Divine Dinner Party

Simple, Delicious Picnic Menus & Ideas for Picnic Foods

Sometimes, choosing picnic menus can be even more complicated than, say, choosing menus for a fancy dinner party. Why? Because you have to consider a ton of different variables: how easy a recipe is to eat, how well it transports, what temperature it should be served at, etc. Not to mention how it tastes!

Traditional Sandwich Picnic Basket
Because I have a deep and abiding love of the almighty picnic, I've spent a lot of time putting together some of my favorite picnic menus and recipes. Here, you'll find some creative and some classic ideas for picnic foods, starting off with my favorite menus for a picnic (including recipes!). Looking for more picnic games and themes, menus, and more? You'll find them at picnic planning central!

Don't want to use my menu? Create your own with the ideas for picnic foods at the bottom of this page.

My Favorite Picnic Menus

As you flip through my picnic pages, you'll see I've put together lots of new picnic ideas, including the different kinds of recipes and menus I tend to choose when planning an outdoor picnic. These menus range from ultra simple to elegant and complex. This menu is one of my very favorites, because it's the perfect balance between elegant and adult, and totally kid-pleasing. It works just as well for a group of adult friends as a family of four. Or eight. Click each dish for the recipe, or click the link above for the whole menu and recipes.

Main Dishes:
Chevre, Leek, and Shallot Tart
Simple Roasted Chicken, Served Cold

Side Dishes:
Spinach Salad with Leeks, Apples, and Pecans
French bread

Easy Pastry-Free Dutch Apple Pie

Very few things are as wonderfully romantic as a private little picnic in a shady little spot. And you don't need a bunch of fancy, expensive, complicated food to do it. This romantic menu is simple, elegant, and tastes divine.

Main Dish:
Turkey, Avocado, and Brie Sandwiches with Herb Mayonnaise

Side Dishes:
French Green Bean, Cucumber, and Red Potato Salad
Cold Tomato, Garlic, and Basil Soup

Chocolate-covered strawberries or Chocolate Nutella Mousse
Chilled Champagne

Ooh-la-la! If you really want to impress, the simplest menu can make the most impact. This wonderful, simple menu is made of up wonderful French cheese and wine, and a lot of little extras your guests will love.

Main Dishes:
Selection of French Cheeses
Ham, Port, and Gruyere Olive Bread
Duck pate and Green Olive Tapenade
French Bread
Sliced Pears and Apples
Served with: French Wines

Ripe strawberries
Chilled Champagne

Nowhere do they pull off a picnic like in the American south. This is the quintessential classic picnic, complete with cold fried chicken and buttermilk biscuits.

Main Dish:
Oven-Fried Picnic Chicken, cold

Side Dishes:
Buttermilk Biscuits
Spinach Bacon Salad with Honey-Bacon Dressing
Roasted Garlic and Potato Salad

Easy Pastry-Free Dutch Apple Pie
Sliced Chilled Watermelon (or vodka melon for the adults!)

There's no reason why feeding the whole family should mean choosing boring picnic foods. Don't stick to PB & J! This menu is made of up creative, elegant recipes that will please both kids and adults. Really!

Main Dish:
Chicken and Boursin Stuffed Pastry Triangles

Side Dishes:
Roasted Tomato Salad with Basil
Italian Baked Potato Salad
Crusty French bread or Ciabatta

Brownies, chocolate cookies, or cupcakes
Fresh berries

You don't have to be sitting under a tree in Tuscany to have an authentic Italian picnic. This simple menu is filling, fun, and has something for everybody. After all, how can you go wrong with Italian?

Main Dishes:
Cheese and Meat Antipasto Platter
Eggplant Caponata
Ciabatta Bread or Foccacia

Dessert: White Chocolate, Coconut, and Limoncello Truffles
Fresh fruit
Chilled Prosecco or Limoncello

More Ideas for Picnic Foods

The menus above can be a great choice for a picnic! But you don't have to stick to my menus, or even my recipes. With some many great recipe resources on the web, the sky's the limit. With some of the great picnic food and recipe ideas below, you won't have any problem putting together a great picnic menu of your own. Go wild:

Other Appetizers, Snacks, and Side Dishes

Various Dips (cream cheese, bean, etc.)
Stuffed Tomatoes
Deviled Eggs
Chips and Salsa and/or Guacamole
French Bread
Potato Chips or Homemade Sweet Potato Chips
Pickles, Olives, Pickled Peppers, Sundried Tomatoes, etc.
Veggies and Dip (Onion Dip, Hummus, etc.)
Melon con Jamón
Tortilla Pinwheels
Hummus & Pita Chips
Focaccia Wedges
Popcorn or Caramel Popcorn
Marinated Mushrooms

Desserts for a Picnic

Sliced fresh Fruit
Bar Cookies (Lemon bars, oatmeal bars, etc.)
Yogurt or Yogurt Parfait
Homemade Pudding or Pudding Cups
Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Chips
Peanut Butter or Chocolate Fruit Dip

Drinks for a Picnic

Lemonade (or flavored lemonade)
Minted Iced Tea
Fruit Punch
Sparkling Water with Lime
Cucumber Water
Limoncello or other Liqueur
Iced Coffee
Margaritas or other Cocktails

Main Dish Items for a Picnic

Tortilla Wraps
Sandwiches or Subs
Pita Sandwiches
Puff-Pastry Sandwiches
Cold, cooked meat (chicken, beef, etc.)
Quiche or Frittata
Individual-Sized Calzones
Pasties or Other Individual Meat Pie
Pigs in a Blanket
Purchased Subs
Cold Cooked Salmon
Smoked Salmon
Cheese, Crackers, and Bread
Peanut Butter & Jelly Wraps or Subs
Tuna, Egg, or Chicken Salad Sandwiches
Shrimp Cocktail (any chilled shrimp dish)
Cold Buffalo Wings
Cold Pizza
Chicken or Pork Lettuce Wraps
Crab Cakes

Main Dish Salads for a Picnic

Lobster or Shrimp Salad
Chicken Salad (Chicken caesar, etc.)
Chilled Salmon Salad
Taco Salad
Antipasti Platter or Salad
Waldorf Salad

Salad Side Dishes for a Picnic

Pasta or Tortellini Salad (mayonnaise or olive-oil based)
Potato Salad
Leafy Green Salad
Bean or Green Bean Salad
Panzanella (Italian Bread Salad)
Greek Salad
Fruit Salad
Rice Salad
Broccoli Salad
Cole Slaw
Apple Slaw
Couscous Salad

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You Might Also Like...

It's great to have all these picnic menus in one place. But I've also got other picnic pages! Visit:

Picnic Games and Themes


Picnic Sandwiches for more ideas.

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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