35+ Best Picnic Food Ideas (+Recipes)

Making the perfect outdoor meal that fits into your to-go container but still packs a ton of flavor isn’t easy. A picnic can be more than potato salad and fried chicken. Picnic recipes can be easy as comfort food and a little imagination.

There’s something so different and refreshing about eating outside. Whether you’re eating sandwiches, cold fried chicken, or just chips and dip, everything just tastes better outdoors. A picnic is a perfect way to enjoy a date with someone special, time with your family, or even spend time by yourself.

That’s where the picnic food ideas on this list come into play!

Happy family having picnic in park on sunny summer day

Picnicking is one of life’s simple pleasures, offering a chance to unwind, connect with nature, and enjoy delicious food with friends and family. Deciding on the perfect picnic fare can be a daunting task, but with a little thought and preparation, it is possible to create a spread that is as delectable as it is easily transportable.

The best picnic foods are not only tasty but also easy to prepare in advance and can be enjoyed at room temperature. From light salads and sandwiches to refreshing drinks and delightful desserts, there’s a vast array of options available to satisfy every taste.

One important factor to consider when selecting picnic foods is their portability. Dishes that can be packed in individual containers or easily wrapped in foil make for a mess-free dining experience. Additionally, choosing food items that are not overly perishable or susceptible to melting ensures that the meal remains fresh and safe to consume throughout the day.

When the sun is out and you want to enjoy a nice breeze, you need picnic food that is easy to carry but still tastes great.

You’re sure to get inspired by this list of picnic ideas that will have you and your significant other satisfied and soaking up the sun.

The Best Picnic Foods For Outdoor Meals!

To have the ultimate picnic food, you need something that is easy to make as well as easy to eat, since you won’t even have a table available.

Here is a complete list of 33 picnic ideas to make for your next outing.

You’ll find all kinds of different foods on this picnic food list, so pick your favorite and start cooking today!

Source: iamhomesteader.com

1. Cream Cheese Tortilla Bites

If you want something a little more savory to go with your picnic, you can try these cream cheese tortilla bites.

They are creamy with a little bit of kick, so you can have a ton without getting full or your mouth getting on fire.

Source: iwashyoudry.com

2. Chicken Salad Sandwich

If you don’t want you and your partner to fall asleep while sitting under a huge tree during your picnic, you need to serve something light.

Nothing goes better with some sun and clouds than a nice refreshing chicken salad sandwich.

You have everything you need; tender delicious chicken with crisp celery and creamy mayo.

You can even add your own nuts like cashews to give it some extra flavor and texture.

The bread choice is yours alone to make but anything is going to go well with some chicken salad.

Source: mybakingaddiction.com

3. Fruit and Cheese Kebabs

This is a super simple snack to make and they are perfect to put together if you don’t have a lot of time.

You can put pretty much any kind of fresh fruit and cheese on these kebabs and they’ll still be fantastic.

Source: food52.com

4. Fried Tomato Sandwich

This might take a little more work to make since you have to deep fry the tomatoes, but when you bust out this classic, your date is going to be impressed.

This is an open-faced sandwich, so every bite will be packed with flavor, not bread.

You can throw on a small layer of mayo but don’t go overboard because you don’t want a soggy bread sandwich.

The tomato is a great flavor and when it’s breaded and fried it becomes almost irresistible.

Source: vinepair.com

5. Sparkling Strawberry Lemonade

Who can enjoy all of these wonderful outdoor foods without something to drink it all down with?

And there are few drinks more deserving on a hot day than sparkling strawberry lemonade.

Source: modernmealmakeover.com

6. Seven-Layer Taco Dip

This is a great picnic recipe to make because you don’t need any utensils at all!

Just serve up your seven-layered taco dip with a healthy portion of tortilla chips and you and your partner can pick at this meal all picnic long.

You’ll find this dish is packed full of flavor and ingredients, so this dish is also perfect if you decide to go on a little hike before your picnic.

The olives on top really make the flavors unique and stand out from your regular taco meals.

Source: meaningfulmama.com

7. Ladybug Pretzels

This is another cute one for kids to enjoy. They are pretzels that look just like ladybugs!

You’ll need some red candy melting chips, chocolate chips, and white chocolate chips to make the eyes and dots.

Source: beplantwell.com

8. Vegetable Rice Paper Rolls

Looking for an easy picnic food idea that is also a healthy picnic food?

Say hello to these vegetable rice paper rolls that are jam-packed with delicious flavor and healthy ingredients.

Throw in a side of spicy peanut sauce to really give them that authentic Asian cuisine taste.

You’re not going to want to roll these treats while out on your picnic, so it’s best if you prepare these ahead of time at home.

If you don’t like the veggies in this recipe, no problem! You can throw in the veggie of your choice to make it satisfy your taste buds.

