Campfire Cooking: Essential Guide + 7 Sizzling Recipes!

campfire cooking

Ah, the sweet smell of a crackling campfire and the sizzle of food cooking over an open flame.

There’s something magical about campfire cooking that can turn even the most basic ingredients into a mouthwatering meal.

But, do you know how to control the temperature of your campfire? Or which gear is essential for a successful campfire cooking experience?

In this post, we’ll cover everything you need to know about campfire cooking, including methods, strategies and tricks.

We will share our 7 favorite sizzling recipes that are sure to impress your fellow campers.

Not only that, but we will also cover safety guidelines and answer frequently asked questions about campfire cooking.

So sit back, grab a marshmallow or two and let us guide you through the world of campfire cooking.

5 Methods for Cooking Over a Campfire

Get ready for some delicious campfire cooking! When you’re out camping and want to make a great meal, there are five ideal ways of cooking over a campfire that you should know about.

Cooking on Hot Coals

Experiencing the great outdoor in a camping trip? Try campfire cooking over hot coals!

First gather dry wood then let it burn down to create a bed of glowing embers.

Next spread them evenly over the cooking area and place your delicious meal directly on top or even use a grill grate for extra flavor.

Hot coals are perfect for grilling meats and veggies or even preparing stews and soups in your favorite cast iron skillet or dutch oven.

Grilling Over an Open Flame

Grilling over an open flame is an ideal way to prepare delicious meals while enjoying the great outdoors on a camping trip.

To cook on an open flame, use a skillet or grill grate suspended over hot coals. Season your burgers with black pepper and cinnamon for extra flavor.

Roast marshmallows for s’mores and sweet potatoes in aluminum foil packets with olive oil and soy sauce.

Don’t forget to pack lightweight cookware and utensils like tongs and skewers in your camper for the perfect grilling experience.

Cooking in Foil

Cooking in foil when campfire cooking is like having your own personal chef and dishwasher all rolled into one!

Not only does cooking in foil make clean-up a breeze (just crumple it up and toss it away), but it also locks in all the delicious flavors and juices, creating a mouthwatering meal every time.

Plus, no need to worry about burning your food or dealing with sticky marinades dripping onto the fire.

With foil cooking, you can relax and enjoy the great outdoors while your dinner cooks itself to perfection.

So grab your foil, get creative with your ingredients, and let the campfire do all the hard work while you sit back and indulge in some camping culinary delights!

Dutch Oven Cooking

Cooking over an open flame might be fun, but if you want to take your camping cuisine up a notch, consider Dutch Oven Cooking for your next camping trip.

From baking mouthwatering cobblers to preparing hot dogs and even burgers, this lightweight cast iron skillet is ideal for creating delicious meals outdoors.

Roasting With Sticks

Roasting with sticks is the best part of any camping trip. It’s an ideal way to enjoy hot dogs, marshmallows, and even veggies cooked to perfection over a hot fire.

Use hardwoods like oak or maple for your roasting stick and season your food with olive oil, black pepper, or cinnamon for that extra flavor.

Whether you’re at a campsite or by the fire pit in your backyard these delicious meals cooked on skewers are perfect for any outdoor cooking adventure!

How to Control Campfire Temperature

When cooking while camping or in the great outdoors, controlling the fire’s temperature is essential for delicious meals.

Designate a specific fire pit or cooking area and choose hardwoods that create stable flames when building your fire.

Regulate heat by adjusting distance between food and flames and using cookware like Dutch ovens and skillets.

Don’t forget a meat thermometer for safe and accurate internal temperatures.

Increasing Campfire Heat Safely

Ah, the eternal quest to make a campfire burn hotter!

