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Best Meals for RV Camping & Boondocking – Meals for Campers

    I have had A TIME finding good camping recipes. I had no idea I relied so much on my oven for cooking at home! And most of the search results you’ll get for camping meals just don’t work for our family. With 2 little boys and a husband who will be working a 9-5 while on the road, typically ‘over the fire’ camping meals are not safety conscious or time efficient for our typical dinners. My ideal camping meal can be made inside my RV, on my 2 burner stove in a tiny kitchenette with no oven.

    Since I had such a hard time searching for recipe ideas, I thought I’d share what I’ve put together for our family. Here are our favorite RV Camping meals that work for us whether we have hookups or are boondocking.

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    10 Simple RV Breakfast Meals for Campers

    Our favorite RV breakfasts are grab and go, no cooking necessary.

    1. Yogurt and granola
    2. Oatmeal
    3. Cereal
    4. Granola bars or pre-made muffins
    5. Frozen pancakes or waffles
    6. Bagels
    7. Avocado toast (crisp bread a bit in a skillet)
    8. Toast, cottage cheese, and sausage – I’ll usually precook all the sausage links and reheat while making toast.
    9. Frozen breakfast sandwiches – If we’ll have hookups and can use the microwave.
    10. Smoothies – Our Nutribullet blender runs just fine on our RV battery.

    10 Easy Boondocking Lunch Meals for Campers

    1. Lunch meat sandwiches or wraps – I always jazz mine up with some good mustard
    2. Bagels and cream cheese
    3. PBJ
    4. Jelly & cream cheese
    5. Snack plate – deli meat, sliced or cubed cheese, dried or fresh fruit, baby carrots, and pretzels
    6. Chicken salad with canned or leftover chicken – Be warned that tuna salad is very smelly for a small RV space!
    7. Peanut butter and banana sandwich
    8. BLTs
    9. Quesadilla
    10. Mix up a salad or taco salad with leftovers

    Campfire Recipes

    Like I said above, the only camping meal ideas I found were campfire related or for grilling outside. If this is your jam, use these search terms when looking for recipes: campfire recipes, Dutch oven recipes, cast iron skillet meals, pie iron recipes, grilling recipes, or foil wrapped/foil packet meals. These meals for campers are sure to please, especially if you enjoy spending a cozy evening around the fire.

    We keep it simple and stick to hot dogs and smores when we do campfire meals.

    How to Find the Best Meals for RV Life

    The meals and recipes that work for our family, might not work for yours, so before I share our 3 week RV meal rotation, I wanted to talk through how I found RV meal options that I could make in a small oven-less kitchenette. Because we work on the road while we travel, a leisurely campfire meal is not my goal. I want a quick 15-30 minute dinner. Something quick and brainless that I can get on the table without a lot of effort, counter space, or dirty dishes.

    Start by looking through your regular cookbooks and recipe lists for easy meals for campers. I keep all my recipes printed out in a binder, so I flipped through and made note of anything that was 1 pot, stovetop only, or otherwise looked quick and easy.

    It turned out that I didn’t have very many 1 pot recipes saved, so I went on a deep dive looking for 1 pot recipes with ingredients and flavor profiles that we would enjoy.

    Now I had a list of recipes our family loves that I can make in the RV and a list of new 1 pot recipes to try. If you’d like to have more meal options on your list, here are some search terms you can look for on Pinterest:

    • 1 Pot
    • Skillet Meals
    • Dinner Bowls

    Another way to add to your recipe pile is to find variations on dishes you already love. We have been exploring different taco combinations, because it’s a meal we love to have every week. With a little hunting, you can find meals for campers that appeal to your family’s preferences.

    What About An Instant Pot?

    The argument for a single kitchen gadget is strong. Blog posts like 17 things you can make with a waffle maker or 30 days of Instant Pot dump meals are very tempting. But we all know that campers don’t have a lot of storage space. So if I am going to bring one kitchen gadget with me on the road, it will need to be a powerhouse. The Instant Pot is an easy answer for a lot of people, but right now I don’t have one, so it doesn’t feel like the right choice fast and brainless dinners.

    We like to boondock a lot, and I don’t want to plan our meals around whether or not we’ll have electricity in our camper. But I know people LOVE their instant pot, so in the future, I would consider taking it along as our 1 hardworking kitchen appliance. If you can recommend any instant pot meals for campers, leave them in the comments!

    3 Week RV Meal Plan Rotation

    Most of our RV meals are one pot meals or simple build-your-own meals like tacos. Here are over 21 RV dinner ideas for a easy 3 week meal rotation.

