Small Space, Big Taste: An Owners’ Guide to Campervan Cooking Like a Pro

There’s something quite magical about cooking in a campervan. Mornings in bed eating fresh pancakes by the beach. Sunsets on camp chairs with saussies sizzling and chilled music playing. You can’t beat it! But embracing a smaller kitchen space can feel like a bit of a mission at first, especially if you’re used to the luxuries of a larger kitchen.

So we talked to some of our lovely campervan owners to get their best cooking tips and go-to camper meals! Plus, they’ll explore the various features of their Quirky Kitchens, so you’ll know exactly what to expect if you decide to rent one yourself!

Cooking in Larger Campervans

Bertie with Caleb & Lanelle

🍴 Our go-to van meal: We love nachos! They’re nice and easy to cook up on the stovetop. And don’t forget, Berties oven also makes very good pizza! 🍕

🍴 Top cooking tip: Always boil a full jug of water so you have leftover water to use for dishes. And remember to use Bertie’s extraction fan to keep moisture out of the kitchen!

🍴 Favourite feature in Bertie’s kitchen: We love the jars hanging underneath the shelf in his kitchen! In there, you’ll find sugar, tea, coffee, and hot chocolate.

Indoor cooking & dining: Bertie has a 3-burner gas stove and & gas oven, a large fridge, sink, and electric tap with plenty of water. Bertie’s kitchen comes with cutlery, pots, pans, and everything else you might need. She also has a collection of spices, plus a sizeable indoor table so you have plenty of space to dine.

Outdoor dining: You can add outdoor campchairs and an outdoor table as extras (pictured above!)

Cruzar with Brenda

🍴 My go-to van meal: Pad Thai! 🍜 Follow these steps: Boil up your rice noodles. In a pan, cook the chicken and add any vegetables you have—mushrooms, grated carrot, bean sprouts, coriander. Mix in a packet of Pad Thai sauce then drain the noodles and mix everything together. This meal is quick, easy, tasty, and gluten free!

🍴 Top cooking tip: Try not to buy too much food. Get enough for 3-4 days. It’s a great way to use what you have as you go, reduce excess leftovers or waste and save money!

🍴 Fave feature in Cruzar’s kitchen: The cupboard doors above the bench really stand out to me. They give a really rustic feel to the van and remind you to stop and enjoy your time away.

Indoor cooking & dining options: Cruzar has a 2-burner gas cooker, a 65-litre fridge-freezer, and a deep sink with running hot and cold water. Cruzar comes fully stocked with crockery, cutlery, pots and pans, and more. There’s plenty of storage for your own food and goodies.

Outdoor cooking & dining: Cruzar also comes with an awning, one-burner gas cooker, chairs and a table for outside cooking. 🍳

Bluebelle with Elisa

🍴 My go-to van meal: A stir-fry. Lots of veggies, add your favourite meat or tofu and you have a one-pan nourishing meal in no time! 😍

🍴 Fave features in Bluebelle’s kitchen: The hanging fruit basket and the set of knives that is better than the one I have at home!

Indoor cooking & dining: Bluebelle has a 2-burner gas stove and an easily accessible large fridge/freezer. Her seat and picnic table (that you can store away after your meal) are perfect for enjoying meals indoors. The kitchen is fully equipped with pots, pans and cutlery.

Outdoor cooking & dining: Bluebelle has the option of coming with outdoor campchairs and an outdoor table is included, which can be used indoor or outdoor!

Cliff with owners Kirsten & Will

🍴 Best go-to van meal: I love a steak and salad. Easy, quick and so tasty. 🥩

🍴 Top cooking tip: In Cliff, make sure you’ve taken all that you need out of the fridge before getting the cooker out (including the beer!)

🍴 Fave feature in Cliff’s kitchen: Cliff’s big fridge freezer is my favourite thing. The whole kitchen was designed around it. It means that we can stay away from civilisation and eat in style for days!

Indoor cooking & dining: Cliff has everything you need for a feast – a big fridge freezer, a 2 burner cooker with grill, pots and pans, utensils and bowls. His spice rack is full of ready-to-go seasonings. He has a big sink for food prep & washing up and a lovely big dining table with bench seats. Amazingly, he’s hosted dinner for 6 before.

