When you are planning what camping food you want to enjoy on your trip, you need to consider how many people you are going to feed. It can be really challenging to cook for a bunch of people when you have the convenience of a home kitchen. Out in the wilderness, it is even more difficult! These easy camping meals for large groups are designed to effortlessly feed larger families and groups so you can enjoy the weekend camping trip as much as the rest of the crowd!
In This Post:
Camp Cooking Tips For Big Crowds & FREE Meal Planner
You may think the hardest part of outdoor cooking for a lot of people would be satisfying a range of taste buds. Actually, that is the easy part. It is the prep time and cooking that is the most challenging part of feeding a group of large families and friends.
Have you ever been faced with a large group of people who were waiting for you to finish cooking their whole meal? It is not fun. And, you certainly don’t want to rush off to the local grocery store because you ran out of food.
The following recipes are the easiest options to efficiently feed crowds and enjoy easy cleanup afterwards. But first, let’s discuss a few tips to make cooking easier on you so you can spend as much time as possible enjoying your next camping trip with a big group.
- Plan your menus in advance: Spur of the moment cooking does not work well when you need to feed a group of people. Make sure you plan for every aspect of each meal you are responsible to prepare for the group. Use my FREE printable camping menu template to help you stay organized.
- Potluck help: Many large group camping events are shared experiences. If group members are assigned a dish to bring, you won’t have to do everything yourself.
- Special diets: If any members of the group have food allergies (or are just picky eaters), you may need to have options available for them. Two of the most common dietary preferences you may encounter are people who need gluten free camping food which is relatively easy to accommodate, the other frequent request is for vegetarian camping recipes.
- Prep ahead: Do as much prep work as possible before the camping trip. Then you just need to do the cooking at the campsite. We call these make ahead camping meals “dump and cook” recipes. It’s a fun way to get the campers together before the trip to have a good time while doing all the work to prepare their favorite camping meals. You prep the ingredients, combine them in a plastic bag, freeze them until your trip. Then, you just defrost and cook at camp. My Dutch Oven Thai Campfire Chicken Recipe is one of my personal favorites and it is always a big hit with camping crowds who like a non-traditional dinner at camp.
- Cook ahead: If you prep and cook the entire meal before the camping trip, you just need to reheat at camp. Chili is a great option here.
- Use buffet-style food bars: Laying out delicious ingredients and letting each camper build their own hearty meal is a great way to make easy meals for large groups without a ton of effort on your part. Lunchmeat subs and sandwiches, like BBQ sandwiches, hamburgers and hot dogs, work great here.
- Arrive early: If you are the designated camp cook for a massive group of people, you’ll want extra time to get set-up and prepare for your task. If you can’t arrive the day before the rest of the troops, make sure you plan a really simple menu for the first night of the camp trip. I recommend a fully cooked quick meal that you can easily reheat or even be served cold.
- Have ample cold storage: Practicing good food safety handling is critical to prevent food poisoning. Keeping refrigerated food at safe temperatures is one of the most difficult things to do when camping, especially when you are handling large amounts of food for many people. Make sure you know how to pack a cooler to keep food cold and avoid cross contamination too. You may consider freezing raw meat before the trip. It is much safer to transport, but, it requires a lot of time to safely defrost in a refrigerator or cooler so plan accordingly. This may be a requirement for longer camping trips.
- Get a head count: Without an accurate head count, meal planning is impossible. Have a registration cut-off deadline so you can properly plan great meals to feed all of the people and not have tons of leftovers.
- Prepare two grocery lists: You’ll want to have one shopping list for all of the non-perishable items so you can get the hard work of grocery shopping done in advance. Then, at the last minute you can pick up the second list of perishable foods.
- Set meal times: Let every camper know what to expect including the food on the menu and the time it will be served.
- Plan for cooking equipment and fuel: If you’re favorite recipes require campfire cooking and you end up camping during a time of fire restrictions when cooking with an open flame is prohibited, you’ll be in trouble. Be sure to know the rules of the campground and consider a “plan B” in case of unexpected scenarios.
- Plan for waste: Have an ample number of plastic bags for garbage. You will have kitchen waste as well as garbage from campers. Paper plates and disposable cups, forks, knives and spoons are great for easy cleanup but they are not the best thing if you don’t have access to a large dumpster.
