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Camping Mac and Cheese

4.90 from 57 votes

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This Camping Mac and Cheese recipe is the easiest and cheesiest make-ahead meal! This recipe is for when you want macaroni and cheese on the go. Get ready for the best camping dinner experience ever.

scooping mac and cheese from container

Camping Mac and Cheese | On the Go!

Camping Mac and Cheese? A Pacific Northwest kind of thing.

Probably more of a Lauren’s Latest thing.

Do you camp? You’re going to want to after one peek at this recipe.

You guys, camping for me isn’t just hot dogs over a fire. My mom taught me from a young age that we can eat just as deliciously on vacation at the beach camping then we do at home. It just means a little cooking in advance! So in honor of me having gone on a camping trip sans husband {still trying to figure out why I agreed to go} and providing my fellow campers with oatmeal chocolate chip cookie s’mores, I decided that I should think of more meals that people would probably not want to make or think they couldn’t make whilst camping.

Why macaroni and cheese was the first thing that popped into my head, I’ll never know. But here is the recipe! I do take a few short cuts, but by golly is this stuff amazing!! Try it and see 🙂

aluminium pie tins stacked together

Main Ingredients Needed

Super simple recipe made from super simple ingredients! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Elbow Pasta – this is the pasta of choice when it comes to making mac and cheese. So good!
  • Alfredo Sauce – either use store-bought (I got mine from Trader Joe’s) or make homemade alfredo sauce.
  • Cheddar, Mozzarella + Parmesan Cheese – three types of cheeses for maximum flavor!
  • Half & Half – this helps the alfredo and cheese blend together when heating.
  • Salt + Pepper – season to taste!
  • Anything Else You’d Like to Add – bacon, jalapenos, smoked sausage, bell peppers, etc.!

Preparing Camping Mac and Cheese

For all of the nitty gritty details, see the recipe card down below 🙂

Find Aluminium Pie Tins

Since we’re cooking these on the fire/on an outdoor grill, start by finding these mini aluminum pie tins. Just found these at the grocery store! Spray 4 of them with nonstick cooking spray and set them aside. {Yes, you can also use just a regular size pie tin.}

Cook Pasta + Combine Ingredients

For the actual mac and cheese recipe….it’s not much of a recipe. I like to call it a cheaters mac and cheese because that’s exactly how I feel about it. This recipe is cooked elbow macaroni, store-bought alfredo sauce, parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, cheddar cheese, half & half, salt & pepper. Once the pasta is done cooking, rinse it with cool water and drain well. Then stir in all of these goodies and that’s basically it.

Cool + Add Lots of Cheese

You want to cool down your pasta so the cheese doesn’t melt. The last thing you want is a glob of cheese in the middle of your dish. It would be so hard to divide!

Anyways, divide this cheesy mixture in between your pie tins. Obviously top with more cheese!

Storing

Now, as for storage: we’re going to cover these with foil because again: foil won’t get completely destroyed in a fire pit. Write out what it is so that in your cooler when you go camping, you’ll know to keep these all together and away from the melty ice water.

Be sure to spray the other side of your foil with more nonstick cooking spray. I hate when all that melty, gooey cheese sticks to the top {and then I can’t eat it}. The things I think of…

Cover these bad boys up and seal them as best as you can. I like to actually put all 4 of these guys into a large ziploc bag so if they do happen to get submerged into that grody, melty ice water in the cooler, it’s no big deal.

These should last 3-4 days in a cooler, if kept cold enough!

How to Cook Camping Mac and Cheese

Prepare Coals

Once you are ready to cook these, get a fire nice and hot and let it burn down to hot coals.

Heat the Mac and Cheese

Place a grill over top {to prevent the bottoms from burning!!!} and heat up your mac n cheese 8-10 minutes or until hot and cheesy! YUM. Depending on how hot your fire is, this could take no time at all, or could take a little longer. The key is to not set them directly over your heat source. Burnt mac n cheese was never good.

