The most important meal of the day is equally as important (if not more important) when you’re camping. Breakfast can be as simple as dry cereal or a granola bar, but where’s the fun in that? Granted, when you have small kids who need food right away, these are essentials, so don’t forget to pack them!
Once you have tamed the hangry littles with some initial food, where do you start with breakfast when you’re not only away from home, but outside without the modern conveniences of your own kitchen?
I have some tips for making breakfast a breeze while camping plus some fantastic recipes that will make you want to go camping just to use them!
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Camp Kitchen Considerations
If you’re in an RV, you don’t have to worry about a stove and refrigeration (probably), so feel free to skip on ahead to the recipes! For those of us who love (or are willing to endure) a hardier form of camping, let’s think through the kitchen situation.
Being without a refrigerator can be one of the most difficult parts of camping – that challenge of keeping things cold and food safe for the entirety of your trip!
My first suggestion is to be sure to invest in an excellent cooler. Read those reviews and find one that stays cool for a long time. Also, I recommend finding one that has a spigot on the bottom so you can easily drain the water that accumulates from melting ice (and for easier cleaning). Check that cooler often and make sure everything is staying nice and cold! If you want to be extremely precise, invest in a thermometer so you can monitor those temps.
The second recommendation is to find alternatives to having to use a cooler. Especially for items that would be a huge issue if they spoiled or would take up a lot of space in a cooler.
I’m talking powdered items that come to life with a little water, for example, Powdered Milk – If mixed correctly, your kids can’t tell that you’re using powdered milk instead of fresh milk in the cereal. Just be aware, once reconstituted, the milk has to be refrigerated. So be sure to make just what you need or you’ll be cooling it anyway. But you can definitely store it in smaller glass containers and it will take up less space in the cooler, so it is still a great alternative!
How will you cook breakfast?
The next challenge is the cooking. It’s likely that you are cooking over a campfire, on a camp stove, or on a single butane burner (because, remember, if you have the luxury of all amenities in an RV, you’re skipping this section).
A campfire will allow everyone to cook their own food as they like it. Pop some toast in a toaster basket and throw it over the flame for a few minutes and it’s done. Easy peasy. There are also lots of foil-wrapped meals (keep reading for a few breakfast ones!) that can be cooked in the hot coals.
The downside to a campfire is that the heat can be inconsistent and if your wood is wet, you are out of luck. Keeping a fire going can be a challenge, so make sure you’re up for it! And, in the morning, some campers don’t enjoy waiting the time needed to get the fire going properly for cooking.
A camp stove is a great way to have more consistent cooking capabilities. With two burners, you can heat more than one thing at once, which will make a meal take shape much quicker. It also has a natural enclosure which will help keep wind from killing the flame.
The downside to a camp stove is that they tend to be rather large and cumbersome plus they require fuel which you will have to purchase separately. While they are safer in terms of starting fires in the wilderness, they aren’t nearly as cozy and nostalgic as drinking your coffee by the campfire.
A single butane burner will be lighter in weight, for sure, but be sure to purchase a wind screen, too. Nothing kills breakfast quicker than a burner that won’t stay lit.
Camping Breakfast Hacks
If there is any way to make meals easier while camping, it is worth a shot, right? The best thing to do is prep, prep, prep. Whatever can be mixed or chopped before you leave the ease of your home kitchen, take the time and do it. Future you will thank you.
I am a huge believer in ‘lazy mom camping’ and if you want more tips and ideas around making your entire trip easier, check out this article all about planning and prepping your stress-free family camping trip.
Here are a couple breakfast hacks that will speed up the morning routine:
Bacon – Frying bacon ahead of time is a game-changer! Get that whole package done and all you’ll have to do is heat it a bit at the campsite and it’s done! I recommend saving all the bacon grease in a glass jar and bringing it along on your camping trip. You’ll want a little in the pan to reheat the bacon and it is awesome for making scrambled eggs.
Scrambled Eggs – While cooking the eggs might not take a long time, cracking eggs does! Find containers that will hold as many eggs as you need each morning and go ahead and whisk those bad boys. Store them in the cooler for up to a couple of days. Nothing ruins a cooler while camping faster than cracked eggshells in a wet, cardboard container!
