I absolutely LOVE a good picnic! Maybe it’s the warm outdoor air, or just the easy picnic food that makes me feel like picnics are so much fun (provided there’s enough bug spray to keep those critters at bay). If you, too, love a good picnic season, then this list is going to be the only thing you’ll need to get you pumped and ready to pull out that cute picnic basket!
In This Post
- The Best Picnic Tools
- Picnic-Friendly Salads & Soups
- The Best Picnic Sandwiches
- Charcuterie & Sides
- Iced Teas & Drinks
- Picnic-Friendly Desserts
- Get The Picnic Experience!
I know that picnicking can be as easy as throwing a few cuts of meat and some fruit in a bag and grabbing a blanket, or it can be as complicated as a basket with real cutlery in it! I tend to fall somewhere in the middle. I like a little more than just sandwich meat, but I also like to make it easy to eat and clean up.
I have found over the years that certain containers just work so much better than others for this type of event. These picnic-friendly recipes will be easy to bring along and I’ve even pulled together my top fave tools to make sure that your picnic is fun and not overly messy!
The Best Picnic Tools
Make picnicking easy with these great tools to keep your picnics fun and stress-free!
- Mason Jars – You’ll see this throughout the post! Mason jars are the way to go when picnicking. You can use them in basically any recipe or food, and they make for such easy clean-up. These mason jars are the best!
- Bento Boxes – If you’re planning to also have a charcuterie picnic (and why not?) loading your bento boxes with individual snacks will make pulling your board together easy!
- Parchment Paper – Another great tool for picnicking is parchment paper! It keeps your sandwiches together without making anything soggy. If you’re worried about items melting (such as cheese slices), then adding parchment paper will work great.
- Collapsable Cups – If you’ve not used these before, you’ll be hooked! Whether or not you are using them for a picnic, having collapsable cups for outdoor events or your to-go coffee is a great space saver and so eco-friendly!
- Silicone bags– Another great tool (and not just for those picnic days)! If you’re thinking about easy clean-up and less waste, these silicone bags perfect and so durable.
Picnic-Friendly Salads & Soups
Winner-winner! Throwing a great salad into a mason jar is the best secret to having a salad on a picnic and one of the easiest picnic-friendly recipes. We might think that only sandwiches are allowed but when you layer a delish salad in a mason jar and tuck it away, you can have any salad anywhere. This particular salad is so tasty with all the flavors of my Central American roots. Plus it’s hearty and stocked with protein, an excellent picnic salad.
The key to making your own version of a mason jar salad is throwing the wet liquids in first, such as your dressing, then layering to the ones that get soggy fastest, like your lettuce. If you want to eat straight from your jar as opposed to dumping the contents out just make sure you use a large enough jar to have room to shake it up! This is fun take on a zucchini salad with fresh mozzarella for protein!
Not much says fresh and spring than figs and goat cheese! My two favorites, this winning combo is sure to make your picnic feel that much more airy. For this salad, I’d layer the figs and cheese in the middle, after the harder greens such as the asparagus are in. That way your apples and figs stay crunchy and don’t soak up too much liquid.
If you can make a salad, work at a picnic, why not a soup as well! This soup is a great option especially since it can be eaten cold and it’s so simple to make. Throw it into a smaller mason jar with optional toppings and you can have your soup and eat it too.
If you’re feeling something a little heartier, this soup can even double as a main course! It’s chickpeas and broccoli are filling and can also be eaten cold, no need to worry about how to heat it up. Serve with a side of crackers or a crusty bread and you’ve got a delicious picnic-worthy meal.
The Best Picnic Sandwiches
You can’t go wrong with a classic- avocado toast! This open-faced sandwich is a great option for a brunch-type picnic, especially if you complete it with a side of fruit and a latte! If you worried about the avocado browning too quickly, you can slice it on the spot instead. This easy avocado toast is one of my favorite picnic-friendly recipes!
Healthy, filling, and even pretty to look at! This sandwich is a vegetarian delight. Pre-roasting your veggies will give this sandwich its unique taste, especially with the addition of pesto. Throw it all on some thick crusty, ciabatta bread and your picnic meal is complete.
No one said that sandwiches have to be unhealthy! These amazing rainbow veggie sandwiches pack enough vegetables and fiber to be the perfect healthy picnic dish. Wrap them up in parchment paper and serve with a tasty side and you’re all set. A good sandwich is one of my favorite picnic-friendly recipes!
While sandwiches are king in the picnic world, a wrap can do just as well! This amazing Mediterranean classic wraps up all the veggies into a simple flatbread. You can easily keep the flatbread aside or wrap them up tight like a burrito. Either way, this meal will be SURE to impress.
A Gyro can hold anything even an amazing cauliflower take on the traditional gyro! It’s fresher and the perfect combo to a light and airy picnic meal. Roast and prep your cauliflower and pack in all the flavor along with all your other picnic packing essentials. Bonus points if you wrap them up in parchment paper for easy handling!
Charcuterie & Sides
The side starter is this amazing vegan green bean casserole! You might be thinking, a casserole at a picnic? Absolutely! Throw it into a small lidded container or individual containers and bring it over. It’s a great compliment to any salad or sandwich.
