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No Power, No Problem: 10 RV Meals That Don’t Require Refrigeration


One of the great things about RVing is, like camping, there is a style of RVing for everyone. Some RVers prefer to camp without hookups or amenities, spending days boondocking off-the-grid. Other RVers choose to travel in luxury, driving rigs outfitted with residential-sized refrigerators and microwave ovens, sleeping only in luxury resorts with full-hookups and upgraded amenities. Just like there isn’t one way to RV, there isn’t one way to cook meals while you are on the road. Some RVers cook meals on the road just like they cook meals at home, but for Overlanders, boondockers, and RVers trying to conserve electricity or propane, it’s important to make meals that don’t need refrigeration.

No power? No problem!

RVers who plan to spend time without power or want to be off the grid for an extended time have to manage electrically-powered devices or propane-powered appliances carefully. For some people, operating without a refrigerator or cooler is a no-go, but for others? Refrigeration isn’t a necessity because there are plenty of ways to store, prepare, and cook RV meals that don’t need refrigeration.

Finding foods that don’t need refrigeration is as easy as searching outside of the icebox, so to speak. And contrary to belief, meals of convenience aren’t always full of calories or sodium or labeled unhealthy. Most RVers have peanut butter sandwiches, ramen noodles, and dehydrated chili mac at the top of their lists of quick and convenient camping meals, but we hope to expand your road trip menu and suggest a few more foods that don’t need refrigeration to add to your list of go-to, road-worthy meals.

10 Foods or RV Meals That Don’t Require Refrigeration

Breakfast Ideas

  1. Fruit: The best way to find fresh fruit is by visiting a local farmer’s market before prepping for your road trip. While you are there, search for fruit that doesn’t require refrigeration. Fruit like apples, pears, peaches, plums, berries, bananas, avocados, and melons all do well on the counter and don’t need to stay cold before you slice, peel, or bite into it.
  2. Oats: Steel-cut oats, instant oats, and even individual packages of oats make breakfast a snap on the road.
  3. Bacon: Pre-cooked, shelf-stable bacon should be a staple in any meat-lover’s pantry. This bacon remains safe to eat without refrigeration, and it generally has a long shelf-life. If you don’t have access to a cooler or refrigerator to store open packages, opt for small packs with enough servings for the family, so it’s easy to have a new box on hand the next time you want bacon.
  4. Pancakes: The easiest way to make pancakes for two or three people is to buy a small, shaker-sized pancake mix. All you need is water to make fluffy pancakes. If you want to add a little bulk to your pancakes, try cutting up a banana and adding it to the batter before cooking. Banana pancakes are delicious and filling!
  5. Eggs: OvaEasy has perfected egg protein and dehydrated eggs, so when you add water and heat the eggs, they taste as good as a farm-fresh egg. The best part? You don’t need to take up precious fridge space or even use a refrigerator to have eggs every day.

Lunch and Dinner Ideas

  1. Rice and beans: Use either a stove-top pressure cooker or the boil on the stove method for cooking your rice and dried beans. All you need for a delicious meal is rice, a package of dried beans (like Anasazi beans, black beans, or a bean mix), some water, and some sort of canned or dehydrated chicken, beef, or vegetable stock. Do you want a little more flavor? Add in a clove of garlic or onion, both of which don’t need refrigeration, for a little kick.
  2. Potatoes: Did you know that you don’t ever store potatoes in the refrigerator? If you have a cool, dry, and dark place to keep your potatoes, you can have a variety of healthy meals without worrying about keeping your taters cold. Don’t just stop at a foil-baked campfire potato. Check out the different ways to include potatoes in your RV meals by visiting the Potatoes USA recipe page.
  3. Vegetarian Chili: You don’t need meat for a protein-filled stove-top or campfire vegetarian chili. Load up your RV pantry with canned beans, canned tomatoes, canned or dehydrated veggies, canned peppers, and a variety of spices. Add in onion, garlic, and a little bit of olive or avocado oil, and in no time, you will have a tasty chili the whole family will love. Tip — try adding your vegetarian chili to the top of a baked potato for a savory and filling meal.
  4. Lentils: Lentils are inexpensive and easy-to-prepare. Store dry lentils in your pantry in a sealed container. Add lentils to soup, chili, or eat them on their own as a main dish. Serve with corn, acorn, or butternut squash if you want a pantry-friendly veggie as a side dish.
  5. Canned or dehydrated meat: Canned chicken, tuna, salmon, and dehydrated meat like beef jerky can add bulk to your meals. Since the meats come canned or dehydrated, you won’t need to worry about refrigeration. Add canned chicken or sausage crumbles to your spaghetti sauce, and we bet no one will even know your meat came from a can. Tip — For a quick and tasty appetizer, try adding dehydrated sausage crumbles to a block of Velveeta cheese and toss in a can of Rotel and simmer on the stove. In fifteen minutes, you will have a warm and melty chip dip that will taste as if it came from your favorite Mexican restaurant.

Condiments That Don’t Need Refrigeration

Don’t forget to stock your RV pantry with items that you might need to spice up your RV meals. These condiments add flavor to your meals, and best of all, they don’t need refrigeration. Keep in mind that some of these condiments do better when refrigerated, but it’s not necessary.

  1. Ghee
  2. Pure honey
  3. Jam
  4. Pure maple syrup
  5. Nutritional yeast
  6. Coconut oil
  7. Avocado oil
  8. Sriracha sauce
  9. Soy sauce
  10. Balsamic vinegar

Ready to Get Cooking?

Going off the grid, but still want a good feed? No problem! There are plenty of simple meals to make on the road that are sure to keep you happy and healthy. The best part? They’re meals that don’t need refrigeration! Let’s get cooking.

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