Breakfast Camping Meals For Big Groups
The bigger the crowd, the faster they empty a coffee pot! I could set out the prettiest, most delicious breakfast skillet meal but if I run out of coffee … I might have to hitchhike home! LOL The easy way to make large batches of coffee is by making it over an open fire … campfire or camp stoves both work well. Just don’t boil the coffee or it will taste bitter. Use my method to make yours taste better than the cowboys make it! This method allows you to make as many servings as needed.
One pot meals are great for serving lots of people. This recipe starts with ham and eggs then adds potatoes, cheese and green onions to make it a truly satisfying and tasty meal. Serves: 4, easily scales for large groups.
Pancakes are great for serving lots of people because they are easy to make, fast to cook, can be made in an assembly line format and kept warm for serving, and, they are cheap! I like serving breakfast sausages or bacon on the side too. Serves: 2, really easy to scale for large groups.
This classic campfire breakfast is simple to make and affordable for large crowds.
These fresh rolls require no yeast and no rolling because of the ready-to-bake dinner roll dough from the freezer section in your grocery store! Serves: 12, easily scales for large groups.
One of my favorite ways to feed sizeable groups is to set up an ingredient bar and let each camper make their own meal, it is so much fun to make unique creations. These muffin tin eggs are more of a process than a recipe so you can easily adapt it for whatever size crowd you are serving.
If you are looking for easy camping meal ideas to start your day … try using a just-add-water mix to make your pancake batter. But, how do you make that taste good? A yummy topping! This one features nuts, canned peaches and a few spices to make a fabulous syrup topping. Best of all, it is one of my camping food ideas no refrigeration required recipes which are also great car camping meals for people who are light on cold-storage space! Serves: 4, easily scales for large groups. I always serve maple syrup on the side for campers who prefer a more traditional topping.
This classic Dutch oven breakfast casserole is hearty and filling. After trying other recipes and being disappointed because they were too dry or potato-heavy, I created my own version that is cheesier, meatier and moister with a slightly spicy hint that comes from ingredients with a southwestern flair. Serves: 6, easily scales up to feed larger groups.
French toast is the last thing you might want to make for a crowd because dipping each slice of bread in the egg and frying it, one-slice-at-a-time, is almost an impossible task. One pot camping meals are the perfect solution. This recipe is really simple and you can do the prep work a day or two ahead of time so you can begin baking as soon as your coals are ready. Serves: 4-6, easily scales up to feed larger groups.
I like making easy camping breakfast burritos because they are quick, simple and portable food that does not require any utensils for eating. Just drop some ingredients at the bottom of the tortilla and roll it up, you’re done! This particular recipe uses chorizo sausage to provide a ton of flavor without a lot of work. Serves: 4, just multiply as necessary for the number of campers you are serving.
Got coffee cake lovers? Don’t be intimidated by making Dutch oven baked goods during your camping holiday. This recipe has a delicious, not-too-sweet flavor that combines cinnamon and brown sugar. There is no need to measure a bunch of dry ingredients because it starts with a boxed cake mix. Then a bit of sour cream gives it a nice moistness. Serves: 6, make multiples as needed for the number of people you are serving.
No cook camping meals are THE BOMB when you are serving lots of campers! These breakfast tortillas are packed with protein to give you tons of energy throughout the day … and … there are no dishes to wash afterwards! Meals like this are even easier than tossing a freeze-dried meal into boiling water! Serves: 1, just multiply as necessary for the number of campers you need to feed. Try this simple recipe with your favorite butter spread, healthy nuts plus dried and fresh fruit.
This easy recipe makes individual breakfast sandwiches that are sort of like Egg McMuffins. You can make a pile of bacon all at once so it is easy to build the sandwiches that include an English muffin, fried egg, bacon and cheese. Serves: 1, just multiply as necessary for the number of campers you need to feed.
Pre-made banana bread, homemade trail mix with chocolate chips and overnight oats are great options for quick morning meals. See all of our camping breakfast ideas for the most important meal of the day.
Camping Lunches For Large Gatherings
This may be the best way to eat canned chili! When I’m serving a small group I just make one big foil packet of these fries. But, I’ve also made individual servings for larger groups. An efficient way to prepare these fries is to lay out pieces of foil, pile a handful of fries and a scoop of canned chili and sprinkle a little cheese. Make this an assembly line so each family member helping to cook does just one item at their station (sort of like how they build your best meal at a Chipotle Mexican Grill fast casual restaurant). Let the camper place their packet over the coals for cooking. Then, have a table set up with extra ingredients so they can choose their own toppings. I have served these as an easy snack, for lunch, sides, and even for a simple dinner.
