15 Picnic Recipes for Sunny Days!

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The best recipes for a summer picnic. picnic basket on a blanket with a hat and bottle of wine

Our Favorite Picnic Foods for Outdoor Gatherings

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Summertime is picnic time. Pack a picnic and make some memories! Fill your basket with these delicious portable sandwiches, bean and potato salads, chicken salads, and yummy drinks and desserts.

Other than the food, bring a picnic basket, utensils (including a knife!), perhaps a cutting board to use as a flat surface, a bottle opener if needed, napkins or paper towels, and a bag for clean-up. While a traditional wicker basket is romantic, a simple tote or cooler is perfectly practical. 

Check the weather forecast to ensure it’s a nice day, find a shady tree where you can spread out your picnic blanket, and savor the day.

3 Potato Salads

German-Style Potato Salad

A true German Potato Salad recipe combines hot potatoes, vinegar, and hot bacon fat. If you’re seeking a delicious savory potato salad—without mayonnaise—try this adaptation of the classic. 

German-Style Potato Salad

American-Style Potato Salad

Our version of the picnic classic, this American-Style Potato Salad has a light and fresh taste and takes little time to prepare! 

American-Style Potato Salad
Photo: Sam Jones/Vaughn Communications

Potato Salad With Chicken

This Potato Salad With Green Beans and Chicken dish is loaded with fresh ingredients—and no mayonnaise. 

Potato Salad With Chicken
Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner

2 Pasta Salads

Pasta Salad With Spinach and Artichoke

A colorful, no-mayo pasta salad that’s full of flavor. Adapt to whatever is on the pantry shelf—tomato instead of pimiento, green olives instead of black ones, or perhaps a different cheese. 

Pasta Salad With Spinach and Artichoke
Photo: Sam Jones/Vaughn Communications

Kat’s Tortellini Salad Bowl

This tortellini salad combines the saltiness of olives, the creaminess of mozzarella cheese, and the freshness of spinach into one flavorful dish.

Kat’s Tortellini Salad Bowl
Photo credit: Becky Luigart-Stayner

2 Salads

Curry Chicken Salad

Curry adds flavor to this light chicken salad made with nuts and apple chunks for a filling lunch. Serve as a salad alone or in a sandwich. 

Curry Chicken Salad

Seven-Layer Salad

This attractive Seven-Layer Salad looks great when assembled in a clear glass bowl. This salad should be made about 8 hours before serving, which makes it very convenient for potlucks when you don’t have time for a lot of last-minute preparations. 

Seven-Layer Salad
Photo: Sam Jones/Vaughn Communications

Chips and Salsa

Summer Salsa Salad

This prize-winning salsa can be served as a side with tortilla chips or as a salad. For easy carrying to a picnic, pack in a sealable bowl! 

Summer Salsa Salad
Photo: vm2002/Shutterstock

Beet Chips

Move over potato chips—beet chips have you, well, beat! These easy-to-make vegetable chips are as beautiful as they are nutritious. 

Beet Chips

Chicken Wing

Sesame-Ginger Wings

These wings are good cold—great for a picnic basket. They’re already fully flavored with sesame and ginger, so you don’t need to worry about a dip. 

Sesame-Ginger Wings
Photo: Coffeemill/Shutterstock


Crunchy Chicken Salad

Our Crunchy Chicken Salad has zip and zest with tart apples, crunchy pine nuts, and protein-packed quinoa! This recipe works as a chicken salad on its own, too. 

Crunchy Chicken Salad

Tomato, Basil, and Mozzarella Sandwich

Coat one side of each slice of focaccia or French bread with pesto or olive oil. Layer on the tomato slices, season with salt and pepper, add the mozzarella slices and fresh basil leaves, and top with a second piece of bread. Wrap in foil if transporting. 

Tomato, Basil, and Mozzarella Sandwich

Picnic Desserts

Best Brownies

Everybody has a favorite brownie recipe, but these homemade brownies are hard to beat! Moist, rich, and fudgy. 

Best Brownies

Grandma’s Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

These cookies are super easy to make and extremely delicious. We like them with raisins, but chocolate chips can be used if you prefer a bit more sweetness in your life!


Oatmeal raisin cookies
Grandma’s Old-Fashioned Oatmeal Raisin Cookies
Photo: Cesarz/Shutterstock

Picnic-Friendly Drink

Strawberry Lemonade 

Our easy Strawberry Lemonade is loaded with fresh, ripe strawberries and zesty tart lemon! 

Strawberry Lemonade, by Amallia Eka, Shutterstock
Strawberry Lemonade 
Photo: Amallia Eka/Shutterstock

More Picnic Recipes

None of them piqued your interest? Here are some other popular picnic picks…

If you plan to grill, check out our great Grilling Recipes and Tips.

What is your favorite food to pack for a picnic?

About The Author

Catherine Boeckmann

Catherine Boeckmann loves nature, stargazing, and gardening so it’s not surprising that she and The Old Farmer’s Almanac found each other. She leads digital content for the Almanac website, and is also a certified master gardener in the state of Indiana. Read More from Catherine Boeckmann

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