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The absolute best way to end off a day of camping is with a delicious dinner. I’m wholeheartedly convinced that everything tastes better when cooked outside, so I’m a huge fan of making your family camping dinner really amazing.
At the same time, I’m a minimalist at heart, so the less work I have to do, the happier I am. I’m all about making camping dinners for kids that don’t take a lot of kitchen supplies, or extra work on my end. I’m also a HUGE FAN of camping meals that have a simple cleanup, so I can just chill and relax by the fire after dinner.
While it may be tempting to just bring a package of hot dogs and buns and call it good, we’re going to show you some kid-friendly camping dinners that actually taste AMAZING, so that you’ll enjoy dinner while you’re camping too.
Simplifying Family Camping Meals
Like I already mentioned, we like to keep things as simple as possible when we’re camping with kids. The best way to do that is to do as much of the prep work at home as you can. Here are some easy things that you can do to simplify your family camping dinners:
Cut up veggies at home. I always chop up any veggies that I need in advance and just store them in a Ziploc in the cooler. As an added bonus, they take up much less cooler space after being chopped!
Pre Cook Meats! Whenever possible, I precook our meats before we leave home. Not only does that help us get dinner ready faster, but it also means that I don’t have to worry about keeping our meat cold enough in the cooler to stay fresh. The big exception to that is if we’re planning on grilling.
Freeze meals at home. To help your food stay as fresh as possible, you can always cook your meal at home and then freeze everything to bring with you. This is a great way to keep food cool for several days and cut down on your prep work. Think of it like prepping freezer meals, and then plan on cooking it in a dutch oven over coals, or in a skillet over your camp stove.
Plan Camping Meals Based on Expiration Date
When you’re out camping, make a plan for when you’re going to eat your meals and go from there. Plan on eating foods that will expire faster at the beginning of your camping trip. If I’m planning on grilling steaks over the fire, we’ll eat those the first night, since they won’t last as long. At the end of the trip, we’ll be eating pasta or quesadillas, since the ingredients can last so much longer without spoiling.
Plan Camping Meals Around Your Activities
Once you have your camping meals sorted by expiration date, it’s time to factor in what other activities you plan to do while you’re camping with kids. If you want to do a dutch oven chicken, know that it will take longer, so you should cook that on a day where you’ll be back at camp by mid-afternoon to start prepping your coals. If you’re heading out for an early morning hike, it’s a day that’s much more suited to bagels on the go, than pancakes and bacon.
Bring Along A Few Emergency Camping Meals
When camping with kids, we always advise parents to plan for the unexpected. This applies to meals just as it does the weather. We always take a few “emergency meals” on our camping trips with us, so that we’re prepared for the unknown. Maybe we had a cooler malfunction (ahem, a kid leaving it open), a sudden desire to stay an extra night, or even a toddler tantrum at the meal that I prepared (yes, that’s an absolute emergency to save mom and dads sanity).
There are a few things that we always keep in our camp kitchen box for times like this, such as dehydrated soup mixes, and instant oatmeal. When we’re packing our food, we always bring some extra bread and peanut butter for sandwiches, as well as a few extra boxes of granola bars for quick snacks too.
What Camping Dinners Are The Easiest To Make?
The easiest camping dinner is obviously hot dogs on a skewer, but there are plenty of other quick and simple camping dinners that actually taste great. Here are some of our favorites:
Skewer Dinners Cooked Over A Campfire
Anything that you can roast on a stick falls into this category. You can roast bread dough, for something simple, or if you want something with more flavor, opt for kabobs. To keep things really simple, you can also opt for precooked chicken strips and let everyone warm theirs up over the campfire (this meal is sure to be a huge hit for the kids with the right dipping sauce). We’re also sharing some of our favorite camping recipes that can be cooked over a campfire below!
Foil Meals for Camping
Double wrap your dinner in foil and place it on the coals of the campfire. The sky is the limit here, but we often opt for individual foil dinners filled with meat, veggies, and seasonings. We’re sharing some of our favorite family-friendly foil dinners for camping below.
Camping Dinners To Cook Over The Campfire
All of our favorite camping dinners that you can cook over the campfire in one place. While all of these dinners are amazing when cooked over the campfire, most of them can also be cooked on the stove or grill as well!
This recipe for corn on the cob over the campfire will make you instantly fall in love with camping food. Perfectly cooked over the campfire, this corn on the cob is the perfect addition to your family camping meal.
Sheet pan dinners are quickly becoming one of my favorite things to make over the campfire – just one bowl and one pan. Simply put your pan on the grill over the fire and you've got an easy camping meal without lots of mess. This recipe for The Ultimate Sheet Pan Dinner because it allows me to cook up whatever veggies, poultry or seafood I happened to bring with us
This shrimp foil pouch is proof that you can go camping and eat great food too! This easy to make Garlic Lemon Chive foil-wrapped campfire meal is sure to delight your taste buds and have you wanting more!
If you're already getting all the foil packet supplies out, you may as well make dessert too! Easy campfire dessert recipe lovers, this one is for you. We have Campfire Apple Crisp Foil Packs full of sweet juicy apples, cinnamon and granola. Bonus is that they require minimal prep and no cleanup.
Another fajita foil packet, but this one is another winner! These 5 ingredient Chicken Fajita Foil Packets are a pantry staple, minimal prep lunch, or weeknight dinner that can be made on the grill or oven or camping. The whole family will love these this easy recipe.
Whether you prepare these Campfire Zucchini Foil Packets at home and bring with you on your camping trip or prepare them while camping, they make a healthy, delicious, and easy side to enjoy with all of your camping meals.
Hamburger Foil Packets are a super fun way to get dinner on the (picnic) table, using a grill or a campfire!
This pork green chile is great to make ahead and bring on your family camping trip! Try this pork green chile smothered over breakfast burritos or just eat it as a stew with warm tortillas. Feel free to cut the recipe in half.