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Picnic Food Ideas: Best Picnic Recipes for Summer | The Old Farmer's Almanac

15 Picnic Recipes for Sunny Days!

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Our Favorite Picnic Foods for Outdoor Gatherings

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Pack a picnic and make some memories! We’ve got some delicious portable picnic food ideas—bean and potato salads, chicken salads, and fun sandwiches. Plus, we have warm-weather drinks and yummy picnic desserts, including our best brownies. 

On the next nice day, head outdoors—whether it’s to your outdoor patio or a nearby park! Find a shady spot, spread out a picnic blanket, bring a book or board game, and enjoy the day!

While a traditional wicker basket is romantic, a simple tote or cooler is perfectly practical. Don’t forget 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. 

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. 

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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_potato_salad_2_edited_full_width.pngPhoto:Sam Jones/Quinn Brein

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_becky_luigart_stayner_1_full_width.jpgPhoto: 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-spinach-qb_full_width.jpegPhoto: Sam Jones/Quinn Brein

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.

tortillini_salad_becky_luigart_stayner_0_full_width.jpgPhoto 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. 

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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_2_full_width.jpgPhoto: Sam Jones/Quinn Brein

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! 

salsa-salad-recipe.jpgPhoto: 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. 

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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 need need to worry about a dip. 

chicken-wings-ginger-shutterstock_0_full_width.jpgPhoto: Coffeemill/Shutterstock

Sandwiches

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. 

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Tomato, Basil, and Mozzarella Sandwich

Coat one side of each slice of foccacia 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. 

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Picnic Desserts

Best Brownies

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

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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
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, ShutterstockPhoto: Amallia Eka/Shutterstock

More Picnic Recipes

None of the piqued your interest? Here are a few of our other top picnic picks…

Picnic Desserts

Drink Recipes

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

2023 Almanac Club