Dutch Oven Recipes for Camping Trips

Forget the burgers and dogs on your next camping trip. Make dinner special with these Dutch Oven Recipes that are perfect for the great outdoors, including this Campfire Berry Cobbler.

Dutch Oven Recipes: Campfire Berry Cobbler by FamilySpice.com

We are a scouting family. I have two boys in Cub Scouts, and my husband as the Cub Master. Sometimes I wonder who is more excited to be a scout, my sons or my husband? Either way, it’s a win-win situation for us. As a family, we have learned so much through scouting, and we are blessed with an AMAZING pack filled with wonderful families. In fact, today we just returned from our adventures with the pack and our camping trip to Anza Borrego State Park in Southern California.

When we camp with the scout families, the pack usually provides the Saturday night dinner. We have had fun with foil cooking and the standard burger and dogs on a grill. But this was a special night, because It was FoodBuzz’s monthly 24×24, where 24 bloggers are chosen to make a special dinner on one specific night, in this case, last night March 26th, 2011. And our special night, an evening under the desert stars, we were going to have a heck of a meal!

I proposed to FoodBuzz “a gourmet dinner cooked in Dutch Ovens.” I was thrilled when my proposal was accepted, but anxiety soon settled in.

What exactly makes a meal a gourmet meal?

I had limitations. First, this was a Cub Scout camping trip, and absolutely no alcohol was allowed. Even in cooking. Scratch the Beef Bourguignon.

Second, there was a budget. The meal couldn’t exceed $5/head. Scratch the exotic meats. No lamb. No venison.

Third, no pork. Some families, for religious reasons, didn’t eat pork. Bye-bye pulled pork, and so long bacon.


Dutch Oven Recipes: Campfire Chicken Cacciatore by FamilySpice.com

I knew I didn’t want a standard meal that you would eat at a camp out. I could easily do another Chili with Cornbread Crust as I did in the past in a Dutch Oven or even a beef stew. But, that was too predictable. It was time to think outside of the box.

Dutch Oven Recipes: Campfire Chicken Cacciatore by FamilySpice.com
That’s when I settled on Chicken Cacciatore and Vegetable Lasagna for dinner. I made Chicken Cacciatore at home and I knew it would convert well for the Dutch Oven.

The lasagna made me a little nervous. I wanted it to be easy to assemble, with no pre-cooking involved. So the noodles weren’t cooked beforehand and neither were the vegetables. I used frozen spinach and frozen slices of zuchinni. My marinara was store-bought and I used a mixture of ricotta, milk, mozzerella and parmasean for the cheesy layers.

Dutch Oven Recipes: Campfire Lasagna by FamilySpice.com

Cooking with Dutch Ovens is rather simple once you figure out how they work and how to use them. You are basically applying heat underneath the cast iron pot, as well as on top of the lid, making a small portable oven.

First, you have to heat the coals up using a chimney. If you are sautéing vegetables or browning your meat, you will want to have a lot of coals, 25 or so, under the Dutch Oven to heat the bottom of the pot. Then add the oil and continue as you would with a cooktop. I found myself “winging” it a lot. If the coals were too hot and my meat browned too fast, I removed some coals from underneath. If it appeared to be cooking slowly, I’d scoot more coals under the Dutch Oven. When I was done searing the meat or cooking the vegetables, I combined everything in the Dutch Oven and covered it. Then I reduced the number of coals to approximately 8-10 underneath and 20 on the lid.Dutch Oven Recipes: Campfire Lasagna by FamilySpice.com

To bake with a Dutch Oven isn’t too difficult either. Remember my Pineapple Upside Down Cake? That’s a classic for camping and Dutch Oven baking. This simple chart, provided by Lodge Cast Iron, helps you determine the baking times with the amount of coals needed for which size Dutch Oven you choose to use. I had several Dutch Ovens on hand, from small 10-inch ovens to larger 14-inchers. I had my handy conversion chart and my Scout’s Outdoor Cookbook as my guide. I added a few more coals for the bigger ovens and a few less coals for my smaller one.

Dutch Oven Coal Chart from ScoutingMagazine.org

Dutch Oven Coal Chart from ScoutingMagazine.org

Dutch Oven Recipes: Chocolate Chip Cookie by FamilySpice.com
Dessert was equally important for the night. First, we had Cub Scout with a birthday and he didn’t like cake. We easily baked this giant chocolate chip cookie in a Dutch Oven. Thank you, Mr. Mario, for the beautiful decorating job!

How to bake a chocolate chip cookie in a Dutch Oven by FamilySpice.com

For 12-inch oven 16 coals on top and 10 on the bottom, 10-incher 14 coals on top and 8 on the bottom.

Also for dessert was a Very Berry Cobbler (pictured on top). Thank you Mr. Neil for chopping all those strawberries. I mixed them with, blackberries, blueberries, sugar and cornstarch then poured everything into a Dutch Oven. I topped it with pieces of refrigerated Honey Biscuit dough and sprinkled it all with brown sugar.

Dutch Oven Recipes: Campfire Berry Cobbler by FamilySpice.com
For the kids? Chocolate fondue! We had pretzel rods, marshmallows, strawberries and bananas for them to skewer and dip into the gooey chocolate.

Dutch Oven Recipes: Chocolate Fondue by FamilySpice.com
I was cooking for 30 and I couldn’t have done it without my pal, Nicole. We were bouncing around from pot to pot, trying to chop vegetables, take pictures and save the food when gusts of wind would pass by camp and swirl the ashes about. It really was crazy-fun. I don’t know how exactly we did it, but we did, and we had a whole lot of laughs in the process! A huge thank you to the dads who cheered me on and gobbled down all the food that I prepared. No chore was turned away, from managing the coals to holding lanterns when it got dark. A big Thank You to my hubby, who washed all six Dutch Ovens after a long and exhausting day.

