Camping Funnel Cakes: A Surprisingly Easy Treat

Good morning!  I love fall camping.  The crisp, early morning air is great with hot coffee and a campfire.  I also love cooking breakfast over the campfire on crisp mornings: bacon and potatoes, hash brown and onion pie irons and now-camping funnel cakes! 

I’m fairly certain funnel cakes are not a breakfast food, but I was so happy to experiment and make them over the campfire this fall. I was also happy that the funnel cakes were just as easy to make camping, as they were when I made them at home. 

Just a few ingredients to take camping!

Assembling the dry ingredients at home made it easier to cook the funnel cakes when we were camping. Unlike the French Breakfast Puffs, we did not mix them in a mason jar. I used a plastic baggie.

Later, when we were camping, I easily added the milk and egg and squished to mix the ingredients, without getting any other dishes dirty.

Then, I cut the corner from the sealed baggie, and I was ready to squeeze the funnel cake batter into the hot oil.

A coffee cup was a great place to set the full baggie, and not have it spill, while I waited for the oil to heat and in between making funnel cakes.

I was sooo happy to use the baggie and not need to bring a pitcher or funnel.

Unfortunately, I did forget to bring a thermometer. When making the funnel cakes at home, I decided there were 2 very essential tools to use: tongs, to carefully flip the cooking cakes, and a thermometer, to measure oil temperature.

I forgot one of the very essential tools.

Not hot enough yet, but you can see the coal side and fire side of the fire pit-worked great!

Thankfully, the husband was helping me experiment over the campfire, so he was able to use one of his favorite tools- the temperature gun!

When we travel, the husband uses the temperature gun to check the wheel bearing temperature and the tire temperature. He doesn’t get to use it much since we don’t take long trips, like to the North Shore, very often.

He had fun playing with it while we made funnel cakes, though! It was amazing seeing the fire and the coal’s temperatures- but 900 degrees is tooo hot for funnel cake oil temperature!

Just like at home, the oil temperature of 300-325 degrees was too cool to make crispy, yummy funnel cakes. When the oil was shimmery and 375 degrees, but not smokey, it made wonderfully crisp, yummy funnel cakes.

You can really see the separate fire areas- and the shimmery oil- ready to cook!

While I was experimenting with the camping funnel cakes, the husband experimented with the fire and coals. I usually cook right over the fire, but we didn’t want the flames near the oil.

So, the husband used one part of the fire ring for the fire, and then moved the coals over to the other side. We were able to cook over the coals safely and there was plenty of heat to keep the oil temperature high.

The separate fire and coal areas worked wonderful. It was much easier to add the logs to one side, instead of positioning them under the grate. It also worked wonderful to use our deep camping cast iron pot. I use it often over the fire, and it was deep enough for the 3 inches of oil that the husband poured in! I only used 1 inch when I made funnel cakes at home, but both amounts of oil worked fine.

Once the oil was the right temperature, it was time for making the fun funnel cakes!

After I squeezed the air out of the cut baggie and made sure the batter was at the opening, I started to add it to the oil.

I made a letter C with the batter, then crossed and overlapped the dough so it all stayed together. If the oil is the correct temperature, it will start cooking and sizzling right away.

Since the batter is like thin pancake batter, I only needed to squeeze the baggie a little bit to make the funnel cakes. Thankfully, my hand didn’t get hot as I was making them. I didn’t even think about it, until the husband mentioned the flames.

Maybe having the fire on one side of the fire ring helped?

Or maybe because it is sooo quick to draw and make the funnel cakes?

I’m not sure, but I was happy to not get hot hands!

As it cooks, the dough floats on top of the oil, and when it gets bubbly and golden brown on the sides- it is time to flip.

If the batter is overlapped when it is poured, the funnel cakes stay together and are like one big, floppy pancake.

They should be floppy, but sturdy enough that you can lift them lift them with tongs.

This helps you to check the underside color and to safely flip the funnel cakes. The tongs help you flip the funnel cakes away from you slowly, so you don’t splatter the hot oil.

Easy Funnel Cake Recipe

1 1/3 cups flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

3 Tablespoons sugar

3/4 Tablespoon baking powder

1 egg

1 cup milk

Oil for frying, 350-400 degrees

Paper towels, to drain

Powdered sugar

Mix all dry ingredients. I did this in a large freezer bag at home. When we were camping, I added the milk and egg and mixed the batter in the baggie.

You could mix it in a bowl and then use a funnel or pitcher to pour the funnel cakes.

Make sure to overlap the batter as you put it in the hot oil, and flip the funnel cake when it is bubbly and lightly golden on the bottom.

The funnel cakes only take a few minutes on each side to cook.

When they are done, set the funnel cakes on paper towels to drain. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, while they are still warm.

Even though I forgot one of the essential tools, I am so glad we were able to experiment making funnel cakes over the campfire this fall! The funnel cakes were a yummy second breakfast and they will also make a delicious, quick camping snack!

Happy Camping (or frying over the campfire!)

Frugal Campasaurus

About the Author: Cathi

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