Camping Series: Easy Potluck Recipes to Make Ahead

Yes, friends, this is officially a series in progress! We’re publishing posts on different ways to make backyard or (real) outdoor camping among the most enjoyable and treasured times for the whole family. We started with camping trip essentials and fun camping games and activities for boys. Now, we’re now onto a definite essential: camping food!

But not just any old grub. We’re talking about make-ahead recipes that cut down food prep and clean-up time at the campsite, so you have more time to enjoy. While these can also be brought along as potluck items for a joint camping trip with other families or friends. Take your pick from our delish recipe finds!

Make-ahead Camping Food Recipes from Breakfast to Snacks

Make-ahead Camping Food Recipes from Breakfast to Snacks

Whether your family will be going solo or sharing the camping trip with others, make sure to have breakfast, lunch and dinner covered—plus energy snacks and yummy desserts. As we said, these recipes are make-ahead. And a couple are even no-cook/no-bake. Hooray!

1 – Chunky Monkey Overnight Oats
Perfect to serve for breakfast, this tummy filler from Weary Chef packs an energy punch of rolled oats with banana slices and chunks of dark chocolate (optional: chopped walnuts and a drizzle of honey). Prepare the night before in sealable containers and pack along for the trip!

2 – Hot Link BBQ Packets
For lunch, this flavorful combo of pre-cut Hot Link sausages, russet potatoes, carrots, and white onions from 4 Hats and Frugal comes wrapped in aluminum foil—all ready to be grilled directly amongst the coals at the campsite.

3 – Smoky Campfire Beans
What would a camping meal be without beans, right? Go home-made with this recipe from Today’s Parent featuring navy beans, molasses, maple syrup, tomato paste, Dijon mustard and paprika—all cooked together in a saucepan at home, then stored in a container to reheat outdoors.

4 – Crockpot Chicken BBQ Sandwiches
Sandwiches are always a handy pack-along option. Beyond the Tent shows how you can pre-cook the chicken filling in your crockpot at home, store in deli containers, then heat in a pan over the campfire and serve on buns lined with leafy greens.

5 – DIY Instant Noodle Cups
You can go home-made with “instant noodles” too! In this recipe from The Kitchn, simply pack all your favorite noodle soup components (pre-cooked chicken flakes, carrots, broccoli, beans; bean sprouts, fresh herbs, green onions, etc.) plus your choice of “instant” noodles (vermicelli, rice noodles, udon noodles, soba noodles) into jars, along with a flavorful soup stock paste. When you’re ready to eat, pour hot water into each jar, let things warm up and enjoy!

6 – Chickpea Fennel Vegetable Salad
Here’s a healthy and handy salad in mason jars from Nutrition in the Kitch. And so colorful and crunchy, too, with cucumber, tomatoes, chickpeas, cauliflower, red onion, red bell pepper, fennel and dill—all tossed together in your favorite herb vinaigrette.

7 – Healthy No-Bake Peanut Butter Energy Balls

8 – Quick and Easy Blueberry Muffins
A camping “comfort food” that can double as either a snack or a not-too-sweet dessert, these muffins from Inspired Taste can easily be baked ahead at home. Then, just pack them in well-sealed containers to keep fresh for after (or between) camp meals!

Be sure your campers are up to all the outdoor activities by having yummy energy-packed snacks on hand. This dairy-free, gluten-free and vegan recipe from Nutrition in the Kitch is made with rolled oats, pitted dates, and natural peanut butter, plus filling ideas like chocolate chips or natural fruit jams.

Gosh! We’ve probably gained a few pounds just reviewing these amazing make-ahead recipe choices. Time to start food prepping and packing for that camping trip!