Skip to Content

Customizable Hobo Dinner Tin Foil Packets

Discover an easy hobo dinner recipe that can be cooked in the oven, grill, campfire, air fryer, or slow cooker. These Tin foil packets are fully customizable with your favorite ingredients to please even the pickiest eater. Finally, a delicious and hearty meal that the whole family will love! Not to mention clean up is a breeze!

Easy Hobo Dinner, Tin Foil Dinner perfect for the whole family.

This post contains affiliate links to point you in the right direction to find the supplies that you might not already have on your shelves

When I was 7 months pregnant with Miss Rose, I spent a full week in Wyoming visiting my dad and we needed dinner ideas. Being 7 months pregnant and in the summer heat; I needed something simple, quick, and easy, with very little cleanup, and able to please everyone!

Then I remembered my mom used to make hobo dinner tin foil packs when we were kids and it was always a favorite of everyone. She would cook them in the oven at home, or over the campfire while camping in the mountains. Let me show you how!

❤️ Why it works

  • Easy: Add your favorites in the middle of the tin foil, fold, cook, and enjoy!
  • Little Clean-up: Other than a few utensils used for prepping your ingredients, there are no dishes to clean up afterward! Toss the used tinfoil and that’s it!
  • Fully Customizable for each family member: This is excellent if you have picky eaters! Everyone can pick their own seasonings and vegetables based on what they like!
  • Many cooking options: You can cook these hobo dinner packets in the oven, on the grill, in the slow cooker, over a campfire, and even in the air fryer! 
  • Prepared ahead: These can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator until time to bake!

Cream cheese fruit dip in a marble bowl with toffee bits to the left in a wooden bowl with a while porcelain spoon garnished with fresh strawberries

🍊Variations

  • Size of Foil Packets: It’s okay if some of the packets are larger than others. They will take a little longer to cook, but they will still be delicious. If you are adding more than one hamburger patty, place them side by side on the plate, not stacked on top of each other. If there are not a lot of vegetables, try to place the meat on top of them as best you can.
  • Chicken hobo dinners: Use ground chicken instead of ground beef. Chicken can be a great alternative. Just make sure to cook them to the proper temperature for a safe and healthy meal.
  • Vegetarian hobo dinners: Omit the meat and add more vegetables.
  • Seafood hobo dinners: Use shrimp, crab, or fish instead of ground beef.
  • Breakfast hobo dinners: Use eggs, bacon, sausage, or ham instead of ground beef.
  • Make it Creamy: If you want yours more creamy with a little extra sauce, add a dollop of Cream of mushroom, cream of chicken, or cream of celery soup on top of the packet before folding and cooking.
  • Add Cheese: Cheese is a delicious addition to hobo dinners. Place a slice of cheese on top of the hamburger patty before cooking for a flavorful and gooey treat.
  • Add Onion Soup Mix: This can be a great way to add flavor to your hobo dinners, especially if you are using lean ground beef or other less flavorful meats.
  • Season the hamburger patty before cooking – for even more flavor, try seasoning the hamburger before creating patties. A tasty seasoning mix is 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper, 1/2 tsp garlic powder, and 1/2 tsp onion powder. Mix that into 1 lb ground hamburger then portion into patties. But don’t forget to still season the vegetables before cooking!
ground hamburger, potatoes, kielbasa sausage, carrots, corn and other ingredients on a brown granite counter and white cutting board

Ground Hamburger – I typically use extra-lean ground beef in my recipes, but this is one time I would recommend using lean ground beef instead. This is because the extra fat helps to keep the food moist and tender. You don’t want the food to dry out, and the extra fat also adds great flavor to the vegetables in the packet.

Kielbasa Sausage – why just have one type of meat? A great way to really elevate hobo dinners is to add a few slices of beef kielbasa sausage into the packet. We usually get one pack of smoked sausage and slice it up and divide it between everyone that wants to include it.

Vegetables – There is no end of possibilities here. Pick your favorite vegetables that pair well with ground beef and have fun! Common vegetables include

  • Potatoes
  • Corn
  • Carrots
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Onions
  • Mushrooms
  • Green & red peppers
  • Jalapeños
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Asparagus
  • Frozen sweet baby peas
  • Cabbage

Seasonings:  Many people like to use onion soup powder mixes. I prefer Famous Dave’s burger and Steak seasoning and McCormicks California Style Garlic Pepper and McCormicks Perfect Pinch Steak Seasoning. You can add a little dash of all 3 or just one or any combination of them.