If you have a really large group, you can buy big portions of canned chicken and prepared ranch salad dressing, ingredients that don’t need refrigeration until after they are opened. Just toss those ingredients together in a large bowl and create an assembly line to build the wraps. Serve them immediately and you have a quick meal that doesn’t require tons of cooler or refrigerator space. Serves: 1, just multiply as necessary for the number of campers you need to feed.
Cold pastas are wonderful make ahead meals that you just place on a table for serving. Make sure you bulk them up by adding some meat and/or veggies if you are serving camping salads as a main meal. This one uses pepperoncini and red peppers, tomatoes, green onions, Kalamata olives and feta cheese. Serves: 6, scales easily for massive crowds.
Lunchmeat sandwiches are the easiest camping meals you can serve for lunch. No cooking is required and each camper can build their own if you just set out the ingredients. If you want to get a little fancier, just use a really nice bread and slightly upscale ingredients. Sandwiches are some of the best camping meals for two because they can easily scale down but they go the other direction too! Serves: 4, scales easily for big crowds.
So many group camping events happen during the summer, you will want some refreshing cold dish options for your menu. This Southwest salad is one of my most popular camping side dishes but it can also be served as a main dish if you want to make it more substantial by adding cubed grilled chicken breast meat. The truly outstanding flavor comes from frozen corn, black beans, red onion, fresco cheese and fresh cilantro that is tossed in a really simple homemade dressing. The entire recipe can be made 2 days in advance and just tossed right before serving. The bright colors reveal the bright flavors in this dish. Serves: 6, scales easily for large crowds.
How many different ways do you make corn on the cob? When it is in season, it is sweet, creamy and cheap, which makes it a great meal when you are feeding lots of campers! Just add a little salt and it’s the perfect meal for vegan campers. It makes a fun stand-alone meal when you add your favorite toppings. I like slathering it in basil butter. It is also yummy when you add different cheeses, hot sauces and even wrap it in bacon! Serves: depending on how elaborate your toppings and if you are serving the corn as a main dish or side dish, you may need 1-3 ears of corn per person.
Make a quick tossed green salad then drop servings in flour tortillas to make satisfying and refreshing mid-day meals. See all of my easy camping lunches including 16 quick no-cook camping lunch ideas you will want to put on your menu. Serves: 4, scale it up to feed more campers.
Hearty salads made with non-delicate vegetables are a great way to add some freshness to large-group meals. This broccoli is raw but bacon needs to be cooked. So, make extra bacon for breakfast and quickly throw together this salad for lunch or dinner. Serves: 6, easily scales up to feed more campers.
22. Campfire Pizza Sandwiches
Set up an ingredient bar and let campers make a sandwich with two pieces of sliced white bread. Between the slices, spread a spoon of jarred pizza sauce, pepperoni slices and shredded mozzarella cheese. Then, close the sandwich and place inside a foil pack or pie iron to toast over hot coals. You just want the cheese to be slightly melted and bread to be a little toasted. If you’re planning on cooking with pie irons, make sure you have enough of them so people are not waiting in line to use one of them.
23. Walking Tacos
Instead of using taco shells, use individual serving size bags of corn tortilla chips (like Fritos), top them with heated canned chili and traditional taco ingredient toppings … you eat them with a fork right out of the bag!
Camping Dinner Recipes For Large Parties
This warm and hearty one pot meal serves 6-8 and easily scales to feed more people. It contains ground beef, andouille sausage and a couple of strips of bacon. Then you add cubed potatoes and a bunch of canned veggies including diced tomatoes, green beans, whole kernel corn, pinto beans and green chilies. As you increase the number of servings, you’ll need to increase the size of the cooking pot. You can make this over a campfire or on a propane stove.
26. Diablo Sandwich
Try a new version of an old classic. These Tex-Mex style spicy sloppy joes are slightly sweet with a little heat. Serve them with extra hot sauce so the heat-lovers in your crowd can spice their sandwiches up as much as they desire.
Prep a bunch of ingredients, lay them on a table with pieces of tin foil and let each camper build their own hobo stew packet. The same concept works if you want to make shrimp boil foil packets. The really nice thing about serving campfire meals in foil is that you can prep all of the ingredients in advance, store them in a ziploc bag and just set them on a table to make an ingredient bar. Each camper can just eat out of their aluminum foil packet and throw it in the trash when they are done … so there is virtually no cleanup required. Serves: 4-6, easily scaled up for feeding more campers.
