7 Dutch Oven Recipes to Make at the RV Campground

Dec 7, 2020 | Food & Camp Cooking

7 Dutch Oven Recipes to Make at the RV Campground

Nothing makes campfire cooking more flexible than a cast iron Dutch oven. Here are some of our favorite Dutch oven recipes to make at the RV campground.

By Kerry Sainato

Photo: Kerry Sainato

Dutch ovens make it easy to cook simple dishes like soup or chili as well as hearty meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in the outdoors with ease. From braised chicken thighs to chocolate chip cookies, here are seven recipes you can make from the comfort of your camp chair. 

Tips for Buying a Dutch Oven for RV Camping

Before we get into Dutch oven recipes for camping, let’s take a look at how to choose your Dutch oven. You can expect to spend around $100 for a high-quality version. Look for a pre-seasoned cast iron Dutch oven with a tight-fitting flat lid, sturdy wire handle, and feet. The flat lid will allow you to lay hot coals on top of it and the handle will make it easy to rotate for even cooking. 

Dutch oven with coals on lid
Photo: Kerry Sainato

The feet add some space between the Dutch oven and charcoal while baking or roasting. If you opt for a Dutch oven without feet, you might want to purchase a trivet to make that space for charcoal an option.

We recommend a 10- or 12-inch Dutch oven for most scenarios, which fits six to eight servings of food while still being light enough for easy transporting. The recipes below will work in either a 10-inch or 12-inch Dutch oven.

Other accessories to consider for a basic Dutch oven cooking kit:

How to Use Your Dutch Oven While Camping

You can use a Dutch oven to cook over an open flame on a campfire, propane grill, or kitchen stove like you would any pot. True to its name, it can also be used as an oven when surrounded by hot coals placed underneath the pot and on top of the lid. The more coals that you use, the hotter the oven gets. 

To figure out how many charcoal briquettes you need, take the diameter of your pot and double it (you’ll need roughly 20 briquettes for a 10-inch oven). Place one-third of the briquettes under your Dutch oven in a circular pattern and spread the rest evenly across the lid. Here’s a handy chart to reference when cooking at different temperatures.

For many recipes, you will need to preheat your Dutch oven either over a flame or by placing the charcoal around your oven before adding the food to the pot. 

To ensure even cooking, rotate your lid and pot every 5 to 10 minutes during cooking. Rotate the lid in one direction and the bottom of the Dutch oven in the other. Keep it consistent and always turn the lid clockwise and the bottom of the pot counterclockwise.

Charcoal briquettes are the most reliable option for fuel. Briquettes are evenly sized and will offer reliable heat distribution. You can also use lump charcoal or even the embers from your campfire, but you’ll want to choose pieces that are roughly the same size as a charcoal briquette. 

Charcoal briquettes in a chimney starter
Photo: Kerry Sainato

It will take about 30 minutes to fully heat a batch of charcoal in a chimney starter or stacked pile in your campfire, so plan your time and food prep accordingly. Charcoal is ready to use for cooking when it’s mostly white and ashen. 

Togo Tip: For quick and easy lighting, use a fire starter square.

Whenever possible, cook with your Dutch oven inside a fire ring. If it’s safe to do so, you can also place your bottom layer of charcoal directly on the ground, either on pavement or flat, sandy terrain away from anything that could start a fire. Otherwise, place the bottom layer of charcoal on an aluminum sheet pan to create a fire safe barrier.

Dutch Oven Recipes to Make When RV Camping

The recipes below assume a Dutch oven heated to about 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 

  • A 10-inch Dutch oven will require 20 charcoal briquettes: 7 under the Dutch oven and 13 on top.
  • For a 12-inch Dutch oven, you’ll need 24 charcoal briquettes: 8 under the Dutch oven and 16 on top.
Egg scramble in Dutch oven
Photo: Kerry Sainato

Mountain Man Breakfast

This baked egg dish is as hearty as its name implies and includes all of the energy you’ll need for a day of outdoor adventuring. 

Togo Tip 

Serve this with tortillas, hot sauce, salsa, and avocado for an easy breakfast taco or burrito.

Prep Ahead

Save some time chopping at camp and prep your onions and peppers at home. Store pre-chopped vegetables in an airtight container in your cooler or RV refrigerator until you need them. You can also peel, cook, and dice your potato at home.