While I can’t promise you’ll achieve bonfire-level heat, there are a few tips and tricks you can try to safely increase the intensity of your campfire:

  • Start with dry firewood: Wet or damp wood won’t burn as hot as dry wood. Make sure your firewood is properly seasoned and free from moisture.
  • Arrange the wood properly: Build a sturdy teepee or log cabin structure with plenty of airflow. This allows oxygen to circulate, fueling the flames and increasing heat output.
  • Use smaller pieces of wood: Thinner sticks and branches tend to ignite more quickly and burn hotter than larger logs. Consider adding some kindling or small twigs to get the fire going strong.
  • Add some kindling: To give your fire an extra boost, add some easily combustible materials like dry leaves, newspaper, or even dryer lint as kindling. These will help create a hotter flame at the start.
  • Consider alternative fuels: If you really want to crank up the heat, you could try using fire starters or accelerants specifically designed for campfires.

Decreasing Campfire Heat Safely

If you’re looking to decrease the heat of your campfire safely, here are a few tips:

  • Adjust the size: To decrease the heat, try reducing the size of your campfire by removing some of the larger logs or spreading out the burning wood. This will help control the amount of heat being produced.
  • Use water: Sprinkle a little water on the fire to dampen it down and reduce its intensity.

    Just be sure not to extinguish the fire completely, as you may want to keep it going for warmth or cooking.
  • Create air vents: By strategically placing rocks or logs around your fire, you can create small air vents that will allow more oxygen in, promoting a faster burn and helping to decrease the heat.
  • Use a fire pit or grate: If you have access to a fire pit or grate, this can help regulate the heat by providing a barrier between the fire and your surroundings.

    It can also help with airflow and prevent embers from spreading.

Essential Campfire Cooking Gear

Cooking delicious meals while camping is all about having the right gear.

Here’s our quick list of must-have campfire cooking gear…(Ok, maybe number 9 on the list isn’t “essential”, but cut me some slack)

  1. Cast Iron Skillet: A versatile and durable cookware item for various cooking needs.
  2. Dutch Oven: Ideal for making stews, soups, and even baking bread or desserts.
  3. Grilling Grate: A sturdy metal grate to place over the fire for grilling meats, vegetables, and more.
  4. Campfire Grill Rack: Provides a stable platform for cooking over an open fire.
  5. Long-Handled Tongs: Essential for safely handling hot food and adjusting the fire.
  6. Campfire Tripod: A three-legged stand to hang pots, kettles, or Dutch ovens over the fire.
  7. Campfire Grill Grate Basket: Perfect for grilling delicate items like fish or small vegetables.
  8. Marshmallow Roasting Sticks: Long skewers for roasting marshmallows, hot dogs, or kebabs.
  9. Campfire Popcorn Popper: A specialized pot with a long handle for popping popcorn over the fire.
  10. Fireproof Gloves: Protect your hands while working with hot cookware and firewood.
  11. Aluminum Foil: Useful for cooking pouch meals, vegetables, and wrapping food for even heating.
  12. Campfire Coffee Percolator: Enjoy freshly brewed coffee over the campfire.
  13. Cooking Utensils: Spatula, spoon, and other utensils for stirring, flipping, and serving food.
  14. Heat-resistant Cutting Board: Handy for food preparation while camping.
  15. Portable Campfire Grill/Stove: A compact and lightweight option for cooking with a controlled flame.

Essential Techniques for Safe Campfire Cooking

Here are some tips to ensure you have a safe and tasty experience:

  • Choose the right spot: Find a designated fire pit or clear a safe area away from flammable materials like trees or bushes.
  • Start small: Begin with a small fire and gradually add more wood as needed. This helps prevent the flames from getting too high and reduces the risk of accidents.
  • Use long utensils: To avoid burns, use long cooking utensils like tongs or spatulas to handle food over the fire.
  • Keep it contained: Use sturdy cookware that won’t easily tip over, such as cast iron pots or pans. Also, make sure to place your cooking equipment on a stable surface or grill grate.
  • Don’t leave it unattended: Never leave your campfire or cooking food unattended. It’s important to keep an eye on the flames and ensure they stay under control.
  • Extinguish properly: When you’re done cooking, fully extinguish the fire by pouring water over it and stirring the ashes until they are completely cool to the touch.

Campfire Cooking: 7 Sizzling Recipes

Nothing beats the taste of food cooked over a campfire. Whether you’re camping in the great outdoors or just looking to add some rustic charm to your backyard cookout, campfire recipes are a must-try.

