18 Great Car Camping Meals [Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner]

18 Great Car Camping Meals [Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner]

These 18 great car camping meals are not only super-duper delicious, but they are also easy camping recipes that can be made very quickly using the simplest of ingredients.

Even better, most dishes on here don’t require a campfire or the use of a dutch oven. Any basic camping stove can be used to cook these meals along with an aluminum or cast iron pan. Even a pot will do! Perfect for car campers, backpacking excursions, or any other type of camping trip.

I don’t eat meat myself, but made sure to include meal ideas for both carnivores AND vegetarians. Feel free to replace any of the ingredients to suit your needs.

Let’s get cooking!

Great Car Camping Meals: BREAKFAST

Nomad Breakfast Hash

- Potatoes, diced or cubed
- Chopped onions & peppers
- Sausage or bacon
- Eggs
- Salt and pepper

1. Heat a pan or pot over your portable stove.
2. Add diced potatoes and cook until they start to brown.
3. Add chopped onions and sausage or bacon.
4. Crack eggs into the mixture, scramble, and cook until set.
5. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
6. Serve your hearty breakfast hash.

Car Camper Shakshuka (Poached Eggs in Tomato Sauce)

- Eggs
- Canned tomato sauce and small can of crushed tomatoes 
- Onion
- Garlic
- Cumin, paprika, and cayenne pepper
- Olive oil

1. Heat olive oil in a pot or pan over your portable stove.
2. Sauté diced onion and minced garlic until softened.
3. Pour in canned tomato sauce and crushed tomatoes, then add spices to taste.
4. Create small wells in the sauce, crack eggs into them, and cover.
5. Cook until the eggs are set but the yolks are still runny.
6. Serve with crusty bread for a unique, yummy breakfast.

Car Side Veggie Frittata

- Eggs
- Chopped vegetables (e.g., bell peppers, zucchini, and spinach)
- Grated cheese
- Milk
- Salt and pepper

1. Whisk eggs, milk, salt, and pepper in a bowl.
2. Heat a pot or pan over your portable stove.
3. Add chopped vegetables and cook until they start to soften.
4. Pour the egg mixture over the vegetables and sprinkle with grated cheese.
5. Cover and cook until the frittata is set.
6. Slice and serve your scrumptious frittata.

Nutty Banana Pancake Stack

- Pancake mix
- Water
- Ripe bananas
- Chopped nuts (e.g., pecans or walnuts)
- Maple syrup

1. Mix pancake batter with water until you have a smooth consistency.
2. Heat a pan over your portable stove and grease it with oil or butter.
3. Pour small amounts of pancake batter into the pan.
4. Flip the pancakes and cook until golden brown on both sides.
5. Stack the pancakes and serve with maple syrup.
6. Slice ripe bananas and sprinkle chopped nuts on top of the pancakes.

Baked Avocado Eggs (Requires a HotLogic or RoadPro 12V oven)

- Avocados
- Eggs
- Salt and pepper
- Fresh herbs (e.g., chives or parsley)
- Hot sauce (optional)

1. Slice avocados in half and remove the pits.
2. Scoop out a small amount of flesh to create a well.
3. Crack an egg into each avocado half.
4. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Wrap each avocado half in aluminum foil.
6. Place them inside your 12V oven and cook for 60 minutes, or until the eggs are set.
7. Garnish with fresh herbs and hot sauce if desired.

Savory Sweet Potato Hash

This is a power-packed breakfast that will keep you full & energized for many hours! I eat this about twice per month in the mornings. Feel free to omit the onion if you wish. It's a nice light breakfast when the weather is hotter :)

- Sweet potatoes, diced
- Chopped onions
- Bell peppers
- Black beans (canned)
- Cumin and chili powder (optional)
- Olive oil
- Fresh cilantro (optional)

1. Heat olive oil in a pot or pan over your portable stove.
2. Sauté diced sweet potatoes until they begin to brown.
3. Add chopped onions, bell peppers, and black beans.
4. Season with cumin and chili powder to taste.
5. Cook until the sweet potatoes are tender.
6. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve your sweet potato hash.

