Skip to Content
May 10, 2024

63 Best Picnic Food Ideas

Whether you need picnic food ideas for a big group, kid-friendly picnic recipes or something a little romantic for a picnic on the beach, we've got tons of easy food picnic ideas right here.


seven layer dip made with guacamole, refried beans, shredded cheese, sour cream, tomatoes, olives, green onion and cilantro
Photography by Gayle McLeod

Is there anything better than a picnic on a beautiful day?

Whether you head outdoors with your family on a whim because the sun came out, or gather for a picnic in the park with a huge crew, the best picnic foods can be almost anything you love to eat. But, because you'll be eating outside, there are a few things to consider.

Things that are easy to eat with your hands make really good picnic foods — think cookies, dips galore (with plenty of veggies for dipping, of course) and even many simple chicken recipes make great picnic finger food. Fresh fruit is always nice in the summertime, too, and a surprising number of salad recipes make great picnic foods, especially if kids are joining the fun. Hearty pasta salads, like our Summer Tortellini Pasta Salad, can be made ahead of time, travel well in containers and taste delicious at room temperature — all the makings of a perfect picnic food.

Investing in a good insulated carrier is a smart if you hope to spend lots of sunny days picnicking. For a romantic, just-the-two-of-u picnic, you might consider really simple, perfectly hand-held bites, like Fresh Spring Rolls, or Bacon-Wrapped Asparagus. Read on for all of our favorite picnic recipes!

1 of 63

Miso-Ginger Chicken Slaw

miso-ginger chicken slaw made with cabbage, almonds, cilantro, carrots, green onion, sesame oil, vinegar and spices

Crunchy green and red cabbage serves as a colorful backdrop for this miso-ginger slaw with shredded chicken, plus it's a perfect make-ahead recipes for a picnic, because the cabbage will stay nice and crunchy.

2 of 63

Red Cabbage and Apple Slaw

red cabbage and apple slaw made with red onion, cilantro, mint, jalapeño, lime zest and juice, mayo, salt and pepper

This slaw is magic. Red cabbage, tart granny smith apples, the slight heat of jalapeño, a squeeze of bright lime juice and the refreshing flavors of mint and cilantro–it simply cannot be beat!

3 of 63

Classic Coleslaw

homemade classic coleslaw in a serving bowl with a wooden serving spoon on the counter

Creamy, a little sweet and a little tangy, this classic coleslaw recipe is a picnic must-have. Just be sure to keep it cool!

4 of 63

Tomato Fennel Salad

Tomato Salad made of tomatoes, fennel, olives, vinegar, garlic, dill, olive oil, stone mustard, salt & pepper in a bowl

Wondering what to do with all those fresh summer tomatoes? Pack them in your picnic basket, of course!

5 of 63

Seven Layer Dip

seven layer dip made with guacamole, refried beans, shredded cheese, sour cream, tomatoes, olives, green onion and cilantro

Your tortilla chips have never been so happy to see a dip! If you're picnicking with a big crowd, this is a must-bring picnic recipe.

6 of 63

Perfect Guacamole

a bowl of homemade guacamole with red onion, jalapeño and cilantro surrounded by tortilla chips

Pack it up in little to-go containers (we always save them for picnicking when we get takeout) and bring along homemade guacamole. It's a crowd and kid favorite, and a total must-have!

7 of 63

Beet Hummus

homemade beet hummus in a serving bowl surrounded by crackers, celery and carrots for dipping

Hummus is one of our go-to picnic foods, and this jewel-hued roasted beet hummus is an instant mood booster, and a refreshing change from the store-bought stuff.

8 of 63

Nutty Carrot Dip

homemade nutty carrot dip in a bowl on top of a platter surrounded with raw peas, cucumbers, radishes and crackers

This easy, creamy carrot dip recipe gets a savory supercharge from a secret store-bought ingredient. It'd make a sunny addition to a beach picnic!

9 of 63

Classic Creamy Hummus

Classic Creamy Hummus with olive oil and parsley in a bowl with pita wedges.

Everyone’s favorite dip gets a homemade makeover and best of all? You can make this protien-packed dip a few days ahead of time. Who doesn't love a picnic make-ahead!

10 of 63

Pimento Cheese

homemade pimento cheese in a bowl on a serving platter with celery, carrots and ritz crackers

A little savory and a little sweet with miles of cheesy goodness, our best pimento cheese recipe is an immediate classic. Grab some crackers and get the party started!