28. BBQ Chicken & Potato Salad
One of my favorite meals that requires minimal effort is just grilling some chicken and serving it with a make-ahead side salad, like my Polish Potato Salad. Get a big batch of chicken legs (they are cost effective for a large crowd), grill them in the great outdoors, and enjoy one of the most delicious meals on your camping experience. Start by seasoning the chicken pieces with a little salt and black pepper. Place chicken drumsticks on a grill over direct heat (about 350 F degrees) and grill until the internal temperature reaches 165-175 F degrees, about for 30 minutes turning every 10 minutes. Serve BBQ sauce (I like using a variety of sweet sauce and a spicy barbecue sauce). If you want to go through a little more effort, serve them with my delicious Sriracha BBQ Sauce.
Jazzed-up sandwiches make quick dinners that can be assembled in large quantities. This easy BBT sandwich is substantial enough for dinner meals when served with side salads.
You can scale this recipe up to feed hundreds and they will love this twist on a fast-food favorite! These Big Mac Sloppy Joes are quick to make and easy to assemble. The best part about them is the Copycat Big Mac Secret Sauce! Serves: 6, easily scales up to feed more campers.
The great thing about making stir-fry is how fast it cooks! The vegetables can be prepped ahead and the meat needs time to marinate. It is the ultimate prep-ahead, fast camp cooking meal. Serves: 4, easily scales up to feed more campers.
You can easily and inexpensively feed a large group of campers with this classic camping one-pot meal. The beef, beans, tomatoes and cheddar cheese are filling and provide lots of carbs and protein making a satisfying meal for hungry campers. Serves: 6, easily scales up to feed large groups.
Chili has to be one of the all-time favorite best camping foods! You can make huge batches to serve massive groups of people. If you want to make it in advance, you can freeze it then just reheat it at the campsite. It is really awesome if you need winter camping recipes for cold-weather trips! Serves: 10-12, scale up if you are serving more campers.
I know what you’re thinking, I just gave you an awesome chili recipe! Yep, you’re right … that was my brother-in-law’s secret family recipe. Here’s my award-winning recipe. We do have a friendly family competition once in a while LOL. This is one of my most popular Dutch oven camping recipes. Serves: 8-10, scale up if you are serving more campers.
When you want to serve an almost-gourmet meal to your large family and friends, make sure you put this Thai chicken on your menu! It is one of my favorite easy camping meals that you can prep and freeze at home, then just defrost, dump and cook at camp. Serves: 6, scale up as necessary to feed larger groups.
Traditional jambalaya is a labor of love. I made this classic Cajun meal a great dish for the campsite by using simple ingredients and methods to make a not-too-spicy version that is camp-cooking friendly! The main ingredients in this recipe … shrimp, chicken and sausage … can make it a little pricy so you may want to start off serving inexpensive appetizers to fill up those bellies before serving this main dish. Serves: 8, scale up as necessary to feed more campers.
If you are serving camping dinner recipes that have a strong flavor profile, like jambalaya, I recommend staying in the same cuisine-family for your appetizers.
This goulash is one of those camp dinner ideas that is really fast to prep, inexpensive to make, hearty to eat, and can be cooked over a campfire or propane stove. The whole family will enjoy this one-pot meal that can be served alone or with a side salad. Check out my tips on how to keep your camping vegetables fresh. Serves: 6, scale up if you are feeding larger groups.
If you can’t cook over campfires because of fire restrictions or you just prefer to use propane, the best camping stove for large groups is one that has lots of BTUs.
The thing that makes kabobs so awesome for camping is the ability to prep everything in advance. You satisfy the meat eaters by serving the meat along with the veggies, all on one stick! This is one of my easy camping grilling recipes that only takes about 15 minutes to cook so you can easily get an assembly line going to feed larger groups. You can use an outdoor grill or campfire to cook them too. Serves: 4, multiply as necessary for the size of your crowd.
39. Campfire Stew
You can’t talk about feeding a large camping community without mentioning campfire stew. This is one of those easy campfire recipes that is simple to prep but takes a relatively long time to cook which is why the beef chuck turns out fork-tender. You’ll need enough hot coals for about 2 hours of cooking time. Your friends and family will love you for this one! Serves: 4, scale up as needed to feed more people.
Soup as a main course is a great way to keep campers warm when the weather is really cold. I like serving it with a nice crusty bread which is yummy for dunking in this rich and creamy recipe. Serves: 8, scale up to serve larger groups.
Chili is such a crowd pleaser, you really can’t go wrong when you make it. This version uses cubed chicken breast meat for starters. The thick and creamy texture make this recipe so yummy and filling. Serves: 4, simply scale up to serve more campers.
