How to Use a Pie Iron to Cook While Camping: A Guide for Beginners

Group of kids with mom sitting by the fire and drinking tea in autumn forest, hike at weekend.

Camping has long been a favorite summer pastime across America. Since COVID-19 hit, though, it’s become one of the only safe ways to vacation (as long as you follow CDC social distance guidelines, of course).

Are you ready to venture into the wild with your family? If so, prepare yourself to do a lot of cooking, since many restaurants are still closed or operating under restrictions. Wrangling pots and pans over the fire can be a hassle, but thankfully there are tools like the humble pie iron that make campfire meals a breeze.

To learn how to cook while camping without making a mess, read on for our quick guide on using a pie iron over an open fire.

How to Use a Pie Iron
The first step in pie iron cooking is building a suitable campfire. It’s tempting to build a roaring bonfire, but these burn wood fast and aren’t safe to stand near. A smaller log cabin structure will help you maintain a steady fire you can cook over.

Next, prep your pie iron for use. If yours is made of cast iron, you’ll need to season it before use. Cast iron is more expensive than aluminum, but it distributes heat more evenly and can keep your food from burning.

When you’re ready to make your first meal, line the inside of the pie iron with aluminum foil for easy cleanup. If you don’t have foil, make sure to grease the inside with vegetable oil or shortening to prevent food from sticking.

Then, you’re ready to load the pie iron with ingredients, squeeze it closed, and hold it over the fire until the contents are cooked. It’s best to flip the iron occasionally for even cooking.

Pie Iron Recipies
Now that you know how to use a pie iron, it’s time to decide what you’re going to make. Even though they were designed for making campfire pies, you can use this versatile tool for a lot more than making dessert.

Here are a couple of classic recipes for your pie irons that are sure to be a hit.

Pudgie Pies
Pudgie pies (also called hand pies) are the quintessential pie iron dish. They’re made by buttering the outsides of two pieces of white bread and stuffing them with a dessert filling.

Many people use canned fruit pie fillings for pudgie pies, but other options include:
– marshmallow, chocolate, and graham cracker crumbs
– peanut butter and jelly
– pudding

To elevate your pie game, use pre-made pie crust instead of white bread.

Grilled Sandwiches
If you’re in the mood for a hot meal instead of dessert, consider grilling your sandwich. As with the pudgie pies, butter the outsides of your bread first. Then fill with whatever meat, cheese, or vegetables your heart desires.

Campfire Pizza Pockets
If you have little ones on the trip with you, pizza pockets are an easy campfire meal that’s sure to please.

Use pre-made pizza dough or crescent roll dough for your base and coat the insides with a thin layer of pizza sauce. Then, load it full of mozzarella cheese and your favorite toppings. Cook until the cheese melts and the crust is golden brown.

Cooking While Camping Is Easy With a Pie Iron
Don’t let the fear of cooking keep you from enjoying your outdoor adventure. If you bring a pie iron along on your next trip, you’ll be sure to eat well without wasting time on cleanup.

Want to learn more about getting the most out of your travel experiences? Check out the other articles on our site.