Ingredients

  • ½ pound bulk breakfast sausage
  • ½ onion, diced 
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, diced (substitute with bell pepper if you don’t want heat)
  • 1 russet potato, peeled, cubed, and cooked until fork tender
  • 8 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper 
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated

Directions

  1. Heat your Dutch oven over a flame while warming your charcoal briquettes.
  2. Once the pot is warm, add the breakfast sausage and use a wooden spoon to break it apart. Cook over the flame until the sausage is browned.
  3. Add the onion and jalapeno pepper. Cook for about 3 minutes until the vegetables are tender and the onion starts to turn translucent. 
  4. Add the potato. Spread the sausage and vegetable mixture evenly across the bottom of the Dutch oven.
  5. When your charcoal is heated, whisk eggs with paprika, black pepper, and salt in a bowl. Pour the mixture evenly on top of the sausage and vegetables. 
  6. Sprinkle the cheese over the eggs evenly.
  7. Place the Dutch oven over coals. Put the lid on and place the remaining coals on top of the lid. Use tongs to evenly distribute. 
  8. Cook for 20 to 30 minutes until the eggs are set. Rotate the top and bottom of the Dutch oven about a quarter turn every 5 to 7 minutes. 
Ham and cheese biscuits in Dutch oven
Photo: Kerry Sainato

Ham and Cheese Drop Biscuits

Whether for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, these biscuits are quick, cheesy, and comforting.

Togo Tip

Double the size of these biscuits to make a satisfying breakfast sandwich. Just split the biscuits in half and add a fried egg to serve.

Prep Ahead

This recipe is so easy, you don’t really need to prep ahead, but you can chop the ham and shred your cheese before hitting the road.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2¼ cups Bisquick baking mix
  • ½ cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • 1 cup ham, diced
  • ½ tablespoon smoked paprika
  • ⅔ cup milk

Directions

  1. Warm charcoal briquettes.
  2. Place the butter in the bottom of your Dutch oven.
  3. Preheat the Dutch oven for about 10 minutes by placing it over hot coals. Then place the lid on top with the rest of the coals spread evenly over the lid.
  4. While the Dutch oven is preheating, mix the Bisquick in a medium bowl with the cheddar cheese, ham, and smoked paprika. Whisk together. 
  5. Stir in the milk. Mix until the batter comes together into a somewhat stiff dough and all of the dry baking mix is moist. 
  6. Remove the lid of the Dutch oven and drop eight biscuits in even sizes across the bottom of the Dutch oven. Replace lid.
  7. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes until the biscuits are cooked through and slightly golden brown. Rotate the top and bottom of the Dutch oven about a quarter turn every 3 to 5 minutes. 
Chicken and mushroom dish in Dutch oven
Photo: Kerry Sainato

Braised Chicken Thighs with Shallots and Mushrooms

These chicken thighs are braised in a simple but flavorful jus and will make you feel like you’re at a French bistro.

Togo Tip

This dish makes its own extremely flavorful sauce while it’s braising. Make sure you serve it with something to soak up the gravy, like mashed potatoes, stuffing, egg noodles, or crusty bread.

Prep Ahead 

Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper the night before you make this dish. You can also prep the mushrooms and shallots and store them in an airtight container in a cooler or refrigerator.

Ingredients

  • 6-8 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • ½ tablespoon ground black pepper
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil
  • 15 button or cremini mushrooms, quartered
  • 1 large shallot, halved and cut into slices
  • 2 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon whole-grain Dijon mustard
  • 5 thyme stems

Directions

  1. Dry the chicken thighs well with a paper towel. Then season them evenly with the salt and pepper on all sides. Meanwhile, warm charcoal briquettes.
  2. Heat the Dutch oven over a moderately hot flame (about medium-high heat on a propane stove). Add the olive oil. Then place each chicken thigh in the Dutch oven, skin side down. Sear for 5 to 7 minutes until the skin is deep golden brown in color, then flip and sear on the meat side for 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside. Sear in two batches to keep an even high heat in the Dutch oven.
  3. Once the chicken has been seared, remove any excess oil. Keep about 1 tablespoon of fat in the pot. Add the mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms lose their moisture and start to brown. 
  4. If the pan is dry, add a bit more fat back to the pan. Add the shallots and cook for about 3 minutes until the shallots are softened and turn translucent. Toss the smashed garlic into the pot. 
  5. Sprinkle the flour over the vegetables and cook, stirring constantly, for about 2 minutes to toast the flour.
  6. Add the white wine, chicken stock, Dijon mustard, and thyme stems. Stir well. Bring to a simmer.
  7. Nestle the chicken thighs back in the pan, leaving the top half out of the liquid. 
  8. Place Dutch oven over coals. Put the lid on and place the remaining coals on top of the lid. Use tongs to evenly distribute. 
  9. Cook for about 30 minutes until the chicken is cooked and registers at least 175 F on a probe thermometer. 
Baked ziti in Dutch oven
Photo: Kerry Sainato

Pepperoni Pasta Bake

Baked ziti with all the flavors of pepperoni pizza makes for a hearty dinner that everyone in the family will love.

