11 Make-Ahead Recipes That Are Perfect for Your Picnic

These recipes will cut out day-of preparation for your picnic enjoyment
How to Make a Perfect Picnic

Untitled's Chris Bradley gives his tips for packing a meal for the great outdoors

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Knowing when to cook a dish a day ahead saves time and improves flavor.  

Go outside and enjoy the nice weather before fall leads quickly to winter, and our seasonal hibernation starts all over again. Take a day to relax and soak in the views in a nearby park, or simply set up a picnic in your backyard — either way, food will be the centerpiece of the day. Picnics are a great way to gather with friends and family, but large groups mean more cooking.  We’ve all been there. It’s the 11th-hour crunch when you start to realize you just might not finish all the work you planned.

Click here for the 11 make-ahead recipes (slideshow).

Save some time by working ahead so the mad rush doesn’t sneak up on you. Instead of living through the shame of showing up empty-handed, try one of these make-ahead recipes that will help you manage your time and your expectations. 

Whether you prefer dips, salads, or desserts, there are plenty of recipes that will give you a little more time to set up the day beforehand — without sacrificing taste or quality. 

Holly Clegg’s 8-Layered Greek Dip

Shutterstock / Catherine Murray

Dips make for perfect picnic fare. This Mediterranean-inspired version features hummus, fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, and pecans. Just serve with pita chips and enjoy!

Farro and Grilled Corn Summer Salad

Shutterstock / svariophoto

Making salads ahead of time can be tricky. Lettuce wilts and nobody likes soggy ingredients, but salads with hearty grains and vegetable bases instead of greens mean you can mix them up the day before without worrying about droopy greens.



Angela Carlos is The Daily Meal’s Cook Editor. Follow her on Twitter, and tweet @angelaccarlos your favorite make-ahead recipes.