How to Cook Over a Campfire Without Tinfoil

Tinfoil has been a campfire staple almost since its invention in 1910 (one of its first uses was to wrap Swiss chocolate bars, which makes itsCampfire importance in history undeniable). You can find recipes all over the internet of different hobo dinners, tinfoil barbecues, and tinfoil-wrapped campfire desserts.

But what if you get to your campsite, pull out all the food, and realize you forgot the tinfoil?

All is not lost! We spent the weekend experimenting with different campfire foods that can be cooked in a fire without tinfoil. Naturally, we started with dessert.

Fruit is great for tinfoil-less cooking because the peel offers some protection from the coals.

Orange Campfire CakeOrange Chocolate Campfire Cake
I’ve made variations of this cake with Scouts for years, but we’ve always wrapped the orange in foil before cooking it. Turns out, the peel is thick enough that you really don’t need the foil as long as you’re careful to set the orange flat on the coals so it doesn’t tip over.



  • One box of cake mix (I used triple chocolate fudge of course)
  • Eggs and vegetable oil, per cake mix instructions
  • One large orange per person
  • Chocolate chips or marshmallows to top, if desired


  1. Mix the cake according to the directions on the package
  2. IMG_20150822_200243588Cut the top of the orange off to expose the flesh inside
  3. Scoop out the fruit with a spoon, taking care to not poke through the peel
  4. Fill the orange peel no more than 1/2 full with cake mix (we learned this the hard way after an orange cake overflowed all over the coals)
  5. Replace the top of the peel
  6. Gently place the orange in the coals
  7. Oozing cake from too much batter

    Oozing cake from too much batter

    Cook for about 10 minutes, turning frequently for even baking. Check the cake after five minutes and every couple minutes after that for doneness.

  8. If desired, after five minutes of cooking remove the top and add chocolate chips and/or marshmallows and allow to continue to cook until chocolate is melted and marshmallows are toasted.
  9. Remove carefully from the coals and allow to cool enough to not burn mouths before serving.

The cake was perfectly cooked with a hint of orange flavor. The peel did its job very well; there was no sign or taste of burned cake anywhere.

IMG_20150822_202849730Chocolate Marshmallow Banana Boats

Banana Boats are our go-to campfire dessert, so naturally we had to try the tinfoil-less version. We were worried about burning everything, so we bought extra bananas just in case. Turns out, we had nothing to worry about.


  • One banana per person
  • Chocolate and/or peanut butter chips
  • Mini marshmallows


  1. Slice the banana down its length, being sure to cut through the flesh without slicing the peel at the bottom
  2. Gently open the banana
    Do not be alarmed by the blackened peel. The banana inside is perfect.

    Do not be alarmed by the blackened peel. The banana inside is perfect.

    along the slit and stuff with chocolate chips

  3. Top with marshmallows
  4. Place gently in the coals, ensuring the banana doesn’t tip over
  5. Cook until the fruit is soft, the chocolate has melted and the marshmallows are browned and toasted.
  6. Carefully remove from the coals.
  7. Eat it with a spoon. Make another. Repeat.

The banana was soft and delicious and the chocolate melted perfectly. What really made these stand out, however, was that without the tinfoil the marshmallows were crispy and delicious.

So don’t worry, forgetting your tinfoil isn’t the end of the world. Stay tuned for other foil-less campfire options, including non-desserts for those who want to eat more than fruit and sugar on a weekend camping trip. For example, did you know you can cook a steak directly on the coals? We tried it. You can read more here.

2 thoughts on “How to Cook Over a Campfire Without Tinfoil

  1. Pingback: Coal-Roasted Steak | Mountain Man Living

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