Picnic Food Ideas:
Easy and Tasty Foods
to Pack in Your Picnic Basket

Everything tastes better when you eat it outdoors! Here are some easy picnic food ideas for your next outdoor meal.

How to choose the perfect picnic food? It should be

  • quick and easy to prepare (You don't want to waste a beautiful day working in the kitchen!)

  • easy to pack

  • sturdy enough to withstand the journey

  • safe to eat without refrigeration

  • easy to eat without fancy utensils

  • delicious

Here are my favorite picnic food ideas.

Picnic Appetizers and Snacks

  • Bring along a couple of avocados, some lime juice and salt and pepper, and you can make Avocado Boats - from my list of healthy snack ideas - anywhere.

  • Dips

    A plate of raw vegetables, a bag of tortilla chips, and a delicious dip - what could be easier? These dips can be safely taken on picnics because they contain no mayonnaise.

    • Guacamole is a very popular dip for both chips and veggies.

    • White Bean Dip makes a great picnic dip. Serve it with pita bread or some good crackers.

  • Peanut Butter Balls are easy to make and easy to pack. They contain a lot of food energy in a small tasty morsel.

  • Make a batch of Popcorn before you leave home. Everyone loves popcorn!

Picnic Salads

On a hot summer day, a salad can be the perfect centerpiece of your picnic.

Picnic Sandwiches

When in doubt, make up a batch of sandwiches! Here are some old favorites and some new ideas.

  • Avocado-Salmon Sandwiches might just become one of your favorite sandwich choices!

  • Black Bean Hummus is a great sandwich spread. It's good on crackers or as a veggie dip, too.

  • Chickpea Hummus is another good all-purpose spread.

  • Peanut Butter Sandwiches are an easy choice. Try one of these variations, or invent your own!

    • peanut butter and jam
    • peanut butter and honey
    • peanut butter and banana
    • peanut butter and pickle
    • peanut butter and lettuce

Picnic Desserts

You'll want something sweet to finish up your delicious meal. Here are some simple ideas.

  • Carob Pie travels well, and can be eaten with your fingers!

  • Chocolate Cake is classic picnic fare. The easiest and fastest chocolate cake I know is also the most delicious! It's so moist that it doesn't even need frosting. The recipe is in "Last Minute Desserts", which you'll receive for FREE when you buy my cookbooklet set.

  • This Chocolate Pudding requires no refrigeration.

  • Cookies are an obvious choice for a picnic. They are easy to pack and easy to eat - and everyone loves cookies! Here are some classics:

Other Picnic Food Ideas

Here are some more foods that I like to take on picnics.

  • Baked Tofu is a delicious vegetarian finger food.

  • Quiche can be eaten cold - which means that it can easily be taken on picnics! I prefer crustless quiche recipes - like this Crustless Zucchini Quiche.

  • For something completely different, try these Marinated Artichoke Squares. They are delicious hot or cold.

  • Sweet And Sour Lentils is a delicious vegetarian picnic entrée.

  • Vegetable Pâté with crackers makes a great picnic lunch.

    Picnic Equipment

    • Picnic Basket

      If you happen to have a wicker picnic basket or a fancy picnic backpack in which to carry your meal, great! If not, any of these work just fine:

      • a cooler
      • a cooler bag
      • a plastic tub
      • a cardboard box

    • Food Containers

      My favorite picnic containers are stainless steel bowls with leakproof lids. These are perfect picnic ware! Just about anything can be safely packed in these.

    • A picnic tablecloth is nice to have (but not necessary) if you picnic where there are picnic tables. Tablecloth weights will keep your tablecloth anchored securely.

    • A waterproof picnic blanket is a good investment if you plan to sit on the ground.

    Picnic Food Safety

    • Remember to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold.

      If I'm packing hot food, I put it in one of my stainless steel containers and then wrap the container in a thick towel.

      Use a reusable cold pack, or a frozen bottle of water, or a block of ice, to keep cold food cold.

      Here are some more pointers about picnic food safety.

    More Picnic Food Ideas and Tips

    • The best picnic, in my opinion, is one that requires almost no prep work. Here's my idea of the perfect picnic menu.

    • Invite some friends to join you for a potluck picnic. Have each person or family bring one course - enough for all of you - and you'll have a full course meal with a fraction of the work!

    • Many of your favorite meals would probably work well as picnic foods. The next time you cook something that would travel well in a picnic basket, jot it down. Soon you'll have a whole list of wonderful picnic food ideas.

      Return from picnic food ideas to healthy quick meals.