Recipe: Chili for One

When setting up a recipe for a camping stove, the urge to heat up pre-cooked food can be overwhelming. But fear not, fellow solo camp cooker, for I am here to guide you through the culinary journey of making the perfect chili for one. It’s sort of from scratch, if you count using a chili powder mix instead of adding spices individually as scratch.


  • 1/4 pound ground beef or turkey
  • 1/4 can (about 8 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped onions and peppers
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional toppings: shredded cheese, chopped green onions

One-Pot Wonder

The beauty of making chili lies in its simplicity and one-pot nature. You can make this meal in any type of camp stove bowl, mess kit, or bush pot.

Sauté onions and peppers in a dry pot, creating a savory base for your chili. I do not personally like to brown meat for chili because “boiling” it in the sauce and juice makes the meat fall apart better and incorporates the fat for more flavor. Plus, I’ve never been able to taste the “char” in stewed chili meat. It’s not a burger.

Next, incorporate the diced tomatoes. Stir in the seasoning, letting the flavors meld together. Season with salt and pepper to taste, adjusting the spice level according to your preference. You can make your own spice mix or use a pre-made, it’s all good here. No judgement. 1

Patience is a Virtue

Simmering is the secret to a well-developed chili flavor. Allow to simmer gently for at least 15-20 minutes, giving the ingredients time to meld and intensify their taste. To ensure that your meat is thoroughly cooked use the pot lid or cover it with another pan to trap heat in for a few minutes.

The Finishing Touches

Once your chili has reached the desired consistency and flavor, pour it into a bowl and add your favorite toppings. Whether it’s a sprinkle of shredded cheese, a dollop of sour cream, or a handful of chopped green onions, these finishing touches elevate your solo dining experience.

In the end, making chili for one is not just about preparing a meal; it’s an opportunity to enjoy hot food outside on a cold day. If you need a more visual explanation feel free to check out my video below:

Chili for one supplies:

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  1. DO NOT put beans in your chili, that will turn it into a stew. I do not make these rules. ↩︎

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