Our 30 Best Picnic Recipes to Stuff Your Picnic Basket

All the food and drink you'll want to pack for a beautiful day at the park

While picnic food should be simple and fuss-free, it doesn’t have to be boring. Put together a combination of fresh salad recipes, effortless sandwiches, freshly baked desserts, and refreshing drinks for a memorable al fresco meal. Don’t forget to pack your essential picnic gear and check the weather before you leave. On a hot spring or summer day, consider batching your favorite refreshing spring cocktail to wash down the grub. From traditional open-faced sandwiches to tamales and pork buns, here are the best picnic foods to make for your next outdoor outing.

The Schimmel Reuben Sandwich

Pressing down on this sandwich with a spatula while it toasts in the pan is the key to achieving the outer crispness and well-melted cheese that you want in a Reuben. Pile the meat on generously but not more than an inch or two thick or else the interior won’t get sufficiently warmed. Get the recipe for The Schimmel Reuben Sandwich »

Raspberry Financiers

These mini financiers make perfect portable treats for summer get-togethers. They’re best eaten the day they’re made, but if you want to start them ahead of time, you can make the batter the day before, refrigerate it overnight, and bake them in the morning. Get the recipe for Raspberry Financiers »

Blueberry, Nectarine and Shiso Salad

Bright shiso leaves and a touch of earthy sesame oil enhance this stone fruit and berry salad. Get the recipe for Blueberry, Nectarine and Shiso Salad »

Peach and Plum Salad

In this salad red wine vinegar balances the sweetness of ripe fruit, while cilantro and basil add a floral note. Get the recipe for Peach and Plum Salad »

Kimbap

Korean kimbap is similar to Japanese sushi, but typically uses cooked or pickled ingredients. In this version, bulgogi (marinated beef) is paired with vegetables and egg. Get the recipe for Kimbap »

Paloma

One of Mexico’s most popular cocktails, the Paloma is a perfectly refreshing combination of sweet and tart with grapefruit, lime, and a pinch of salt. Get the recipe for Paloma »

Cucumber Gin Cooler

This refreshing update on the classic gin & tonic is an easy sipper, thanks to summery cucumber slices and plenty of lime juice. A note on the cucumber slices: it may be tempting to nibble them out of your drink right away, but try to resist the urge. After several minutes’ contact with the lime juice, gin, and sweet tonic water (about as long as it takes to finish the drink) they pickle ever so slightly, taking on a lovely crisp flavor. Get the recipe for Cucumber Gin Cooler »

Burrata and Marinated Cherry Tomato Sandwiches

Burrata and Marinated Cherry Tomato Sandwiches

Corn Tamales with Tomatillo Salsa

Get the recipe for Corn Tamales with Tomatillo Salsa »

Strawberry Pimm’s Cup

A twist on the British classic, this summer cooler takes on spicy, herbal notes from Kaffir lime leaves, while strawberries lend sweet balance. Get the recipe for Strawberry Pimm’s Cup »

Fried Shredded Beef Empanadas

Get the recipe for Shredded Beef Empanadas »

Colombiana Pitcher Cocktail (Refajo)

Crisp and bittersweet, this Colombian lager-based cocktail is the perfect accompaniment to an afternoon around the grill. Get the recipe for Colombiana Pitcher Cocktail (Refajo) »

Porchetta Sandwiches with Marinated Onions and Salsa Verde

Get the recipe for Porchetta Sandwiches with Marinated Onions and Salsa Verde »

Pecorino, Parsley, and Anchovy Sandwiches

Get the recipe for Pecorino, Parsley, and Anchovy Sandwiches »

Farmer’s Salad with Beet Vinaigrette

This salad is topped with a bright thick sweet-tart pickled beet dressing. Get the recipe for Farmer’s Salad with Beet Vinaigrette »

The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

We’ve found that rolling these cookies into bigger portions, then refrigerating them for at least 2 hours before slightly under-baking them at 350°, results in incredibly gooey, soft chocolate chip cookies. Get the recipe for The Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies »

Iced Ginger Hibiscus Tea

Hibiscus tea has a tart, floral flavor that pairs beautifully with spicy fresh ginger in this refreshing drink. Get the recipe for Iced Ginger Hibiscus Tea »

Chinese Steamed Pork Buns

Cornstarch adds a silkiness to bao dough, mimicking the bleached, low-protein flour commonly used in Chinese bakeries (but harder to find in supermarkets). Lard adds tenderness, richness, and a subtle porky finish. Get the recipe for Chinese Steamed Pork Buns »

Curried Potato Salad

Curried Potato Salad

Turkish Grilled Cheese (Kumru)

This specialty of Çesme, a small beach town in Turkey, is one of the world’s great grilled cheese sandwiches, in which the cheese itself is grilled before getting slipped into toasted bread with raw tomato and optional (but highly recommended) toppings of griddled sausage and pickled cucumbers and chiles. Get the recipe for Turkish Grilled Cheese »

Peach-Raspberry Trifle

Layers of coconut sponge cake, raspberries, tapioca, and bourbon-stewed peaches in easily portable mason jars make this trifle perfect for summer picnics. The compote and the cake can be made up to two days ahead; store them in airtight containers in the fridge. Get the recipe for Peach-Raspberry Trifle »

