• Pathloom Guest Blogger

Campfire Cooking for Crowds: 7 Simple Camping Recipe Ideas

Camping Meals You Can Cook With A Single Pot or Tin Foil


a fire rages brightly and hotly, flames pouring out of the glowing coals. This fire is hot enough to be cooked on

This Fire's Ready for Cooking! - Photo Credit: Bryan Donoghue


 

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Cooking over a fire when on a hiking, thruhiking, backpacking, or camping trip can be a challenge. Bringing the ingredients for meals, and the cookware to cook them in, to feed a large group of people means having to carry everything on your back. When cooking fantastic meals for a crowd at a campsite, whether it’s close to your car or deep into the forest, simplicity is key.


Here are some ideas for great meals with few ingredients that use only a small pot of water or a roll of aluminum foil - or are similarly easy to prepare. The fewer the ingredients and camping gear for cooking needed, the lighter your pack will be, and the farther you’ll be able to travel as a result!


Many of these recipes are adaptable, and you can add proteins or other ingredients depending on your diet and preferences. They are simple, and also can be scaled from one or two campers up to a large group of people.


 

Check out these other great camping recipes & camping meal ideas on the Pathloom blog, from simple meals like these to the ridiculously complex!


5 Outdoor Gourmet Chefs Making Magic By The Campfire

3 Levels of Camping Breakfast Recipes

A Fully Foiled Campfire Meal

3 Great Homemade Trail Snacks for Your Next Adventure Quick Backpacking Fried Rice Recipe

Easy Four-Ingredient Ramen Recipe

Easy Backpacking Dinner Recipe

 

Rice and Veggies


Rice and veggies on a plate. Photo Credit: https://www.instagram.com/iownmyfoodart/

Having a tasty rice dish with veggies can be easy. Packing pre-measured portions of rice and diced veggies will ensure your meal will be light enough to fit in your bag and easy to cook over a fire. All you’ll need is a small metal pot to cook it all together over the coals of your fire.


Ingredients:

  • 2 cups of rice

  • 1 cup of water

  • Diced veggies of your choice, i.e. peas, carrots, green beans, broccoli


Add all ingredients to a cold pot. Bring water, rice and veggies to a boil. Remove from direct heat, but make sure it is close enough for the water to stay at a slight boil. Once the water is fully absorbed, the rice should be cooked and the dish should be ready to go. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper, and serve.

 

Tacos/Fajitas


A row of delicious looking tacos filled with vegetables and other glory. Photo Credit: Amy Farias - https://www.instagram.com/am_faru/

Tacos or fajitas are an excellent choice for a delicious camping meal. Tortillas are extremely lightweight and fit easily in your backpack, as do the other ingredients. Using dry black beans in a Ziplock bag can save even more space and weight in your pack as well. Other ingredients like onion and chopped lettuce will also keep relatively fresh for several days in a Ziplock bag in your pack if needed.


Ingredients:

  • Tortillas

  • Dry black beans

  • Chopped lettuce, green onion, and bell peppers

  • Hot sauce (optional)


In a small pot, rehydrate beans in water. While waiting for this process to finish, you can heat the tortillas on a hot rock near the fire or by holding them briefly over the fire (careful with your hands if utilizing this method!).


Once the beans are cooked and soft, add them along with the vegetables to the tortillas. Using a bit of hot sauce will give this meal a little extra kick.

 

Ramen Noodles


An amazing looking pot of ramen noodles with a ton of veggies and other fun things added. Photo Credit: https://www.pexels.com/@makafood-82669418/

Instant ramen noodles are popular in campsites and dorm rooms all over the world. A camper can turn a package of instant noodles into a filling meal over a campfire just as easily as a college student can using a hot plate in the dorm.


A couple of packets of ramen and these other ingredients weigh next to nothing in your hiking bag, and will provide you with the energy you need for the trail.


Ingredients:

  • Package(s) of instant ramen noodles

  • Green onion, bell pepper

  • Beef or Vegan jerky


Using a small pot, saute the veggies and/or jerky. Set them aside when done, then boil water in the pot. Once boiling, add noodles and cook for a few minutes until tender. Cooking separately takes a bit more effort, but will retain the flavor of the veggies and ensure nothing gets overcooked. Serve and enjoy!

 

Loaded Sweet Potatoes


A loaded baked sweet potato in a foil packet. Photo Credit: https://www.pexels.com/@fox-58267/

This is a play on the classic loaded baked potato. Sweet potatoes are delicious, and far more nutritious than their not-so-sweet counterparts. When they are done you’ll have a complete meal full of fiber and nutrients.


Ingredients:

  • Sweet potatoes

  • Salt and pepper

  • Green onion

  • Red pepper

  • Black beans (optional)


Slice potatoes down the middle and wrap in aluminum foil. Place them in the coals and turn occasionally, checking them until they are mostly cooked through. Take them out, open them up, and load them with green onions, diced red pepper, salt & pepper, and black beans. Wrap them back up tightly in the foil and continue cooking until the middle is completely soft.

