Cooking on a propane cooktop or gas range can be an exciting and rewarding experience, especially when you use cast iron cookware. Whether you’re looking for a traditional two-burner camper stove or something more modern, like a four-burner gas range with oven space underneath, there are plenty of options to choose from that will fit your needs and budget.
So if you’re ready to upgrade your cooking experience while camping in your RV or travel trailer, consider investing in a quality propane cooktop and cast iron cookware.
Why do you need a camper stove?
Whether you’re an avid camper or just looking for something to cook a meal on the go, RV stoves are an invaluable addition to any camp kitchen.
With their small size and portability, they are perfect for camping trips or even just for cooking meals at home if you’re a full-timer.
Personally, I prefer cooking on the grill whenever I can, but there are times when a propane oven or RV cooktop just makes sense. After all, nobody likes grilling in the freezing cold or in the rain.
7 Tips for Making the Most of Your Camper Stove
For the most part, RV ranges are easy enough to use that you can jump right in and start cooking; however, there are some things to remember when using your RV range.
For those that love life in travel trailers or RVs, here are seven easy tips to make the most of your RV stove—
Preheat your stove.
Before anything else, be sure to preheat your stove before cooking. This might seem like a no-brainer, but there’s more to it.
Preheating your oven when cooking in an RV is essential for efficient cooking, even though it may feel like a waste of propane. Estimate preheat times and note them down for future reference so that you can plan accurate cook times.
Different camper stoves take different amounts of time to preheat, so be sure to time your stove the first time you use it, so you have a reference point for subsequent uses.
Use a baking stone.
This is great for pizzas, baked goods, and other recipes that require high heat. The baking stone absorbs the heat from the burner and radiates it back into the food, giving you an evenly cooked meal.
Be sure to keep your baking stone clean and well-seasoned so it lasts longer.
Prepare the grate with aluminum foil.
One of the biggest issues with cooking on a RV stove is that food can get stuck to the grate and be difficult to remove.
To prevent sticking, line your grate with aluminum foil before you start cooking. This will keep it clean and make cleanup much easier.
For anyone that has spent a weekend in the camper the last thing you want to do when you get home is spend an hour cleaning your stove for your next trip. Aluminum foil can be your best friend.
Have enough propane on hand.
I can’t stress this enough – make sure you have a full tank or two of propane when camping with your RV stove.
You don’t want to find yourself stranded in the middle of the night trying to see if anyone around has an extra tank of fuel just so you can cook breakfast in the morning.
Before we hit the road for any trip in the camper, I always double-check our propane tanks to make sure they are full.
Always have a thermometer ready.
Actually, you should have two thermometers. One for the stove and one for your meat.
Never trust the thermostat on the RV stove, as they’re often inaccurate. Invest in a good-quality thermometer to ensure your food is cooked properly and safely.
Run the vent.
When you’re running your RV stove, make sure you open a window or vent to let out excess heat and moisture.
If you don’t, the steam will linger in the air and create a damp environment where mold can form.
Also, excessive heat could cause damage to your RV, so it’s important to vent regularly when cooking with your camper stove.
Turn your food halfway through cooking.
Even if you have an excellent RV stove, there’s a good chance that the propane burners inside will not cook evenly.
To ensure even cooking, turn your food halfway through the cooking process to make sure every side is cooked properly. This will also help speed up the cooking process as well.
What you need to know before buying an RV stove.
Did your RV stove take a dive? Or maybe you’re ready for something with a bit more power?
Whatever the case may be, when purchasing a camper stove there are a few important factors to keep in mind:
Size of the RV stove.
A bigger RV stove means more powerful burners and extra space for cooking multiple dishes. However, if you have limited space inside your RV, it’s best to go with a smaller model.
Many RV stoves have an oven combo as well, which makes them great for baking and roasting.
Fuel type for your camper stove.
Most RV stoves run on propane, but some can also use natural gas or electricity. You’ll need to make sure you have the right fuel source available before installing a camper stove.
While propane sounds nice, if you have shore power available, it might be worth investing in an electric stove, so you don’t have to worry about running out of fuel.
Ease of use.
Different RV propane stoves have different controls, so be sure to get one that’s easy for you to use and understand. There are traditional knob-style stoves, as well as more advanced models that come with digital controls.
