Campfires, Camping Food, Camping Guides

Top 10 Camping Cookbooks for Epic Meals Outdoors


As the amber hues of sunset fade behind the trees and the campfire begins its evening serenade, there’s an age-old tradition that campers eagerly anticipate: the ritual of cooking under the stars. 

But gone are the days when campfire meals meant just skewered marshmallows or canned beans. Modern adventurers are now armed with an arsenal of flavors, techniques, and recipes, thanks in large part to a growing collection of camping cookbooks that have revolutionized outdoor dining. 

These culinary tomes don’t just provide recipes; they offer an invitation into a world where the sounds of nature harmonize with the sizzle of the skillet, and where the freshness of the air accentuates every bite. 

Whether you’re a seasoned camper or planning your first forest foray, dive deep into this curated list of the best camping cookbooks that promise to elevate your outdoor feasts from simple to sumptuous. Welcome to the culinary symphony of the wild!

Top 10 Camping Cookbooks for Epic Meals Outdoors

1. The New Camp Cookbook: Gourmet Grub for Campers, Road Trippers, and Adventurers

By Linda Ly (Author) and Will Taylor (Photographer) | July 1, 2017

🍴 Recommended Recipe: Spanish Chorizo and Chickpea Stew

💚 Why I Like It: The rich and smoky flavors of the chorizo harmoniously meld with the hearty chickpeas, creating a comforting stew that warms the soul amidst the cool embrace of nature, making it one of my absolute favorites for campfire cooking.

Ah, the great outdoors – where meals should be as grand as the surrounding vistas! Enter Linda Ly’s masterpiece, “The New Camp Cookbook.” This isn’t your usual “chuck a can of beans over the fire” camping guide. 

Ly whisks you away on a culinary adventure that pairs perfectly with the spirit of the wild. With recipes that sizzle, from savory skewers to tantalizing tarts, this cookbook encourages even the most gourmet-phobic to embrace their inner campfire chef. 

Not just a recipe book, Ly arms you with tips on essential camp cooking equipment, and the art of meal planning in the wild. Each page is a testament to her belief that outdoor eating should be a lip-smacking affair, no matter where your travels take you. 

Whether you’re a camping novice or a seasoned road tripper, this book ensures that the phrase “dining under the stars” takes on a whole new delicious meaning. Grab your spatula, adventurers, because campfire dining just got a gourmet upgrade!

2. One Pan to Rule Them All: 100 Cast-Iron Skillet Recipes for Indoors and Out

By Howie Southworth & Greg Matza | July 5, 2016

🍴 Recommended Recipe: California Black Bean Chili

💚 Why I Like It: With its robust blend of spices, hearty beans, and a touch of Californian flair, this chili offers a satisfying depth of flavor that feels like a warm, culinary hug under the canopy of stars, making it my top pick for campfire feasts.

Are you tired of the cumbersome camp kitchen setup with its myriad pots and pans? Welcome to the realm of simplicity with “One Pan to Rule Them All.” Southworth and Matza champion the unassuming yet mighty cast-iron skillet, an eternal companion of the outdoor enthusiast. 

This tome unravels the mysteries of cooking everything – from sunrise breakfasts to midnight snacks – in a single pan. Forget about the cluttered campsite kitchen; it’s time for efficiency that echoes the beauty of nature itself! 

Imagine searing, frying, and even baking, all kissed by the smokey embrace of campfire, within the bounds of one circular, iron realm. This book pays homage to the skillet, offering recipes that taste of adventure and wild, open spaces. 

Whether you’re atop a tranquil mountain or nestled in a forest glade, let the cast-iron skillet be your culinary Excalibur. With Southworth and Matza as your culinary Gandalfs, embark on an epicurean journey where every meal is a legendary tale waiting to unfold!

