Making your own food is a great idea if you’re camping on a budget. Cooking while camping in the great outdoors is a fantastic way of bringing everybody together each day, as well as saving money on food costs.

If you’re thinking of preparing some camping meals on your upcoming trip, you might need some inspiration as to what to cook each day – especially if you’re going away for a whole week or are camping with kids.

Keep reading to discover some budget family camping meal ideas that will ensure everyone is well-fed without breaking the bank.

Hot dogs

We’re starting off with a classic – the simple hot dog. Not only is a hot dog quick and easy to put together, it only requires two ingredients – sausages and buns (or three if you count the ketchup!) Hot dogs are also a great option for kids, particularly if they are picky eaters. Simply whack the sausages on the grill and away you go!

Halloumi burgers

For vegetarians, halloumi burgers are a great alternative to beef burgers. All you need to serve four people is:

  • 250g block of halloumi
  • 4 brioche buns
  • 4 tablespoons of hummus
  • 1 large tomato
  • Lettuce leaves
  • 4 tablespoons of salsa

Use a grill to cook the halloumi slices for 2-3 minutes on each side. Toast the brioche buns on both sides and spread the hummus on the bottom halves. Add a slice of tomato then add the halloumi on top. Finish the burger with a slice of lettuce and a dollop of salsa and hey presto, you’ve got yourself a delicious veggie burger.

Corned beef hash

Tinned food is incredibly handy when it comes to preparing camping meals. Not only is tinned food inexpensive but they keep for a long time and are easy to prepare. Corned beef hash is a classic camping cooking idea and a great option for a batch meal.

To serve 4 people, corned beef hash can be as simple as

  • A tin of corned beef
  • 1 onion
  • 500g of peeled and chopped potatoes

If you fancy spicing things up, add a few splashes of Worcestershire sauce and a tin of baked beans or a few eggs to bulk it up.

Add your potatoes to a pan of boiling water for 5 minutes, drain and cut the corned beef into small chunks. Heat some vegetable oil in a frying pan and fry the onion for 5 minutes then add the potatoes and corned beef. You can crisp up the potatoes by pushing down with a spatula. Fry the mixture for 5 minutes on each side and season with a little salt and pepper and Worcestershire sauce. Serve with your optional additions if you fancy it.

Pre-made casserole

We appreciate that cooking meals like casseroles can be a bit fiddly when camping – particularly if there are numerous ingredients to chop and prepare. Consider making the bulkier meals at home and either freeze or keep them chilled in a cool box until you are ready to eat. Then all you need to do is heat it up on the campsite.

Pre-made food is a great way to provide a substantial meal without the hassle of preparation or having to carry a load of ingredients with you.

Pasta salad

Pasta is an excellent option if you are camping with kids. It’s simple to make and is perfect for lunch or dinner. A simple chicken pasta salad is an easy choice. This is another meal that could easily be made at home and served cold at the campsite – perfect on a hot summer’s day.  All you need for four people is:

  • Pack of sliced chicken breast
  • 300g of pasta shells/penne/fusilli
  • A selection of vegetables (e.g. peppers, tomatoes, spring onions, and spinach)
  • Mayonnaise

Boil the pasta for around 10 minutes and chop up all the vegetables. Drain the pasta and add the vegetables, sliced chicken, and mayonnaise in a large bowl and mix well. This can then be refrigerated and eaten cold on your trip.

You can easily adapt a pasta salad to cater to everyone’s preferences – tuna or salmon are great alternatives to chicken and you can easily switch up the types of vegetables you include.

And that concludes our list of budget family camping meals to help you keep costs low during your getaway.

Check out our blog on camping breakfast ideas for inspiration on what to cook first thing in the morning. You can also take a look at our article on camping cooking tips for help on how to make cooking while camping as efficient as possible.

For all your camping cooking equipment needs from camping stoves to cordless kettles we have all you need for your camping adventures.