11 of 63

Huli Huli Chicken

a plate of grilled huli huli chicken cooked in sesame oil, ginger, garlic, tamari, rice vinegar, sugar, ketchup & paprika

Seasoned with a ginger-spiked sweet and smoky sauce, this huli huli chicken recipe is the best way to bring Hawaiian vibes on your picnic blanket. Play some slack-key guitar on your favorite outdoor speaker and you're in picnic dreamland.

12 of 63

Chicken Kebabs

chicken kebabs with bell pepper and red onion on a serving plate served with bowls of dill sauce and romesco sauce

Picnic in the park, but make it dinner, too, with these yummy, easy chicken kebabs. They're delicious at room temperature, and so easy to eat with your fingers.

13 of 63

Cilantro Lime Chicken Thighs

cilantro lime chicken thighs on a serving platter garnished with cilantro and lime wedges

A quick marinade of lime, garlic, bright cilantro, and a touch of honey transforms boneless, skinless chicken thighs into the juicy surge of flavor that your picnic menu needs!

14 of 63

Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs

hawaiian chicken kabobs layered with sweet potatoes, bell pepper, pineapple & red onion brushed with a ginger-sesame marinade

Sweet and savory, these super easy pineapple-dotted Hawaiian chicken kabobs are pure summertime fun.

15 of 63

Baked BBQ Chicken Thighs

Baked BBQ Chicken Thighs on a platter

A simple, quick homemade BBQ sauce is the secret to this oven-baked BBQ chicken thigh recipe. It cooks to sticky, sweet-savory perfection and makes them as deletable as they are easy. Hot picnic tip: Pack some extra wipes!

16 of 63

Lemongrass Chicken Thighs

lemongrass chicken thighs with scallion oil and Asian bbq sauce on a plate with a serving spoon

Seasoned with some of the defining flavors of Vietnamese cuisine—heady, citrusy, lemongrass, tons of fresh ginger, and fish sauce—these succulent chicken thighs are a true treat that proves that picnic food can be exciting, too!

17 of 63

Grilled Chicken Thighs with Succotash

Grilled chicken Thighs with Succotash on a serving platter topped with lime wedges for garnish

Say hello to your new go-to grilled chicken thigh recipe with a hearty side of summer Succotash!

18 of 63

Greek Grilled Chicken with Salad

Greek Grilled chicken with salad topped with cucumbers, tomatoes cucumbers, sliced  Kalamata olives and red onion

A mix of Greek yogurt, mayo, herbs, evoo and vinegar does double duty as a marinade for grilled chicken and a dressing for a crispy salad of romaine, cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, and red onion.

19 of 63

Pulled Pork

homemade pulled pork recipe shredded on a plate with two forks

Cooked low and slow, there’s nothing quite like tender pulled pork, and this pulled pork recipe is the very best we’ve ever made! Plus, this recipe works in the oven, slow-cooker, or Instant Pot! You can make it ahead of time, and just pack some to bring to the park — it's good at room temp, too.

20 of 63

Broccoli Salad

close up of homemade broccoli salad with creamy sweet dressing, crispy bacon, golden raisins and purple onions

This cold, crunchy broccoli salad—studded with crisp bacon, diced red onion and chewy raisins, then tossed in a creamy homemade dressing—is what all of your summer classic picnic food dreams are made of.

21 of 63

Macaroni Salad

a bowl of macaroni salad made with Mayo, sugar, honey, spices, carrots, relish, celery and green onions

It's hardly an innovative picnic food idea, but classic macaroni salad is a classic for good reason. Just be sure to pack it in an insulated container with plenty of ice packs so that it says cool.

22 of 63

Perfectly Crispy Fried Chicken

perfectly crispy fried chicken on a platter shown with a bowl of sliced pickles and pickled cabbage.

A cayenne-spiked buttermilk batter makes this classic fried chicken recipe golden brown and crisp on the outside, juicy and tender on the inside. And yes, it's delicious at room temperature, too!

23 of 63

Deviled Eggs

blue plate with deviled eggs topped with radishes, pickled onions, bacon and pickles

Though the name implies otherwise, these classic deviled eggs are nothing short of heavenly. Yes a little tricky to transport, but if you're walking to your picnic, a deviled egg plate (yes, there is such a thing) will get you there! And everyone at the picnic will be so grateful.

