Whether you camp out at the beach or the desert, at your local KOA or in your backyard—or even in your living room next to the fireplace!—camping food is a joy for even the most jaded adventurer. Without a doubt, one of the most exciting parts of packing and preparing for a camping trip is planning the menu—not just breakfast, lunches, and dinners, but those campfire snacks and treats that make the trip even more memorable. The 21st century heralded the dawning of the age of the foodie, and camping is no exception.
There is literally a camping style for everyone, whether you favor glamping in an RV with full utility hookups, or more minimalist camping with just a duffel bag, a tent, and your own wilderness survival skills to entertain you. That means every travel lover can find a place in their life for great camping food: Why should you be limited to weenie roasts and tinned beans these days? Campfire food is an emerging art, and, with a little gusto and creativity, you can create some very tasty concoctions with just an open fire! These are ten of the best campfire treats for your gang.
1. Classic S’mores (And Variations Thereof)
There is no questioning that s’mores are THE classic campfire treat. Getting your fingers sticky, burning your tongue with molten chocolate, inhaling the smoky essence of charred graham cracker … it’s a full-sensory experience. Connoisseurs can go back and forth endlessly about the ratios of ingredients, but your basic s’more is foolproof: Roast one jumbo marshmallow until hot through-and-through, then sandwich said piping-hot marshmallow and milk chocolate between two graham cracker squares, watching the chocolate go fully melty and delicious.
Bored with the basics and want s’more? (See what I did there?):
● Mix up the melt with different types of chocolate—like dark, white, or Mexican—or try something seasonal, like peppermint bark, as your binder.
● Smear a thick coating of hazelnut spread on your grahams to substitute for the chocolate bar pieces, which can be unwieldy.
● Stick a Reese’s cup inside with marshmallow for the ultimate PB + chocolate bite!
● Go nuts with toasted coconut shreds, crushed peanuts, slivered almonds, or anything else with a crunch factor.
● Try shortbread cookies instead of graham crackers for a more buttery, savory experience.
2. Banana Boats
Banana boats, with all their variations, are another can’t miss campfire classic. While usually made a la s’mores with marshmallow and chocolate, you can zhoosh up a banana boat with just about any combination of the following: something melty + something sweet + something crunchy. Beyond that, let your imagination run wild! A basic banana boat snack is made by splitting a whole banana down the middle lengthwise, peel intact, scoring the fruit, and stuffing it with yummy goodies. The banana is then folded back together, wrapped in aluminum foil, and roasted in the embers of the campfire. Alternately, if your camping kitchen includes a griddle, you can cook them over the fire.
Banana boat flavor variations:
● Chocolate praline: pralines and chocolate
● Dulce de leche: chocolate, dulce de leche, and coconut shreds
● Honey ginger: candied ginger, honey, white chocolate
● Strawberry hazelnut: Nutella, sliced strawberries, toasted hazelnuts
3. Bacon on a stick
Cooking man’s favorite food—bacon!—over a campfire is as simple as roasting a kebab. If you can poke food on a stick and turn it in the flames, you can char your very own breakfast. Simply find a long stick with a sharp end, and weave one or more strips of bacon on the stick like a ribbon. Stick the bacon over the fire and roast until cooked. That’s it. If you have ample packing room and the desire to go a little further, generously coat your raw bacon with brown sugar, chili powder to taste, and cracked black pepper before cooking. Voila: candied spicy bacon for all of those out there with a sweet tooth!
4. Campfire Cocoa
Nothing goes with a frigid night around a roaring fire like hot chocolate. How elaborate your campfire cocoa treat gets is solely dependent on your camping style, and how many fussy ingredients you care to carry. If you are doing a rough-and-dirty camp, some Swiss Miss with freeze-dried mini marshmallows and some clean water in a Dutch oven can hit the spot just fine.
For those with RV kitchens or a cabin handy, there is the decadent World’s Greatest Camping Cocoa, which is extra in all the right ways. Made with heavy cream, shredded dark chocolate, explosive roasted marshmallows, and plenty of TLC, this is a treat that would be mindblowing in a nice restaurant, and is nothing short of sublime under a starry sky. Hint: Packing loose spices or even powdered ingredients like cocoa quickly get bulky and messy. Try packing sacs, which will ensure that even a chili powder explosion doesn’t ruin your clothing and other stainable gear.
5. Foil Packet Loaded Fries
Exploring the great outdoors doesn’t have to mean you can’t eat some decadent junk food. Everyone in your party can have their own packet of saucy, salty loaded French fries with minimal effort around a campfire. All you need is enough frozen fries for your group, some aluminum foil, and enough an array of tasty condiments. To prepare, just make a classic campfire cooking packet out of foil, hit the inside with nonstick cooking spray, and layer the fries and toppings. Close the packet up, and let the embers do their job.
