Ultimate Summer Picnic Ideas

A summer picnic can be a gorgeous event straight out of a Jane Austen novel. Or it can just be lunch under a tree. Either way, it’s nice to eat al fresco and al ground-o. But it’s even better when you’re eating something delicious. Take advantage of the warm weather with these summer picnic foods, desserts, appetizers, and more. And don’t forget the blanket. No one wants to eat with a dirty butt.

Summer Picnic Appetizers

That’s right, your picnic is so fancy it starts with apps. Here are some delightful summer picnic food ideas to kick off your blanket-top meal. 

Trader Joe’s Cheese Boards

trader joe's cheese
Credit: Liv Averett / iStock / Trader Joe’s

You can buy everything you need for these inspired, three-ingredient cheese boards at your local Trader Joe’s. 

Chip & Dip Pairings

best chip and dip pairings
Credit: Liv Averett / Amazon / Instacart / Target / Walmart

Don’t just grab any old jar of salsa and bag of chips to start the meal. Opt for one of these tested and tasted chip and dip pairings. 

Best Prosciutto 

best prosciutto

Pair one of these top store-bought prosciuttos with a little sliced cantaloupe or some fresh tomato and mozzarella. 

Two-Ingredient Appetizers

2 ingredient appetizers
Credit: Liv Averett / Amazon / Ralphs / Starbucks / Target / Trader Joe’s / Walmart

Potato salad on potato chips? You bet! And we’ve got more ideas where that came through. 

Summer Picnic Mains

Whether you’re looking for an upgraded PB&J or some fancier summer picnic foods, we’ve got some tasty ideas for summer picnic mains. 

Best PB&J Upgrades

the best nut butter and jelly pairings
Credit: Liv Averett / iStock

We paired the best nut butter with the best jellies to make sandwiches that taste so much better than anything you ever had at school lunch. 

Ultimate Vegan Tuna Sandwich

best vegan tuna salad sandwich
Credit: Liv Averett / Follow Your Heart / iStock / Instacart / Target / Walmart

You heard right: vegan tuna! Give it a try with the Sporked-approved vegan tuna brand. 

Best Target Salad Kits

best target salad kits

If you’re a Target shopper, you need to try these Good & Gather salad kits, which you can make in the bag for the easiest picnic dish ever. 

Best Trader Joe’s Salad Kits

Trader Joe's Salad Kits
Credit: Liv Averett / Trader Joe’s

Same goes for these Trader Joe’s salad kits!

Ultimate Pasta Salad

ultimate pasta salad
Credit: Liv Averett / Amazon / Instacart / iStock / Trader Joe’s / Walmart

Here’s everything you need to make the world’s greatest pasta salad. 

Summer Picnic Desserts

End the meal on a sweet note with these summer picnic dessert ideas—no cooking required.  

The Only Good Chocolate Hummus

best chocolate hummus
Credit Merc / Pavilions

There’s only one Sporked-approved chocolate hummus and it’s a perfect picnic dessert. 

Best Dips for Fruit

best dips for fruit
Credit: Liv Averett / Instacart / Litehouse Foods / Target

Grab whatever fruit is in season and dip it into these dips!

Best Chocolate-Covered Pretzels

best chocolate covered pretzels
Credit: Merc

A simple bag of the best chocolate-covered pretzels is a totally great picnic dessert idea. Sometimes the easiest thing is also the best. 

Best Store-Bought Chocolate Chip Cookies

best chocolate chip cookies
Credit: Liv Averett / Albertsons / Amazon / Instacart / iStock

No baking required. Just buy one of these crispy or chewy chocolate chip cookie brands. 

Best Store-Bought Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

best oatmeal raisin cookies
Credit: Merc / Walmart / Instacart / Kroger

Want to be a little “healthier” than chocolate? Get some fruit in your cookies. 

Summer Picnic Drinks 

You can do better than your trusty water bottle when it comes to the drinks you bring to a summer picnic. Quench your thirst with these summer picnic drink ideas.

Two-Ingredient Mocktails

2-ingredient mocktails
Credit: Liv Averett / Amazon / Drink Ghia / Instacart / Walmart / Whole Foods

Be your own mock-tologist with these easy recipes. 

Best Store-Bought Lemonade

Best Lemonade
Credit: Ryan Martin

Tart, tangy, and available at the grocery store. We found the best lemonades. 

Best Bottled Iced Tea

best iced tea
Credit: Liv Averett / Albertsons / Amazon

Iced tea isn’t hard to make but these brands have gone ahead and done it for you anyway. 

Best Seltzer

best sparkling water
Credit: Liv Averett / Amazon / Instacart / Target / Walmart / Whole Foods

Throw a few of these into a cooler and enjoy drinking water again.  

Best Canned Cocktails

best canned cocktail
Credit: Liv Averett / Golden Rule Spirits / Target / Total Wine

If you’re having a real grown-up picnic, try these canned cocktails. There’s something for everyone (who’s over 21), from canned Margaritas to canned White Russians. 

About the Author

Justine Sterling

Justine Sterling is the editor-in-chief of Sporked. She has been writing about food and beverages for well over a decade and is an avid at-home cook and snacker. Don’t worry, she’s not a food snob. Sure, she loves a fresh-shucked oyster. But she also will leap at whatever new product Reese’s releases and loves a Tostitos Hint of Lime, even if there is no actual lime in the ingredients.

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