The Perfect Foods for Every Picnic: Our 40 Best Recipes

Prepare yourself for every kind of picnic this summer with these recipes for all outdoor meal occasions
Lemon Bars

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The Perfect Foods for Every Picnic: Our 40 Best Recipes

Fig Sandwich

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There’s no better way to spend a summer’s day than by packing up a picnic and setting off to enjoy the warmth and sunshine and fresh air. Whether you’re headed for a day at the beachgoing for a long hike, relaxing with some outdoor drinks with friends, or hanging out with the kids in the park, we have the best, most suitable recipes for the occasion. These picnic foods are all practical, easy-to-prepare, and, of course, tasty. Make sure you’re fully prepared for your lunch al fresco by following our top tips and recipes for every possible picnicking situation.

Beach Picnic

Beach Picnic

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Sand-proof, fuss-free foods are the basic requirements for lunch on a hot beach where not just sand but also salt, sun, and a not-so-gentle sea-breeze are likely to ruin any vulnerable foods that you take with you.

BBQ Chicken Summer Rolls

Summer Rolls

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Summer rolls are perfect for taking to the beach as they’re self-sealed, so no sand can get in. Dip the fresh, crunchy summer rolls in a jar of homemade barbecue sauce for the tastiest picnic meal.

For the BBQ Chicken Summer Rolls recipe, click here.

Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookies

Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookies

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Oatmeal cookies make the best sweet snack for the beach: They can be eaten with your hands, they won’t melt in the heat, and all kids and adults will love them.

For the Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookies recipe, click here.

Frozen Water

Frozen Water

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Freeze you water bottles before taking them to the beach so that the water stays ice cold even after sitting in the sun for a couple of hours. You’ll be so grateful to have such a refreshing drink when the midday sun is burning down.

Grilled Veggie Kabobs

Grilled Veggie Kabobs

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Grill your vegetables on skewers, and enjoy them cold on the beach later in the day. The vegetables won’t go bad in the heat, and they can be eaten straight off the stick, avoiding the need for a knife and fork.

For the Grilled Veggie Kabobs recipe, click here.

Southwestern Quinoa Salad

Southwestern Quinoa Salad

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This hearty quinoa salad will really fill you up. The sweet corn kernels, rich black beans, and zingy cilantro come together to make a delicious salad. The quinoa grains are so small and light that if a quinoa-shaped grain of sand gets in, you may not even notice.

For the Southwestern Quinoa Salad recipe, click here.

Summer Pasta Salad

Summer Pasta Salad

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This pasta salad is filled with summer’s best, tastiest ingredients. It’s coated in an Asian-inspired soy and sesame dressing, instead of the traditional mayonnaise, which means it won’t go bad after a couple of hours in the sun.

For the Summer Pasta Salad recipe, click here.

Vegetarian Greek Wrap

Vegetarian Greek Wrap

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Swap the sandwiches for a wrap at your next beach picnic in order to avoid eating too many mouthfuls of sand. This vegetable- and hummus-filled wrap will satisfy vegetarians and carnivores with its rich, salty flavors.

For the Vegetarian Greek Wrap recipe, click here.

Whole Fruit

Whole Fruit

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While fruit salad may sound like a great idea for a summer picnic, if you’re headed to the beach, it will end up being a sticky, salty, sandy disaster. Opt for whole fruits such as peaches and nectarines for an easier, less stressful, beach picnic.

Picnicking in the Park

Picnicking in the Park

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family-friendly day in the park calls for seasonal, refreshing dishes that will satisfy hungry, energetic kids, and relaxed, sun-bathing parents.

Blackberry-Lemon Iced Tea

Blackberry-Lemon Iced Tea

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Cool down on your picnic in the park with this refreshing homemade iced tea. Keep it cool in a Thermos flask, and bring a few blackberries to drop in as a pretty garnish when serving.

For the Blackberry-Lemon Iced Tea recipe, click here.

Charcuterie Board

Charcuterie Board

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Start your picnic with a tasty, salty charcuterie board. Serving sliced salami, prosciutto, and ham is a decadent way to kick off the proceedings. Picnicking in the park means you can transport food there quickly and easily, so there’s no reason not to indulge in your favorite cured meats.

For tips on building a charcuterie board, click here.

Cherry Tomato and Ricotta Tart

Tomato Tart

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Make the most of summer’s ripest cherry tomatoes by roasting them in this fluffy, cheesy, buttery tomato and ricotta tart.

For the Cherry Tomato and Ricotta Tart recipe, click here.

Chicken Sandwich With Avocado Spread

Chicken Sandwich With Avocado Spread

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Keep your kids energized by feeding them these chicken and avocado sandwiches. They're easy to make, they're healthy, and the grownups will be more than happy to finish them off if the kids don’t manage.