Here are 7 of our favorite campfire recipes!

1) Campfire Chili

Campfire chili is a hearty and delicious meal that can be enjoyed while camping. Here’s a simple recipe to get you started:


  • 1 pound ground beef or turkey
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes
  • 1 can (15 ounces) kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 can (6 ounces) tomato paste
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Heat a large cast iron skillet or Dutch oven over the campfire or on a grill grate.
  2. Add the ground beef or turkey to the skillet and cook until browned, breaking it up into crumbles with a spatula.
  3. Heat the onion and garlic in the skillet until they are softened.
  4. Stir in the diced tomatoes, kidney beans, black beans, tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, salt, and pepper.
  5. Cover the skillet with a lid or foil and let the chili simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
  7. Serve hot with your favorite toppings such as shredded cheese, sour cream, chopped green onions, or cornbread.

Enjoy your campfire chili!

2) Foil-Wrapped Hobo Packets


  • 1 pound ground beef or turkey
  • 4 medium-sized potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 small onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 medium-sized carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: additional seasonings such as garlic powder, paprika, or Italian seasoning


  1. Preheat your grill or oven to medium-high heat.
  2. Tear off four pieces of aluminum foil, each about 12 inches long.
  3. Divide the ground beef or turkey into four equal portions and form them into patties.
  4. Place one patty in the center of each piece of aluminum foil.
  5. Layer the thinly sliced potatoes, onions, carrots, and bell peppers on top of each patty.
  6. Sprinkle salt and pepper (and any other desired seasonings) over the vegetables.
  7. Fold the sides of the aluminum foil up around the ingredients to create a packet, ensuring that it is completely sealed.
  8. Place the packets on the grill grates or in a preheated oven-safe dish and cook for approximately 25-30 minutes or until the meat is cooked through and the vegetables are tender.
  9. Carefully open the foil packets (taking care to avoid steam) and serve hot.

3) Campfire Pizza


  • 1 pre-made pizza dough (store-bought or homemade)
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Toppings of your choice (e.g., sliced pepperoni, diced bell peppers, sliced mushrooms, sliced olives, etc.)
  • Olive oil (for brushing)


  1. Prepare the campfire: Build a fire and let it burn down until you have a nice bed of hot coals. You can also use a portable camping stove or a grill with a grate.
  2. Roll out the pizza dough: Dust a clean surface with flour and roll out the pizza dough to your desired thickness. If using store-bought dough, follow the instructions on the package.
  3. Prep your toppings: Prepare your chosen toppings by slicing or dicing them as needed. Keep them handy for assembly.
  4. Prepare a cooking surface: Place a cast iron skillet or a pizza stone on the grate over the campfire. Let it preheat for a few minutes until hot. If using a skillet, you can lightly oil it to prevent sticking.
  5. Assemble the pizza: Carefully transfer the rolled-out pizza dough to the preheated cooking surface. Spread the pizza sauce evenly over the dough, leaving a small border for the crust. Sprinkle the shredded mozzarella cheese evenly over the sauce. Add your desired toppings on top of the cheese.
  6. Cook the pizza: Cover the skillet or place a large metal bowl over the pizza to trap the heat and help melt the cheese. Let the pizza cook for about 10-15 minutes, rotating the skillet occasionally for even cooking. Keep an eye on the crust to avoid burning.
  7. Check for doneness: The pizza is ready when the cheese is melted, the crust is golden brown, and the toppings are cooked to your liking. Use a spatula or tongs to carefully lift the pizza out of the skillet or off the pizza stone.
  8. Serve and enjoy: Transfer the cooked pizza to a cutting board and let it cool slightly. Slice it into wedges or squares and serve hot.

