Divine Dinner Party

Cold Picnic Food Recipes:
My Favorite Southern Picnic Menu

When it's hot outside, cold picnic food recipes are simply the way to go. They're more appetizing in the heat, they're easier to transport and keep at the right temperature, and they're simpler to assemble ahead of time. The menu below features some of my favorite cold picnic salads and main dishes, including my famous oven-baked picnic chicken recipe! Delicious, easy, and fun to eat. The classic cold picnic.
After all, nobody wants a big pot of chili in the middle of summer... no matter how good it may be!

Go here for more picnic menus and recipes!

My Best Cold Picnic Food Menu

Main Dish:

  • Oven-Fried Picnic Chicken, cold (recipe below)
  • Buttermilk Biscuits
  • Spinach Bacon Salad with Honey-Bacon Dressing (recipe below)
  • Creamy Roasted Garlic and Potato Salad (recipe below)

  • Served with:
  • Beaujolais, Cold Beer, and/or Watermelon Lemonade


My Favorite Oven Baked Picnic Chicken Recipe

Oven Fried Picnic Chicken Recipe CrispyThis picnic chicken recipe tastes great when eaten at home, hot out of the oven. But after it's allowed to come to room temperature and firm up a bit, it's even better. Make this in the morning before a picnic, and it'll be one of the best cold picnic food recipes you've ever had. You will make it time and time again, I promise.

What's a more classic picnic food, after all, than cold fried chicken?

Recipe serves 4-6.

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3 - 3 1/2 lbs. skinned chicken pieces, various types
3/4 C. Greek yogurt
2-3 tbsp. milk
2 tbsp. dijon mustard
1 tsp. Tabasco sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp. Cajun seasoning

2 1/2 C. breadcrumbs
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp. Cajun seasoning
2-3 tbsp. olive oil

Instructions: 1. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the yogurt, milk, mustard, Tabasco, the 1/2 tsp. salt, and the 1 tsp. cajun seasoning. Smoosh around until mixed.

2. Drop your skinned chicken pieces in the bag. Smoosh around again until all chicken is well-coated.

3. Leave chicken to marinate in the fridge overnight. Turn bag occasionally to make sure all chicken stays evenly coated (don't worry about getting up in the middle of the night to do this, though).

4. Prepare the breading. In a large tray, combine the breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, and cajun seasoning.

5. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

6. Remove each chicken piece from the marinade and let excess marinade drip away. Roll chicken in breadcrumb mixture.

7. Drizzle or brush each chicken piece with olive oil (olive oil spray works well, too). Place in a greased foil-lined baking sheet or, even better, directly on the greased rack over top of a foil-lined sheet (this makes the chicken crispier). Bake about 50-60 minutes, until golden brown and cooked through. Eat hot or at room temperature.

Spinach Bacon Salad with Honey-Bacon Dressing Recipe

Spinach Salad with Bacon, Mushrooms, and Onions
Spinach salad travels well, making it a good cold picnic food recipe. And if you're looking for a lighter, crisper spinach salad --one you can feel healthy eating-- you'll want to try this one. But if you're looking for "I can't stop eating this or I will die" flavor, this is the best spinach salad you'll ever make. Rich, sweet, tangy, and ultra-flavorful, it's the kind of salad people fight over.

Oh, and did I mention it's covered in bacon? If you like the sound of that, you'll love this salad. Serves 5-6 good eaters.

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8 C. fresh baby spinach
1 C. sliced fresh crimini mushrooms
1/3 C. sliced green onion (white and green parts)
2 lg. hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
1/2 C. shaved (not finely grated) parmesan cheese
8 slices bacon, cooked until crisp and crumbled, divided
1/4 C. honey
1/4 C. apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. spicy brown mustard
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp. lemon juice

Instructions: 1. First, assemble the salad. In a large, easy-to-transport salad bowl, combine the spinach, mushrooms, onion, eggs, and parmesan cheese. Add 3/4 of your bacon crumbles.

2. To make your dressing, whisk together the rest of your bacon, the honey, the vinegar, the oil, the mustard, the pepper, and the lemon juice. Place in a second re- sealable container.

3. Right before serving, pour dressing over salad and mix. If you dress this cold picnic food recipe in advance, it'll get soggy.

Creamy Roasted Garlic and Potato Salad Recipe

Potato Salad with Garlic, Cilantro, and OnionsPotato salad is one of those truly classic cold picnic food recipes. And in my book, all potato salads are good. But that doesn't mean all pinic potato salads are created equal... because they're not! This recipe is as different from your average cold potato salad as salsa is from ketchup. Similar ingredients, but different species.

If you like something a little different in your potato salad, you'll love this recipe. It's ultra rich and flavorful, but also fresh and tangy and crisp. In short, it's heaven. Recipe serves about 6.

Seem like a lot of garlic? Don't worry. Roasting it with the potatos gives the garlic a mellow, sweet flavor.

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2 lbs. baby new potatoes, quartered (or cubed if your potatoes are larger)
10 large cloves of garlic, halved
2-3 tbsp. olive oil
salt, to taste
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 lg. hard-boiled eggs, peeled and chopped
1/2 - 3/4 C. minced purple onion
3/4 C. good-quality mayonnaise (I like Hellmann's)
1 tbsp. grainy creole mustard
2-3 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 C. minced fresh cilantro

Instructions: 1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

2. In a large resealable bag, toss together the potatoes, garlic cloves, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Dump out onto a large baking sheet.

3. Roast potatoes 20-30 minutes, or until tender. Let cooked potatoes cool completely before continuing.

4. To make the dressing, combine your cooked garlic cloves, mayonnaise, mustard, and lemon in a food processor or blender (I use a hand-held blender). Process until completely smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir in cilantro. Set dressing aside.

5. To assemble salad, combine roasted potatoes, eggs, and onions in a large mixing bowl.

6. Pour dressing over. Mix well, but gently. Season to taste with a bit more salt and pepper, if needed.

7. Cover and chill for two hours or more before serving.

8. This is one of those cold picnic food recipes that, for safety's sake, you shouldn't let sit too long outside the fridge. Keep it cold.

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I've got plenty more cold picnic food recipes! Take a peek at the following pages to find 'em:

Visit Cold Italian Summer Picnic Recipes


Picnic Planning Headquarters for some great cold picnic food recipes.

Decroative Picnic Basket Clipart

Coming Up...

Hippity, Hoppity,
Easter's on its Way

The date for Easter falls on April 20th this year!

Take a look at Easter Dinner and Party Planning for recipes, edd dye tips, assembling Easter baskets, and more!

And plan to make this adorable...

It's so cute, it may be the best thing you do this Easter.


Share and share alike! If you have a great dinner party idea or tip, send it in!

After all, what better way to pass on your knowledge than to share it with other hosts and hostesses?

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