3. Dirty Gourmet: Food for Your Outdoor Adventures

By Emily Neilson, Aimeee Trudeau & Mai-Yan Kwan | April 6, 2018

🍴 Recommended Recipe: Roasted Red Pepper Quinoa Cakes

💚 Why I Like It: The delightful crunch of the quinoa cakes paired with the smoky undertones of roasted red pepper encapsulates the perfect balance of texture and flavor, transforming every campfire meal into a gourmet experience, solidifying its place as my favorite al fresco delight from Dirty Gourmet.

Venture forth into the wilderness, but leave behind the bland trail mix and uninspiring sandwiches! 

“Dirty Gourmet” serves as the compass to gastronomic bliss even in the most rugged terrains. Crafted by the trio of Trudeau, Nielson, and Kwan, this book invites you into a world where “dirty” is not just the state of your hiking boots but a playful nod to the scrumptiously messy business of cooking outdoors. 

Every page is a delectable dance of flavors, elevating the campfire experience beyond mere sustenance to the realm of culinary celebration. Whether you’re a carnivore, vegetarian, or vegan, this book caters to all, ensuring no one misses out on the feast.

 From starlit desserts to dawn’s first brew, “Dirty Gourmet” ensures that the meals are as memorable as the adventures they fuel. This isn’t just about eating; it’s about embracing the wild with all your senses. 

So, tie up those hiking laces, but don’t forget your appetite for the extraordinary, because camp cooking is about to get deliciously dirty!

4. The Campout Cookbook: Inspired Recipes for Cooking Around the Fire and Under the Stars

By Marnie Hanel & Jen Stevenson | May 29, 2018

🍴 Recommended Recipe: Blackberry Cardamom Coffee Cake

💚 Why I Like It: The interplay of tart blackberries and aromatic cardamom, nestled within a moist coffee cake, offers a morning treat that feels like a whispered conversation between nature and decadence, making every breakfast by the campfire an event to cherish.

Illuminate your nights beneath the tapestry of stars with “The Campout Cookbook,” a brilliant concoction of Marnie Hanel and Jen Stevenson. Camping isn’t just about the trails, tents, and tales; it’s also about the tantalizing aromas and flavors that awaken our senses in the embrace of nature. This book isn’t merely a guide—it’s a lantern, shining light on the art of outdoor gastronomy. 

It beckons you to gather around the crackling campfire, where tales and toasts intertwine. Hanel and Stevenson lead you through the dance of flames with recipes that are as enchanting as moonlit nights. 

But their guidance doesn’t stop at delicious dishes. They impart wisdom on the intricacies of building campfires, curating the perfect camp kitchen, and even harmonizing your menu with the rhythm of nature. Camping is elevated to a symphony of experiences, where each meal is a crescendo of flavors. 

Set up your tent, stoke the fire, and let “The Campout Cookbook” serenade your culinary senses, crafting memories that linger long after the embers fade.

5. Camping and Woodcraft: A Handbook for Vacation Campers and for Travelers in the Wilderness

By Horace Kephart | September 12, 2017

Dive deep into the annals of outdoor tradition with Horace Kephart’s timeless classic, “Camping and Woodcraft.” This isn’t just another cookbook; it’s a historical compass pointing to the roots of outdoor life, where campfire cooking was not a choice but a survival skill. 

Journeying through its pages is akin to taking a step back in time, feeling the essence of the wilderness of yesteryears. While it offers a bounty of recipes that evoke nostalgia, Kephart’s wisdom stretches far beyond just food. He paints a comprehensive canvas of the great outdoors, from setting up a camp to the art of woodcraft. 

Every chapter echoes the ethos of a bygone era, where nature wasn’t just a backdrop but the very essence of existence. For those who yearn for authenticity, who seek the raw and unrefined spirit of camping, this book is the golden grail. Immerse yourself in Kephart’s world, where every meal is a rite of passage, and every campfire tale a legacy passed down through the winds of time.

6. Campfire Cuisine: Gourmet Recipes for the Great Outdoors

By Robin Donovan | April 30, 2013

🍴 Recommended Recipe: Grilled Prawns with Hoisin Glaze

💚 Why I Like It: The succulent prawns, kissed by the campfire’s flame and lacquered with the sweet and savory hoisin glaze, transport the senses from the rustic campsite straight to an elegant seaside bistro, celebrating the sheer magic of outdoor culinary adventures.

