Keeping a cooler cold while camping can be a chore. And sometimes it’s just not possible to bring one.
But what is the alternative?
Fortunately, there are many delicious camping meals that don’t require refrigeration. Here are X favorite fridge-free camping meal ideas to try on your next trip.
Ingredients for camping recipe without fridge:
Let’s start this list of fridge-free camping food with a selection of ingredients that don’t require refrigeration.
1/ Velveeta ou Cheese Whiz
If you don’t mind the term “cheese product”. These tasty cheese substitutes are perfect when you don’t have a cooler or fridge. Pour them over tortillas to make campfire nachos we already told you about in our camping meal ideas. Or melt them over pasta to make easy-to-make macaroni and cheese.
2 / Honey
Natural and sweet, bottled honey is a great camping ingredient to add something sweet to tea, coffee, cookies, toast, and more.
3 / Dried herbs and spices
Your food shouldn’t be lacking in flavor just because you are camping. Best of all, dried herbs and spices don’t need to be refrigerated. Bring cumin for your salsa, oregano for your spaghetti, and of course salt for, well… everything!
4 / Canned evaporated milk
Canned evaporated milk has become one of my camping staples. Even though I don’t use it to lighten my camp coffee. It is a great substitute for recipes that require milk. Even if it doesn’t taste exactly the same.
5 / Powdered milk or soy
Another option to have milk while camping when you don’t have a fridge is to buy it in powder form. You can use it as a substitute in coffee, or even in cereals. Just add cold water until you get the right taste. For all vegan campers, soy powder is also available.
6 / Lentils and beans
Rice, lentils or beans, often rhyme with the favorite food of campers. But in reality, dried beans are a great addition to your camp cooking. Indeed, they do not take up much space and do not need to be refrigerated. Keep in mind that cooking beans and lentils can take some time. Soak them in a pot of water overnight and you’ll have a much easier time softening them up when you boil them the next day.
7 / bread
After milk, bread is the staple food of man. It’s a good filler when you’re traveling light and don’t want to take up space in the cooler. Toasts, sandwiches, French toast or as an accompaniment to dinner.
8 / Soy sauce
Thinking of frying vegetables and rice on your stove? So why not bring some soy sauce. This Asian sauce is so salty that a little bit is enough and can be put back on the shelf after opening.
9 / Butter
Some people don’t know that it is not necessary to refrigerate butter at all. We keep ours on the counter in a covered dish at all times to keep it soft and spreadable. But be careful, it will be very soft and easily crushed. Remember to keep it in a container with a tight-fitting lid.
The broth is an excellent seasoning. There are beef, vegetable and chicken flavors. It’s a great way to make broths for soups on the go.
11 / Individual sachets of mayonnaise, mustard, ketchup, etc …
You know when you grab a take out and get sent home with those little sachets of condiments? They are perfect for camping. While large versions should be refrigerated immediately after opening, small individual versions do not require refrigeration at all.
12 / Potatoes
The potatoes make the fries. That is well said ! But seriously, potatoes are incredibly versatile. Easy to cook in a variety of ways and can be stored for a very long time. Everyone loves to make potatoes while camping, especially cooking in the embers with the foil.
13 / Oil
How can you cook without oil? You can use it to fry anything, dip bread in it, or grease a pan. Oil is an essential ingredient for camping, which does not need to be refrigerated.
Camping recipe without fridge to prepare in advance:
My family loves pre-prepared camping meals. While most of our favorites should be refrigerated, here are some of our fridge-free camping meal ideas made to stay fresh and tasty.
Great for breakfast and snacks, muffins come in all shapes, sizes and flavors. Add chocolate chips or blueberries. Or, make corn muffins to accompany a chili. Let them cool completely and put them in a plastic bag. They will stay good for up to 4 or 5 days.
15 / Fruit leather
Fruit leather is one of our favorite camping snacks without refrigeration. Buy it at the store or make it yourself at home before your getaway.
16 / Coffee cake
Bake a coffee leaf cake and you will have an easy breakfast option that everyone will love at the campsite.
17 / Banana cake
Use the remaining bananas on the counter before repacking your camping gear. Banana cake is an easy-to-make camping food that keeps well without refrigeration. Cut a slice and put it on the heat grill to grill it before eating it.
Camping recipe without fridge and without cooking:
Don’t have a camping stove and can’t cook over the campfire? Then a no-cook camping meal is the solution. These don’t even require refrigeration.
18 / Salsa and cheese in a jar:
Pot queso salsa nachos have come a long way. While they don’t equal the homemade version, they’re a great option at the picnic table. Offer them as a dip with tortillas or use them to season tacos and quesadillas.
19/ Well, au wasabi
I discovered this during a multi-day bear fishing trip in British Columbia. This little snack will separate men from boys with its super spicy taste. But once you’ve tasted these crunchy little treats. You won’t be able to stop snacking. On more I just saw that you can find some on AMAZON
20 / Snack and energy bars
Choose from your favorite brands like POWERBAR and many more. These brands have been a hit with the camper and hiker community. And for good reason. They’re light, small, and full of protein, fiber, and fat. These small snacks are a great option when you are away from home and unable to prepare a meal. It is a great snack for hikers.
