Best Canned Foods For Camping and Simple Recipes 2024

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Best Canned Foods For Camping

Are you buzzing with excitement at the thought of your next camping trip? I bet the kids are practically bouncing off the walls, too! Camping isn't just about sleeping under the stars and gathering around a campfire anymore – it's evolved into something more sophisticated, even luxurious.

But hey, no matter how fancy or rustic your camping style is, one thing remains the same: you've gotta eat! So, perfect timing! Join us on a culinary journey as we explore the best canned foods for camping trips we have coming up. I kno, I kno. Canned foods, Blah! But they really can be a great option in the outdoors. The convenience of home-cooked style meals right at your campsite is simply unbeatable. So, Let's dive in and let canned foods open up a world of exciting flavors and recipes, to add some spice to your outdoor adventures. 

For those seeking a specific camping destination, check out our read ‘Explore Strawberry Park Campgrounds: Camping in CT,' offering a glimpse into one of the unique camping spots that could be the perfect setting for your next adventure.

Family Camping Checklist

Family Camping

When packing, remember it's not just about the tent and the campfire anymore. Apart from the canned goods, a camping stove will serve as a great heat source for cooking and re-heating your food, though i doubt there will be any food left to re-heat.

Don't forget to bring the can opener, to open up the canned foods! You will also need other camping stuff like bottled water, utensils, and a cooler. For a well-equipped and enjoyable camping trip, download our family camping checklist pdf in our article, ‘How to Pack for Camping‘, for a comprehensive list of the non-food items you will need. We've left nothing out!

Besides canned goods, the other food items to bring are tomato sauce, olive oil, fresh milk, and other foods. All of these items should be available at your local grocery store. For a full list of foods to pack, Download our pdf list of camping foods, along with my personal, two favorite recipes.

Download: Camping Food Checklist with Recipes

Keep your outdoor dining game on point! Don't forget any of your camping essentials – Grab this Camping Food Checklist along with my favorite recipes to ensure a delicious and hassle-free outdoor dining experience.

Choosing Your Camping Style and Location

Best Canned Foods For Camping

Whether you’re into ‘roughing it’ with just the basics or prefer a more comfort-filled camping experience, there's a style for everyone. Some campers keep it simple with basic gear, while others load up with all sorts of comforts, like mattresses and camp stoves. We mention some mattress options in our read “How to Pack For Camping“.

Equally important is selecting the right camping spot, especially in wildlife-rich areas. For those venturing into bear territory, bringing a bear canister for safe food storage is a smart move. Bears can smell food from a mile off. Some drive-in campsites often provide metal lockers to keep your food safe from bears and other wildlife. 

And if you're looking for meal inspiration beyond the campfire classics, why not explore a variety of canned fruits, vegetables, fish, and meat? These options simplify meal prep and add a delightful twist to your camping cuisine.

Before leaving, you will find it helpful to plan what meals you will have. Things like freeze-dried soups, oatmeal, hot dogs, and sandwiches are an easy way to cook and they are camp classics. But if you want more inspiration and don’t want to prep, then a canned variety of fruits, vegetables, fish, and meat will make for less fuss, which you want on your camping trip.

Good Reasons For Using Canned Foods

  •       For starters, canned foods have a long shelf life. You don’t need a fridge to store them.
  •       They don’t take up a lot of space.
  •       They don’t contain a lot of salt and a lot of preservatives. Some of the top brands have reduced the amount of salt in their canned foods. 
  •       If you are ever waterlogged and can’t start a fire, you will be so relieved to have canned foods. Even though you might have to eat them cold, you will be so grateful to have them, it won't even matter. Not to mention, they're also a great deviation from granola bars! But we are going to pretend that there is fire and heat at all times.
  •       Canned food will provide you with a quick and easy meal while offering you the proper nutrients you’ll need on your camping trip.

How to Pack Canned Goods If You're Hiking

For hiking campers, it can be difficult to carry fresh foods and produce, let alone keep stuff refrigerated. If you are hiking with a backpack, try and pack the necessities. Try not to over-pack, especially if you’re hiking a few miles to your site. We’ve sent you links above for checklists for camping essentials and food tips to help you.

The big advantage of carrying canned foods with you into the wilderness is that animals are less likely to smell the food, decreasing the chances of having unwanted visitors at your campsite or wherever you find yourself after dark.