Togo Tip

You can substitute pepperoni with Italian sausage, ground beef, or go meatless.

Prep Ahead

Make the sauce at home before you head out on your camping adventure. You can also boil the pasta ahead of time. Just store the sauce and pasta in separate airtight containers until ready to bake. If you’re starting the bake with premade sauce and pasta, you’ll want to preheat your Dutch oven and expect to bake this casserole for an extra 10 to 15 minutes.

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ziti (or other noodles of choice)

Pasta Sauce

  • 3 ounces stick pepperoni, diced 
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, diced 
  • 1 cup carrot, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 28 ounces diced tomatoes, canned
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes, canned
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

Ricotta Cheese Mixture

  • 1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon. kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese, grated

Directions

  1. In a large pot, bring two quarts of heavily salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook a few minutes less than the box recommends. The pasta should still be slightly firm to the bite and not fully cooked through. Drain and set aside.
  2. Heat the Dutch oven pot over a medium-high flame. Add the diced pepperoni and olive oil. Cook for a few minutes until the pepperoni starts to brown.
  3. Add the onion and carrot to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are softened and the onion starts to turn translucent. 
  4. Add the garlic and cook for a minute longer.
  5. Add the diced tomatoes and crushed tomatoes along with the basil, oregano, thyme, and kosher salt. Let simmer uncovered for about 20 minutes. Meanwhile, warm charcoal briquettes.
  6. While the sauce is simmering, mix together the ricotta cheese, basil, kosher salt, black pepper, and garlic powder in a medium bowl. Whisk in the egg. Add a half cup of mozzarella cheese. Set aside.
  7. Once the sauce has simmered for about 20 minutes, add the pasta to the sauce. Mix well.
  8. Then, use the back of a ladle or large spoon to create divots in the pasta. In each divot, add a spoonful of the ricotta mixture and cover up the divot with pasta. This is how to get a layered effect with the ricotta cheese. 
  9. Sprinkle the remaining mozzarella cheese evenly across the top.
  10. Place the Dutch oven over coals. Put the lid on and place the remaining coals on top of the lid. Use tongs to evenly distribute. 
  11. Cook for about 30 minutes until the pasta is bubbling and the cheese is melted and slightly golden brown. Rotate the top and bottom of the Dutch oven about a quarter turn every 5 to 7 minutes.
Cornbread chili in Dutch oven
Photo: Kerry Sainato

Cornbread Topped Chili

Think of this as a Southwestern-style pot pie with a cornbread crust.

Togo Tip

Use a chili seasoning pack in place of the spices in this recipe to simplify. Serve the finished chili bake with sour cream, hot sauce, chopped cilantro, and sliced scallions.

Prep Ahead

Make the chili base at home and store it in an airtight container in a cooler or refrigerator. If using a premade base, preheat your Dutch oven and cook for an extra 5 to 10 minutes.

Ingredients

Chili

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 cup onion, diced 
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, diced 
  • 1 green bell pepper, diced 
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • ½ tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 15 ounce can of diced tomatoes
  • 15 ounce can of black beans, drained

Cornbread

  • 8.5-ounce package of Jiffy corn muffin mix
  • ½ cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 scallions, sliced
  • 1 egg
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted

