Pie Iron Recipes and Cooking Tips for the Campground

Jun 21, 2021 | Food & Camp Cooking

Pie Iron Recipes and Cooking Tips for the Campground

This unique piece of cooking equipment lends itself to delicious and easy recipes that you can make at the campfire.

By Kerry Sainato

Photo: Kerry Sainato

If you enjoy cooking over an open fire while camping, consider adding a pie iron to your arsenal of outdoor cooking gear. It’s a fun, adaptable piece of cooking equipment that you can use to make any meal—including dessert.

What Is a Pie Iron?

A pie iron is a metal press, often made of cast iron, used for cooking over a campfire. Pie irons come in several shapes and sizes but all offer the same functionality: making warm, toasted sandwiches and pies stuffed with sweet or savory fillings. 

Sandwiches made with a pie iron are often called pudgy pies, hobo pies, mountain pies, or jaffles. 

Pie iron sitting on grill grate over campfire
Photo: Kerry Sainato

What Is the Best Pie Iron?

If you’re searching for a pie iron to buy, choose one made of cast iron which is durable and evenly heats food. A quality pie iron has a long handle with a heatproof grip that makes it easy to flip during cooking. Look for a pie iron with a clasp toward the handle that allows you to lock the iron closed. This clasp also allows you to easily check on food while cooking.

If you’re cooking for a large group or family, consider a double pie iron, or purchase several irons to cook your food more quickly.

How to Clean and Care for a Pie Iron

You’ll need to season your cast iron pie iron before use. Do this by washing off any protective wax covering your new pie iron. Then, coat the press with oil and heat over medium to high heat for 15 minutes. 

Cool the cast iron before oiling and heating it a second time. After the second seasoning, your pie iron will be ready for cooking. Once seasoned, clean your cast iron as you would any other cast iron cookware.

How Do You Cook With a Pie Iron?

Cooking with a pie iron is easy. For the simplest pie, just make a sandwich with your choice of fillings and bread, butter it on both sides, and place it in the pie iron. Heat the pie iron over medium to high heat until the pie is warmed through and toasted. 

Most pies will cook in about 3 to 5 minutes per side; 6 to 10 minutes total. But every fire burns differently, so check your pies while they’re on the fire to gauge how fast they’re cooking.

Pie iron cooking directly in campfire
Avoid putting your pie iron directly into the fire. | Photo: Kerry Sainato

While it’s simple to cook with a pie iron, there are some things to consider before breaking out your press. Here are some tips.

  • Experiment with bread and fillings. The pie iron is adaptable. Use your imagination to find new combinations for your pies. 
  • Use cooking spray. Butter is great for flavor and color while cooking spray will provide extra insurance against sticking.
  • Don’t overfill your pudgy pie. Overfilling your pie iron might lead to food sticking to the cast iron. It might also cause leaks that lead to flame flare-ups.
  • Use precooked ingredients. Cook any ingredients that require longer cook times before adding to your pies. 
  • Preheat your press. Place your pie iron over your fire while you’re gathering the ingredients. This will speed up cooking times.
  • Don’t cook directly in coals or in a flame. Cook over medium to high heat for best results. This will give your pie time to heat through without burning the outside crust.
  • Flip your pie during cooking. This allows for even toasting.
  • Check your pies often. A good pie iron provides an easy clasp to check on your pie. Every fire is a little different so checking pies gives you a good idea of how much longer your food will take. 

Pie Iron Recipes to Make at the Campground

The pie iron is endlessly adaptable and fun to experiment with. But in case you need some inspiration, here are some recipe ideas to get you started. 

Want more recipes for the campground? Check out The Recipe Guide for RVers for even more dishes to make in your RV kitchen.

Available to download here.

Pie Iron Sticky Pecan Cinnamon Rolls

Cinnamon rolls cooked in a pie iron
Photo: Kerry Sainato

Makes 1 to 2 servings in a 4- to 5-inch square iron.

Ingredients

  • 2 large or 4 small pop-can cinnamon rolls
  • Melted butter
  • Cinnamon sugar
  • Chopped pecans

Directions

  1. Spray pie iron with non-stick spray.
  2. Dip each cinnamon roll into melted butter, then in cinnamon sugar. Place the dough balls on one side of the pie iron. Top with a generous sprinkle of chopped pecans. Attach the other side of the pie iron and clasp to close.
  3. Cook over medium to high heat for 3 to 4 minutes per side until the cinnamon rolls are golden brown. Keep an eye on the pecan side to prevent burning. Drizzle with icing as desired.

Pie Iron Breakfast Sandwich

Makes 1 serving in a 4- to 5-inch square iron.

Ingredients

  • Butter, softened
  • 2 slices bread
  • 1 breakfast sausage patty, cooked 
  • 1 slice American cheese
  • 1 egg

Directions

  1. Spray pie iron with non-stick spray.
  2. Spread one side of each slice of bread with butter. Place the first piece of bread, butter side down, on one side of the pie iron. Top with cheese. 
  3. Crumble the breakfast sausage on top of the cheese, making a small well for the egg to sit in. Crack the egg into the well. Top with the other slice of bread, buttered side facing out. 
  4. Attach the other side of the pie iron and clasp to close. Cut off any bread hanging over the edges. Cook over medium to high heat for 3 to 4 minutes per side until the sandwich is golden brown.

Make It Vegetarian: 

Omit the sausage patty or replace it with a meat-free alternative.


