Cooking Merit Badge Activity Planner

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Alongside Camping, Cooking will be one of your most common outdoor activities. Take the time to learn, plan and practice to do it well. There is nothing like after a hard day's adventure then to sitdown afterwards to enjoy a great meal that you prepared yourself.

Patrol Leader Merit Badge Planning Guide for the Cooking Merit Badge

*** Activities for the Youth Lead Patrol ***

Exploring Cooking can be a fascinating youth adventure when done right. Here are a few tips to help the patrol leader get started.

  • Scouts may never add or subtract from the actual merit badge requirements
  • This Planner is only a suggestion of different ideas to make working this Merit Badge both fun and easy.
  • While doing the Worksheet is not a requirement for earning this badge, in many cases it can help you learn key concepts and track your progress.

A. Make Your Plan

Sample Patrol Activity Flyer
  1. Merit Badge Activity Planning Tips - 14 tips for a successful patrol activity. Read carefully before you start your plan!
  2. Share Your Plan - Meet ahead of time with your patrol, scout leaders, parents and especially with the Merit Badge Counselor. Make changes to the plan as needed.
  3. Prepare Activity Flyer - Keep your fellow scouts informed - events, activities, pre-requisites and more.
Patrol Activity GREAT Awesome MB to work as a patrol / Max Size 12 scouts
Virtual Field Trip FAIR Part done in home - part must be done outdoors with patrol
Family Activity GREAT Prepare five meals for your family - home cooking practice
Service Activity GREAT Prepare meals for the hungry and other service projects
S.T.E.M. Activity GREAT An important part of nutritional and health sciences
Field Trip GREAT Visit Friend's home for cooking demonstrations - indoors/outdoors
Duty-to-God POOR N/A
MB Day GREAT Big pre-requisite is all meal prep for Req #4,5&6.
Overnighter GREAT Prepare six meals in the outdoors
Summer Camp POOR

Online Resources


Cooking Resources

  • The Lodge Book of Dutch Oven Cooking: The cast iron Dutch oven is the one cooking pot that does it all: bakes bread, steams vegetables, boils seafood, fried eggs, stews wild game, and broils meat. Very popular outdoor cooking event. (
  • Scout's Outdoor Cookbook: emphasizes the best food preparation and techniques currently used in scouting. Thoroughly covered are recipes employing time-tested cooking methods using Dutch ovens, pots and pans, grills, and open fire. Many outstanding no-cook dishes are also provided. (
  • Camping Cookbook Beyond Marshmallows and Hot Dogs:: With over 550 recipes to choose from, make your next camping trip the tastiest ever from breakfast to dessert. (Download FREE with Kindle Unlimited -

B. Introduction Meeting

The Cooking Merit Badge introduces Scouts to principles of cooking that can be used both at home or in the outdoors. Scouts who earn this badge will learn about food safety, nutritional guidelines, meal planning, and methods of food preparation, and will review the variety of culinary (or cooking) careers available. Completion of this merit badge is required to earn Eagle Scout rank.

Cooking is a classic example of a patrol sized activity. When you have too few scouts it is hard to finish the projects, and if you have too many scouts then there is not enough space or equipment and many end up just standing around. But for the typical patrol (4-10 scouts) you should find that there is plenty for everyone to become fully immersed in the activity and have fun.

Tenderfoot Scout Req #2c: "Explain the importance of eating together as a patrol."

News Flash

Covid-19 Notice

  • Update from BSA National - "The Scout is expected to meet the requirements as stated; however, in some cases, virtual “visits” may fulfill the intent of a requirement. When the requirement’s intent cannot be reached virtually, the requirements cannot be completed, and the Scout must wait to complete that badge/requirement. "

  • Cooking Req #4 - Family Meal cooking Can easily be completed at home.
  • Cooking Req #5 - This will have to wait until "In the outdoors" you can serve meals "to your patrol".
  • Cooking Req #6 - This will have to wait until you can hit the trails again on an organized scout outing.
  • Note: However - we encourage all scouts to use this time to write up their meal plans and to practice their cooking skills at home.

C. Meal Planner & Checklist

D. Study Hall Patrol Night


While some scouts may be adept at self-study, others may do better in a small group setting and taking notes on worksheets. Make an agenda. You can facilitate discussion by asking them why each of the principles introduced here would be relevant. Schedule one or more patrol meetings to work this merit badge.

