Cooking Merit Badge is a great Eagle-required Merit Badge for scouts to start thinking about early in their scouting career. Home cooking should be done at home (!) and does not require troop involvement, so it can be done at the scout’s own pace.

Many counselors accept trail cooking completed on non-scouting outings, and some even accept portable outdoor cooking on non-hiking activities (e.g., canoeing or hunting). And some counselors allow non-troop camping outings to count towards Cooking Merit Badge. As always, check with your counselor IN ADVANCE if you have any questions or are counting a particular outing to complete your badge.

Check out our resources including meal planning tips and recipe suggestions, cooking methods and tips, the MyPlate calorie calculator and daily meal plans, and recommendations for dealing with food allergies and intolerances.

Scouts and adult leaders who have a passion for cooking or an interest in learning more are encouraged to join the Cooking with Scouts BSA Facebook group for many more great tips and insights.

Need Inspiration? Check out what these scout-made culinary creations from Twitter!

Meal Evaluations

You are welcome to use the meal evaluation worksheets in the Merit Badge Workbooks. Here is another variation to help you capture key information about each meal you prepare.

Meal Planning Tips and Recipes

Cooking Methods, Techniques, Tips, and Tricks

Attention Dutch Oven chefs! You don’t have to go out of your way to look for “dutch oven campout recipes” (although many of those are time-tested by scouts and campers. You can take many baked recipes and convert them to dutch oven recipes by using this handy dandy chart to convert conventional oven times and temperatures to dutch oven briquets quantity and , placement, and timing. Precise briquet count and timing is most critical for baked items or recipes with less liquid.

Many experienced scouters recommend the simpler ring method, especially for stews, soups, and other dishes with a higher liquid content. In short, a circle of briquets is placed on the top and bottom aligned with the circumferences (the top will be bigger). A similar rule of thumb is that the number of briquets on top will be 3 larger than the nominal circumference of the dutch oven (in inches), and 3 less than the bottom. So, for example, an 8″ dutch oven would start with 11 (8+3) briquets on top, and 5 (8-3) on the bottom. An extra briquet or one shy is probably close enough. Stirring and replenishing the coals will maintain a roughly 350-350 degrees F temperature, which is the sweet spot for most common baking. More details are available on the YouTube video suggested by the scouters in the Cooking with Scouts BSA Facebook group.


Healthy Eating and the USDA’s MyPlate Program

To learn about healthy food choices, you can use the USDA’s MyPlate calculator below to determine your daily caloric needs, and then find the appropriate MyPlate Plan planner for your recommended daily intake and age:

Please click on the link below for the recommended calorie intake for your age and activity level (as determine by the MyPlate calculator to the left).

Ages 9-13 1600 1800 2000 2200 2400 2600 2800 3000 3200
Ages 14+ 1600 1800 2000 2200 2400 2600 2800 3000 3200



Additional resources from

Sites on nutrition and conditions that can be exacerbated by dietary choices:

Cooking safety resources:

Allergies and Food Intolerances

Here are some references for parents and scouts interested in learning more about food allergies: