So you’ve got your new travel trailer. You’ve read all our free material and have found the RV or travel trailer that’s perfect for you.
In all likelihood, you’re going to be spending a lot of time in your new trailer. Maybe you’ll take a vacation with the family for a week in it. Maybe you’ll even go on the road for weeks or months at a time. Or perhaps you bought your trailer to use for weekend road trips. All of these are great ways to use your trailer.
But there’s one thing in common with any trailer lifestyle: you need to make food. Unless you plan on eating out all the time (aka, spending a TON of money on meals), you’re going to need to know how to cook food in your trailer.
If you’ve never done it before, the task can be overwhelming. What can you cook, and not cook, in a trailer? What appliances are available to you?
Not to worry, though: we’ve got you covered. In this article, we’re going to show you exactly what you need to cook amazing food on the road. We’ll also be giving you tips on what you should and shouldn’t do when cooking inside and outside your trailer. Ready? Let’s get started.
There are two main places you’ll be cooking on the road: inside your trailer and outside it.
Indoors vs. Outdoors
You’ll probably want to cook meals indoors and some outdoors. Let’s start by looking at the advantages of each.
Advantages of Cooking Indoors
- It’s easy. You don’t have to set up a grill or anything – all your appliances are right there inside.
- It’s accessible. All you have to do is get up and walk to the kitchen area.
- It’s available no matter the weather. If it’s raining or the weather is bad outside, you probably won’t want to be out there cooking.
Advantages of Cooking Outdoors
- If it’s hot outside, you probably won’t want to heat up the inside of your trailer using the stove or oven.
- Picnicking. It’s fun to cook a meal and eat outsider, in fresh air.
- Speaking of air, you can cook whatever you want outside, with no fear of smelling up your trailer. If you happen to burn anything, your trailer won’t end up with the smell.
- Grilling. Enough said :).
Basically, cooking inside is convenient and quick, but one of the great things about RVing is being able to cook outside your trailer whenever you like. Some people even cook all of their meals outside.
Now let’s explore your tools for making food on the road. As we’ll see, you can make just about any food inside or outside your trailer.
Cooking Inside Your Travel Trailer
1. Your Trailer’s Built-in Stove
This is the center of your trailer’s kitchen area, and you’ll be able to do most of your cooking here. Cooking on the stove is pretty straightforward and similar to cooking on the stove at home. Trailer stoves are usually smaller, though.
You’ll probably want to pick up a few accessories to make your cooking easier. You’ll need a set of pots and pans, but you likely already have some at home that you can use. Getting a grill plate for your stove will allow you to make grilled foods inside if you can’t use a true grill outside.
If your trailer has an oven, by all means use it! If you use your oven at home a lot, you know that ovens are an amazing way to make great food in a relatively easy way. Many trailers don’t have an oven, but if yours does, take advantage of it.
3. Electric Cooktop
This is a neat accessory that will allow you to cook without heating up the stove or oven and using propane. It runs off an electrical outlet and allows you to cook with a pot or pan. The Nuwave is one that many RVers use and love – it uses induction to cook without getting hot.
4. Slow Cooker
I love slow cookers. They make cooking amazing meals easy. Find a good slow cooker recipe, throw the ingredients in at the beginning of the day, and at dinner time, you’ve got a hot meal waiting. This one is the best-selling slow cooker on Amazon.
Okay, a microwave is not the best solution for your everyday cooking. However, it can be used to make many different things quickly, and it’s useful to have when you don’t feel like cooking a full meal. You may want to consider a smaller microwave to save valuable kitchen space.
We’ve found a few accessories for making cooking in your trailer a little bit easier:
- Toaster – for toasting bagels and bread.
- Toaster oven – a quick way to cook just about anything.
- Food processor – if you’re the smoothie type, use this to make them fast and easy.
- Coffee maker – drink coffee? You’ll want one of these in the kitchen of your trailer.
Tips for Cooking Inside
The main thing you’ll want to keep in mind when cooking inside is controlling the smells when cooking. If you’re using the stove to cook, make sure your stove’s ventilation system works well. If using another appliance to cook, you’ll want to open a few windows to let the air flow. Of course, if you find your stove’s ventilation to be unsatisfactory, you can just open windows.