For the Chicken Sandwich With Avocado Spread recipe, click here.

Cold Sesame Noodles

Cold Sesame Noodles

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Pack up your picnic in takeout boxes instead of plastic wrap when you swap the sandwiches for these salty sesame noodles. They’re easy to make and really are best when served cold.

For the Cold Sesame Noodles recipe, click here.

Crunchy Almond Biscotti

Crunchy Almond Biscotti

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Biscotti make the ideal picnic dessert. They’re sturdy, can be made in large batches to feed a crowd, and are loved by both kids and adults.

For the Crunchy Almond Biscotti recipe, click here.

Fig and Goat Cheese Sandwich

Fig and Goat Cheese Sandwich

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For a super elegant picnic, make this sweet and salty sandwich for all the grown-ups at your party. Ripe figs and soft goat cheese make the tastiest match.

For the Fig and Goat Cheese Sandwich recipe, click here.

Summer Fruit Hand Pies

Hand Pies
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Self-contained hand pies are perfect for picnicking: There’s no risk of spillage, no complicated serving equipment required, and they’re always popular. Fill these pastries with your favorite summer fruit for the best seasonal picnic dessert.

For the Summer Fruit Hand Pies recipe, click here.

Hiking Picnic

Hiking Picnic

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A light, portable, protein-packed meal is what’s required of a hiker’s lunch. You’ll want to make something easy to carry to top of that mountain, where it will be enjoyed while you admire the spectacular views.

Asian Peanut Broccoli Quinoa Salad

Asian Peanut Broccoli Quinoa Salad

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This protein-packed vegan salad is just what every tired hiker needs. It’s filling, light to carry, and full of protein, salt, and vitamins — exactly what you require on an active day out.

For the Asian Peanut Broccoli Salad recipe, click here.

Classic French Cheese and Ham Baguette

Classic French Cheese and Ham Baguette

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There’s a reason the straightforward cheese and ham baguette is a classic: Nothing really beats such a simple sandwich when it’s perfectly made. This baguette is perfect to take hiking as it will fill you up and won’t get damaged while you walk.

For the Classic French Cheese and Ham Baguette recipe, click here.

Cookie Dough Energy Bites

Cookie Dough Energy Bites

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Keep yourself energized on your hike with these healthy and delicious cookie dough energy bites. These raw, plant-based snacks are perfect for eating while you’re on the go.

For the Cookie Dough Energy Bites recipe, click here.

Gluten-Free Cookie Trail Mix

Trail Mix

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No hiker’s snack pack would be complete without a bag filled with trail mix. This crunchy mix is gluten-free, so everyone walking with you will be able to enjoy it.

For the Gluten-Free Cookie Trail Mix recipe, click here.

Healthy Seeds Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

Healthy Seeds Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich

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simple peanut butter and jelly sandwich is sometimes exactly what is needed after an exhausting few hours of exercising. The salty sweet flavors will satisfy you, and the mixture of protein-packed peanut butter and sugar-filled jelly will give you enough energy to keep you going for the rest of the day.

For the Healthy Seeds Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich recipe, click here.

Maple Oat Bars

Maple Oat Bars

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Make your own oat bars rather than buying the overpriced ones from the supermarket. These maple syrup-packed bars will give you a good boost of sugar-filled energy to get you up that hill even faster.

For the Maple Oat Bars recipe, click here.

Vegan Hummus Wrap

Vegan Hummus Wrap

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These vegan wraps are transportable, healthy, and easy to eat on the go. They take less than five minutes to make, and are packed full of crunchy vegetables and creamy hummus for a satisfying, filling lunch.

For the Vegan Hummus Wrap recipe, click here.

Zucchini Chips

Zucchini Chips

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Crunchy, salty chips are exactly what a hiker will crave after a couple of hours of intense walking. Make these chips and keep them in a Ziploc bag filled with air to stop them from getting crushed.

For the Zucchini Chips recipe, click here.

Boozy Picnic

Boozy Picnic

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At a grownup summer picnicchilled cocktails are a necessity. Keep them in a Thermos flask to keep them cool, and enjoy them alongside summery snacks and dishes that can be picked at and nibbled on all afternoon.

Boozy Irish Brownies

Boozy Irish Brownies

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End your picnic with these alcohol-laced brownies. They’re moist, rich, intensely chocolaty, and have a warming kick thanks to the addition of Irish whiskey to the brownie batter.

For the Maia Yogurt Irish Brownies recipe, click here.

Gazpacho-Style Wheat Berry Salad

Gazpacho-Style Wheat Berry Salad

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Inject a hint of Spanish sunshine to your grownup picnic in the form of this gazpacho-inspired wheat berry salad. The nutty wheat berries will help soak up the alcohol, and it would be a shame not to make the most of those ripe, summer tomatoes.

