How To Cook Rice When Camping (11 Examples)

Rice is one of the most versatile foods there is. It is a staple among campers since rice is low-cost, plentiful, non-perishable, and easy to prepare.

How to cook rice while camping (11 Examples):

  1. On A Camping Stove
  2. Over The Campfire
  3. In The Campfire
  4. On The Campfire Grill
  5. On A Charcoal Grill
  6. In A Rice Cooker
  7. In An Electric Pot
  8. Using A Kettle
  9. Stir-fried In A Pan
  10. Reheat Pre-Cooked Rice
  11. In Your Car

Cooking rice is easy when you are camping, and rice can provide a lot of energy for your camping activities. Read on to learn more about cooking rice when camping.

By the way, If you are in the market for a new camping stove, then you should click hereOpens in a new tab. to see the one I recommend on Amazon.

1. On A Camping Stove

The method that is the easiest and most recommended for most campers that need to cook rice is to just use a camping stove. It’s safe, it’s quick, it’s affordable, and camping stoves can easily make some delicious camping meals. You can prepare rice in several different ways using your camping stove. You can boil water in a pot or kettle and then add that boiling water to instant rice. You can use boil in the bag rice in a pot of water. You can also cook rice the old-fashioned way with rice and water in a regular pot.

I think everyone that goes camping should have their own camping stove because of its versatility. The type of camping stove and fuel that it uses doesn’t really matter too much, but the stove needs to be the appropriate size for you, your family, and your camping style. If you are just primarily car camping very close to your vehicle and you are preparing a large amount of food for a family or group then your camping stove should be more freestanding and have multiple burners.

If it is just you and someone else or just you solo camping most of the time then a single burner and more compact camping stove can be ideal for carrying less weight and preparing mostly one-pot meals. If you are more into backpacking and more wilderness camping where you are camped further away from your vehicle then a small backpacking camping stove may be more ideal based on its size and weight.

If you need some ideas for what kind of camping stove to get then you can check out this one on AmazonOpens in a new tab. where I review the camping stoves that I personally use and enjoy.

2. Over The Campfire

Rice can be cooked over the campfire by hanging a kettle or pot with a handle. This method of cooking is more advanced since you will have to build something sturdy enough and secure enough to hold a heavy pot or kettle full of water. Please be safe if you are going to try cooking this way since heavy pots full of boiling water can be dangerous when they are hung using an inadequate structure. Nevertheless, you can boil water to add to instant rice or cook rice fully using this method, and it just looks cool!

3. In The Campfire

Your campfire is a versatile and unique method of preparing your food when you are camping. Many kinds of food can be prepared with your campfire including rice if you are creative and diligent enough. You can place a cast iron put inside of your campfire in order to cook your rice. This works best with fast-cooking rice since the inner part of the campfire is often the warmest part. Another method is to simply place a pot with water inside the campfire and use the boiling water to cook instant rice.

4. On The Campfire Grill

If you are lucky enough to be camping with a fire ring that comes with a grill attached to it then your cooking possibilities are so much larger than just a campfire alone. The grills can usually be adjusted to hover over the campfire at varying distances, which allows you to cook using the grill in a variety of ways. You can simply cook rice in a pot on top of the campfire grill. Cast iron pots work best for this, and it may take a long time to cook this way, but it is fun.

Basically, for cooking rice you mostly need to find a way to boil water in most circumstances. I also wrote an article detailing 13 unique ways to boil water while you are camping. Click here if you want to read that article.

5. On A Charcoal Grill

Many campgrounds and picnic areas near camping locations come with little charcoal grills. Some people like to bring charcoal grills of their own when they go camping because charcoal grilling produces a distinctly delicious flavor. Whatever the case may be, they can also be used to cook your rice when you are camping.

The charcoal can produce enough heat to boil water and therefore cook your rice in a pot. Cooking rice this way will require more of your attention since you cannot perfectly maintain a consistent heat, but it gets the job done. This works best with cast iron pots since grills can leave black marks on regular pots.

