There’s something magical about campfire cooking for kids.
Cooking over an open flame in the middle of nature — it connects us to our primal beginnings. Kids feel the excitement, the adventure, and a pinch of survivalism.
Whether your family is camping in the great outdoors or planning to eat around the backyard fire pit, this recipe roundup of campfire meals for kids will be one to bookmark!
First, we begin with my top suggestions on how to make open fire cooking safe, fun, healthy, and memorable! Then, we’ll dive into the specifics of camping recipes for kids so that the whole family is excited to partake.
Top tips on camping food for kids
With a few safety reminders, basic camp cooking equipment, open minds, and healthy ingredients, campfire cooking can be a positive experience for the whole family.
1. Safety around an open flame
There are always safety measures to take when cooking over an open flame. Teaching your kids such precautions is as important as teaching them general kitchen safety. Here are a few things to consider:
- First thing’s first! Always check to see if there is a fire ban in place before you light a match. Fire restrictions are common during dry seasons and we all need to do our part to prevent unnecessary forest fires.
- Make sure the fire pit is safe to use before you start the campfire. If there is not a metal ring around the pit, circle it with rocks, and remove any potential debris. Your fire pit should not be situated under low hanging branches or bushes.
- Always have a big bucket of water nearby! If your fire starts to get out of control, a bucket of water can prevent disaster. It also comes in handy when you are ready to put the fire out.
- Keep clear walking paths around a fire. An 8 to 10-foot radius around the fire should be free of tents, chairs, flammable materials, or debris.
- Use heavy-duty campfire mitts to maneuver any racks, pots, pans, or utensils when cooking over fire.
- Always keep a fire well attended. Whether cooking or not, have someone keep watch of an active fire. When it’s time to leave the campsite, or head to the tent, make sure the fire is put out.
2. Most helpful campfire cooking tools
Any good fire requires dry wood (such as hickory, oak, or maple), and a match or two — or, if you are like my boys, flint and steel. Beyond that, a few basic pieces of cooking equipment can make all the difference.
Here’s a list of some of my favorite tools for campfire cooking for kids! They can each be found on Amazon.
- Cast iron skillet (available here)
- Camping dutch oven (available here)
- Camping pot (available here)
- Campfire cooking grate (available here)
- Campfire grill and skillet combo (available here)
- Campfire tripod (available here)
- Extra-long tongs (available here)
- Campfire spatula (available here)
- Heavy-duty aluminum foil
- Hot dog/marshmallow roasters (available here)
- Pie iron (available here)
- Campfire basket (available here)
- Reusable tableware and utensils (available here)
3. Take the opportunity to explore new meals
The nuance of cooking a meal over an open flame can open up possibilities for trying new dishes — especially if you have a picky eater in your family.
Just think, a busy day exploring nature elicits a deeper appreciation for a hot cooked meal! We’ve experienced this time and time again with our own kids — they are much more grateful for a warm meal and deep nourishment.
Looking forward to experiences outside of their normal routine, outdoor cooking for kids means the opportunity for acceptance of new ingredients and flavors.
4. Choose healthy ingredients
It’s easy to fall into the convenience food trap when camping, but highly processed food is anything but natural. Packaging is detrimental to the environment, and chemical additives are harmful to our health.
Instead, camping recipes for kids can be kept simple with fresh, real food ingredients. The process of bringing whole foods together while gathered around a warm fire is part of maximizing the experience.
Seek out open fire cooking recipes that are full of colorful vegetables, fresh fruits, quality meats, nuts and seeds, and whole grains.
5. Involve your kids!
When your kids are part of the cooking process, they are much more likely to be excited about eating and enjoying the end result. I encourage you to involve them in the meal planning, food prep, and actual cooking of campfire food in age appropriate ways.
Here are some ways to involve kids in campfire cooking:
- Help to choose the meal
- Select the ingredients
- Wash the produce
- Chop the food (if they are ready for that)
- Learn how to start a fire
- And observe how adults safely maneuver cooking equipment over a fire.
Campfire meals for kids
Do you need ideas for healthy campfire meals for kids? This list of breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert recipes is sure to get them excited to cook and eat around the fire pit.
