Depending on the type of RV, there will be a few basic kitchen elements, including a sink, stove-top burners, a refrigerator and more. Since each RV class is equipped with different kitchen features, RVers may need to adjust their cooking styles to work best with the type of kitchen accommodations their RV offers.
Perfect for new RVers getting the hang of their rig or experienced RVers looking for additional kitchen inspiration, this handy guide covers everything the RV chef needs. From simple, healthy recipes to essential appliances, check out the Lazydays guide to RV cooking!
Must-Have Appliances for the Perfect RV Kitchen
There are a few appliances and tools that provide incredible versatility and allow you to cook many kinds of meals while on the road. A few must-have RV kitchen appliances include:
Slow Cooker, Pressure Cooker or Dutch Oven
It doesn’t make much sense to have all three but bringing along a slow cooker, pressure cooker or Dutch oven is arguably the most must-have appliance for any RV kitchen. Whether you’re a full-time RVer or a part-time RVer, and do not already have one in your home, add one of these appliances to your shopping list. From a cooking standpoint, all three allow you to cook a range of simple, large meals that are perfect for families. Each is ideal for casseroles, stews, soups, pasta, rice dishes and much more. From a utility viewpoint, your RV’s kitchen will typically dictate which one you can get. A Dutch oven is ideal for smaller models like Class B motorhomes or pop-up campers that only feature a stovetop. A Dutch oven is typically made of cast iron, allowing it to retain high heat for long periods of time and slow cook food. For larger RV kitchens with ample counter space and power outlets, a slow cooker or pressure cooker will work great.
Another versatile appliance, adding a rice cooker to your RV kitchen allows you to whip up delicious meals or sides in no time at all. Yes, you read that right, you can cook meals in a rice cooker. From jambalaya to soups, a rice cooker is much more than its namesake. You will need an outlet for this appliance, but there are many travel-sized rice cookers available. They can be easily used elsewhere in your RV if space is at a premium.
RVing and grilling go together like PB & J. With a portable grill, the outdoors becomes your RV’s kitchen. Your RV’s storage space is the main determining factor in the type and size of the grill you can get. There are many models and types to choose from, including tiny tabletop charcoal grills and larger propane ones with folding legs. Grilling also affords you the option to cook a range of meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner in ways that can only be done on a barbeque. To learn more, check out our guide to finding the perfect grill for your RV.
Cast Iron Skillet and Wok
Especially useful for smaller RV kitchens, a cast-iron skillet and wok are indispensable pieces of cookware. If you do not have room for a portable, a cast-iron skillet allows you to cook many of the same recipes, sometimes with even better results! Much like an pressure cooker or dutch oven, a wok gives you the option to cook larger meals with a single appliance. Great for rice dishes, stir fry, pasta and more, woks are relatively inexpensive and easily stored.
Create the ultimate outdoor kitchen with a folding table, a portable grill and an induction plate! With propane-powered options available, you can add an additional, larger burner to your RV kitchen or cook outside. The latter is a great option for keeping the RV cool while cooking meals during a hot summer day or evening. Since induction plates use magnetic induction to heat cookware, you can instantly adjust the temperature for recipes that require precise adjustments.
Recipes for the Road, Tailgates, Campgrounds and Everywhere In-Between
You’ve got the RV, you’ve got the tools, now the question is: what’s for dinner tonight? No matter if you’re cooking in a spacious travel trailer or mobile pop-up camper, there are plenty of great recipes for RVers to enjoy. First, you’ll need the right ingredients.
Grocery shopping for full-time RVers or a long road trip can be a fun exercise for some and a challenge for others. In all RVs, large or small, space is at a premium. You only have so much fridge/freezer space and only so many cabinets to dedicate towards food, but you can make the most of the space you have with some ingenious RV storage hacks. A few useful ingredients to add to your next shopping list include:
- Frozen veggies and fruits: Ideal for long road trips or if you want to keep your grocery shopping to a minimum, frozen fruits and veggies are great options.
- Large cuts of meat: If space allows, pork shoulders, beef roasts, and whole chickens are great for family recipes like stews, tacos, chilies and more. Cheaper than individual cuts, they’re ideal for meal prep or cooking early on in a trip.
- Non-perishable snacks: Healthy, long-lasting snacks like beef jerky and dried fruits are great for a long road trip. Dark chocolate pieces are a great way to indulge your sweet tooth while homemade or bag popcorn is perfect for passing time on long stretches of road. Check out a few more of our favorite road trip snack ideas.
- Oatmeal: Whether as a snack or meal, oatmeal is a great, simple, healthy choice for RVers to keep in their pantry.
- Rice and Beans: As simple as it sounds, rice and beans can be incorporated into many dishes and prepared with tons of different seasonings, spices, and flavors. Healthy and cheap, these two staple ingredients can be bought in bulk and last for long periods of time.
Those five ingredients do not need to be the only thing you buy, but are great staples to have in your kitchen. When it comes to cooking on the road, at an RV resort or in the great outdoors, simplicity is the name of the game. Don’t worry, this doesn’t mean your dishes have to be bland. Some of the simplest recipes can have an incredible range of flavors while easing a handful of ingredients. A few of our favorite RV recipes include:
Bread, eggs, and cheese are the basics for this quick, delicious breakfast. Bacon, sausage, ham, veggies and hot sauce make for great additions, but you can add whatever you like to this versatile sandwich.
Breakfast bake or casserole
Great if made before or during a trip, these tasty dishes can be made in an oven (breakfast bake) or in a slow cooker (casserole). Eggs, veggies, potatoes, meat (optional), peppers and a little seasoning are all you need for a healthy start to the day.
With a slow cooker, beef roast or pork shoulder, veggies and broth, you’ll have a meal for four in a few hours. Pot roasts make for an easy way to feed a family for dinner or a couple of people for a few days. Switching up the broth (soup mix can even be used), meat and additional ingredients make for unique flavor combos in this hearty dish.
What is better on a cold night than a warm bowl of chili? If you enjoy a winter RV trip or two, chili is a great meal to enjoy before or after a day of adventure. Ground beef, chicken or turkey make for great bases while the amount and type of spice can be adjusted to your liking. If you’re making the chili ahead of time or are confident in your cooking ability, experiment with different cuts like brisket or pork shoulder in the chili. A slow cooker, pressure cooker or Dutch oven can be used to make a large amount that can be good for several days. Sour cream, cheese, and Fritos make for great toppings.
Incredibly simply, delicious and healthy, stir-fry can be prepared in under an hour using minimal ingredients and cookware. Beef or chicken combined with an assortment of veggies and soy sauce makes for the most common stir fry recipes. Toss all three together in a wok, and a pair with rice or noodles for the perfect meal after a long day.