The higher the British Thermal Units (BTU) rating on your stove the quicker it will heat up and the more powerful the flame will be. The downside is that your RV oven will end up using more propane.
Ability to add accessories.
Some RV stoves can accommodate griddles and other cooking accessories, so if that’s something you need, make sure your model has the necessary attachments.
Features to look for when shopping for a new camper stove.
There are a few features to look for when shopping for a new camper stove.
- At least three stovetop burners. You may find a propane stove that checks all of the blocks but instead has two burners. You might regret that later.
- Oven/grill combination for added versatility. Some models come with an oven/grill combination, which is great for baking and roasting.
- Automatic ignition. Most RV stoves have a manual piezo ignition, but some models come with electronic ignition, so you don’t have to manually light the burners.
- A large window in the oven to monitor food easily. This isn’t an absolute must, but it is convenient for keeping an eye on your food without opening the oven door.
- Ability to set temperature alarms for safety when cooking with delicate items. Some of the best RV stoves have a temperature alarm that will alert you when the oven reaches a specific temperature.
- Option for a low flame setting for slow cooking or melting chocolate and butter. You’ll want a gas stove that you can set to a lower setting for some delicious camping desserts.
- Adjustable height settings so that it fits into different sizes of RV kitchens. Some RV stoves have adjustable height settings to fit into different-sized RV kitchens.
- A good warranty from the manufacturer. Whether you go with an electric stove or a gas stove, there’s a chance it will eventually malfunction. Make sure you get a good warranty from the manufacturer to cover any potential repairs.
Hopefully, that gives you an idea of what to look for when you’re shopping for a new camper stove. Remember to take your time and do your research before making a purchase, and don’t forget to check out reviews from other RVers.
Essential safety guidelines for using your RV stove.
As with anything involving propane or electricity, there are certain safety precautions you should take when using your RV stove. Here are a few tips to keep in mind—
- Make sure you have the right fuel source available before installing a camper stove.
- Always check any gas leaks or damage to hoses and connections before using your RV stove.
- Never leave burning food unattended on a lit RV stove, even if there is an automatic shut-off feature in place.
- Wear appropriate clothing when working with hot surfaces of a propane or electric RV stove, such as oven mitts or gloves designed for BBQ cooking.
- Do not use flammable liquids near open flames, and always turn off all burner valves when finished cooking to prevent accidental ignition of stored gases nearby.
The last thing you want is an RV kitchen fire to ruin your camping trip.
Keeping your camping stove clean and efficient.
One way to ensure your RV stove remains efficient and in good condition is to keep it clean. Clean the burner heads regularly to avoid the buildup of grease, fat, and food particles. Wipe down the surfaces with a damp cloth and use a commercial cleaner designed for gas stoves to get any tough-to-remove stains.
You should also inspect all hoses and connections regularly to make sure they are in good condition. If you notice any cracks or tears, get them replaced immediately to prevent dangerous leaks or flames.
What’s the best RV stove?
If you’re looking to replace your existing RV oven or propane stove there are plenty of options on the market.
However, the gas stove that stands out to us is the RecPro combined cooktop range.
The RecPro RV Stove is a great choice for any RV owners looking to make the most of their limited kitchen space.
Measuring 17 1/4″ deep by 21 1/2″ wide by 20″ high, this small but powerful stove has three burners and temperature controls that light up.
The oven has an inner volume of 51 liters and runs on electricity or propane—which allows it to integrate seamlessly into a 12V RV system.
In addition to providing efficient and safe cooking capabilities, the stove comes with an optional range hood with a fan and lighting controls.
It offers a stovetop cover and a choice of black or silver stainless steel finish that makes it perfect for adding aesthetic value to your RV kitchen.
With all these features, the RecPro RV Stove is undoubtedly one of the best options for campers looking for convenience without compromising on quality.
Ready to start cooking?
Whether you’re cooking on an RV stove/oven or a camper grill, always remember to be safe and follow safety guidelines when working with open flames or electricity.
Take the time to do your research, find the best RV stove for your needs, and enjoy all of the delicious meals you can make while camping!
There’s nothing like cooking delicious, home-cooked favorite meals on your RV cooktop while spending time in the great outdoors.