16 Cast Iron Recipes To Make In The Great Outdoors

Jul 6, 2023

cast iron recipes for camping and the outdoors

There’s an undeniable allure to the sizzle and aroma of a perfectly seared steak, the comforting crackle of campfire bacon or the golden crust of a freshly baked cornbread. While grills and portable stoves have become popular choices for outdoor cooking, there’s one timeless kitchen companion that has stood the test of time and is revered by outdoor enthusiasts and seasoned chefs alike: cast iron cookware.

Stainless steel, nonstick pans and ceramic cookware all have their benefits, but cast iron remains an iconic symbol of culinary tradition and rugged resilience. Its distinct properties make it the perfect tool for outdoor adventurers, too, providing a unique cooking experience that can enhance flavors, withstand extreme temperatures and forge lasting memories around the campfire.

With its unparalleled heat retention and distribution capabilities, cast iron brings the best of your home kitchen to the great outdoors—enhancing flavors, providing long-lasting durability and giving you a single cookware option that can help you fry, sizzle and simmer your way into a delicious meal. It’s also easy to clean and maintain, saving you the fuss of soap and scrubbing (which can be harder when you’re at a campsite!).

Feeling inspired yet? Explore the many benefits of cast iron cooking and discover 16 cast iron skillet recipes for camping that will take your outdoor cooking to new heights.


Hungry for more? Explore our collection of cast iron cookware—from top brands like Staub, Le Creuset, Lodge and more—and snag the perfect piece for your kitchen.

Shop Our Cast Iron Cookware

Benefits of cast iron cookware

When it comes to outdoor cooking, cast iron cookware offers a variety of benefits that make it one of the best choices for adventurous cooks. While there are lots of cast iron options out there, you’ll want to ensure you’re using only raw (non-enameled) cast iron for outdoor cooking, which is safe for use over an open fire, coals or a camp grill grate. Here are some of the key advantages:

  1. Superior heat retention: Cast iron absorbs and distributes heat evenly, allowing for consistent and precise cooking temperatures. This property is particularly beneficial when cooking over open flames or hot coals, as cast iron can maintain a steady heat even in challenging outdoor conditions.
  2. Versatility: Cast iron cookware is incredibly versatile, accommodating a wide range of cooking methods. From searing and grilling to baking and stewing, it excels in various cooking techniques, making it a go-to option for outdoor enthusiasts who want to prepare diverse meals in a single pot or pan.
  3. Enhanced flavor: One of the most celebrated aspects of cast iron cooking is its ability to enhance the natural flavors of food. The seasoning process, where oil or fat is heated into the iron’s surface, creates a nonstick coating that adds depth and richness to dishes.
  4. Durability: When it comes to durability, cast iron reigns supreme. It can withstand rough handling, high temperatures and the wear and tear of outdoor adventures. It can also last for generations when properly cared for, making it a reliable companion for all your outdoor culinary endeavors.
  5. Even cooking: The ability of cast iron to distribute heat evenly ensures that your food cooks uniformly, eliminating hot spots and minimizing the risk of undercooking or burning. This feature is especially valuable when cooking outdoors, where heat sources may not be as consistent as indoor stovetops.
  6. Easy to clean and maintain: Contrary to popular belief, maintaining cast iron cookware is relatively straightforward. With proper care, it can develop a natural nonstick surface that requires minimal cleaning. Additionally, the seasoning process helps protect the iron from rust, making cast iron cookware relatively low-maintenance and suitable for outdoor environments.


16 Cast Iron Skillet Recipes to Try

One Pot Chicken and Orzo

Enjoy tender chicken, rich tomato flavor and perfectly cooked orzo pasta in this easy one-pot recipe. Sear golden chicken thighs, then simmer with garlic, onions and herbs for a savory meal. The orzo absorbs the delicious flavors, creating a comforting dish with minimal cleanup—perfect for outdoor cooking or cozy gatherings.

Get the One Pot Chicken and Orzo recipe!

Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread

Spice up your cornbread game with this irresistible campfire cornbread recipe. Combining the heat of jalapeños, the creamy richness of cheddar cheese, and a hint of sweetness for balance, this cornbread is bursting with bold flavors. Moist and savory, it pairs perfectly with chili or stands deliciously on its own.

Get the Jalapeño Cheddar Cornbread recipe!

Chargrilled Shucked Oysters

Freshly shucked oysters are placed in a cast iron oyster pan (made with depressions to hold this seafood favorite in place) and put on the grill, enhancing their natural brininess and delicious flavor. With a brush of melted butter and fresh herbs like parsley and oregano, this oyster recipe is perfect for outdoor gatherings or a special seafood feast.

Get the Chargrilled Shucked Oysters recipe!

Perfect Pan-Seared Salmon

White wine, capers and lemon give your salmon a fresh and tangy flavor—and create a delicious sauce to spoon over your salmon (and side dishes) for a finishing touch. The crispy skin offers great textural contrast to the flakiness of the salmon, too, making it the perfect addition to any outdoor adventure.

The best part is how quickly it comes together over an open fire—you can have it ready in less than 20 minutes.

Get the Perfect Pan-Seared Salmon recipe!

Peach Pecan Crisp

We love savory dishes over the campfire, but something sweet is really what you want at the end of a long day adventuring!