Since everything is more or less cooked, all you have to do is heat it through.

The best part of this recipe is the edges and the tops got a thin layer of crispy cheese that added a whole new level of deliciousness.

I’m kind of in love with crispy cheese.

mac and cheese in a metal pie tin

More Macaroni and Cheese Recipes to Try!

Anyways, if any of you are headed out to camp or even if you don’t camp, try this mac n cheese recipe out. It’s so fast, so simple, and awfully delicious!

Have a great weekend! xoxo

4.90 from 57 votes

Camping Mac n’ Cheese

This Mac and Cheese recipe is the easiest and cheesiest make-ahead meal! Get ready for the best camping dinner experience you've ever had.
servings 4 servings
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 10 mins
Total Time 30 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups elbow macaroni
  • 8 oz prepared Alfredo sauce just over half a jar
  • 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese grated
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese grated
  • 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4-1/2 cup half and half or whole milk
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  • Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and rinse with cold water.
  • Stir alfredo sauce into the cooked pasta with the three cheeses and enough milk to keep things loosey goosey. {This is so your mac and cheese doesn't dry out while it's staying cool.} Stir in salt and pepper to taste.
  • Divide between four mini aluminum pie tins {or one big one}, sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Spray one side of aluminum foil with more nonstick cooking spray and cover each individual mac and cheese portion, sprayed side down, facing the food. Seal well. Store in a large plastic food storage bag in a cooler until ready to cook.
  • Prepare a fire and let it burn down to the coals. Place a cooking rack over top that would be 2-3 inches above. Place each pie tin over the hot coals and cook 8-10 minutes or until hot. Remove from fire and serve immediately.
  • **SHORTCUT MAC AND CHEESE DIRECTIONS**You can also just bake these at home in a glass or ceramic baking dish at 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes or until hot and melted. Easy peasy!

Nutrition

Calories: 448kcal | Carbohydrates: 42g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Cholesterol: 74mg | Sodium: 713mg | Potassium: 166mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 350IU | Calcium: 303mg | Iron: 0.9mg
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: camping mac and cheese

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Recipe Rating




230 Responses
  1. Amy

    5 stars
    Thank you for this recipe!! I make this usually every other week, no joke! We love it. We also did the camping version and it was incredible warmed up over a fire. Amazing!! Thank you so much!!

  2. Leslie

    5 stars
    Made this for our camping trip last weekend using leftover chunks of cheese we happened to have in the fridge: some gruyere, a package of aged cheddar, and half a bag of Mexican cheese mix. Also added ground mustard, cayenne pepper, and nutmeg for seasoning. Best meal of our entire trip! Will definitely make this one again, even if we’re not camping!

  3. sherry smith

    5 stars
    We took the grandkids camping this weekend before they head back to school and this mac and cheese was absolutely the most favorite of all foods that mimi made ! Thank you for this easy and delicious recipe !

  4. Nichole

    5 stars
    SOOOOOO good! Thank you for sharing this, we took it camping last weekend and are now making it again at home this weekend! Winner!!

  5. Amy

    5 stars
    This is about the 100th time I’ve made this!! It is a request from our camping group.
    I have made enormous amounts for 2 parties now also!!! Soooo soooo good!!

  6. Tracy

    5 stars
    Made this on our last trip and it was a big hit with my husband. I crushed up some cheez-its on top too. It was pouring rain so instead of putting these on the coals I put the pie pan on our propane griddle under the awning and they heated up nicely.

  7. Toni Zobel

    5 stars
    Fantastic! I had NO idea when I went to buy the Alfredo Sauce that it also comes in Garlic AS. Perfect because we LOVE garlic. This is a great recipe. I’ve made it every time we camp and it’s always on point! Thanks

  8. Cindy

    5 stars
    Taking my Girl Scouts camping this weekend… We are now adding this to our menu. They’ll be pleasantly surprised!! Will make ahead & freeze, eat for 2nd nights dinner.