Salt – if you are using pure spices and not a seasoning mix, you want to make sure you include salt. This is the one ingredient that often gets forgotten and yet it makes the most improvement to the flavor! 

⏲️ How to Make Hobo Dinners

Measure out 4 large slices of heavy-duty aluminum foil on a flat surface. Lightly spray each with non-stick spray to prevent the hamburger or vegetables from sticking.

Peel and slice/chop up the vegetables you want to include in your hobo dinner tin foil packets.

Add a thin layer of thinly sliced potatoes to the center of the aluminum foil.

Diced potatoes on a sheet of aluminum foil with seasonings sprinkled on top.

Form 4 equally portioned hamburger patties and place them in the center of the aluminum foil

ground hamburger patty on aluminum toil with seasonings sprinkled on top

Add corn, carrots, and any other vegetables you want, including jalapenos.

diced potatoes, smoked sausage, carrots, corn, and hamburger on tin foil

This is where you can get really creative. And also customize each tin foil packet for each picky eater you have! Don’t like potatoes? Use sweet potatoes instead. Or omit them altogether. Make it spicy. Or keep it simple. The skies the limit with the various combination possibilities.

Diced sweet potatoes, jalapeños, carrots, smoked sausage and hamburger on a tin foil sheet

Keep everything in the center of the tin foil and don’t layer too high.

Add a few slices of the smoked beef sausage

Season with Famous Dave’s Burger, McCormick’s Garlic pepper seasonings, and/or McCormick’s Perfect Pinch Steak Seasoning. Or go with your favorite single spices like salt, garlic, and paprika. Add some red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper for those that want an extra spicy kick.

To seal the foil packet, bring the short sides together in the middle and gently fold down to completely seal. Then, roll up the ends

A pile of 7 stacked tin foil packets on a white plate

Don’t forget to label the packets with each person’s name! I usually use a Sharpie marker.

Single tin foil packet with MOM written on the packet in sharpie marker

Cook them up and enjoy!

opened hobo dinner tin foil pack on a white plate

You can eat them directly out of the tin foil packet, or dump them onto a plate.

cooked hobo dinner served on a white plate with sweet potatoes, hamburger, smoked sausage, carrots and jalapeños

🔥 How To Cook Hobo Dinners

The great thing about hobo dinners is that they are so versatile and so many different ways to cook them!

Flipping the packets after 20 minutes of cooking will help to ensure that the food cooks evenly. Just be careful not to tear the foil when you flip the packets.

And obviously, the cooking time will vary and depend on the size of the packet. The larger it is filled the longer it will take to cook. Use a thermometer to check when the hamburger is fully cooked to an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

7 tin foil packets on a grill with one packet open for testing the temperature of the food

In the Oven

  • You can place the tin foil packets on a cookie sheet or directly on the center rack. If you are cooking directly on the rack, I like to put a cookie sheet on the rack below to catch any juices that might overflow to keep the oven clean.
  • Cook in oven at 400 degrees for 40-50 minutes.

On the Grill

  • Grill on a preheated grill set to 400 degrees for 45-60 minutes or until the vegetables are soft and the meat is fully cooked.
7 tin foil packets cooking on a hot grill

On the Campfire

  • Place the foil packets directly on the hot coals, not the flames. The flames will burn through the foil. Cook for 45-60 minutes, or until the food is cooked through.

In the Air Fryer

  • Set the temperature to 400°F 
  • Place the foil packet in the air fryer basket.
  • Cook for 25-30 mins, or until the food is cooked through.

In the Slow Cooker

  • Prepare the packets according to the instructions, seal them tightly, and place them in the slow cooker.
  • This is the one time that the packets can be stacked on top of each other if you need to get all the packets to fit.
  • Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or until the food is cooked through.

💡 Pro Tips

  • Use a good quality foil. This will help to prevent the packets from leaking.
  • Don’t overfill the packets. This will prevent the ingredients from cooking evenly.
  • Seal the packets tightly. This will help to keep the steam in and the food moist.
  • Cook the packets until the meat is cooked through and the vegetables are tender.
Open tin foil packet with diced potatoes, hamburger, smoked sausage, corn and carrots on a white plate and fork to eat

💭 FAQ’s

What are hobo dinners?

