Perfect Picnic Recipes

Family picnic

With Spring beginning to finally arrive in the UK, many people will be enjoying the outdoors more and start sharing picnic food ideas, outdoor dining recipes, and their best picnic dishes with friends and family.

We’ve put together some easy ideas for healthy picnic food, picnic snacks, and, of course, some classic and fun picnic recipes to help get your spring picnics off to a great start! We’ve also included some kid-friendly picnic food ideas to make picnicking as a family that little bit easier.

Make-ahead picnic recipes

Sometimes it’s easier to just nip to the shops and grab a load of picnic food and snacks on your way to your favourite picnic spot. All supermarkets have a variety of quiches, dips, crips, sausage rolls, pork pies, fruit etc. Most major supermarkets also have a great selection of vegetarian picnic food and gluten-free picnic food, all of which make for easy picnic finger foods and sometimes that’s great! It’s all you need. But sometimes you want great-tasting homemade and portable picnic food that you can make ahead of time and take with you on the day.

Sandwiches are a classic and easy option for a picnic. You can just pop your favourite spread, meat, cheese, vegetarian or vegan filling, or whatever you like into your favourite bread and hey presto - a delicious sandwich, ready for a fantastic picnic.

Have you ever heard of the picnic loaf?

Boy oh boy, are you in for a treat!

The picnic loaf is not your average sandwich. It is a delicious, shareable treat packed full with layer upon layer of all your favourite sandwich fillings. It’s great fun to make and if you have kids you can get them involved in helping you make this picnic showstopper, too.

Pro tip: if you’re going on a picnic date, casually discuss favourite sandwich fillings with your date and then make a picnic loaf to share - major brownie points!

Simply cut the top off a rustic loaf of bread - a round cobb or sourdough loaf works great - and scoop most of the dough out from the middle to make enough room for the fillings. Then layer up your choice of fillings, one by one, inside the loaf, place the top of the loaf back on, wrap tight in cling film and chill for a couple of hours to help stabilise the layers. Take it with you to the picnic (crucial) and slice it up when you’re ready to serve (don’t forget to take a bread knife with you!).

The layers can be entirely up to you and tailored to your picnic tastes and favourite sandwich fillings. We like a spicy chilli jam base to start with followed by layers of chopped roasted pepper and sundried tomatoes; salami or ham; a couple of cheese layers - one soft cheese like brie and one harder cheese like cheddar, jarlsberg, or gouda; a layer of chorizo; followed by a salad layer like sliced cucumber and lettuce or gem lettuce leaves.

You can choose whatever you’d like to use inside your picnic loaf - just try and use foods that would compliment each other and provide a nice selection of different textures. Or go wild – the choice is yours!

Doughnuts! Who doesn’t love doughnuts?!

Yes, you can buy doughnuts from almost any shop with a baked goods section but have you ever tried making them yourself? Doughnuts make for a great picnic dessert idea and this recipe for Apple Cider Doughnuts on our blog page is incredibly easy to make and deliciously satisfying. The fact that they’re baked rather than fried makes them that little bit healthier as well.

Spiced Apple & Date Pie

Pie is good. Pie is really good. This pie is amazing!

What makes this pie so special is that it is vegan, so it’s suitable picnic food for any type of diet and it uses completely raw ingredients - no need to cook. It so, so simple to make and requires no specialist cooking skills whatsoever.

This Spiced Apple & Date Pie is definitely a good choice to make ahead for a picnic on a warm sunny day!

Top links to some great picnic recipes!

For some more amazing picnic ideas, picnic snack recipes, and finger food recipes, we would highly recommend taking a look at BBC Good Food’s Picnic Recipes list. There are over 116 fantastic picnic food ideas to help make the perfect picnic. The list contains picnic recipes for a variety of diets too - catering for vegetarians, omnivores, and vegans alike!

For family picnic ideas, we’d recommend Jamie Oliver’s family picnic recipes on his website. Jamie Oliver has been creating and sharing fantastic recipes and dishes for families for over 20 years. Because he’s so passionate about healthy food and providing children with a balanced diet and good dietary choices, you know some of these recipes are a great way to get some good, wholesome food inside your kids.

Country Living magazine has a great list of 58 Delicious Summer Picnic Food Ideas for Warm Weather Days over on their website that is definitely worth checking out! From great tasting salads to flatbreads to punch recipes, this list has a wonderful array of great picnic dishes to share with your picnic guests!

More simple, quick, and easy perfect picnic ideas.

Lastly, here are some great simple picnic dishes and ideas that really have stood the test of time and are a staple of many a great picnic.

  • Sandwiches - Classic picnic food. Easy too! Pop your favourite sandwich filling (be it meat, cheese, veggies, or spreads) in your favourite bread and create a delicious sandwich. Why not try ham and cheese, tomato and mozzarella, or turkey and avocado?
  • Pasta Salad - Another staple picnic food. Cook up some pasta ahead of time, add some veggies like peppers, cherry tomatoes, or cucumber, and mix it all together with a simple and easy-to-make dressing of olive oil, spices, and vinegar. Perfect cold dish for those warmer days. We like to add pine nuts to ours for a little extra crunchy nuttiness too!
  • Hummus and Vegetable Sticks - simple but oh so yummy - kids normally love this too! Simply bring some store bought hummus or make your own and serve them up with some of your favourite veggies chopped into sticks for dipping. Carrots, celery, and peppers make solid hummus dipping vegetable stick choices. Or try breadsticks too.
  • Fruit Skewers - a fun way to encourage your kids to eat a bit more fruit is to make them appear even more attractive and funky by cutting the fruit into bite-sized pieces and skewering them. (Obviously just watch out if the skewers have a sharp, pointy end!) You can make them even more fun by offering up a melted chocolate dip or flavoured yoghurt to dip them in too.
  • Cheese Board - just grab a load of your favourite cheeses and arrange them nicely on a chopping board along with some crackers, fruits, and maybe some form of chutneys. Et voila - delicious! You could also make cheese and pineapple sticks for the kids!