Picnics are coleslaw central! It’s the perfect accompaniment dish that is fresh, cold, and meant to be eaten outside. This particular one boasts no mayo, which is great for any dairy-free or health conscious family!
If cucumbers and carrots or other veggies with dressing don’t scream picnic, then I don’t know what does! This super-easy side dish can be substituted with different dressings like a 10-Minute Healthy Ranch Dressing or Creamy Avocado Lime Dressing. Just make sure to cut the veggies in a way that will be easiest to eat, like these in stick form.
Bring the party with guacamole! Yes, throw these into a jar, add the bag of chips and let the snacking begin. If you want a guac that delivers more then try this corn edition for that added flavor. No matter where you are, this is always a hit.
If you have guac, then you gotta have salsa! A bento container would make this the easiest way to deliver this combo. If you want a simple, fresh, and quick way to get a salsa going then this recipe is right up your alley. Choose your spice level by adding some jalapeño and you’ve got one of the best picnic-friendly recipes for salsa!
Oh yes, bring on the cornbread! If you’re like me, growing up cornbread was a staple of outdoor events like barbecues and cook outs. I still associate them with eating outdoors, which is why these portable and easy to eat cornbread muffins are the perfect edition. Plus, they’re gluten free which makes them even more convenient!
Iced Teas & Drinks
You can never go wrong with iced tea at a picnic. This homemade edition will hit just the right spot and you’ll be able to keep on using those mason jars. This classic recipe keeps it healthy with lighter sugar options.
And if regular iced tea just isn’t your thing then this raspberry option will definitely bring some refreshing to your picnic. Try it with some honey to sweeten it up or any kind of sugar you find fit. Throw in some crushed raspberries and a lid and your sweet drink is set.
Peach Iced tea is great, but make it a cold brew edition and your picnic just got the best afternoon pick me up! You can change out the fruit type, however, a peach iced tea is a classic especially a home-brewed kind that eliminates any bitterness. This is one of my favorite picnic-friendly recipes!
If you’re not into peach tea or tea of any sort then go with its closely tied favorite- lemonade! It’s just as refreshing and kid-friendly as well. You can mix and match flavors or go with the great OG. A picnic and lemonade sound like the perfect spring day!
Looking to pack something a little stronger? A DIY cold brew is just the thing to get anyone up and dancing. This version is an easy to make, non-bitter caffeine packed drink that doesn’t require extra ingredients to bring. Throw it in a jar, dilute it with an ice-cube, or throw some ice cream in it for a float!
Is it okay to eat dessert first? Yes, if it’s a delish sweet tea popsicle! A few popsicles in an ice packed container make for a super simple desert that requires minimal clean up and leaves you feeling quite refreshed and light. This is a kid favorite and can be made in big batches.
How about a creamier version? Popsicles are meant to be eaten outdoors! Mix and match fruit flavors and make it dairy-free by using coconut, almond, or oat milk. The perfect picnic-friendly recipe and dessert!
Carrot cake is typically popular during Easter/springtime which is why these are perfect for a spring picnic day. They’re super portable and while they’re delicious as is can also be frosted with a cream cheese frosting! Without the frosting, you can wrap them in cling plastic, throw them in your picnic basket and dessert is ready.
Bars are excellent as portable treats, especially if you add protein in them. These chocolate cherry bars are gooey, chocolatey goodness but won’t make you feel overly heavy or stuffed. They’re sweet enough and with the natural cherry taste just as a crumble bar should!
If you’ve already bought the cherries, why not also add them into these oh-so-good chocolate cherry soft cookies! Sometimes, you just really want a cookie and nothing hits the spot but a cookie. These are probably the most portable dessert ever invented, you just gotta make sure to bring plenty for everyone at the picnic!
And last but not least, easy and popular banana chocolate chip oatmeal muffins are the treats that keep on giving! They can be perfect for a brunch picnic date or a simple afternoon impromptu picnic with a nice iced latte. They’re the perfect sweetness and won’t leave you feeling sugar-laden for the afternoon stroll. One of the easiest and most delicious picnic-friendly recipes!
Get The Picnic Experience!
A picnic can be a whole experience when you pair the right tools with it! These are some of my favorites to really get into the picnic mood.
- Picnic blanket – Of course you can use any blanket that you’d like, but a picnic blanket with an underneath layer of plastic to keep moisture out is a game-changer. They make things durable, easy to wash, and you won’t have to worry about grass stains on any real blanket! These are some of my favorites:
- Insulated picnic basket– I love a good wicker basket or even an insulated tote for picnicking but sometimes a full-blown insulated picnic basket is just what I need for the whole fam. It keeps my cold items cold and if necessary, can keep hot items warm when the weather turns. These are some top picks:
There are tons of fun picnic items out there nowadays, so I’ve rounded up a few random items that I think work great!
However you’re choosing to picnic, remember to take breathe in the fresh air, eat delicious food, and enjoy who you’re with. Picnicking is definitely about the experience as much as the food. But if you do need ideas, I’m sure these 25+ picnic-friendly recipes will make it worthwhile!
More Easy Recipes to Take On-The-Go
- Healthy Avocado Egg Salad Recipe
- 10-Minute Mediterranean Farro Salad
- Barbecue Ranch Pasta Salad Recipe
- Simple Green Goodness Chickpea Salad
- Springtime Avocado Strawberry Spinach Salad