Campfire breakfast skillet

This campfire breakfast skillet is the perfect way to get your day started when camping. With most of the prep work done at home, it is really simple to put it together the morning of.

Prep work

If there is one tip I have for cooking when you are camping, it is prep and prep even more at home.

I do this to save time when we are camping. I like to cook over the fire, but don’t want to spend tons of time doing it. Another reason to prep is I don’t like wasting water when we are camping because I am washing too many dishes. We do plenty of camping in dispersed areas (primitive camping), so water is a premium. Need another reason? How about packing space. Sometimes packing for camping almost feels like you are moving. No need to add in anything extra if you don’t have to. The last reason, we usually camp in bear country with plenty of other wild animals around, I don’t want to draw them in more than I need to. So, prepping at home, saves me time and resources, and just makes sense.

For this breakfast, I used ham steaks and potatoes. I baked the potatoes at home, then cubed the ham and potatoes at home as well. See, simplifying at the campsite. Then I don’t need the extra cutting board and knife. I swear, it will make your life so much easier.

Dutch oven cooking

If I am cooking over the fire, 90% of the time I am cooking in my dutch oven. 7% with foil, and 3% with skewers and roasting sticks. So, what kind of Dutch oven? I have always loved Lodge. They are a great, consistent brand. Now, I know they can be expensive, but wait until they go on sale. Plus, take care of them and they will probably outlast you!

When cooking with a dutch oven you need a good solid base of coals. You can get this from charcoal, or like I did with a wood fire. Load it up, get it hot and let it burn down. For a great post on starting fires, check this one.

campfire burning

Smoking hot

Here is my bed of coals, ready to go. It was really hot!

bed of coals for cooking dutch oven cooking

I set my dutch oven right in the middle of those hot coals. You want to get your Dutch Oven smoking hot.

heating up a dutch oven in a bed of coals for cooking a campfire breakfast

I like to cover it too, that way it heats up fast. I love my lid lifter. That isn’t the exact one I have, but I have had it for so long I don’t even remember where I got it. Anyway, they are so handy to have! Definitely a must.

woman removing lid from dutch oven with a lid lifter over a bed of coals in a fire ring

Let’s get cooking

When I am cooking with my dutch oven , I will generally use much more oil than I usually do. It just makes cooking easier. So, add that in and heat it up.

woman pouring oil into dutch oven over hot bed of coals.

To the hot pan and oil, add in your cubed ham, potatoes and chopped onions. Now, I kept our’s simple but you can add in any other veggies or meats you are into. I have done it with bell pepper, mushrooms, asparagus…you get the idea. Want a different meat? Add in sausage, bacon etc.

woman pouring ham cubes into dutch oven for a skillet breakfast.

Sprinkle with salt, pepper and any other seasonings you are into!

potatoes ham and onions in dutch oven for dutch oven breakfast over a hot bed of coals

Now, everything is fully cooked, you just want to get a little crispiness to it, so keep it over the hottest coals. I stir mine with a metal spatula and it works really well. The trick is, like any other skillet, let it cook fully on one side before turning. Get it a nice deep golden brown, then flip. You might be tempted to keep turning and turning, don’t do it. Just don’t. It will eventually start to stick and you will have such a mess.

woman mixing campfire breakfast in dutch oven over coals.

I even threw the lid on to speed up the process and trap all that heat it.

lodge cast iron dutch oven cooking in fire ring over bed of coals

Another cooking suggestion

I like to bring our small burner for heating the water for hot cocoa, we have it almost every single time we camp for breakfast. I couldn’t find the model we use as it is pretty old, but here are some suggestions from Amazon. We like a light, compact stove for convenience. Why not heat it over the fire? You can, I just like the convenience of this little set up. Plus, my tea pot is not designed for campfire. I would have to buy another…and…

Tea pot over small backpacking stove

Breakfast is ready!

Our breakfast cooked in about 10 minutes, which is pretty dang good for cooking over a campfire. If you are into cheese, put some on the top and return the lid.

woman removing lid from dutch oven on hot bed of coals.

I served ours with some fresh strawberries, which the boys complained about. They said when dad camps with them, they never have to eat healthy foods! I guess that is the difference in the way I parent as opposed to my hubby. 🙂

woman dishing breakfast skillet from dutch oven to paper plate with strawberries.

Clean up

Clean up is so simple after this campfire skillet breakfast. If it is cooked hot enough, you might just need to wipe it out when it has cooled slightly. If you have things sticking that haven’t come off, there is another simple method. You can add in a little water. Cover and return to the fire. It will heat the water and soften to release any food particles cooked on the bottom and sides. This happens within a few minutes. It usually done when you finish with breakfast. Remember, you don’t need to use soap. In fact, don’t use soap, it will take off that finish you have worked so hard to get!

Remember for proper care of Dutch ovens, dry right away after cleaning. Wipe with a little oil and set aside. I have recently bought some seasoning oil and it is really simple to use. Lodge has a great set you might like as well. That’s it. I know everyone thinks it is so hard to care for cast iron. It really isn’t. It just needs to be done right away.

I will be adding more outdoor cooking ideas and hope you will follow along!

How about some of our travel adventures and hiking? Check this section out!

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