Monday, December 4, 2023


How does preparing a meal in your RV compare to doing it in a traditional home kitchen?

Most of the readers of are avid RVers who use their RVs a lot, unlike the new Millennial or Gen-X RVers who only use theirs on average about 15 days a year. More than half our readers who travel with fifth wheel trailers, for example, travel more than three months a year. Thirty percent are on the road six months or longer, with many of those being full-timers.

In a poll of readers last April, we asked “How often do you cook dinner from scratch?” Approximately half of the more than 4,200 readers responded “Every night or almost every night.” Another 31.3 percent answered “a few times a week.” Only 12 percent answered “never or hardly ever.”

Most of our readers are in roomy rigs. We’re not in short camping trailers or truck campers, where kitchen space is typically very limited. No, our crowd is most often in larger RVs with spacious kitchens with all the amenities of those in a traditional home. Many fifth wheels and high-end motorhomes even have residential refrigerators; a growing number have dishwashers. No, we’re not “roughing it” by any definition.

So our question today is about how different is preparing a meal in your RV kitchen compared to in a traditional home? Do you keep things simple, or do you prepare meals pretty much as you would in your home, or the last sticks-and-bricks home you owned?

Your comments are welcome.

Chuck Woodbury
Chuck Woodbury
I'm the founder and publisher of I've been a writer and publisher for most of my adult life, and spent a total of at least a half-dozen years of that time traveling the USA and Canada in a motorhome.



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Ed H. (@guest_122002)
2 years ago

There’s very little comparison for cooking in a motorhome versus cooking at home. 1st, there’s literally non existent counter space for prep and all the other duties. Our motorhome doesn’t even have a real oven, it has a convection microwave that does not compared to a real oven.
My wife has learned to prepare many meals in advance in our real kitchen at home and then freeze them and put a couple of them in the refrigerator so that we can have some really great meals when we are travelling. Great cooks require gas, NOT electric stoves. We will never buy an RV with an electric stove.
OK, I’m married to a foodie and I made a big mistake of buying a diesel pusher motor home with a convection microwave and not a real oven as well as sufficient counter space. Lesson learned.

Bill Pearson (@guest_121560)
2 years ago

I was taught to clean as I cooked. I never toss dirty dishes into the sink to clean later. I always clean as I go even at home. Keeps from getting a cluttered kitchen.

Vincee (@guest_121490)
2 years ago

One of the best pieces of equipment my wife and I bought for our RV was an induction cooktop

I got the idea after watching my DW waiting for what seems like forever for the pasta water to come to a boil on the typical small burners of RV stoves. What’s nice about the induction cooker is that we will use it inside and outside when the weather is nice.

We also carry two fold-up tables in our basement storage. One 4 foot and one 6 foot which we only use if we are camping with a larger group of campers with several groups using one campsite at a time to prepare group meals. The 4 foot is my go-to on every camp outing giving me space near my Coleman grill besides having to set up by a picnic table.

Einar Hansen (@guest_121352)
2 years ago

I was a professional chef for over 28 years, and I have many tricks that I learned over that time. I cook or bake almost everything from scratch when we are camping. I am lucky enough to have a wife who lets me buy the things that I want to do all the cooking for our family and friends, so I have quite an arsenal of cooking equipment for both inside and outside cooking. I enjoy being able to cook outside whenever I can while camping. One of the best pieces of equipment to have is a 6 or 8 foot folding table to makeup for lost counter space.

Jeannie (@guest_121130)
2 years ago

I normally cook everything from scratch which is difficult in our RV since I don’t have unlimited counter space or duplicates of basic tools (measuring spoons & cups). Sometimes I prepare and freeze food and/or prep ingredients. We also use an outdoor grill and a Blackstone flat top for meals when the weather is cooperative. I have a combination convection/microwave/oven, a large toaster oven, and an induction burner to use in the RV. I plan menus for our trips so I can bring along pantry ingredients and I have an extensive spice/seasoning assortment always on hand. I wouldn’t want to cook in our RV fulltime since there are too many recipes which are too elaborate to prepare in my RV kitchen.

Einar Hansen (@guest_121353)
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeannie

I use a 8 foot folding table. What a game changer!

Rick Sanchez (@guest_121108)
2 years ago

a rv website calling out everyone born after 1965 as “not a real RV’er” is a great strategy to ending up in the block list of basically anybody who knows how to use a computer. I’m sure it will go well

Neal Davis (@guest_121107)
2 years ago

Our RV has the same microwave and convection oven as our house, but our power management system seems to send it less power than the one at home gets from the power company. Whether true or not, things take longer to get to the desired point when cooked in the RV vis-a-vis the one in the house. However, we tend to cook the same things. Perhaps the foods chosen to take and prepare on a trip are a bit smaller in number, but are generally the same as when we are home.