21 / Raisins
Raisins are full of energy and fiber, along with other good things like vitamins and minerals. If you want to spice them up a bit, you can soak them in chocolate or yogurt.
22 / Fresh fruits
Most fresh fruit can be kept on the counter or in a backpack before cutting. Among those that travel well are berries, lemons, kiwis, bananas, mangoes, pears, avocados, oranges and melons. In summer and fall we like to grab peaches and apples from the farm stand on the way to our campsite. But remember that once opened they don’t last long.
23 / Fresh vegetables
Most vegetables keep well without refrigeration. Look for vegetables your grocer keeps in bins rather than the refrigerated section. Some good vegetables include corn on the cob, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, onions, garlic, eggplants and green beans. As with fruit, most of these vegetables, like cucumbers and tomatoes, will need to be cooled after you cut them. The best is to eat them quite simply.
24 / Cereals
What could be simpler than a bowl of cereal? Some are even excellent to eat dry, without the powdered milk mixture.
25 / Fruit cups
As a child, we used to open a box of fruit cocktails for lunch. But now these berries are available in individual serving cups. Plus, most of them are in real fruit juice instead of heavy syrup.
26 / Applesauce
Sweet, light and sometimes cinnamon. You can get individual cups of applesauce to take on your next camping trip and they won’t need to be refrigerated.
Foodies will love yours. It can easily make or break a camping trip. Whether in a candy bar, a hot cup of cocoa, chocolate is essential. Eat it before it melts.
28 / Walnut
The varieties and flavors of nuts seem endless. From almonds to peanuts roasted with honey. They make a delicious snack, a great source of fat and protein, and will never see the inside of a refrigerator.
29 / Dried fruits
Dried fruits are great in a mix, but they’re also great on their own. Sweet pineapples, banana chips, mango slices, yum!
30 / Canned meat and fish:
Canned meats get a bad rap, but you can get your fix of protein and meat without having to refrigerate it. Devil-style ham makes a great sandwich, as does tuna (take out the individual mayonnaise sachets). Canned chili is a good option to add to your campfire nachos, and Viennese sausages are a good replacement for your pork and bean campfire dinner.
31 / Canned vegetables and beans
Canned vegetables and beans are a great alternative when looking to avoid the mess and time it takes to prepare fresh vegetables and beans. All you need is a can opener and a fork.
Cured meat is great for all campers, but especially hikers looking for something to chew on along the way, as well as a way to replenish salt while they sweat on the trail. Jerky comes in many flavors these days and if you have a dehydrator you can make it at home for much less.
Hot camping recipe without fridge:
Here are some of our favorite hot snacks, meals, and desserts that don’t require a cooler or refrigerator for camping.
33 / Campfire cherry pies
It’s the campfire dessert you remember making as a kid and it’s still delicious, and easy. All you need is white bread, a box of cherry pie filling, and a campfire pie iron. Best of all, none of these desserts require refrigeration.
34 / Oatmeal or oatmeal
Overnight oatmeal is all the rage right now. But if you want to have the warm belly feel of a hot oatmeal in the morning, you’re in luck. All you need for this tasty breakfast is water. Grits are a delicious, light, and easily stored addition to any breakfast.
What’s better than a bag of freshly popped corn over a campfire? In my opinion, this is a staple for camping.
36/ Crêpes or pancake
But even the Bisquick requires eggs and milk, you say? Not at all, if you use this awesome egg and milk free pancake recipe that only uses non-perishable products. And don’t forget your maple syrup (which doesn’t need a refrigerator either!).
37 / Rice, couscous and quinoa
Mix them with anything and you will have a meal. These cereals are a great option for any camper because they are easy to store and transport, and cook quickly. In addition, they are versatile. Some canned vegetables or beans, olive oil and salt, or just butter.
38 / Instant noodles
Instant noodles are inexpensive, easy to prepare, and only require water. In addition, they are quite delicious in their multiple flavors. The pasta will give you energy if you’ve been hiking, and the broth will help you replenish your salt. Best of all, you just have to throw the cup away. No need to do the dishes.
39 / Canned soup
Much like instant noodles, canned soups are a great option when trying to cut down on the number of things you bring while camping. Creamy, hearty or filled with alphabet, there is a canned soup for you. Pour, reheat and enjoy.
40 / Pasta and sauces
It sounds basic, but add a little Parmesan or some canned veg and you have a (almost) gourmet meal. It’s quick to cook over a fire or a stove and can feed a lot of people. If you want to try to be a little more whimsical, try a dry sachet pasta sauce and replace it with evaporated milk.
41 / Freeze-dried meals
Many hikers carry at least a few of these products. They are plentiful, very high in calories and have a rather pleasant taste. Dehydrated meals require the addition of hot water, while MREs are stand-alone meals. An MRE (or Meal, Ready to Eat) is a military ration meal packaged to withstand combat conditions and is heated using a flameless heater provided in the MRE.
What are your favorite camping recipes without a fridge?
As you can see, there are literally hundreds of camping meal ideas that don’t require refrigeration. Our suggestions here are just the tip of the iceberg.
And you ? What are your favorite non-refrigerated camping meals or snacks? Let us know in the comments below!
And, if you want to cook meals with ingredients that require refrigeration, our guide to the best compression coolers, will help you get started.