make ahead recipes for camping ideas

40 Simple Make-Ahead Camping Meals: Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner Ideas

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Make your next camping trip even easier by doing most of the meal prep before you leave! These delicious and easy make-ahead recipes for camping will mean less time preparing camping food and cooking and more time having great adventures with family and friends!

family having a picnic next to their tent

Why Make-Ahead Recipes For Camping For Camping Are Great

In case you need a little extra convincing why a bit of extra preparation before you leave home is a great idea, here are some reasons why you should give this a go for your next camping trip.

The whole idea of going camping is to spend time enjoying the great outdoors and appreciating the simple things in life.

Spending all your time cooking, cutting, cleaning and so on is hardly a good use of that time.

Sure, a bit of campfire cooking can be great fun! These foil packet recipes for camping are a perfect option that combines both make-ahead and campfire cooking in one.

Make-ahead meals for camping don’t mean you have to prepare every meal for your trip before you leave, but it is great to try for a few of your meals at least!

And it means you can enjoy some of your favourite family meals without bringing a lot of different cooking utensils and equipment with you!

We often add in a few no-cook camping meals when we do our campervan trips and foods that don’t need refrigeration. These are also great for road trip meal planning too! And they mean you can sit back and relax along with the rest of the family.

Camp Cooking Essentials

While simple make-ahead meals for camping sure will save you time, these camp cooking essentials will also help make your family camping trip easier too.

A camp cooker will make reheating and cooking over a campfire much easier.

For one-pot meals, a dutch oven is a great camp kitchen essential and a cast-iron skillet. You can find heaps of inspiration for dutch oven camping recipes.

A pair of long handle tongs and heat-resistant BBQ gloves will keep you from burnt fingers! And don’t forget the foil and parchment paper.

Make-Ahead Camping Breakfast Recipes

Start the day off strong with delicious breakfasts.

These simple make-ahead camping breakfast ideas are easy meals for the whole family to enjoy before setting off for your activities for the day or while watching the sunrise together on the beach.

breakfast muffins
  • Breakfast Egg Muffins – Breakfast Egg Muffins are easy to make breakfast or lunch muffins. They use eggs, vegetables, cheese and spinach to create a protein-packed breakfast or on the go snack. You can freeze these for later too, ready for future camping trips!
  • Applesauce Oat Banana muffins – These sweet breakfast muffins are a family favourite and are perfect for breakfast in the great outdoors. Easy to make in bulk and freeze for later.
  • Toasted Oats Cereal – This warm toasted muesli is made with rolled oats, chopped nuts, and dried fruit for a simple and delicious make-ahead camping breakfast. Make it at home so it’s ready to eat at breakfast time, served with milk or a non-dairy alternative!
  • Easy Keto Granola – Discover 5 different ways to make this healthy, sugar-free granola recipe. Variations include pumpkin spice, cinnamon, blueberry, strawberry and coconut trail mix.
  • Pear and Walnut Muffins – These delicious muffins are loaded with sweet flavours and walnut crunch. They are easy to make ahead in bulk and are great for snacks as well. You can also switch out the walnuts for pumpkin seeds or similar for a nut-free variation.
  • Gluten-Free Crunchy Homemade Granola – This crunchy homemade granola is nutty, gluten-free, & has the perfect amount of sweetness and a simple option for camping breakfasts that require little to no prep on the day.
  • Instant Pot Egg Bites – Your family will love these make-ahead Cheesy Egg Bites! Convenient, flavorful and a high protein breakfast for a big day of activities.
  • Oatmeal Breakfast Bars – These oatmeal breakfast bars are a healthy camping breakfast idea or for an afternoon snack. These bars are filled with the goodness of oatmeal, flaxseeds, peanut butter, and pumpkin puree.
  • Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins – These sweet muffins with banana and chocolate chips are great for breakfast or sweet snacks.

