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Pie Iron Recipes for Camping and Picnics

Joel is the kind of person, even though he is now over 60, who continues to experiment. "Some experiments are less painful than others."


Mountain Pie Maker Basics

A Mountain Pie Maker—also called a pie iron—is a relatively simple cooking instrument made of two hinged cast-iron clamshell grilling plates connected to two long rods with wooden handles. To use it, you simply take two pieces of bread, insert your ingredients, place inside the maker, and then when you close the handles it crimps the bread together creating a sealed bread pouch making it easy to eat. For most recipes, it takes approximately five minutes to cook in your campfire or over your outdoor grill giving you a delicious golden brown outer layer and bubbling hot center.

King Pie

There seldom is a camping trip that we don’t forget something. However, there is one thing we never forget—we never forget our Mountain Pie Makers! And, yes, over the years we have acquired several and use them all every time.

I’ve raised nine children and they were all raised camping. What’s funny now, is that if you ask any of my grandchildren what a Mountain Pie is, they will boisterously exclaim that yes, “they do,” and each will proclaim, that they are the “best” at making them. Although, as "King Pie," I am the best!

"Pudgie Pie" and "Hobo Pie" are words for the same thing.

Pie Makers come in all shapes and sizes

Pie Makers come in all shapes and sizes

More Than Pies

One of the best things about pie makers is that you don’t have to use them just for making sandwiches. They also work great for sautéing onions, mushrooms, peppers, etc. I usually will add a slice of butter and an onion and pepper mixture, clamp it shut, and place it in the coals for a no-mess topping for steaks and potatoes. Simply adding some shredded potatoes, an egg, and crumbled sausage makes a great hash brown breakfast meal all-in-one. How many omelet combinations can you think of?


More Than Bread

With many of my recipes, I change up the kind of bread I use. Traditionally, large square white bread seems to be the mainstay, but, I also use potato bread, rye, wheat, or cinnamon swirl depending on the taste I am trying to achieve. And sometimes, I don’t use bread at all. I like working with soft taco shells, crescent roll dough, and prepackaged pizza dough when I am concocting strombolis, or Mexican-style favorites.

Tips & Tricks

  • “Season” your new cast iron pie maker with bacon grease in the coals of your fire for a long life. I will generally season a new cooker for about ½ hour.
  • When buying a new cooker, choose cast iron over aluminum…well worth a couple of dollars more and if maintained, will last a lifetime
  • Prepare certain ingredients before you go camping and place them in zip-lock bags. I like to fry up hamburgers and sausage and pre-chop onions and peppers.
  • When planning to make pizza-type recipes, use “squeezable” pizza sauce. This is especially helpful for kids.
  • Although you can butter your bread, I recommend using “Pam” grilling spray. This has been the best I have found and keeps your cooker seasoned.
  • Safety—use caution, especially around kids. Cast iron cookers hold their heat for a long time. Make sure you warn all not to touch the metal. When done cooking, place your cookers out of reach until they cool.


One of the best parts of making mountain pies is the unlimited combinations that you will create. I always make the "standard" ham and cheese, but, it never fails, my fellow campers always try to create new temptations. Kids are especially good at concocting new variations. Its also funny how this works--kids will eat their own creations even if it is something they would turn their nose up at home. Below are some of the recipes I have tried...add some of your own in the comment section below.

Fruit Pies

Use any canned pie filling; apple, cherry, and peach are delicious. Place filling between your choices of bread. I will also use cinnamon bread as a variation or combine apple filling and raisons. Grill until golden brown. These are great anytime and a great ending to a meal or for that "one last snack" as the fire dies down before hitting the sack.

Pizza and Stromboli

Place slice of pre-packaged pizza crust in cooker, add tomato puree (or squeeze pasta sauce), green peppers, slivered garlic, oregano, mozzarella cheese and top with pepperoni, etc. . Cover with second slice of pizza crust. Grill 3 or 4 minutes on each side or until the dough is golden brown. is reached. These are most popular with teens and for late night meals. When I am making pizza type pies, I will usually present a smorgasbord of ingredients and let everybody choose their combination.