Source: life-in-the-lofthouse.com

9. Ambrosia Salad

This is a classic fruit salad to bring to the outdoors because all of the fruit is refreshing on a nice warm day.

This salad goes well as an app or as a dessert and you can make it just how you like it.

Source: chelseasmessyapron.com

10. Cowboy Caviar

Who needs fish eggs when you can have your own down-to-earth version of caviar?

This cowboy caviar has been enjoyed by many cowboys who were sitting under the hot sun trying to pack up on nutrients they lost throughout the day.

Now, you and your significant other can stock up on beans, corn, juicy tomato, and peppers while being under the big blue sky.

Get some hearty tortilla chips that can withstand the weight of all the delicious food and you have the perfect dipping meal.

Source: tastesoflizzyt.com

11. Corn Pudding

If your picnic day is going to be packed with savory bbq meats, there is one side you need to bring and that’s corn pudding.

The sweet and delicious flavor goes really well with the savory and satiating bbq.

Source: southernbite.com

12. Macaroni Salad

You’ve probably had a traditional macaroni salad and nothing can be better than a cooling pasta salad on a warm picnic day.

You don’t have to stick with your grandmother’s recipe either, you can add in your own ingredients that will help make this recipe pop.

Source: thehungrybluebird.com

13. Egg Salad Sandwich

Just like with chicken salad, egg salad sandwiches are a classic picnic dish to make.

Refreshing flavors are sure to cool you down while you’re enjoying a day in the warm sun.

Source: thetortillachannel.com

14. Tuna Wraps

Don’t know what to bring on your next picnic but want it to be easy and low maintenance.

Try out this tuna wrap recipe that doesn’t have a ton of ingredients and won’t take up a bunch of time.

Of course, you can add any ingredients you like to make this tuna melt that really speaks to you and your picnic date.

Source: cookingprofessionally.com

15. Sweet Tea

This isn’t exactly food, but who can go on a picnic without some classic sweet tea?

On a hot summer day, nothing says picnic like a good glass of cold sweet tea.

Super easy to make, all you need is tea, water, ice, and sugar.

Source: savoringthegood.com

16. Bisquick Sausage Balls

If you’re looking to spend most of your time on your picnic lying down under some shade, this Bisquick sausage balls recipe will hit the mark.

It’s so satiating and flavorful it will make you and your picnic companion want to take a quick little nap.

Just make sure to bake enough for both of you. These balls will go fast when you take them out of the basket!

Source: melissassouthernstylekitchen.com

17. Peanut Butter Cowboy Cookies

This generational old cookie recipe is the perfect one to bust out for your next picnic.

Simple and tasty, these cookies are the kind that you think you’re only going to have one but you end up eating five.

These cookies, when cooked right, are light, tasty, salty, and sweet. The perfect combo for a day under the sun.

Source: pardonyourfrench.com

18. Couscous Salad

Couscous is the perfect salad recipe to bust out for picnic foods.

The Mediterranean flavors all meld together to provide a refreshing and delicious meal.

It might not be good for a main dish unless you add some chickpeas to it, but it goes great as a side.

The salad doesn’t take a lot of time to make either, so you can round up this dish without being late for your picnic date.

You’ll find all these fresh ingredients the perfect combination for a warm picnic day.

Source: spicysoutherkitchen.com

19. Watergate Salad

Watergate isn’t just an old presidential controversy, it’s also a delicious picnic dessert.

This isn’t your classic salad because the unique blend of flavors makes it sweet enough to be a dessert.

Stuffed with marshmallows, pecans, pineapples, and pistachio, all you need is a little whipped topping and you’re good to go.

Source: thedelicicousspoon.com

20. Greek Pasta Salad

What’s so good about Greek food is how healthy it can be.

Loads of tomatoes, olives, cucumbers, and tzatziki sauce really make this an incredible option to bring along on your next outdoor outing.

Once you throw the sauce on, you’ll have a salad ready in about 5 minutes if you buy all the ingredients already prepared.

Source: cookingclassy.com

21. Watermelon Rice Krispies

Just like watermelon sugar cookies, these Rice Krispy versions have the same concept but with crunchy and gooey Rice Krispies instead.

You’ll still have a little chocolate surprise every time you bite into one because the seeds are made from small chocolate chips.

Put them on a stick to make them easier to eat, but these are fun for the whole family to enjoy.

Source: shesnotcooking.com

22. Deviled Eggs

This dish won’t be as quick as some of the others on the list, but that’s because it takes time to make something this good.

Hard boiling the eggs is really where all your time will go because you have to hard boil the eggs, peel them, and then cut them in half and remove all the yolks.

Once you do that, you can put the wonderful mixture inside the halved egg and toss a pinch of paprika and chives on top.

Even though a deviled egg looks simple, they make the perfect picnic finger food.

Source: thehappyfoodie.co.uk

23. Cheese and Tomato Tarts

These cute and delicious tarts are made for date nights outdoors on a picnic blanket.