Campfire breakfast recipes
Nothing beats a fire first thing in the morning when you crawl out of your tent, except a hot meal to go with it!
1. Bacon Egg & Veggie Scramble
There’s nothing like the taste of eggs cooked in bacon grease when you are camping! I promise. This easy Bacon, Egg, and Veggie Scramble is worth cooking up in your cast iron skillet over a grill rack.
2. Breakfast Burritos
I love this Breakfast Burrito recipe for camping because you can prep the burritos at home and then throw them in the fire to warm before eating. Eggs, sausage, spinach, and cheese wrapped in a tortilla of your choice.
3. Paper Bag Bacon & Eggs
Such a simple and delicious campfire breakfast! Recipes From The Woods brings Paper Bag Bacon & Eggs (a tried and true technique) to life. Kids love to witness the transformation, and adults love the easy cleanup.
4. Cast Iron Frittata
Cast Iron Frittata from Fresh Off The Grid is a one pot meal that will leave the whole family satisfied — physically and mentally prepared for the day’s adventures. You can also involve your kids in swapping out ingredients to try different flavor combinations.
5. Mason Jar Pancakes
Camping pancakes don’t have to mean Bisquick! Prepare a healthy batter before you head to the woods and use a simple mason jar to transport the mixture from home to campfire griddle (in a cooler, of course). Try our Banana Almond Pancakes, or Cassava Flour Pancakes at your next camping breakfast.
6. Campfire Bacon
A compliment to any breakfast, Campfire Bacon is a must. Not only is it tasty, but beautifully weaved onto skewers — a well taught technique from Zestuous!
7. Campfire Breakfast Oats with Baked Apple
Ontario Parks brings us this delicious Campfire Breakfast Oats with Baked Apple recipe that is sure to be a winner at your next campout. Fun for kids to “bake” the apples and assemble all the toppings on whole grain oats.
8. Apple Sweet Potato Hash
Cooked right over a grill grate in your handy cast iron skillet, this Apple Sweet Potato Hash from Fresh Off The Grid is fall camping favorite! Full of flavor, texture, and worth every minute in the process.
Outdoor lunch recipes
Admittedly, most lunches look more like on-the-go snacks when our family is camping. Homemade trail mix, fruit, and jerky are our go-tos. Yet, once in a while a simple hot meal re-energizes the crew for afternoon adventures.
Roasting a few dogs (hotdogs that is) over a fire is one part of campfire cooking for kids that the little ones always love! Learning the slow spin technique, how to find the warm pockets, and how to avoid the dreaded char are skills to relish. Choose a quality dog (like Applegate Farms) for a quick mid-day refuel.
10. Campfire Flatbread Pizza
Camp pizza is a tradition for many. It’s actually a very simple meal that can be quickly assembled for lunch or dinner. I love the versatility that the Dirty Gourmet offers in this Campfire Flatbread Pizza recipe. You could even opt for a gluten free, or cauliflower crust to meet dietary needs, and select quality ingredients for a nutrient boost.
11. Whole Grilled Lemon Pepper Trout
Camping and fishing go hand-in-hand — at least in our family. Anytime the boys catch a decent-size trout while we are unplugging in nature, they want to cook it up over a fire. They LOVE it! This Whole Grilled Trout recipe breaks down the simple process so your family can enjoy this primal practice as well.
Dinner recipes for campfire cooking
At the end of a long day in the great outdoors, a hearty meal cooked over a fire will top off your kid’s camping experience. Bring them along for the prep, the cooking techniques, and the culinary uniqueness of open flame meals.
12. Sausage & Veggie Foil Packs
Real food ingredients, aluminum foil, and a campfire is all you need for these flavorful Sausage and Veggie Foil Pack meals! Have your kids wrap their own ingredients, and (with supervision) scout out a good spot in the firepit to place the pack for cooking magic.
13. Seared Sausage with Cabbage & Pink Lady Apples
This beautiful Seared Sausage with Cabbage and Pink Lady Apples dish is perfect for your favorite cast iron skillet, or camping Dutch oven. The combination of sweet apples and deeply colored cabbage compliments the sausage to warm any belly.