Hobo dinners are a type of campfire meal that is made by wrapping ingredients in foil and cooking them over the fire. The ingredients typically include meat, vegetables, and seasonings.

What is another name for hobo dinner?

There are several names for hobo dinners, including:
– Foil packet dinner
– Tin foil dinner
– Hobo pack
– Hobo Casserole
– Camping dinner
– Outdoor dinner
– Packet meal

Why is it called a hobo meal?

Hobos date back to the depression era when the homeless roamed the country and cooked dinner over an open fire. These meals were typically whatever could be rounded up and cooked over an open fire.

Can I make hobo dinners ahead of time?

Yes, you can prep hobo dinners ahead of time. Assemble the packets and store them in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. When you are ready to cook, remove the packets from the fridge and bake according to the directions above.

Do you cook on the shiny side or the dull side of tin foil?

Reynolds Kitchen says that the difference between the shiny and dull sides of aluminum foil is just a result of how it’s made, and it doesn’t affect how the foil cooks. That means you can cook your food with either side up, and you’ll still get the same results.

Can you cook foil packets in an air fryer?

Absolutely! You can use foil in the air fryer, just be sure to roll up the sides so that the air can still circulate. It will cook similarly to being over an open flame just a lot faster.

How long does it take to cook a tin foil dinner in a fire?

To cook hobo dinners over a campfire, place them on hot coals and cook for 20-30 minutes. The cooking time may vary depending on the actual temperature of the coals, the actual thickness of the cut vegetables, the outside temperature, and how many foil packets are on the coals. There is a great deal of variance in cooking times when cooking over coals.

👩🏻‍🍳 Cooking with Kids

If you’re familiar with Busy Creating Memories, you know that we’re passionate about creating memories with our kids. And one of the best ways to do that is to get them involved in the kitchen. Cooking together is a great way to bond, learn new skills, and create lasting memories. That’s why we always include ideas on how to involve kids in our recipes.

Here are several ways that kids can be involved in making these customized hobo dinner tin foil packets

Ages 2+

  • Gather all kitchen utensils needed with help.
  • Gather all the ingredients needed with help.
  • Wash vegetables.
  • Mix the hamburger with seasonings with clean hands (this can be a little messy but really fun).
  • Place pre-cut vegetables on the tin foil sheets.

Ages 6+ Any of the above tasks, PLUS…

  • Pulling out the aluminum foil and cutting it into sheets for the tin foil packets.
  • Peeling potatoes and carrots with a standard potato peeler.
  • Cutting vegetables to bite size cubes. We start our kids off with a knife designed for kids like the Joie Crinkle Cutter. And a lot of supervision until they show competence using the tool.
  • Read out & identify the recipe ingredients.
  • Sprinkling seasonings over the entire dish.
  • Forming hamburger patties.
  • Cutting the smoke sausage into bite sized-pieces.
  • Opening a can of corn or other vegetables you are adding.
  • Folding the packets.
  • Labeling each packet with names.
  • Be involved in cleaning up: putting ingredients away, wiping the counter, sweeping the floor, loading the dishwasher, or washing dishes by hand.

Ages 10+ Any of the above tasks, PLUS…

  • Adding the packets to the oven, grill, air fryer, or slow cooker.
  • Flipping the packets after 20 minutes of cooking with help.
  • Removing the tin foil packets from the oven, grill, air fryer, or slow cooker.

Cooking over a campfire can be dangerous, so it is best for adults to do it. However, you can start teaching children how to cook over a campfire at around age 10-12 with close STRICT supervision.

Please note: Every child is different, so it is important to use your own judgment when deciding which tasks are appropriate for your child. These are just suggestions, and you may need to adjust them based on your child’s individual abilities and needs. It is also important to remember that younger children will require more direct supervision than older children.

More Easy Ground Beef Recipes

Remember to pin this Snackle Box to Pinterest! 
Use the button on the recipe card or the share buttons on the side or bottom of this page.