Great Car Camping Meals: LUNCH

Sautéed Portobello Mushrooms

- Portobello mushrooms
- Olive oil
- Balsamic vinegar
- Garlic
- Fresh herbs (e.g., rosemary or thyme)
- Salt and pepper

1. Mix olive oil, balsamic vinegar, minced garlic, and fresh herbs in a bowl.
2. Brush the mixture onto the cleaned portobello mushrooms.
3. Sautéed the mushrooms in a pan until they're tender.
4. Season with salt and pepper.

Thai Peanut Noodles

- Rice noodles
- Peanut sauce (store bought or freshly made)
- Chopped peanuts
- Chopped scallions
- Lime wedges (optional)

1. Cook rice noodles according to package instructions in a pot.
2. Drain the noodles and toss them with peanut sauce.
3. Top with chopped peanuts and scallions.
4. Serve with lime wedges for added flavor.

Tandoori Chicken

- Thawed chicken drumsticks or thighs
- Tandoori marinade (store bought or freshly made)
- Yogurt (for marinating)
- Lemon juice
- Fresh cilantro (optional)

1. Marinate chicken in tandoori marinade mixed with yogurt and lemon juice.
2. Fry the chicken in a pan over medium heat until fully cooked.
3. Garnish with fresh cilantro and serve your tandoori chicken.

Ramen Burger

- Ramen noodles
- Ground beef or turkey
- Soy sauce
- Sesame oil
- Ginger and garlic (minced)
- Sriracha sauce (optional)
- Lettuce, tomato, and onion (optional)

1. Cook ramen noodles according to package instructions and drain.
2. In a bowl, combine cooked noodles with ground meat, soy sauce, sesame oil, minced ginger, minced garlic, and Sriracha sauce if desired.
3. Form burger patties from the mixture.
4. Fry the patties in a pan over your portable stove until they're cooked to your liking.
5. Serve on a bun with lettuce, tomato, and onion for a mouthwatering ramen burger.

Caprese Salad Sandwich

- Baguette or ciabatta bread
- Fresh mozzarella cheese
- Tomatoes
- Fresh basil leaves
- Olive oil and balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper

1. Slice the bread into individual sandwich-sized portions.
2. Layer fresh mozzarella cheese, tomato slices, and basil leaves on the bread.
3. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
4. Season with salt and pepper.

Queso Fundido

- Chorizo or spicy sausage (pre-cooked)
- Shredded melting cheese (e.g., cheddar or Monterey Jack)
- Sliced jalapeños
- Tortilla chips (for dipping)

1. Heat a pot or pan over your portable stove.
2. Crumble pre-cooked chorizo or spicy sausage into the skillet.
3. Add shredded cheese and sliced jalapeños.
4. Cook until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
5. Serve your queso fundido with tortilla chips for dipping.

Great Car Camping Meals: DINNER

Coconut Curry Surprise

- Chicken, tofu, or shrimp
- Curry paste (store bought or freshly made)
- Coconut milk
- Chopped vegetables (e.g., bell peppers and broccoli)
- Rice (pre-cooked)

1. In a pot, cook your choice of protein in curry paste until browned.
2. Add chopped vegetables and sauté for a few minutes.
3. Pour in coconut milk and simmer until the sauce thickens.
4. Serve over pre-cooked rice for a flavorful coconut curry.

Jollof Rice

- Long-grain rice
- Tomato sauce
- Chopped bell peppers
- Chopped onions
- Red pepper flakes (for heat/optional)
- Ground ginger and garlic
- Vegetable oil

1. Heat vegetable oil in a pot over your portable stove.
2. Sauté chopped onions, bell peppers, ground ginger, and garlic until softened.
3. Add tomato sauce and red pepper flakes for heat.
4. Stir in rice and cook until the rice is tender and the sauce is absorbed.
5. Serve your campfire Jollof rice with red pepper flakes for some added kick.

