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150 Camping Meals & Foods That Don’t Need a Cooler

Heading out camping soon? Here is a huge list of canned food camping recipes and ideas for your next trip that will not have to be refrigerated. These easy camping food ideas and recipes include only non-perishable food ingredients.

These Canned Food Recipes & Camping Meals are organized in the following order:

  • Ingredients
  • Breakfasts
  • Lunches
  • Snacks
  • Main Dishes
  • Sides
  • Desserts

collage of 6 canned food camping recipes that don't need a cooler

Canned Food Camping Recipes & Tips

One of the biggest issues with camping is keeping food cool. It is a great thing that a lot of campgrounds have electrical RV sites, but many tent sites have no power available. And if you are camping off the grid, even for a short trip, you have no good way to restock the ice in your cooler. Do not fear, campfire cooking can be a lot of fun!

Here are a few quick tips for food preparation and storage while camping.

  1. Preplan your meals! We have a free camping meal planner printable set. A blank shopping list is included so that you can plan your grocery store purchases.
  2. One of the best options is small or individual packages. Smaller sizes will cut down on food waste because you can consume it all and do not need refrigeration.
  3. Bring a little extra food, especially snacks! (even if you are not going for a long time!)
  4. Organize the food by meal. It is amazing how much space food takes up, so test your vehicle storage so do not have to leave any food behind.
  5. Label storage containers with ingredients. Camping involves a lot of shifting things around, so labeling will help you from stressing out.
  6. Keep food in vehicles overnight and away from hungry wildlife.
  7. Bring clips or rubber bands to hold packages closed after opening.
  8. Bring plastic bags for other food storage.
  9. Make a simple ice chest cover to help ice last longer in your cooler, maybe even your entire trip.
  10. Make sure to bring camp cooking cookware and utensils.
  11. Pack a can opener. Ask us how we know this one!
  12. Paper plates and bowls make meal time so much easier!
  13. Don’t forget the matches and lighter.
  14. Double-check your lists because you might be a long way from home or a store.

Best Canned Food for Camping

Here is a camping food list of canned goods, staples, and fresh foods that do not need cooling that you can get to be used in food prep and recipes. Some of these have a long shelf life and can be used on multiple outings.

  • Powdered Milk (mix with water)
  • Soy or Almond Milk
  • Packaged, Canned, or Fresh Fruits
  • Canned and Fresh Vegetables
  • Potatoes (regular & sweet)
  • Canned Meats & Fish (in lieu of fresh meat)
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Canned Beans
  • Bread
  • Rolls
  • Tortillas (great substitute for bread)
  • Summer Sausage
  • Pepperoni
  • Shelf-Stable Cheese or Hard Cheeses
  • BBQ Sauce
  • Soy Sauce
  • Spaghetti Sauce
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Olive Oil
  • Cooking Spray Oil
  • White & Brown Sugar
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Spices (cinnamon, chili powder, etc.)
  • Peanut Butter & Nutella
  • Cold Water
  • Canned or Bottled Drinks
  • Drink Mixes
  • Adult Beverages

Recipes marked with an asterisk* are made at home ahead of time.

Canned Camping Food Breakfasts

Breakfast is truly the most important meal of the day. Here are a few choices to get your morning started on the right foot. We love to cook breakfast!

Peach Nut Pancakes

These Peachy Nutty Pancakes are a great way to start the day! Peaches and nuts are a tasty combination!

Chocolate Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies*

Granola Bars*

Campfire Muffins

Cranberry Maple Granola

Chickpea Scrambled Eggs

Gluten-Free Pancakes

Top these Buckwheat Pancakes with berries and maple syrup for a healthy start to your day. These are easy to make on a Blackstone or griddle.

stack of buckwheat pancakes with berries and syrup
image credit: A Sweet Alternative

DIY Instant Oatmeal

Make your own Instant Oatmeal ahead of time and cook by adding water when camping. Place the jar half full of rolled oats and layer any desired add-ons and cinnamon. Fill the jar with boiling hot water and let it sit with the lid on for about 30 minutes. Remove the lid, stir in fruit, and enjoy! This is such an easy breakfast idea.

Instant Oatmeal Jar on a Picnic Table

More Camping Breakfast Ideas

  • Powdered Eggs
  • Oatmeal
  • Grits
  • Cream of Wheat
  • Precooked Bacon
  • Cereal with Powdered Milk
  • Pancake Mix (just add water variety)
  • Poptarts
  • Donuts
  • Toast
  • Bagels
  • Coffee with Single Coffee Creamers

No Refrigeration Camping Lunches

If you are like us, you eat lunch early while camping and then snack all afternoon. Here are some different lunch ideas for you to enjoy.

