No picnic is complete without a final bite of dessert. Not just any dessert will do, though—you want something that you can make ahead of time, transport easily, and not have to serve warm. That eliminates a few options, but it's still easy to find desserts that fit the bill. From cookies and brownies to pudding and ice cream, we've rounded up our favorite picnic-friendly dessert recipes.
Delicious at any temperature and super portable, cookies are perfect for picnics. When it comes to cookies, it doesn't get much more classic than chocolate chip. Our basic recipe is like a classic Toll House cookie taken to the next level. Layering the chocolate in between sheets of dough means that every bite has a perfect balance. For something different, try sweetening you chocolate chip cookies woodsy, spicy honey or adding ground almonds to the dough.
On a hot summer day, a frozen treat is sure to be a hit. Popsicles are a crowd-pleaser—we have Mexican-inspired paletas flavored with tamarind, pineapple, and more, as well as yogurt pops rich with strawberry and rhubarb. Or go with ice cream. Plain vanilla is great, but also try coffee, beet, or—for the ultimate summer flavor—peach.
A big bowl of pudding is a retro treat. We love an old-school banana pudding layered with vanilla wafers and cookie salad updated with tangy buttermilk. For something that's sure to transport you back to childhood, look to our rich, whipped cream-topped chocolate pudding pie.
Be the star of your next picnic with these dessert recipes.
In these minty ice cream sandwiches, the chocolate mousse “ice cream” and cake are both sweetened with bittersweet chocolate, letting the chocolate’s richness—brightened by fresh spearmint—be the main flavor.
Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cookies
This vanilla cake is anything but basic—the tang of buttermilk adds interest, while brown sugar bumps the earthy vanilla notes. Christina Tosi uses it as the base for her towering, masterful Strawberry Lemon Layer Cake. Get the recipe for Vanilla Cake
When SAVEUR test kitchen assistant Jake Cohen stumbled upon an unusual, green-striped melon, he turned it into the perfect summer dessert. Here, bright santa claus melon curd fills an almond crust, topped with fresh slices of fruit.
This rich, creamy chocolate pudding pie is pure nostalgia.
A chocolate-, almond-, and coconut-enriched graham crust supports a dense layer of buttercream topped with a slick of semisweet chocolate. Get the recipe for Nanaimo Bars »
The recipe for this indulgent layered cake with a bourbon-butter-raisin-coconut-pecan filling and billowy egg-white icing first appeared in Emma Rylander Lane’s self-published cookbook, Some Good Things to Eat, in 1898.
Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams in Columbus, OH, has some of the most amazing flavors around, but they all start with one simple base. In this recipe, the addition of roasted beets and poppy seeds lends the end product a festive hue and a bit of crunch. Get the recipe for Beet Ice Cream with Mascarpone »
A combination of all-purpose and potato flours gives this simple summer tart a delicate, crumbly crust. Plums, peaches, or berries can be substituted for apricots.
Made with only 4 ingredients, this summery treat is full of bright strawberry flavor.
Rice Pudding Ice Pops (Paletas de Arroz con Leche)
Yogurt adds a slight tartness to this cake from home cook Mária Keresztes Kovács. Our recipe calls for plums, but apricots, peaches, or any stone fruit works too.
For this striking two-toned dessert, alternating layers of snow-white and mahogany-brown spiced cakes are sandwiched with a rich, chocolate fudge icing and decorated with walnut halves.
Brown Butter Tart with Blackberries
Lemon infuses this layered masterpiece in three ways: zested into the batter, in a tart syrup that gets drizzled over the cakes, and in a thick lemon curd frosting.
TKOs (Chocolate Sandwich Cookies)
The recipe for this butter cake draped in caramel fudge icing is based on a cake originally made by Louise Hodges, a home cook from Carmack, Mississippi.
Fresh coconut and its sweet water are the keys to this cake, passed down from pastry chef Ben Mims’ grandmother, Jane Newson.
Copious amounts of crunchy, buttery macadamia nuts find their match in large, creamy white chocolate chunks in these classic American cookies.
Layers of sweet corn pastry cream alternate with an herb-infused blueberry compote and a buttery shortbread crumble in a summery spin on the classic trifle. Any other berry at its peak makes a delicious substitution; try layering the ingredients into mason jars for an easy-to-transport picnic dessert.
Chewy dates and chunky peach preserves form the filling for these cake-like bars. Make these ahead of your trip for a quick breakfast or, obviously, save them for dessert. Get the recipe for Peach Date Bars »
This rich olive oil pound cake is studded with soft peaches and plums.
The floral character of poppy seeds shines when paired with blueberries in this rich dessert. Store any unused seeds in the refrigerator or freezer.
This simple sour cream cake is brightened by lemon zest and dotted with ripe apricot halves that cook down to intense tangy sweetness in the oven.
Like a brownie in shape and texture, blondies are packed with all the brown sugar and butterscotchy goodness of chocolate chip cookies, but are softer and more substantial. Get the recipe for Classic Blondies »