25 recipes that are perfect for your picnic basket
Dennis Hallinan / Getty Images

25 recipes that are perfect for your picnic basket

April 23rd is National Picnic Day, but when you really think about it, any warm weather, non-rainy day should be a picnic day. With this in mind, we’ve compiled 25 perfect recipes to pack in your picnic basket, including appetizers, meals, side dishes, desserts, and drinks. 

And these suggestions aren’t just tasty, they’re also easy to make ahead of time, portable, relatively neat, and are able to stay fresh for several hours outside of the fridge or freezer. Also, while some of the following dishes can be served hot, all of these were assembled with the expectation that they’d be consumed while chilled or at room temp, with no need to heat. 

So find a location, get a basket, look out for Yogi Bear, and enjoy these 25 recipes perfect for your picnic basket.

 
1 of 25

Antipasto Bites

Antipasto Bites
Erik Bernstein/Delish

In life, very few solutions involve the suggestion to “just stab it through the heart with a pointy object,” but that’s exactly what you should do for these antipasto bites. After all, not only do skewers make this antipasto much more portable, but you can get artichoke hearts, green olives, mozzarella, salami, red peppers, tortellini, and basil all together in one big bite. (Just don’t eat the aforementioned pointy object.) Get the recipe from Delish here.

 
2 of 25

Berry Cantaloupe Fruit Salad

Berry Cantaloupe Fruit Salad
Damn Delicious

Fruit salads are almost always tasty, but this one features an extra kick with the addition of lime zest and mint leaves. Plus, since it features only melon, strawberries, and blueberries, you won’t have to worry about any of the fruit getting too mushy or mangled. Grab the recipe from Damn Delicious here.

 
3 of 25

Bruschetta with Tomato and Basil

Bruschetta with Tomato and Basil
Shutterstock

Bruschetta is always a crowd-pleaser, and it’s a cinch to make. Also, as this recipe from Simply Recipes points out, you can prepare the tomato topping and toast the bread ahead of time, and then easily assemble it later on. If you have guests on your picnic, they can even do it as they serve themselves. What could be easier than passing some of the prep duty onto other people? 

 
4 of 25

Buddha in a Jar

Buddha in a Jar
Delish

These “Buddha in a Jar” meals from Delish will take a bit of prep work, but they are healthy, can be easily refrigerated ahead of time, and are ultra-portable. The jars contain chicken, brown rice, broccoli, carrots, onions, and avocado with a homemade soy sauce and sriracha marinade. Once your picnic is set up, this meal can be poured into a bowl or eaten straight from the jar! 

 
5 of 25

Cheese Ball Trio

Cheese Ball Trio
Brian Woodcock/Country Living

The soft-yet-solid consistency of cheese balls make them easy to transport and perfect for a picnic. But why choose one variety of this popular party snack when you can have three?

This recipe from Country Living contains instructions for the following varieties: blue cheese bacon, smoky cheddar pecan, and pepperoncini-feta.

 
6 of 25

Chocolate-Filled Strawberries

Chocolate-Filled Strawberries
Jessie Daye

Picnic scenes on TV and in film often feature couples dining on chocolate-covered strawberries. What they don’t show is the melted chocolate mess that ends up all over the container, your hands, your clothes, the picnic blanket, and pretty much everywhere other than on the strawberry. Jessie Daye solved this problem by filling the strawberries with chocolate instead of covering them. Also, as you can see, the finished product can be easily transported in a clean egg crate or mini muffin tin.

 
7 of 25

Cobb Salad in a Jar

Cobb Salad in a Jar
Delish

If you enjoyed the Buddha in a Jar recipe, you’ll love this layered cobb salad version, which also comes courtesy of Delish. In the end, almost any salad can be housed in a jar for maximum portability, but we thought you’d especially enjoy this one because it’s way more than just lettuce and tomatoes. Sure, it has both of those items, but it also has avocado, blue cheese, chicken, hard-boiled eggs, and delicious, delicious bacon. 

