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How To Plan A Perfect Picnic: Easy And Delicious Ideas

Plan a perfect picnic and have a fun day outdoors with loved ones. Here are some ideas to plan a picnic that is easy and delicious.

Summer is the perfect time for a picnic and with the sunny season upon us, I plan on getting my family outdoors for as many picnics as I can. They are such a nice way to spend the day with family and friends. And really, everything tastes better when enjoyed outside!

a image of a perfect picnic: with a picnic basket, lemonade and picnic blanket

Today I am sharing some of my favourite picnic ideas to get you inspired on the next warm summer day. From packable snacks to sandwiches, pasta salads, desserts and more! Everything for a perfect picnic.

Snacks for a Perfect Picnic

Watermelon

Is it even a picnic without watermelon? This refreshing and delicious fruit always disappears on hot summer days. Save yourself mess and time by cutting it into pieces ahead of time. Here’s my favourite way to cut a watermelon…cutting it this way you end up with less rind, and more watermelon in every bite.

A board with watermelon cut into individual serving sticks for a perfect picnic snack

Cake Doughnut Muffins

This Cake Doughnut Muffin recipe is great for picnics because everyone loves them! And they’re easy to make, using simple ingredients you likely have in your pantry already.

Charcuterie Boards

Charcuterie boards are all the rage right now and are one of my favourite picnic menu items! There is just something so appealing about serving a variety of cheeses, meats, nuts, olives, fruit, and even desserts. You can really make it your own, plus once the prep is done you can sit back and enjoy. You can easily make this packable for your picnic too! I like to use small cake boxes but you could also try individual containers for each person or prep at home and take the ingredients separately in your cooler with plenty of ice to serve up on location.

a perfect picnic charcuterie board

Antipasto Skewers

Skewers are a great option for a picnic! They are easy to make and to pack in your picnic basket. For a fresh and fun recipe, take a look at my Antipasto Skewers. These are delicious! And the fun thing about them is that you can try so many different flavour combinations. Use your favourite cheeses, olives and meats.  Add pickles and fresh veggies…the possibilities are endless.

Basil Tomato Bruschetta

Bruschetta is a classic appetizer perfect for hot summer weather picnics. My Basil Tomato Bruschetta is made with a delicious loaf of baguette bread with a nice thick crust, basil, tomato, olive oil, and garlic. It’s healthy, yummy and super easy! Just pack the bruschetta in a leak-proof bowl, and cut the baguette into slices before your picnic.

Pimento Cheese Dip & Crackers

Is it really a picnic without crackers and dip? This Pimento Cheese Recipe can be ready in 15 minutes and is creamy, tangy and delicious. It is the perfect picnic spreadable or dippable cheese to pair with crackers or to serve along freshly sliced carrots, celery, or your other favourite vegetables.

Easy Mexican Tortilla Pinwheels

These Easy Mexican Tortilla Pinwheels are great for picnics because you can make them ahead of time and they’re easy to pack. These delicious, flavourful little bites are filled with cream cheese, taco spice, peppers, onions, cilantro, salsa and cheese! So good.

Picnic Perfect Salads

Pesto Pasta Salad

One of my favourite summer side dishes is Pesto Pasta Salad! It is not only simple to make but also delicious and fresh. Made with fresh sun-ripened tomatoes, basil, parmesan cheese, and oodles of noodles, this one will be a hit at your next picnic.

Pesto Pasta Salad on the table ready to serve

Italian Tortellini Pasta Salad

Another pasta salad favourite of mine is this Italian Tortellini Pasta Salad recipe. It is loaded with yummy ingredients like cheese, olives, salami, and artichoke hearts. Toss with a delicious homemade dressing to make a perfect tangy summer side. You can easily tailor this to your own tastebuds by swapping out the bocconcini for other cheeses, like cheddar or mozzarella chunks, or by adding spinach, other vegetables, pickles, or other meats. And it’s perfectly packable for picnics.

a top down view of a wooden bowl of tortellini pasta salad

Cobb Pasta Salad

If you want to serve a fresh and flavourful dish at your next picnic, then this Cobb Pasta Salad is for you. This delicious twist to a classic salad is made with lettuce, bacon, eggs, tomatoes, onions, chicken, avocado and crumbled cheese, then tossed with cooked noodles and a tangy vinaigrette.

a top down close up of a cobb salad in a wooden salad bowl. beside the bowl are small wooden salad bowls

Classic Potato Salad

A Classic Potato Salad is the perfect choice if you are looking for a simple, classic picnic side dish that everyone will enjoy. I’m sharing with you the delicious recipe that I come back to time and time again.

