Whether you have a Class A, travel trailer or pop-up expandable, you know how valuable each inch of space in your kitchen is. From tiny ovens, tables and counters to minuscule cabinets, cooking almost anything in an RV kitchen presents its own set of difficulties. But hey, who says you aren’t up for a challenge?
If you think cooking a feast in your RV kitchen is impossible, think again! Though not for the faint-hearted, preparing a spread in your rig can be done. Lucky for you, we’ve got all the guidelines you need for the journey. So, pack up the family, pets, and the ingredients for your ultimate Christmas dinner dishes and head out to the backcountry for the feast of a lifetime.
In order to create a successful Christmas dinner in an RV, it’s crucial to have a detailed plan of what to make, how many mouths to feed, and even the seating arrangement. No space will go unused, so planning is key. Begin preparations a few weeks in advance, and even a month beforehand if you’re particular about the way you want things to be. Here are a few questions to ask yourself to get started:
- Will you need to bring all your ingredients with you or are you setting up camp near a grocery store?
- Is your menu planned out? Will you have enough oven/stove/microwave space to cook it? Will you expand to a campfire?
- Are you asking your guests to bring a dish?
Tips for Making Christmas Dinner in an RV
Now that you have a plan, consider cooking less than you usually would for a traditional Christmas dinner at home. This is not the time to try anything new, so stick to a few of your favorite dishes you know how to cook well. And when we say a few, we mean it! Your counter space is limited in your rig, so it’s best to cook only a handful of dishes you know your guests will enjoy. Your RV also doesn’t come with much oven space to cook multiple things at once. Think of a dish you can prepare ahead of time and is kept cold, like deviled eggs or cranberry sauce. These won’t take any valuable space in your oven and will already be ready to eat.
Speaking of cooking dishes in advance, lots of traditional Christmas foods are just as good when frozen and made ahead of time. Use this to your advantage and precook as many dishes as possible before heading to your campsite. Foods like casseroles are often more flavorful and cohesive a few days after cooking because the flavors have time to come together. Once they’re done, let them cool, cover them and pop them in the fridge until it’s time to reheat.
Get Creative with Christmas Meal Staples
If your RV isn’t equipped with an oven, don’t fret! Christmas dinner in your RV will be more of a challenge, but you have other options beyond an oven. Get creative and look towards different ways to cook your spread! Put a twist on your feast by turning to an outdoor grill to cook your dishes. Many people already love grilling, so why not use it for more than backyard barbeques and the occasional Labor Day get together? Grilling will free up space in the kitchen and will add some unique flavors to your Christmas dishes.
Or, use your Dutch oven to make your perfect dishes. You probably already have one, so put it to use! They’re so versatile and you can make nearly anything in them. And, it’s hard to ruin a recipe using one.
Last but not least, bring your slow cooker from your kitchen at home and use it to create your favorite Christmas dishes. Just turn your slow cooker on, pop it a turkey and forget about it while you prepare your other foods. Or, modernize it by bringing along your Instant Pot or even an air fryer or pressure cooker.
When shopping for your ingredients, don’t overbuy.
It’s oh so tempting to buy 15 pounds of potatoes and the biggest turkey you can find to overload yourself on leftovers the day after. But, this year, leftovers might have to be skipped in order to have enough space to serve your feast. You simply don’t have enough space to display that big turkey in your RV. Find a smaller turkey or even consider switching to a different main dish that allows to free up space.
If all else fails but you still set on hosting Christmas dinner in your RV, worry not. If you’re near civilization, order take out from a nearby restaurant and completely avoid the stress and planning of a holiday feast. You can also bring a few homemade desserts prepared ahead of time, like pies or cookies, so you can still have a homemade aspect of Christmas dinner.
To tie it all together, put up a few strings of lights, a wreath on your RV door and maybe even a small Christmas tree with some of your favorite ornaments from home. Decorations are always a part of the holidays and putting them up will help you and your family get into the holiday spirit. Decorations will make your RV feel like you never left the comfort of home.
Have you ever prepared Christmas dinner in an RV? Let us know your successes in the comments!