I do my camping breakfast skillet a bit differently. A bit of prep work makes for MUCH tastier potatoes, easier cooking, and better texture!
Before this summer, I hadn’t done a lot of campfire cooking, and hadn’t spent much time even considering what campfire breakfasts would even consist of.
My only real experience with cooking over an open fire was pretty much limited to hot dogs and marshmallows, after all!
This cast iron breakfast skillet - my take on a traditional “mountain man breakfast” may just be the perfect campfire breakfast!
If you have a huge skillet, you can easily scale the recipe up for feed a bigger crowd!
The star of the show, IMHO, and the hash browns.
I make my skillet breakfasts using the same technique I use for making The BEST Hash Browns Ever - pre cooking the potatoes in a flavourful broth, a day or two before making these easy breakfasts.
Not only is it a great way to infuse some fantastic flavour into the golden potatoes, it also makes for a much better texture and even cooking.
You don’t have any worries about whether not not the potato is cooked before it starts to overcook on the outside! My method ensures tender, golden potatoes every time!
The best part?
You can make and freeze the potatoes ahead of time, and cook them straight from frozen on your next camping trip!
My camping breakfast skillet has a few more ingredients than most, but it’s TOTALLY worth it.
Not only does it taste better in the end, it makes for less work on the morning you’re cooking it.
Besides, they’re all really basic ingredients that can be found in pretty much any grocery store.
A few notes for you:
As far as the potatoes themselves go, you’re going to want to use waxy type potatoes - red potatoes or Yukon Gold are best for this recipe.
Then you’ll need some broth - I use chicken, but feel free to use vegetable broth if you prefer.
Beyond that, it’s all about seasoning the broth, to infuse the cooked potatoes with great flavour.
Celery, Onion, Garlic, Dijon Mustard, and dried herbs and spices (Dried sage, bay leaf, thyme, mustard powder, dried parsley, pepper, garlic powder, etc) are my go-tos, along with hot peppers.
I’ll usually add jalapeno pepper to mine, habanero on occasion. I just find that jalapeno gives the best flavour in combination with the other skillet ingredients.
Your mileage may vary - use whatever you like!
The Breakfast Skillet
Once you’ve got your prepared potatoes, you’ll want a bunch of other stuff to build the actual skillet.
In addition to the potatoes, I like to use an onion and some bell peppers.
Usually that’s red and green peppers, other times it’ll be one or the other, sometimes I’ll throw in some chopped poblano pepper for more of a South West feel.
That said, you could also use whatever your favorite veggies happen to be. If you’d eat it in an omelette, it’ll probably be fantastic in this skillet.
Broccoli, asparagus, spinach, cherry tomatoes, whatever!
Happen to pass a produce stand on the way to the campground, during corn season? Use a sharp knife to cut the kernels off 2 cobs of corn, toss them in with the peppers!
Here’s another way you can customize this pan.
I’ll usually use pork bacon, chicken bacon, or turkey bacon, depending on what mood I’m in.
When going with any of these non-bacon options - or, for that matter, using the poultry bacon! - be sure to add some extra oil to the pan, as they won't be rendering off fat the way pork bacon does.
We use whole eggs, but if you prefer to use whites only, that works too.
Maybe just add a few extra eggs worth of whites, to make up for the loss of volume that happens when you skip the egg yolks.
For that matter, you don’t even have to scramble the eggs - you can cook them sunny side up in the middle of the pan - or a separate pan - and serve them on top of the rest of the skillet!
We usually default to old / sharp cheddar cheese, but you can definitely have some fun with it and customize to your tastes.
Just use the “omelette rule”, and/or look at what else you’re using, and go with what’ll taste best.
Swiss Cheese, Monterrey Jack, Gouda, even Pepper Jack cheese are all great options!
Salt and Pepper
Fresh parsley, green onions, and/or chives - optional
Freezing the Premade Potatoes
Want to take the prep work to another level of convenience?
You can make the potatoes - even in bulk - freeze them, and just cook them up from frozen whenever you want - here’s how:
1. Once you’ve cooked the potatoes, drain them VERY well. You want them to be as dry as possible, because added moisture on the surface = more potential for freezer burn.
2. Spread the potatoes out in a single layer on parchment lined baking sheets, freeze until the potato pieces are frozen through.
3. Once frozen, break up any potato clusters (frozen together), and transfer to freezer bags. I aim to get 1 batch of breakfast skillet’s worth of potatoes to each bag.
4. Squeeze or suck as much of the air as possible from the freezer bag, then seal. (This is a great use for a vacuum sealing bag, if you have one! We like to label the bag with the name and date of what’s in it, either way.
5. Return to the freezer until you’re ready to use them.
To Use Frozen Potatoes
Don’t thaw the potatoes before using.
Toss the frozen potatoes in with the bacon and onions, allowing the 3 ingredients to cook together.
There will be some moisture coming out of the potatoes. This is fine, as the onions also release moisture. It will all cook off as the bacon cooks.
Once the potatoes have thawed and are starting to brown a little, proceed with the rest of the recipe, as written.
