Beef and Veggie Foil Dinner Packets
These tasty beef and veggie foil dinner packets are a complete and hearty meal wrapped up in foil and cooked over a fire, on the grill, or in the oven.
Our summer plans usually include plenty of camping, and so we enjoy foil dinner packets often. They’re one of my favorite camping dinners to make. They taste delicious and are so easy to prep ahead of time!
“Recipe” is rather a loose term for these beef and veggie tin foil dinners, as you can throw almost any combination of ingredients together into a foil packet and cook it, but this classic combo of beef, potatoes, and veggies is my favorite.
Table of Contents
- What are foil dinner packets?
- Choose your ingredients
- How to assemble foil dinner packets
- How to make-ahead and store foil dinner packets
- 3 ways to cook foil dinner packets
- How do you know when foil dinners are done?
- More camping recipes
What are foil dinner packets?
“Foil dinner packet“, “tin foil dinner“, “foil pack” or “hobo dinner” are all names for meals wrapped in aluminum foil and cooked over a campfire. It’s a whole complete meal-in-one, the packs are easy to assemble ahead of time, and easy clean-up.
Continue reading for my suggestions for creating your own custom foil dinner packets, how to assemble them, and the different ways they can be cooked.
Choose your ingredients
You can use almost any combination of ingredients and flavors when making foil dinner packets, but here are a few guidelines to consider:
- Choose a protein— For these tin foil dinners I used ground beef, but ground turkey, chicken, sausage, cubed chicken or steak, salmon, or shrimp would also work. The meat should be able to cook quickly alongside the veggies, so a whole chicken breast, pork chop, etc are not ideal.
- Add lots of veggies— For every 1 cup of protein, try to add 2 cups (or more) of veggies. You can use just a few or a larger variety, it’s up to you! These tin foil dinners have onions, potatoes, carrots, corn, and green beans. Mushrooms, bell peppers, sweet potatoes, and zucchini are a few other delicious suggestions. Feel free to use either fresh or frozen vegetables.
- Add seasoning— Keep it simple with just salt and pepper, or add other seasonings like garlic powder, Italian seasoning, paprika, or your favorite multi-purpose seasoning salt. My favorite way to burst flavor in tin foil dinners is with fresh herbs like rosemary, thyme or sage.
- Add butter or oil— Add a few pats of butter or a drizzle of olive oil for another boost of flavor and to help prevent the contents from sticking to the foil.
- (Optional) Finish with cheese or sauce— If desired, once foil packet dinners are cooked, open them up and top with sliced or grated cheddar cheese or a sauce like BBQ sauce, then return them carefully to the fire for 1-2 minutes more.
How to assemble foil dinner packets
- Prep ingredients. Both meat and veggies should be about 1/2 to 1-inch max in size to cook evenly in about 20 minutes.
- Prep foil. Measure sheets of aluminum foil to about 18 inches long and lay them side-by-side on your workspace so you can assemble all at once. Grease foil with nonstick cooking spray.
- Add ingredients to foil. Divide meat and veggies evenly between each sheet of foil, mounding them into the center. Top with butter or drizzle of oil, and season with salt, pepper and any additional seasonings.
- Wrap them up. Fold the long ends of the foil together, crimping them tightly to create a seal, and then continue to fold the seam over itself until it’s flush with the contents. Fold over and crimp both sides the same way. You want the foil to be tightly sealed so no juices escape.
- Double wrap, if needed. If you’re cooking over a fire or grill, consider double-wrapping the tin foil dinner to ensure they can hold up during cooking without tearing open. Tongs can accidentally pierce open the foil as you flip and rotate it, and double wrapping can prevent that.
Now that your dinner foil packets are assembled and ready to go, you can cook them immediately, or store them until later.
How to make-ahead and store foil dinner packets
Tin foil dinners can be assembled ahead of time and stored in the fridge or cooler until you’re ready to cook. I actually prefer to assemble them at home before we leave for camping. That way it makes cooking at camp so much easier.
Make sure they stay properly chilled and try to use them within a few days of assembly. You can also freeze tin foil dinners up to several weeks ahead of time (it’s a great way to keep them cold in a cooler!). Let thaw in the fridge overnight or in a cooler for several hours before cooking.
3 ways to cook foil dinner packets
You can cook these beef and veggie foil packet meals several different ways:
- Over a campfire— (my favorite way) Wait until the fire has turned to coals and spread logs out slightly to make a flat surface, or place logs in a circle around a flat space in the center. Place foil dinners in the fire and cook for about 20 minutes, flipping and rotating packets at least once so they cook evenly.
- On the grill— Preheat grill to medium high, or to about 400°F. Place foil dinners on grill and cook for 20 minutes, flipping once during cooking.
- In the oven— Preheat oven to 400°F. Place foil dinners on a sheet pan and bake for about 20 minutes.
How do you know when foil dinners are done?
Cooking time for foil dinner packs will depend on the size of meat and veggies and how full the packets are. Aim for 1-inch pieces and the dinners should be done in about 20 minutes.
Open up one packet to check to see that meat is cooked through and veggies are tender. If needed, return it to the fire/grill/oven for more cooking time. If it’s done, then serve and enjoy!
More camping recipes
Beef and Veggie Tin Foil Dinners
- 1 lb ground beef
- 2 large carrots , sliced
- 1 ear of corn , kernels removed (or 1 cup frozen)
- 1 lb potatoes (about 4 medium), chopped in 1 inch pieces
- Handful of green beans , chopped
- 1/2 small onion , chopped
- 1/4 cup salted butter , cubed (can also use 1/4 cup olive oil)
- Approximately 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary thyme or sage , chopped
- Salt and pepper , as needed
- Measure 4 sheets of heavy duty aluminum foil to about 18 inches. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.
- Layer beef and veggies in a mound into the center of each sheet of foil, dividing ingredients evenly between all 4 sheets.
- Top with butter or oil and fresh herbs.
- Season heavily with salt and pepper, about 1/2 teaspoon of salt for each packet.
- Fold edges of foil over and crimp tightly to seal. If cooking on grill or fire, consider double wrapping to prevent tears in foil.
- To cook on fire: Wait till fire has turned to coals and spread logs out to heat is as even as possible. Cook on logs for about 20 minutes, flipping and rotating as needed to promote even cooking, until meat is cooked through and veggies are soft.
- To cook on grill: Preheat grill to medium heat, about 400° and cook for 20 minutes, flipping halfway through, until meat is cooked through and veggies are soft.
- To cook in oven: Preheat oven to 400°F and cook for 20 minutes or until meat is cooked through and veggies are soft.
- Carefully open up foil packets as the steam inside is very hot. You can eat straight out of the foil or dump contents onto a plate.
- See post above for suggestions of other flavor and ingredient combinations.
- To make ahead: Store prepared foil dinner in a fridge or cooler for a few days, or store in the freezer for several weeks. Let thaw in the fridge overnight or in a cooler for several hours before cooking. Always make sure prepared foil dinners are kept cold before cooking.