Having a bathroom and bed with you wherever you travel is definitely a major perk of RV travel. That said, we have to admit that the tiny portable kitchen is our favorite part. After all, what could be better than pulling over to the side of the road to whip up a delicious meal or cup of coffee?
Still, RV kitchens are far from perfect. In fact, there are things about these itty bitty cooking spaces that can be downright frustrating at times. If you find yourself getting frustrated while cooking in your trailer or motorhome, know that you’re not alone—but also know you can fix the problem.
There are a number of ways to improve upon your RV cooking experience and take full advantage of the perks of having a kitchen on wheels.
Here are our top tips.
Improve Your Oven
One of the number one complaints people have about their RV kitchen has to do with the oven. Because these propane appliances are so small, it’s difficult to ensure the heat is distributed evenly. This leads to, say, baked goods that are burned on the bottoms in some places yet undercooked in others.
The solution to this common problem? A simple pizza stone—or better yet, a Baking Steel—will do the trick! Place one on the cooking rack of your RV oven, preheat it some, and then put anything you wish to bake on top of the stone. This will help evenly distribute the heat across the bottom of your baked goods, leaving you with a delicious and evenly cooked masterpiece.
Invest in Electric Appliances
Do you find that cooking with your gas stove and oven heats your tiny house up to unbearable temperatures? This is another common problem.
Cooking with electricity instead of propane can help with this tremendously. Additionally, if your electricity is included with your campsite fee, it might even save you a few bucks, as it means less propane being used.
Wondering which electric appliances to look for? We especially love the Instant Pot, which is versatile and offers a variety of cooking options. When used as a pressure cooker, the Instant Pot puts off very little heat and can cook very efficiently.
…or Take It Outside
Another solution to the excessive heat problem is to take the cooking outside. A Blackstone Griddle or a grill makes it easy to prepare delicious foods outside while taking the heat of cooking out of the RV. Nothing says camping quite like a cookout anyway, and there is something special about dining outdoors during a family camping trip.
Once dinner is eaten—and perhaps after a campfire and some s’mores—you can relax in a nice cool space and wind down before bed in comfort.
Opt for One-Pot Meals
For many, the frustration is with cleanup rather than the cooking itself. In particular, washing dishes in an RV can be a huge pain in the neck.
This is especially true if you’re working with limited water and tank space, something that happens often when boondocking. However, even with full hookups, washing dishes in a motorhome or trailer can be difficult due to limited sink and counter space.
The best way to overcome this problem is to limit the number of dishes you have to do at once. Obviously, washing up after every meal helps with this, and many people opt to use paper plates and bowls. However, the very best way to limit the number of dishes you wash in your RV is to opt for one-pot meals while camping.
One-pot meals can be made on the stove or in an Instant Pot or slow cooker. They require very little effort once everything is prepped and dumped in, and by using precut veggies, you can cut back even more on dishes.
In fact, by finding the right kinds of recipes and using paper plates or bowls, you might be left with only one pot and a serving spoon to wash at the end of your meal!
Consider Pre-Trip Meal Prep
Prepping meals can be a hassle in a tiny RV kitchen. Limited counter space makes chopping veggies difficult, and meal prep often means more dirty dishes, contributing to the problem. Besides, who wants to spend hours on time-consuming meal prep while camping or on vacation?
For these reasons, we highly recommend pre-trip meal prep. Cut anything that needs cutting, season anything that requires seasoning, and put all ingredients for each meal together in the fridge or freezer. This makes cooking each night a cinch and leaves you with more time with your family and less of those frustrating experiences with lack of counter- and sink-space.
Use a Slow Cooker on Adventure Days
However, they have another fabulous perk. Whether you opt for an appliance that is specifically for slow cooking or use the Instant Pot’s slow cooker feature, having the ability to start a meal in the morning and return to a hot and delicious dinner is fantastic on those busy days full of adventure.
For instance, your family might wish to see a museum in the nearby city. You could, of course, grab dinner at a restaurant on the way home. However, the much cheaper and healthier option—and one of the perks of having an RV besides—is to cook dinner back at your site. Because you likely won’t want to wait for a meal to be prepared after a long day at the museum, having a slow cooker work on dinner while you’re away is just perfect!
As you can see, there are plenty of ways to make cooking in your RV a much simpler process. By changing things up and making RV cooking a more relaxing experience, you’re more likely to take advantage of your RV kitchen, and therefore less likely to eat out.
This improves your health and saves you money. A win-win, if you ask us!