Once you bust these out, your date will know you care for them because they look like they took forever to make.

The truth is, these pastries don’t take a ton of time but they still taste like you spent hours on them.

Source: divascancook.com

24. Biscuits

Take a bite into a warm and fluffy biscuit while you’re at your next picnic and you’ll immediately be transported back to childhood.

Throw on a little butter and some local honey too, and you’ll want to take a picnic every week.

If you don’t want to make your own dough, you can just buy store-bought biscuits to save a ton of time.

But be warned, they won’t taste nearly as good.

Source: acouplecooks.com

25. Black Bean Salad

Instead of going for the traditional and refreshing salad, you can opt for this flavorful black bean salad instead.

As long as you have some baked beans in a can, the prep work for this dish is almost minimal.

You can throw a lot of healthy ingredients like corn and tomatoes into the mix.

If you want a more filling meal, you can even throw out some shredded chicken or pork.

Source: carlsbadcravings.com

26. Hummus

A simple and easy treat to take with you to the outdoors is hummus.

This wonderful dip is great because you can bring along a side of carrots or celery and just immediately start dipping without needing any utensils.

Hummus has a slight umami flavor while still being creamy, light, healthy for you.

Making your own hummus is the way to go because you can really get all those flavors to come out in the final product.

But, if you’re low on time, you can always go for a high-quality store-bought hummus.

Source: simplywhisked.com

27. Sausage Rolls

Sausage rolls are tiny but they pack a whole lot of flavor.

You have your sausage pork rolled up in generous amounts of onion, garlic, and celery to give you a perfect bite every time.

The flaky and soft pastry outside makes it so that you can’t stop grabbing another one when you’re done.

These are usually just great finger food for a picnic, but if you have enough of them they can easily turn into an entire meal.

Source: passionatepennypincher.com

28. Buffalo Chicken Dip

You can’t go wrong with bringing a dip to your next picnic and this buffalo chicken dip is absolutely addicting.

With some tender shredded chicken, buffalo sauce, ranch dressing, and plenty of cheese, this gooey dip was made for a sturdy cracker.

You won’t have much left when you take this out of your picnic basket because you and your date won’t be able to take your hands off of it.

Source: daringgourmet.com

29. Cornish Pastries

These delectable treats are a favorite when eating outdoors.

The puff pastry is flaky and combines perfectly with the savory meat filling inside.

This is another one of those dishes where you can substitute the ingredients for anything you like.

A meat-stuffed pastry is a classic and can be made with anyone’s taste buds in mind.

Source: barefeetinthekitchen.com

30. Broccoli Grape Salad

There are few salads as refreshing and good as this broccoli grape salad.

You might not even have had broccoli and grapes together, but the combination of flavors goes very well together.

With a nice creamy dressing to combine all the flavors together, this salad will help you remain present and active instead of wanting to take a quick nap.

Source: recipetineats.com

31. Queso

Few people can resist the cheesy, gooey, delicious flavors of good queso.

The best thing about making queso for your picnic is that you can make it with any ingredients you want.

Looking for a more savory queso? Add some brisket or chorizo. Want your queso to be a little healthier? Throw in a ton of fresh veggies or use celery sticks to dip in your queso.

Depending on how hot the day is on your picnic, you can even add in some jalapenos to give it a little kick.

Source: sugarspunrun.com

32. Watermelon Sugar Cookies

Who doesn’t love some sugar cookies while out on a lovely picnic?

Surprise your picnic guests by busting out these absolutely adorable versions of a sugar cookie with watermelon coloring.

Although they taste nothing like a watermelon, everyone at your picnic will be picking away your batch of cookies as the day goes on.

These sugar cookies even sneak in a little chocolate to make the watermelon seeds.

Source: cakewhiz.com

33. Black and White Cookies

Simple, yet delicious. You can’t go wrong bringing these black and white cookies over to your next picnic.

You can never make enough of these cookies because they always seem to run out.

Plan ahead and make a huge batch and then stick it in an air-tight container so they can stay good.

If you do happen to have some leftovers, you can eat them throughout the next week.

Our 40+ BEST Picnic Food Ideas (+Chicken Salad Sandwich)

These recipes are sure to please. So, gather your family and friends and enjoy. Let us know your thoughts!
5 from 4 votes
Total Time 25 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 250 kcal


  • 3.5 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 1 cup halved red grapes
  • 2 chopped celery stalks
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup olive oil mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • Salt and pepper
  • Bread


  • Combine all ingredients.
  • Serve on thick slices of bread.


Select your favorite recipe.
Organize all the required ingredients.
Enjoy the food.


Calories: 250kcal
Keyword chicken salad sandwich, picnic food ideas
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Follow Us
Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
Cassie Marshall
Follow Us
Latest posts by Cassie Marshall (see all)