24 of 63

Classic Potato Salad

Classic potato salad in a bowl with a wooden spoon made with radishes and cucumber

Creamy and a bit tangy, with ruby-pink radishes for a little crunch, this classic potato salad wins best in show, every time.

25 of 63

Chicken Chop Salad with Chèvre Ranch

Chicken Chop Salad with Chèvre Ranch sprinkled with pepper, dill and chives in a serving bowl with serving spoons

This crunchy salad has tons of fresh veggies, a creamy ranch dressing, and a healthy crumble of goat cheese and makes a perfect vegetarian picnic main dish.

26 of 63

Antipasto Salad

antipasto salad with romaine, salami, mozzarella, basil, and pickled veggies next to a bowl of creamy parmesan lemon dressing

Take all the greatest Italian salty, briny, tangy, pickly things and toss them with crunchy lettuce and a Parm-lemon dressing and you’ve got the best antipasto salad ever.

27 of 63

Italian Chopped Salad

Italian Chopped Salad with homemade Italian salad dressing in a serving bowl with serving spoons  on the counter

Salty salami, creamy mozzarella, olives, Parm, fresh basil and—oh yeah—some lettuce make this Italian chopped salad recipe truly crush-worthy.

28 of 63

Chopped Salad With Herb Yogurt Dressing

Spring Chopped Salad With Asparagus And Peas on a plate with a serving spoon

This fresh, crunchy chopped salad is studded with bacon, dates and feta then doused in a yogurty, herby salad dressing. If you make it you might have a hard time not eating the whole bowl yourself.

29 of 63

Arugula White Bean Salad with Pesto Chicken

Arugula and White Bean salad with Pesto chicken on a serving platter

Sturdy white beans and peppery arugula get dressed in a simple vinaigrette and topped with grilled pesto chicken. An easy and beautiful salad to put together when you’re craving something fresh!

30 of 63

Sweet and Smoky Bean and Corn Salsa

homemade Sweet and Smoky Bean and Corn Salsa in a serving bowl surrounded by tortilla chips for dipping

It’s as easy as opening a few cans and adding some flavor powerhouses–lime juice, smoked paprika and honey! Gather the crew and head to the park with a bag of chips, it’s time to dig into this healthy, delicious black bean and corn salsa!

31 of 63

3 Bean Salad

3 bean salad in a serving bowl with a serving spoon made with green beans, kidney beans, garbanzo beans, red onion & parsley

There’s few recipes where kidney beans take center stage, and 3 Bean Salad is one of the best reasons to open a can of this hearty bean. Stir them up with green beans and garbanzos for a classic trio! It's a make-ahead wonder and one of the unsung heroes of picnic recipes.

32 of 63

Garlicky Beans with Lemon, Dill and Trout

Plate of white beans topped with fresh dill and smoked trout

The name says it all. Our beloved Trader Joe’s smoked trout (no, seriously, it’s so good) makes regular old canned white beans into the easiest dinner ever.

33 of 63

White Bean Hummus

homemade White Bean Hummus in a bowl with paprika, olive oil and parsley

Creamy and full of nutrition, our zesty, garlicky white bean hummus recipe is a delicious, easy spin on classic hummus.

34 of 63

Cowboy Caviar

homemade cowboy caviar in a serving bowl with a spoon surrounded by tortilla chips and bowls of salt and cilantro

A perfect make-ahead dish for any potluck or party, our cowboy caviar recipe is one we know you’ll be making over and over again even as the summer winds down.

35 of 63

Chickpea Salad

Chickpea salad tossed with homemade Italian dressing  and sprinkled with parmesan cheese in a bowl with a serving spoon.

Soft, creamy chickpeas with crunchy cucumber and a vinegary pop of pepperoncini, this salad has it all!

36 of 63

White Bean Salad with Anchovy Vinaigrette

homemade white bean salad with anchovy vinaigrette on a plate served with crusty bread

Bursting with Mediterranean goodness, this summery white bean salad is studded with crispy fried capers and drizzled in a rich and sharp anchovy vinaigrette. It'll be the start of your picnic spread, we promise!

37 of 63

Avocado and Melon Salad

avocado and melon salad with fresh basil and drizzled with homemade dressing on a serving platter

An effortless and fresh melon and avocado salad is the perfect picnic recipe for a romantic picnic outing. Pair with some chilled rosé and golden hour and, well, we'll just give you two some privacy now.

