Van Life Kitchen Ideas

Van Life Kitchen Ideas

If you’re living the van life, you’ll know that cooking can be a challenge. You don’t have much space to work with, not to mention the lack of an oven or stove. But despite these constraints, it’s still possible to whip up yummy meals! In this article, we’ll show you some of the best ideas for van life kitchens. These van life kitchen ideas are great for those living in their vans full-time and those who do it part-time.


The most crucial part of any van life kitchen is storage. You can’t cook in your kitchen if you don’t have a place to keep all the stuff you need. You want to be able to store food, cooking utensils, plates, flatware, and other make-shift cooking gear. The easiest way to create some extra storage space is by getting rid of unnecessary items. Getting extra storage boxes and keeping the ingredients up high in the van is also a good idea. Keeping your kitchen organized is easier if you have less stuff.


You don’t need a full kitchen to make delicious food on the road. You can purchase most of the things you need at the local supermarket or convenience mart. But if you can’t get the ingredients you need, you’ll need a way to cook them. Luckily, you can still make tasty meals without a portable stove or oven. If your van doesn’t have propane, you could use a hot plate to heat food. You can also use a cast-iron pan (or even a disposable foil one). A small electric skillet works great for cooking fish and other types of meat. If your van has electricity, you can get a portable induction cooktop and also electric kettle.


If you’re going to use an electric skillet, cast-iron pan, or hot plate, then you’ll probably want to invest in some of those nifty cast-iron cookware sets. The last thing you want is to be scraping burnt food off the bottom of your pot. Get the right set, and it’s a non-stick surface that can’t be scratched or worn off. There are also some nifty portable cookware sets that you can use in your van.


For most of the cooking you’ll be doing, you probably won’t need much. But a couple of pans and bowls will make all the difference. For boiling pasta, rice, and vegetables, you may need a large pot. A stockpot is very useful for cooking soups and stews, and some people like using a camping frying pan instead of using their cast iron cookware set. If you want to use cast-iron cooking pots, then it’s best to use stainless steel pans. You don’t want a rusty pot turning your food into a black mess on the burner stove.


Some of the items you’ll need for van life kitchens are very simple and inexpensive. In contrast, others are costly but well worth it if they make your life easier. Some of the essential items you’ll need are a cooler, ice packs, a heat source, utensils, plates, bowls, and other small kitchenware.


If you’re going to be living in your campervan for long periods and cooking meals more than 3 or 4 times a day, you’re going to need a good cooler. A cheap Styrofoam cooler can do the trick if your vacation is short-term. But if you’re living on the road for weeks or even months at a time, it’s essential to keep your food safe and keep it at the right temperature. For instance, if you’re holding frozen turkeys while camping, then a cheap cooler won’t be able to hold enough ice to keep them cool enough.

Ice Packs

Because of their ability to retain cold, ice packs are handy for any meal preparation. There are many ways to use them when cooking. For instance, you can wrap vegetables in paper towels and stick them in plastic bags with a few ice packs. It will keep the vegetables fresh and crisp without any freezer burn.

Heat Source

You can use any heat source for cooking your food, but every type comes with its own set of pros and cons. If you’re going to get a stovetop or oven, then propane will be your best bet. Propane is portable and easy to store because it’s not flammable. You can also use it for cooking in a camping or first-aid tent, so you don’t have to worry about bringing it to your campsite. On the other hand, propane tanks are heavier than butane, and most people prefer using it for cooking because it doesn’t smell like gas.


You’ll need some utensils as well. You’ll probably want a large spatula, a fork, and a spoon to use when stirring soups and stews. You can also use a spoon to eat your food. The best utensils are those that are heat resistant. They will stay cool when cooking.

Plates, Bowls, and Cutlery

Whether you cook for one or a dozen people, you’ll need plates, bowls, and some plastic or aluminum cutlery as well. You’ll also need some napkins and paper towels for wiping your hands or face after meals.

Kitchen and Supplies

Finally, there are a few kitchen consumables you’ll need. You’ll need some spices, condiments, and cooking oil for many of your dishes. You can even line the bottom of your pot with tin foil to get a non-stick surface. Some people like using liquid butter on their cast-iron pans to help them slide off the food better when cooking. Most importantly, most people like using olive oil as a cooking oil because it’s healthy and good for the environment.

Campervan Kitchen

A campervan kitchen is a simple setup. It’s a deep sink, and cabinets with all the necessary appliances tucked away behind them. As such, the cupboards and drawers are usually shallow. It means that space is better used for storing small items like utensils, food packs, and ingredients rather than big bulky pots and pans.

