6 Easy One Pot Camping Meals

a man and woman cooking over a campfire

After a long day exploring the outdoors, finding the energy to cook a proper meal can be a daunting endeavor. Dehydrated food and protein bars will work in a pinch, but it’s only a matter of time before you start craving something real. For anyone who has ever found themselves in this position, we’ve got the answer: one pot camping meals!

A one pot camping meal is basically any recipe that calls for only one pot. Ingredients go in (perhaps at different times) and out comes a finished, ready-to-eat meal. Here are six reasons why one pot camping meals are the best way to cook when you’re car camping, along with a few of our most popular one pot camping recipes.

All photos courtesy of Megan McDuffie of Fresh Off the Grid

Looking for easy one pot camping meals? Look no further! Our favorite recipes are below.


Reasons To Cook One Pot Camping Meals

1) Fewer Dishes

It might be fun to cook with every pot and pan in the kitchen at home (especially if you have a dishwasher), but washing dishes at a campsite is always a chore. One pot meals immediately reduce the number of dishes that need to be done. When the meal is ready, the pot becomes your bowl. And when you’re done eating, the bowl becomes your sink.

2) Versatility

One pot meals can be as simple or elaborate as you like. You could go for something as basic and straight forwards as rice and beans. Or, if you’re feeling a little more adventurous, you can give a Spanish-inspired paella a try. Both are one pot meals!

3) Less Stress

Anyone who has ever cooked a meal on multiple burners knows that timing is everything. But when you’re camping it can be a lot harder to make sure each part of the meal is ready at the same time. Not so with one pot camping meals! Since you’re adding all your ingredients to a single pot, everything is ready when everything is ready.

4) More Flavor

The easiest way to get big flavor out of your meal is for all the ingredients to work together. Cooking everything in the same pot not only lets the flavors build on top of each other, but it also ensures that each individual bite is as tasty as the last.

5) Think Outside the Box

It’s easy to fall into a rut when you’re cooking on the road or camping, but cooking one pot camping meals can really push you to be creative. The limitations encourage you to change things up with different flavors or ingredients. The easiest way to get creative with one pot cooking is to change up your existing favorite one pot meals, or to deconstruct your favorite non-one pot meals and adapt those recipes into a one pot version.

Another perk of cooking one pot meals vs. bringing a bunch of prepacked or dehydrated food is that you will easily reduce your car camping waste.

6) One Pot Camping Meals Feed Everyone

One pot camping meals are pretty easy to scale up or down. Whether you’re a solo traveler or a family of six, you can easily scale one pot meals to feed just yourself or everyone and their brother. You just need to get your hands on the right sized pot.

cooking one pot camping meals is a great car camping and van life hack!

Easy One Pot Camping Recipes

Cheesy Asparagus Orzo

Ingredients:

  • ½ lb asparagus
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup orzo
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ½ cup shredded cheese, (we used Trader Joe’s 4 Cheese Blend but you could use parmesan, asiago, or any blend)
  • ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
Cheesy Asparagus Orzo one pot camping meal cooking on a camp stove

Directions:

1. Cut off and discard the tough ends of the asparagus, and then chop asparagus into 1” pieces.

2. Add the asparagus, water, orzo, oil, and all the spices into a pot. Bring to a low boil (this took us 4 1/2 minutes) and cook for an additional 5 minutes, until the orzo is tender.

3. Reduce heat and add the cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and pine nuts. Stir until the cheese has melted.

4. Remove from heat, season to taste with salt and pepper, and enjoy!


Artichoke Poblano & Chorizo Campfire Paella

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons Olive or vegetable oil
  • 2-4 sausages, (we used Tofurky Italian style)
  • 2 poblano peppers
  • 3 green onions
  • 1 large shallot, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup rice
  • ¼ cup tempranillo, or other medium bodied red wine
  • 14 oz can broth
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • pinch of saffron
  • 14 oz can artichoke hearts, drained and halved
Artichoke Poblano & Chorizo Campfire Paella cooking in a cast iron on a fire

Directions:

1. Place the poblanos peppers, green onions, and sausage directly on the grill grate over the fire, turning occasionally, until the peppers and onions are soft and charred and the sausage is mostly cooked through. Remove from the grill. Slice the sausage into 1/4 inch rounds. Allow the peppers to cool, then peel off the skin, remove the seeds, and chop. Chop green onions into bite-sized pieces. Set aside.

2. Place cast iron skillet on the grill directly over the fire. Pour enough oil to coat the bottom of the skillet, then add the shallots. Saute until soft, 3-5 minutes. Add in the sliced sausage and garlic and saute until the garlic is fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the rice and cook 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until it just begins to become translucent at the ends. Pour 1/4 cup red wine into the pan, allow to evaporate, and then add the broth. Season with salt and a pinch of saffron. Stir well to evenly distribute all the ingredients, and then allow to simmer, undisturbed, until all of the liquid is absorbed, 20-30 minutes.

3. Add the chopped poblanos, green onions, and artichoke hearts to the pan to reheat. At this point, the paella will begin to develop the socarrat on the bottom. After a few minutes you will begin to hear the rice begin crackling – this is your indicator that the dish is nearly done. Cook for a few more minutes to ensure the socarrat has developed (you can use a spoon to check a small portion of the pan).

