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The Ultimate Campervan Cooking Guide

Updated: Jan 25

Campervan cooking doesn’t need to be challenging at all! Despite the small space and different eating habits and preferences to accommodate. So, before you start looking around for a campervan cookbook, try out some of these campervan meal ideas.

In this article, we’ll be diving into some easy campervan meals as well as some general campervan cooking tips and tricks. You'll get to make great meals with less of the mess and in less time. So, without further ado, let’s dig in!

Camper Van Cooking

Campervan Cooking Recipes

Below you will find a few easy-to-make vanlife movement meals for various eating orientations and lifestyles:

No Dietary Requirement Recipes

The below campervan cooking recipes contain meat, animal products, and potential allergens:

Overnight Breakfast Oats

This is one of those campervan meals that can really be made to suit anyone. It is a low GI food, perfect for all the energy you’ll need for outings. The fact that it gets prepped the night before, this makes for not just a tasty, but also a healthy and handy ready-to-go breakfast.

What You’ll Need
  • Oats

  • Milk or milk alternative (you can even use water, even though it might not be as tasty)

  • Toppings such as chia seeds, fresh fruit, and nuts (these are optional)

What to Do
  • Measure out the amount of oats you’ll be having in the morning and place in a jar. Depending on the size of your serving, we’ve found it incredibly helpful to keep glass jars such as jam jars.

  • Mix the milk with the oats ‘till you get the consistency you like.

  • Close the jar and stick it in the fridge.

  • The next morning, all you need to do is take it out of the fridge when you want to have breakfast and add your toppings (if you have any).

Easy campervan meals

Mushroom & Bacon Risotto

This is an incredibly convenient dish that needs just seven ingredients and one pot to make.

What You’ll Need
  • 1tbsp of olive oil

  • 1 chopped onion

  • 8 chopped rashers of bacon

  • 250g mushrooms

  • 300g risotto rice

  • 1l of chicken stock

  • Grated Parmesan as garnishing

What to Do
  • Heat the oil in a skillet.

  • Add the bacon and onion, and cook for 5 minutes.

  • Add the mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes.

  • Stir the rice in and cook till it’s clear and all the juices have been absorbed.

  • Gradually add the stock (roughly ½ a cup at a time) whilst stirring well (this will take roughly 20 minutes ‘till all the stock has been absorbed).

  • Once fully cooked, serve and garnish with the grated Parmesan cheese.

Campervan cooking recipes

Vegetarian Meals to Cook in a Campervan

The following campervan cooking recipes contain no meat:

Campfire Nachos

This is one of the best campervan dinner ideas if you don’t feel like slaving away in the kitchen and want to lounge around the campfire.

What You’ll Need
  • 250g bag of tortilla chips

  • ½ cup of sliced black olives

  • ½ cup of diced tomatoes

  • ¼ cup of sliced green onions

  • 2 cups of shredded taco cheese (although you can substitute for any other cheese you already have)

  • 2 sliced jalapeños with the seeds removed

  • Cilantro to use as garnishing

  • The usual salsa, guacamole, sour cream, etc.

What to Do
  • Place 1/3 of the chips at the bottom of a cast iron skillet.

  • Add 1/3 of the cheese, ½ of the tomatoes, ½ of the olives, and ½ of the green onions on top of the tortilla chips.

  • Make another layer of 1/3 of the chips and 1/3 of the cheese.

  • Add the rest of the remaining ingredients with the jalapeño on top of the last layer.

  • Cover the skillet with a sheet of aluminum foil.

  • Place the skillet on the campfire once the fire’s died down to medium heat and cook till the cheese has melted (this usually takes about 10–15 minutes).

  • Add the cilantro and serve with all your favorites (guacamole, sour cream, etc.)

Best vegetarian campervan meals

Polish Potato Salad

This is one of the campervan meals that’s perfect as a light lunch or as a side dish.

What You’ll Need
  • 5 medium-sized boiled potatoes

  • 3 hard-boiled eggs

  • ½ cup of chopped onion

  • 3 chopped celery sticks

  • ½ cup of sweet pickle relish

  • ¼ tsp garlic salt

  • ¼ tsp celery salt

  • 1tbp mustard

  • ¼ cup of mayonnaise

  • Black pepper

  • Paprika

What to Do
  • Remove the skins of the boiled potatoes and cut them into bite-sized cubes.

