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How to cook baked potatoes on a campfire

Posted by Gav Grayston.
First Published Oct 2013; updated May 2023.

There are a few ways to cook baked potatoes over a campfire. There's only one successful method. Read to find out how to cook baked potatoes on a campfire.

Cooking baked potatoes (or jacket potatoes as we like to call them) on the campfire should be easy, but they don't always turn out that well. Here's the best way we've found to cook them.

Different Campfire Baked Potatoes

Different Campfire Baked Potatoes

How NOT to cook a baked potato on a campfire

You would think that cooking a baked potato on the campfire is easy: Just stick it on and let the potato warm up.

Unfortunately, that's not going to work. You'll end up with a burnt but uncooked potato.

The secret is not to put the potato directly into the fire.

Here's what to do...

Preparing the potato

Whilst your campfire is getting hot, slice the potato open (lengthways).

Fill the potato with marge or butter. You do this now as it helps prevent the potato from drying out while cooking at the campfire.

You can also add some flavouring at this point. For example, you could add some garlic to the potato if you want a garlic potato.

We tried Garlic Philadelphia spread, which worked OK.

Wrap the potato tightly in foil (shiny side on the inside).

Cooking the potato on the campfire

Campfire Cooking with Kids

The secret to cooking your jacket potato on the campfire is where you place it in your campfire.

You don't want to put your potato in the flame.  Instead, pull some hot coals from the campfire, and place your potato in those embers.

You want to have hot coals both under and over the potato.

A keyhole-shaped fire works well for this type of cooking as you can have a separate area below the main fire to pull hot coals for cooking.

If you're in a hurry, you can cheat with hot BBQ charcoal coals.

How to know when the potato is cooked

The Classic Baked Potato

The Classic Baked Potato, but cooked using the campfire.

Baked potatoes take a while to cook. Expect them to take at least 45 minutes.

Please give them a turn now and then, or reposition them in the embers.

A good pair of BBQ tongs work well here as well as a pair of hot gloves (Hot Gloves on Amazon).

Don't unwrap the foil to test if the potato is cooked (as you could get ash over the potato). Instead, with Hot Glove on, push your finger into the side of the wrapped potato. If the potato feels soft and your finger leaves a dent, then the potato is probably cooked.

Cooking Sweet Potatoes on a Campfire

Baked Sweet Potato

Baked Sweet Potato cooked using the campfire

Sweet potatoes can be cooked in the same way as regular baked potatoes.

These take about half the time to cook, though.  They also end up a lot softer.

Personally, I prefer baked sweet potatoes on the campfire.

Campfire Potato and Onion

Sliced Potato and Onion

Sliced Potato and Onion, cooked on the campfire.

This is another alternative to the regular baked potato, which cooks in about half the time.

Slice a potato into about 1 cm or 1/4 inch slices, but keep all the slices together to keep the shape of the potato.

Put butter or marge between the slices.

Slice up some onion and place it between these layers.

Wrap in foil and cook in the same way as baked potatoes.

Alternative: cooking a potato in a tin can

An alternative way of cooking a baked potato is to place it inside a tin can. Cover the end of the can in foil and place the can next to the campfire.

The metal heats up and creates a mini-oven in the can, which cooks your potato.

We have to give this a thumbs up as a nice idea, but we found this method unsuccessful. Despite turning the potatoes often, we ended up with part burnt and uncooked.

So our recommended method for cooking baked potatoes on a campfire is to wrap them in foil and cover them in hot coals.

Baked Potatoes Video

Here's a video we made of cooking these potatoes.

YouTube Video Thumbnail