6. In A Rice Cooker

Did you forget that there is a kitchen appliance that is specifically made for cooking rice? A rice cooker is an easy way to cook rice when camping if you have electrical hookups. This is probably the easiest way to prepare non-instant rice if you have access to electricity. They can take longer than other methods, but they make cooking rice practically automatic since you don’t have to worry about overcooking, or the water boiling over since the rice cooker maintains the perfect temperature for cooking rice.

7. In An Electric Pot

An electric pot can refer to any cooking apparatus that needs to be plugged into an outlet to heat up food. If you are camping with electrical hookups, in an RV, or you have a generator then this can be a great option for preparing rice. Electricity can heat up extremely quickly compared to typical gas stoves and that means less time required to cook your rice.

8. Using A Kettle

A kettle can be used to heat up water quickly so that you can add it to dry rice. Usually this only works with instant rice varieties that require little cooking. Kettles come in many different shapes and sizes and can heat up some water in a variety of ways. Cast iron kettles can be put directly in your campfire (as long as you can get it back out).

Regular metal kettles can be used over a camping stove or on top of a grill. Electric kettles are also available and really efficient at boiling water, but they require you to have access to electricity when you are camping. Kettles can be an easy way to prepare instant rice while camping.

9. Stir-Fried In A Pan

You can prepare rice in a stir fry just like you can at home. You will need to pre-cook the rice beforehand or make it a different way at first, but after that, you can add the rice to a pan with some oil and whatever other ingredients that you like. This works best over a camping stove, but it can also be used on a grill.

10. Reheat Pre-Cooked Rice

It is possible to pre-cook your rice before you leave on your camping trip and just reheat it when you are camping. To do this safely you would need to adequately keep the cooked rice cool in an ice chest or something similar. This is because bacteria can grow on cooked rice (like most other foods) when they are left out. A specific bacteria known as Bacillus Cereus is infamous for infecting cooed rice, and the bacteria could lead to food poisoning.

Avoid using this method to be on the safe side. However, if you are camping for a short period of time and/or you can keep the rice adequately cooled while camping then you can bring the pre-cooked rice in a sealed zip-lock back or Tupperware container. When it comes time to heat up the rice to eat you can place it in a pot or pan with just a dash of extra water. Warm it up on low heat and break up the rice and stir it consistently while reheating it.

11. In Your Car

In order to cook rice in your car, you are going to need to utilize the car’s auxiliary power socket. This socket was formerly referred to as the car’s cigarette lighter. There are several different cooking gadgets that have been produced to run off of 12 volts of direct current (VDC).

Cooking products that you can make your car are often marketed as “travel” or “portable”. As you know there are many different methods of cooking rice. You could get something that just heats up water to add to instant rice. You could get an electric stove that runs off of your car. Or you could get a full-fledged cooking pot that runs off of 12-volts. If the product is made for 12 VDC then there is probably a way for you to take it car camping and make some rice.

No matter how you cook your rice, you are going to be left with what is called “gray water”. That simply means water that has something in it (in this case, food particles). Make sure that you properly dispose of gray water to help keep the environment safe while camping. Click here to read an article that I wrote demonstrating exactly how to properly dump your dishwater when you are camping.

Why Bring Rice Camping?

There are many reasons why rice is a popular superfood to bring camping with you. Some of the best reasons include nutrition, energy, shelf life, cooking speed, and how well it pairs with other food items.


Rice can be a healthy part of a balanced diet. It is a staple food in several countries around the world and is the primary food used globally to combat hunger and malnutrition. Rice can be fortified with extra vitamins and minerals and different types of rice offer different nutrition profiles. Rice cannot replace the nutritious benefits of fruits and vegetables, but it can complement them. Some kinds of rice also offer fiber to help regulate the digestive system. Including some rice in your diet can be part of an overall healthy diet.