However, depending on what you’re cooking, you may not want too much ventilation. Some people are known to enjoy the smell of bacon in their trailer!
Either way, before you hit the road, you should make sure you’re able to use the stove ventilation and open the windows to let odors out. Even if you plan on doing most of your cooking outside, there will likely be times when you need to make some food inside.
Speaking of cooking outside, we’ve only explored half of cooking on the road! Things get a lot more interesting (and fun) in this next part…
Cooking Outside Your Travel Trailer
Outdoor Cooking Appliances
Our Top Pick: Coleman Road Trip Grills
The Coleman Road Trip Grills are a great solution for all types of outdoor cooking. They have a large cooking surface (285 sq. in.). They’re easy to store and transport. They run off propane – you can hook them up to your trailer propane connect (here’s a tutorial) or with a propane can.
There are two different models: the Road Trip Grill LXE and the Road Trip Grill LXX. The LXE is a great value for its price. The LXX is the same grill, but with more cooking power and a built-in thermometer.
But here’s the best part: you can cook just about anything with them. You can use Coleman’s stove grate accessory to turn the grill into a stove. Coleman makes a cast iron griddle accessory too. These two accessories allow you to cook tons of different foods outdoors.
There are other options too. If you don’t do as much grilling, you may want a smaller grill with less power. This Weber Q1000 portable grill is loved by many campers. Weber is one of the best grill brands available.
Also an option is the Coleman Grill Stove. This has a stove burner and a grill. It’s a great option if you need an ultra-portable way to make food outdoors. It runs off propane as well.
Bonus: if you have an electric cooktop like the Nuwave mentioned above, that can be used outside as well.
Cooking Over A Campfire
I highly recommend getting a portable grill for cooking on the road, but sometimes you may have access to a campfire. In this case, you can easily make food with these two nifty tools.
This grill plate makes cooking over a fire super easy. It has a 24×16 inch grill surface to hold a lot of food. If you have access to a fire, you can simply use this instead of using a portable grill. A lot of campers use this and it gets very high ratings on Amazon.
This is the same idea as the Texsport – just a grill plate to put over a fire. This one gets it done a little differently. It’s just a tripod with a grate hanging in the center. This one folds down for compact storage.
Also, you can put something like a skillet, pan, or dutch oven on top of either of these grill plates and use the fire to cook that way.
Tips for Cooking Outside
There’s not a lot to say here, as you don’t have to worry about smells and ventilation. Just make sure you’re a responsible camper and don’t leave anything behind!
As you can see, if you invest in a few basic cooking appliances, you can make just about anything in your trailer. Fortunately, it requires very little investment. Most trailers come with a stove, and many have an oven and microwave. That leaves you with a few options for additional appliances to make sure you can cook whatever you need with ease. For cooking inside, that could be an electric cooktop or a slow cooker.
If you plan on making a lot of your food outside, you’ll need an outdoor appliance. We highly recommend a portable grill that runs on propane. You can either hook it up to your trailer’s propane supply, or use cans of propane. There are a few different models and sizes to choose from. The Coleman Grill Stove offers both stove and grill burners. The Coleman Road Trip Grill is a grill that allows you to put a griddle or stove attachment accessory to make food like on a griddle or stove. Finally, if you do a lot of grilling, the Weber Q1000 is an excellent portable grill choice from a great grill company.
Cooking indoors and outdoors both have their advantages. Cooking inside is convenient, as you don’t have to step outside; but if the weather is nice, cooking and eating a meal outside is always fun. Once you’ve been on the road for a while, you’ll develop your own preferences and habits. Most people do a combination of both, but some cook mainly outdoors, and some mainly indoors. Make sure you do some of both at first so you can find what’s easiest and best for you.
After reading this article and looking at a few appliances and grills, you’re well on your way to travel trailer kitchen dominance. With a few basic tools, you can make anything you can make at home.
Here’s to cooking amazing food on the road!