These breakfast recipes for camping that you can make ahead of your trip require a little more preparation or heating but are still mostly prepped at home before you leave to save you time:

  • Easy Camping Breakfast Burritos – These camping breakfast burritos are perfect to make ahead for breakfast when camping and you can even freeze them in bulk for future camping trips! They are delicious and easy to make, eaten as they are or reheated at your campsite, either in the coals or in a skillet.
  • Foil Packet Breakfast Bake – This foil packet breakfast bake requires heating, but you can easily do this while you prepare for your day. It is easy to make, tasty and simple to prepare ahead of time.
  • Cheese, Bacon and Potato Breakfast Casserole – This simple breakfast casserole recipe is an easy way to feed your family or a whole crowd for breakfast or brunch while camping. Do the prep at home then put it all together to cook when you’re ready to eat it.
  • Dutch Oven Breakfast Bake – Prep this dutch oven breakfast bake before you leave home so you just need to bake it ready to eat.
  • Apple Maple Sausage Breakfast Sandwiches – These easy to prepare breakfast sandwiches consists of an English muffin, fried egg, melted cheese, and a homemade apple maple sausage patty. Make in advance and reheat for breakfast.
  • Apple Maple Sausage Breakfast Sandwiches – English muffin, fried egg, melted cheese, and a homemade apple maple sausage patty in foil, ready to heat in the campfire. 

For another easy make-ahead breakfast idea, pre-toast English muffins and cook your fillings, such as egg, bacon or a sausage patty, and wrap individually in foil. They can be reheated in a camp cooker or in the fire for a yummy breakfast!

Find loads more easy camping breakfast ideas and recipes to try!

Make-Ahead Camping Lunch Ideas

You’ve got to stop for lunch at some point during the day so you might as well make that a quick and easy lunch break, with minimal prep or clean up.

Most of these camping lunch recipes are either ready to eat or require very little preparation and cleanup.

For salads, you can easily add individual serves to a mason jar for quick and easy lunch meals that have easy cleanup.

  • Vegan Pasta Salad – A delicious, quick and easy salad that takes under 20 minutes to make, with simple ingredients that are healthy, colourful, and loaded with flavour.
  • Halloumi Wraps – Everyone loves these wraps – and they’re perfect to bring along for any camping trip. With halloumi, pesto and walnuts it’s a flavour packed meal that even the picky eaters enjoy.
  • Crab Salad – Create this delicious crab salad that includes a surprise ingredient. It is the perfect first night of camping meal!
  • Vegan Bean and Quinoa Salad – This vibrant vegan bean and quinoa salad is loaded with veggies and healthy beans, high in protein and naturally gluten-free, making it perfect for sunny days camping.
  • Black Bean and Corn Salsa – This salad with corn and black beans is an amazing side dish that goes with so many dishes. Serve it with grilled meats, in tacos, or by itself with tortilla chips. The salad keeps well, and gets even better on day two and three making it a great option for camping lunches!
  • Lemon Chicken with Veggies – This lemon chicken with veggies is an easy, yummy lunch you can prepare beforehand. It’s full of flavours, healthy, and easy to pack up.
  • Cheese and Bacon Turnovers – Perfect make-ahead breakfast, lunch or snack. Cheese and bacon turnovers are a delicious and tasty option you can prepare before you leave.
  • Instant Pot Hummus – If you have a pressure cooker at home, you can throw together this delicious homemade hummus to serve with crackers or chopped veggie sticks during your camp lunch break.
  • Pressed Italian Sandwiches – This simple no-cook meal is great for camping. Prep the sandwiches in 20 minutes and stick them in your camp cooler to “press” until you’re ready to slice & eat. They make a simple lunch or dinner and are loaded with flavour.
  • Cheese & Bacon Scrolls – These simple savoury scrolls are made with a 2 ingredient dough and you can add any fillings you like. Make a big batch before you go and have them ready for lunches or snacks while you are away.
  • Air Fryer Chicken Caesar Wraps – These delicious chicken wraps can be made at home the night before and chilled, to be eaten cold. Or cook up your chicken in the air fryer and wrap it in foil to reheat at your campsite before adding all the wrap ingredients you’ve prepared at home.
  • South Western Sweet Potato Salad – For a twist on a traditional potato salad, this sweet potato salad has black beans, corn and cilantro and lots of flavour.
  • Buffalo Tahini Quinoa & Rice Wraps – A quick make ahead lunch wrap idea that is delicious and healthy.

