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Fast, Quick, and Easy Meals for Camping

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

Sometimes you just need to cook something quick with no fuss. Here are some ideas for easy meals for camping. Minimum cooking. Minimum washing up.

**Sometimes you need to feed your family quickly, and you're not ready to cook a full meal at camp or you have limited equipment, and perhaps can only boil water. **

Here are some ideas for easy meals for camping...

Quick and easy meals for camping

We love doing a good cook-up at camp but sometimes you need to cook something warm, quickly, and with minimum hassle.

For that, by far the easiest are those meals you just add hot water to.

Quick and easy meals for camping (with no pans)

Porridge pots

Here's a few ideas that you just add boiling water to.

Just heat up the water in your whistling kettle on your camping stove. No pans required, and no washing up.

  • Porridge pots for breakfast. There are lots of different toppings and flavors to try. Even non-porridge lovers may enjoy some flavors.
  • Pasta pots, rice pots, and pot mash. Flavors and quality vary, but it's something quick.
  • Pot noodles.
  • Cup of soups.

Easy one-pan meals

Stir-in sauce

If you want something more substantial but are stuck with just a single ring on your camping stove, here are some other easy, quick meals.

They simply involve boiling and heating.

  • Pasta with a stir in sauce. Boil the pasta, drain, then stir in the sauce and warm.
  • Risotto with a stir-in sauce. Boil the rice, drain, then stir in the sauce and warm.
  • Simple Noodles. Cook the noodles with a tin of sweetcorn. Add soy sauce if you have some.
  • Couscous (the type you add water to). Again, adding a tin of sweetcorn can help bulk it out a bit.

An idea from the Moveable Feasts book is to cook instant mashed potato with a packet of Cup-of-Soup to create a flavoured potato meal.

We wouldn't class any of the above as proper meals, but if you need to recharge your family quickly, such as when setting up camp and you're not yet set up for proper cooking, then they are some ideas to make things easier.

One pot camping meals for when you need to keep things simple

One pot camping meals for when you need to keep things simple

Cook at Home and Bring to Camp

Another thing you can do is to cook something at home and reheat it when at the campsite.

If you freeze it first, it can act as a large ice block in your coolbox.

We've found Chilli is good for this. It will slowly defrost over a few days, and then all you need to do is reheat it and makes an easy meal a few days into your camp.

Ready Meals for Camping

A self-heating ready meal

A self-heating ready meal

Of course you can get many. Simply boil in the bag, or you can even get some that cook themselves without a stove.

They can be expensive, but a solution if just a few of you are hiking and you can't stop or in an area where you can't use a stove.

Is this cheating too much?

So if you think this is cheating a little too much, watch this video below, where Dave Canterbury uses some packet mixes and supermarket-ready meals, some tin cookware, and a campfire to cook up a meal.

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