 

Cajun Style Foil Bake


This is a take on a Cajun tradition. All the ingredients can be prepped at home in advance, wrapped in foil together, and put in a sealed bag for transportation - making it easy to bring with you on your outdoor adventure.


You can make a giant batch to cook altogether, or create smaller separate foil packets for individual servings - you just open the foil once it’s done cooking, let it cool a bit, and start eating! No dishes to clean. You can add fish or jerky to this recipe as well for some extra protein.


Ingredients:

  • Corn cobs

  • Bell peppers

  • Zucchini

  • Salt and pepper

  • Chili powder

  • Paprika

  • Thyme

  • Hot Peppers (optional)

  • Black beans (optional)

  • Shrimp, fish, jerky, or vegan jerky (optional)


Break up corn cobs into 2-3 pieces and wrap in foil with your protein of choice, peppers, zucchini, onions, and butter (you can use beans instead of or in addition to corn). Add hot peppers if you want some kick.


Putting the foil cooking packet too close to the flames could burn both the foil and your food, so place it on a grill or a rock on the fire ring and keep an eye on it. Cook time depends on the size of the packet and the heat of the coals, but your meal should be ready in about 20 minutes.

 

Kebabs


Kebabs with tons of varied meat and veggies interspersed throughout each skewer! Photo credit: https://www.pexels.com/@pixabay/

Cooking meat and veggies over a fire is as old as, well, cooking. Making kebabs is simple and takes very little in the way of materials. They can be vegetarian or made with meat as well, depending on your preference and diet. Like other recipes on this list, you can prepare all of the ingredients, and the skewers as a whole, ahead of time.


Ingredients:

  • Bell peppers

  • Zucchinis

  • Onions

  • Mushrooms

  • Favorite BBQ sauce

  • Beef or Chicken (optional)

  • Metal or Wood skewers


Soak skewers (if made of wood) for a few hours before cooking to prevent them from burning over the flames. Cut veggies into large pieces, and marinate in BBQ sauce. Slide pieces onto skewers, alternating between veggies - for example: pepper, zucchini, onion, mushroom etc. Hold over coals or flame, turning as it cooks. Be careful when using wood skewers as they can burn and break.

 

Grilled Cheese Pitas


Grilling up some pitas over campfire coals. Photo Credit: https://amandaoutside.com/blog/grilled-chicken-greek-pitas

Grilled cheese sandwiches are possibly the easiest meal to make, ever, anywhere. Cheese and bread, what can be more simple than that? Hard cheeses such as cheddar or Monterey Jack travel well when wrapped in wax paper and plastic wrap. Pitas are flat, easy to carry, and more durable than traditional sliced bread when jostling around in your hiking pack.


Ingredients:

  • Hard Cheese (Cheddar, Monterey Jack, Fontina, Havarti, Gouda) cut into slices.

  • (for vegans, a harder vegan cheese such as Field Roast Chao Cheese works best)

  • Pita bread

  • Butter/vegan butter


Cut or tear open the pocket of the pita. Fill the pocket with cheese. Cook the sandwich on a rack or grill if it is available in the camping site, or you can just put it on a flat rock near your fire. You can get creative and add veggies of your choice into the pocket for some added nutrients. Adding some butter before cooking can give you even more flavor.

 

Another fire stoked by the wind, burning brightly and ready for cooking

Nothing beats cooking over a campfire! - Photo Credit: Ankit Jain



Final Thoughts


Besides the actual food items you bring with you, make sure you leave room in your backpack for seasonings. Packets of salt, pepper and hot sauce will go a long way to making your meals interesting and tasty. You can store other spices in Ziplock bags or small jars as well to bring along with you.


Cooking for a large crowd with very little in the way of ingredients and equipment may seem daunting, but it will give you a chance to get creative by simplifying the process as much as possible - while still making delicious meals for your entire party.


 

Guest Blogger Paul Wilson is a software engineer with a passion for the outdoors. When he first started camping he always felt frustrated because many things can initially seem tough (e.g. trouble sleeping in a tent, bugs, etc), but he gradually found solutions for each of the problems, and started enjoying the trips. That’s why he created cutecamper.com - to help other beginners come to similar solutions. He loves sharing his tips and guides to help people enhance their outdoor experiences.

 

Find a dispersed campsite near National Park land. Learn a new camping recipe, or get tips to enhance your thruhiking. Be among the first to get exclusive stories, trail reports and more from our growing team of experienced campers, backpackers, thru hikers, and fellow adventure lovers.



 

Check out these other recipes by Pathloom which you may enjoy:


5 Outdoor Gourmet Chefs Making Magic By The Campfire

3 Levels of Camping Breakfast Recipes

A Fully Foiled Campfire Meal

3 Great Homemade Trail Snacks for Your Next Adventure Quick Backpacking Fried Rice Recipe

Easy Four-Ingredient Ramen Recipe

Easy Backpacking Dinner Recipe


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