Bid adieu to those canned soups and instant noodles, and usher in a new era of campfire elegance with Robin Donovan’s “Campfire Cuisine.” This isn’t just a cookbook; it’s a revelation, challenging the age-old notion that camping food is synonymous with simplicity and sacrifice. 

Donovan invites you to elevate your outdoor dining game, serving up gourmet delights that could easily grace the tables of high-end restaurants, yet are crafted amidst the whispers of swaying trees and the glow of a roaring fire. 

Every recipe in this treasure trove radiates creativity, pushing boundaries and tantalizing the taste buds. Think of dishes that not only satiate hunger but also tell tales of adventures, of sunsets witnessed, and of mountaintops conquered. 

And fret not, for Donovan ensures that while the flavors are exquisite, the methods remain accessible to even the most amateur campsite chef. 

So, unfurl your picnic blanket, ignite that campfire, and let “Campfire Cuisine” transport you to a world where gourmet and the great outdoors walk hand in hand, creating symphonies of flavors under the vast, starry canopy.

7. Scout’s Outdoor Cookbook

By Christine Conners & Tim Conners | May 1, 2008

🍴 Recommended Recipe: Uwharrie Hash Brown Casserole

💚 Why I Like It: The creamy, comforting layers of the Uwharrie Hash Brown Casserole, accentuated by a golden crust, are a testament to the simple joys of campfire cooking, evoking memories of shared stories, laughter, and the warmth of community under an open sky.

The wilderness calls, and with it comes the rhythmic chants of campfire songs, the camaraderie of shared tents, and, of course, the unbeatable taste of meals cooked in the great outdoors. 

Enter the “Scout’s Outdoor Cookbook,” a testament to generations of outdoor enthusiasts who’ve mastered the craft of campfire culinary delights. Penned by the dynamic duo, Christine and Tim Conners, this book is a trove of recipes cherished by scouts and scout leaders alike. 

But don’t be fooled by its title—these dishes aren’t just for those in uniform! From foil-wrapped wonders to hearty stews that simmer to perfection, each recipe promises a burst of flavor, echoing the essence of adventures had and memories made. 

The Conners do more than just share recipes; they encapsulate the spirit of scouting—teamwork, resourcefulness, and of course, the joy of savoring simple yet scrumptious meals in nature’s lap. 

Lace up your hiking boots, kindle the flames, and let the “Scout’s Outdoor Cookbook” guide you on a culinary journey where every bite is a badge of honor and every meal a cherished memory

8. The Outdoor Adventure Cookbook: The Official Cookbook from The Ultimate Camping Authority

By Coleman | April 11, 2017

🍴 Recommended Recipe: Good Morning Cheddar Drop Biscuits and Sausage Gravy

💚 Why I Like It: The flaky cheddar biscuits, when drenched in the rich, savory sausage gravy, create a symphony of flavors that herald the break of dawn, ensuring that each morning in the great outdoors starts with a burst of culinary delight and homely warmth.

When a name as iconic as Coleman graces the cover of a cookbook, you know you’re in for a treat that goes beyond mere recipes. 

“The Outdoor Adventure Cookbook” is an embodiment of Coleman’s longstanding heritage in the world of outdoor escapades. This tome is not just a collection of recipes; it’s a mosaic of moments, memories, and mouthwatering meals that resonate with the heartbeats of countless adventurers who’ve set camp under starry skies. 

With each page, Coleman harnesses their vast experience, offering dishes that are both hearty and heartwarming, designed specifically for the challenges and joys of outdoor cooking. 

But this cookbook goes the extra mile. Beyond the flavors and techniques, it infuses the reader with a sense of adventure, evoking images of alpine sunrises and lakeside evening feasts. It’s a harmonious blend of practicality and passion, where culinary skills meet the wild, untamed spirit of nature. 