Breakfast Skillet made with frozen potatoes can be served, cooled, and stored the same way as the regular recipe is.
How to Make the BEST Camping Breakfast Skillet
The full recipe is in the recipe card at the end of this post, here is a pictorial walk through.
A day or 2 before you want to make the breakfast skillet:
Place chicken broth, celery, onion, garlic, peppers - if using - and any other desired seasonings into a large pot.
Taste, make adjustments as necessary.
Note: In general, the broth in general should be WAY more potent than something you’d have as a soup. It should NOT be “drinkable”!
Once you’ve got a good mix going, bring to a boil over medium heat or medium high heat.
Turn heat down and simmer on low for 10 minutes or so.
Once the time is up, use a slotted spoon to remove all the solids from the pot. Alternatively, strain through a mesh colander, into another pot.
Chop potato into bite sized chunks, add to the pot.
Boil potatoes for about 15 minutes, or until just fork tender. Strain potatoes, allowing excess moisture to drip off as much as possible. Discard broth.
Allow potatoes to cool to room temperature.
Transfer potatoes to a large bowl, airtight container, or plastic bag. Put in the fridge to chill overnight.
Note: See the previous section for information on how to freeze the potatoes for later use!
To Make The Breakfast Skillet:
Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet, Dutch oven, or cast iron skillet over medium heat (stove top or camp stove), hot coals, or a low fire.
Add bacon and onion to the pan.
Cook, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is cooked through and the onion is translucent and tender.
Leaving rendered bacon grease in the pan, add the precooked potatoes. You can use a little more oil, if necessary.
Continue cooking until the potatoes are just starting to brown up a bit.
Whisk the eggs in a mug or small bowl, along with a little salt and pepper.
Use a spatula to make a clearing in the middle of the potatoes / vegetable mix.
Cook, scrambling the eggs, until almost cooked through - 2-3 minutes or so.
Use the spatula to break the eggs up a bit, then gently mix the surrounding vegetables in with the scrambled eggs.
Season with a pinch of salt - if needed.
Top the whole thing with shredded cheese, cover with the top of the skillet and remove from heat.
Garnish with chopped fresh herbs, sour cream, hot sauce - or whatever else you like - and serve immediately.
Once cooled, leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days or so.
Reheats well in the microwave - the potatoes won’t be as crispy as when they’re fresh, but it still tastes great!
More Camping Recipes
Looking for great ideas to cook on a campfire, or in an RV? Here's a few to start with!
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Camping Breakfast Skillet
- 4 cups Chicken Broth
- 2 Celery Ribs Cut into large pieces
- 1 Onion Peeled and quartered
- 3 Garlic cloves peeled
- Jalapenos, habaneros, or whatever Optional - sliced
- Mustard of choice Optional
- Herbs and spices of choice: Dried sage, bay leaf, thyme, mustard powder, dried parsley, pepper
- 1 ¼ lbs Red Potatoes
- 1 tablespoon Vegetable Oil
- 6 Slices Bacon chopped
- 1 Small Onion Chopped
- ½ Green Pepper
- ½ Red Bell Pepper
- 6 Large Eggs
- Salt and Pepper
- 1 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese
- Fresh parsley green onions, and/or chives, optional
The day before you want to make the breakfast skillet:
- Place chicken broth, celery, onion, garlic, peppers - if using - and any other desired seasonings into a large pot.
- Taste, make adjustments as necessary.
- In general, the broth in general should be WAY more potent than something you’d have as a soup.
- Once you’ve got a good mix going, bring to a boil over medium heat or medium high heat. Turn heat down and simmer on low for 10 minutes or so.
- Once the time is up, use a slotted spoon to remove all the solids from the pot. Alternatively, strain through a mesh colander, into another pot.
- Bring broth up to a boil again.
- Chop potato into bite sized chunks, add to the pot.
- Boil potatoes for about 15 minutes, or until just fork tender. Strain potatoes, allowing excess moisture to drip off as much as possible. Discard broth.
- Allow potatoes to cool to room temperature. Transfer potatoes to a large bowl, put in the fridge to chill overnight..
- Note: See the post for information on how to freeze the potatoes for later use!
To Make The Breakfast Skillet:
- Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet or cast-iron skillet over medium heat or a low fire.
- Add bacon and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is cooked through and the onion is translucent and tender.
- Leaving rendered bacon fat in the pan, add the precooked potatoes. You can use a little more oil, if necessary.
- Continue cooking until the potatoes are just starting to brown up a bit.
- Add the chopped bell peppers to the pan, continue to cook for another 5 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.
- Whisk the eggs in a mug or small bowl, along with a little salt and pepper.
- Use a spatula to make a clearing in the middle of the potatoes / vegetable mix.
- Add a little more oil to the center of the pan, then pour the eggs in.
- Cook, scrambling the eggs, until almost cooked through. Use the spatula to break the eggs up a bit, then gently mix the surrounding vegetables in with the eggs.
- Top the whole thing with shredded cheese, cover and remove from heat.
- Season with a bit more pepper. Garnish with chopped fresh herbs, and serve immediately.