Make this macaroni and cheese up ahead of time and finish it on the campfire. Easy, creamy, and oh so cheesey! Perfect campfire food!
Try my Campfire Orange Cinnamon Rolls. Premade Cinnamon rolls cooked up in orange peels on the fire. Easy, fun, and delicious!
Are you a camping person? I'm not. Not really. But if you live in Minnesota and are from the Midwest it's a bit of a prerequisite to be an outdoorsy kind of person.
Don't get me wrong, I can do the camp thing as good as the next person. When I camp, however, it's with my Chemex, and down blanket, and real food. Like this campfire macaroni and cheese. This campfire macaroni and cheese is one of the recipes I make every. single. time we go camping. Every time. It's a family favorite.
It's easy to prep this macaroni and cheese recipe ahead of the camping trip and, because it's cooked on the campfire, it will still have all the great flavor and fun of a true campfire meal. Without having to be a hotdog.
During the summer months, I always keep a stock of the disposable aluminum pans because they are brilliant for campfire cooking! For campfire macaroni and cheese I will sometimes make one big ol' batch OR sometimes make mini ones that are personalized for each person. It completely depends on my mood and stock of pans.
Smaller pans take a shorter amount of time to cook and can be fun for family members to personalize. Use a Sharpie to write their names on!
Combine your cooled, cooked macaroni with the cheeses, cream, and butter. Top with a whole lot of parmesan cheese love and then...
Butter crackers make macaroni and cheese better! Especially after they get toasty and golden from sitting on the fire.
Kids love using potato chips as the crumble on their macaroni and cheese. Let them use a strange flavor like Dill Pickle or Barbecue for added fun!
Let me tell you about the best part of making campfire macaroni and cheese. Okay, let's skip the telling and get right to the showing...
Campfire macaroni and cheese can be a pre-made meal perfect for camping meals! You can close that pan up and pop it into the fridge until it's time - a couple of days is fine. Pack it up, and take it with you. Then put it on your campfire to get melty and delicious. Campfire food is the best. Everything tastes better after being made outside.
Campfire Macaroni and Cheese cooking tips:
- Don't cook this on a super hot flaming fire or you will have burned macaroni. yuck!
- Put it on the fire when the flames just died down and you have good coals. For about 15 minutes.
- The goal is simply to make it hot and melty. Everything is already cooked.
Score! Campfire recipes that aren't from a tube or comes in a tube! That's my kind of campfire meal.
Go ahead and experiment with different kinds of cheeses, pasta, toppings, and fresh herbs. This recipe is wonderfully adaptable to your family's favorite type of mac & cheese.
Campfire Macaroni and Cheese
- 7 oz pkg elbow macaroni
- 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ½ cup gouda or similar soft cheese
- ⅓ cup cream
- 3 Tablespoons cold butter cubed
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Let cool.
- Stir your cream into your pasta.
- Add the cheese and butter cubes.
- Stir in salt and pepper to taste.
- Spray your foil pans with nonstick cooking spray.
- Pour your prepared pasta into the pans (or single large pan, if using)
- Cover with aluminum foil (sprayed with cooking spray) or another foil pan (also sprayed) and seal well.
- Store in the fridge or cooler until ready to cook.
- Cook above hot coals (about 3 inches above) for 10-12 minutes or until hot and bubbly.
If your macaroni and cheese isn't a bit on the wet side it won't store well. Be sure that it has plenty of wetness to help it stay moist and non-clumpy. NOTE: There have been several questions about mixing the cream, butter, and cheese into the warm noodles and THEN cooling. Go ahead. That should make the time it takes on the fire shorter. I usually don't do that because I have found my family likes to mix up their own personalized versions of these. So setting up the pasta, cheese, and cream for them to mix while cold is the easiest way to personalize these.
Save this recipe to your Pinterest board for later...
A few other recipes I use when camping are...
Easy Lemon Poppyseed Scones (make these up ahead and breakfast is done!)
3 Ingredient Cookies (I have the kids whip up a batch of these and throw them in a zip lock)
Grilled Grilled Cheese (I know, it seems too easy!)
2 Ingredient French Toast (This is so easy to whip up and then cook on a cast iron skillet. So good!)
22 thoughts on “Campfire Macaroni and Cheese Recipe”
Go ahead and throw everything cold into the pan. You absolutely can mix it in hot and it will melt up faster on the campfire. There usually isn't a need because it melts up well on the fire. That cream is important, though, for helping keep it from being clumpy.
Do you melt the cheese and cream mixture down or just throw everything in Wight the noodles cold and mix it and then put it in the pan!?!
I would on the last couple of minutes. But I've done both and had good success. Sometimes, however, if that fire is extra hot it burns the crackers.
Do you add the crackers before going on the fire? Or just the last couple minutes?
I'm so glad to hear that!! We've used this for giant family trips, as well. So handy to have it made ahead and the small ones always love it! Thank you for taking the time to come back here and comment.
This will be the third year in a row I am making this for our 40 person (20 kids,20 adults)camping trip. I actually triple the recipe and there seems to be be enough because I never have any left over. Huge hit and always requested.
Sooo glad to hear that! And how fun to be included, from very afar, in your fun! Thanks for that.
We have a yearly all women's camp out...one of our ladies made this (last weekend) and it was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G!!!!!!! It will be a yearly staple out our camp!!!
How did this turn out? I think macaroni and cheese is a bit of a preference thing, like chili and taco salad :). Everyone has a ration they prefer. Yes, we like alot of cheese in ours. But it always works. Hopefully it worked out for you guys and you loved it!
Is the pasta quantity wrong? Mixing this up.seems like all cheeses not enough pasta
Great question! I think so. My only concern would be it would change the cooking because it would be too cold. I would try to set it out a couple hours before cooking to try to get it from cold to room temp. But otherwise...go for it! Let me know how it goes, I'd love to let our readers know how to try that.
This is exactly what I need for my camp trip with my littlest. My question is: can I freeze it ahead of time to help it stay cold on our trip (we will be eating it our second night out)? Thank!
I usually use a larger cake pan (9 by 13) aluminum pan.
What size pan do you typically use?
I haven't. They might get toasted if you remove the aluminum foil on top for the last little bit.
Have you ever tried breadcrumbs on top? I'd imagine they wouldn't get that toasted.
I use a simple whipping cream or half & half. Your favorite milk would work, as well. Cream just makes it taste richer and more decadent.
What cream do you use to make this campfire mac and cheese? Thank you so much
I'm so glad!! It's a fun one. Nothing quite like sitting by the fire eating and chatting.
This recipe was a huge success! Split it into two pans (per your suggestion). Added bacon to one and green chili to the other...delicious! Thank you for posting this recipe.
I apologize for being late on this response, I was on a quick and needed vacation :). I believe that this recipe feeds 4 hungry humans and 6 small humans. Or, in the case of my 14 year old son...1. :). I would plan on at least doubling it. It really depends on the size of your humans and how hungry they will be. Something about eating outside makes people more hungry! Note: Rather than using a giant pan for doubling the recipe I would break it into 2 pans so that the middle has a chance to heat and get melty.
How many servings in this recipe? I need to feed 10 people and this will be the main entree. Thanks!