Backpacking Recipes:
What's for Dinner?

Take your time exploring this page. You'll find a large collection of trail-tested backpacking recipes to help you eat well wherever your adventures take you.

Backpacking Recipes from Chef Glenn at Backpacking Chef. Breakfasts, Lunches, Dinners & Desserts. Eat well on the trail.

These dinner backpacking recipes are my favorite trail meals from the Appalachian Trail. The dried ingredients are healthy, and they taste great. Because the backpacking meals are dehydrated, they weigh a fraction of what fresh backpacking foods weigh, plus they won’t spoil on long hikes. They rehydrate on the trail as easily as store-bought freeze-dried backpacking meals, for a lot less money.

Food Dehydrating Options for Backpacking Dinners:

  • Cook a big pot of chili or stew, dehydrate and divide into individual servings.
  • Dehydrate vegetables, meat, beans, and starches separately and assemble into meals.
  • Enhance store-bought boxed meals with additional dried meat and vegetables.
  • Create saucy backpacking meals by blending and dehydrating starchy foods like potatoes and beans into bark.
  • Dehydrate tomato sauce for Italian style meals.

Readers' Choice Backpacking Recipes

Readers' Choice Backpacking Recipes: Chili, Mexican Beef & Rice, and Unstuffed Peppers.

Based on letters from readers, these are the three most favorite backpacking dinners enjoyed on the trail:

Beef & Bean Chili

Cook a big batch, dehydrate, and divide into meal size portions.

Mexican Beef & Rice

Ground beef, beans, peppers, onions, tomatoes, and rice in a zesty cheddar cheese sauce with taco seasoning.

Unstuffed Peppers

Ground beef, bell peppers, and rice in tomato sauce.

Backpacking Mac & Cheese Recipes

Backpacking Mac and Cheese Recipes.

Macaroni and Cheese Recipes

Macaroni and Cheese with added meats and vegetables. Ham and Cheese, Kickin' Veggie Mac & Cheese, Taco Mac 'n Cheese, Tuna Mac & Cheese, and more. Plus instructions for dehydrating macaroni.

Backpacking Rice Recipes

Backpacking Rice Recipes.

Backpacking Recipes with Rice

Curry Chicken & Rice, Curry Shrimp & Rice, Easy Cheesy Rice & Beans, Hawaiian Shrimp & Rice, Ham with Rice & Vegetables, and more. Learn how to dehydrate rice for flavorful meals.

Ramen Noodles Recipes

Backpacking Ramen Noodles Recipes.

Ramen Noodles Recipes

Seafood Raminara, Cheese-O-Rama, Ramen Noodles & Kraut, Vegetarian Ramen Noodles, and more.

Easy Backpacking Meals

Easy Backpacking Meals.

Easy Backpacking Meals

Add dried veggies and meat to popular boxed products from Zatarain's, Near East, and Annie's Organic. These enhanced backpacking meals include Spanish Rice with Beef & Tomatoes, Red Beans & Rice with Vegetables, Pine Nut Couscous with Meat & Vegetables, and several Cheesy Pasta backpacking recipes.

Vegan & Vegetarian Recipes

Vegetable Stew Backpacking Recipes.

Vegan & Vegetarian Backpacking Meals

This page includes vegan and vegetarian backpacking recipes like vegetarian unstuffed peppers, French inspired ratatouille, Moroccan-spiced root bark stew, hearty green-lentil chili, and curry-carrot soup; plus direct links to twenty more vegetarian backpacking meals as featured in Trail Bytes and shared by readers.

Backpacking Recipes with Tofu

Tofu Backpacking Recipes.

Tofu Recipes

Learn how to dehydrate tofu with seasonings. Recipes include Tofu Noodles with Vegetables & Rice, Tofu Vegetable Soup, Spicy Tofu Tortillas, and Curry Tofu & Vegetables.

Bark Recipes

Bark Backpacking Recipes: Potato Bark, Bean Bark, Corn Bark, Sweet Potato Bark, and more.

Bark Recipes

Blend and dehydrate starchy vegetables and seasonings into bark, and use it to make flavorful, saucy backpacking meals such as Mashed Potatoes with Meat & Vegetables, BBQ Beef Stew, Sweet Potato Porridge, BBQ Bean Bark Stew, Black Bean & Salsa Bark Stew, Corn Bark Stew, Crab Chowder, and more.

Backpacking Recipes with Tomato Sauce

Backpacking Recipes with Tomato Sauce.

Tomato Sauce Leather Recipes

Italian-style backpacking meals like Pasta & Cheesy Tomato Sauce, Seafood Raminara, and Unstuffed Peppers.

Learn how to make tomato sauce leather and tomato powder using sauce from a jar or with Chef Glenn's homemade tomato sauce recipe.

Reader Shared Backpacking Recipes

Backpacking recipes shared by readers of BackpackingChef.com.

Best Shared Backpacking Recipes

Explore over 50 recipes shared by BackpackingChef readers.

If you have a good one, there's a form for you to share it.


Add to your backpacking recipes collection with Chef Glenn's books and guides.

Save on Chef Glenn's books and guides. Great backpacking recipes and step-by-step food drying instructions.

Subscribe to Trail Bytes

Backpacking Recipes in Trail Bytes, Chef Glenn's free monthly newsletter.

In Chef Glenn's free monthly newsletter, you will receive new backpacking recipes and food dehydrating instructions. When you subscribe, you will also receive a free e-book, Home & Trail: An Introduction to Drying Food. Subscribe to Trail Bytes

Recipes for Adventure II: The Best of Trail Bytes

Recipes for Adventure: Healthy, Hearty & Homemade Backpacking Recipes

Action Guide: Dehydrating 31 Meals

Free e-books:

1001 Miles on the Appalachian Trail

Free with any book purchase.

Home & Trail: An Introduction to Drying Food

Free with newsletter subscription.

From the Mailbag:

"My husband and I hiked the John Muir Trail during the month of September and before our trip I had purchased your cookbook so that I could prepare most of our dinners. I trusted your basic ingredients and straight-forward approach and prepared many of your dehydrated recipes. I had friends ask if I was going to taste test the meals first and I said no. My logic was that we would be so hungry that anything would be edible. Well, we were very hungry and it`s true that anything is edible but we looked so forward to having our "homemade" meals in the evening... they were so filling, healthy, and extremely tasty! Thank you so very much for sharing your knowledge and recipes." - Patty