By Darryl Alder
Feb 06, 2015

Easy Cheesy Dutch Oven Potatoes

camping-potatoes-cheese_thumbI love cooking outdoors and was amazed to learn as a young Scout that what you can bake at home, you can bake in a dutch oven. In fact, once in a contest between Venturers and Young Women, the girls made baked Alaska. Today’s recipe is not anything like that, but is a basic winner with nearly anyone I take camping.

It starts with cheese, bacon, and potatoes… okay so it’s al ready a winning combination, right? But the secret is the butter, sour cream and onions. Here is what you will need:

√ 10-12 Washed and sliced Potatoes (leave the skins on)
√  Bacon (cut into chucks)
√  Butter (1 cube)
√  Cheese (2 cups cubed or shredded)
√  Onions (two sliced or chopped)
√  Cream of Chicken Soup (2 cans undiluted)
√  Sour Cream (1 pint [2 cups])
√ Salt and pepper
√ Crushed Cornflakes (NOT frosted) or pork chops.

(These  amounts will vary depending on your dutch oven size and the size of your crew, team or troop). Now don’t mess up on this next part:; there is something for 5-6 Scouts to do at one time, which means this is a Patrol activity.

keyhole firepit

Keyhole fire pit keeps flames and wood burning at one end, with a steady supply of hot coals at the other.

First, have the Patrol Leader assign two Scouts to build a fire and get a good bed of coals. You want coals to cook over with a dutch oven, but to keep a bed of coals with our soft woods, you will need a format like a keyhole fire. You can do this in an approved USFS pit by building a fire on one side (keep it going) and pulling the coals to the other side as you need them.


camping-potatoes-bacon_thumb (1)For the best coals, you should use the densest wood you can find. Oak, cedar, mesquite, pecan, or other hardwoods make good coals; while pines, aspen, and other light woods don’t. Before you are ready to cook, you need to build up at least a couple of inches of live coals and then let the main fire settle down a little. After the fire is down to some good coals (keep a key hole fire burning the entire time) have a scout place the dutch oven into the pit and begin crisping the bacon. When crisp, spoon out the bacon leaving the fat in the bottom of the dutch oven.

Another Scout could have peeled and chopped the onions, which are now added to the pan. Have a Scout stir and sauté onions until they are clear.

Time to add the remaining ingredients (except for the corn flakes, they are for the top). Have Scouts layer potatoes, spoon-fulls of soup, slices of butter, sprinkles of bacon, hands-full of cheese, dollops of sour cream and stir into onions. Do it again and again, until it is all mixed together and sprinkled with salt and pepper.

dutch-oven-coal-coveredHere is where the magic comes…

Have the Scout who crushed the corn flakes (what a fun job) sprinkle them over the top, about 1/4 inch thick or pack the top with well-seasoned pork chops.

Cover the dutch oven, place it into a deep bed of coals, add coals to the lid, and sit back for 45 minutes to wait for the most amazing crunchy, cheesy richness  you have ever tasted at camp!

I promise this camp dish will be a winner with your Scouts every time (even if they think they don’t like onions or sour cream). Wha camp dish do your Scouts like best?

Author: Darryl Alder | Strategic Initiatives Director, Utah National Parks Council, BSA.B2Y by FOS Final

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2 thoughts on “Easy Cheesy Dutch Oven Potatoes

    1. Darryl AlderDarryl Alder Post author

      Oh Brent you have no idea–this is a meal they will serve in heaven. So what is your favorite Dutch Oven recipe?


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