woman pouring spices into a frying pan - cooking

Whether you’re escaping to the mountains for a relaxing retreat or an adventure-packed getaway, your North Lake Tahoe vacation rental is not just a place to stay—it’s your home away from home in this outdoor paradise! While you’re exploring this gorgeous region, you’re going to need to figure out your meals! Although there are some excellent restaurants, cafes and diners in the area, you’ll probably want to stay in and make something yummy in your kitchen too! If you’re looking for some easy vacation recipes and meal ideas, we’ve rounded up the perfect list of snacks, appies, mains and cocktails to whip up during your stay. Whether you’re enjoying a getaway with friends or having a family holiday, these recipes are a great place to start your meal planning! 

Local North Lake Tahoe Ingredients 

Freshwater Fish

North Lake Tahoe is known for its clean, clear waters, and if you’re planning on going fishing, you’ll no doubt bring home some delicious fresh fish to cook! If you’re not going fishing though, there are still places in the region where you can get some fantastic locally caught fish! 

Local Produce

Whether you’re picking up local produce at the market or visiting a farmers’ market, the produce in North Lake Tahoe is delicious and a perfect way to create delicious salads, side dishes, or even fruit-based desserts!

Wild Game

The region is known for outdoor activities like hiking and hunting so if you’re open to it, consider incorporating locally sourced wild game, such as venison or elk, into your recipes! You can find some excellent, local game meats at Mountain Valley Meats.

Craft Beers 

North Lake Tahoe has a growing craft beer scene and produces some incredible beers that pair nicely with a great meal! 


Perfect for the Grill

Grilled Trout with Lemon and Herbs

This delicious, easy recipe is a perfect way to enjoy fresh-caught fish straight from Lake Tahoe! In the summer, you can use a BBQ and enjoy cooking outdoors, and in the winter, instead of grilling, you can wrap the fish in tin foil and pop it in the oven at 200ºF for 15-20 minutes or until the fish is tender enough to flake easily with a fork. 


  • Fresh trout filets
  • Fresh lemon slices
  • Fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, or dill)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Preheat the grill.
  • Season the trout filets with salt and pepper.
  • Drizzle olive oil over the filets and add fresh herbs.
  • Place lemon slices on top of the filets.
  • Grill the trout for about 4-5 minutes per side or until cooked through.
  • Serve with a side of locally sourced vegetables or a simple salad!


Kid-Friendly Homemade Mini Pizzas

This dinner is a favorite with kids of all ages! Choose whatever toppings you prefer for your pizzas and use your imagination! This is one recipe that is fun for the whole family to make together! Remember that if you are using the grill for the pizzas, you’ll want to make sure you still use a baking sheet for the grill and monitor the temperature so they don’t burn. Additionally, if your BBQ has a second level, you can put the pizzas on the top level to ensure that they cook slowly. 


  • Mini pizza crusts or English muffins
  • Tomato sauce
  • Shredded mozzarella cheese
  • Mini pepperoni slices
  • Sliced black olives (optional)
  • Diced bell peppers (optional)


  • Preheat the grill or oven to 250ºC.
  • Place mini pizza crusts on a baking sheet.
  • Spread a layer of tomato sauce on each crust.
  • Sprinkle a light layer of shredded mozzarella cheese on top.
  • Add all your toppings but make sure to not overload your pizza! You don’t want the toppings to slide off!
  • Sprinkle another layer of shredded mozzarella cheese on top.
  • Bake in the oven until the cheese is melted and bubbly and the edges of the crust are light brown.
  • Remove from the oven and allow them to cool slightly before serving.
  • Enjoy!


Appies to Make You Happy! 

Smoked Salmon and Cucumber Canapés

This light and refreshing appetizer is the perfect way to start a meal and a fantastic canapé to serve if you’re having people over! With bright, fresh flavors paired with the smokiness of the salmon, this delicious and pretty appy is a real crowd pleaser! Substitute smoked salmon with a local, smoked trout and make it a real Lake Tahoe signature dish! 


  • Smoked salmon slices
  • English cucumber, thinly sliced
  • Cream cheese
  • Fresh dill, chopped
  • Capers
  • Lemon zest
  • Black pepper
  • Crostini or small toasted bread rounds


  • In a small bowl, mix cream cheese with chopped fresh dill.
  • Spread a thin layer of the dill-infused cream cheese onto each crostini or toasted bread round.
  • Place a slice of cucumber on top of the cream cheese.
  • Add a slice of smoked salmon on top of the cucumber.
  • Garnish each canapé with capers, a sprinkle of lemon zest, and a dash of black pepper.
  • Arrange the canapés on a serving platter.

Kid-Friendly Appetizer: Cheesy Veggie Quesadillas

These easy quesadillas are quick to whip up and are a hit for kids and adults! Whether you’re feeding a hungry horde or just need a snack to feed the kids after a day on the mountain, these are sure to be an instant hit! 


  • Flour tortillas
  • Shredded cheddar cheese
  • Diced bell peppers (assorted colors)
  • Diced tomatoes
  • Corn kernels
  • Olive oil or butter for cooking


  • Place a flour tortilla on a flat surface.
  • Sprinkle shredded cheddar cheese on one half of the tortilla.
  • Add diced bell peppers, tomatoes, and corn on top of the cheese.
  • Fold the tortilla in half, creating a half-moon shape.
  • Heat olive oil or butter in a pan over medium heat.
  • Cook the quesadilla for 2-3 minutes on each side or until the cheese is melted and the tortilla is golden brown.
  • Cut into wedges and serve with salsa or guacamole.

