46 Easy Picnic Food Ideas

Now all you'll need is a checkered blanket to have the perfect picnic.

ultimate veggie sandwich

When you're dining alfresco with friends, simple lunch sandwiches and pasta saladsare where it's at—especially since they keep kitchen duty to a minimum. Most of these perfect picnic recipes can be prepared the day before or morning of with minimal work, leaving you with more time to relax outside in the sunshine. Check out our list of 46 picnic ideas for inspiration!

The name of the game for picnic food is convenience and portability. You’re going to want dishes that you can carry with you and share easily. The OG portable option? Sandwiches, of course. But don’t just go for a PB&J. Try our classic ham sandwich or club sandwich, or skip the meat and try our ultimate veggie sandwich. Have a big crowd to feed? Make our sheet-pan Italian subs and save yourself from having to assemble each one individually. Want something a little more adventurous? Try our roasted vegetable baked falafel sandwiches or chicken shawarma too.

We think it’s not a picnic without side “salads”, and we’re not talking leafy greens (though those are nice too!). Your possibilities are truly endless when it comes to pasta salads, chicken salads, and veggie salads. You could go classic with macaroni salad, potato salad, or chicken salad. Or try our strawberry balsamic pasta salad or chimichurri chicken salad or Mediterranean chickpea salad for even more flavor.

Don’t forget sweets! We’ve included a few of our favorites here, like fruit salad (trust us, you’re going to LOVE its honey-citrus dressing), strawberry shortcake rice krispie treats, and granola bars, but truly the possibilities are endless. For more, check out our list of picnic desserts, with everything from lemon bars to corn cookies.

Does your picnic area have tables and BBQ grills? Check out our favorite grilling recipes too.

macaroni salad
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Classic Macaroni Salad

Macaroni salad works well with most anything you want to add in. We love adding broccoli, pimento peppers, tuna, hard boiled eggs, and bacon!

Get the Classic Macaroni Salad recipe.

sheet pan italian subs
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Sheet-Pan Italian Subs

Hoping to bring sandwiches to feed your picnic crowd, but don't want to spend all morning assembling them? This sheet-pan hack is for you! Overlapping the bread slices means you can fit more onto the sheet pan, and don’t worry—the melty Provolone and pressing these down (sort of like a massive DIY panini press) makes sure they still hold together.

Get the Sheet-Pan Italian Subs recipe.

potato salad   delishcom
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Classic Potato Salad

A classic potato salad is a must-have at every picnic and barbecue. This one is creamy and tangy, with a little bit of crunch from the onion and pickles.

Get the Classic Potato Salad recipe.

close up of a veggie sandwich with avocado, carrots, pea sprouts, eggplant, cucumbers, and sweet potato
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Ultimate Veggie Sandwich

There's something so special and refreshing about a sandwich that is absolutely packed to the gills with veggies. Between these two slices of bread you will find NINE different vegetables packed together in harmony!

Get the Ultimate Veggie Sandwich recipe.

chickpea mediterranean salad
Parker Feierbach
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Mediterranean Chickpea Salad

Thanks to the chickpeas, this salad will keep you full for hours. It's satisfying in a way that leafy greens never could be. Sorry not sorry, kale.

Get the Mediterranean Chickpea Salad recipe.

veggie dip
Park Feierbach
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Best-Ever Veggie Dip

Looking for something super easy to bring to your picnic? Look no further than this Greek yogurt and mayonnaise dip. Serve it with all your favorite veggies and cubes of really good bread.

Get the Best-Ever Veggie Dip recipe.

fruit salad  delishcom
Parker Feierbach
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Easy Fruit Salad

Fruit salad is the quintessential picnic dessert, so much that you might not think you need a recipe. Trust us, you do. Here, sweet syrupy honey, fresh tart orange juice, and bright lemon zest come together to elevate your fruit (even if they're out of season) to new heights.

Get the Fruit Salad recipe.

6 asian chicken lettuce wraps on a white plate
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Copycat Chicken Lettuce Wraps

In our attempt to copy the P.F. Chang's fan favorite, we flavored ground chicken with hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, Sriracha, and sesame oil. Pack these separately, and then assemble once you're settled at your picnic!

Get the Copycat Chicken Lettuce Wraps recipe.

chicken salad sandwiches  delishcom
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Chicken Salad Sandwich

There's definitely more than one way to make a chicken salad sandwich, but this is our favorite— green apple, red onion, and celery add crunch, while mustard, mayo, and red wine vinegar add creaminess with the perfect amount of tang.

Get the Chicken Salad Sandwich recipe.

macaroni salad with spinach, edamame, pepitas, and avocado
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Super Green Pasta Salad

It’s not so hard to eat your greens when they come in pasta salad form. Sweet baby spinach is great here, but peppery arugula or tender baby kale would work well too.

Get the Super Green Vegan Pasta Salad recipe.

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Greek Salad

Known as horiatiki, this traditional Greek salad is made with cherry tomatoes, cucumber, kalamata olives, thinly sliced red onion, and feta. The easy dressing is a mixture of red wine vinegar, fresh lemon juice, dried oregano, and extra-virgin olive oil. The best part? It all comes together in less than 15 minutes.

Get the Greek Salad recipe.

club sandwich
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Club Sandwich

With ham, turkey, bacon and 3 slices of bread, the club sandwich is one of THE best sandwiches to take with you on a picnic. The order everything gets added is important and traditional so stick to it!

Get the Club Sandwich recipe.

strawberry balsamic pasta salad
Ethan Calabrese
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Strawberry Balsamic Pasta Salad

The tangy-sweet glaze on this salad is everything. Feel free to use a different nut than almonds here, but we don't recommend skipping them altogether—they add a lovely crunch you don't wanna miss.