Pancake Batter – I recommend using “just add water” pancake mix while you’re camping. If you have a water bottle that has measurements on the side, add the water in, measure out the dry mix, give it a shake, and your pancake batter is ready!
If you want to fancy up your pancakes, bring along some berries to add in, mash up a banana or two into the batter, or add some cinnamon and raisins (or chocolate chips!) to the dry mix before leaving home.
Drinks – Just because you’re camping doesn’t mean you have to slack on morning drink options! If you have a camp stove, you can heat water for anything from coffee to tea to hot chocolate to Tang.
Yes, tang! While it may not be your favorite, flavor-wise, if you introduce your kids to Tang early, they may associate it with camping and find it has a nostalgic factor as they get older. Use that to your advantage! Also, tell them that early astronauts drank it in space. That may be a game-changer;)
Haven’t invested in a camp stove? Bring along an electric tea kettle and an extension cord. Coffee can be made in a percolator, French press, or if you brought the extension cord, why not just bring a coffee maker? The space you take up in packing is all about priorities.
Milk: If your kids like milk (but maybe don’t prefer powdered milk), there are a few shelf-safe options that don’t need to be chilled until you’re planning to drink it. Bring along the individual containers and throw what you’ll need the next day into the cooler the night before. They will be nice and chilled as you need them, but won’t take up tons of space in your cooler!
Powdered milk is an option for cereal and if your family likes alternative milks like soy and almond, you should be able to find non-refridgerated options of these as well.
Plan and Prep: Yes, it takes a bit of extra time, but do it. Make a meal plan, even if it’s a general outline… then, prepare everything you can ahead of time. Cut up the pepper you plan to add to your scrambled eggs. Wash the berries. Mix up your overnight oats into individual jars before the trip. Anything that can be done at home meals one less thing you need to do when you’re out enjoying the quite, relaxing wilderness.
Camping Breakfast Recipes
Now that you have your camp kitchen set up planned out, it’s time to think about the actual food. Here are tons of recipe ideas, broken down into handy categories so you can create a lot of variety in your camping menu.
Oatmeal, Cereal, and Such
Simple breakfasts are a must for some camping mornings. Especially when you need a breakfast to be quick so you can get out and explore!
It doesn’t get much more simple than cereal. Powdered milk is my go-to for a cereal morning. If you plan ahead, though, oatmeal can be a quick breakfast, too!
Instant oatmeal packets only require boiling water, which is easy! Overnight oats can be prepped ahead of time and put in jars to pull out as needed. Use those lids and don’t worry about washing until you get home.
Here are some other oatmeal ideas:
Espresso Overnight Oats with Almond Butter – The flavors in these overnight oats will be a delight for your morning, plus it has some of that caffeine that you need to start your day off right!
Healthy Instant Oatmeal – Yes, you can create your own instant oatmeal! Pop your creations into glass jars with lids so all you have to do is add hot water. If you’re on a short trip, don’t worry about washing at the campsite, just screw the lid back on and wash it at home.
Chocolate Oatmeal – Who doesn’t love chocolate for breakfast? Here’s a healthy chocolate oatmeal option!
Berry Overnight Oats – A delicious and healthy option that will only take about five minutes to prep!
Plus, here’s a bonus make-ahead option:
Coconut Chia Parfaits with Fresh Berries – With just six ingredients, these beautiful parfaits are a breakfast superfood that will have you ready to tackle your day outdoors.
These breakfasts will get you off to a warm and delicious start for those chilly camping mornings:
French Toast Foil Packet – You could always bring a huge electric skillet camping and make French toast in bulk, but this recipe takes up less space and is super fun to make! Packed with lots of topping ideas, these French Toast Foil Packets are sure to be a hit.
Banana Pancakes – Have some bananas at home that are turning brown? Pack them and get ready to make some delicious pancakes! Just be sure to pack a griddle or a cast-iron skillet that you can make them in.
Giant Cinnamon Roll – Here’s a recipe the kids can help with that will make everyone’s tummies rumble. All you’ll need is some parchment paper, a cast-iron Dutch oven, refrigerated cinnamon rolls, and some hot coals!