You can get the recipe from Delish here

 
8 of 25

Cranberry-Basil Spritzer

Cranberry-Basil Spritzer
Andrew Purcell/Country Living

You didn’t think we’d forget about drinks, did you? Not only did we not forget, but we’ve got an ultra-refreshing option for you. This cranberry-basil spritzer recipe from Country Living is exactly what you need for your next picnic. Of course, it’s better cold, so you might want to pick up one of those beverage carriers that keeps your drinks cool all day long.

 
9 of 25

Cuban Sandwich Sliders

Cuban Sandwich Sliders
Beantown Baker

When packing sandwiches for a picnic, it’s best to keep the number of ingredients to a minimum, select ingredients that are less likely to start spilling out, and opt for smaller servings.

These Cuban sandwich sliders from Beantown Baker check all the right boxes and don’t compromise any of the flavor. Plus, they taste great either hot or cold!

 
10 of 25

Deviled Egg Potato Salad

Deviled Egg Potato Salad
Martha Stewart

If you can’t decide between deviled eggs and potato salad, just combine them into one dish. Wait! Don’t literally combine the two together. Instead, follow this recipe from the master, Martha Stewart. (If you accidentally combined them already, it’s okay, we’ll still eat it.)

 
11 of 25

Greek Salad Pitas

Greek Salad Pitas
Delish

No matter what sandwich you pack for your picnic, you’ll probably want to swap out the bread for a pita pocket instead. This allows you to assemble the sandwiches ahead of time and arrive with them still intact, and also not make a mess of your spread since the ingredients won’t pour out the sides. You could go with a classic sandwich combination on the inside, but we recommend this Greek salad number from Delish - which can be made with or without the chicken.

 
12 of 25

Green Onion and Dill Dip

Green Onion and Dill Dip
The Kitchen Witch

You’ll be bewitched by this green onion and dill dip recipe from The Kitchen Witch, as it only uses a handful ingredients, travels wells, and tastes fantastic. The only thing you’ll have to decide is what to dip into it. We suggest a spoon, but if you’re sharing, feel free to use chips, pita bread, or your favorite veggies.

 
13 of 25

Israeli Couscous Salad

Israeli Couscous Salad
A Hint of Honey

If the thought of bringing salad on a picnic conjures up images of soggy lettuce or carb-overload, try this Israeli couscous salad instead. You won’t have to worry about too many soaked greens, and the couscous will be accompanied by smoked paprika, tomatoes, and mozzarella to ensure you don’t OD on starches. A Hint of Honey has the recipe right here.

 
14 of 25

Kale Pesto & Cauliflower Picnic Pies

Kale Pesto & Cauliflower Picnic Pies
The Veg Space

This recipe from The Veg Space has “picnic” right in the name, so how can you go wrong? And you especially can’t lose with the superfood power of kale, the enticing allure of pesto, and the ease of eating afforded by the ingredients all being served in a miniature pie crust. To top things off, this recipe is also totally vegan! 

 
15 of 25

Lemon-Blueberry Cheesecake Bars

Lemon-Blueberry Cheesecake Bars
Betty Crocker

Lemon and blueberry are two flavors that are especially satisfying in warmer months, and cheesecake is especially satisfying... well, always. So consider making these lemon-blueberry cheesecake bars for your next picnic. The recipe is available here courtesy of Betty Crocker.

 
16 of 25

Lightened-Up Chicken Salad

Lightened-Up Chicken Salad
Barbara Bakes

There are three main things these sandwiches have going for them. First, chicken salad is easy to pack, so you can easily assemble the sandwiches once you arrive instead of beforehand. (Which means no soggy bread!) Second, since all the ingredients are mixed together, the sammies are less likely to fall apart once you bite into them. 