4. Serve immediately, shared out of the skillet or served on individual plates along with a glass of the remaining red wine.


Easy Shakshuka

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon butter (or olive oil)
  • 2 poblano peppers, seeded and diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 2-4 eggs
  • ¼ cup goat cheese, crumbled
  • ½ loaf crusty French bread
  • salt & pepper to taste
One pot camping meal Shakshuka in a camping bowl

Directions:

1. Heat butter in your pot over medium heat. Once melted, add the poblano peppers and onions, stir to coat, and cook for 5 minutes or until beginning to brown, stirring as needed. Add the garlic, cumin, paprika, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.

2. Add the tomatoes and their juices, along with ½ cup water. Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes to allow the mixture to thicken.

3. Crack the eggs into the sauce, spacing them evenly apart. Cover and allow the eggs to cook until the whites have set and the yolk is to your preferred consistency, 5-7 minutes. You can spoon the sauce over the top as needed to encourage them to cook thoroughly.

4. Season to taste. Serve immediately with goat cheese and a few slices of crusty French bread


Vegan Dan Dan Noodles

Ingredients:

  • 7 oz buckwheat soba noodles, or other high protein noodle – egg or bean curd noodles are great
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • 4 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 3 teaspoons sriracha, (or more depending on your spice tolerance)
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
vegan dan dan noodles one pot camping meal in a bowl with Justin's peanut butter packet and chopsticks

Directions:

1. Bring enough water to just cover the soba noodles to a boil. Once boiling, add the noodles and cook according to the package instructions – ours took 3 minutes. Once the noodles are done, drain off all but about 1 tablespoon of the cooking water.

2. Mix in the peanut butter, soy sauce, sesame oil, and Sriracha. Thin out the sauce if needed with a little water. Sprinkle with red pepper flakes and salt to taste.


Healthy Coconut Red Lentil Stew

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ teaspoon coriander
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes, with juices
  • 14 oz can broth, or bouillon equivalent
  • 2 tablespoons coconut milk powder
  • 1 cup red lentils
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups chopped kale
red lentil coconut stew one pot camping meal in a blue camping bowl

Directions:

1. Over medium heat, saute shallot in olive oil until beginning to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the minced garlic, cumin, coriander, and cayenne and saute 30 seconds, until fragrant.

2. Add the tomatoes and their juices, broth, coconut milk powder, red lentils, and salt. Stir to combine. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Add the kale. Cook until the lentils begin to break apart and become creamy, about 20 minutes. Season to taste, and serve immediately. This would be great topped with some chopped cilantro or a squeeze of lime!

Substitution: If using canned coconut milk, it’s better to cook the red lentils first, then add the coconut milk. The high-fat content of the canned coconut milk seems to inhibit the red lentils from properly hydrating.  


Classic One Pot Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced, or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can broth
  • handful of fresh basil, chopped, or 1/2 tablespoon dried
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 lb pasta
  • salt to taste
  • handful of parmesan cheese + basil to finish (optional)
one pot camping meal pasta in a bowl with a striped blanket underneath

Directions:

1. Heat the olive oil in your pot and then add the onions. Saute until translucent, then add the garlic and saute until fragrant. Dump in the tomatoes and their juices, the broth, basil, Italian seasoning, and the pasta. Give it a big stir to combine everything. The liquid may not completely cover the pasta yet – that is OK, just stir it fairly often so it cooks evenly; if you add too much liquid your sauce will not thicken up enough by the time the pasta is done.

2. Cover your pot until the liquid comes to a boil (this quickens the process and saves you fuel). Once it’s boiling, remove the cover and cook until the pasta is al dente. The cooking time on the pasta packaging will be a good indicator, but use your judgement as all camp cooking setups are a bit different.

3. Once your pasta is cooked through, serve, topped with cheese and basil if you’ve got it!

Looking for more easy one pot camping recipes? Check out the Fresh Off The Grid blog!


Have you ever cooked a one pot camping meal? What are your favorite recipes? Leave us a comment below!

Written by Fresh Off The Grid

Megan & Michael are the couple behind Fresh Off The Grid, an online destination for all things camp cooking. From recipes to instructional guides to gear reviews, they will help you elevate your outdoor experience through food and drink.

11 comments on “6 Easy One Pot Camping Meals

  1. Some great ideas and recipes here (says a 20+ year chef) but I do see cast iron here . . . for those of us who aren’t car campers, canoeists, rafters or sea kayakers, very similar recipes could be had by using dried veggies. For years I’ve used Harmony House for my dried veggie and fruit needs. Check ’em out 🙂

  2. Instant noodles (2 packs – fish, chicken, prawn), tomato puree from a ‘toothpaste’ tube, provencal (mixed) herbs and a can of sardines in tomato sauce. Boil a kettle full of water first. Put noodles, etc. in a small pan and add water until they’re nearly covered. Simmer with the lid on until the water is almost completely absorbed. Eat from the pan and use the rest of the kettle water to wash up! I have done this on motorbike rallies for years (not much space on a bike for big cookers and bottles of gas).

  3. Wonderful! So great to see recipes I might actually use. So many times the quantity (lots) or time to cook (again lots of time and propane) makes recipes suggested for camping not doable.

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