How to Cook and Bake in Cast Iron Dutch Ovens by FamilySpice.com
Anza Borrego was a fabulous back drop for our Dutch Oven Adventures! The wildflowers were starting to bloom and the sun was shining all day. The rain clouds from San Diego were halted right at the mountain ridge, and the Cub Scouts had a blast hiking and learning how to be Junior Rangers at the Visitor Center. Rocks beaconed the boys to climb them and trails were followed and hiked for hours. Everyone passed out with tired muscles and full tummies last night. Sure, we were woken up at 3am with 50-mph gusts of wind that shook and rattled our tent, but those are the adventures we have with camping.

Anza Borrego, California
Thank you FoodBuzz for this great opportunity and for letting me step out of my comfort zone. I usually reserve those kind of projects for my husband, but this time I signed up for it myself. I really enjoyed cooking with the Dutch Ovens, and I quickly felt at ease with them. Of course, my hubby is already planning our next big meal with our Dutch Ovens!

I will have details of all the recipes posted by the end of the week, from ingredients to number of coals!

Now check out all those stars! Thanks, David, for the pic. This was my reward for a night of Dutch Oven Recipes!

Mad about your Dutch Oven? Here are my Dutch oven cooking tips:

Camp meals will never be the same once you learn How to Cook in a Dutch Oven - by FamilySpice.com


Campfire Berry Cobbler

Next time you go camping, forget the s'mores. With hot coals and a Dutch oven you can make this delicious (and easy) berry cobbler.


  • 2 lb strawberries, quartered
  • 1 lb blueberries
  • 1 lb blackberries
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 TBS lemon juice
  • 2 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1 refrigerated package of biscuit dough
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed


  1. Using a Chimney Charcoal Starter, light up 23 coals. Keep coals in chimney until coals are glowing orange.
  2. In a fire pit or fire safe grill, place your 10-inch cast iron Dutch oven with 7 of the hot coals underneath it.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, stir with your hands until combined:
    • 2 lb strawberries , quartered
    • 1 lb blueberries
    • 1 lb blackberries
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    • 2 TBS lemon juice
    • 2 tsp grated lemon zest
  4. Pour fruit mixture into Dutch oven and spread evenly.
  5. Open and separate:
    • 1 refrigerated package of biscuit dough
  6. Separate biscuits and cut into quarters.
  7. Place biscuit pieces in a bowl and coat evenly with:
    • 1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
  8. Top berry mixture evenly with sugared biscuit pieces and cover with Dutch oven lid.
  9. Scatter the remaining 16 hot coals evenly onto of Dutch Oven lid.
  10. Bake until biscuit topping is golden and fruit is bubbling. Serve warm.


Cooking Tips: You can also mix in peaches, plums, apples or pears.

Prep Time:

Yield: 1 10-inch pot

Cook Time:

Total Time:

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

16 Responses to Dutch Oven Recipes for Camping Trips

  1. January at #

    wow, that's a great way to host a 24×24 🙂 you really had me wanting to go camping and try dutch oven cooking

  2. CrystalsCozyKitchen at #

    I so want to go camping after reading this post! I love dutch oven cooking. Looks delicious.

  3. Renata at #

    That must have been so exciting!!! What a great hosting!

  4. Ha – great minds think alike:-). I only wish I'd had that chart from Lodge before I started my meal on Saturday – it would have been helpful. Oh, well – winging it worked for me too. Thanks for sharing this wonderful meal for this month's 24×24.

  5. Jenna at #

    What a neat idea! I have been looking at dutch ovens for a while now. This may just inspire me to finally bite the bullet. It looks like you had a beautiful evening with your family.

  6. Azita at #

    what a fantastic idea!this must have been so much fun! beautiful photos.

  7. Tiffany at #

    I cannot tell you how COOL this is! It looks like you had an amazing time! Congrats on the 24×24!

  8. wow! amazing food and the pictures are stunning..I want to go camping after reading this..it must me such a refreshing experience!

  9. Your berry cobbler looks amazing. Cooking with cast iron is the best, and now I want to go camping! Thanks for sharing.

  10. Muckman at #

    Us scout dads are experts at the chili's, potatos and cobblers. Now we might have to step it up a bit. Well done and impressive.

  11. lovely theme and lots of fun I haven't used a dutch oven like this

  12. Emeline at #

    What an awesome way to explain this-now I know eviyrtheng!

  13. Do you have a recipe for the dutch oven lasagna? Looks delicious!

    • No, I do not. But, it’s easy to make. I layered store bought spaghetti sauce, then uncooked lasagna noodles, sauce, some ricotta mixed with parmesan and shredded mozzarella, zucchini slices, noodles, sauce, ricotta mix, frozen spinach thawed and squeezed of water, fresh basil, noodles, sauce, ricotta mix and shredded mozzarella. Bake at 350ºF (number of coals decided by Dutch oven size, see formula in post) for about an hour. I will make this again and post the recipe. I’ll email you when I have it up. Depending on the size of Dutch oven you’ll need 2 jars of spaghetti sauce, 1 box of lasagna noodles, 1 tub of ricotta, 2 bags of shredded mozzarella, 1 bag of frozen spinach, 2-3 zucchinis, tub of grated parmesan, bunch of basil. I think that was the 12-inch Dutch oven pictured for the lasagna.

  14. Merci! I am definitely going to try this!

Leave a Reply