Yield: 4 packets

Easy Customized Hobo Dinner Tin Foil Packets

Open tin foil packet with diced potatoes, hamburger, smoked sausage, corn and carrots on a white plate and fork to eat

An excellent camping dinner that can easily be made at home in the oven, grill, air fryer, campfire, or even the slow cooker! With very little cleanup, and customizable even for the pickiest eater.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 lb lean ground hamburger
  • 2 Idaho Russet potatoes
  • 1 sweet potato (optional)
  • 1 can whole kernel corn
  • 2 carrots
  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1 Nitrate free beef sausage
  • jalapenos
  • Famous Dave's Burger and Steak seasoning (optional)
  • McCormick California Style Garlic Pepper (optional)
  • McCormick Perfect Pinch Steak Seasoning (optional)

Instructions

  1. Measure out 4 large slices of heavy-duty aluminum foil on a flat surface.
  2. Lightly spray each with non-stick spray to prevent the hamburger or vegetables from sticking
  3. Peel and slice/chop up the vegetables you want to add
  4. Add a thin layer of thinly sliced potatoes to the center of the aluminum foil.
  5. Form 4 equally portioned hamburger patties and place them in the center of the aluminum foil
  6. Add corn, carrots, and any other vegetables you want. Including jalapenos Keep everything in the center of the tin foil and don't layer too high.
  7. Add a few slices of the beef sausage
  8. Season with Famous Dave's Burger and McCormick's Garlic pepper seasonings
  9. To seal the foil packet, bring the short sides together in the middle and gently fold down to completely seal. Then, roll up the ends

Cooking in the Oven

  • Cook in oven at 400 degrees for 35-50 minutes. The cooking time will depend on the size of the packet.

Cooking on the Grill

  • Grill on preheated grill for 45-60 minutes or until vegetables are soft and meat fully cooked. The cooking time will depend on the size of the packet.

Cooking on the Campfire

  • Place the foil packets directly on the hot coals, not the flames. The flames will burn through the foil. Cook for 45-60 minutes, or until the food is cooked through. The cooking time will depend on the size of the packet.

Cooking in the Air Fryer

  • Set the temperature to 400 degrees
  • Place the foil packet in the air fryer basket.
  • Cook for 25-30 minutes, or until the food is cooked through. The cooking time will depend on the size of the packet.

Cooking in the Slow Cooker

  • Prepare the packets according to the instructions, seal them tightly, and place them in the slow cooker. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or until the food is cooked through.

Notes

Cooking times, of course, will vary depending on how large (or small) each packet is.

Use heavy-duty foil. This will help to prevent the foil from tearing.

Don't overcrowd the foil packet. This will prevent the ingredients from cooking evenly.

Cook the dinner over medium heat. This will help to prevent the foil from burning.

Keep an eye on the dinner while it is cooking. This will help to ensure that it does not overcook.

Be creative and have fun with your hobo dinners! There are endless possibilities.

You can make each packet ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before cooking.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1 foil packet

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 672Total Fat: 34gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 16gCholesterol: 147mgSodium: 620mgCarbohydrates: 44gFiber: 5gSugar: 5gProtein: 46g

Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from online calculators. Although Busy Creating Memories attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Stina

Sunday 25th of September 2022

Was wondering if u could replace the Hamburg with ground chicken in the foil pack dinners ? Would it would still come out just as delicious ?

Amber Edwards

Thursday 11th of May 2023

Yes you can. Just make sure to use a thermometer to ensure the chicken is cooked to the appropriate safe internal temperature.

Tammy Sue

Thursday 3rd of June 2021

These look amazing! Just wondering a couple of things. *Are these around 1/4 lb patties that you use? *On a propane grill, which I am not experienced, :) Any suggestion on the setting? Thanks!!

Amber Edwards

Thursday 11th of May 2023

I measured the patty based on the person. For an adult I usually do about 1/4 lb. For a child a little smaller. On the propane grill I usually set them at around a medium setting. If you have a thermometer on the grill you can adjust the temperature accordingly to get it to the right temperature listed in the recipe.

Judy

Friday 28th of August 2020

These dinners were a staple for the many years I was a level leader at camp. I have made them for my family at least two or three times a year since then. And variety!!! OMG there is no end to the variations

Easy Make Ahead Camping Meals

Monday 13th of August 2018

[…] you like sausage and spices you might want to check out this version of a hobo dinner, this would not do for me but my husband would love this […]

25 Foil Packet Dinners! Easy Camping Ideas Here!

Thursday 12th of July 2018

[…] Easy Hobo Dinner – Busy Creating Memories […]

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Skip to Recipe