Spray your cooker well. Use a packaged cornbread mix and fill up one of the cooker shells to about half full. Close and clamp. Cook slowly away from direct flames and not directly on top of coals. I generally will flip the cooker after about 3 minutes and then cook for another two minutes before I pop it open to check on it. This takes a little practice but I've pretty much got it down to an exact science. After cooking, I pop out the cornbread and slice it in half.

"Un" Sloppy Joes

Again, like pizza, the combinations are endless. I normally make the "basic" sloppy joe mix at home and put it in zip-lock type bags before camping. When the time comes, I will let people add additional ingredients like cheeses, extra peppers or onions, etc. You can also buy pre-made sloppy joe mix in cans. The "Un" Sloppy Joes are popular because they are self-contained and easy to handle.

Grandpa's Pot Pie

Preheat pie maker. Spray with Pam Grill non-stick spray. Place slice of bread in maker. Spread mash potatoes into thick layer. Spoon layer of gravy liberally on potatoes. Spoon and press in chopped chicken and drained veggie mix. Season to taste. Place remaining slice of bread on top, close, and clamp cooker. Cook on low heat approximately 4-5 minutes on each side. I’ve used both potato bread and crescent roll dough. This takes a little bit of extra work and the demand for “more” always makes it worth it.


The real trick when making tacos is to have enough ingredients to keep making them and make sure you eat first because the "demand" for more seemingly will not end--especially for teens and beer drinkers.

Just like when making pizza, let people choose their ingrdients. I usually precook my meats and use zip-lock type bags for the other ingredients. I buy a large package of soft taco shells and use them in place of bread(two per taco.) Cook in the flames or directly on coals pulled away from the main fire. I will usually have at least three cookers in the fire at a time because of the high demand that happens. Teens especially will eat these up quicker than you can cook them. It takes about 4 minutes to cook each taco.

Hungry Yet?

The recipes above are just the tip of the iceberg so to speak but, I'm sure you get the gist of the wide range of possibilities. I love cooking mountain pies and am always looking for new ideas. Have fun with yours...happy trails!

P.S.: If we ever meet next to a fire, I'd be glad to join you and perhaps do a Mountain Pie "Cook-off"... although, I still hold the crown of "King Pie"! :)

The King Asks

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2015 Joel Diffendarfer


Ghaelach on January 21, 2015:

Morning Joel.

I don't know if I fit into your definition of camper. But every year at this very moment week are longing for Easter or at least the warm weather to show it's lovely face, where we can driver over to our static caravan on the Dutch/German boarder. Now stop laughing, I know that in your mind, we are the softies in the camping world. Trouble is we are both at an age where lying on a hard surface in a sleeping bag all night, well I can only say we'd need some sort of lift to get us in an upright position in the morning.

You could say we have two of everything, so we are home-from-home wherever we are. Maybe the sad thing about it all is and that's because of the years behind us, we are summer or better said warm weather campers.

We don't have a B-B-Q and an open fire is not allowed on out camp-site because of all the gas bottles on site. We get invited quite often mainly at the weekends when our nice young working families are on site. They provide the food and we provide the beer, everybody happy.

Anyway back to your hub.

You have introduced me to a lot of interesting cooking utensils and recipes. I can see them working on an open fire and I dare say would work equally good on a b-b-q. Will have to look into it and may even buy a b-b-q and get into practice.

Mean while I can only look out my frosted windows and wonder or better ask the man upstairs how long do we have to wait for the warm weather.

Have a great day Joel.

Now what can I have for breakfast?


Trudy Cooper from Hampshire, UK on January 21, 2015:

Wow, I had never heard of a mountain pie maker! We have toasty makers in the UK but these need electricity, what a lovely piece of kit. Enjoyed your hub, thanks.

Phyllis Doyle Burns from High desert of Nevada. on January 20, 2015:

OMGosh I am now quite hungry! These pies sound wonderful. I have never had a mountain pie, but will make sure to try this on next camping trip - or in our backyard cookout over the fire pit. You have many great, useful tips and recipes here, Joel. Thanks for sharing.

Phyllis Doyle Burns from High desert of Nevada. on January 20, 2015:

OMGosh I am now quite hungry! These pies sound wonderful. I have never had a mountain pie, but will make sure to try this on next camping trip - or in our backyard cookout over the fire pit. You have many great, useful tips and recipes here, Joel. Thanks for sharing.