Have you never thought about creating picnic food ideas? Perhaps you might think it’s just a picnic, set up a tablecloth, and buy bread and drinks at the supermarket.
But there’s nothing quite like packing up your favorite foods, driving out to a scenic spot, and dining al fresco with family and friends. So why not create a creative picnic experience?
With these 9 types of picnic food ideas, you can curate a delicious, vibrant menu that suits any occasion.
From finger foods and appetizers to main dishes, sides, desserts, and drinks, this list has you covered for picnic perfection. Time to up your picnic game!
Finger foods and appetizers
Finger foods are picnic staples, letting you graze casually without utensils. They should be bite-sized, easy to eat on the go, and pair nicely with drinks. Some appetizing options include:
Hard-boiled eggs filled with creamy, seasoned yolk make for tasty, protein-packed bites. Add your favorite spices and garnishes on top.
Assemble colorful veggie skewers using cherry tomatoes, carrots, cucumbers, and more. Serve with a creamy Greek yogurt dip.
Alternate bite-sized fruit pieces like pineapple, grapes, berries, and melon onto sticks for a refreshing treat.
Thread grape tomatoes, basil leaves, and mozzarella balls onto skewers for instant caprese salad. Drizzle with olive oil and balsamic.
Pigs in a blanket
No picnic is complete without these tasty little sausages wrapped in pastry and cooked until golden brown.
Cheese and crackers
Pack a variety of cheeses, meat slices, nuts, and crisp crackers for easy self-assembly.
Sandwiches and wraps
Portable sandwiches and wraps are essential for satisfying picnic cravings. Load up crusty bread or tortillas with your favorite ingredients. Great options include:
Chicken salad sandwiches
Shredded chicken mixed with mayo, celery, peppers, and herbs makes for a protein-rich sandwich filling.
Packed with fresh mozzarella, juicy tomatoes, basil, and pesto or olive spread on a crusty baguette or ciabatta.
Turkey and cheese wraps
Sliced turkey, cheddar, greens, tomato, onion, and avocado wrapped in a tortilla makes a complete meal.
Crunchy or creamy peanut butter with your preferred jelly never fails, especially cut into fun shapes!
Pesto chicken wraps
Grilled pesto chicken, veggies, feta, and hummus or tahini sauce in a fresh spinach wrap is delicious.
Roast beef and horseradish
Tender beef roasted by a wireless meat thermometer, paired with spicy horseradish sauce and sharp cheddar on rye, is a stellar combo.
Salads and sides
Balance out sandwiches and mains with fresh, flavorful salads and sides. Bring them in portable containers to toss and serve at your picnic site. Ideas include:
Chill fun-shaped pasta with chopped veggies, cheese, herbs, and dressing for a hearty salad.
Mustard, mayo, hard-boiled eggs, celery, onion, and parsley are classic potato salad ingredients.
Crunchy cabbage tossed in a cream dressing with carrots and onion is a perfect picnic side.
A medley of fresh, seasonal fruits like berries, pineapple, grapes, and melon makes a sweet salad.
Pre-dress a salad of lettuce, spinach, vegetables, nuts and cheese to toss on site.
This Mediterranean grain salad with cucumber, tomato, feta, and lemon is tasty and portable.
Picnics are often centered around a hearty main course dish that feeds the whole gang. Some top picks include:
Pack homemade or store-bought fried chicken for a picnic classic with serious crowd appeal.
BBQ Pulled Pork/Chicken
Slow-cooked, saucy pulled pork or chicken easily feeds buffet-style from a crockpot or insulated bag. They are great to level the BBQ experience!
Warm, meaty chili ladled into cups or bowls satisfies picnics of all sizes. Top with cheese, onions, etc.
Get messy with finger-licking sticky barbecue ribs – just pack plenty of napkins!
These grillable classics require a park BBQ pit, but that makes them extra fun.
Curate personalized skewers of meat, veggies, shrimp, halloumi – anything that can be grilled!
Desserts bring any meal together, so be sure to save room for these sweet picnic treats!
An array of portable pies like apple, blueberry, strawberry, or pecan are picnic perfect.
Brownies and Blondies
Cut brownies or blondies into bars for easy serving and snacking.
A cookie assortment like chocolate chip, snickerdoodle, sugar, or peanut butter pleases all tastes.
Warm apple, peach, or berry crisps are easy to transport in tins for a picnic crowd.
Chilled cheesecake squares in all different flavors are make-ahead magic.
Fun paper wrappers make cupcakes and muffins great picnic sweets to grab and go.
Picnics require plenty of thirst-quenching beverages along with the food. Options include:
Make large batches of refreshing lemonade or sweet tea to pour over ice.
Chilled white or rose wine adds sophistication. Fruity sangria includes fun garnishes.
Non-alcoholic “mocktails” like berry spritzers, ginger ale garnished drinks, etc.
Offer a wide beverage selection – have plenty of ice on hand!
Thermos of hot coffee or tea on chillier days will be welcomed.
Pack a cooler of homemade milkshakes or stop for takeout on the way!
Condiments and extras
Don’t forget things like condiments, utensils, napkins, etc. to make your picnic complete.
Sauces and spreads
Ketchup, mustard, mayo, jam, and any other dipping sauces.
Salt and pepper
Essential for finishing and seasoning picnic dishes on site.
Forks, knives, spoons, cutting boards, serving utensils, and can openers.
Lots, for spills, sticky fingers, and wiping faces!
Plates and cutlery
Pack disposables or reusable plates, cutlery, and cups.
A festive cloth adds personality wherever you picnic.
Food storage essentials
Proper storage containers, coolers, etc. ensure food stays fresh and safe.
Coolers and ice packs
Must-haves for transporting cold foods and preventing spoilage.
For hot foods like soups, chilis, casseroles that need to retain heat.
Great for salads, sides, fruits, desserts, and prevent leaks/spills.
Large drink dispensers with spouts make serving easy and mess-free.
Foil and plastic wrap
Cover food platters and bowls to keep eats clean and bug-free.
Must-have tools for accessing beverages!
Non-Food picnic activities
Don’t forget fun entertainment to keep your crew busy before and after eating.
Cornhole, ladder ball, croquet are great for all ages.
Music sets the mood! Create playlists for cooking, eating, and hanging out.
Pick-up games in the picnic area are fun ways to burn off food.
Walk off your meal on scenic local trails.
String up a hammock and relax in the shade after your feast.
Open fields make kite flying a blast for kids and adults.
The options are endless when planning a memorable picnic! Applying these picnic food ideas, activities, and essentials will help craft an afternoon your family and friends will talk about long after.
Get ready for your new favorite warmer weather pastime – the almost-perfect picnic. The company you share it with makes it perfect. Dazzle their taste buds, fill their hearts, and create new traditions around your thoughtfully curated picnic spreads. Dig in!