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How to Fry in a Campervan: A Vanlife Eats Guide

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Vanlife Eatshttps://vanlifeeats.com
Two passionate Vanlife cooks and the creators of Vanlife Eats.


Have you ever been put off frying in a campervan? When you see all those trending recipes on TikTok and Insta they often involve frying and naturally you wouldnt want it to stink out your van. There is nothing worse that the smell of fried food on your clothes and worse of all in your bed sheets!

Lucky for you we’ve learnt the hard way and we’ve done some experiments for you. We’ve even found an awesome vanlife hack! I am going to talk about our go-to pan, managing those pesky frying smells, and ensuring a safe and enjoyable cooking experience.

The Flavorstone: The perfect Vanlife Pan

First things first, let’s talk about the equipment we use. During our vanlife journey, we’ve tried various pans, but one has become our favourite – the Flavorstone Pan. This pan replaced at least 3 pans in our limited space van cupboards; our frying pan, a saucepan, our deep pan and our wok. It’s also incredibly light in weight. Its deep sides make it ideal for both shallow and deep frying, and the included frying basket is awesome for frying! I dont mean to make this a sales pitch but this pan really is one we rave about and everyone we have recomended it to has thanked us.

Tackling Frying Smells in a Confined Space

Now, let’s address the elephant in the room – frying smells. We all love the aroma of frying bacon or onions, but in a confined campervan space, it can quickly become overwhelming. Our solution? Proper ventilation.

We highly recommend installing a ventilation fan that pulls clean air in and extracts the stale air out. This ensures perfect air circulation, keeping your van smelling fresh.

It is also beneficial for your health as well as for climate control to keep a clean circulation of air. An essential consideration when planning your van build.

Choosing the Right Ventilation Fan

When selecting a ventilation fan, consider one with variable speed settings. This way, you can control the airflow based on your cooking needs and they can be quite noisy on full power. The known brand is Maxxair who make AMAZING fans but they can be quite expensive. For our van build we have installed a generic one from Amazon and its perfect for us. The only downside is that you can not have it running when it is raining – unlinke the Maxxair.

Vanlife Hack

This is a know kitchen hack and and perfect for a campervan. Its that magic dust Baking Soda! This stuff seems to have a multitude of uses and soaking up odars is one!

Baking soda works well for removing bad smells because it’s a basic substance that reacts with the acids in the odors. This reaction changes the smelly stuff, making it less stinky. It’s a handy and simple way to keep your van smelling nice, thanks to a bit of science!

We use these small muslin bags and fill them with baking soda and scatter them around the van. They are small and descreet and they help in nuturalising the odors in the van.

Frying Techniques and Tips

Heat Management

In a campervan, managing your energy resources is crucial. When frying, start with a medium heat to warm up your Flavorstone pan. This gradual heating helps in energy conservation. Plus, it gives you better control over the cooking process.

Oil Choices

Selecting the right oil is another key aspect. We prefer oils with a high smoke point, like canola, sunflower or peanut oil. These oils can handle the heat without burning, ensuring a tasty and non-toxic meal. Olive oil is ok for shallow frying but it can be expensive to use in a deeper fry! Personally I like to use avocado oil but again it can be expensive so sunflower is an ideal oil.


Safety First

Frying in a small space requires caution. Safety should always be your top priority!

Water is often a reason that oil starts to spit and can cause an accident such as burns or even the pan catching on fire. Make sure your utensils are all clean and dry and ensure there is adiquate space around your cooking area should an accident happen. Having a damp towel to hand is useful so that you can cover the pan and cut off the oxygen should the pan catch fire.

Try our recipe for super crispy onion rings!

onion ring recipe for camping

Cleaning and Maintenance

Make sure you do not pour that hot oil down the sink! The best way to deal with the pan of oil is to let it cool completely. Place the lid on the pan and remove the handle or twist it out of the way so it can not be knocked. When the oil is cool, pour it into a sturdy, sealable container, like an old jar or a milk jug. It’s a smart and safe way to store used oil, especially on the move. If you can, recycle the oil at a designated disposal site, or use it for another round of cooking if it’s still clean. Remember, disposing of oil correctly is not only eco-friendly but also keeps your van’s plumbing from clogging up.


Frying in a campervan doesn’t have to be a concern and certainly shouldnt be avoided. There are so many quick, easy and delicious fried food recipes to cook in your campervan. With the right equipment, techniques, and a bit of practice, you can whip up delicious fried meals wherever your travels take you.

Stay safe, stay hungry!

Mark and Sophie x

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