Cooking a Thanksgiving Dinner in Your RV: Turkey Tips for a Smooth Camper Meal

Article highlights for Thanksgiving cooking in an RV:

  • You can cook a turkey in a variety of ways in your RV for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other holidays, even without an oven
  • Use your Crock-Pot, slow cooker, and grill to make extra sides
  • Cook smaller portions and make desserts and sides ahead of time to make your day go smooth like mashed potatoes
Thanksgiving and Christmas Dinner in Your RV
Cooking a Thanksgiving Dinner in Your RV | Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Can you cook a turkey in an RV oven?

Many people enjoy traveling in an RV for holidays and summer vacations, but can you cook Thanksgiving dinner in your RV or camper? It is possible and can even be fun. Turkey and ham are the main staples for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other holiday dinners. Both of which can be cooked in an RV oven. Before the holidays, check out what sort of oven your camper or RV is equipped with. This can help determine what size of a turkey you could comfortably cook and how long it will take.

It is a good idea to test your oven out ahead of time. Try a different recipe a few days before to see how it turns out. Sun RV Resorts has a few tips on RV turkey cooking. The oven might take a while to get to the desired temperature, so preheat it for 30 minutes or so before using it. Buying a cooking stone is an excellent way to ensure the turkey is cooked all the way through. It can help create a more even cooking surface.

It might be good to avoid buying a frozen turkey as it can take a long time. If you get a frozen turkey, make sure you let it thaw for the correct amount of time. Make sure your turkey fits in the oven. A turkey that is 12 pounds or less is a safe bet. Finally, rotate your turkey occasionally to help with even cooking.

Alternatives to using the oven for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other holidays

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In a situation where your RV or camper oven doesn’t work, don’t worry. There are a variety of tools that can make Thanksgiving cooking go off without a hitch. Using a slow cooker, Crock-Pot, Instant Pot, or air fryer can help get your turkey on the table. These tips can also apply if you are cooking another holiday meal in your RV.

Most kitchens have one of these extra devices to supplement the oven. Plus, depending on your location, you might have an outdoor grill nearby. Most campsites have a grill you can sign up to use. In this case, cooking a smaller turkey or turkey breast would be a good idea. If you marinate the turkey for a few hours ahead of time, it will be flavorful and not take too long to cook.

Camping World has some “Cooking in a Camper” recipes that have been tested in an RV. Motorhome Mushroom Casserole, Cucumber Coach Salad, and Happy Camper Hushpuppies are just a few of the ideas.

Cooking ahead of time is a big time saver

Aside from purchasing premade items, you can definitely cook some things the day or two before Thanksgiving. Green bean casserole is super easy to make ahead of time, and so are potatoes! If mashed potatoes aren’t your style, making twice-baked potatoes is an easy way to cook a side ahead of time. Since these are more individual portions, the twice-baked potatoes are easy to heat up again.

Deviled eggs can be made the day before and stored in the fridge. You can make macaroni and cheese in almost all of the cooking options listed above. Plus, this can be made on the stovetop as well. If you have a microwave on hand, you can steam many veggies in just a few minutes.

Desserts are an easy option to make the day before. A pie can remain fresh in the fridge for a few days. Cookies don’t need to be refrigerated for the most part and can be made two days in advance if need be.

RV living has its challenges, but cooking dinner doesn’t have to be one of these challenges. Get creative and try some new recipes leading up to the holidays so you can get some trial and error out of the way. No matter what meal you are cooking, happy holidays!

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