Picnic Food Ideas
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28 Picnic Food Ideas That Turn Every Picnic into a Feast

Written by Ana Reisdorf, MS, RD on July 08, 2024


Picnics are a relaxing way to help you connect with friends and family and enjoy the warmer months. Enjoying a picnic in a local park, on the beach, near a lake, or even in your backyard is a great way to spend an afternoon.

When selecting the best picnic foods, there are a few things to consider. Picnic food needs to be easy to eat with your hands, fingers, or minimal utensils. The foods you choose should be easy to transport and fit into a cooler or picnic basket. Finally, ideal picnic foods should also remain safe at room temperature or with an ice pack for a few hours. For example, you wouldn’t want to take raw oysters or sushi to a picnic. 

Whether you are picnicking with your partner, a big group of friends and family, or your kids, we gathered some of our favorite picnic ideas to help you get started planning your afternoon outdoors. 

Picnic Food Ideas For Couples

An outdoor picnic can be a peaceful and romantic way to connect with your partner and enjoy some quiet conversation in nature. Just pack up a few of your favorite foods, a bottle of wine (or beverage you enjoy), and a blanket, and find a romantic picnic spot. Here are a few picnic food ideas for couples to get you started. 

Picnic Trays

A spin on a traditional charcuterie board, picnic trays are a way of displaying food using a muffin tin or tray. Fill your tray with your favorite veggies, our Chomps meat sticks, and your favorite cheese.

Salami Salad Bites

Is it a salad or is it charcuterie? No matter. All charcuterie lovers will enjoy these quick and easy salami salad bites. A bright vinegary dressing, sharp feta cheese, creamy pine nuts, and slightly bitter greens, are all rolled up with large slices of salami and spicy sopressa.

Orzo and Arugula Pasta Salad

Every picnic needs a pasta salad. This orzo and arugula pasta salad is a great option. It is loaded with seasonal veggies and bright and fresh flavors and makes the perfect summer side dish.

Cantaloupe Salad with Crushed Pistachios

This beautiful salad features lots of summer ingredients such as cantaloupe, cucumbers, and fresh basil sweetened with a bit of honey in the dressing. The salty feta cheese and crunchy pistachios create a unique flavor combination.

Mason Jar Jalapeno Margaritas

Need something fun to drink? Try these margaritas in a mason jar that are easy to transport and bring to your picnic.

Cheerful Picnic Ideas For Large Groups and Friends

An outdoor picnic is a great way to spend time with friends. Whether you make it a potluck where everyone contributes or you provide all the food yourself, you still need some simple picnic food ideas that are easy to throw together for a large group. Here are our best picnic ideas for friends or large groups:

Quinoa Arugula Salad

If you need to feed a large group, this quinoa and arugula salad is easy to make and full of fresh and tangy flavors. Plus it packs a nice dose of fiber, protein, and delicious veggies. 

7-Layer Dip

Always a group favorite, this 7-layer dip recipe uses our Chomps Jalapeno beef sticks to add a little kick. While our recipe serves the dip in a mason jar, it would work perfectly in a large dish to share with your friends.

Healthy Cranberry Walnut Coleslaw

Here’s a healthier twist on coleslaw that doesn’t include mayo. It uses a variety of cabbage, carrots, green onions, and cranberries with Greek yogurt dressing to create a higher protein colorful salad. 

Classic Italian Pasta Salad

This spin on the classic Italian pasta salad uses our Italian Beef Chomps sticks for a little zest, along with mozzarella balls, cherry tomatoes, and basil. 

Fruited Sun Tea

For a big group, consider serving iced tea as a beverage, it pairs great with a picnic meal! This fruited sun tea is a delicious, refreshing drink that's so easy to make and you don’t even need the sun. It works on a cloudy day as well!

Fun-Filled Picnic Ideas For Kids and Family

Kids love eating outdoors, as it allows them to eat and play at the same time! Their favorite things all in one. Here are some kid-approved picnic recipe ideas whether you are just enjoying family time or looking for non-perishable field trip snack ideas for when the school year begins again. 

Kid-Friendly Pizza Lunchables

Our homemade take on Lunchables is a great way to pack a portable easy picnic food your kids will love and that they can assemble all on their own. 

Carrot, Broccoli, and Cheese Pinwheels

These portable, handheld broccoli and cheese pinwheels are colorful, packed with veggies, and kid-approved. 

