This article was updated June 2023.
While rice might seem like a simple staple, it’s easy to screw it up and end up with a stodgy slop mixture. It’s also really easy to get it right, as long as you know what you’re doing. I hope this article helps you produce consistent rice – it’s my go-to as the easiest camping rice recipe.
Is rice good camping food?
Rice is an excellent choice of camping food because of its versatility and non-perishable nature. It’s also a cost effective way to feed the hoards of hungry campers and generally liked by everyone. Whether you are cooking a curry in the dutch oven, you need a side for barbeque meat and salad, or even a hearty dessert, rice is a great choice for camping food. Read on to learn my easy camping rice recipe for beginners!
In it’s basic uncooked form, rice is super affordable and I love that it doesn’t need to be kept cold. If you are thinking of pre-cooking rice for your trip, be warned that it can be susceptible to growing bacteria that can make you really ill. You can, however, buy par-cooked rice that has been vacuum sealed for freshness and will finish cooking in a few minutes if you stir it through a hot curry or a stew.
What is the best way to use rice when camping?
If you have easy access to water and cooking pots, I recommend taking uncooked rice with you. The par-cooked packaged stuff is fantastic if you’re hiking and don’t want to carry much cooking equipment but works out a little pricey if you’re feeding a larger group.
I’m a huge planner when it comes to camping food. It reduces waste and is the most efficient way to pack only what you need. I find the best way to cook rice when camping is to make a big batch first and have it as a side with barbequed meat. This usually means skewers or with chicken or lamb that I’ve covered in tandoori paste, but whatever takes your fancy!
I pop my leftover rice in a sealed container or zip lock bag and keep it chilled overnight. Remember what I said earlier about the risk of bacteria growing in cooked rice when it’s stored – you don’t want to go keeping leftovers for too long!
Depending on how much is left, the leftover rice can be used cold with some tinned corn and beans to knock up a tasty rice salad the next day, stirred through a curry or stew to heat up in whatever is already cooking away on the stove or even baked into a delicious rice pudding for dessert!
How to cook rice over the campfire:
In this modern age of electric rice cookers, the simple art of making boiled rice over the stove has been lost! It is pretty straight forward when you know what you’re doing! If you’re cooking rice on a campfire, you need to get your firepit cranking before you want to start cooking, so you have some nice hot coals to work with. Alternatively, you could use a camping tripod to suspend your pot over the heat.
You will need:
- 1 cup of rice to 2 cups of water. If using brown or black rice, you may need to add more liquid and be prepared for it to take 3 times as long to cook! (I recommend rinsing your uncooked rice first if you have running water available, but it’s not essential).
- A pinch of salt and a knob of butter
- A lidded pot or a dutch oven. (PS: Don’t forget heat proof gloves or a lid lifting tool!)
Here's my easy camping rice recipe:
- Put 1 cup of rice to 2 cups of water in the pot, along with a pinch of salt.
- Secure the lid and get onto high heat until your water begins to boil rapidly.
- As soon as your water is boiling, move the pot to the lowest heat possible, but do not remove the lid!
- Allow to simmer on the outer coals or the edge of the heat source for 10-15 minutes, rotating the pot for even heat, but keep the lid on.
- Remove from the heat and keep the lid on, leaving the rice to absorb any remaining liquid for a further 10 minutes.
- When you do lift the lid, stir through a little knob of butter.
The best rice for hiking or backpacking:
If you’re on foot, you are carrying minimal cooking equipment and par-cooked or precooked, packaged rice can be a brilliant meal. For packaged rice that is completely precooked, it can be enjoyed cold with tuna, beans, salad or eaten straight from the pouch with a little soy sauce or your condiment of choice. The par-cooked rice with soften up if mixed in to any hot meal that has a little liquid in it, such as soup, stew or curry.
If you’re looking for more ideas on snacks for your next backpacking adventure, check out some of my other recipes for hiking snacks!