Four “Instant” Backpacking Recipes

If you have ever been back­pack­ing with a back­coun­try chef, and envi­ous­ly watched as they added hot water to a home-made dehy­drat­ed meal, you have felt the hunger to cre­ate such con­coc­tions your­self. Maybe it’s the 5th night of Ramen talk­ing, but tak­ing the time to cre­ate a vari­ety of dehy­drat­ed din­ners before your trip can real­ly enhance any back­pack­ing expe­ri­ence. Found across the great World Wide Web, “just-add-water” recipes can be found in plen­ty, and to take some of the web scour­ing out of the process, why not try out these four dehy­drat­ed back­pack­ing recipes, inspired from oth­er back­pack­ers and test­ed at home, which will sure­ly make you the envy of your own hik­ing group.

*A quick note about dehy­dra­tion times and tem­per­a­tures: There is no hard and exact num­ber of how long it will take to dehy­drate a cer­tain item, and fac­tors like the fresh­ness of ingre­di­ents, the humid­i­ty in your own home and how well you space the items on the tray will affect dry­ing times. Do a lit­tle extra research your­self for the items you are try­ing to dehy­drate, and be pre­pared to exer­cise some patience as you wait for all the mois­ture to dis­ap­pear. The best advice if you’re look­ing to invest in a new dehy­dra­tor? Be sure to find one where you can adjust the tem­per­a­ture to cater to all dif­fer­ent kinds of food groups.

The “Classic”—Taco Beans, Rice & Corn (+ Fritos) 

Inspired by

This camp clas­sic recipe can pro­vide the taste and nutri­ents need­ed to get you through to the next day. With only two items need­ed to dehy­drate (beans and corn), this is a quick meal you can make with just a cou­ple of days’ notice. For the corn, the fresh­er the bet­ter, and after shuck­ing it off the cob, be sure to blanch the ker­nels for a few min­utes to help loosen the shells.

Ingre­di­ents, 1 Serv­ing  |  (Dehy­dra­tion Times and Temperatures)

  • ¼ Cup Dried Refried Beans
  • ½ Cup Dried, Pre-Cooked Rice
  • ¼ Cup Dehy­drat­ed Corn  |  (8—12 hours @ 125 degrees)
  • 2 Pinch of Cajun Sea­son­ing or Taco Seasoning
  • Option­al: Cheese Block (pack separately)

The “Eat Bet­ter Than You Do at Home” Toma­to Sauce Pasta 

Inspired by Scout­ing Magazine

For a bet­ter than a deli­cious meal, this meaty toma­to sauce pas­ta recipe will have you lick­ing your bowl clean. With a few more steps, and dif­fer­ent items to dehy­drate at dif­fer­ent tem­per­a­tures, this is one you’ll need to plan ahead for. For the toma­to sauce leather, use any fruit leather trays your dehy­dra­tor should have come with. Thanks to the mac­a­roni noo­dles (again, find quick cook-time noo­dles), you’ll need to either cook this one your camp stove for a hot minute or two or uti­lize an insu­lat­ing sleeve for extra re-hydra­tion time.

Ingre­di­ents, 1 Serv­ing  |  (Dehy­dra­tion Times and Temperatures)

  • ¼ Cup Dehy­drat­ed Ground Beef  |  (8 ‑12 hours @ 155 degrees)
  • Dehy­drat­ed Green/Red Pep­pers  |  (9—13 hours @ 125 degrees)
  • Dehy­drat­ed Onions  |  (14—18 hours @ 125 degrees)
  • Dehy­drat­ed Mush­rooms  |  (4—6 hours @ 110 degrees)
  • (½ cup total veggies)
  • ¼ Cup Toma­to Sauce Leather  |  (8—12 hours @ 125 degrees)
  • 1 Tbsp Parme­san Cheese
  • 1 Tbsp Pow­dered Milk

The Veg­e­tar­i­an Special 

Inspired from Trail Recipes

Not only for those with veg­e­tar­i­an diets on the trail but for any­one with work­ing taste buds, this dehy­drat­ed cur­ry option can real­ly warm you up on a cold night camp­ing. Spinach is anoth­er easy item to dehy­drate, and as a par­tic­u­lar bonus, if you dehy­drate some extra gar­ban­zo beans, they make for a great crunchy snack on the trail or at home.

Ingre­di­ents, 1 Serv­ing  |  (Dehy­dra­tion Times and Temperatures)

  • ¼ Cup Dehy­drat­ed Bas­mati Rice
  • ¼ Cup Dehy­drat­ed Gar­ban­zo Beans  |  (12–15 hours @ 125 degrees)
  • Coconut Milk Powder
  • Dehy­drat­ed Spinach (or Spinach Pow­der)  |  (3 ‑6 hours @ 125 degrees)
  • Mild Cur­ry Powder

Back­coun­try Splendor—Creamy Alfre­do Noo­dles with Chick­en, Mush­rooms, Peas & Pine Nuts

Inspired by The Yum­my Life

For some­thing a lit­tle more rich and creamy in the back­coun­try, and some­thing that will sure­ly impress your hik­ing com­pan­ions, this Creamy Alfre­do recipe hits the spot. Both mush­rooms and chick­en (canned chick­en in par­tic­u­lar) are easy to dehy­drate at home, and for pas­ta, be sure to find some­thing that has a quick cook rate. The Parme­san cheese in the recipe needs to be the kind you buy off the shelf, non-refrigerated.

Ingre­di­ents, 1 Serv­ing  |  (Dehy­dra­tion Times and Temperatures)

  • 1 Cup Thin Pasta
  • 1 Cup Dehy­drat­ed Chick­en  |  (8—10 hours @ 145 degrees)
  • ¼ Cup Dehy­drat­ed Peas  |  (5—8 hours @ 110 degrees)
  • ¼ Cup Dehy­drat­ed Mush­rooms  |  (4—6 hours @ 110 degrees)
  • ¼ Cup Toast­ed Pine Nuts
  • 3 Table­spoons Parme­san Cheese
  • 2 Table­spoons Corn Starch
  • 2 Table­spoons Dehy­drat­ed Ital­ian Herbs
  • 1 ½ Tea­spoons Chick­en Bouil­lon granules
  • ¼ Tea­spoon Gar­lic Powder
  • Pinch of Salt and Pepper
  • 1 Tea­spoon Chia Seeds (option­al)