INSIDER TIP: We will often pack several no-cook options for lunches when we are on camping or road trips. Some favourites are savoury bread rolls or pull-apart bread, croissants with sliced meat and cheese, cheese, crackers and dip or sandwiches and wraps.

Make Ahead Camping Meals For Dinner

After a big day, one of the best parts of camping with family and friends is enjoying a hot meal together and relaxing around the campfire for the evening.

Most of these recipes require cooking or reheating over your campfire or using a camp stove, but the bulk of the prep is done before you leave home.

This means more time to enjoy the great company and fresh air while dining in the great outdoors together.

  • Pesto Pork Chop and Summer Vegetable Foil Dinners – This recipe is a great way to mix up camping dinners. Fresh, summertime vegetables are tossed in pesto and balsamic, cooked with boneless pork chops in this makeover version of the classic foil dinners from childhood. This can be made ahead by preassembling the foil packets.
  • Hobo Dinner Hamburger Foil Packets – You can make these Foil Packet Hamburgers in advance and just pop them over the fire when you’re ready.
  • Jamaican Beef Patties – Make-ahead Jamaican Beef Patties are packed full with a delicious spicy minced beef patty filling. Can be served cold or reheated with your camp stove.
  • Campfire Corn on the Cob – Make these corn on the cob ahead of your trip so you can enjoy an easy campfire meal with little to no preparation required.
  • Salmon Foil Packets with Summer Vegetables – These make-ahead foil packets with salmon and veggies are a great hearty meal to enjoy during your camping trip. With delicious garlic flavours, you will want to eat this early on in your adventure.
  • Skillet Tacos – Taco Tuesday is a favourite night of the week for many families! And there is no need to skip it when you go camping. This skillet taco recipe can be pre-prepared at home by cooking and seasoning the ground beef then adding the extra ingredients in when you are on your trip.
  • Greek Chicken Skewers – Add your chicken and veggies to your skewers at home and marinate in a ziplock bag, ready for cooking at dinner time around the campsite.
  • Campfire Spaghetti Bake – With just a bit of preparation you can make this amazing camping meal for your next trip and it’s a great family meal that the kids will love too.
  • Slow Cooker Beef & Bacon Chili – Every camping trip calls for hearty chili & this bacon & beef one is perfect. Make it ahead of time & warm it up over the campfire – the best part that it’s amazing as is or with hot dogs.
  • 3 Bean Chilli – This three bean chili recipe with pinto, black, and Great Northern beans is an easy to prepare one-pot meal to make at home and reheat in your dutch oven for camping dinner.
  • Bacon Ranch Chicken Foil Packets – These chicken camping meals to make ahead have loads of flavour to please a crowd.

Tin-foil recipes are also a great way of converting traditional recipes you make at home into easy camping meals. You can create foil packs with aluminium foil for a huge variety of favourite recipes, doing the prep work at home.

Easy Camping Snacks

Don’t forget the snacks when you’re packing your camping meals! This part is easy but you want to make sure you have enough snacks for your entire camping trip.

Especially in the cooler weather and with everyone being more active, you may find you go through snacks quicker than usual.

You will also want a few easy snacks to take if you are going on a long hike, because you’re sure to get peckish along the way.

The perfect snack for camping is one that can keep in an airtight container and doesn’t need to be chilled, to save you space in the cooler.

Best to have too many snacks and take some back home than not enough!

Here are some simple camping snack ideas:

  • Fresh fruit and vegetable sticks
  • Crackers, chips and biscuits
  • Granola bars and snack bars
  • Protein balls
  • Muffins, brownies and slices
  • S’mores – Make S’mores cones at home before you leave by adding the ingredients into ice cream cones for easy campfire cooking
  • Hot chocolate mix
  • Banana bread

These make-ahead recipes for camping and pre-prep meal ideas will save you a load of time for your next camping trip without compromising on delicious meals. In fact, you could quite easily convert some of your favourite family recipes into make-ahead campfire recipes too, with a few tweaks!

Which of these camping meals to make ahead are you most looking forward to trying?

Grab our free camping meal planner here:

free printable camping meal planner.
simple Make ahead camping meals