9 Quick Tips to Simplify Meal Prep in a Tiny RV Kitchen

Last Updated on March 7, 2024

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Key Takeaways:

  • Meal Planning: Plan meals in advance and stock up on necessary ingredients. Consider rotating a few simple meals to keep things easy.
  • Keep Easy Foods On Hand: Have quick and easy meal options available, such as canned goods, pre-made meals, and frozen items.
  • Invest in a Crock-Pot: A crock-pot simplifies cooking and allows for easy preparation of meals while you’re out exploring. Leftovers can be frozen for future meals.
  • Freeze Extras: Freeze leftover meals to save time and space. This eliminates the need for extensive prep work and cleanup.
  • Use The Grill: Take advantage of outdoor cooking options like grills and barbecues. Cook extra portions to save time on future meals.
  • Clean As You Go: Keep your small kitchen tidy by cleaning dishes and utensils as you go. This maximizes space and makes final cleanup easier.
  • Outdoor Cooking Accessories: Expand your cooking options by bringing along outdoor cooking accessories like a portable stove, griddle, or Dutch oven. 
  • Minimalist Cooking: Embrace minimalist cooking techniques that require fewer ingredients and cookware. One-pot meals, foil packet dinners, and simple salads are excellent options for RV cooking.
  • Stock Up on Non-Perishables: Keep a well-stocked pantry of non-perishable items like canned goods, pasta, rice, and spices.


You may have limited space in your RV kitchen, but that doesn’t mean you can’t eat great meals. With a few simple steps, you can make the most of your small kitchen and still prep, cook, and eat mouth-watering meals. The whole idea behind the RV lifestyle is to keep things simple, and you can keep your meals simple too with these 6 tips.

1. Meal Planning

You know what you want to eat and what everyone likes, so you can essentially plan what to cook. Make a list of the meals you want to make and then check the cupboards and fridge for supplies. Many RVers like to eat the same meals for even more simplicity, planning for only three or four different meals and rotating them on a schedule. Whatever ingredients you don’t have, add to your shopping list. You may also have to develop new ways to cook foods. For example, boiling corn cobs in a large pan was easy when you had a large stove, but a small RV kitchen makes this difficult. Plan ahead and bring some foil with you, to grill them over the outside grill instead.

2. Keep Easy Foods On Hand

Certain foods or meals are easier to cook than others, so you want to keep these ready to go. Quick meals such as a can of chilli, some bread, and veggies is easy and can be ready in minutes. Making meals at home and freezing them is also easy to save time. Pre-made hamburger patties or lasagna can be frozen and thawed for a quick meal. And a can of tuna can be made into several meals. Boil a bunch of eggs ahead of time for a snack or to make egg sandwiches. Keep an extra loaf of bread in the freezer too. Having these easy foods on hand makes it much simpler to get meals prepared in limited spacing.


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3. Invest in a Crock-Pot

Having a crock-pot simplifies cooking for RVers. You can put some potatoes, onions, carrots and a roast in there before you head out for a day of adventure. Stew is waiting for you when you get home for dinner. There are a number of quick and easy meals you can prepare in a crock-pot, so food will always be ready for you at dinnertime. Whatever is not eaten, can be frozen and used again for a quick lunch another day.

4. Freeze Extras

One of the best ways to save on prep time and space is to freeze meals. Whether you make stuff before you hit the road or have extras while RVing, freezing foods saves time. You can have complete meals ready to go with little prep time and only a microwave or crock-pot is needed to get them ready. No messy pots and pans. Of course, you will have to clean the storage containers too but this will still be less work then making an entire meal from scratch.

5. Minimalist Cooking

Embracing minimalist cooking techniques can significantly simplify meal preparation in your RV kitchen. By focusing on recipes that require fewer ingredients and cookware, you can streamline the cooking process and minimize the clutter in your limited kitchen space. One-pot meals are a perfect example of minimalist cooking, as they involve combining all ingredients into a single pot or skillet, reducing the need for multiple pots and pans. Foil packet dinners are another excellent option for RV cooking, allowing you to wrap ingredients in foil and cook them directly over a grill or campfire. Additionally, simple salads can serve as refreshing and nutritious meals without the need for extensive cooking. By adopting these minimalist cooking approaches, you can enjoy delicious meals while maximizing efficiency in your RV kitchen.

6. Stock Up on Non-Perishables

Maintaining a well-stocked pantry of non-perishable items is essential for efficient meal planning and preparation in your RV. Non-perishable items such as canned goods, pasta, rice, and spices have a long shelf life, making them ideal for storing in your RV kitchen. These pantry staples serve as versatile ingredients that can be used to create a wide variety of meals with minimal effort. Whether you’re craving a hearty pasta dish, a flavorful soup, or a savory stir-fry, having a selection of non-perishables on hand ensures that you’ll always have the essentials to whip up a satisfying meal. Additionally, stocking up on non-perishable items allows you to minimize the frequency of grocery shopping trips, making it easier to stay organized and prepared while on the road.

7. Outdoor Cooking Accessories

Enhance your culinary repertoire during your RV adventures by equipping yourself with outdoor cooking accessories. Portable stoves, griddles, and Dutch ovens are invaluable additions to your camping gear, offering versatility and convenience when it comes to meal preparation. These accessories provide alternative cooking methods outside of your RV kitchen, allowing you to take advantage of the great outdoors and minimize indoor cooking activities, especially when weather conditions permit. A portable stove enables you to boil water, simmer sauces, and cook a variety of dishes with ease, while a griddle offers ample space for preparing pancakes, eggs, and other breakfast favorites. Additionally, a Dutch oven opens up a world of possibilities for slow-cooking stews, roasts, and baked goods over an open flame or campfire. By incorporating these outdoor cooking accessories into your RV setup, you can maximize your culinary creativity and enjoy delicious meals amidst the natural beauty of your surroundings.

8. Use The Grill

RVing takes you back to the basics and back to nature, so cook that way too. Stay out of the kitchen and cook over your grill or bbq. Make sure you load the grill up with whatever fits, and you can save the extras for another day. Grilling hash-browns and sausage for breakfast? Cook enough for two days so you save prep time on the next breakfast. Some grills have very large surfaces, so take advantage of this and cook all you can, so that other meals will be quick and easy.

9. Clean As You Go

With smaller spaces, cleaning up as you go is important. Used dishes can get in the way and full up your small sink quickly. I use a paper towel to wipe everything off before using a soapy sponge and rinsing it off. Wash utensils and dishes as you finish each segment of cooking. This gives you more space to work on the rest of the meal and makes the final cleanup much easier too.

The RV lifestyle is minimalist, and this means minimal kitchen space. Even with larger trailers and RVs, the kitchen is still significantly smaller than a home kitchen. Less space does not mean your food has to suffer. You just have to be prepared. Plan your meals, use your space wisely, save when you can, clean as you go, and your tiny RV kitchen can serve up some of the biggest and best meals.

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