The Best Canned Foods For Your Next Camping Trip

Canned Foods
  •       Canned meat
  •       Canned chili
  •       Canned beans
  •       Canned soup
  •       Canned vegetables
  •       Canned fruit
  •       Canned bread
  •       Canned ravioli
  •       Canned macaroni and cheese
  •       Canned fish
  •       Canned spaghetti or pasta sauce
  •       Canned stew
  •       Spam
  •       Canned milk
  •       Canned rice

Canning Foods At Home : How Long Are Home Canned Goods Good For

Best canned foods for camping8

If you grow fresh produce in your garden or have extra produce, you might like the idea of canning your own food for your camping trip. Bear in mind that homemade canning uses glass jars – not tin cans. That will mean that your jarred products can’t go directly onto the campfire. Nevertheless, they still won’t need to be refrigerated. They will still be safe on your shelves for quite a long time.

Here are some foods that are easy to can at home:

  •       Peas or green beans
  •       Spaghetti sauce
  •       Jams and preserves

Simple Canned Food Recipes :

  •       The Canned Meat Recipe for the Puerto Rican Canned Corned Beef Stew is simple, easy, and quick with corned beef in a can and other common pantry items. The end result is delicious and satisfying. Serve this meal over white rice. You could add some sweet fried plantains on the side.
  •       Canned Chili Recipe for the campfire. Dinner is ready in just 20 minutes! You will love this mouth-watering and easy beef chili made using beans and chunky and thick salsa.
  •       Canned Bean Recipe: It is nutritious on its own, but if you want it to look like a homemade meal, add things like coriander, fennel, cumin, mustard, etc., or some woodsy-type herbs like thyme, oregano, rosemary, sage, and crushed garlic with your coarse salt and pepper.
  •       Canned Soup Recipe: Campfire soup can be made quickly and easily. It’s a good choice for campers and especially large groups.
  •       Our best Canned Vegetables Recipe is one with delicious potatoes. You’ll have to admit that this potato dish looks like something from a Sunday roast – And all it was, was a can from the pantry.
  •       Canned Fruit Recipe: This tasty family recipe is super simple to put together. After a long hike or a hot day, this canned fruit salad will be everyone’s delight. You can play around with this salad by adding all your family favorites. Some people love to add sweetened coconut and others add fresh fruit. 
  •       Canned Bread Recipe:  When you take the bread out of the can, you can then slice it and serve it simply with butter, jam, or cream cheese. Some people love using bread to create a heartier meal. They will pour baked beans and chopped hot dogs over the bread. 
  •       Canned Ravioli Recipe: To make the recipe called the Upgraded Chef Boyardee Cheesy Ravioli Bake, all you do is add two cans of Chef Boyardee Meat Ravioli into a small casserole dish. The only extra ingredients are a half cup of cheese and a quarter-cup of fresh basil leaves, leaving some for garnishing.
  •       Canned Macaroni and Cheese Recipe: Check out this scrumptious recipe from the Reddit website. All it takes is 20 minutes to make and to deliver from the stove to the table. You’ll want to use this recipe more than once, so pack in a few extra tins!
  •       Canned Fish Recipe: Canned fish is very popular, particularly tuna for making kids’ sandwiches. It’s a hugely popular recipe, even on TikTok (just search for #tinnedfishdatenight to get the picture). 
  •       Canned Spaghetti Sauce Recipe:  Look at this fantastic spaghetti with sweet meat sauce recipe. Ideal for any spaghetti or pasta dishes.  If there are a few delicious drops left over you can use them in vegetable casseroles, potato gratins, as a dip, or soups. Another way is to use it as a bread topper or on top of your pizza. 
  •       Canned Stew Recipe: Just check this recipe out. It’s a hearty meal made from canned foods! All you do is simmer for an hour and wait to tuck in.  
  •       Canned Spam Recipe: This robust outdoor meal, Camp Spam Risotto uses other canned ingredients such as delicious cream of celery soup. Though the ingredients are simple, the flavors are very rich. Because Camp Spam Risotto with celery soup can be quite salty, don’t season the risotto until after you have cooked everything. You can vary the ingredients by using alternate soup flavors or using milk instead of water.
  •       Canned Milk Recipe: This delicious campfire French Toast recipe is super-delicious whether you have it morning or night. Canned milk is a wonderful canned food that you will never want to be without, even at home. Evaporated milk or even coconut milk gives body to smoothies, thickens coffee, and sweetens it. It adds a certain richness to soups and of course, every pudding will never say no to canned milk. 
  •       Canned Rice Recipe: Everyone knows how rice is such a staple food to millions all over the world; almost every dinner plate at night has rice as one of its portions of food. In our link above we have given you many canned rice recipes. Press the link below to find out wonderful ways you can use canned rice for puddings as well. Canned rice is quick and easy to prepare, as it is already cooked and just needs to be heated up. This is ever so useful for people who are short on time or don't have access to a kitchen.

Campfire Apple Pie For a Real Camping Holiday Twist 

Here it is! The recipe you didn't even know you were waiting for our, Campfire Apple Pie. If you don’t have a campfire pie iron, now is the time to get one.  You will soon find that the pie iron becomes your standard camping kitchen equipment.

