are some of my favorite make ahead camping recipes. This white chili is an easy on-site recipe but if you want to make it at home, you can just refrigerate it and then reheat it at the campsite. I love making several batches of this recipe if I need to feed a large crowd.
If you are camping in cooler weather, this soup is one of the best make ahead camping meals! I actually love making this at the campsite around a warm fire but I have also made this at home, refrigerated it and then just reheated it at the campsite. It is so hearty and filling that I serve it with a loaf of crusty bread and call it dinner but it can also be served as a starter for an Italian meal.
I absolutely LOVE cooking at the campsite but there are some no-cook recipes that are yummy! So, I have to put away the charcoal to enjoy some really refreshing camping meal ideas. This salad is easy to make onsite but it is also one of my favorite premade meal ideas for a camping trip.
When I make this recipe at home, I do all of the chopping and make the dressing in my home kitchen … then I transport the individual ingredients to the campsite in food storage containers that are in my RV refrigerator or camp cooler. Just before we are ready to eat this amazing salad, I just toss all the ingredients together and serve! I promise, you won’t want to put your fork down!
18. Hot Dogs
The classic camping “reheat meal” is old fashioned hot dogs. If I’m doing something this simple, I like to jazz them up by making them Chicago-Style. I boil or grill the dogs and steam the buns. Then top with onions, cucumber, tomatoes and mustard. My family also likes them with grilled green bell peppers and a shake of chili powder.
Meat and veggies cooked on skewers are perfect opportunities to do your camping meal prep at home. You can do all of the chopping, marinating and threading before you leave your house or you can just do place the ingredients in plastic bags and thread onto sticks at camp for easier transportation.
If you want to add a little tropical flavor, turn these into pineapple chicken kebabs!
Combine English cucumbers, red onion, bell pepper and garlic with a simple homemade dressing and refrigerate for a day or two and you’ll have the freshest salad you can imagine. It’s perfect for summer camp trips.
This is an easy retro side dish that is the perfect pairing for grilled meats and sandwiches. The tender potatoes are tossed with hard boiled eggs, onion and celery in a simple homemade sauce.
Talk about yummy make ahead camping recipes! This Southwest salad can be served as a side salad or a main course by just adding some cubed cooked chicken. You can make it at home and refrigerate up to 2 days.
A big foil pack of fresh veggies is a healthy and simple side dish for quick dinners. Just combine the packet at home and keep in the fridge until you are ready to cook them. Then, just toss the packet over hot campfire coals and cook till veggies are softened.
We bring a little taste of home on our Thanksgiving camping trips. We actually do an entire turkey dinner with all the trimmings. But, we don’t do a sweet potato casserole because we only have so much oven space. Instead, we do these spiced potatoes in foil packets. This cooking method is an easy way to make individual servings and make cleanup a breeze. Happy Camping!
Pasta salads that are served cold are awesome premade camping meals! This pasta salad has bold flavors with the feta cheese, Kalamata olives and pepperoncini peppers. I like to serve it on the side with a grilled chicken breast.
You can also just cube grilled chicken and add it directly to the cold pasta salad to make a refreshing main course.
These easy biscuits can be made at the campsite in about 30 minutes … or made in advance for a quick breakfast or a side for soups, stews and chili meals.
Fresh fruit salads take a bit of prep work to clean and chop the fruit but they taste so amazing when you put in the effort! The secret to this recipe tasting so fantastic is the easy honey mint syrup.
It takes a regular fruit salad and turns it into a refreshingly yummy dessert! You can do this as a make ahead camping recipe by prepping the fruit and making the syrup at home … then just toss everything together at the campsite!
This fresh broccoli salad tastes better after the flavors marry for at least a few hours but you can actually make this recipe days in advance and keep it refrigerated until you are ready to serve it.
You really can’t have chili without a nice crusty bread … or better yet … cornbread! This cornbread is something you can easily make at the campsite or make ahead at home and just freeze it until you are ready for your camping trip.