4) Campfire Nachos


  • 1 bag of tortilla chips (approximately 10-12 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (cheddar, Monterey Jack, or a blend)
  • 1 cup cooked and seasoned ground beef or shredded chicken (optional)
  • 1/2 cup diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup sliced jalapenos (adjust according to your spice preference)
  • 1/4 cup sliced black olives
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • Sour cream and guacamole (optional) for serving


  1. Prepare the campfire: Build a fire and let it burn down until you have a nice bed of hot coals. You can also use a portable camping stove or a grill with a grate.
  2. Assemble the nachos: Spread a layer of tortilla chips on a large cast iron skillet or a heat-safe dish. Sprinkle half of the shredded cheese evenly over the chips. Add a layer of cooked ground beef or shredded chicken if using. Then, sprinkle the remaining cheese on top. Finally, evenly distribute the diced tomatoes, diced red onion, sliced jalapenos, and sliced black olives over the cheese.
  3. Cook the nachos: Place the skillet or dish on the grate over the campfire. Cover the skillet with a lid or a sheet of aluminum foil to trap the heat and help melt the cheese. Let the nachos cook for about 10-15 minutes, or until the cheese is fully melted and bubbly.
  4. Add finishing touches: Remove the skillet or dish from the fire and let it cool slightly. Sprinkle the chopped cilantro over the cooked nachos. You can also add dollops of sour cream and guacamole on top for added flavor.
  5. Serve and enjoy: Serve the campfire nachos directly from the skillet or dish. Use spatulas or tongs to scoop out the cheesy goodness onto plates or bowls. Dig in and enjoy the delicious campfire snack!

5) Campfire Mac and Cheese


  • 8 ounces elbow macaroni
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (or a cheese blend of your choice)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika (optional)
  • Cooking spray or additional butter for greasing


  1. Prepare the campfire: Build a fire and let it burn down until you have a nice bed of hot coals. You can also use a portable camping stove or a grill with a grate.
  2. Cook the macaroni: Bring a pot of water to a boil over the campfire or on your camping stove. Cook the macaroni according to the package instructions until al dente. Drain the cooked macaroni and set it aside.
  3. Make the cheese sauce: In a large cast iron skillet or a saucepan, melt the butter over the campfire or on your camping stove. Stir in the flour and cook for about 1 minute, until it becomes slightly golden. Gradually whisk in the milk, making sure to smooth out any lumps. Cook the mixture, stirring constantly, until it thickens and comes to a simmer.
  4. Add the cheese and seasonings: Reduce the heat and gradually add the shredded cheese to the sauce, stirring until it melts and the sauce becomes smooth. Stir in the salt, black pepper, and paprika (if using), adjusting the seasonings to taste.
  5. Combine the sauce and macaroni: Add the cooked macaroni to the cheese sauce, stirring until the pasta is evenly coated. Remove the skillet or saucepan from the heat.
  6. Grease a Dutch oven or a heat-safe dish: Lightly grease the inside of a Dutch oven or a heat-safe dish with cooking spray or butter to prevent sticking.
  7. Transfer the mac and cheese to the Dutch oven or dish: Pour the mac and cheese mixture into the greased Dutch oven or dish, spreading it evenly.
  8. Cook the mac and cheese: Place the Dutch oven or dish on the grate over the campfire. Cover the Dutch oven with its lid or tightly cover the dish with foil. Let the mac and cheese cook for about 15-20 minutes, or until it is heated through and the cheese is bubbly and slightly golden on top.
  9. Serve and enjoy: Remove the Dutch oven or dish from the fire and let it cool slightly. Serve the campfire mac and cheese directly from the Dutch oven or dish, or transfer it to plates or bowls. Enjoy the comforting and cheesy campfire meal!

6) Campfire S’mores


  • Graham crackers
  • Milk chocolate bars (e.g., Hershey’s)
  • Marshmallows


  1. Prepare the campfire: Build a fire and let it burn down until you have a nice bed of hot coals. Make sure you have a long campfire roasting stick or skewer for toasting the marshmallows.
  2. Break the graham crackers: Break the graham crackers into individual squares and set them aside. Each s’more will require two squares.
  3. Toast the marshmallows: Skewer a marshmallow onto the end of the roasting stick or skewer. Hold the marshmallow over the hot coals, rotating it slowly, until it turns golden brown and starts to melt. Be careful not to burn it!
  4. Assemble the s’mores: Take two graham cracker squares and place a piece of chocolate on one of them. Carefully remove the toasted marshmallow from the roasting stick and place it on top of the chocolate. Immediately cover it with the other graham cracker square to form a sandwich.
  5. Let the chocolate melt: Allow the heat from the toasted marshmallow to melt the chocolate slightly. You can press the s’more gently to help it melt even more.
  6. Serve and enjoy: Serve the warm and gooey s’mores to your fellow campers. Enjoy the classic combination of crunchy graham crackers, melted chocolate, and marshmallow deliciousness!

