Campfire Flatbreads – Quick, Easy and Tasty

Flat breads are one of the easiest breads to make, indoors or outdoors. Indeed, flat breads exist in the cuisine of many cultures around the world. Once you have flour, you can make flat breads. Once you have a fire, you can make campfire flatbreads.

Here I’d like to share how we make flat breads outside, on courses and on trips.

As well as the ingredients being simple, this type of bread is also quick to make and quick to cook – ideal if you are either short of time or very hungry, or both.

At their most basic, all you need to make flat breads is some flour, a small amount of fat and some clean water.

In terms of cooking equipment, life is equally simple in flat-bread land. All you need is a hot flatt(ish) surface.

Flat bread cooking on a simple skillet. Photo: Paul Kirtley

Flatbread Ingredients

The basic ingredients for flat breads are very few and ones you will often have in camp or on a trip:

  • Flour
  • Oil or butter
  • Water

Start with plain white flour, as it’s simplest to get good results. You can then try self-raising or wholemeal, before experimenting further if you wish.

Personally I like to use olive oil for very simple flatbreads as it gives a flavour I enjoy. Melted butter also works well.

Basic Flatbread Method

  1. Take a couple of handfuls of flour and put them into a bowl, mug or billy can.
  2. Lift your fingers through the flour a few times to aerate it.
  3. Add a tablespoon (approximately) of oil or melted butter to the flour and mix.
  4. You need surprisingly little water. Add a small dribble of water to start with and mix.
  5. Keep adding a little dribble, then mixing until you start to get a dough.
  6. If you add too much water, resulting in a sloppy dough, add a little more flour to soak up excess.
  7. Once you have a dough, keep working it for several minutes, after which the dough should start to feel somewhat bouncy and resistant to pressure from your fingers.
  8. Small breads cook quickest, so start with breaking off a dough ball then begin to flatten it out in the palm of your hand, before stretching it out with your fingers.
  9. Once you have your small, thin piece of dough, you can place it onto a hot pan or skillet.
  10. One or two minutes on each side is all you need for the bread to cook.
fingers and dough
Begin by flattening a small dough ball. Photo: Paul Kirtley
Stretch the dough so it is thin. Photo: Paul Kirtley
This is your small flat bread, ready to be cooked. Photo: Paul Kirtley
Flat breads in a billy can lid
A pile of simple flat breads ready to be eaten. Photo: Paul Kirtley

Additional Flatbread Flavours

The above flat bread recipe is surprisingly tasty but you can make many further enjoyable flavour varieties with the addition of one or two extras. Again these may be in your cook kit already. Mix any dry ingredients with the flour before adding oil and water. Below are some suggestions…

  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garam Masala
  • Mixed herbs (dried)
  • Oregano (dried)
  • Basil (dried)
  • Rosemary (chopped finely)
  • Garlic powder
  • Garlic clove (chopped finely)
  • Garlic butter (in place of oil or butter)
  • Foraged wild garlic leaves or flowers (finely chopped)

These are just a few suggestions to get your imagination going. What else do you think would make a tasty addition? Let me and other readers know in the comments section below what you’d like to try or what you have tried…

Improvised Flatbread Ovens

While a skillet or flat frying pan makes a good flat surface on which to cook flat breads, there are also other options. You may not be carrying any sort of flat pan or frying pan. You can still cook flat breads, though, if you have a billy can or a metal mug.

Rake out some embers from your fire to create an even bed of hot coals. Place your billy can or metal mug on its side on top of the coals and allow it to heat up. Then add your flat bread(s) to cook inside. As well as the direct heat coming up through the metal, you also gain something of an oven effect with the semi-enclosed space holding hot air.

metal mug laid on campfire embers with bread cooking inside
Using a metal mug as a flatbread oven. Photo: Paul Kirtley

Flexible Flatbreads and Accompaniments

Flatbreads are quick, easy and tasty. They are good for a quick campfire snack or to stave off hunger before cooking a
main meal.

After a day of hiking or canoeing, I like to get the fire or stove on and make a warm drink to help with hydration. This type of simple flatbread is great accompaniment to get some calories into your system at the same time, to provide a little extra energy for finishing setting up camp or cooking the evening meal.

If you have a small fire at lunch – even in a fire box – flat breads can easily be made too. They are delicious with ham or dry cured meats.

Black iron pan containing cooked halloumi cheese and cherry tomatoes
Cooked Halloumi and cherry tomatoes. Delicious with campfire flat breads. Photo: Paul Kirtley

If you have a little time, another of our favourite lunchtime accompaniments is to cook off some slice Halloumi cheese along with some cherry tomatoes, then top cooked flatbreads with some of the mix.

I’m sure there are many other tasty combinations. Let us know your suggestions in the comments below…

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Paul Kirtley is Founder and Chief Instructor of Frontier Bushcraft. He has had a lifelong passion for the great outdoors and gains great satisfaction from helping others enjoy it too. Paul writes the UK's leading bushcraft blog. He is the author of Wilderness Axe Skills and Campcraft, as well as having contributed to several other books. Paul has been involved in teaching bushcraft since 2003. He is also a Canoe Leader, British Canoeing Level 3 Canoe Coach and UK Summer Mountain Leader.

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10 Responses

  1. Jack
    | Reply

    Mmmmmm, now to see if these work with gluten free flour!!!!!!

    • Paul Kirtley
      | Reply

      Hey Jack, if they prove a bit stodgy, adding a teaspoon of baking powder will help lighten the breads with more air in them.

      Let us know how you get on…

      Warm regards,


      • Neeman
        | Reply

        Rye, rice or oatmeal flour mixed with baking soda will rise into a flat bread
        Add more olive oil to help it stick

  2. przemm
    | Reply

    If you could show us more recipes.
    I bake such bread on a stick. When it’s ready I add some jam inside.

  3. Belle
    | Reply

    I do self raising flour, water for bread on stick but during the making I add cheese tomato paste herbs to it to make Pizza bread

  4. Jennie
    | Reply

    A great prompt for the next bbq…thank you !

  5. Tikaani Outdoor
    | Reply

    Hi Paul,
    Very nice of you to give away all this knowledge. I never made a flatbread. Always making pancakes and all.. But this I wil try with a nice skillet and some extra ingredients. I stil have some herbs from Zanzibar, Tansania so maybe that wil work out niceley.

    I wil keep on following you! I missed out on you on the BC weekend in Holland but I look forward to meeting you some day!

    Kind regards, Mike

  6. Elaine Hooton
    | Reply

    Thanks so much! Using with my Duke of Edinburgh group with choice of flavour options. FAB.

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