Campfire Apple Pie – With just two ingredients, Campfire Apple Pies are super simple and extra delicious. Especially if you make your own apple pie filling!
Baked Bananas – A delicious and healthy way to start your morning at the campsite, Baked Bananas are fairly simple to toss together and get cooking over the campfire or on a portable grill. This recipe has them being cooked at home, but I’ve done this at the campfire by wrapping the bananas in tinfoil and setting them over a low flame.
Peanut Butter Protein Balls – These are no-bake and ready in 15 minutes, so perfect for a camping trip!
Breakfast Breads and Muffins
I love make-ahead meals! Camping make-ahead meals are no exception. Breads and muffins are a perfect and easy camping breakfast option! Simply make a batch of muffins ahead of time and freeze them to keep other foods cold in the cooler for a day or two while they thaw.
Go ahead and make a batch of your family’s favourite muffin recipe or try something new!
Vegan Blueberry Lemon Muffins – Two fruit flavors that are a wonderful mix have to be blueberry and lemon! Try making and freezing these muffins for a fast and tasty camping breakfast.
If you’d prefer to make your bread right over the campfire, give this one a try!
Damper – A traditional Australian bread that is easy to make at the campsite, try a Damper and learn some history while you’re at it!
Hearty Hot Breakfasts
Feeling a little more ambitious? These hearty hot breakfasts may take a smidge more time if you’re making them on-site, but they will be well worth your time and effort.
Biscuits and Gravy Breakfast Skillet – An all-in-one pan delight that will fill hungry bellies for hours!
Campfire Egg Cups with Ham – Easily customized and simple to make (even the kids can help!). These egg cups are great for supper too.
Broccoli Egg Bites – Tasty whether eaten hot or cold, broccoli egg bites are a make-ahead, savory snack that will give you a boost of nutrients, too!
Make-Ahead Scrambled Egg Muffins – Another make-ahead breakfast idea, these egg muffins are easily customized to your taste. You can even make different flavors all at once to add lots of variety!
Healthy Vegetarian Greek Breakfast Egg Muffins – Here’s a scrumptious Greek version of egg muffins that is sure to add some flavor to your morning.
Bacon or Sausage, Eggs, and Toast – A simple made on-site breakfast, even this one can be simplified. As I mentioned before, you can crack your eggs and put them in a water bottle for easy scrambling, the bacon and sausage can be made ahead and reheated in a skillet (save that grease!), and toast can be made on the camp stove or over the campfire.
Backpacking Breakfast – Cheesy Bacon Grits. Yummy. An excellent choice for on-the-go hikers and campers!
Tailgate Breakfast Tacos – Easily adapted for the campsite, slice your peppers and crack your eggs before you leave home and this breakfast will come together quickly.
Skillet Breakfast – I recommend some prep with this one to cut down on the time, but with a nice, hot fire, this one-pot breakfast will come together quickly. Eggs, peppers, potatoes, and bacon are such a tasty combination!
Huevos Rancheros with Chorizo – A colorful and protein-packed breakfast that will be a perfect taste excursion from your everyday breakfast items!
Mountain Man Breakfast – A filling option consisting of eggs, ground sausage, potatoes (regular, sweet, or hashbrowns all work), and cheese, a Mountain Man Breakfast will fill you up, but will take some time to cook, so be prepared.
Breakfast in a Bag – A fun idea that doesn’t use any dishes (bonus!). Breakfast in a Bag is delicious and a simple bacon, eggs, and cheese meal that cooks over hot coals.
Campfire Breakfast Burritos – Breakfast Burritos can be made ahead completely, wrapped up in foil, and reheated over a campfire. You can also scramble the eggs ahead of time and toss them in a bag for the cooler to use as-needed.
Lastly, a few camping breakfast supplies and tools you might want to check out:
I hope you have found some helpful tips and tasty breakfast ideas to try on your next camping trip. Happy camping (and eating)!
Looking for more great camping recipes? You’ll want to check these out!
- Great camping foil recipes – for breakfast, supper and dessert!
- 19 Pie iron recipes to try on your next camping trip
- Easy and healthy hiking snacks that kids will love