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Cooking in a Small RV Made Easy

Published on January 30th, 2022 by Contributor, Let's RV
This post was updated on February 14th, 2023

Many people are under the impression that cooking in a small RV is difficult. But these tips explain easy ways to organize, plan, and prepare homemade meal recipes on the go.

man cooking in a small RV
RV kitchen cooking doesn’t have to be hard or messy.

Ten Tips for Easy Cooking in a Small RV

A typical home kitchen makes home cooking pretty simple. Large kitchen appliances and storage give you everything you need to prepare a meal on the fly. Many RVs with large kitchens make it relatively easy to do the same. But making your own meals in small RV kitchens takes more thought and planning.

My RV is only 27-feet long. I love how small RVs like ours can go anywhere. But the RF kitchen has limited storage and countertop space. Despite these drawbacks, our small kitchen size is not an issue. We still love home cooking. Since buying our RV used in 2014, we’ve learned that an organized RV kitchen is the first step to enjoying homemade meal recipes wherever we travel. Here’s how you can eat well RVing too.

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Organize your RV kitchen

Hunting for utensils, cookware, and ingredients make RV cooking more difficult than it needs to be. Use kitchen drawer organizers for utensils. Keep a little open space in cabinets and drawers so you don’t need to dig around for cookware and ingredients. You can prevent things from bouncing around when your RV is moving by stuffing dishtowels around loose items in overhead cabinets. And don’t be sloppy when making homemade meal recipes. Wash and store items as you’re done with them to keep countertops clear for meal prep.

Simplify your RV cookware

Only pack kitchen basics when you’re new to RVing. You think you need your fancy lettuce scissors or food processor. But you probably won’t miss extra kitchen gadgets because you’ll be too busy having fun outdoors. Stick to fast, basic homemade meal recipes to maximize your camping fun. The more miles you put under your wheels, the better you will know what RV kitchen accessories you truly can’t live without.

Buy multi-use kitchen tools

Our RV kitchen storage has four small storage drawers in the galley. The practical RVer in me understands that we have no room to buy and store non-essential kitchen tools. But my definition of “essential” can change if we pull over at an awesome flea market or yard sale. If the line between essential and frivolous becomes blurry, there’s an easy way to decide on what to buy. I ask myself: does the thing serve more than one purpose? If a kitchen utensil cannot do more than one thing for meal prep, we usually don’t need it.

Stop buying food in bulk

In our warehouse buying society, buying food in bulk is now more of a norm than an exception. But food buying wasn’t always about stocking up. Just walk into an unmodified mid-20th century sticks-and-bricks home and look at the kitchen. Smaller storage space and kitchen appliances didn’t allow people to hoard jars of mayonnaise and beans. People shopped weekly and lived to tell about it! You can too. Easy cooking in a small RV means not buying more than you need. It keeps storage spaces uncluttered, prevents waste, and helps lower your RV GVRW too. It’s a win-win.

Ditch food packaging

The boxes and bags containing food products were made to look good sitting on grocery store shelves–not inside your small RV kitchen cabinets. Food packaging is usually bulkier than it needs to be. Those boxes take up valuable RV storage space. Tear up all unnecessary food packaging soon as you return from grocery shopping. Just be sure to save tape cooking instructions onto the product bag. You’ll save tons of space in the cabinets and RV refrigerator.

Stick to square food containers

If you haven’t noticed, RVs are rectangular boxes on wheels. Inside and out, RV storage maximizes living space by conforming to the camper’s angular shape. Storing food in RVs with square food containers that do the same. Toss circular and oddly shaped containers. Keep RV-friendly food storage boxes instead. Whether disposable or long-lasting, RV-friendly food containers let you easily stack and store them alongside one another in cabinets and on refrigerator shelves.

Choose long-lasting produce

Vegetables and fruit are some of the toughest foods to store in RV kitchens. They take up space and don’t easily stack on top of each other. But don’t reach for convenience produce in wasteful plastic disposable containers. Just make better food buying choices. Buy foods that last longer in RV kitchens. For example, choose whole heads of lettuce, cabbage, and other greens over pre-chopped, bagged leafy vegetables that spoil much quicker. A great RV housekeeping tip is to store them in reusable, anti-oxidation “Green Bags” and they will last even longer.

Make more casserole RV meals

Whipping up one large meal instead of several small ones is an easier thing to do, whether you are cooking in a small RV or making a mess in a conventional home kitchen. Create more casserole RV meals in your Instant Pot, pressure cooker or old-school RV oven and you’ll save time for more fun things to do camping, like playing outdoor games, fishing and golfing.

Master the RV barbecue

There are many great reasons why outdoor portable grills for RVs are on every picnic table at RV parks. Outdoor grill cooking is the best way to avoid RV kitchen messes. Grilling also helps your RV keep cool inside during summer. And if you’re dry camping, barbecuing saves precious water for other more important uses than cleaning the kitchen, like drinking, bathing, and toileting.

Cook over the campfire

Spending more time outdoors is probably a big reason why you started RVing. Learn to cook over the campfire and you can immerse yourself in nature even during meal prep hour. All you need is a sturdy, fireproof cast iron skillet and possibly a couple of pie iron cooking tools, and you’ve got the right gear for a deep immersion into the nature you wanted to enjoy.


Cooking in a small RV isn’t the hassle most people envision when RVing is in their future. Once you master the basics of RV cooking, meal prep on the road won’t be any harder than it is at home. In fact, it might even be more enjoyable as you eat your way across the country in bucket list camping destinations that outshine the four walls of any stick-house stationary kitchen.

This post may contain affiliate links or mention our own products, please check out our disclosure policy here.

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