Cooking in a van - 10 tips and tricks

Cooking in a confined space is not always easy. Between the planning, the preparation and the dishes, we are quickly tempted to eat ravioli cooked in 3 minutes or to make sandwiches during our road trips.
And yet... with a little organization, we manage to prepare good dishes like at home.
With Aurel, we have listed 10 tips that we think are important for cooking in a van, van or motorhome.
The list is not exhaustive and if you have other tips to share with us to facilitate the preparation of our nomadic meals, we are all ears!

Plan meals as little as possible - to be sure to eat well!

Cuisine en van

  • Tip #1: Have a list of recipes/ingredients before shopping. Space being limited, we try to optimize as much as possible to have the right ingredients, no more, no less.

For short road trips (2-3 days) we prepare dry mixes in advance and put them in boxes. We also bring frozen homemade sauces - they thaw slowly in the fridge and allow us to eat good pasta with homemade sauce!

  • Tip #2: Stock up on basic ingredients before you go. We use small containers to avoid having 1kg of sugar if we are only going away for 1 week (ex. airtight boxes, resealable bags, etc.). We also have a “campervan” crate with non-perishable essentials (oil, spices, pasta, rice, flour, sugar, etc.) that we store in our cellar once we return from our road trip. Before leaving, we just have to pick it up, restock it if necessary and put it back in the van.
  • Tip #3: Anticipate your water supply so you have enough water to cook pasta and do the dishes.
  • Tip #4: Transfer food in airtight containers to prevent the passage of small mice (preferably square or rectangular because they stack more easily and optimize space.)
2 mice invited themselves into our van for an evening / night. After hearing them munching all night, the whole cupboard had to go in the trash the next day.
  • Tip #5: Have a backup lighter. Always useful!

We found ourselves with a lighter that had taken on water, several dozen kilometers from a store… Our good lunch with an idyllic view turned into toast with cheese.

Cooking in the fresh air - a moment of pure happiness!

Cuisine en van - Plein air - Cuisine nomade

  • Tip #6: Make simple recipes (curries, fajitas, wraps, salads, baked vegetables, eggs, pancakes, etc. The list goes on!)
  • Tip #7: Favor “One Pot” recipes that require only one pot to cook. This limits washing up and optimizes space during cooking.
If the washing up time is longer than the preparation time, it is better to review the recipes :)
  • Tip n°8: Cook outside as soon as possible (or with the doors and windows open), to avoid cooking odors in the van, in the hair or on the clothes, or avoid foods that have a strong smell when cooking (unless you like to fall asleep to the smell of grilled salmon or steamed broccoli)

Cleaning and tidying up: the moment we all love!

Cuisine en van - vaisselle

  • Tip #9: Wipe containers with a paper towel to remove any residue (or a piece of cardboard from packaging to avoid additional waste). This will avoid clogging your gray water tank and causing bad odors to return.
  • Tip #10: Clean the cleanest dish first and finish with the dirtiest and oiliest. You will avoid having grease in your sink and on your sponge during all the dishes.

The little bonus: for storing leftovers, we use reusable storage bags. It takes up much less space in our mini fridge than glass or plastic boxes.


What are your tips for easy cooking in a van?
Tell us everything!
January 13, 2022 — Ori & Aurel

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