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71 Easy Picnic Food Ideas Perfect for Outdoor Gatherings

From picnic finger food for a crowd to simple picnic food ideas for couples.

By Kate Franke and Corinne Sullivan
june holidays backyard picnic spread on a yellow blanket for picnic daypinterest icon

One of the best ways to soak up the summer rays is to take your meal outside with a picnic. Whether it’s a date, solo outing, or gathering with friends and family, a picnic is the perfect opportunity to try out new recipes. Visit your favorite park, a beach you've been meaning to check out, or simply set up camp in the backyard with some lawn games — all are great spots for enjoying picnic food.

We’ve put together a list of the best picnic recipes for every time of day and level of hunger. The picnic food ideas ahead are broken up into categories: picnic snacks and dips, salads, sandwiches and mains, side dishes, and desserts. So whether you’re planning to picnic under the stars with a late night treat or you need easy appetizers to enjoy while basking in the afternoon sun, we’ve got you covered. All of these dishes are easily stored in reusable containers for transport to your destination. We do recommend packing in a cooler or insulated bag to keep food fresh during travel and throughout the day.

Our curated list of recipes includes plenty of easy picnic food, as well as a few more time-intensive recipes for the practicing home chef. Besides tasting delicious, these recipes are also visually stunning, making a perfect warm weather snapshot for social media. Add a summer Instagram caption to your post and inspire your friends to have their own picnic…just don't forget to share the recipes!

Picnic Snacks


Roasted Broccoli-Artichoke Dip

picnic foods roasted broccoli artichoke dip

Dips are an easy to transport essential when going on a picnic. Pack a couple spoonfuls in a reusable container, and bring chips to eat with it.

Get the Roasted Broccoli-Artichoke Dip recipe.


Marinated Tomato and Watermelon Wedges

picnic foods marinated tomato watermelon wedges
con poulos

Summer is watermelon season! Enjoy this warm-weather fruit with olive oil marinated tomatoes for a fun, summer twist.

Get the Marinated Tomato and Watermelon Wedges recipe.

RELATED: 30 Best Summer Foods

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Tomatillo Salsa

picnic foods tomatillo salsa
Kat Teutsch

Go on a themed picnic, and bring dishes inspired by Mexican cuisine such as salsa, quesadillas, and churros.

Get the Tomatillo Salsa recipe.


Salami-Wrapped Melon with Basil

picnic ideas salami wrapped melon with basil
Kate Mathis

Salami and melon may seem like an odd combination, but don't knock this easy skewer recipe until you try it.

Get the Salami-Wrapped Melon with Basil recipe.


Beet Crostini

picnic ideas beet crostini

For an unexpected picnic appetizer that's sure to impress, top toast with horseradish-infused crème fraîche and beets.

Get the Beet Crostini recipe.

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Lentil Hummus

dip recipes lentil hummus
Lucy Schaeffer

The only downside to this heart-healthy hummus: It's going to be gone before you know it.

Get the Lentil Hummus recipe.


Spicy Deviled Eggs

picnic ideas spicy deviled eggs

Cook up some hard boiled eggs a day or two in advance, then assemble these spicy deviled eggs a few hours before you eat.

Get the Spicy Deviled Eggs recipe.


Smoked Salmon Bites

picnic ideas smoked salmon bites
Raymond Hom

Believe it or not, potato chips serve as the base for this playful picnic appetizer.

Get the Smoked Salmon Bites recipe.

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Chile-Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Fresh Mozzarella

picnic ideas chile roasted cherry tomatoes and fresh mozzarella
Con Poulos

This refreshing salad comes together with just a handful of ingredients.

Get the Chile-Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Fresh Mozzarella recipe.


Whipped Feta with Cucumber

picnic ideas whipped feta with cucumber
Kate Mathis

This herby, cheesy spread tastes so good when paired with cool cucumber slices.

Get the Whipped Feta with Cucumber recipe.


Beet and Feta Dip

dip recipes beet and feta dip
Steve Giralt

In a hummus rut? Opt for this amazing feta spread instead.

Get the Beet and Feta Dip recipe.

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Pimento Cheese Spread

easter snack ideas pimento cheese spread
Chris Court

Make sure you bring plenty of crackers with you on your picnic to complement this cheesy, spicy dip.

Get the Pimento Cheese Spread recipe.


Tuna and Chickpea Lettuce Cups

picnic ideas tuna and chickpea lettuce cups
Chris Court

Serve these tasty tuna lettuce cups with chopped olives and feta for a fresh, healthy snack.

Get the Tuna and Chickpea Lettuce Cups recipe.



picnic ideas guacamole
Jonny Valiant

You'd be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn't love snacking on tortilla chips and guacamole.

Get the Guacamole recipe.

RELATED: 45 Best Dip Recipes You Can Easily Whip Up

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Picnic Salads


Spring Chopped Salad with Cider Vinaigrette

picnic foods spring chopped salad
Gabriel Rodriguez

Despite the name, this bright, tangy salad can be eaten any time of the year. Feel free to personalize the salad's veggies and greens based on what's in season.

Get the Spring Chopped Salad with Cider Vinaigrette recipe.


Pear and Walnut Salad

picnic foods pear and walnut salad
mike garten

If there was a time of year for fruit in a salad, it would be summer! The sweet, refreshing taste of pear shines in this easy-to-make-salad.

Get the Pear and Walnut Salad recipe.

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Watercress Salad with Honey-Lime Vinaigrette

picnic foods watercress salad with honey lime vinaigrette
mike garten

Go all-in on green with a mix of verdant-hued fruits and vegetables, such as watercress, lime, kiwi, green apple, and avocado.

Get the Watercress Salad with Honey-Lime Vinaigrette recipe.


Summer Bean, Corn, and Radish Salad

picnic ideas summer bean, corn, and radish salad
Con Poulos

Summer veggies team up in this picnic-worthy salad.

Get the Summer Bean, Corn, and Radish Salad recipe.

Headshot of Kate Franke
Kate Franke
Editorial Assistant

Kate Franke (she/her) is the editorial assistant at Woman’s Day. She loves all things lifestyle, home, and market related. Kate has a BAJMC in Magazine Media and BA in Writing from Drake University. She is a proud ASME alum whose work has appeared in Food Network Magazine, The Pioneer Woman Magazine, Better Homes & Gardens, Modern Farmhouse Style, Beautiful Kitchens & Baths, and more. Next to writing, Kate’s two favorite things are chai lattes and pumpkin bread!

Headshot of Corinne Sullivan

Corinne Sullivan is an Editor at Cosmopolitan, where she covers a variety of beats, including lifestyle, entertainment, relationships, shopping, and more. She can tell you everything you need to know about the love lives of A-listers, the coziest bedsheets, and the sex toys actually worth your $$$. She is also the author of the 2018 novel Indecent. Follow her on Instagram for cute pics of her pup and bébé. 

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