This crisp is bubbling with warm spices, like cinnamon and nutmeg, balanced with lemon and hint of sea salt and bursting with the star ingredient: naturally sweet peaches!

Get the Peach Pecan Crisp recipe!

Skillet Cornbread

This delicious skillet recipe uses fresh, canned or frozen and thawed corn kernels to add a bit of chunky texture and extra sweetness. Light and fluffy, this cornbread is delicious alongside any campfire meal—or even as a mid-afternoon snack.

Get the Skillet Cornbread recipe!

Cast Iron Skillet Chicken with Fingerling Potatoes

Basil chimichurri makes this recipe pop—and, although it’s best fresh, it can be made ahead of time for an even quicker outdoor meal. The chicken—simply seasoned to let the fresh, herby flavors really shine—is cooked alongside the potatoes for an easy one-pan meal.

Get the Cast Iron Skillet Chicken with Fingerling Potatoes recipe!

Cast Iron Roasted Oysters with Spinach and Bacon

The flavors of the coast really shine in this cast iron cookware recipe!

Tender oysters are topped with a savory breadcrumb mixture of bacon, herbs, Parmesan and spinach—which you can roughly chop instead of blending in a food processor if you’re making this outdoors.

Get the Cast Iron Roasted Oysters with Spinach and Bacon recipe!

Grilled Steak Fajitas

Bring on the sizzle!

Tender strips of steak are quickly marinated in jalapeño, garlic, orange juice and olive oil, then seared to perfection, combined with colorful bell peppers and onions and seasoned with a blend of aromatic spices.

Wrap in warm tortillas and garnish with your favorite toppings for a delicious, home-cooked meal by the fire.

Get the Grilled Steak Fajitas recipe!

Salt-Baked Sea Bass with Lemon and Herb

This unique recipe is perfect if you’re looking to flex your culinary chops!

You’ll first start by stuffing the cavity of the whole fish with the lemon slices, garlic slices and mint and parsley sprigs to infuse lots of savory flavor. Then, you’ll encase the delicate fish in a salt crust, which locks in moisture and imparts a subtle salinity. As the fish bakes, the salt crust forms a protective barrier, resulting in moist, tender flesh that effortlessly flakes apart.

Get the Salt-Baked Sea Bass with Lemon and Herb recipe!

Salty Dark and Milk Chocolate Skillet Cookie

Indulge in the ultimate dessert experience with this cast iron skillet recipe.

A delicious combination of rich dark chocolate and creamy milk chocolate, this giant cookie is baked to perfection in a cast iron skillet, resulting in a crispy golden exterior and a soft, gooey center. The addition of a sprinkle of flaky sea salt creates a delightful balance of flavors, elevating the sweetness and adding a touch of savory goodness.

Gather around, grab a spoon and dive into this irresistible treat for a perfect ending to any evening.

Get the Salty Dark and Milk Chocolate Skillet Cookie recipe!

Tuscan Rosemary Chicken Under A Brick

A quick marinade with rosemary, red pepper flakes and lemon juice creates the right balance of savory and acidity in this chicken recipe.

To cook it, you’ll use a brick wrapped in aluminum foil to press down on the chicken and get the perfect sear of crisp, golden skin while ensuring moist and tender meat. Since you’re not finishing it in the oven, you might have to wait a little longer to savor the goodness in this dish—just be sure to use a meat thermometer to check that it’s reached 165°F.

Get the Tuscan Rosemary Chicken Under A Brick recipe!

Pork Carnitas with Pickled Red Onions

Succulent and tender pork shoulder is slow-cooked to perfection, resulting in melt-in-your-mouth meat with a crispy, caramelized exterior. Use a cast iron Dutch oven and roast it while you read a book by the campfire!

Topped with tangy and vibrant pickled red onions, this dish offers a delightful contrast of flavors and textures. Whether served in tacos, burritos or on its own, these carnitas will have you coming back for seconds.

Get the Pork Carnitas with Pickled Red Onions recipe!

Grilled Scallops with Cilantro-Nectarine Salsa

Experience the taste of summer with this seafood favorite.

Succulent scallops are delicately grilled to perfection, creating a slight char and a tender, buttery texture. Topped with a refreshing and vibrant salsa made with ripe nectarines, zesty cilantro and a hint of lime, this dish offers a harmonious blend of sweet, tangy and herbaceous flavors.

Get the Grilled Scallops with Cilantro-Nectarine Salsa recipe!

Summer Berry Cobbler

Bursting with an abundance of fresh, juicy berries, this cobbler showcases the vibrant flavors of the season.

The sweet and tangy mixture of all your favorite fruits—like strawberries, blueberries, raspberries and blackberries—creates a luscious filling, while the buttery and crumbly biscuit topping adds a delightful contrast in texture.

Get the Summer Berry Cobbler recipe!

Grilled Jalapeño Poppers

These addictive appetizers feature fresh jalapeño peppers stuffed with a cheesy filling and wrapped in smoky bacon.

The spiciness of the peppers melds with the melted cheese, creating a delectable balance of heat and creaminess—perfect for pairing with the undeniable charm of outdoor cooking.

Get the Grilled Jalapeño Poppers recipe!

Hungry for more? Explore our collection of cast iron cookware—from top brands like Staub, Le Creuset, Lodge and more—and snag the perfect piece for your kitchen.

Shop Our Cast Iron Cookware

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