MBC Discussion Group

  • Req #1: Discussion - Food Health and Safety
  • Req #2: Discussion - Nutrition Basics
  • Req #3: Discussion - Cooking Basics
  • Req #7: Discussion - Food Related Careers

Discussion Resources:

E. Cooking Adventures


Merit Badge Notice

Note: The meals prepared for Cooking merit badge requirements 4, 5, and 6 will count only toward fulfilling those requirements and will not count toward rank advancement or other merit badges. Meals prepared for rank advancement or other merit badges may not count toward the Cooking merit badge. You must not repeat any menus for meals actually prepared or cooked in requirements 4, 5, and 6.

Meal Planning Tips

Meal Plan Worksheets

Download both of these spreadsheets from Google Docs to help you create your meal plans. (These are a lot better than the ones found in the M.B. Worksheets!)

Tenderfoot Scout Cooking Basics

Note: Review session for scouts working on cooking requirement for rank advancement:

Req #4: Home Cooking

  • Writeup Ten Meal Plans - 3 Breakfasts, 3 Lunches, 3 Dinners and 1 Dessert. Use ten different cooking methods.
  • Using 5 different cooking methods - Cook at least 1 breakfast, 1 lunch, 1 dinner and 1 dessert.

Req #5: Patrol Cooking

  • Writeup Five Meal Plans for Outdoor Cooking at a Campsite - including 1 Breakfast, 1 Lunch, 1 Dinner and 1 Dessert:
  • Cook at least 4 of these planned meals - Serve all of these meals to your patrol or a group of youth.**
    • (Meals #1 & #2) using either a lightweight stove or a low-impact fire. Use a different cooking method for each meal.
    • (Meal #3) Cook a third meal using either a Dutch oven OR a foil pack OR kabobs.
    • (Meal #4) In the outdoors, prepare a dessert OR a snack.

Req #6: Backpack Cooking

  • Writeup 4 meals for trail hiking or backpacking that includes one breakfast, one lunch, one dinner, and one snack. These meals must NOT require refrigeration and are to be consumed by three to five people (including you).
  • While on a trail hike or backpacking trip, prepare and serve two meals and a snack from the menu planned for this requirement. At least one of those meals must be cooked over a fire, or an approved trail stove (with proper supervision).**

F. Extra Credit

While none of these are actual requirements for this merit badge - they are terrific opportunities to show Scout Spirit, Do A Good Turn Daily and to have FUN!

  1. Activity Reflection: Use this meeting for scouts to ask questions and to reflect on what they gained personally from this adventure. You can also have a discussion on what future opportunities are here.
  2. Court of Honor Exhibit: Pictures, handiwork and other memorabilia from this adventure will make for a great presentation at the next Scout Troop Court of Honor.

BSA Hiking Guide

  • The Scouting Guide to Basic Hiking (2020-Paperback): An Officially-Licensed Book of the Boy Scouts of America: 200 Essential Skills for the Great Outdoors. Current Scouts, Scout alumni, and readers interested in the outdoors are provided with time-tested advice on hiking and backpacking in the wilderness.

Camporee Cooking Contest

Many camporee events feature a scout cooking contest. Scouts that win this have really practiced the cooking arts.

Scout Event Cooking

Many scout troops use cooking as a form of community service at events such as these:

  • Special event sponsored by Charter Organization Partner
  • Cooking meals for homeless shelters and food kitchens
  • Preparing refreshments for scouting events, court of honor, scout dinner, cub scout pack meeting, recruitment events,
  • Cooking demonstrations for scout fairs and camporees.
  • Eagle Scout Service Project

Related Merit Badges

Sometimes it is easier by doing two or more merit badges together as a joint activity:

  • Camping - Did you know...scouts usually complete these two requirements together - multiple weekends cooking, camping and having fun. Note Camping MB -Req #8d has additional meal plan requirements that cannot be combined with this merit badge.
  • Family Life - A lot of cooking skills is learned in the home.
  • Backpacking - A lot of cooking skills are learned on the trail.
  • Fishing - Req: Catch & Cook one fish that you caught
  • Fly-Fishing - Req: Catch & Cook one fish that you caught

See Also

  • 9 Things to Know about Merit Badges - - There are more than 135 merit badges. By earning them, you can learn about sports, crafts, science, trades, business, and future careers. Here’s how to get the most out of your merit badge experience.