    1. Grilled flatbread pizzas – Sometimes we get the refrigerated dough and skillet fry it.
    2. BLTs – Great to take on the go for evening hikes or sunsets.
    3. 1 pot teriyaki chicken bowls
    4. Loaded foil packet fries
    5. Macaroni and cheese – Sometimes we serve this with ham.
    6. 1 pot skillet lasagna
    7. Sausage potato breakfast skillet
    8. Snack plate – Great to take on the go for evening hikes or sunsets.
    9. 1 pot chicken parmesan pasta
    10. Burgers – Served with store-bought sides.
    11. Soup and grilled cheese – Canned or brought from home frozen.
    12. Firecracker ground chicken – Served as a rice bowl or lettuce wraps.
    13. 1 pot creamy parmesan chicken and rice
    14. Shrimp and cheesy grits
    15. Migas – a Mexican breakfast skillet.
    16. Korean BBQ chicken – I love this as lettuce wraps.
    17. Taco night – With tortillas or as taco salad with chipotle ranch dressing.
    18. 1 pot chicken bacon ranch pasta
    19. Bacon tomato spinach spaghetti
    20. Greek bowls – With couscous or naan.
    21. Hotdogs over the campfire – Because a campfire is fun… sometimes.
    22. Bacon egg potato skillet
    23. Loaded foil packet nachos
    24. Thai peanut ramen
    25. Crispy pork tacos
    26. 1 pot chicken pesto pasta

    Some of the top camping friendly meals are not big hits with our family, so our list of favorite recipes might not work well for your family either. But hopefully seeing our list of meals for campers gave you some ideas of what to look for when making your own list of boondocking RV meals.

    Tips for RV Boondocking Meals

    Almost all of these meals can be made whether we’re boondocking or we have electric. I don’t plan to eat sandwiches for 5 days straight while parked on BLM land, so there are a few things I do to prep when we’ll be spending several days boondocking.

    Prep at Home

    Prepping food at home to take with you camping can be really helpful. (Pinterest is full of ideas for beach rental food prep.) BUT… if your camping trip is 4-6 weeks long, your freezer space isn’t likely to accommodate that amount of prepping unless you get very creative. Instead of prepping entire meals, I stock my freezer full of prepped components. I love to use pre-cooked shredded chicken for meals like tacos, Greek bowls, fried rice, etc. I do this at home too, but it’s a huge lifesaver in an RV when you have limited water for cleaning up after raw chicken. (If you don’t want to bring frozen chicken, you can pick up a rotisserie chicken instead.) I might also bring cooked taco meat or sausage for a breakfast skillet meal. I also freeze pizza sauce and other sauces and dips that we enjoy. Instead of filling my fridge door with jars of sauces and dips, I can have a bin in the freezer with bagged cubes and thaw a couple at a time. I might also bring along a few containers of frozen soup to serve with grilled cheese.

    Store Bought Sides

    Store-bought sides are perfect for campers! There just isn’t space to whip up multiple dishes in a single night, especially when you’re boondocking. We often pick up coleslaw and bagged salad mixes to serve with meals. Other meals will be served with fresh fruit and crudité instead of cooked veggie sides. We also keep our pizza nights simple but using either refrigerated dough or a flatbread. (See the linked recipe above for how to skillet cook your mini pizzas.)

    You’ll notice from our breakfast list that we don’t ever cook breakfast while living in our RV. (Well, we do, but we make breakfast food for dinner!) Store bought breakfasts that don’t require a plate or bowl are even more helpful when we’re boondocking.

    Delay Dishwashing

    When we’re boondocking, we do everything that we can to delay or minimize dishwashing without creating a ton of trash or amassing a huge pile of dirty dishes. We limit our use of disposable paper goods as much as we can, but if we’re having lasagna (or another similarly saucy meal) while boondocking, we will use paper plates. For sandwiches or more dry meals, we’ll use our camping plates.

    Before washing, we wipe out our dishes as well as we can. RV sinks don’t have garbage disposals, so campers shouldn’t be putting any food waste down the sink drain. Wiping away food ahead of time allows for as little rinse water as possible. If we’re boondocking on limited water, we might also pull out our collapsible sink so we can lather up each dish or utensil and then rinse them with less water.

    Setting Up the RV for Kitchen Success

    RV kitchens are small spaces, so here are a few tips to set your camper’s kitchen up for success.

    High Quality Cookware

    It’s tempting to stock your RV kitchen with the cheapest utensils you can find, but I found myself getting very frustrated with some of these budget kitchen items. Now I bring a few of my favorite kitchen utensils on all of our trips, like our metal spatula and our stainless steel skillet.

    Thaw in the Fridge

    We can run our bullet blender even while boondocking, so I keep a bag or two of mixed frozen fruit in the freezer. I store the blender cup in the fridge filled with thawing fruit. That way it’s always ready to blend and as soon as I pour the smoothies, I clean it, fill it again, and stick it back in the fridge. (The blender base lives in the dinette storage since I only get it out a couple times a week.) I also thaw our bags of pre-cooked meat and frozen breakfast items like pancakes or waffles in the fridge for the next day.

    Water Storage

    I keep an old juice jug full of water in the fridge so we always have cold water to grab. (And unlike a pitcher, a juice jug with a tight lid won’t spill if the fridge door opens while traveling. I even store it laying on its side.) We also have a couple ice cube trays in the freezer and a tall tub to dump those in when they’re finished.

    That’s how we cook in our RV! If you also avoid campfire meals while RVing, I hope these RV recipe lists were helpful for you! Also, if you’d like a list of 10 no bake RV dessert ideas, you can find those here.

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