Outdoor cooking & dining: Cliff has a drop-down table and a separate outdoor table and chairs for cooking and eating outside. What’s more, he also has a lovely big awning to keep the sun off. ☀️

Brendan with owners Tracy & Sharon

🍴 Our go-to van meal: We love to make Cheesy Asparagus One Pot Orzo. We tried it once, and now it’s a staple. The cleanup is super easy too. So good!

🍴 Fave feature in Brendan’s kitchen: The ability to do your dishes straight away in a sink with hot water. For us, being clean and tidy in a small space makes for a much more pleasant experience.

Outdoor cooking & dining: Brendan has a large awning, with a lightweight camp table, 2 chairs and a double burner gas Camp Stove & Hotplate Grill.

Barbara with owners Amy & Nigel

🍴Our go-to van meal: Salmon and Quinoa salad with hollandaise sauce. 😋

🍴Fave feature in Barbara’s kitchen: Her little bee cupboard handles! (Oh, and the projector so you can watch movies while eating!)

Indoor cooking & dining: Barbara has a two-burner gas stove, sink and fridge so you can always cook fresh. She’s fully equipped with pots, pans and more. Her comfy seats and pull-out table are great for dining indoors.

Outdoor cooking & dining: She has a generous awning & comes with a picnic table and deck chairs so you can dine outside in style!

Max with owners Graeme & Rachel

🍴Our go-to van meal: The kid’s favourite is Maxy pancakes!

🍴Top cooking tip: If you plan to wash the dishes in the van, park on a slight uphill slope for best drainage.

🍴Fave feature in Max’s kitchen: Max gets his name from the amazing ‘Maxx air fan’ which provides sufficient ventilation to cook inside even when it’s raining. This can also be used to pull fresh air into the van on a hot day or to reduce condensation overnight.

Indoor cooking & dining: Yes. Max has a two-burner gas stove, sink and fridge. Pans, crockery etc. are provided. A swivel table provides additional workspace and a comfortable dining experience for two. The front passenger seat swivels to provide indoor seating for an additional two people.

Outdoor cooking & dining: Yes. Max has an excellent awning which provides protection from sun or rain. A picnic blanket and four camp chairs are provided.

Kaewa with owner Logan

🍴My go-to van meal: The sky’s the limit with the induction hob and Combi oven. Fill the fridge with fresh ingredients. You’re ready to cook any time of day!

🍴Top cooking tip: Put your beer and wine in the fridge immediately. You deserve cold beer.

🍴Fave feature in Kaewa’s kitchen: There’s a wine rack to tuck your wines away when you’re not chilling them in the fridge. When you close the van doors, the outside world disappears. The vision of Kaewa is to be a Hotel on Wheels. You can truly do it all.

Indoor cooking & dining: Kaewa does it all. You want to cook that Japanese Wagyu Beef to perfection? A pan-seared Filet mignon just right? The induction hob is instant heat and is ready to go with an extractor fan to make sure you can keep the door closed on even the coldest nights. Impress your significant other with your cullinary finesse. There’s a set of blades and fully stocked spice rack magnetised into a hidden compartment.

Outdoor cooking & dining: Should you require, you can sit under the stars with a portable double gas burner. A table and chairs are provided. The full set of pots and pans and included salad spinner will cook you up a feast!

Cooking in Compact Campervans

Dorothy with owner Barb

🍴Fave go-to van meal: Starting the day with a beautiful but easy breakfast of eggs benedict with bacon and hash browns. Along with a hot cuppa its a perfect way to plan the travels and adventures for the day.

🍴Top cooking tip: Buy as you go except for the basics. With so many beautiful NZ places to eat, you may find you don’t cook as much as you thought you would.

Indoor cooking & dining: Dorothy is designed for outdoor cooking with her pull out cooking drawer containing 1 large Campmaster burner and a smaller Fireman burner. Dorothy also has a pull out awning (included) and an attachable tent (extra) for the times when you need protection from the weather. Indoor dining is a breeze around the inside table.
Outdoor cooking & dining: Dorothy’s outdoor pull out kitchen is great. It comes off the side and the attachable awning will provide cover from the elements. Dorothy has a seperate pull out small table from the rear for enjoying a morning coffee and a separate outdoor table and chairs can also be provided (extra charge).