Apple Pie with Raisin Bread

Campfire Pie Iron Apple Pie With Cinnamon Raisin Bread:

Two supplies you will need for this are your campfire pie iron, and of course, your campfire.


•       One loaf of cinnamon raisin bread. You might like the whole wheat bread more.

•       Canned apple pie filling.

How To:

•       Open the campfire pie iron. Press one piece of cinnamon raisin bread into one side.

•       Then be generous as you spoon on the canned apple pie filling.

•       Cover over with a second piece of bread.

•       Then close the pie iron as you tuck the bread inside. Some people cut off any excess bread on the outside of the pie iron, or you can leave it as is.

•       Clamp the pie iron shut and place it in the coals, if you have, or hold it over the flame. You can open the iron and check now and then to see if the bread is toasted and hot.

•       When you believe it’s ready, take it out of the fire, open the pie iron, and remove the pie carefully.

•       Then sit back and enjoy this very scrumptious easy snack! If you enjoy an exciting variation, try peanut butter with the apple filling. It is not necessary that you stick only to the apple filling inside the pies. The great thing is you can add your other favorite fruits – maybe some canned blueberries are more up your alley!


•       Generally, one apple pie takes about 8-10 minutes to fully heat up and get toasted. Cooking times will vary. This will depend on the type of campfire pie iron you use and whether it is held close enough to the heat.

•       You can use cast iron pie irons or aluminum ones. The cast iron pie iron can go directly in the flames or onto the coals, but the aluminum pie iron should be kept away from the direct flame.

•       Some people add oil or butter onto the pie iron before adding the bread so it does not stick, although not all like to do this; it’s a matter of choice.

•       This apple pie does not need a whole heap of sugar, and if you are serving this as a breakfast meal, you will find one sandwich extremely filling. They are simply delicious any time of day.

Pros And Cons Of Using Canned Foods For Camping

Pros of canned foods

•       Nutritional Value: A lot of the canned foods such as veggies and fruits are picked and processed when their ripeness is at their peak. When canned, they retain their nutritional value.

•       Versatility: They are so easy just to open up and readily prepared to make a wide variety of interesting meals.

•       Not a whole lot of preparation and cooking time: So easy to cook with. No need to wash any fruit and veggies, no peeling to do, no chopping, and no pre-cooking. Everything is laid out – all you have to do is add it to your dishes.

•       Canned-cooked meats like chicken and tuna are easier to cook with and clean up afterwards, than fresh meat products. 

•       Long shelf life: Usually, canned foods are good for a few years. That means they are a great addition to the emergency food supplies that you have on hand in your camp kitchen.

 Cons of canned foods

•       The weight can be problematic, particularly if you are carrying the canned foods in your backpack for long hiking trips – So not ideal for hiking trips where you have to walk and carry.

•       Canned foods are not fresh ingredients, and can lack the crispiness and freshness of fresh foods.

•       Even though some brands have reduced their sodium and additives content, canned foods have these in them to extend their shelf life and enhance their flavor.

Frequently Asked Questions

  •       Which canned food is easy to eat when camping?

Canned foods that are easy to eat while camping include canned soups, fruits and veggies. You can eat these foods directly from the can, without any preparation. Some canned meats, like tuna or chicken, can also be eaten cold and are a great source of protein.

  •       Is it safe to heat canned food in a can?

You shouldn’t heat canned foods. Often, the lining of the cans contains harmful chemicals that can contaminate the food when heated. Rather transfer the canned food to a heat-safe container before heating it over a fire or camp stove.

  •       How long do canned foods last?

Canned foods have the best shelf life of any food. They can last from 2-5 years if stored properly.

  •       Should canned foods be stored in the fridge?

Canned foods have been designed to be stored at room temperature. If there are no instructions on the can regarding storage, then store them in a cool, dry place. Check for can dents or damage when buying, which can affect the can's seal. When packing them away, put the newly bought cans to the back – always use the older stock first.

  • Can canned foods be used in emergencies?

Yes, canned foods are the best option for emergency situations. They don’t require refrigeration due to their long shelf life. Many people buy them in bulk to have an emergency supply stash. 

Final Thoughts

Camping is a great way to use canned foods to produce healthy, safe, and wholesome meals. Just because you are camping doesn’t mean you shouldn’t eat healthy, balanced meals. Look out for canned meals that have excellent balances of protein, fat, and carbohydrates – You will want plenty of energy to participate in the exhilarating outdoor activities to come. Canned foods need not only be used for main dishes; they make great side dish options as well.

A popular choice for camping is to experiment with canning your own food. This way you can have prized meals like mom’s delectable beef stew dish with potatoes. With such delicious, quick, and easy canned food recipes at your disposal, camping, hiking, and cooking will simply be a breeze!

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