Peanut Butter and Syrup Sandwiches

PB & Syrup Sandwiches may sound strange, but don’t knock it until you try it! PB&S is a great option for the classic.

peanut butter and syrup sandwiches
image credit: Fantabulosity

Spicy Ramen Noodles

BBQ Jackfruit Sandwiches

Easy Corn Tuna Salad

Spam Musubi

Spam Musubi is a popular food in Hawaii that is a good choice for camping!

Spam Musubi
image credit: Amy + Jacky

Tomato Basil Soup

Make the croutons ahead of time then whip this Tomato Soup up in 5 minutes out at the campsite.

Grandma Jo’s Veggie Soup

Grandma’s Vegetable Soup has a Polish flair and is packed full of tasty veggies like cauliflower, carrots, and green beans. Canned vegetables make this a snap!

a close up of a bowl of grandma's vegetable soup
image credit: Diana Rambles

More Quick Lunch Ideas

Top Camping Snacks

Snacks are a common food that exists at room temperature or outside, needing no refrigeration. Here is a list of great camping snacks.

Grilled BBQ Pineapple Spears

How fun do these Grilled Pineapple Spears look to eat?

grilled pineapple spears
image credit: Aleka’s Get-Together

Sauteed Chickpeas

Sautee Chickpeas in a skillet over the campfire or on a camp stove. They make a delicious snack!

Sun-Dried Tomatoes*

Kettle Corn Recipe

Maple Cinnamon Walnuts*

Churro Candied Almonds*

Trail Mix

This Hearty Trail Mix is great to take on the go to eat any time of day. Swap out any of the ingredients with your favorite nuts or seeds.

hearty trail mix
image credit: Being Nutricious

Watermelon Jerky*

Watermelon Jerky dried at home makes the best snack to take camping or hiking!

image credit: Peak to Plate

Candied Nuts

Homemade Fig Bars*

Homemade Beef Jerky*

Apple Sandwiches

Slice apples crosswise (thinner than pictured is recommended) and add peanut butter, raisins, chocolate chips, granola, mini marshmallows, or crushed graham crackers.

Hot Chocolate Powder*

This Hot Chocolate Mix is perfect to have on hand so that you can whip up a mug or two.

hot chocolate mix with a mug of hot cocoa
image credit: Vegan on Board

More Packaged & Canned Food for Camping Snacks

  • Tortilla Chips & Salsa
  • Crackers
  • Pretzels
  • Jerkey
  • Dried Fruit
  • Fruit Cups
  • Fresh Veggies
  • Energy Bars
  • Nuts & Seeds
  • Popcorn

Shelf Stable Meals for Camping

These main dishes are also made with shelf-stable foods, which are perfect for dry camping. We have included easy camping meals.

Dutch Oven Chicken and Squash

Used canned chicken to make this Dutch Oven Chicken and Squash. A Dutch Oven is a great addition to your camp kitchen. Cooking in one takes extra time, but it is worth it.

Dutch Oven Chicken and Squash
image credit: Reuse Grow Enjoy

Jackfruit Stew

Spicy Chicken and Corn Chili

This Spicy Chicken and Corn Chili makes a hearty meal!

New England Clam Chowder

Lentil Soup with Pasta

Easy Chili

Sweet Potato Fritter Patties

Linguine with White Clam Sauce

Creamy Cannellini Bean & Tomato Pasta

This Creamy Cannellini Bean & Tomato Pasta is perfect for camping!

Sourdough Panzanella Bread Salad*

This Sourdough Panzanella Bread Salad is a good meal for camping. It can be made right before heading out to the campsite to eat right away.

image credit: Veggies Save the Day

Lentil Dahl

This Lentil Dahl is great over rice or with a side of naan or chapati bread.

Pasta with Clam Sauce

Pasta with Clam Sauce is a delicious meal that your family will love!

Camping Pasta with Clam Sauce
image credit: Fab Everyday

Strawberry Avocado Pasta Salad

This Strawberry Avocado Pasta Salad is hearty enough to be a main dish. It is yummy and colorful.

Strawberry avocado pasta salad in a bowl
image credit: Budget Delicious

Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Gnocchi

Mix the sauce at home before putting together this Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Gnocchi.

Pasta with Pesto Sauce

Eggplant Lentil Curry

Spaghetti with Garlic, Oil & Chili

Grilled Eggplant Salad

Pasta with Tuna Tomato Sauce

Canned Tuna simplifies the prep of this Pasta with Tuna Tomato Sauce. Large pasta works best.