Rainbow Charcuterie Board

While a kid might not be able to pronounce “charcuterie” they certainly love a nice snack board. This rainbow charcuterie board uses our Chomps beef sticks variety pack and tons of veggies to create a colorful, rainbow that is adorable to look at and delicious to munch on.

Green Goddess Pasta Salad

This vegan green goddess pasta salad is perfect for picnics. It's refreshing, flavorful, and packed with fresh herbs and creamy avocados to help sneak in some extra nutrition. 

Chocolate Chip, PB, and Banana Sandwiches

These sweet sandwiches are a creative twist on the classic PB&J a favorite of kids everywhere. Is your kid allergic? Swap the peanut butter for sun butter for an allergy-friendly alternative. 

Delicious Picnic Snacks

If your picnic will be more of a grazing experience than a full meal, here are a few picnic snack recipes to help you get started.

Soft Pretzels and Dip Snack Board

This snack board has all of the best of all things snacks including soft pretzels, protein, and nutrient-rich veggies. 

Din Tai Fung Cucumber Salad

A copycat recipe of a popular dish at a famous Taiwanese restaurant, this simple cucumber salad is perfect for picnics. The cucumber stays crisp and is packed with umami and a little spice.

Roasted Rosemary Snack Cups

These snack cups are a little individual charcuterie inside a mason jar. They start with rosemary-flavored roasted nuts and pair them with Chomps Beef sticks, cheese, and crunchy green apples. 

Fruit Salad

A fruit salad is a great addition to the summer as it allows you to enjoy all of the delicious berries and stone fruits the summer has to offer. 

Classic Southern Pimento Cheese

Pimento cheese is a staple for many Southern meals as it pairs well with a hot summer day in the south or anywhere else. Serve this one with crusty bread and celery sticks for a delicious picnic snack.

Tasty Picnic Food Ideas for Any Time of Day

While all the picnic food ideas above could work at any time, you may be looking for ideas for specific times of the day. Here are some of our best picnic foods for specific meals.

Breakfast Picnic Ideas To Start Your Day

On a warm day, starting your day with a breakfast picnic can help you beat the heat. We gathered a few easy breakfast picnic ideas to help you get started planning your meals.

Bagel Bar

A good bagel bar is easy to set up and transport to your favorite picnic area. Cream cheese, smoked salmon, veggies, and even your favorite Chomps beef sticks make great toppings. 

Spinach and Mushroom Quiche

This make-ahead spinach and mushroom quiche that uses our Original Beef Chomps for flavor is a great, high-protein option for a breakfast picnic. It would pair well with fresh fruit or a refreshing glass of juice.

Midday Picnic Lunch Ideas

A picnic sandwich paired with a nice light salad is a great meal for a picnic lunch. Here are a few of our choices that you might enjoy. 

Chicken Salad Croissant Sandwiches

A croissant is always a great base for a picnic sandwich. This one is a chicken salad sandwich with chicken, grapes, and some celery for crunch.

Watermelon Salad

This refreshing watermelon mint salad is a favorite for summer months specifically for mid-day picnics as it is not only delicious but also helps you stay hydrated in the heat of the day.

Savory Picnic Dinner Ideas

Need something a little more filling for a picnic dinner? Here are a few recipe ideas that can help keep you full and can be enjoyed in your favorite spot.

Greek Lentil Salad

This filling, yet refreshing Greek lentil salad can be prepped in less than 30 minutes. It features creamy feta, veggies, and mouthwatering Mediterranean flavors.

Ultimate Mediterranean Bowl

A no-heat bowl can be a great option for a dinner picnic as it can be prepared ahead of time. This Mediterranean bowl is a great option you can use as inspiration to create your ultimate meal bowl.

Perfect Picnic Dessert Ideas

What is a meal without a dessert to wrap it up? These desserts are easy to make ahead and transport to your favorite picnic spot.

Irresistible Raspberry Oatmeal Bars

These raspberry oatmeal streusel bars are an irresistible summer treat made with fresh raspberries, oats, nuts, and an almond flour shortbread crust.

Strawberry Shortcake Rice Krispies Treats

This twist on classic Rice Krispies treats adds a bit of summer flair to the classic recipe with the addition of strawberries. They are a great dessert to make ahead and transport to any outdoor summer gathering. 

These are just a few ideas to help you get started planning your summer picnic meals. Our Chomps meat sticks should be a staple for any outdoor event, as they are shelf-stable and can be tossed into any picnic basket for a quick high-protein snack. To be sure you always have Chomps available for the busy summer months, consider our subscribe and save option to stock up on your favorite meat sticks.

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Original Beef
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Original Beef

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