Loaded Pie Iron Hash Browns

Prepping to cook hashbrowns in pie iron
Photo: Kerry Sainato

Makes 1 to 2 servings in a 4- to 5-inch square iron.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup frozen shredded hash browns, thawed
  • 1 slice bacon, cooked and crumbled
  • 1 green onion, sliced thinly
  • ¼ cup shredded cheese

Directions

  1. Before you start assembling, wrap the hash browns in a paper towel and squeeze out as much excess water as possible.
  2. Spray pie iron with non-stick spray.
  3. Add half of the hash browns to one side of the pie iron in an even layer. Add crumbled bacon, green onions, and cheese. Cover with the rest of the hash browns.
  4. Attach the other side of the pie iron and clasp to close. Cook over medium to high heat for 5 to 7 minutes per side until the hash browns are golden brown. The hash browns take a bit longer to cook than other dishes in the pie iron.

Make It Vegetarian: 

Omit the bacon or replace it with a meat-free alternative.


Spicy Italian Ham and Cheese Panini

Checking the doneness of a sandwich made in a pie iron
Photo: Kerry Sainato

Makes 1 serving in a 4- to 5-inch square iron.

Ingredients

  • Butter, softened
  • 2 slices Italian bread
  • 1 jarred hot cherry pepper, chopped fine
  • 2 slices hot capicola
  • 4 slices thinly sliced soppressata or pepperoni
  • 1 slice provolone cheese

Directions

  1. Spray pie iron with non-stick spray.
  2. Spread one side of each slice of bread with butter. Place the first piece of bread, butter side down, on one side of the pie iron. Top with chopped cherry peppers, capicola, soppressata, and provolone cheese. Top with the other slice of bread, buttered side facing out. 
  3. Attach the other side of the pie iron and clasp to close. Cut off any bread hanging over the edges. Cook over medium to high heat for 3 to 4 minutes per side until the sandwich is golden brown.

Mushroom, Bacon, and Swiss Panini

Makes 1 serving in a 4- to 5-inch square iron.

Ingredients

  • Butter, softened
  • 2 slices sourdough bread
  • 1 slice cooked bacon, cut into several pieces
  • ¼ cup sauteed mushrooms
  • 2 tablespoons caramelized onions
  • 1 slice Swiss cheese
  • Ketchup, optional

Directions

  1. Spray pie iron with non-stick spray.
  2. Spread one side of each slice of bread with butter. Place the first piece of bread, butter side down, on one side of the pie iron. Top with bacon, mushrooms, onions, and Swiss cheese. Add a bit of ketchup (optional, if you want to mimic the taste of a burger). Top with the other slice of bread, buttered side facing out.
  3. Attach the other side of the pie iron and clasp to close. Cut off any bread hanging over the edges. Cook over medium-high heat for 3 to 4 minutes per side until the sandwich is golden brown.

Make It Vegetarian: 

Omit the bacon.


Pie Iron Pepperoni Pizza

Pizza slices of a pie iron pizza
Photo: Kerry Sainato

Makes 1 serving in a 4- to 5-inch square iron.

Ingredients

  • Olive oil
  • ~4 ounces pizza dough, premade or store-bought
  • ¼ cup pizza sauce
  • 4 to 6 slices pepperoni, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup mozzarella cheese

Directions

  1. About 20 minutes before assembling, portion off your pizza dough and let it rest on a plate covered with a towel or plastic wrap. This allows the dough to warm up and will make it easier to stretch.
  2. Spray pie iron with non-stick spray.
  3. Drizzle each side of the pie iron with a little olive oil for flavor. Split the pizza dough into two pieces and stretch it until it’s fairly thin and will cover the bottom of the pie iron. 
  4. Lay one piece of dough on one side of the pie iron. Top with sauce, pepperoni, and cheese. Cover with the second piece of dough. Attach the other side of the pie iron and clasp to close. Cook over medium to high heat for 3 to 4 minutes per side until the pizza is golden brown.

Make It Vegetarian: 

Replace the pepperoni with your favorite vegetables.

Two large pop-can biscuits can be a substitute for the pizza dough. Just stretch each one out to fill the pie iron like you would with the pizza dough.


Pie Iron Monkey Bread

Monkey bread cooked in a pie iron
Photo: Kerry Sainato

Makes 1 to 2 servings in a 4- to 5-inch square iron.

Ingredients

  • 2 large or 4 small pop-can biscuits
  • Melted butter
  • Cinnamon sugar

Directions

  1. Spray pie iron with non-stick spray.
  2. Divide biscuit dough into nine pieces. Roll each piece into a ball. Dip each ball into melted butter to coat. Dredge in the cinnamon sugar. Place sugar-coated balls into one side of the pie iron. Attach the other side and clasp to close.
  3. Cook over medium to high heat for 3 to 4 minutes per side until the monkey bread is a deep golden brown and has a crackly sugar crust.

S’more Waffles

Makes 1 to 2 servings in a 4- to 5-inch square iron.

Ingredients

  • 2 frozen Belgian-style waffles
  • Butter, melted
  • Cinnamon sugar
  • ½ milk chocolate candy bar or about 1 tablespoon of Nutella
  • 2 to 3 marshmallows

Directions

  1. Spray pie iron with non-stick spray.
  2. Cut your waffle to fit the pie iron. Dip one side of each waffle in melted butter. Sprinkle with a good coating of cinnamon sugar. Place one waffle, butter side down, into one side of the pie iron. 
  3. Top with chocolate (or Nutella) and marshmallows. Place the second waffle, butter side out, over the marshmallows. 
  4. Attach the other side of the pie iron and clasp to close. Cook over medium to high heat for 2 to 3 minutes per side until the waffles are well toasted.

Pie irons offer an easy and fun way to cook while camping. There are endless dishes you can make with a pie iron and these recipes are just a start. Use your creativity to create new, delicious pies, and share them with us on social media (@togo_rv). 

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Cooking and RecipesRecipesRV 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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