14. Grilled Sausage Kabobs
Colorful veggies provide healthy fiber for kids, and quality sausage means protein and fat to keep them satiated and nourished. These Grilled Sausage Kabobs with Zucchini and Peppers are perfect for the camp grill and perfect for kids who like to gnaw food off a stick.
15. Apple Cheddar Burgers with Caramelized Onions
A good burger and a grill rack are two peas in a pod! This Apple Cheddar Burger with Caramelized Onions recipe from Fresh Off The Grid solidifies this pairing. With or without a bun, these burgers are sure to put a smile on your family’s face.
16. Bacon Wrapped Asparagus
Bacon-wrapped Asparagus Spears are a great accompaniment to any grilled meat or fish — especially when you are cooking over a campfire, or a campground BBQ. Your kids will reach for second helpings of their green veggies.
17. Fiery Campfire Veggies
Use this Fiery Campfire Veggies recipe from Bless Her Heart Y’all as a framework for customizing your favorite combinations of veggies and seasonings for many camping meals to come! So easy, tasty, and perfect for engaging your kids with colorful veggie-ness.
18. Turkey Stuffed Poblano Peppers
A camp style Dutch oven is perfect for this Turkey Stuffed Poblano Pepper recipe. You may choose to use briquettes or hot embers from the fire to place under and over your lidded pot. As an alternative, you could saute the turkey mixture in your cast iron skillet before filling the poblanos and finishing the cooking process.
19. Cilantro-Lime Shrimp Foil Packs
Shrimp cooks quickly and is so delicious paired with the veggies and seasonings suggested in this Cilantro-Lime Shrimp Foil Pack recipe. You could prepare these packs ahead of time at home, or right at your campsite.
20. Beefy Nacho Skillet
My kids are suckers for a good nacho, and this Beefy Nacho Skillet recipe not only satisfies their craving while camping, but is a healthier option. Serve with tortillas of your choice, non-GMO corn chips cooked in coconut or avocado oil, or over steamed broccoli.
21. Simple Steak Fajitas
Simple Steak Fajita foil wraps are a less-mess outdoor cooking meal that are always a crowd pleaser. Thinly sliced steak will cook up quickly and meld with flavorful peppers and onions. Serve with tortillas of choice, over rice or cauli-rice, or with sliced avocado.
Campfire treats kids can make
Cooking over a campfire can certainly include a fun dessert. Here are a few that highlight real food ingredients and a camping flare.
22. Grain-Free Apple Crisp
Grain-free Apple Crisp is our family’s favorite camping desserts. We use this oven-friendly recipe and cook it in a camp style dutch oven until the apples are tender and the topping is just browned. So comforting, low in sugar, and warming to the soul.
What’s a campfire without s’mores? They’re an eternal classic of campfire cooking for kids.
Here are a few ways to decrease the junk and boost the health-factor of a nostalgic dessert. Make these gluten-free Crunchy Graham Crackers from Against All Grain before you leave the house. Choose marshmallows without high-fructose corn syrup, and select a quality dark chocolate. Tell me that doesn’t sound amazing for the whole family?
24. Campfire Banana Boats 9 Ways
Fresh Off The Grid knows how to put together a traditional Campfire Banana Boat! In fact, they offer all kinds of variations. We opt for dark chocolate, unsweetened coconut, and almond butter for a healthier take on this delicious treat.
25. Campfire Popcorn – the old fashioned way
Popcorn can be an awesome snack or treat while out camping. This recipe post from The Dyrt provides all kinds of options and variations for Campfire Popcorn the old fashioned way — no microwave needed. I just highly encourage you to use coconut or avocado oil for healthier fats, and avoid the canola or vegetable oil option. Enjoy!
Get started with campfire cooking for kids!
You now have the tips and recipe ideas to include your kids in campfire cooking! Turn it into a memory-building family activity by gathering around both fire and nourishing food to celebrate our connection to the natural world.
Kids will love the excitement and culinary creations that can come from outdoor cooking. Work together and plan your next camping menu today.