  9. Kelly

    Just wondering how far in advance you could make this before cooking over a fire? I’m trying to find food that I can prepare that will last at least 4 days for a trip planned this August.

    Thanks in advance! Looking forward to trying this!

  10. Melissa J

    5 stars
    Made this several times this year for camping trips! I always doubled the recipe and separated it into 2 separate 8×8 foil pans. We took one with us, froze the other one until the next camping trip and let it thaw in the fridge/cooler on our way to the campsite! Everyone loved it and out friends requested it for every trip from now on! Great job! The only thing I changed was adding some garlic salt (with less salt than you recommended) and some Cajun seasoning because we like a bit of spice with our mac. Thank you for sharing this!!

  11. Krista

    5 stars
    My favorite Mac n cheese recipe! I make it at home and camping! I often heat it up in a 9×13 on the grill. Gets the bottom cheese nice and brown!! So good!

  12. Melanie

    It looks really great.. Sorry if this question sound silly but I’m wondering how long can this last long in the cooler without spoiling? 2 days?..3 days?

    Thanks

    1. Lauren

      Yes, should be fine for at least 2 days as long as its wrapped well (airtight container/ziploc bag) and cold enough.

  13. Doodlelub

    5 stars
    I triple this recipe and put it in a large foil pan and freeze it. I bake it in our motorhome oven. This is great for family camping and large get-togethers. It is also a hit for office potlucks and microwaved leftovers.

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  15. Skippy

    5 stars
    This Mac and cheese is amazing. We make it all the time even when not camping. We also add some crumbled bacon and diced jalapeño. So good!

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  17. Hillary

    5 stars
    I am not very good with family dinners… let alone while we’re out camping!, I tend to get stuck in the same things. This Mac&cheese is so simple but adds exactly what everyone wants when you’re away from home- warm, cozy, and flavorful food! It’s also a super easy and I love making the little pouches! They’re adorable and everyone is happy!

  18. Kristen McAdams

    5 stars
    This is now in our regular rotation both when we camp and when we just want something yummy at home. I also shared it on my new Instagram page because I love it so much! @anyexcusetocelebrate Thank you for all the inspiration! Kristen

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  22. MG

    5 stars
    Made this for a recent camping trip. Only change was I used an 8×8 disposable tin (the store was out of individuals), but otherwise made to the recipe specifications. Eyeballed the cheese measurements – a handful of this, a handful of that, whatever was hanging out in the fridge. The new blends by Kraft and Sorrento also make this extra easy. Heated on our camp grill for 15 minutes w/ indirect heat and it came out perfect. Everyone went back for heaping seconds. Definitely make sure you spray your tin with cooking spray and the foul used to cover — great tip that ensures no campfire mishaps!! Excellent recipe that can also be made at Hooke for a weeknight side dish in the oven in less than 30 mins. Thanks, Lauren!!!!

  23. Teri Graham

    5 stars
    Taking my 4 grandsons camping and Mac n cheese is a favorite dish. So I tried it out on my husband before going. It was a huge success!!!
    Thanks for this 😊😊

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  26. Marcy

    5 stars
    Oh My Gosh we love this! I’ve made it over the campfire and love the smokey taste it gets. I’ve done it on the grill and in the oven. Turns out great every time! Thanks for an awesome recipe! I’m actually making a batch now. YUMMY TO THE MAX!
    I’ve also used other shredded cheeses and today using a basil alfredo sauce. I can’t wait to taste it!

    1. Tesee

      This is fantastic! The success of the dish relies heavily on a GOOD premade Alfredo sauce though, and there aren’t many of those in existence. Do yourself a favor and search out a jar of Rao’s Alfredo sauce, it’s really the only decent one of there and once you dress it up with a little extra cheese, garlic and a dash of vinegary hot sauce to brighten it up, it’s downright delicious. My favorite variation on this recipe is to add crumbled bacon and a small can of chopped green chilies.

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