Camping Tacos are a great, easy to make meal when you're living with a minimal kitchen. Here's how I make them - 2 different ways, and with a homemade taco seasoning that takes it to the next level!
Tacos may not be the first thing you think of as a camping recipe, but they’re pretty perfect for outdoor adventures:
They don’t take a lot of ingredients or cooking equipment.
You can vary the cooking method based on your set up, cooking them over an RV stove, a camp fire, a camp stove, or whatever - They can even be made as dutch oven camping tacos!
It’s an easy meal that everyone loves at the end of a long day.
It takes just minutes of prep - you can be eating these camping tacos just 15-20 mins after the meat hits the pan!
This easy recipe can be served in several different ways. It can be done as traditional tacos, as a walking tacos recipe, or even as a taco salad!
You can let everyone pick whether they want taco shells or chips at the same meal!
Choice is always a good thing, after all.
They really are the best camping tacos for all of your outdoor adventures, IMHO.
Anyway, let’s get to it, so you can be eating these on your next camping trip!
This recipe can be really simple, or you can go as wild with it as you like.
There are three main components to the recipe: The taco meat, the serving vessel, and the toppings.
A few notes for you:
You’ll be starting out with a pound of ground beef, ground chicken (pictured, it’s our go-to), ground turkey, or even ground veggie product, like Beyond Meat.
Note: You’ll want to add a little vegetable oil or olive oil if using a low fat meat!
That gets cooked up with an onion - white onion or yellow onion is what I recommend - along with water and taco seasoning.
You can use your favourite taco seasoning, whether homemade or store bought.
I’ve included my recipe for taco seasoning a bit further down in this post. It’s spicy, smoky, complex - just fantastic!
Note: The recipe makes a good amount of meat for 4 servings, but you can easily scale it up to serve a large group.
This easy camping meal can be done up as a walking taco recipe, as traditional tacos, or even as a taco salad.
I’ll usually add a couple different ways to our camping menu, to be efficient about using up topping ingredients.
We may have walking tacos one day, then traditional the next. Keeps the meal plan more interesting!
Walking tacos may go by a few different names - frito pie in a bag, taco in a bag, frito boat, etc.
Whatever you call them, you’ll need a “personal size” bag of chips for each serving. We like to use the Fritos - when we can find them - and Nacho Cheese Doritos.
They’re easy to find, and the flavour goes really well with our favorite toppings.
If we could find individual bags of plain corn chips, I’d definitely use those from time to time.
For those keeping it low carb, try my Keto Tortilla Chips!
For traditional tacos, you’ll want whatever kind of taco shells you like.
Hard tacos, flour tortillas for soft tacos, corn tortillas, etc.
If you need to keep it gluten free, try my Gluten Free Tortillas - they're like traditional flour tortillas - or my Gluten-Free Hybrid Tortillas, which are soft like a flour tortilla, but with a rich corn taste.
My Cassava Flour Tortillas are a good option for anyone who needs to keep it grain free.
For those keeping it low carb, try my Keto Taco Shells!
While I’m a fan of Salad Meal Prep and making base salads... I keep it really simple when doing camping taco salads.
Just a bowl of lettuce (romain lettuce or iceberg lettuce), spinach, or salad greens is enough, IMHO.
The toppings are the star of the show!
Your Favorite Taco Toppings
Here’s where you can really go wild with your menu.. And your prep work.
We tend to keep things pretty simple - as pictured - just to reduce the number of ingredients on hand.
For cheese, we like old / sharp cheddar cheese as a default, though Monterrey Jack or Pepper Jack are also great choices.
For sauces, we like either jarred salsa or fresh pico de gallo, sour cream, and hot sauce.
As far as veggies & fresh produce go, I like shredded iceberg lettuce, chopped red onions, cilantro, and sliced green onions as our defaults.
Sometimes I’ll chop up some red bell pepper, green bell pepper, and/or poblano pepper.
If I’m feeling fancy, I’ll chop up an avocado right before serving the camping tacos.
Canned goods are great to keep in the camper, so we’ll usually have pickled jalapeno slices and sliced black olives on hand.
If we’re in the mood for it, black beans or refried beans are other options we’ll use, from time to time.
