Best Camping Appetizers

Just because you’re roughing it, doesn’t mean you can’t kick things off with a round of appetizers. And, boy, do we have some sizzling starters that’ll set the tone for your campground cookout. From the simplicity of bacon-wrapped green beans to cheesy garlic naan bread that’s as ambitious as you are, there’s a camping appetizer that’s perfect for your next trip.

Onion Blossom on wooden cutting boards
Grilled Onion Blossom You don’t have to be camping in the Outback to enjoy a grilled onion blossom on the go. No, all you need are a handful of simple ingredients, about 15 minutes of prep time, and another 45 minutes of patience (that last bit is the hardest part of the whole process). Lightly breaded and grilled on a maple plank for an extra bit of flavor, this camping appetizer is sure to delight your fellow backpackers.
Blood Mary Shrimp on a bed of lettuce and other veggies next to Brad Prose
Bloody Mary Shrimp Platter Some like starting their days with a Bloody Mary; we like starting our camping meals with grilled shrimp basted in a delicious Bloody Mary butter sauce (no judgment if you enjoy both at once). A spicy, zesty flavor profile shines through, while bleu cheese crumbles and cornichons make for a graceful garnish. And before you ask, yes, there’s bacon!
Green Beans wrapped in bacon, covered in bleu cheese
Grilled Bacon-Wrapped Green Beans It doesn’t get much quicker or easier than this. In fact, you can prepare the bacon bouquets before you leave home and simply slap them on your camp grill when it’s time to eat! And even if you’d rather put it all together while you’re already in the great outdoors, it’ll take you 20 minutes tops. Cooking the bacon-wrapped green beans requires even less time, making this one of our favorite camp appetizers.
Grilled naan on a grill, with some being pulled apart showing cheese pull
Grilled Cheese & Garlic Naan Bread Don’t worry, we’re not asking you to pack a tandoori oven in the camping bag and haul it around on your excursions. You can create the conditions for naan bread in a charcoal grill, which helps form crispy, golden goodness stuffed with cheese and garlic. Though this doesn’t exactly qualify as traditional campsite fare, we’re willing to bet it’ll find a home in your rotation after you’ve had a taste.
Nashville Hot Chicken on a plate with dipping sauce
Smoked Nashville Hot Chicken Why wouldn’t one of our favorite starters for tailgating also work as a camping appetizer? This smoked chicken wings recipe is fit for both types of outings thanks to the incredibly simple procedure — marinate overnight in a buttermilk-hot sauce blend, apply the dry rub, and smoke for 30–40 minutes using apple wood. Next thing you know, you’re enjoying delicious Nashville hot chicken wherever you are.

Best Camping Entrees

Working up an appetite yet? Good, because we’re just getting to the main courses! After a long day on the trail, on the water, or at the campground, nothing’s better than settling in for a hardy meal to recharge the batteries. Check out our crave-worthy selection of steaks (some grilled right on the coals, if you’re up for it), burgers, and beer can chicken.

A person grilling on a portable grill in the outdoors
Marinated Steaks, Fries, & Whiskey Apples Tearing into a juicy, marinated steak is one heck of a way to end a day of on-the-go excitement. But how about adding some grilled potato wedges to the mix? And, because well-balanced meals are important, how do grilled whiskey apples sound? It may seem like a lot for one recipe, but you can prep and marinate everything before hitting the road. All that’ll be left to do at the campsite is grill as usual.
Caveman steak held over the coals in a grill
Ribeye Steak, Caveman-style OK, now we’re camping! Grilling steak right on the coals is an immersive, all-natural experience that’ll take your outdoor experience to the next level, not to mention all that extra smoky flavor locked into the beef. It’s a steakhouse-level sear without the steakhouse — or any type of house, actually, depending on your camping preferences. Either way, this recipe will make our caveman ancestors proud!
Steak on a flaming grill
How to Grill the Perfect Steak Simply put, this is the best steak recipe for camping. It’s actually the best steak recipe for anywhere (as the name implies), but what makes it especially great for grilling on the go is the use of 4 basic ingredients: steak, butter, salt, and pepper. Yep, that’s everything! All you need is your camp grill and the spirit of adventure that looks the perfect steak right in the (rib)eye and says, “Bring it on!”
Fully stacked hamburger with tomatoes, lettuce, onions, and cheese
The Perfect Hamburger Recipe Burgers around the bonfire sound nice, but you shouldn’t settle for any old patty. Only the perfect hamburger will do for your camp entree, starting with the ideal fat ratio and some simple seasonings that let the ground chuck do the talking. Toss some pre-cooked bacon into the mix, finish with your favorite toppings, and enjoy the best darn burger while taking in the sights and sounds of the outdoors.
Beer can chicken on a grill throne surrounded by lemons next to Chuck Matto
Beer Can Chicken If beer is already on your list of campsite essentials (same here), then it only makes sense to incorporate this beer can chicken recipe into your rotation of camping meals. This flavor-packin’, never-lackin’ beer can chicken from our good friend Chuck’s Flavor Train requires just a few basic ingredients to reach juicy, tender poultry perfection. An hour or so later, you’ll be raising a beer to this bird.