Finish the Meal With Something Sweet!

Berry Parfait with Local Honey Yogurt

If you’re looking for a low maintenance, easy-to-make dessert, this is a great option! With healthy fruit and yogurt and fiber-packed granola, this dessert is satisfying and guilt-free!


  • Greek yogurt 
  • Local honey
  • Fresh mixed berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries)
  • Granola


  • In serving glasses or bowls, layer Greek yogurt with fresh mixed berries.
  • Add a sprinkle of granola between layers for crunch.
  • Top with more berries and a drizzle of honey.
  • Serve immediately for a refreshing and healthy dessert.

Microwave Mug Chocolate Cake

This single-serving dessert is a real crowd pleaser and perfect for a quick and hassle-free treat, especially when you don’t want to fuss with lots of equipment. All you need are a few ingredients, a microwave and a sweet tooth! 


  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or melted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Optional: Chocolate chips, nuts, or whipped cream for topping


  • Choose a microwave-safe mug (about 12 oz capacity) to avoid overflow.
  • In the mug, whisk together the all-purpose flour, granulated sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, and a pinch of salt until well combined.
  • Pour in the milk, vegetable oil or melted butter, and vanilla extract.
  • Stir well until the mixture is smooth and no lumps remain.
  • Place the mug in the microwave and cook on high for 1.5 to 2.5 minutes, depending on your microwave’s wattage. Start with 1.5 minutes and adjust as needed.
  • The cake should rise and firm up but still be moist. Be cautious not to overcook!
  • Allow the mug cake to cool for a minute before topping it with chocolate chips, nuts, or a dollop of whipped cream if desired.
  • Serve and enjoy!



On-The-Go Snacks

No matter what you’re planning on doing during your holiday, you’re going to want to make sure you always have some snacks on hand to fuel your adventures! These easy snacks are perfect to make ahead and pack with you on a day out in the mountains! 

Trail Mix Energy Bites

Get energized in just a few bites! Filled with sugars, fiber and fat to keep you going, these bites are healthy and delicious! 


  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup nut butter (almond, peanut, or your choice)
  • 1/3 cup honey or maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt
  • Optional: dried fruits, nuts, or seeds


  • In a large bowl, combine rolled oats, nut butter, honey or maple syrup, ground flaxseed, chocolate chips, vanilla extract, and a pinch of salt.
  • Mix until well combined. If the mixture is too dry, you can add a bit more honey or nut butter.
  • Optional: Add in dried fruits, nuts, or seeds for extra texture and flavor.
  • Form the mixture into small, bite-sized balls.
  • Place the energy bites on a tray and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes to firm up.
  • Once chilled, pack the energy bites in a portable container for a quick and energizing snack on the go.


Veggie Wraps with Hummus

With tons of veggies and protein-packed hummus, these wraps are a great source of fuel no matter where your day takes you!


  • Whole-grain or spinach tortillas
  • Hummus (store-bought or homemade)
  • Sliced cucumber
  • Sliced bell peppers (assorted colors)
  • Cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Baby spinach or arugula
  • Feta cheese, crumbled (optional)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Lay out a tortilla on a flat surface.
  • Spread a generous layer of hummus over the tortilla.
  • Layer sliced cucumber, bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, and a handful of baby spinach or arugula.
  • If desired, sprinkle crumbled feta cheese on top.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Roll up the tortilla tightly, enclosing the fillings.
  • Slice the wrap into smaller, easy-to-handle portions.
  • Wrap each portion in parchment paper or foil for mess-free transportation.

Both of these recipes are portable, energy-packed, and easy to enjoy while on the move. They’re perfect for sustaining energy during outdoor activities in the North Lake Tahoe region.

Stir, Sip and Serve!

If you want to shake things up, give these cocktails a whirl! Choose local beer, wine or spirits to amp up the local flavors and then sit back, relax and sip one of these delicious drinks while you enjoy fresh mountain breezes! 

Lake Breeze Lemonade


  • 1.5 oz vodka
  • 1 oz blue curaçao
  • 4 oz lemonade
  • Ice cubes
  • Lemon slices for garnish


  • Fill a glass with ice cubes.
  • Pour vodka and blue curaçao over the ice.
  • Top with lemonade and stir gently.
  • Garnish with lemon slices.
  • Cheers!


Mountain Lager Shandy


  • 1 bottle of local mountain lager 
  • 4 oz lemonade
  • Lemon wedges for garnish
  • Ice cubes


  • Fill a glass with ice cubes.
  • Pour the local beer into the glass.
  • Add lemonade and stir gently.
  • Garnish with lemon wedges.
  • Sip and savor the crisp and citrusy flavors!


Tropical Rum Punch


  • 2 oz light rum
  • 1 oz dark rum
  • 4 oz pineapple juice
  • 2 oz orange juice
  • 1 oz grenadine syrup
  • Pineapple slices and maraschino cherries for garnish
  • Ice cubes


  • Fill a shaker with ice cubes.
  • Pour in light rum, dark rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, and grenadine.
  • Shake well to combine and chill the ingredients.
  • Strain the mixture into a glass filled with ice.
  • Garnish with pineapple slices and maraschino cherries.
  • Stir gently before enjoying the tropical flavors of this rum punch.
  • Enjoy!