Freekeh Pilaf with Sumac

Freekeh—sun-dried and roasted unripe wheat berries—is a popular grain in Mediterranean cuisines, and has a mildly smoky flavor and pleasant chew. Here, chef Mehmet Gürs of Istanbul’s Mikla cooks it pilaf-style and spices it with sumac, a bright red spice that lends color and a lemony zing to anything it hits. Get the recipe for Freekeh Pilaf with Sumac »

Hearts Of Palm and Avocado Salad

Hearts Of Palm and Avocado Salad

Lima Bean Gratin with Herbed Bread Crumbs

Think of this gratin as a meatless cassoulet, meant to accompany a roast, or as a stand alone, next to a tartly-dressed green salad. Get the recipe for Lima Bean Gratin with Herbed Bread Crumbs »

Asparagus Mint Slaw

Raw asparagus, carrots, and radishes get tossed with fresh mint and vinegar in this bright and crunchy slaw. Get the recipe for Asparagus Mint Slaw »

Guam-Style Chicken Salad

Marinated in cane vinegar and soy sauce, this succulent grilled chicken salad gets a dose of sweetness and heat from coconut and chiles. Get the recipe for Guam-Style Chicken Salad »

Eggplant and Parsley Dip (Melintzanosalata)

Chiles lend heat to this smoky dip from Kea, Greece. Get the recipe for Eggplant and Parsley Dip (Melintzanosalata) »

Roast Chicken Pan Bagnat with Olive Tapenade and Goat Cheese

This hearty twist on the classic Provençal pressed sandwich pan bagnat combines black olive tapenade, goat cheese, roasted chicken, and thinly sliced vegetables. Make it at least two to three hours before you plan to serve it to really let the flavors marry. Get the recipe for Roast Chicken Pan Bagnat with Olive Tapenade and Goat Cheese »

Tomato and Avocado Sandwich

Sweet, juicy heirloom tomatoes and slices of just-ripe avocado work in perfect harmony no matter what you serve them on, but a slice of seven-grain bread adds a perfect amount of texture and crunch. Get the recipe for Tomato and Avocado Sandwich »

Rocky Road Brownies

These cakey brownies are loaded with gooey caramels and marshmallows, crunchy nuts, and melty shards of chocolate. Get the recipe for Rocky Road Brownies »

Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies

Our gluten-free alternative to the classic actually gives the cookies a boost: subtracting flour highlights their pure peanut butter flavor and adds a wonderfully chewy texture. Get the recipe for Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies »

Sausage and Arugula Pasta Salad

Pasta salads are essential summer food: they travel well; they’re easy to adapt to whatever produce you have on-hand; and they’re simple to make in large portions, making them perfect dishes to carry to parties, picnics, and barbecues. Get the recipe for Sausage and Arugula Pasta Salad »

Cucumbers and Cream Cheese

There’s no reason this tried-and-true combination needs to be limited to tea time. Make three or four of these paper-thin preparations of white bread topped with tangy, softened cream cheese and crisp cucumber slices, and call it a lunch. Get the recipe for Cucumbers and Cream Cheese »

Spanish Potato Frittata (Tortilla Española)

Tortilla española is everything we love about Spanish cooking—lusty, elemental, assuredly simple. Traditionally this Iberian omelet gets its heft from thin-sliced potatoes, but chef Ferran Adria substitutes a generous handful of store-bought thick-cut potato chips. Get the recipe for Spanish Potato Frittata (Tortilla Española) »

Ham and Hard-Boiled Egg Sandwich

Ham and eggs may be a breakfast classic, but they’re even better for lunch: try sliced or quartered hard-boiled eggs layered with a salty ham and a bit of mayo on a hearty white bread. Get the recipe for Ham and Hard-Boiled Egg Sandwich »

Beef Short Ribs Empanadas

In his version of Chilean empanadas, chef Rodolfo Guzmán of Boragó replaces lean ground chuck with rich beef short ribs, which make each bite tender. Get the recipe for Beef Short Ribs Empanadas »

Katharine Hepburn’s Brownies

A version of this recipe accompanied an interview with the actress Katharine Hepburn in the August 1975 issue of The Ladies’ Home Journal. This brownie recipe, which calls for the smallest amount of flour, produces incredibly chewy bars with a full but mellow chocolate flavor. Get the recipe for Katharine Hepburn’s Brownies »

Black Pepper and Honey-Marinated Cantaloupe with Basil

A sprinkle of sea salt enhances the sweetness of cantaloupe marinated in honey and spices. Get the recipe for Black Pepper and Honey-Marinated Cantaloupe with Basil »

Classic Blondies

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 »

Vodka Lavender Thyme Lemonade

Lemonade gains herbaceous depth from lavender and thyme, while vodka delivers a good, clean punch. Get the recipe for Vodka Lavender Thyme Lemonade »

Mixed Berries and Mint with Berry Shrub

A sweet-sour syrup dresses this mixed berry salad. Get the recipe for Mixed Berries and Mint with Berry Shrub »