Enchilada Casserole

- Ground beef or turkey
- Enchilada sauce (store bought) & tortilla chips
- Beans
- Shredded cheese
- Chopped cilantro and green onions (for garnish)

1. Brown ground meat in a pot over your portable stove.
2. Pour in enchilada sauce and stir until combined.
3. Layer the bottom of the pot with crushed tortilla chips.
4. Add a layer of the meat and sauce mixture, followed by shredded cheese.
5. Repeat the layers until all ingredients are used.
6. Cover and heat until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
7. Garnish with chopped cilantro and green onions.
8. Serve your enchilada casserole with extra tortilla chips.

Vegetable Tofu Stir-Fry

- Cubed tofu
- Chopped bell peppers
- Broccoli florets
- Sliced carrots
- Soy sauce and sesame oil
- Garlic and ginger (minced)
- Red pepper flakes (for heat/optional)

1. Heat a pot or pan over your portable stove.
2. Sauté minced garlic and ginger in a bit of sesame oil.
3. Add cubed tofu, chopped bell peppers, broccoli florets, and sliced carrots.
4. Stir-fry until the vegetables are tender and the tofu is browned.
5. Season with soy sauce and red pepper flakes to taste.

Gnocchi with Pesto

- Gnocchi
- Pesto sauce (store bought or freshly made)
- Grated Parmesan cheese
- Chopped fresh basil

1. Cook gnocchi according to package instructions in a pot.
2. Drain and toss with pesto sauce.
3. Top with grated Parmesan cheese and chopped fresh basil.

Tamales with Salsa (Requires a HotLogic or RoadPro 12V oven)

- Pre-made tamales (store-bought or homemade)
- Salsa (store bought or pre-made)
- Sour cream
- Chopped fresh cilantro (optional)

1. Wrap pre-made tamales in tin foil.
2. Heat them up in your 12V oven until they're heated through.
3. Serve with salsa, sour cream, and chopped fresh cilantro for a fast, convenient and flavorful dinner.

What food to bring for car camping?

Anything you’d like! You’re only limitations will be based on how you’ll cook your food, and your food storage options.

If you won’t be bringing along an ice-packed cooler or 12V refrigerator, then storing fresh foods for more than a day will be next to impossible. In situations like this canned foods are your best friend: tuna, beans, veggies, Spam, sardines, Vienna sausages, soups, and other items that can be warmed up very quickly on a camping stove.

If you’ll really be roughing it and choose not to bring along a camping stove, all of the options mentioned above can be eaten directly from the can without cooking or heating. While this mightn’t be the most palatable, it will fill your belly and provide your body with needed fuel and sustenance.

If you’ll have a fridge and/or camping stove, then your options will be much greater in terms of the foods you can bring, and how they’re prepared; cold cuts, meat, poultry, fish, etc.

Always keep a jar of peanut butter on hand while camping. Coupled with bread or crackers, this is a nutritious meal that can be had anytime on-the-go.

How do you cook food when car camping?

Follow these tips to cook food when living in a car or while camping.

What are good camping side dishes?

Whatever floats your boat! Some of my favorite camping side dishes include: hummus, applesauce, fresh fruits & veggies, yogurt, cottage cheese, oatmeal, pastas (served hot or cold), rice, cheeses, toasted bread or pita slices, mashed potatoes, mac & cheese, roasted red peppers, oil-soaked artichokes, etc. 

Experiment and have fun with it. Making and enjoying meals while surrounded by the beauty of nature is a true gift.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, going camping doesn’t have to mean eating generic, boring foods like mushy cereal or bland bean burritos.

Whether you’ll be camp cooking at a campsite, car side in an urban area, or even out on the open trails, these fresh off the grid, easy camping meals are super easy to make, require minimal store-bought ingredients, and don’t take much time to whip up.

Nothing beats food cooked with love. Be sure to add this special ingredient to the recipes on this list.

Finally, don’t be afraid to get creative. Cooking is a fun activity, and mixing things up is always a smart idea. Try different spices, cooking techniques, etc.

Bon appetit on your outdoor adventure.