Get the Strawberry Balsamic Pasta Salad recipe.

black bean and corn salad
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Black Bean And Corn Salad

This stores well in the refrigerator and can be made up to one day in advance. If you're making it the day before your picnic, save the avocado till right before you head out to keep it extra fresh and green.

Get the Black Bean And Corn Salad recipe.

chimichurri chicken salad
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Chimichurri Chicken Salad

We love relying on rotisserie chicken—our favorite supermarket shortcut—for quick and easy meals. Toss shredded chicken with a good amount of parsley (this is inspired by our favorite condiment, chimichurri sauce, after all), garlic, olive oil, and vinegar and serve with toasted bread.

Get the Chimichurri Chicken Salad recipe.

watermelon feta
Parker Fierbach
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Watermelon And Feta Salad

Watermelon + cucumbers is one of the most refreshing combos of all time. Throw in some mint, red onion, and feta and toss it all with a very simple vinaigrette (just olive oil + red wine vinegar), and you've got yourself a mean summer salad.

Get the Watermelon And Feta Salad recipe.

sesame noodles
Lucy Schaeffer
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Sesame Noodles

The sauce on these noodles is OUT OF THIS WORLD good. Hot tip: Reserve a cup of your noodle cooking water for your sauce as the starches in that water will be key in creating a smooth, slightly tacky dressing for your peanut-y noodles.

Get the Sesame Noodles recipe.

avocado chicken salad
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Avocado Chicken Salad

We love this salad served on top of greens as much as we love it between two slices of sourdough bread. If you can't find a good ripe mango, pineapple would be delicious as well!

Get the Avocado Chicken Salad recipe.

Parker Feierbach
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Literally meaning "mixed vegetables," japchae is a simple dish made with transparent glass noodles and an assortment of toppings. We went with a colorful bunch here: punchy yellow strips of egg, purplish red onions, orange carrots, forest green spinach, and caramelized bites of marinated beef, but feel free to make substitutions.

Get the Japchae recipe.

tuscan tortellini salad
Ethan Calabrese
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Tuscan Tortellini Salad

This easy tortellini salad is ALWAYS a fave at picnics. Feel free to swap the sun-dried tomatoes here for fresh cherry tomatoes, use kale instead of spinach or bacon instead of salami, or replace the Parmesan with Pecorino or mozzarella.

Get the Tuscan Tortellini Salad recipe.

closeup of chickpea tuna salad sandwich
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Chickpea "Tuna" Salad

A little wary of tunafish? Bring this chickpea salad to your picnic instead! It hits all the same flavor notes, without any fishy smell or taste.

Get the Chickpea "Tuna" Salad recipe.

strawberry shortcake rice krispies treats
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Strawberry Shortcake Rice Krispies Treats

We took our classic Rice Krispies Treats and made them summer-ready. The white chocolate melts into the Rice Krispies and the strawberries give them a burst of freshness.

Get the Strawberry Shortcake Rice Krispies Treats recipe.

chicken shawarma
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Chicken Shawarma

Shawarma refers to the Middle Eastern method cooking where thin slices of meat are shaved off of a vertical rotating spit that's in front of a fire or other heat source. Our version varies a little by being baked in the oven, but still mimics the traditional tender, juicy, and well-spiced meat.

Get the Chicken Shawarma recipe.

bruschetta pasta salad
Ethan Calabrese
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Bruschetta Pasta Salad

We love using orecchiette pasta here to soak up the simple extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing, but you can use whatever pasta shape you like!

Get the Bruschetta Pasta Salad recipe.

baked falafel with roasted peppers in a pita
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Roasted Vegetable Baked Falafel Sandwiches

Pita bread sandwiches are a great option to bring on a picnic. Although these shortcut falafel aren’t as crispy as the classic fried variety, they develop a nice golden crust and contain all the key spices. Serve them with a tahini sauce or homemade hummus to tie it all together.

Get the Roasted Vegetable Baked Falafel Sandwiches recipe.

chicken pasta salad
Parker Feierbach
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Chicken Pasta Salad

There's nothing worse than a pasta salad with mushy noodles. Learn how to cook pasta (it's trickier than you think!) and get your fusilli perfectly al dente for this dish.

Get the Chicken Pasta Salad recipe.

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Summer Rolls With Peanut Dipping Sauce

These homemade summer rolls (aka shrimp rolls) make the perfect handheld picnic snack, and that peanut dipping sauce is killer. The shrimp can be replaced with slices of cooked pork, cilantro can take the place of mint or basil, and romaine is a good vegetable substitute if you want!

Get the Summer Rolls With Peanut Dipping Sauce recipe.

marshmallow dip in a blue bowl surrounded by fruit
Parker Feierbach
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Marshmallow Fruit Dip

Fruit doesn't always get the attention it deserves. Picnics are the perfect time to change that and let it shine! This super simple marshmallow dip can help: It's so easy to whip together, can be made ahead of time, and is easy to transport.

Get the Marshmallow Fruit Dip recipe.

dish, food, cuisine, garden salad, salad, greek salad, ingredient, caesar salad, feta, vegetable,
Lindsay Hunt
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Mediterranean Grilled Chicken Salad

Grilled chicken salad—filled with cucumbers, tomatoes, and avocado—is the healthy summer dinner recipe we tend to make again and again. If you're vegetarian, try subbing in hard boiled eggs for the chicken!

Get the Mediterranean Grilled Chicken Salad recipe.

collard wraps bento boxes vertical — delishcom
Chelsea Lupkin
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Collard Wrap Bento Boxes

We're newly obsessed with collard greens—they're not as flimsy as, say, romaine so you can create a hefty wrap that'll withstand a lunch box. If you'd rather use another green, cabbage could totally work here too.

Get the Collard Wrap Bento Boxes recipe.

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