Tip: My favorite way to plan for these meals is to do as much prep work as I can ahead of time, and store each topping in its own Ziploc bag.
Shredded cheese, chopped cilantro, shredded lettuce - just whatever I can do ahead of time, that’ll save me work on site.
Homemade Taco Seasoning
I’ve never been a fan of commercial taco seasoning, so I make my own.
This takes just a few minutes of measuring spices, and produces a wonderfully complex, smoky taco mix.
It’s also got some kick - for a less spicy version, cut down on - or omit - the Smoked Serrano Powder... or swap it out for chili powder.
2 teaspoon Smoked Paprika
1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
1 teaspoon Ground Black Pepper
1 teaspoon Ground Cumin
1 teaspoon Onion Powder
1 teaspoon Salt (or Smoked Sea Salt!)
1 teaspoon Smoked Serrano Powder
½ teaspoon Crushed Chilies
¼ teaspoon Dried Oregano
Mix all of the spices together, then transfer to an airtight container.
Store in a cool, dry place until use.
How to Make Camping Tacos
The full recipe is in the recipe card at the end of this post, here is the pictorial walk through:
Heat a little oil (I use vegetable oil) in a large nonstick skillet or cast iron pan over medium heat on a camp stove / propane stove, the hot coals of a camp fire, or hot charcoal briquettes in a BBQ.
Add ground meat and chopped onion to the hot oil and cook - breaking up with a spatula - until the ground meat is browned all around, and onion has softened.
Continue cooking until the water has cooked off the meat mixture, and has become more of a thick glaze, than a liquid sauce.
Remove meat from heat, and assemble your tacos:
For Walking Tacos:
Squish each bag of tacos a couple times to lightly break up the chips a bit.
Use scissors or a sharp knife to cut a slit in the side of each chip bag, from top seam to bottom seam.
Top with cheese, lettuce, sour cream, salsa, and the toppings of your choice.
For Traditional Campfire Tacos:
As the water is simmering off the taco meat, warm tortillas a bit.
You can microwave them (if in an RV), fry them in a separate pan, or heat them over indirect heat, via the fire.
I’ll usually brush with a little water first.
For Taco Salad
Looking to lower the carbs? You can also do this up as a salad.
Arrange lettuce, spinach, and whatever other veggies you may like in a bowl. Top with the taco meat and whatever taco toppings you want.
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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- Vegetable OIl
- 1 lb Lean Ground Beef chicken, or turkey
- 1 Small Onion Chopped
- ¼ cup Water
- 2 tablespoon Taco Seasoning see post for my homemade recipe
- 1 cup Shredded Sharp Cheddar cheese
- 1 cup Shredded Lettuce
- ⅔ cup Salsa
- ⅔ cup Sour Cream
- Toppings: Cilantro, Pickled Jalapenos, Green Onions, Avocado, Sliced Black Olives, etc
- 4 Single-Serving bags of Nacho Cheese Doritos OR
- 8 Corn Tortillas or small flour tortillas.
- Heat a a little oil in a large nonstick skillet or cast iron pan over medium heat, or a low camp fire.
- Add ground meat and chopped onion to the pan and cook - breaking up with a spatula - until the ground meat is browned all around, and onion has softened.
- Add water and taco seasoning to the pan, stir well to combine.
- Continue cooking until the water has cooked off, and has become more of a thick glaze, than a liquid sauce.
- Remove meat from heat, and assemble your tacos:
For Walking Tacos:
- Squish each bag of tacos a couple times to lightly break up the chips a bit.
- Use scissors or a sharp knife to cut a slit in the side of each bag of Doritoes, from top seam to bottom seam.
- Scoop ¼ of the hamburger into each bag of chips, then top with cheese, lettuce, sour cream, salsa, and toppings, as desired.
- Serve immediately!
For Traditional Campfire Tacos:
- As the water is simmering off the taco meat, heat your tortillas a bit. You can microwave them (if in an RV), fry them in a separate pan, or heat them over indirect heat, via the fire.
- Once the taco meat is ready, divide it between the heated tortillas, and top with cheese, lettuce, sour ceam, salsa, and toppings, as desired.
- Serve immediately.