How to Make Foil Packets for Camping: The Complete Guide

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Foil Packets are one of the best camp dinner ideas there is! They’re easy to make, they taste delicious, and they’re endlessly customizable. With make-ahead options and minimal camp cleanup, foil packets are going to be your new favorite camping meal.

Three delicious foil packet meals cooked over campfire coals and ready to be eaten

In this guide we’ll cover:

  • how to assemble foil packets (aka hobo packets)
  • how to cook foil packets
  • 3 different foil packet recipes
  • the camp kitchen supplies you’ll need

How to Make Foil Packets Video Tutorial:

For best results, watch this video to see exactly how it’s done!

(Read on below for written recipes and instructions!)

HOW TO MAKE FOIL PACKETS FOR CAMPING (aka Hobo Meals): How to assemble, fold, and cook!

What is a Foil Packet Meal?

A foil packet meal is a popular camp dinner that usually consists of assorted vegetables and proteins that are rolled in aluminum foil to create a packet that seals in moisture and steam as it cooks over campfire coals, or a grill. They’re sometimes referred to as hobo packets.

Foods that Cook Well in Foil Packet Meals

One of the reasons foil packets are so popular, is that they’re really hard to mess up! You can put almost any combination of vegetables, fruits, and meats to create a delicious meal.

That being said, there are a few ingredients that are tried and true. Below is a list of foil packet ingredients that always seem to be great!

Proteins:

  • ground beef
  • ground turkey and chicken
  • steak
  • fish
  • sausage

Vegetables and Fruits:

  • potatoes
  • carrots
  • green beans
  • onions
  • apples
  • pears
  • bell peppers
  • broccoli
  • asparagus

Supplies You’ll Need to Make Foil Packets

You don’t need much! Foil packets are very minimal, especially if you follow the make ahead options below.

Camp Kitchen Gear You’ll Need:

I definitely recommend buying “heavy duty” aluminum foil for these meals because it’s stronger and better for cooking over the campfire. You don’t want your meals to break open all over your fire!

You’ll also need a way to flip the foil packets when they’re on the campfire because they will be too hot to touch. I like to use metal tongs for this, but fire gloves also work. Don’t use plastic or silicon tongs, they can melt.

These meals are eaten right out of the foil so there’s no need to dirty any plates or bowls!

3 foil packets are assembled and seasoned with spices, salt, pepper, and butter

How to Make Foil Packets for Camping (aka Easy Hobo Meals)

Foil packet assembly is really easy.

Step 1: Chop all of your ingredients

chopped carrots and potatoes in a foil packet meal

Chop all of your fruit, vegetables, and meat into bite-size pieces before cooking. (See photo above for an example of the size I recommend.)

If you cut your ingredients too small, they might break apart and get mushy. Cut them too big, and they might not cook evenly and/or your packet will take a lot longer to cook.

An exception to this rule is some proteins like fish. I keep my fish fillets whole when I assemble a foil packet.

Don’t stress too much about this step. Like I mentioned above, this meal is hard to mess up, so don’t worry about cutting your ingredients perfectly.

Step 2: Season Packets with Butter and Spices

adding slices of butter to the foil packet

Once you have everything chopped, tear off a large piece of foil for each packet you’re making, and put the ingredients in the middle of the piece of foil.

You’ll need 1 Tbsp of butter per packet. Cut the butter into smaller pieces and scatter that over the other ingredients on the foil.

Season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

If you want to add additional seasonings, now is the time to do it.

Step 3: How to Fold a Foil Packet

To fold the packets, bring the two longest edges towards each other and roll them together to create a seal. Then, fold in the sides.

Rip off another piece of foil. Place the packet seam side down, and repeat the same folding process.

Do this one more time for a total of three pieces of foil per packet.

Now the packets are ready to be cooked!

Note: If any of these directions sound confusing, make sure to check out the video above for a demonstration!

Make Ahead Options for Camping

Guess what? Foil packets can be assembled at home!

If you want to cut down on at-camp prep time, simply assemble your packets at home and pack them in the cooler. At camp, all you have to do is cook.

If you do choose to make them at home, I recommend that you cook them within 1 day after assembly.

How to Cook Foil Packets

The last step in this process is to cook the foil packets!

Cooking foil packets over a campfire

Cooking on Campfire Coals:

NOTE: Foil packets need to be cooked on coals or a grill. Don’t place foil packets on top of flames. To get good coals for cooking, start a fire and wait for it to burn down.

When you’re getting ready to cook, move some coals to the side of the fire pit. Be careful because the coals are very hot!

Use your tongs and place the foil packets directly onto the coals.

If you’re sitting near the fire, you should hear a faint sizzling. If you hear more of a loud crackling, then the coals are too hot. Move a few of them away from the packets. If you don’t hear anything, bring a few more coals under the packets.

Cooking Times:

Cooking times will vary based on how big or small you chopped your ingredients, how big you made your foil packets, and how hot your coals are. 

In general, I plan for about 40 minutes of cook time. Every 10 minutes, use your tongs to flip the foil packets to get an even cook.

If you notice that the coals have cooled, simply bring in some new ones to heat things back up until you hear a faint sizzle sound again.

You can always take a packet off of the coals and carefully open it up to check on doneness. If it needs more time, simply fold it back up and let it cook longer.

get my free

Camp Cooking Starter Kit

Printable camping recipes, a gear checklist, and a camping meal planner so you can go camping with confidence and good food!

    Cooking on a Grill:

    You can also cook foil packets on the grill.

    If you have a gas grill, preheat the grill to 425°F. Once hot, place the packets on the grill.

    Cook for about 30 minutes, flipping the packets every 10 minutes. As the packets are cooking, you should hear a faint sizzling sound.

    You can always take a packet off of the grill and carefully open it up to check on doneness. If it needs more time, simply fold it back up and let it cook longer.

    If you’re using a charcoal grill, start by heating your coals. Coals are ready when they’re covered with a grey ash.

    Once hot, place the packets on the grill over the coals. Cook for about 30-40 minutes, flipping the packets every 10 minutes. As the packets are cooking, you should hear a faint sizzling sound.

    Amanda showing how to carefully cook foil packets over campfire coals

    Foil Packet Recipes

    As you’ll see with the foil packet meals below, there are a lot of possibilities here!

    Print some of the simple recipes below for your next camping trip and have fun with it.

    Cooked hobo packet meals made over a campfire and ready to be eaten

    Foil Packet Dinners

    Foil Packet Desserts

    Time to Eat Your Foil Packets!

    You’ve assembled and cooked the foil packets, now you’re ready to eat them!

    Once you remove your packets from the coals, be careful because they’ll be very hot. Wait a couple minutes for them to cool a bit, and then carefully open them up to eat!

    When camping, I don’t want a big mess to clean up after, so I just eat right out of the foil.

    The packets should be delicious just as they are, but below are a few topping ideas that are always good. Enjoy!

    Turkey foil packets made with onion, carrot, green apple, and potatoes

    Possible Foil Packet Dinner Toppings:

    • ketchup
    • hot sauce
    • mustard
    • additional salt and pepper
    • red pepper flakes
    • parmesan cheese

    Now you’re a foil packet pro! I hope you love these camp meals. If you have any questions about the process, ask me in the comments below!

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