In a campervan kitchen, you will usually have one burner for cooking; sometimes, you’ll see two burners, but that’s very rare. You’ll also want to have a mini-fridge for storing food. It would be best to constantly plug it in the mini-fridge as it won’t work on an extension cord.

You’ll need a knife block that stores up to 12 knives of different sizes. You can make holes in the cabinet door so you can hang your knife, and you can put some holders for sharpening your knives on the walls too. If you’re not going camping, you might want a breadboard with dividers for all kinds of bread, rolls, and other baked goods.

How should you prepare food in a Campervan Kitchen?

You will need to take note of your cookware before setting off. You will need to know which pots and pans are best for your type of meals, whether it’s slow cooking, stews, or some Asian dish. If you’re going camping in a public campsite, you can ask the people who run the site about what they recommend you bring and take note. You can then now cook your van life recipes that taste so bad-ass that people think you made it in a five-star kitchen.

Stovetop Cooking

It is the simplest form of cooking; it uses your oven or stovetop. In a campervan kitchen, you would typically have a basic oven or stovetop to cook your food, like your savory dishes.

Several campervan kitchens have been built using free-standing cookers instead of ones mounted within cabinets. For the one living a van life, the advantage of having a free-standing one is more space for bigger pots and pans. Free-standing cookers can be adjusted the height to suit the height of whoever is cooking at the time, whether it’s a stovetop or an oven.

Countertop Cooking

The idea of countertops comes from two-way kitchens where food is cooked on one side, and people can view the food on the other side. It gives you more space and a more comfortable way to cook food. You can even be seated while cooking. This type of campervan kitchen is usually used for smaller meals, as snacks.

Air-Dried Cooking

An excellent tip to consider is that even if you have a stovetop or oven in your campervan kitchen, you might want to look into an air-drying/grilling system. This way, you can create a variety of meals that use less wood and cook faster. They are beneficial for campers who want to conserve energy and reduce their ecological footprint.

If you’re planning on cooking in your campervan kitchen regularly, you might want to consider a 12-volt system. It is much more efficient and is more effective than using the van’s electrical system.

Don’t forget to bring along a water filter for your campervan kitchen. In some places, water may be unsafe for drinking because of contamination by algae or other organisms that may not be good for human use.

Freezer Camping Kitchen

A freezer campervan kitchen is ideal for large groups. It requires a deep chest freezer and a generator and is excellent for big groups who are camping. Freezer campers use the freezer to store food items that they will cook later. Freezer campers can even cook food in bulk or at least have a surplus that they won’t go hungry during their trip.

The freezer campervan kitchen can have several drawers to help store food. There is also a fridge; however, it will require electricity to run. The freezer campervan kitchen is possible because there are two options for cooking in the freezer: oven and microwave oven.

What to look for in a freezer campervan kitchen?

You might want to look for a fridge with an ice dispenser. When you’re at camp, you may want to add ice as it keeps food cool and safe from pests, which can increase the risk of food poisoning.

Freezer campers can bring along a stovetop or even a portable propane stove. Having these would save on energy costs. If there is a power outage, you can run this stovetop kitchen with the generator.

To have a freezer campervan kitchen, you would typically need to park out in the open. If your campsite has a power hook up, you could choose to park your campervan by the van so that it’s easier for the people cooking.

Pantry Cabinet Cooking

You can store food in a pantry cabinet-style campervan kitchen. These cabinets are typically mounted on walls, and they are also usually tall enough for people to store food and cook. You can use a pantry cabinet kitchen to store food in, assuming there is plenty of room. You can also have extra refrigerator-style cabinets for larger dishes or pots.

Microwave Oven Cooking

It is a standard option for campervan kitchens. Instead of having a regular stove, you can have one with a microwave oven in it. Many campervan kitchens come with this option because it’s also very cheap to have installed.

The microwave oven heats items quickly and efficiently even though it takes some time to prepare food. You can use this in the campervan kitchen to heat food for the next meal. It’s an excellent way who live a van life to eat healthily or keep food warm for a long time.


With the tips above, you should come up with a campervan kitchen design that meets your needs. You can also save some money when you consider choosing a campervan kitchen package. Don’t forget to check if the van’s dimensions can fit everything you need. It may be good to buy everything online and take it with you when you get there. Van life can be very sustainable, but only if you are careful about what you do and how you live.

It is an excellent way to prepare your van life before setting out on an adventure!