38 of 63

Curried Cauliflower Quinoa Salad

Curried Cauliflower Quinoa Salad with tahini dressing with cucumber and cabbage in a bowl with a fork

This curried cauliflower quinoa salad with tahini dressing is so simple. It's the perfect vegetarian picnic main meal!

39 of 63

Corn Salad

corn salad made with tomatoes, cucumber, red onion, green onions, basil and lime juice in a serving bowl with a spoon

In the summertime our favorite expression is, if it grows together, it goes together, and that’s especially true of this corn, cucumber, and tomato salad with a honey lime dressing.

40 of 63

Classic Cobb Salad

classic cobb salad made with romaine, chicken, hard boiled eggs, bacon, tomatoes, blue cheese, avocado & shallot vinaigrette

There’s a layer of flavor for everyone in a classic cobb salad. Crunchy, creamy, and rich, it is the best of all worlds.

41 of 63

Spring Salad With Barley and Lemon Chive Vinaigrette

Spring Barley Salad with lemon chive vinaigrette dried cranberries and sunflower seeds

Dressed with a chive vinaigrette, crunchy sunflower seeds and tart cranberries, this barley salad is an edible celebration of the cusp of spring.

42 of 63

Mediterranean Wedge Salad

a mediterranean wedge salad with tomatoes, cucumber, greek olives, pickled red onions and creamy feta dressing on a plate

A classic wedge salad is a favorite way to eat iceberg lettuce. Crispy and fresh with the best salad dressing. We’ve made a couple edits to the original wedge recipe, giving it a Mediterranean twist.

43 of 63

Cookie Brittle

cookie brittle triangles on a cookie rack

Cookie brittle: an imperfect name—we’re just not sure what else to call them!—for this perfect shortbread-ish chocolate chip cookie bar recipe.

44 of 63

Rice Crispy Treats

4 homemade rice crispy treats stacked on top of each other made with butter, marshmallows, vanilla and rice krispie cereal

The most classic, feel-good treat on the planet and truly an ideal picnic food. If all your kid eats at the picnic is these, don't worry about it — rice crispy treats are basically a breakfast food.

45 of 63

Peach Pie

a slice of homemade peach pie with homemade pie crust on a plate with a scoop of vanilla ice cream

Summer gives us many great things like swims in lakes & corn on the cob. It also gives us peaches. And when life gives us peaches, we immediately gotta make this recipe for peach pie!

46 of 63

Key Lime Pie

a slice of homemade key lime pie with graham cracker crust and topped with whip cream and slices of key lime

There’s nothing like sinking your teeth into a perfectly sweet and tart bite of Key Lime Pie. The good news is, this classic dessert can be made with a handful of easy to find ingredients.

47 of 63

Peach Cobbler

freshly baked peach cobbler in a baking tin with a scoop of ice cream

Loaded with late summer fruit, this peach cobbler recipe is warmly fragrant with almond and vanilla, and a bit grandmotherly in all the best ways. Plop it on the picnic table and let folks dive in!

48 of 63

Mixed Berry Shortcake

Mixed berry short cake with whipped cream on a plate

Warm from the sun and bursting with crimson juice, fresh berries embody summer more than anything else. Celebrate their ripe perfection with this simple, classic mixed berry shortcake.

49 of 63

Mediterranean Pasta Salad

Mediterranean Pasta Salad in a bowl with feta, olives, tomatoes and arugula

With briny olives, juicy cherry tomatoes, spicy arugula, purple pops of red onion, and creamy feta crumbled throughout, this Mediterranean pasta salad is as bright and sunny as a warm summer day.

50 of 63

Salmon Pasta with Homemade Pesto

salmon pasta with homemade pesto tossed with green beans and lemon zest and sprinkled with parmesan cheese in a serving bowl

Blushing pink roasted salmon and crisp green beans tossed with fresh pesto and perfectly al dente orecchiette make for a healthy, one-bowl meal everyone will love.

51 of 63

Spinach Orzo Salad With Feta, Tomatoes and a Basil Dressing

a bowl of Spinach Orzo Salad With Feta Tomatoes and a Basil Dressing topped with basil and pine nuts

This colorful, hearty spinach orzo salad tastes like a garden at its summertime best—juicy tomatoes, fragrant basil, garlic and plenty of sunshine-y lemon.

