I love autumn camping. The crisp, fresh air smells of pine and fallen leaves. The chilly nights wrapped up warm in the tent. The shorter days, making it much easier to get the kiddos to sleep earlier and sleep in later. What’s not to love?
Camping in the fall also calls for hearty food that warms you from the inside out. I’ve compiled a list of some favorite, easy camping recipes we love this time of year. Everything from breakfast, lunch, and dinner along with some fun desserts the whole family will love. Did I mention how easy they are to make? Some can be fully prepared at home ahead of time and simply heated up at camp. Here are seven family-friendly fall camping recipes along with suggestions to infuse some fall vibes into your classic s’mores.
Loaded Autumn Breakfast Burritos
We love breakfast burritos on a crisp fall morning. We also love that they can be made completely at home, stored in a cooler, and heated over the fire with minimal effort. You can also make them from scratch right in your camping skillet if you don’t mind the extra prep and cooking time in camp. The ingredients are super variable based on personal preference and what you have on hand. Here is a fall-themed option that our whole family loves.
- Eggs (we use 6 for around 8 burritos)
- Frozen cubed hashbrowns (either plain or potatoes O'Brien, enough to fill the skillet in a single layer)
- Bell peppers in red, orange, and yellow
- Breakfast sausage of choice (I generally pre-cook them according to directions on the package)
- Optional: shredded cheese, salsa, hot sauce, or spices of choice
- Cook up the potatoes according to the instructions on the package.
- Add in peppers and sausage. Cook for 3-5 minutes.
- Add eggs (I generally move the potato mixture to the side of the pan and cook eggs on the other side until done. Then I mix it all together).
- Add in optional cheese and spices. Let cool.
- You can either store the mixture in a container and assemble your burritos at the campsite, or assemble burritos at home, wrapping each one in heavy-duty foil and storing them in the fridge or cooler.
- Warm over fire (we do about 5 – 7 minutes on each side)
Apple Cider Pancakes
Add a fall twist to your camping pancake recipe by using apple cider rather than water! I used this recipe from Fresh Off the Grid and tweaked it a bit to fit our needs. We generally mix all the dry ingredients at home in a Ziploc bag so that we can easily add the wet ingredients at camp. Once everything is mixed, we transfer it to a condiment squeeze bottle so we can easily squeeze the batter onto our camp skillet with minimal mess.
Ingredients (will yield about 6-8 regular-sized pancakes):
- 1 cup flour
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1½ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- ½ cup whole milk
- ½ cup spiced apple cider
- Maple syrup of choice
Optional Apple Cinnamon Topping
- 1 apple (sliced thin or cubed)
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon sugar
- Mix dry ingredients together (we usually do this at home in a Ziploc bag)
- Whisk egg, milk, and cider together and add to dry ingredients, mixing well. We then prefer to add it to a condiment squeeze bottle for easy pouring.
- Heat a camp skillet over medium heat and grease the pan with butter. Squeeze out ¼ cup batter for regular-sized pancakes, or less for silver dollar pancakes.
- Flip once the pancakes are golden brown and you see air bubbles forming at the top.
- Optional Topping: Melt butter in a skillet and add apples and cinnamon sugar, coating the apples well. Saute until apples have softened to the desired level. Serve over the pancakes.
Autumn Foil Packets
Foil packets are a super easy way to cook up a hearty meal with minimal effort and clean-up. The ingredients are personal preference, but here is an option that incorporates fall vegetables to give it that autumn feel (and taste).
- Smoked Sausage – cut into thin rounds
- Baby potatoes – quartered or cut into rounds (you can also use sweet potatoes here, but they will increase the cooking time unless pre-cooked at home)
- Regular Carrots – Cut into rounds
- Yellow Onion – very thinly sliced
- Olive oil (about 2 Tablespoons depending on size)
- Butter (about ½ to 1 Tablespoon per foil packet)
- Seasonings of choice – Cajun seasoning is a great option here or a mixture of Italian Seasoning, salt, pepper, dried herbs, and paprika.
- Once ingredients are cut or sliced, toss with olive oil and seasonings of choice. Divide between 4 or more foil packets and add butter.
- Tightly seal the foil packets (check out this post for detailed instructions on how to properly fold a foil packet).
- Place on a campfire grill and cook for 20-30 minutes, flipping halfway through. Keep in mind that the cooking time can vary wildly depending on the temperature of the grill/fire, the thickness of the veggies, etc.
- Carefully open foil packets and enjoy! I prefer to pour them into a bowl or a plate to prevent lap spillage.
It doesn’t get much better than a nice warm bowl of chili on a crisp autumn evening. It’s even better when you happen to be camping on that crisp autumn evening! There are countless delicious chili recipes out there. Choose your favorite and either bring along your ingredients to cook at camp or make it ahead of time at home. I prefer the latter. We generally store pre-made chili in an airtight container for transport or freeze it in large Ziploc bags (I usually double bag it) days ahead.
If you freeze it, it can double as an ice pack in your cooler until you’re ready to warm it up at camp. I like to use this classic chili recipe from The Wholesome Dish, tweaking the ingredients here and there.