Last edited 2 years ago by Neal Davis
Jeff Craig (@guest_121099)
2 years ago

The amount of work we do when cooking on the road depends on how long we will be gone, how long we will be staying in a spot and if we have full hook-ups. We tend to eat out at local restaurants when we are on multi-state road trips, but if we are spending a week at a State Park with full hook-ups, I’m making Belgian waffles! That said, we tend to use our InstaPot for spaghetti or pot roast to balance our eating out, and the ease of clean up. If we had an outside kitchen, I’d likely cook more as the oven taxes the AC’s in the summer).

Last edited 2 years ago by Jeff Craig
Ernie Powell (@guest_121295)
2 years ago
Reply to  Jeff Craig

Get yourself a 2 burner hot plate for outside & cook Use a crock pot for outside ,all of this keeps heat out of your RV. thats what I do

Paul Cecil (@guest_121089)
2 years ago

This is one of those questions that depend on how long I am going to be out. If it is less than a week, then I cook and freeze meals to be warmed up. Or I also prepare, but not cook, meals to be frozen; and then thawed and cooked. If it is longer than a week then I do my cooking in the RV. I will have frozen prepared meals with me, but will also cook fresh meals. My travel trailer is small enough that it is easier to keep meals simpler so I stick to the basics.

James LaGasse (@guest_121085)
2 years ago

We keep it simple at home as well as on the road, eat much the same. We use the portable gas stove and charcoal grill and if we have shore power we use the instantpot.

Kathy (@guest_121081)
2 years ago

As a solo traveler, I use a 3-qt InstantPot, a small propane grill outside, and an electric kettle the most. Rarely use the microwave. And, of course, there’s the morning coffee in a percolator on the stove! Can’t beat that aroma!

Kat (@guest_121079)
2 years ago

I use my oven so much in my brick and mortar place, can’t do this in my travel trailer. We will soon have a full size grill though and I will be able to use it for a lot of the things I normally cook in an oven.

TIMOTHY W STITZEL (@guest_121073)
2 years ago

Yes, it doesn’t matter for me. Either way I make the same mess.

jillie (@guest_121062)
2 years ago

I make sure I have menus planned and sometimes if the meal is complex I try to make it at home then bring the crockpot to finish the meal in the RV. Or bring the toaster/oven/air fryer with me. I love to eat out but I also love to make meals at home. So it depends on what day it is. Since I will be traveling solo it will get interesting making one meal for me. So who knows what I will do once retired and traveling solo.

Georgia (@guest_121046)
2 years ago

We hardly ever eat out, at home or on RV trips. Planning, planning, planning so the meals are simple and I try not to bring too much extra. I try to prep and/or freeze meals before we leave. My 3qt Instant Pot is a joy to bring along. Our rig has a micro/convection oven that I’m learning to use so we can have fresh baked goods when we travel. It can be a challenge!

Susan Kinder (@guest_121040)
2 years ago

We are full-time in our fifth wheel, and we plan one lunch and one dinner out at every location we stay in for a week, so we can sample the local cuisine. Other than that, we use the outdoor grill, instant pot (with airfryer), toaster oven, propane stovetop and convection microwave to cook all of our meals. We use our oven as storage – worthless to cook in. The main difference for me now is having utensils that can serve multiple purposes or collapse. I never worried about that in our house.

Marion Runcie (@guest_121033)
2 years ago

When we are wandering in our PW van we cook as little as possible. It is supposed to be an escape! Breakfast=cereal, Lunch=Flatouts (wide variety, don’t go stale quickly) Dinner=appetizer type plate. Soup if weather is cold. When we do a beach week with our daughter’s family it is coleman stove on picnic table, more space for everyone to help. Occasionally we will stop someplace nice for lunch.

Paul S Goldberg (@guest_121025)
2 years ago

We live full time in 36′ DP. The range top is propane and there is no oven. We rely on the convection Microwave and InstantPot with airfryer lid for most cooking that is not done on the grill. I have a small BBQ for travel and a much larger 3 burner Weber grill on our winter home base. My wife loves to cook so meals are as elaborate as she has time for and we seldom eat out. she is vegetarian and we do not care for national chain restaurants. Dining out is reserved for special foods in interesting locales, most food is much better prepared in the coach accompanied with wine which is not a good idea with a 17 mile mountain road to traverse after dinner.

Brian Burry (@guest_121023)
2 years ago

The ONLY way my wife would even want to go in our really nice Class A Newmar, is we eat out 90% of the time. She is going to relax, and that allows her to enjoy each trip more. Breakfast can be simple eating in, but lunch or dinner we go out or Order to go! Fine with me, if she is willing to RV with me, then I want her to be happy. We help the local economy as much as possible:))

Drew (@guest_121035)
2 years ago
Reply to  Brian Burry

And then I take what I don’t eat and put it in the microwave the next day 😀  In the warmer months I enjoy cooking small meals outside- it’s more fun.

Grant Graves (@guest_121038)
2 years ago
Reply to  Brian Burry

One of the reasons we like our Class A Newmar is because it has a great kitchen and it is easy to prepare and cook our meals. We like to bake in the convection microwave.

Zeet (@guest_121015)
2 years ago

We eat out fairly often and did before we were fulltimers. Cooking is the same as before except using the convection oven instead of gas. Only difference is not being able to cook multiple things in the oven at the same.

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