As you flip these pages, let Coleman’s “The Outdoor Adventure Cookbook” rekindle your love for the great outdoors, one sumptuous bite at a time!

9. The Camp & Cabin Cookbook: 100 Recipes to Prepare Wherever You Go

By Laura Bashar | May 8, 2018

🍴 Recommended Recipe: Chorizo Meat Loaf

💚 Why I Like It: Infused with the zesty punch of chorizo and perfectly charred edges, this meatloaf effortlessly bridges the gap between rustic outdoor cooking and gourmet flair, embodying the spirit of adventurous dining amidst the backdrop of nature’s splendor.

Ever dreamt of whisking your kitchen into the heart of the wilderness? With Laura Bashar’s “The Camp & Cabin Cookbook,” that dream transcends into delectable reality. 

This isn’t just a cookbook—it’s a bridge between the cozy comfort of home-cooked meals and the invigorating embrace of the wild. Each recipe, meticulously crafted by Bashar, evokes the rustic charm of cabin life while celebrating the unbridled spirit of outdoor adventures. 

From the tranquil lakeside brunches to the high-altitude dinners, Bashar ensures you’re equipped with dishes that amplify the beauty of your surroundings. What sets this gem apart is its blend of simplicity and sophistication. 

Imagine sipping on a gourmet soup while nestled amidst pine trees or biting into a decadent dessert as the campfire plays its symphony. Whether you’re a weekend camper, a seasoned mountaineer, or someone seeking solace in a cabin, this cookbook is your culinary map to unforgettable moments. 

Dive in, and let Laura Bashar’s “The Camp & Cabin Cookbook” be the heartbeat of your next outdoor escapade!

10. Feast by Firelight: Simple Recipes for Camping, Cabins, and the Great Outdoors

By Emma Frisch | April 10, 2018

🍴 Recommended Recipe: Burnt Broccoli Mac ‘n’ Cheese

💚 Why I Like It: The slight char of the broccoli, paired with the creamy indulgence of the macaroni, conjures a juxtaposition that’s both comforting and exciting, seamlessly transforming a classic comfort dish into a campfire culinary masterpiece.

Immerse yourself in the magical world where campfire glow meets culinary artistry with Emma Frisch’s “Feast by Firelight.” This enchanting tome is not merely about food; it’s a poetic ode to the romance of outdoor living. Frisch, with her passionate penmanship, introduces us to dishes that are as captivating as the first light piercing through a forest canopy.

 Drawing inspiration from nature’s vast palette, every recipe is a harmonious fusion of simplicity and elegance, designed to tantalize the palate while keeping preparation fuss-free. But what truly sets this book apart is its soulful narrative. 

Frisch doesn’t just share recipes; she weaves stories, offering glimpses into her adventures and the meals that punctuated them. Each dish is a memory, a moment, a tale of exploration and discovery. 

With “Feast by Firelight,” camping is no longer just an adventure; it’s a culinary celebration under the vastness of the sky. So, gather your ingredients, light up that campfire, and let Frisch guide your senses on an epic journey where every meal is a story waiting to be savored.

Final Thoughts

Venturing into the great outdoors does not mean one has to compromise on culinary delights. As we journeyed through this curated list of the top 10 camping cookbooks, it’s evident that the world of outdoor dining has evolved into an art of its own.

From rustic traditional dishes to gourmet feasts under the stars, these cookbooks equip every adventurer with the tools and inspiration to transform any campfire into a gastronomic event.

Whether you’re new to camping or a seasoned explorer, these guides promise an elevated dining experience amidst nature’s grandeur.

So, the next time you pack for an outdoor escapade, let these cookbooks be your trusted culinary companions, ensuring that every meal is as memorable as the adventure itself. Happy camping and even happier cooking!

Mitch Taylor
With over 20 years experience with camping and hiking, I've taken it upon myself to share my insights. From common camping and hiking questions to gear recommendations, your adventure starts here.

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