Mains for a Perfect Picnic

Simple and Fresh Sandwiches

Sandwiches are great for picnics. They are easy to pack, simple to make, and super delicious. My favourites are Turkey Pesto Sandwiches, Bocconcini, Basil & Tomato Sandwiches, Classic Tuna Sandwiches, Simple Summer Tomato & Avocado Sandwiches, and Classic Turkey Sandwiches. These are so easy to tailor to your tastebuds by adding your own sauces, mustard, or mayo, adding different greens, or swapping out meats. I’ve shared my recipes here!

Easy Italian Sandwich

This Easy Italian Sandwich is loaded with Italian meats and cheese, vegetable spread and fresh basil. And because it’s made on one giant French bread loaf, it’s perfect for packing for a picnic. It’s SO delicious!

Prime Rib Sliders

Looking for the ultimate main dish for your picnic? These Prime Rib Sliders with Caramelized Onions and Horseradish Cream are it! These make a perfectly decadent picnic dish for lunch – or any time of the day. I promise these are ah-mazing and will wow any guest. This recipe is also a great way to use up leftover prime rib or even roast beef, resulting in the ultimate picnic sandwich.

Perfect Picnic Dessert Ideas

Blueberry Hand Pies

Made with fresh summer blueberries and a tender flakey crust, these Blueberry Hand Pies are the perfect summer treat! And because they’re small, they are perfectly packable for a picnic.

Blueberry Hand Pies

Chocolate Cake

This Chocolate Cake is my family’s favourite cake. It’s SO chocolatey, rich, moist and delicious. And you can’t beat the creamy chocolate buttercream frosting that it’s smothered with. So delicious. And because it’s made in a 9×13 pan, it’s easy to pack for a picnic!

Dessert Cheese Plates

Charcuterie boards don’t have to be just an appetizer! Turn them into a delicious Dessert Cheese Plate by swapping the salami for fresh watermelon or other fruits you might find in a fruit salad, chocolate, nuts, and any other of your favourite treats. Just like the savoury board we talked about earlier, you can easily make this packable for your picnic in a cake box or other container.

Lemon Shortbread Squares

For a light, fresh and tangy picnic dessert try my Lemon Shortbread Squares. Made with homemade lemon curd, these are super simple and delicious. Nothing fancy or complicated, just lemon zest and lemon juice as your secret ingredients! Lemon is the perfect flavour for summer weather.

Dessert Kebabs

Looking for a perfect picnic dessert that is super simple and fast to make? The 5 Minute Dessert Kebabs I made for Canada Day are the answer. With just two ingredients – Timbits and Strawberries – these are so easy and a tasty addition to your picnic!

perfect picnic food: mini dessert skewers with timbit donuts and strawberries

Rhubarb Dream Bars

These Rhubarb Dream Bars are definitely at the top of my family’s favourite rhubarb recipes list. I don’t know if it’s the buttery shortbread cookie crust, the custard-like filling with tangy rhubarb, or the melt-in-your-mouth meringue top crust, but it’s a perfect summer dessert that everyone will love! Perfect for picnics or at your next backyard barbecue. 

A tray of cut Rhubarb Dream Bars

Strawberry Sugar Cookie Parfaits

These Strawberry Sugar Cookie Parfaits are little jars of yummy goodness, perfect to pack in your next picnic basket. Just top each jar with lids, and you’ve got cute and tasty individual picnic desserts. With cookies that melt in your mouth, strawberry marshmallow fluff, fresh strawberries and whipped cream, this delicious dessert will no doubt be a crowd pleaser.

perfect picnic food: an image of small mason jars filled with sugar cookie parfaits

Don’t forget the picnic blanket!

And just for fun, if you’re in need of a pretty new picnic blanket, you can make your own with my simple no-sew tutorial found here. I use ours all the time!

an image of a perfect picnic with a picnic blanket, lemonade and picnic basket
MORE PICNIC INSPIRATION

Picnic Tips and Ideas!

Looking for more perfect picnic ideas and inspiration? I’ve shared some easy tips for your next summer picnic on the blog. It includes everything from what silverware to pack, food safety for storing perishable foods out of the fridge with ice packs, and how to pick a great location to set up your picnic goods.

PIN IT for later!

Make sure to follow me on Pinterest for more summer ideas!

Happy picnicking everyone!

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