Best Camping Side Dishes

As much as we encourage you to feast on juicy steaks or burgers while you’re in the wild, that doesn’t exactly equate to an entire meal. You need side dishes to round out your outdoor offerings, so peruse our picks and start thinking big-picture. Bacon-wrapped veggies, smoked potatoes, and grilled elotes are a few of our easy and delicious camping side dishes.

Bacon wrapped brussels sprouts in a white bowl on a counter
Grilled Bacon Wrapped Brussels Sprouts Brussels sprouts, bacon, and maple syrup — that’s all you need to pull off this side-dish recipe. (Skewers and toothpicks make things easier, while doubling as weapons to ward off any critters who try to crash your campsite dinner.) Everything comes together in about half an hour, with enough portions to serve as a side for 6–8 people. Delicious and vibrant, these grilled brussels sprouts will hit the spot.
Chopped carrots and parsnips on a rectangular white plate
Grilled Honey Glazed Carrots & Parsnips With only a half-dozen ingredients used in this quick recipe, you can bring a colorful and scrumptious side dish to your next outdoor expedition. A mixture of honey, thyme, and parsley punches up the carrots and parsnips with welcome flavor, while the caramelization from the grill adds an extra layer of delightful tastes. Another delicious half-hour side dish for camping? Pack our bags and sign us up!
Bacon wrapped brussles sprouts in a bowl
Pecan Smoked Herb Potatoes When the whole crew is at the campsite, you need a side that can fill every belly. That sounds like a job for these pecan-smoked and herb-seasoned potatoes, a camping side dish for up to 10 people. Simple spices and freshly chopped herbs are all that’s necessary to season the potatoes, which should be grilled in a perforated basket. This recipe pairs well with any of our camping entrees, so mix and match as needed.
Grilled buffalo chicken wontons on a blue platter
Buffalo Chicken Wontons We’ll be honest here: wontons don’t exactly scream “camping food.” However, this buffalo chicken wonton recipe checks the necessary boxes of “quick,” “easy,” and “tasty” to make the cut for a camping side dish. The main item you’ll need to bring along is a muffin pan for forming the wontons, but the rest of the recipe includes fairly ordinary ingredients and can be completed in as little as half an hour.
Elotes covered in seasoning on a black plate
Summerfest Elotes This camping side recipe might set the bar for simplicity with just 8 ingredients, 10 minutes of prep time, and 20 minutes of grilling. Shucks, you might even be able to turn out a few rounds of these grilled elotes before your main dish is done cooking! A mix of Cotija cheese and sour cream carries much of the flavor here, with a few pinches of chili powder delivering all the heat needed for enjoyable elotes.

Best Camping Desserts

Leave those marshmallows and chocolate bars at home — s’mores may be charming, but you’re here because you want to trade the bonfire for the sizzling flames of your camp grill. To help you close your camping meals on a high note, we’ve gathered our favorite grilled dessert recipes, some of which can double as breakfast dishes to get you ready for a day of adventure.

Marshmallows being roasted over a fire
How to Make Perfect S’mores Few things silence young campers like the molten magnificence of a roasted marshmallow, paired with melted chocolate and nestled between toasted graham crackers. Now, we all know the tried-and-true recipe of America's favorite campground delicacy, but what if there was a better way? Well, today we've got four for you to try!
Cookies on a plank of wood, on a grill
Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies These aren’t just any camp cookies; each grilled treat includes chopped bacon bits that make for a great savory-sweet, after-dinner combo. If you’re not thrilled about the idea of the campground becoming a bakery, simply prepare the dough before you get out there! Just be aware that this camp dessert recipe calls for soaked wood planks (harvesting them yourself may sound fun, but we don’t recommend it).
Cinnamon rolls covered in icing on a plate
Smoked Cinnamon Rolls Even if you’re exhausted from a long day or adventuring and making dinner, there’s no excuse to pass on these smoked cinnamon rolls. It really doesn’t get any easier than buying cinnamon rolls and vanilla icing, then cooking them in the smoker instead of an oven. This camping recipe calls for apple wood chips, which are a lovely complement to the natural sweetness found in store-bought cinnamon rolls.
Pancakes with butter on a plate, covered in syrup
Buttermilk Pancakes Recipe Got your griddle ready? Another one of our choose-your-own-adventure dessert/breakfast dishes, this homemade buttermilk pancake recipe has just a handful of wet and dry ingredients to make baking a breeze no matter where the road takes you. We won’t debate that packing boxed pancake mix from the store may be slightly more convenient, but this camp dessert takes the (pan)cake in terms of taste every time.
Candied bacon in a pile on a gray background
Candied Bacon Now here’s a sweet and smoky snack that’s sure to satisfy. Brown sugar and maple syrup aid in the candying process, ground peppercorns bring a slight crunch to the party, and cayenne keeps things interesting long after the bacon has left the smoker. All in all, our candied bacon is a nearly effortless camping dessert that can even be added to other dishes if all that traveling has finally led you to your muse.