If you’re taking the family camping this summer, you might be wondering how to get the best flavor with every camping meal. We have the tips and the recipes for making some seriously delicious food around the campfire this summer!

Camping season is in full swing!

Families are flocking to their favorite camping spots across the country and enjoying some quiet time in nature. Well, it’s quiet sometimes, isn’t it?!

Girls eating veggies in camping spot

This classic American tradition can be a lot of fun for kids and parents alike. While kids get to explore, learn and play all day, parents get to reset from the hustle and bustle of work.

For many campers, the best part of camping is the food. Snacking all day with a big family meal over the fire – ah, that’s the life! Most campers will also tell you that planning and preparing meals is one of the more stressful parts of camping, so it’s important to plan healthy and easy recipes before your trip.

If your parents took you camping a child, you probably have some tried-and-true family camping recipes that you make for your own family now, but camping is a great time to try new things. When you’re done exploring the sights and sounds of the park, it’s nice to come back to the campsite, light a fire and sit down to a refreshing dinner.

What makes a great camping meal?

The ingredients you use, the creativity you bring to the table, and the cooking skills you have all combine to make great tasting camping meals.

Have you ever made a recipe while camping that you usually eat at home and noticed that something’s different? Even when you follow all the same directions and use the same ingredients, there’s a special flavor in the food you make while camping.

Part of what makes camping food so tasty is the appetite you work up during the day – biking, hiking, chopping wood, setting up the tent, and so much more! But a lot of the enhanced flavor comes from how you cook while camping.

Campfire nachos close up

Campfire cooking is incredibly flavorful, but there are a few things you should know to cook the most gourmet meals over the open fire.

First, you need to invest in the right supplies, like a cast iron skillet, grilling utensils and a campfire grill grate. These items make campfire cooking easy and help you gain a bit more control. A good cast iron skillet can also drastically improve the quality of your camping meals over time.

Even with all the top-of-the-line campfire cooking equipment, it’s great to have a couple go-to recipes where you just mix a ton of tasty ingredients in a disposable pan and throw it on the grill! Hello? Did someone say Campfire Nachos?

The second tip to help make your camping meals gourmet is that you need to plan, plan, plan while keeping cooler space in mind. Keeping things organized means you don’t run out of flavorful ingredients halfway through your trip.

Layer your cooler with meat on the bottom (the coldest place in the cooler), dairy in the middle, and fresh vegetables on top. Then, from left to right, try to organize ingredients into sections for each day or each meal.

This is also a good time to prepare ingredients so you can save time later and relax. You can chop up fresh ingredients like Sweet Bell Peppers and place them in a bag in the cooler. Then, when it’s time to make Egg & Veggie Breakfast Wraps or a Bell Pepper Breakfast Skillet, you can spend less time chopping and more time enjoying the sunrise!

Hands cutting bell peppers in camping spot

When camping, it’s good to pack a lot of snacking tomatoes because they are one of very few fresh veggies that don’t need to be kept in the cooler (as long as it isn’t too hot).

Pack a few pints of Sangria® Medley Tomatoes for kids to enjoy a healthy snack on the road, at the beach, and by the fire. Plus, they taste great in meals like this Southwest Camping Salad.

The final tip for gourmet camping meals is to experiment with different cooking styles with each recipe.

It’s a common misconception that a big, hot fire is the best way to cook with a campfire. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Just like when you cook at home, different recipes call for indirect or direct heat.

For indirect heat in a traditional campfire ring, all you need to do is build a big fire and let it die down into hot coals. Using a stick, mound the coals on one side of the ring and put your food on the opposite side either on the grill or in a cast iron dutch oven. You can actually cook foods like camper’s stew in a covered dutch oven placed right in the firepit surrounded by coals!

Your next camping adventure awaits, and so does all that fresh and delicious food! For more inspiration to take with you on your trip, make sure to check out our Summer Camping Meals Guide.

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