And third, this recipe from Barbara Bakes is on the lighter side, so you won’t want to turn your picnic blanket into a regular blanket and take a nap afterward.

 
17 of 25

Lime Fizz

Lime Fizz
Jack Andersen/Getty Images

If you liked the cranberry basil spritzer recipe, then try this simple lime fizz from MyRecipes that combines simple syrup, fresh lime juice, and club soda for a refreshing drink on any summer day. For an especially fun summer day, try adding a cup of vodka.

 
18 of 25

Pomodoro Fresco Pasta Salad

Pomodoro Fresco Pasta Salad
The Parsley Thief

Pass on heavy pasta salads weighed down with mayonnaise, and instead opt for this pomodoro pasta salad made with fresh basil and a light tomato sauce. Otherwise, you might go from picnic time to nap time in no time. Get the recipe from The Parsley Thief here.

 
19 of 25

Prosciutto and Provolone-Stuffed Focaccia

Prosciutto and Provolone-Stuffed Focaccia
Italian Food Forever

 

Focaccia bread is highly flavorful but tragically underutilized, especially when it pairs so well with high quality meats and basically any type of cheese. Italian Food Forever is out to change that with this picnic-perfect recipe for focaccia stuffed with prosciutto, provolone, and a satisfying sun-dried tomato pesto.

And if saying the words “prosciutto,” “provolone,” and “focaccia” has you feeling too fancy, just think of it as “picnic pizza” instead.

 

 
20 of 25

Quinoa Salad with Asparagus and Avocado

Quinoa Salad with Asparagus and Avocado
Two Peas & Their Pod

Same rationale as the couscous salad, but with the added bonus of two superfoods! The avocado will supply your body with numerous necessary vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, and can help lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels, while the quinoa is packed with protein, fiber, iron, and additional minerals and antioxidants. Two Peas & Their Pod has the recipe here.

 
21 of 25

S’mores Cookies

S’mores Cookies
Sweet Paul

If your picnic outing doesn’t include a fire, you can still enjoy the wonderful world of s’mores with these cookies that contain plenty of chocolate, graham crackers, and marshmallow - just like the classic camping dessert. Sweet Paul was sweet enough to post his recipe here.

 
22 of 25

Spring Salsa

Spring Salsa
Lisa Romerein/Getty Images

Sure, you could buy a jar of generic salsa at the store...or you could make your own at home for a fresher, tastier, more satisfying alternative. This spring salsa combines cherry tomatoes, corn, red onion, jalapeño, and cilantro, but can also be personalized however you’d like. Get the recipe from MyRecipes, who suggest to store and transport it in a jar.

 
23 of 25

Strawberry-Rhubarb Hand Pies

Strawberry-Rhubarb Hand Pies
Pillsbury

Don’t worry, there’s no hand in these pies; it’s just a mini strawberry-rhubarb pie that you can eat without the need for plates, serving utensils, or forks. Plus, you can pack these little treats in your favorite portable container and not worry about a giant pie getting destroyed or sat on in transit. Get the recipe from Pillsbury here.

 
24 of 25

Sweet Pea and Avocado Soup

Sweet Pea and Avocado Soup
Country Living

We love soup, but it’s one of the last things we crave on a hot summer day. That’s why this chilled sweet pea and avocado soup is the perfect replacement. Plus, it’s healthy, tasty, made from scratch, and only takes about 30 minutes to prepare ahead of time. Country Living ladles out the recipe right here.

 
25 of 25

Texas-Style Potato Salad

Texas-Style Potato Salad
SheWearsManyHats

As we previously mentioned, mayonnaise is a bit heavy for a picnic (in your stomach...not, like, to carry), plus it can go bad quickly on a hot day. Instead, try this Texas-style potato salad from SheWearsManyHats, which combines the taste of serrano chiles, red onion, coriander, cumin, oregano, cilantro, red wine vinegar, and bacon with red and new potatoes. Cowboy hat optional.

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