Rice primarily consists of carbohydrates (or carbs for short) and these are a macronutrient used by our bodies as a primary energy source. Carbohydrates are quickly converted into glucose in our bodies that can be used as energy right now or stored as energy for future use. We need plenty of energy when camping, especially if we are involved in other activities like hiking, biking, swimming, rock climbing, etc.

Shelf Life

Rice is known as a non-perishable food item. It can be stored for long periods of time while uncooked and remain safe to eat. This is a really important aspect of choosing food to take camping with you if you will not have access to refrigeration. Ice chest space is also very limited so choosing more non-perishables to take camping with you is generally a good idea. Rice probably won’t spoil on a camping trip in its uncooked form.

Cooking Speed

Rice can be cooked rather quickly depending on the type of rice you are cooking. Generally, white rice is known to cook faster than brown rice, and short-grain rice is known to cook faster than long grain rice. Speed of cooking is important while camping because you may have limited time and limited fuel to cook your food with.

Pairing With Other Foods

Rice is known as a side dish that can pair nicely with many different food items including meats and vegetables. Rice makes the perfect side dish for your main camping food items.

What Kind Of Rice To Bring Camping

The best rice to bring camping with you is going to be whatever your favorite rice is. However, if the taste is not your number one priority then the speed of cooking probably is. Classic loose rice in a bag can work really well while camping, but if you want rice that will cook faster then instant rice is your best bet.

Instant rice often comes in a box instead of a bag and it can be poured directly into your cooking apparatus. Even more convenient than that is instant rice in boil bags. Boil bags have pre-portioned rice in a bag with small holes that can be dipped in boiling water to cook the rice within the bag. So pick the type of rice based on your taste preferences and the ease of cooking that you need.


Can You Pre-Cook Rice For Camping?

Pre-cooking rice for camping is something that you can do if you will be short on time to cook, however, the rice you cook would need to be kept cool in an ice chest or something similar. This is because cooked rice (like most cooked foods) can spoil and allow harmful bacteria growth once it is cooked and not refrigerated.

Precooked rice that is not properly kept cool can develop a nasty bacteria known as Bacillus Cereus. The bacteria could lead to food poisoning for you, and no one wants that when they are camping so in order to be safe I would avoid pre-cooking rice for your camping trip if at all possible, instead of cooking it fresh when you are camping. If you need something that cooks fast then go with instant rice that can be cooked in about 5 minutes.

Other foods can be pre-cooked and reheated as well, and there are many different ways that you can reheat food safely. In fact, I wrote an entire article covering several creative ways to reheat food while camping. Click here to check out that article.

Related Questions

How do you heat up rice for camping?

If you need to reheat cooked rice while camping then the easiest option is to use a camping stove and a pot or pan. Put the rice in the pot or pan with a very small amount of water. Break up any large chunks. Cover it and allow the rice to simmer on very low heat. Stir occasionally.

How do I reheat rice on the stove?

If you have pre-cooked rice for camping, then in order to reheat it you should place your rice in a pot or pan with a very small amount of water. Cover it and let it simmer on very low heat. Be sure to break up any large chunks so that it can warm up evenly. Stir occasionally.

My Favorite Camping Gear

  • Air Mattress: click hereOpens in a new tab. to check out my favorite on Amazon.
  • Tent: click here Opens in a new see my favorite tent available on Amazon.
  • Sleeping Pad: click hereOpens in a new tab. to check out the one I love on Amazon.
  • Sleeping Bag: click here Opens in a new see the one I recommend on Amazon.
  • Camping Stove: click hereOpens in a new tab. to see the best camping stove on Amazon.

Zachary Smith

Zach is an avid outdoorsman that loves going camping with his Prius every chance he gets. He also regularly enjoys hiking and fishing. When he's not outside you can probably find him writing about it on this website. See his full bio here

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