  • Peel the eggs and chop them up into bite-sized pieces.

  • Make a dressing by mixing the onion, celery, garlic & celery salt, relish, mustard, pepper, and mayo together in a small mixing bowl.

  • Put the potatoes and the eggs into a large bowl and fold in the dressing.

  • Sprinkle paprika on top and place in the fridge to chill before eating.

Easy van life meals

Best Vegan Campervan Meals

The following campervan cooking recipes contain no animal products:

BBQ Pulled Sweet Potato Burgers

What You’ll Need
  • 2 ½ cups of shredded sweet potato

  • ½ cup BBQ sauce

  • 1 tsp olive oil

  • Salt

  • 4 sprouted grain burger buns

  • Other toppings that you want to add

What to Do
  • Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large, deep skillet.

  • Add the shredded sweet potato and stir to mix with the oil.

  • Sprinkle with salt.

  • Cook for 4–5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sweet potato is lightly brown.

  • Add the BBQ sauce and stir.

  • Reduce the heat and leave to cook for another 10–15 minutes, only stirring occasionally.

  • Once the sweet potato is cooked to your liking, you can take a big scoop and place it on your burger bun along with the other toppings of your choice.

Easy vegan burger for camping

Italian White Bean and Kale Soup

This is a great dish, especially if you make a pot for just one or two people, so you can have leftovers for the following days.

What You’ll Need
  • 2 tbsp of olive oil

  • ½ a large white onion diced

  • 2 large diced carrots

  • 2 chopped-up celery sticks

  • 5 cloves of garlic

  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes

  • 2 cans of Cannellini beans

  • 4 cups of vegetable broth

  • ½ tsp sea salt

  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning

  • ½ tsp crushed red pepper

  • 4 cups of kale

What to Do
  • Add the olive oil to a large pot.

  • Add the carrots, onions, garlic, and celery and sauté.

  • Put in the white beans, tomatoes, crushed red pepper, vegetable broth, Italian seasoning, and salt to the mix.

  • If cooking with a pressure cooker or an instant pot, leave to cook for about 16 minutes. If it’s a normal pot, leave it to cook for about an hour.

  • Take the pot off the heat for about 10–15 minutes (with a pressure cooker, you can release the pressure now).

  • Stir in the Kale.

  • Close the lid and place it on low heat for 5 minutes.

  • Garnish and serve.

campervan dinner ideas

Helpful Tips for Campervan Cooking

The following Iceland tips will make vanlife cooking much easier:

  • You’ll need to store food properly. Except for the fact that, when van living, you’ll be constantly on the move and want to avoid spillage, you also don’t want to invite rodents and bugs into your “home”.

  • Don’t buy an entire month’s worth of fresh produce just because you’re scared you won’t get the chance again. The only result will be rotted and wasted food.

  • Pay it forward. If you’re leaving to go back home, don’t just chuck leftover food in the bin. Reach out to your fellow campervanners around you and ask who you can give it to. These little “gifts” can be very helpful, especially in the more remote regions.

  • Don’t wait to wash. You’ll need to get into a habit where you clean your dishes and countertops immediately after cooking or at least eating. This is not just to avoid unwanted guests in the camper, but also to save on the water you’d need to scrub off stubborn stains and food stuck to pots and plates.

  • Be mindful of what goes down the drain. This is not a house that’s a bit more forgiving when it comes to plumbing. Where things that slip through the cracks (literally) are a matter of out of sight out of mind. Food trapped will cause the camper to smell, and you will be the one who has to clean out the water wastage later.

  • Only forage if you really know what you’re doing. Too many people watching the Discovery Channel think that they are completely “one with nature” after just one inspiring episode. Unless you REALLY know the plants and fungae of the region, you should avoid picking berries and mushrooms to use in your campervan cuisine.

Campervan Cooking: Getting Prepped

Now you have a good starting point when it comes to vanlife cooking! Now, you’ll also need to ensure that you have all the campervan kitchen essentials and other gadgets and gizmos that will make life easier for you.

When renting a campervan in Reykjavík, many of these essentials will already be included. Others, are optional extras that can be included at an additional cost. Happy campervan travels and “Bon appetite!”


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