For the Gazpacho-Style Wheat Berry Salad recipe, click here.

Greek Salad Skewers

Greek Salad Skewers

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This elegant picnic appetizer is adorable, healthy, and easy to eat, making it  the perfect light accompaniment to your boozy cocktails.

For the Greek Salad Skewers recipe, click here.

Mexican Chocolate Popcorn

Mexican Chocolate Popcorn

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While you laze in the late afternoon sun in a rum punch-fueled haze, you’ll definitely want something to snack on. This Mexican chocolate popcorn is spicy, sweet, and crunchy: exactly what you’ll be craving on a drunken summer Sunday.

For the Mexican Chocolate Popcorn recipe, click here.

Peach Tea Rum Punch

Peach Tea Rum Punch

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Sweet and strong rum-infused iced tea is the ultimate summer picnic drink. This riff on a Long Island iced tea is packed with four types of alcohol, so it is definitely boozy picnic-approved.

For the Peach Tea Rum Punch recipe, click here.

Sangria Fruit Salad

Sangria Fruit Salad

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Everybody loves the alcohol-soaked fruit at the bottom of the jug of sangria. Lucky for you, we have transformed those delicious, sweet, boozy nuggets into an alcohol-laced fruit salad.

For the Sangria Fruit Salad recipe, click here.

Tuscan Bread Salad: Panzanella

Tuscan Bread Salad: Panzanella

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The fresh, Italian flavors of this classic Tuscan bread salad will immediately have you dreaming of a long, lazy lunch in the Tuscan countryside.

For the Tuscan Bread Salad recipe, click here.

Vodka-Spiked Pink Lemonade

Vodka-Spiked Pink Lemonade

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Transform your favorite childhood iced drink into a “grownups only” cocktail by adding a generous splash of vodka to your homemade lemonade: Refreshing, thirst-quenching, and pretty, all at once.

For the Vodka-Spiked Pink Lemonade recipe, click here.

Kids' Picnic

Kids' Picnic

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Keep the kids well-fed and energized at every picnic you take them on during their summer vacation. Subtly sneak vegetables into their lunch, and give them plenty of manageable finger foods so they can eat in small bursts, rather than having to sit down for a long meal.

Bacon Cheesy Whole-Wheat Pita Pockets

Bacon Cheesy Whole-Wheat Pita Pockets

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Stuff a mini pita with crispy bacon, ripe avocado, and grated cheese, and you’ll have a happy group of picnicking kids.

For the Bacon Cheesy Whole-Wheat Pita Pockets recipe, click here.

Blueberry Muffins

Blueberry Muffins

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Blueberry muffins are a great, fuss-free picnic dessert. Bursting with fresh summer berries and topped with a salty honey crumble, these really are the best blueberry muffins you’ve ever had.

For the Best Blueberry Muffins recipe, click here.

Breaded Chicken Fingers

Breaded Chicken Fingers

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Coated in crunchy cornflakes and salty parmesan, these chicken fingers are the perfect transportable dish to serve at a picnic. Eat with your fingers, and enjoy them on their own or dipped into your favorite condiment.

For the Breaded Chicken Fingers recipe, click here.

Caprese Pasta Salad

Caprese Pasta Salad

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All your favorite summer flavors are incorporated into this kid-friendly pasta salad. The pasta is given an added boost of flavor as a result of using roasted red peppers marinated with olive oil and garlic, which makes this salad as popular with adults as it will be with the kids.     

For the Caprese Pasta Salad recipe, click here.

Classic Lemon Bars

Classic Lemon Bars

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Bright, sunny, and sweet lemon bars are what everyone will be craving on a warm summer’s day. This tart and refreshing dessert will make the kids’ eyes light up: There’s a reason why it’s a classic.

For the Classic Lemon Bars recipe, click here.

Hummus and Crudités

Hummus and Crudités

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Start your picnic with a fuss-free, kid-friendly, healthy finger-food: a bowl of fresh hummus and lots of crunchy crudités. Dipping carrot batons into a bowl of sweet potato hummus is a great way to get the little ones to enjoy eating their vegetables.

For the Sweet Potato Hummus recipe, click here.

Mini M&M Chocolate Chip Cookies

M&M Cookies

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Celebrate your summer picnic with every kid’s favorite treat — cookies. But this time, make them even better than usual by swapping the chocolate chips for M&M’s: You will momentarily be every kid’s favorite human in the world. 

For the Soft Batch Mini M&M Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe, click here.

Summertime Lemonade

Summertime Lemonade

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Thirst-quenching homemade lemonade is exactly what is in order on a hot day of running around under the sun. This naturally sweetened, strawberry-infused lemonade will refresh and revive all those little, thirsty people.

For the Summer in a Glass recipe, click here.