Trek Southwest - Hiking and Camping the Desert Southwest

Dutch Oven Campfire Biscuits

in Cast Iron Dutch Oven Recipes

I really love biscuits, but I’ve always been a little too intimidated to try them from scratch while camping. I usually just grab some of those canned ones and haul those along in the cooler. But now that I’ve got a dutch oven – I decided it was finally time to give them a go. I can’t believe I wasted all those years on canned biscuits. Scratch biscuits are easy and super delicious!

Dutch Oven Campfire Biscuits


This recipe makes about 7 large biscuits.

  • 1 ¾ Cup white flour (plus a little bit extra for flouring your biscuit cutting surface)
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 2 ¼ tsp baking powder
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 1 stick (½ Cup) COLD unsalted butter
  • ¾ Cup cold buttermilk (or milk plus lemon juice or vinegar)

What Else You’ll Need

  • 24 pieces of charcoal (and a means to light them)
  • 4 quart 10 inch camping dutch oven
  • small cup or tin can to cut your biscuits with
  • cutting board (or some other flat surface to roll and cut biscuits on)
  • mixing bowl
  • lid lifter (but you can use a pot holder if you need to)
  • hot pads
  • tongs (or some other way of moving lit charcoal briquettes)
  • parchment paper (or extra butter to grease your dutch oven)
  • zip top plastic bags (to hold your pre-mixed ingredients to take to the campsite)

You can either choose to use parchment paper to line your dutch oven or you can simply grease it with a little bit of butter so your biscuits don’t stick. I highly recommend the parchment paper for easy clean up!

Related:  Learn More About the Dutch Oven Equipment We Use

Before You Leave Home

You can do pretty much all of your mixing of ingredients at home so your only job at the campsite will be to add the buttermilk and roll these puppies out.

Step 1

Combine all dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.

Dry ingredients

Step 2

Take your stick of unsalted butter and cut it into smaller pieces.


Cut up butter

Then, add it to your dry ingredients. Then you’ll take a fork (or a pastry cutter if you’ve got one) and simply mash the butter into the dry ingredients. You want the butter to eventually be very small pieces – sort of like crumbs.

Add butter to dry ingredients

Buttery crumbs

This will keep your biscuits nice and light since that butter will melt into little pockets of goodness when you bake them. Once your butter is crumbled into your dry ingredients – simply bag the contents of your bowl into a zip top plastic bag and refrigerate until you’re ready to put it in your cooler for your camping trip.

At the Campsite

Step 1

Get your charcoal briquettes heating up. You’ll want 24 total – put them in a heap and light them. You’ll let them heat up while you roll out your dough into biscuits. Remember – you want white-hot briquettes.

Step 2 A

Once you’re at the campsite you’ll want to mix your buttermilk or milk/lemon juice or vinegar mixture into your dry ingredients. But first let me explain the milk/lemon juice or vinegar thing. If you’re like me and almost never buy buttermilk because recipes call for a tiny amount and too much buttermilk simply goes to waste – you’ll love this little trick.

Say your recipe calls for ¾ Cup of buttermilk (like ours does above.) Pour ¾ Cup of milk (shy just a tiny bit to save room for the other liquid) and add a teaspoon or so of either lemon juice or vinegar. Stir this up and let sit for 5-10 minutes. Now the milk mixture will act exactly like buttermilk and you don’t need to buy buttermilk. Awesome right?

Add lemon juice to milk

Stir it up

Step 2 B

Now we’re ready to add the pseudo-buttermilk to our dry ingredients. Or if you brought buttermilk instead – just put that in – no need to do the milk prep step! See all those bubbles?


Step 3

Once you have thoroughly mixed the milk and dry ingredients – you’ll want to make a rough circle with your dough on your cutting board (or other flat surface). Add a little extra flour if your dough is too sticky. This doesn’t have to be perfect or even that pretty – just shoot for dough that’s about 1 ½ – 2 inches thick.

Rolled out dough

Then you grab your cup and cut your biscuits out. Cut as many as you can, then grab your scraps and re-form them into a circle and repeat your cutting until you’re out of dough.

Cut your biscuits out

Biscuit thickness

Place the biscuits in a single layer in your buttered/papered dutch oven. The single layer is important for them to cook evenly – if you’ve got extra – save them for another cooking session otherwise you’ll end up with gluey semi-baked biscuits.

Single layer of biscuits

Step 4

Now you just need to bake your biscuits. Put the lid on your dutch oven and take it to your cooking area. Place six briquettes underneath the oven (loosely) and place 18 on top of the oven. My initial guess was that this recipe would take about 25-35 minutes to bake, but it ended up being more like 45-50 due to high winds while I was cooking (see how my coals aren’t even that white?)

Biscuits baking

My recommendation is to simply check your biscuits every 20 minutes or so using either a lid lifter or a thick hot pad (trying not to get ash on those biscuits.) They’re done when they’re a lovely golden brown!


These biscuits are flaky and delicious! Grab some butter, honey, or jam and slather it on while they’re hot!

Buttered biscuit

Pile of biscuits

I hope you enjoy these biscuits as much as we did!

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RobinGuest Post by Robin Laulainen. Robin writes about camping and other outdoorsy stuff at Trek Southwest, pets every dog she meets, and drinks more coffee than she should. She blogs about her other passion - creating - at Make It Yourself Girl.

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

mason March 7, 2017 at 5:04 pm

2 1/4 CUP baking powder?


Cory Doggett March 8, 2017 at 4:00 am

Oops. Thanks for that. Corrected.


Charles Curtiss July 25, 2018 at 9:33 pm

Literally the first thing I’ve ever cooked in a dutch oven, and they are great. It was so much easier than I thought it would be! Thank you for a wonderful recipe. I think I’ll reduce the salt next time, though.


Bob Hart August 18, 2019 at 6:06 pm

Thanks for the recipe and technic. Fresh biscuits in the wilderness were a treat. Will do it again – maybe try it at home.


Nathan March 22, 2020 at 11:55 am

Just tried these this morning while camping, and they were great! It was about 40 deg in TN, so we had to use a few extra coals on top and bottom. Also, as the author stated, it took about 40 mins, but they were perfect. The only advice I have, is to take a bit of extra buttermilk. It calls for 3\4 a cup, but I took 1 cup, and I still had to drizzle some water in. GREAT RECIPE! WILL USE AGAIN!


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