7) Campfire Breakfast Burritos


  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon butter or cooking oil
  • 6 flour tortillas
  • 6 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup diced bell peppers (any color)
  • 1/2 cup diced onions
  • Salsa, hot sauce, or sour cream for serving (optional)
  1. Prepare the campfire: Build a fire and let it burn down until you have a nice bed of hot coals. You can also use a portable camping stove or a grill with a grate.
  2. Cook the eggs: In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, salt, and pepper. Heat the butter or cooking oil in a skillet over the campfire or on your camping stove. Pour the egg mixture into the skillet and scramble the eggs until they are cooked through. Remove the skillet from the heat and set it aside.
  3. Warm the tortillas: Place the flour tortillas on the grate over the campfire or directly on the grill. Heat them for about 30 seconds on each side until they are warm and pliable. Remove the tortillas from the heat and set them aside.
  4. Assemble the breakfast burritos: Lay out the warm tortillas on a clean surface. Spoon a portion of the scrambled eggs onto the center of each tortilla. Sprinkle the crumbled bacon, shredded cheese, diced bell peppers, and diced onions evenly over the eggs.
  5. Roll the burritos: Fold the sides of each tortilla inward, then roll it tightly from the bottom to enclose the filling. Repeat this process for each tortilla, creating six breakfast burritos.
  6. Warm the burritos: Place the burritos on the grate over the campfire or directly on the grill. Cook them for about 3-4 minutes on each side until they are heated through and the tortillas are slightly crispy.
  7. Serve and enjoy: Remove the breakfast burritos from the heat and let them cool slightly. Serve them hot and optionally, with salsa, hot sauce, or sour cream on the side for added flavor.

FAQs About Campfire Cooking

  1. Can I cook anything on a campfire?
    Absolutely! Campfire cooking offers a wide range of possibilities. You can cook everything from traditional camping favorites like hot dogs and s’mores to more elaborate meals like foil-wrapped dinners, grilled veggies, and even desserts.
  2. Do I need special equipment for campfire cooking?
    While there are specialized tools available for campfire cooking, you can get by with some basic items. A sturdy grill grate or tripod is handy for cooking over an open flame. You’ll also want long-handled tongs or spatulas, heat-resistant gloves, and aluminum foil for wrapping food.
  3. How do I control the temperature of a campfire?
    Controlling the temperature of a campfire can be tricky, but there are a few tricks you can try. Adjusting the distance between your food and the flames can help regulate heat. Adding or removing burning logs can also affect the fire’s intensity. And don’t forget about using indirect heat by moving hot coals to one side and placing your food on the other.
  4. Is it safe to cook directly in the flames?
    Cooking directly in the flames is not recommended as it can result in unevenly cooked or burnt food. It’s best to use the coals or embers from the fire rather than cooking over an active flame.
  5. How do I clean up after campfire cooking?
    Cleaning campfire cooking equipment may require some extra effort. Once the cookware has cooled down, scrape off any food residue with a wooden or plastic spatula. If necessary, use hot water, mild soap, and a sponge to clean the cookware. Avoid using abrasive scrubbers or harsh chemicals that could damage the seasoning of cast iron. Dry the cookware thoroughly to prevent rusting, and consider seasoning it with oil before storage.


So there you have it, a guide to campfire cooking that will take your outdoor culinary adventures to the next level!

From delicious recipes to handy tips and tricks, you now have all the tools you need to become a master of the campfire grill.

So gather your ingredients, stoke those flames, and get ready to create some unforgettable meals under the open sky.

Remember to always prioritize safety and leave no trace behind.

Be Well and Happy cooking!

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