Cooking campfire meals in foil – how, why, and all the recipes!

Foil packet foods are some of the easiest and most common camping foods out there! Have you made these before? Maybe you have a standard hobo dinner go-to? Or, maybe you’re looking to fancy up your camping meals and try something new on your next camping trip.

Looking to make your first foil pack or try some new flavours, you’ll find a whole bunch of yummy recipes below. But, we’ll start with some camping cooking tips and discussion first.

Oh, and these aren’t just for the campsite. You can make these at home on your backyard fire pits, or even on the barbeque too!

getting foil packs ready to cook over the campfire

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Why are foil packs good meals for camping?

  • Can often be prepared ahead of time
  • A good way to avoid handling raw meat at the campgroud (if you do prepare them ahead of time)
  • Can be individualized and put into single serving pouches
  • Can be cooked over a campfire
  • Don’t need special cooking equipment
  • Can be eaten straight from the foil

Cooking your dinner in a foil package is one of the simplest ways to cook a meal at the campsite. This is why aluminum foil is usually considered by many to be one of the essential camping equipment necessities!

If you are more of a minimalist camper without a fancy trailer or running water then you’ll know how handy it is to have meals with minimal prep and easy clean ups.

How do you make a foil pack campfire meal?

  1. Assemble your ingredients (these can often be cut and prepared ahead of time)
  2. Cut large pieces of heavy duty foil per serving
  3. Pile on the ingredients (make sure to use enough oil or butter to prevent burning)
  4. Add another large piece of foil on top
  5. Roll all the edges together to seal the foil package
  6. Place foil packs onto a grill over the fire
  7. Carefully rotate and flip the packages to encourage even cooking
  8. Peak into the packages to check for doneness
  9. When done, cut open, serve, enjoy!
kids helping prepare foil meals at the campsite

I’ve heard of some people using parchment paper inside their foil packages as an extra layer of protection against burning… because those crispy stuck on pieces are a certainty unless you’re an amazing cook!

The parchment paper liner might also be good for any concerns you may have about your food being in contact with the aluminum foil itself.

We haven’t tried the parchment paper trick ourselves. However, I have used aluminum containers to cook in instead of the packages and find this works well when trying to cook larger quantities of food.

When camping with the family we will often prepare and cut our ingredients at home, then at the campsite I’ll let the kids choose which veggies and such they want in their own packages. (Giving them a bit of ownership with their meal usually means they’ll be a bit more enthusiastic about eating it.)

What can you cook in foil?

I’d think you could probably cook almost anything as long as it wasn’t too moist. Pretty much anything you could roast in your oven, you can cook in a foil pack.

You can precook your meals at home and warm them up in foil at the campsite. Or, you can cook it fully right there over the fire.

I’ll admit that our foil pack meals are not gourmet. When we’re camping, we keep things pretty basic. We have some standard go-tos and tend to only make those.

Further down in the article you’ll find a whole bunch of interesting and exciting foil package recipe links, but, I’ll admit that when we make these I’m usually just doing some sort of combination of the standard mix below.

an opened foil pack on a camping dish

The standard mix and match roast veggies and meat

Just as you’d mix up a pan of cut veggies to roast in your oven, this is what we add to our hobo dinners at the campsite. Depending on what we have on hand, we might add:

  • onions, garlic
  • root veggies (potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips)
  • broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, brussel sprouts, snap peas
  • mushrooms, pineapple
  • sweet peppers
  • zucchini or squash

Then, we might add some meat. Usually we use a precooked sausage or meat of some sort so as to not need to worry about whether or not we’ve properly cooked our meat over the fire.

  • chicken pieces
  • sausage
  • salmon
  • bacon
  • cured meats

Lastly, we add an oil and some herbs and seasoning

  • butter or oil
  • fresh herbs (rosemary, basil, chives, parsley)
  • and a dash of salt and pepper

These are our favorite camping foil pack combinations:

Perogies and smokies

Just as it sounds… we slice up some good quality smokies and toss these with perogies. Adding a few sliced onions is a nice addition to this dish. Serve these with sour cream and a sprinkling of dill, yumm!

a child's hand reaching into a foil dish of perogies and sausage

The trick to this dish is keeping the perogies frozen until we’re ready to use them. Since we’re often camping without electricity we might make this meal the first night while the perogies are still mostly frozen.

Root veggies and rosemary

A favourite of mine is sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnip, onions, mushroom, and rosemary with olive oil and salt. If the serving is big enough I’m happy to eat just this as an entire meal! If you want to increase the protein with this dish you could sprinkle some feta cheese and roasted seeds like pepitas or slivered almonds onto the veggies once done cooking.

cut vegetables sitting on tin foil

Veggie cooking tip: When planning to cook harder vegetables over the fire make sure to cut them into small pieces so they don’t take hours to cook. Also, if you combine large pieces of potato with something soft like zucchini, know that the zucchini will likely be mush by the time the potatoes are fully cooked.

Asparagus and Garlic

This one is so good! Wrap up asparagus with lots of peeled garlic, chunky sea salt, and a generous amount of olive oil.

We like to make these as an easy veggie side to campfire egg cups or pita pizzas.

Can you prepare these camping foil meals ahead of time?

When we camp we like to make our trip as easy and stress free as possible. (I fondly refer to my camping preferences as ‘lazy-mom camping‘). Because of this, I try to plan and do as much food prepping as possible at home before the trip.

For example, I might cut up the veggies, mix them with oil and herbs and bring them to the campsite in a container.

Then, when I’ve arrived and we’re ready to cook, we’ll make up the individual packages or get them ready for cooking. I do it this way mostly to save space, but I don’t see why you couldn’t wrap them up in their packages individually at home as long as you had room in the cooler / fridge for them all. I’d probably still put the foil packs into a container so that they don’t leak oil everywhere.

20 yummy camping foil packet recipes

1. Sausage Pierogi Campfire Foil Packets

2. Shrimp Foil Packets With Zucchini

shrimp and zucchini cooked in a foil package
From Recipes from a Pantry

3. Garlic Potato Foil Packets

4. Pork Chop Foil Packets with Veggies

5. Cheddar BBQ Chicken Foil Packets

chicken, corn, and vegetables in a foil packet
From Home Made Interest

6. Salmon Foil Packets with Summer Vegetables

7. Bacon Ranch Chicken Foil Packets

8. Delicious Sausage Foil Packets With Corn

9. Italian Sausage and Pepper Foil Packet

10. Foil Pack Chicken Fajitas

chicken fajitas cooked in foil packs over a campfire
From Home Made Interest

11. Vegetarian Grilled Summer Salad

12. BBQ Chicken Potato Foil Packet

13. Grilled Butter Garlic Steak & Potato Foil Pack Dinner

14. 20-Minute Old Bay Shrimp Foil Packs

15. Chicken Foil Packet

16. Hobo Packets

17. Baked Salmon Foil Packets With Vegetables

18. Chicken Bacon Ranch Foil Packets

chicken, broccoli, bacon, and cheese cooked in a foil pack
From Wondermom Wannabe

19. Steak and Potato Foil Packet Dinners

20. Pineapple Teriyaki Shrimp Foil Packets

foil packages cooking on a campfire

What should you do now?

If you’re ready to read more about camping, you’ll want to check out these articles:

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