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 small-medium yellow onion (diced)
- 1-pound lean ground beef
- 2 tablespoons ground cumin
- 2 ½ tablespoons chili powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 ½ teaspoons salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon ground cayenne pepper(optional, I generally omit since I have young kiddos)
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 (16 oz.) can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 (15 oz.) can petite diced tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
- 1 ½ cups beef broth
- Toppings of choice: shredded cheese, sour cream, crackers, etc.
- In a large soup pot, add olive oil and heat for a few minutes. Add onion and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add beef and cook, breaking apart, for 6-8 minutes until browned.
- Add chili powder, cumin, sugar, garlic powder, salt, pepper, cayenne pepper (if using), and tomato paste. Stir to combine well.
- Add drained beans, beef broth, diced tomatoes (with their juice), and tomato sauce. Stir well.
- Bring to a low boil. Reduce the heat (low to medium-low) and let simmer, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Remove the pot from the heat and let cool completely before storing in an airtight container or freezer bags.
- Once at camp, add chili to a camp pot to heat over the fire or stove. Top with desired ingredients and enjoy!
Fire Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Nothing says fall quite like baked sweet potatoes. They are surprisingly easy to make at camp if you don’t mind the longer cooking time. Here is how we like to prepare them.
- 2-4 small or medium-sized sweet potatoes (the thicker ones will take much longer to roast)
- Toppings of choice. I prefer marshmallows or brown sugar for a sweet treat, while my husband likes to use leftover chili for a savory meal.
- Wash and dry sweet potatoes thoroughly. Poke holes all around with a fork and wrap them in heavy duty aluminum foil (I like to do this step at home so they are ready to stick in the fire when we want them).
- Place the wrapped potatoes in the coals of the fire.
- Let roast for around 60 minutes, flipping after 30 minutes.
- Carefully remove from the fire, top with desired ingredients, and enjoy!
Dutch Oven Cobbler
Is the Dutch oven more your camp cooking style? The founder of Morrison Outdoors, Tavis, agrees. He swears this Dutch oven cobbler recipe is amazing for a sweet treat while camping. The only equipment you need is a Dutch oven and some coals. The dry ingredients can be mixed at home for easy prep at the campsite.
- 1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
- 2 Cups of Sugar
- 1/2 Teaspoon of Salt
- 2 Teaspoons Baking Soda
- 1 Cup of butter
- ¾ cup milk
- 3-4 cups of fruit of choice (such as fresh or canned peaches, fresh or frozen berries, etc.)
- Preheat 30-40 charcoal briquettes
- Melt the butter in the Dutch oven
- If you haven’t already, mix your dry ingredients (flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda) in a medium bowl.
- Add milk slowly and mix until it becomes a moist batter.
- Pour the batter into the Dutch oven and pour fruit over the top of it.
- Place the Dutch oven over 10-15 hot charcoal briquettes.
- Carefully place about 20 or so hot charcoal briquettes on top of the Dutch oven lid.
- Cooking times will vary but it usually takes around 30-40 minutes. Check after 20 minutes or so. The cobbler is done when a toothpick poked into the center comes out clean.
Apple Pie in a Pie Iron
You will be amazed at the things you can make in a simple camping pie iron! One of our favorites is the apple pie in a pie iron. It only requires three ingredients, and tastes just like Apple pie!
- 1 can of Pillsbury flaky rolls
- About ¼ cup of canned or fresh apple pie filling
- 1 medium-sized marshmallow
- Butter both sides of the camping pie iron (or use non-stick spray)
- Split one flaxy roll in half, placing one half on one side of the pie iron
- Top roll with pie filling and marshmallow.
- Place the other half of the roll on top and close/latch the camping pie iron.
- Cook over the fire for around 5 minutes on each side.
Tip: Not a fan of apple pie? Try it with cherry or pumpkin pie filling instead! Just omit the marshmallow and add a little whipped cream once it’s cooked.
Bonus: Autumn S’mores Variations
S’mores are a camping staple no matter which season you’re in. We like to switch things up a bit in the fall by infusing some autumn flavors into the mix. Here are a few options to consider:
- Switch out your classic honey graham crackers for cinnamon ones
- Forgo the chocolate and add in a little apple or pumpkin pie filling with your marshmallow.
- Use up some of that leftover Halloween candy in place of the chocolate. My husband loves using Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups while my oldest prefers using cookies and cream Hershey’s bars.
- Switch out your typical chocolate with popular seasonal options (such as the Ghirardelli Pumpkin Spice Caramel squares)
- Add some thinly sliced apples to your s’mores stack.
Fall Camping Meals Made Easy
Meal planning and prep for fall camping don’t have to be hard. Most of the recipes on this list can either be fully cooked at home or easily assembled at the campsite, even with little ones running around. What are your favorite camp recipes? Send us a message or comment on our social media pages to let us know!
Cover Photo Credit: Elise Giordano
Rebecca is a transplant Coloradoan living in Virginia with her husband (Derek) and their two boys. She’s a teacher turned freelance writer/ homeschool mom working towards exploring as much of the east coast as possible before the next move takes her family elsewhere. You can follow her family hiking, kayaking, SUPing, geocaching, camping, and all things outdoor adventuring on Instagram @frazzlednaturemom