Directions 

  1. Heat the Dutch oven pot over a medium-high flame. Add the olive oil, onion, jalapeno pepper, and green bell pepper. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes until the vegetables soften and the onion starts to turn translucent. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. 
  2. Add the ground beef, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and salt. Cook until the ground beef is mostly browned. Meanwhile, warm charcoal briquettes.
  3. Add the tomato paste and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. 
  4. Add the diced tomatoes and black beans. Stir and cook for another 5 minutes. Then take off the flame. 
  5. In a medium bowl, combine the corn muffin mix, cheddar cheese, and scallions and stir to combine. Then add the egg, milk, and melted butter. Stir until a batter forms.
  6. Dollop the cornbread batter evenly over the top of the chili and put the lid on the pot.
  7. Place the Dutch oven over coals. Put the lid on and place the remaining coals on top of the lid. Use tongs to evenly distribute. 
  8. Cook for about 30 minutes until the chili bubbles and the cornbread is cooked and golden brown. Rotate the top and bottom of the Dutch oven about a quarter turn every 5 to 7 minutes.
Chocolate cookie in Dutch oven
Photo: Kerry Sainato

With a Dutch oven, any campfire connoisseur can bake the comforting treat of warm chocolate chip cookies.

Togo Tip

To simplify this recipe you can use premade cookie dough or a boxed mix. Make sure to use enough dough to spread about a half-inch thick layer of dough on the bottom of your Dutch oven.

Prep Ahead

Make the entire batch of cookie dough at home before your camping trip. Store in a zip-top bag in a cooler or RV refrigerator until ready to use.

Ingredients

  • 1⅛ cups of all-purpose flour
  • ½  teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, softened 
  • 6 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 6 tablespoons granulated white sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • ½ cup pecans, chopped and toasted (optional)

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and kosher salt. Whisk together well. Meanwhile, warm charcoal briquettes.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the butter and sugars together with a hand mixer until creamy and fluffy, about 5 minutes. 
  3. Add the vanilla extract and egg to the butter and sugar mixture. Mix until fully incorporated and smooth. 
  4. Add the flour mixture to the large bowl and mix to combine. 
  5. Fold in the chocolate chips and nuts.
  6. Press the dough into the bottom of the Dutch oven so it’s even. Place the lid on the pot.
  7. Place the Dutch oven over coals Put the lid on and place the remaining coals on top of the lid. Use tongs to evenly distribute. 
  8. Cook for about 30 minutes until the dough is cooked through and golden brown on top. Rotate the top and bottom of the Dutch oven about a quarter turn every 5 to 7 minutes.
  9. Once baked, take off the heat and remove the lid. Let stand for at least 10 minutes and then cut into pie-shaped pieces to serve. 
Apple crisp in Dutch oven
Photo: Kerry Sainato

Apple Crisp

Apple crisp is the ultimate Dutch oven dessert, and the perfect way to end a day of camping. The apples are soft and caramelized and the topping golden brown and crispy. 

Togo Tip

Turn this apple crisp into any fruit crisp you want. Just replace the apples with the fruit of your choice—we suggest peaches, cherries, or berries. You can even use frozen fruit, thawed in the cooler, to make it an easy substitute. 

Prep Ahead

You can make the crisp topping at home and store in a zip-top bag in a cooler or RV refrigerator. You can also mix together the sugar, apple pie spice, and cornstarch ahead of time. Store in a zip-top bag with your dry goods.

Ingredients

Crisp Topping

  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup pecans or walnuts, toasted and chopped fine (optional)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes

Apple Filling

  • 8 apples, cored, peeled, and diced into chunks
  • ¼ cup white granulated sugar
  • ½ tablespoon apple pie spice 
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine oats, flour, brown sugar, nuts, and salt. Add the butter and use your fingers to knead the butter into the dry ingredients, forming a crumbly dough. Meanwhile, warm charcoal briquettes.
  2. Place the apples in the bottom of a Dutch oven. Add the sugar, apple pie spice, and cornstarch. Mix to combine. 
  3. Crumble the crisp topping mixture evenly over the apple layer.
  4. Place the Dutch oven over coals. Put the lid on and place the remaining coals on top of the lid. Use tongs to evenly distribute. 
  5. Cook for about 45 minutes. Rotate the top and bottom of the Dutch oven about a quarter turn every 10 to 15 minutes.

These Dutch oven recipes are just a few ideas to get you started. Remember to think of your Dutch oven as, well, an oven—anything you can bake in your home oven, you can try in the Dutch oven. 

Camp FoodCooking and RecipesDutch OvenRecipesRV Cooking

Kerry Sainato

Kerry bought a tiny teardrop trailer on a whim over four years ago and is now an enthusiastic RV traveler. She spends most of her camping nights in New England, but is working on plans for a year-long cross country journey with her husband. Kerry also owns and operates a cooking blog, cookwithkerry.com, and loves cooking over the open fire during her camping adventures.

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