Thanksgiving stuffing in a white bowl on a table


A Thanksgiving Picnic at the Campground

We have spent our fair share of Thanksgivings at the campground with family and friends over the last 15 years, and every year the menu looks a bit different depending on where we are, who we are with, and what we are in the mood to cook. We’ve done traditional meals with a full turkey and all the fixings, using the RV oven and an army of crock pots and Instant Pots. We’ve also experimented with smoking and frying the turkey–and experienced varying degrees of success.

One of our favorite campground Thanksgiving menus has made a repeated appearance over the last decade and become a crowd favorite. The menu offers all the classic flavors of the holiday with turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, cranberries, apples, and pumpkin. But the meal is served picnic style, making everything easier to prepare, eat, and clean up in the great outdoors.

The centerpiece of our campground Thanksgiving picnic is a hot turkey sandwich, made with a fresh turkey breast prepared in an Instant Pot. We pile fresh rolls with the sliced turkey, stuffing, and cranberry sauce, and serve them with grilled corn on the cob, crock pot mashed potatoes, and an apple carrot slaw to round out the meal. Dessert is pumpkin bread cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.

The preparation can be done either advance of your camping trip or at the campground, depending on what you prefer. I usually make most of the dishes in advance and then pull together the apple carrot slaw in the RV, grill the corn over the campfire, and ice the cupcakes right before dinner. The meal feels festive, but simple…and hits the right flavor profiles to give you those perfect Thanksgiving vibes.

Make sure you check out this article for more tips on preparing and decorating for Thanksgiving at the campground.

Note: The recipes shared in this article serve about six people, so adjust as necessary!


Turkey Sandwiches with Stuffing and Cranberry Sauce


  • Turkey breast, 3 lbs
  • 1 cup turkey broth
  • salt
  • pepper
  • thyme
  • 1 garlic clove

Season the turkey breast with salt, pepper, garlic, and thyme, then place in the Instant Pot with a cup of turkey broth. Cook on high pressure for 30 minutes. Allow the Instant Pot to naturally release. Let the turkey breast rest for 30 minutes. If you are preparing in advance, wrap in saran and place in the refrigerator, then slice the meat at the campground right before assembling the sandwiches.



  • 14 ounce bag of Pepperidge Farm stuffing mix
  • two celery stalks, chopped
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cups turkey stock

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter in a large pot (I use a Dutch Oven) and sauté the celery and onion until soft. Stir in the bag of stuffing. Pour in the stock and stir until combined. Place the stuffing in a greased Pyrex and bake for 30 minutes. Leave it uncovered if you like a crunchy top. Cover the Pyrex in saran wrap and place in the refrigerator if you are preparing the stuffing in advance.

Cranberry Sauce


  • 1 12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries
  • the juice of two oranges
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt

Place all of the ingredients into a saucepan and stir. Bring to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the sauce completely cool. Place in a tubberware and store in your RV refrigerator.

Purchase your rolls in advance from your favorite bakery or find a local place near the campground. I usually buy a few more than the number of guests we are serving, because experience has taught me people like second helpings…and leftovers!

Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes


  • 5 pounds Russet potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter
  • 1 8 oz package of cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups milk

Pour 1 cup of water into the Instapot, then add your potatoes. Add some salt to taste. Cook on high pressure for 10 minutes and allow the steam to naturally release. Open the lid and prepare the mashed potatoes right in the Instant Pot bowl by place the rest of the ingredients in and mashing everything up.

From start to finish, the potatoes take about 20 minutes, and they are absolutely, classically delicious. They can be prepared while your turkey breast rests.