Great topping ideas:
● Classic loaded: cheddar cheese and bacon bits, garnished with sour cream and green onions
● Fiesta: jarred salsa and queso, garnished with sour cream and cilantro
● Italian: marinara, mozzarella, and grated Parm, garnished with parsley and red pepper flakes
● Sweet n’ savory: Sweet potato fries with raspberry jam and goat cheese, salted liberally
● Disco fries: cheese curds, smothered in gravy
6. Camping Quesadillas
This is another campfire classic that is only limited by your imagination. It’s easy enough that even the youngest members of your group can help out putting them together, and filling enough to stand as a whole meal by itself. You prepare your protein of choice (chicken breast, steak strips, seitan) ahead of time, which you can do at home and chill, or cook on the fire before dinner. Just spread a tortilla on a wide piece of foil, load with toppings, fold in half, and place on a grate above the campfire. Flip a few times for even cooking, and slice in fourths when it is done. Easy!
Best campfire quesadilla fillings:
● Cheese: Mexican-style shredded, cheddar Jack, jarred queso
● Salsa: mild to spicy, red or green … chef’s choice!
● Canned beans: black or refried are perfect
● Grilled onion
● For condiments: extra salsa, sour cream, cilantro, avocado slices or guacamole
7. Campfire Orange Brownies
These campfire treats are so ingenious that your friends and family members will marvel at your creativity when you bring them out around the fireside! All you need are as many oranges as you have hungry guests, some prepared boxed brownie mix, and tinfoil. First, slice the oranges in half and clean out the fruit—save it for breakfast the next morning! Pour brownie mix into the bowl made by one half of the orange, and carefully cover with the other half. Wrap the oranges in foil, and roast them over the campfire. The result is a puffy, soft brownie that has an irresistible savor of orange from the oils in the rind, and smells like heaven! For bonus points, if you have the means to keep it cold (if you’re backyard or fireplace camping), make brownie sundaes with vanilla ice cream, sprinkles, caramel topping, and just about any sweet treats you can imagine.
8. Roasted Cinnamon Rolls
Remember how you made the campfire bacon by twining the bacon around a roasting stick? Campfire cinnamon rolls for breakfast follow the same principle. Just buy a few tubes of refrigerated rolls, take an individual pastry, and unwind it. Twirl it around a roasting stick while alternately poking it through the stick so that it doesn’t fall off. Presto: just roast over the fire until puffy and golden. Afterwards is the best part—slathering the cooked cinnamon roll (cinnamon spiral?) in cream cheese frosting, preferably with an additional sprinkling of cinnamon sugar on top.
9. Campfire Pies
These are something of a fireside specialty, as they use good, old fashioned sandwich irons (also called pie irons), which can be obtained at a reasonable price and used over and over again on your camping adventures. The ingredients are basically whatever you can conceivably put inside two slices of bread, one on each buttered side of the irons, then pressed together and grilled until you have tidy little hand pies. Classic fillings are canned cherry pie or apple pie filling, but you are limited only by your imagination! Pro tip: fiddly little cooking gadgets are easily and accessibly contained in a sturdy packing cube.
Tastiest campfire pie fillings:
● The Elvis: white bread, Nutella, marshmallow fluff, and banana slices
● PB & C: white bread, peanut butter, and chocolate chips, dusted in cinnamon sugar
● Strawberry Cream: cinnamon swirl bread, sliced strawberries, sugar, topped with whipped cream
● Savory Italian: white bread, sliced tomato, fresh mozzarella, and basil
● Stuffed French toast: brioche dusted with cinnamon sugar, whipped cream cheese, and your choice of fruit
10. Campfire Elotes (Mexican Street Corn)
Who doesn’t love Mexican street corn? This traditional roadside snack, indiginous to our Southern neighbor, has taken the world by storm. Sweet corn enrobed in mayo, crema, cheese, and spices? To. Die. For. You can easily make this quick and delicious snack over the fire. Just husk the corn, then roast it over the fire until charred and cooked through. If it’s still intact, the long end of the cob can be used as a handle. While it cooks, mix equal parts mayonnaise and Mexican crema, Cotija cheese, and fresh cilantro. When the corn comes off the fire, slather it in the cream mixture, and sprinkle generously with more cheese, lime juice, and chili powder. Heaven!
Those campfire snacks should elevate the food and treats selection on your next camping trip! Always remember to stay safe when storing and cooking food at a campsite, and know how to stay safe regarding wild animals in your area. Having trouble keeping all your goods organized? Check out our tips for camping organization, and learn to pack like the pros!
Related Eagle Creek Products
Pack-It™ Isolate Sac Set XS/S/M
Pack-It™ Gear Protect-It Cube M
Migrate Duffel 90L
Related Links (from the Eagle Creek blog):
The Essential Camping Packing List for a Traveling Kitchen
Avoid These 4 Cold-Weather Camping Mistakes
Ultimate Camping Trip Packing List: All of the Essentials You Need