Top-Rated Picnic Recipes

These make-ahead masterpieces are perfect for alfresco eating, and all are highly rated by readers.

Roasted Potato Salad

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Roasted Potato Salad

This recipe gets healthful flavor by roasting the potatoes and using a tangy no-mayo dressing―teresamichelsen's favorite part. "I really enjoyed this potato salad―nice to find one that has a light sauce. The amount of sauce looks like it's not going to be enough, but it really is. Easy to make, too."

View Recipe: Roasted Potato Salad (pictured with Grilled Pork Tenderloin Sandwiches)

Summer Crab Rolls

Randy Mayor

Summer Crab Rolls

These mini-sandwiches bring a note of elegance to any picnic. Try stacecz's variation if crab's not your favorite: "I used shrimp instead of crab and it was still delicious. I defrosted frozen shrimp and ran them through the food processor and it turned out extremely well!"

View Recipe: Summer Crab Rolls

Couscous Salad Cups

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Couscous Salad Cups

Roxanne is a big fan of this recipe. "This is a great―and super easy―side dish or entrée! I added the feta as suggested, because what DOESN'T taste better with feta? I'll definitely make this a regular dinner recipe." On a picnic, try bell pepper halves instead of lettuce leaves―they're a sturdier container.


View Recipe: Couscous Salad Cups

Marble Cheesecake Squares

Randy Mayor

Marble Cheesecake Squares

Store-bought desserts are par for the course on a picnic, but these are easy to make ahead, taste better, and are better for you. With at least 10 five-star reviews, this is a sure winner. Take litkrry's word for it: "Excellent! Made these for a party last weekend and they were a big hit! Would never guess they were light!"

View Recipe: Marble Cheesecake Squares

Curried Chicken Salad with Apples and Raisins

Howard L. Puckett

Curried Chicken Salad with Apples and Raisins

Gina loved the many flavors in this simple salad. "Great dish! Easy to make, delicious on crackers and croissants. I loved the texture of this chicken salad and it had all my favorites- a dash of spice, a little salt, and something sweet." Any leftover chicken will do for this dish.

View Recipe: Curried Chicken Salad with Apples and Raisins

Easy Refrigerator Pickles

Randy Mayor

Easy Refrigerator Pickles

Next time you grill burgers, pull out these homemade pickles and impress everyone. Jenn uses the recipe with her own garden's bounty. "These are my daughter's favorite. We grow our own cucumbers, and I make these all summer, sometimes I experiment with other light colored vinegars to make them slightly different. My 17-year-old won't pack a lunch without them."

View Recipe: Easy Refrigerator Pickles

Marinated Chickpeas

Jan Smith

Marinated Chickpeas

You can make this dish up to three days in advance; the longer the chickpeas marinate, the more flavor they acquire. But they're so good you might run into the same problem as From Virginia Beach: "LOVE this recipe. My only regret was that it was gone so fast the flavors didn't get to marry as well as they could have."

View Recipe: Marinated Chickpeas

Chocolate Sandwich Cookies with Marshmallow Cream Filling Recipe

Randy Mayor

Chocolate Sandwich Cookies with Marshmallow Cream Filling

Stuffed with a sweet marshmallow cream filling, these homemade chocolate sandwich cookies are lighter than they taste. Package them individually in plastic wrap to take along on a picnic.

View Recipe: Chocolate Sandwich Cookies with Marshmallow Cream Filling

Picnic-Perfect Lobster Rolls Recipe

John Autry

Picnic-Perfect Lobster Rolls

Lobster rolls are ideal for picnics, especially our lighter version. To cut the calories, we use canola mayonnaise instead of regular. This classic New England sandwich comes together in a snap if you purchase lobster tails and have them steamed at the fish counter.

View Recipe: Picnic-Perfect Lobster Rolls

Sour Cream-Dill Potato Salad Recipe

Johnny Autry

Sour Cream-Dill Potato Salad

Whip up a side salad of this potato salad for your next picnic. Made with sour cream, Greek yogurt, cucumber, and fresh dill, it's ready in 20 minutes.

View Recipe: Sour Cream-Dill Potato Salad  

Orecchiette with Peas, Shrimp, and Buttermilk-Herb Dressing Recipe

Anna Williams

Orecchiette with Peas, Shrimp, and Buttermilk-Herb Dressing

This herby pasta salad is perfect for a picnic or potluck gathering; double the recipe to serve a crowd. Medium shell-shaped pasta will also work in place of orecchiette.

View Recipe: Orecchiette with Peas, Shrimp, and Buttermilk-Herb Dressing

Easy Lemon Squares Recipe

Oxmoor House

Easy Lemon Squares

Whip up a batch of these easy lemon square recipe in a matter of minutes for a light picnic dessert that's deliciously sweet and tangy.

View Recipe: Easy Lemon Squares

Antipasto Chicken Sandwich Recipe

Antipasto Chicken Sandwich

Ideal for a quick weeknight dinner or a picnic lunch, this warm, melty sandwich pairs well with sliced fruit or a bunch of grapes. Purchase roasted chicken breasts to save on preparation time.

View Recipe: Antipasto Chicken Sandwich

Orzo Salad with Radish and Fennel Recipe

Francesco Tonelli

Orzo Salad with Radish and Fennel

Lemony dressing and fresh mint add vibrant flavor to this pasta salad. Pack some mint leaves in your picnic basket to garnish it, if desired.

View Recipe: Orzo Salad with Radish and Fennel

Grilled Veggie and Hummus Wraps Recipe

José Picayo

Grilled Veggie and Hummus Wraps

Make the most of summer's fresh vegetables and grilling by preparing these wraps to take along on a picnic. Serve them up with a side of potato or pasta salad.

View Recipe: Grilled Veggie and Hummus Wraps

Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies Recipe

Randy Mayor

Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies

Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies add some color to your picnic spread. These jam-filled thumbprints are sweet, and a healthier alternative to most other desserts.

View Recipe: Raspberry Thumbprint Cookies

Butterscotch Blondies Recipe

Francesco Tonelli

Butterscotch Blondies

If you're not a chocolate fan, trade in brownies for a batch of these Butterscotch Blondie dessert bars. They can be stored unrefrigerated in an airtight container for up to three days.

View Recipe: Butterscotch Blondies

Chicken Muffuletta Recipe

Jan Smith

Chicken Muffuletta

Our Chicken Muffuletta is a lighter take on an old New Orleans favorite. Packed full with chicken, salami, olives, onions, and spices, it's a great make-ahead sandwich for a summer picnic.

View Recipe: Chicken Muffuletta

Tuscan Pork Kebabs Recipe

Becky Luigart-Stayner

Tuscan Pork Kebabs

These colorful grilled summer kebabs are perfect for a light picnic, and they have less than 200 calories per serving. Sautéed chard makes a simple side.

View Recipe: Tuscan Pork Kebabs

Classic Fudge-Walnut Brownies Recipe

Francesco Tonelli

Classic Fudge-Walnut Brownies

True to its name, this brownie recipe is a classic choice for a picnic dessert. A decadent treat, large chocolate chunks create big, luxurious pockets of melty chocolate in the middle.

View Recipe: Classic Fudge-Walnut Brownies

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