Just make sure you tightly wrap it in plastic wrap so it stays nice and fresh. Once you defrost it, wrap it in some foil and toss it over a campfire to get it warm and toasty before serving.
Want a cornbread that has a more classic flavor profile? Try this one that is easy, quick and is made with cornmeal and canned creamed corn.
I actually like making these baked beans at the campsite but they are also great to make at home and just re-heat at the campsite. They are almost an entire meal that includes hamburger, bacon and five different beans in a simple homemade sauce.
33. Mexican Three Bean Salad
I love this flavorful Mexican corn and chickpea salad recipe because it’s not a lot of work and the ingredients are all from the pantry. Recipes made with shelf-stable canned and dry ingredients are a great way to reduce your requirements for cold storage space when you’re going on longer trips and need to carry food to feed lots of people.
But, if you have plenty of cooler or refrigerator space, you can combine the ingredients at home and refrigerate the dish until you’re ready to eat it as a quick snack or side dish with a larger meal.
The canned garbanzo, pinto and black beans are combined with Mexican style canned corn, roasted red pepper and green chilies then tossed in a simple homemade dressing.
Get more ideas for healthy meals and camping food recipes requiring no refrigeration.
Appetizers & Snacks
This easy and sophisticated appetizer can be made several days in advance and holds well in a refrigerator or cooler!
Doing this recipe as a make ahead camping appetizer is easy. Just assemble all of the ingredients and put them in a food storage container, refrigerate and then transport to the campsite. Before you are ready to eat this dip, just let it get to room temperature, spread it into your camp Dutch oven and bake till bubbly.
These nuts are one of my favorite make ahead camping snacks because they are so easy and so good! The recipe is so simple that making it at the campsite is a breeze but these nuts can also be made at home and just transported in a food storage container. This recipe makes a fairly big batch which is great if you are bringing something to a pot luck!
38. Chocolate Covered Peanut Butter Balls
I like making no-bake cookies at the campsite with dough that uses shelf-stable ingredients that don’t require refrigeration, like these peanut butter balls. But, these are also great to make ahead and freeze, then you just defrost as many as needed on your trip.
These brownies taste AMAZING and they freeze really well too. Just bake them at home then slice, wrap and freeze individual slices for your future camp trip! This is a really great option when you are making camping meals for two and don’t want huge portions of dessert.
Burritos are a quick and simple breakfast. You can cook the sausage, eggs and cheese at home then just stuff the filling in tortillas. Wrap them in tin foil and heat over campfire coals for a speedy meal.
These muffin tin eggs are an easy prep-ahead breakfast meal. Just prep the ingredients at home and transport to the campsite in food storage containers. Then you just have to bake them over your campfire!
43. Mason Jar Parfait
A great way to start your day is with an easy breakfast. This is one of the simplest make ahead recipes you can prepare. In mason jars or other single-serve containers with tight-fitting lids, mix Greek yogurt with honey or maple syrup … just enough to meet your desired level of sweetness. Add some fresh fruit and nuts then top with granola, cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
I like making sweet breads like banana bread with chocolate chips and this Dutch Oven Cinnamon Bread at home and then just transporting it to the campsite so it is ready to slice and serve. It’s easy to wrap in foil so you can slightly heat it over hot campfire coals.
46. Overnight Oats
If you don’t want to cook in the morning, just make overnight oats. Place milk, oats, Greek yogurt and whatever flavorful fruit you want into a container with a tight-fitting lid, mason jars work great. Stir, cover and refrigerate overnight (or at least 5 hours) for a cold version of this classic morning meal.
When people are looking for camping make ahead meals, they are usually doing it to make easy meals at camp. These recipes are not all make-ahead meals but they are easy and yummy!
There are so many ways to cook your make-ahead camp meals! If you love using camp stoves, you might want to think about also using refillable 1 lb propane tanks!
More Camp Food Ideas
If you are looking for simple recipes you can make directly at the campsite, I’ve got options for every meal of the day.