Campfire Dutch Oven Chili and Cornbread

When we go camping, we love a hearty one-pot meal that needs little prep time, minimal cook time and big payoff when it comes to flavor. With all this in mind, we set out to create a dump-and-stir chili that could be made with ingredients you'd find at even the remotest general store. To reduce the number of items you need to pack in your cooler, we kept this vegetarian. But we wouldn't be unhappy if some broken-up sausage found its way into the pot too. The cornbread layer on top makes this a full meal that everyone can customize with a variety of toppings.
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  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 55 min
  • Active: 20 min
  • Yield: 6 to 8 servings
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One 16-ounce jar mild salsa

One 14.5-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes 

One 4-ounce can mild or hot green hatch chiles 

Three 15-ounce cans beans, such as kidney, black and pinto beans, or your preference, drained (but not rinsed) 

One 15-ounce can corn, drained (but not rinsed) 

3 tablespoons chili powder 

One 8.5-ounce box corn muffin mix  

1 large egg 

1/3 cup whole milk 

Assorted toppings such as sour cream, shredded cheese, sliced jalapenos, chopped cilantro, diced avocado, sliced scallions and hot sauce, for serving 


Special equipment:
a pre-seasoned 5-quart cast-iron Dutch oven
  1. Add the salsa, tomatoes, hatch chiles, beans, corn, chili powder and 1 1/4 cups water to a pre-seasoned 5-quart cast-iron Dutch oven and stir to combine. Prepare the corn muffin mix with the egg and milk according to package directions and spoon in dollops on top of the bean mixture. Cover with the lid and be careful not swing the pot too much when transferring it to the fire to keep the batter on top (it will sink a bit though).
  2. Prepare a campfire or charcoal grill for cooking at medium-high heat (you'll know it's ready when you can hold your hand about 2 inches above the fire or grates for only 2 to 3 seconds). Arrange the coals so there is a hole in the center large enough to hold the Dutch oven without it touching any coals directly. Place the Dutch oven in the hole. With grilling tongs or a shovel, place a few coals on the lid of the Dutch oven. Cook for 20 minutes, rotating the pot occasionally. Remove the coals from the lid and take the Dutch oven off the fire. Let sit, covered, for 15 minutes before serving with desired toppings.