Toasted sandwiches are a great option for dinner. You can set up an assembly line to build the sandwiches for small groups or enormous crowds. One of my favorite camp stove recipes is this Reuben sandwich that uses only 6 ingredients to produce amazing flavors. Serves: 1, scale up as needed to feed your entire group.
43. Pulled Meat Sandwiches
The perfect way to appeal to a wide variety of tastes is to serve “naked shredded meat” with buns and sauces to change the flavor profile of the meal. You can simmer beef, pork or chicken in a slow cooker, then shred the meat and place it in freezer bags in advance of your trip. Just defrost and re-heat at the campsite when you are ready for dinner. Great options for sauces you can serve on the side include garlic & tomato sauce, teriyaki & soy sauce and different types of bbq sauces like my Homemade Old Fashioned Molasses BBQ Sauce.
You can easily re-heat shredded meat with a little olive oil in a foil pan over a low-medium heat of a campfire or propane stove. You can also use a large skillet frying pan. Just make sure you have a tight fitting lid so you are trapping in the heat as you warm the food. Many large cast iron skillets don’t have lids that fit them so just use a large piece of foil.
Simple sandwiches make a full dinner when served with a substantial side like these Dutch Oven Baked Beans that can be made in big batches and reheated or held at warm temperatures for long periods of time.
The thing I really like about these French dip sandwiches is that you just prep and freeze ahead. Then, defrost at the campsite so you just “dump and cook” the meat in the juices. They cook in just 20 minutes! This is a better way to make this meal rather than the foil pack French dip sandwiches that use deli meat because buying prepared meat from the deli counter gets really expensive. That’s not a great option when feeding lots of people.
I know shrimp is not always in the budget, but if it is, you’ll love this dinner. The lemon and garlic provide a ton of flavor and it’s one of the quickest & tastiest campfire foil packet meals you’ll ever make!
I like serving hearty soups for dinner when the weather is cold. This easy recipe combines ground beef, beans and veggies to create a Tex-Mex flavor profile that is really delicious.
Flatbread makes anything feel fancy! This is an easy recipe because you are not really “cooking” anything. You just toast the flatbread and char some little tomatoes, then, pile the prosciutto, mozzarella cheese and basil on top for serving. Serve it with a side salad for a quick and simple meal.
48. Foil Packet Cajun Shrimp Boil
Large Camping Group Appetizer & Dessert Recipes
Some people think the best part of a meal is the appetizer, others think it is dessert. Whatever camp you fall in, here are some tasty options.
50. Campfire Nachos
These loaded nachos are a great meatless snack that uses mostly canned ingredients like refried beans, green chile peppers, fire roasted tomatoes and black olives. They can be made in a Dutch oven, cast-iron skillet with tight fitting lid or in a large aluminum pan covered with tin foil.
There is a reason dump cakes are so popular with the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts! These “dump and bake” easy desserts are super-simple, require almost no effort at all, and, serve lots of hungry campers! Serves: 12, easily scales up to feed more campers.
When it comes to awesome camping desserts, these s’mores brownies are at the top of the list. They are really yummy when they are served slightly warm and totally fun to make. The marshmallows blow up like little balloons as they get toasted and golden brown. Serves: 8-16 depending on how you slice them, scale up as needed to feed your group.
Make your cleanup really simple by using liners. Never used them before? Here’s how to line a Dutch oven with parchment paper.
I don’t know why you would hang out with people who don’t like chocolate but if you decide to put up with them, you may want to serve this pineapple upside down cake. LOL, just kidding. What I’m not kidding about is how easy and yummy this recipe is … for chocolate lovers too! Serves: 6-8, scale it up to feed more campers.
No matter what type of baking you’ll be doing, my Dutch oven temperature chart will help you know how many coals you need to produce a specific temperature for the oven size you are using.
The great thing about serving s’mores is letting each camper make their own dessert. You can do the classic (which everyone seems to love) or you can provide alternative ingredients to make unique concoctions. Make sure you try my favorite, Tropical Therapy, and let me know if you love it as much as I do!
My family absolutely LOVES these brownies. The wonderful thing about them is that you can make them in advance, cut them into squares and freeze them, then just pull out the amount you need for the size of your crowd. I really like taking recipes like this when we are traveling on a long road trip. Serves: 15, scale it up to feed more campers.
More Yummy Meal Ideas
Cooking for fewer people? Check out all of my recipes no matter if you are camping solo or hanging out with others.