Kygo with owner Daisy

🍴Fave go-to van meal: My alltime favourite breakfast is oats with a variety of ingredients, seeds, fruit, cacao, cinnamon, tumeric, change it every day so it always tastes different 🙂

🍴Top cooking tip: Get the dishes over with as soon as possible – the less dirty dishes the better in this case. I avoided making curries or saucy meals. My go to recipes involved lots of fresh veggies, maybe cooked or slightly fried with again heaps of seeds and nuts to spice things up.

🍴Fave feature in Kygo’s kitchen: Kygo is set up with jars that I call my breakfast bar and my nut bar. 6 jars which can be filled with anything you like give a nice feature to the kitchen. I highly recommend to get some of your favourite nuts, grains or pasta’s in there.

Indoor cooking & dining: Kygo has a two burner portable stove which is stored away when not in use, but can be set up either inside or outside. On a rainy day with the bed setup as a couch you can cook and have your diner inside.
Outdoor cooking & dining: My personal preference is to have the outdoor kitchen setup at a standing position and do your cooking whilst you have a excellent view of the area around. It’s really easy to setup and gives better space to move around and enjoy.

Selma with owners Graeme & Monika (and pup Boogie!)

🍴 Fave go-to van meal: Nothing can beat an old school camping meal of baked beans, sausages, fried eggs and a side of toast!

🍴 Top cooking tip: In winter, extra hot water can be used to fill a hot water bottle to keep you warm at night. Plus for left overs there are some collapsible containers that can be put in the fridge for later

🍴 Fave feature in Selma’s kitchen: Selma is fortunate to have a an 85L fridge and can store so much food for those long road trips off grid. The best thing is the freezer compartment, for those essential ice cream provisions! 👅

Indoor cooking & dining: Selma is fully equipped pull-out kitchen at the back, if it’s a rainy day her two-burner gas stove can be placed on the bench inside to whip up a quick meal. There is space to sit inside to dine and a little sink with fresh running water.

Outdoor cooking & dining: Selma’s outdoor pull out kitchen is perfectly setup for cooking a feast while taking in the views. With all the essential cooking utensils, she also has a pull out awning with chairs and picnic table to dine outside.

Morrison with owner Amy

🍴Our go-to van meal: One-pot beef mince, potatoes and vegetables are always a nice comfy treat and easy to make!

🍴Top cooking tip: Don’t buy too much food all at once, you don’t need it!

🍴Fave feature in Morrison’s kitchen: Being able to lie on the bed while eating your lunch and listening to the waves crash close by

Indoor cooking & dining: Morrison has a two-burner gas stove that come out from the back of the van, there is a sink and fridge to keep food fresh. She’s fully equipped with pots, pans, etc. The comfy bench seat and pop out table are great for dining indoors.

Outdoor cooking & dining: She has a generous awning & comes with a picnic table and deck chairs so you can dine outside in style!


🍴 My go-to van meal: Bacon and eggs, A hearty breakfast of champions.

🍴 Fave feature in Pēpē’s kitchen: I don’t know how, but the circular cheese grater just sits on the bench. How it it doesn’t move after driving around is a mystery to us.

Indoor cooking & dining: Pēpē’s Bed converts into a seat you can eat your meals indoors.
Outdoor cooking & dining: Pēpē comes with a pull-out cook station that you can place her double gas burner on, and a table and chairs for you to dine on. Add on the awning tent and double your space!

Whether you’re a culinary pro or prefer simple meals, a little preparation is all it takes to eat well on the road. The beauty of cooking in a campervan is that it teaches you to consider what you really do and really don’t need, and how to make the most out of what you’ve got.

Sometimes, as our owners have pointed out, that might look like buying less more regularly or boiling extra water for dishes. Other times, it might mean aligning your mealtimes with golden hour or cooking a little earlier to avoid that forecast rain!

Ready to channel your inner Quirky chef? Take a look at our many other bespoke, self-contained campervans for hire.

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