Pasta with tomato sauce
image credit: Cooking My Dreams

Lentil Sloppy Joes

These Red Lentil Sloppy Joes are a meat-less twist on a summer classic. It is one of our favorite meals.

person holding a sloppy joe sandwich next to a campfire
image credit: Fresh off the Grid

Chickpea Chana Masala

This Chickpea Curry is a delicious camp stove quick meal that goes together in about 20 minutes.

chana masala vegan made on a campfire stove
image credit: Champagne Tastes

More Easy Camping Dinner Ideas

Side Dishes for Camping

Create some tasty food to accompany main dishes out of food that does not need refrigeration. There are so many great food options on this list.

Crispy Potatoes

Roasted Corn

Bruschetta Pasta Salad

Vermicelli Rice

Pineapple Pico De Gallo Salsa

Guacamole

Coconut Red Beans & Rice

Crispy Onion Bhaji

Kenyan Mandazi*

Grilled Asparagus

Sweet Potato Foil Packets

Quinoa & Black Beans Salad

Broccoli Stir Fry

Cucumber Bean Salad

This refreshing Cucumber & Bean Salad with red onion goes together quickly.

Cucumber Cannellini Bean Salad with Dill
image credit: Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen

Mango Pico De Gallo

This tasty Mango Salsa is easy to prep out at the campsite!

Orzo Pasta Salad

We love orzo, so can’t wait to make this Orzo Pasta Salad with Black Beans & Corn.

Orzo Pasta Salad in a bowl
image credit: Vanilla Bean Cuisine

Three Bean Salad

Three Bean Salad is the perfect side for any main dish!

Three Bean Salad
image credit: Fresh Coast Eats

Fruit Salad

Create a Fruit Salad with your favorite fruits. Yummy, yummy!

Grilled Veggie Skewers

Grilled Vegetable Skewers are made with your favorite veggies with garlic and fresh herb sauce.

grilled veggies on skewers
image credit: The Forked Spoon

Other Camping Sides

  • Corn on the Cob
  • Vegetable Foil Packets
  • Barbeque Beans
  • Applesauce Cups

Top Camping Desserts – no cooler needed!

Just because this is at the bottom of the post does not mean we forgot dessert. Dessert time is the best part of the day! A lot of these recipes are made over an open flame.

S’more Nachos

Of all the different ways to make s’mores, this nacho form is sure to become a favorite recipe.

s'more nachos in a pan

S’mores Made with Frosting

S’more Quesadillas

Dutch Oven Turtle Lava Cake

Easy Brownies in the Dutch Oven

Dutch Oven Dump Cake

This classic Dump Cake uses a soda pop and a cake mix.

classic dump cake on foil

Dutch Oven Chocolate Cake

This amazing Chocolate Cake has won Dutch oven bake-offs!

chocolate cake made with chocolate chips and marshmallows

Dutch Oven Cherry Chocolate Lava Cake

This Cherry Chocolate Lava Cake is another easy way to make a cake while camping.

cherry chocolate cake with chocolate chips on top in a dutch oven

No-Bake Blueberry Bars

Mix these No-Bake Blueberry Almond Oatmeal Bars up at the campground and eat right away.

No-Bake Blueberry Almond Oatmeal Bars
image credit: Two Healthy Kitchens

Sesame Ladoo

Spiced Poached Pears

Coconut Date Balls*

S’more Snack Mix

S’more Mix is such an easy snack to make. This post also has free camping party decor.

s'more snacks in party bags
image credit: Diana Rambles

S’more Campfire Cones

S’mores Waffle Bowls

S’more Banana Packets

Everyone fills their S’more Banana Packets with favorite fillings. These are cooked in aluminum foil in the hot coals of the campfire.

grilled s'more banana packets
image credit: NeighborFood

Grilled Peaches

Grilled Peaches caramelize as they grill. Brush with cinnamon honey for a sweet finish.

honey grilled peaches
image credit: Dinner at the Zoo

Other Dessert Ideas

  • Pie Iron Pies (bread & pie filling)
  • Cotton Candy with a mini machine
  • Store-bought cookies, snack cakes, bakery items
  • Pudding Cups
  • Candy

This huge list of canned food camping recipes and ideas is sure to help out on your next camping trip that does not have any electricity!

Pick out the best food for your family and make a list of great campfire meals to enjoy all summer long. Please let us know if you have any meal ideas to add. Have a super trip!

More Camping Recipe Collections

collage of camping recipes made from canned food

Ashley @ Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen

Friday 8th of July 2022

Love this list - there are so many great options to choose from! Thanks for including my recipe :)

Inger@Art of Natural Living

Wednesday 6th of July 2022

Yum! What a great resource!

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