52 of 63

Summer Tortellini Pasta Salad

tortellini pasta salad with tomatoes, and basil and pesto

The classic Italian caprese trio of fresh mozzarella, basil and tomatoes are the inspiration behind this couldn’t-be-easier cheese tortellini salad.

53 of 63

Cold Thai Noodle Salad

Cold Thai noodle salad topped with peanut dressing, crushed peanuts, ground pork, cucumbers, basil and mint

Cooked-til-crisp ground pork, and creamy Thai peanut dressing add a hint of heft to fragrant fresh mint, basil, cooling cucumber and delicate rice noodles in this lively cold Thai noodle salad.

54 of 63

Pesto Zoodle Salad

white bowl filled with Pesto chicken zoodle salad topped with fresh cherry tomatoes, pearl mozzarella and toasted pine nuts

This stunningly beautiful, twisty-twirly pesto zoodle salad with fresh mozzarella, chicken and toasted pine nuts is a textural, colorful study in how to make the most of the late-summer harvest.

55 of 63

Thai Zoodle Salad

Thai Zoodle salad with chicken, peanuts, and fresh limes in a grey ceramic bowl

Tossed in a creamy, Thai-inspired peanut dressing, this crunchy, colorful cold Thai zoodle salad is quick, healthy and satisfying.

56 of 63

Cold Ramen Noodle Salad

cold ramen noodle salad with basil, cucumbers and bell peppers in a bowl

Tossed with a rainbow of crunchy vegetables, these Asian-inspired, twirly cold sesame noodles are a summertime staple.

57 of 63

Serrano Mint Kale Salad with Salmon

Serrano Mint Kale Salad with Salmon garnished with serrano peppers and parmesan in a serving bowl

A kale and broiled salmon salad that has a creamy umami dressing with serrano peppers, anchovies, lemon, and mint. It’s a really satisfying forkful and perfect for when you’re craving something fresh.

58 of 63

Tuna Lentil Salad

tuna lentil salad in a bowl made with lentils, tuna, mayo, dijon, lemon zest & juice, spices, fresh herbs, red onion & capers

Canned tuna meets hearty green lentils for a dressed up tuna salad. We encourage you to serve this with crackers and endive for scooping up the perfect bite!

59 of 63

Salmon Bites with Wasabi Mayo

skewered salmon bites on a tray topped with wasabi mayo and fresh cilantro

Salmon bites with wasabi mayo is a recipe that transforms one of the worlds’ healthiest foods into a supper that’s as fun to eat as it is good for you.

60 of 63

Fresh Spring Rolls

homemade fresh spring rolls on a plate with bowls of peanut sauce and sweet chili sauce for dipping

Light, healthy and bursting with color, fresh spring rolls are surprisingly easy to make at home and they travel beautifully! They truly check all of our easy picnic food boxes — hand held, good at room temp, easy, light.

61 of 63

Pesto Potato Salad

pesto potato salad in a serving bowl made with potatoes, eggs, cucumbers and fresh basil

This bright green potato salad is an herbaceous and garlicky version of the classic. Simply made with pesto (fresh or from the store), cucumber, and hard-boiled eggs, you’ll be making this on repeat.

62 of 63

Watermelon Salad

watermelon salad in a serving bowl made with, cucumber, red onion, feta, mint and basil with a balsamic dressing

Watermelon is a classic picnic food, any way you slice it. It signals warm weather and gatherings with loved ones. This salad is a celebration of watermelon, with fresh herbs, feta, and cucumber.

63 of 63

Fruit Salad

homemade fruit salad mixed with an orange juice dressing and mint leaves on a platter on the counter

Juicy, sweet and oh-so-colorful, there’s nothing like fresh fruit salad! Our favorite fruit salad recipe gets a serious burst of sweetness from a light orange-mint dressing, too!

💌 Let's Stay Together

There are so many great ways to receive all of our latest recipes, meal tips, and inspiration.

63 Best Picnic Food Ideas

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.


    Any questions?

    Need to change up some ingredients? Unsure about a step in the method? Click the Ask a Question button above. We’re here for you.

  • sharon

    I made the watermelon salad on Saturday and really enjoyed it, such a fun take on watermelon. I'm making again today for Mother's Day!

    Thanks Sharon, so glad you loved it!

  • Tresa

    You really can't go wrong withthis list! THe classic potato salad is one of my favs!

    Thanks Tresa!