Grab a jacket and head to the park with these easy fall recipes and picnic food ideas.

By Dawn Perry
Updated October 03, 2018
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Picnic Food Ideas: Easy Recipes for Fall
Credit: artisteer/Getty Images

We rounded up our favorite fall picnic food ideas, ideal for packing a picnic and heading to the park or simply enjoying in your own backyard. These recipes aren't just easy to make, they're also easy to pack up and carry in your picnic basket. All you'll need to bring along are a sturdy blanket, napkins, and forks–we specifically chose fall recipes that don't require a knife or spoon.

Our fall recipes below include options for the entire family–like a vibrant carrot dip, a crunchy make-ahead broccoli salad, and a salty, satisfying antipasti sandwich–so you'll have an ideal menu for the seasonal activity. While you're at it, you may as well tack on a quintessential fall salad with apples and butternut squash, to-go pumpkin bars for the perfect fall dessert, and a thermos of hot spiked cider for a cozy picnic menu you'll enjoy eating no matter where you are.

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Carrot Ginger Dip
Credit: Caitlin Bensel

1 Carrot Ginger Dip

This vibrant dip is made with some of our favorite fall flavors: carrots, ginger and maple syrup. This picnic food idea tastes great cold or room temperature, which means it won’t suffer from fridge to picnic blanket. Serve it with chips, breadsticks, or other veggies.

Get the recipe: Carrot-Ginger Dip

Broccoli and Mushroom Salad
Credit: Chris Court

2 Broccoli and Mushroom Salad

When you're preparing for a picnic, no matter the season, look for easy recipes designed to be made ahead. This crunchy salad is best if it’s made the day before, but good luck waiting that long to eat it. It may sound humble, but the punchy garlic and dill-laced dressing softens the broccoli overnight so it's delightfully tangy and just tender enough the next day.

Get the recipe: Broccoli and Mushroom Salad

Picnic Food Ideas: Chopped Winter Salad With Butternut Squash, Apple, and Feta
Credit: Yunhee Kim

3 Chopped Winter Salad With Butternut Squash, Apple, and Feta 

Start making this salad now, in the heart of fall, and enjoy it all the way through winter. It's comprised of all the best fall flavors: roasted butternut squash, crunchy sweet-tart apple, colorful radicchio, tender chickpeas and salty feta. It's a colorful salad that's as nice to look at as it is to eat.

Get the recipe: Chopped Winter Salad With Butternut Squash, Apple, and Feta

Antipasti Sandwich
Credit: Sarah Karnasiewicz

4 Antipasti Sandwich

All the elements of our favorite first course—salty cured meats, roasted red peppers, Parmesan, and pepperonici—get layered inside a crusty ciabatta roll for a portable sandwich you'll be craving long after you've packed up your picnic blanket. Try serving the same combination on a tender piece of olive oily focaccia.

Get the recipe: Antipasti Sandwich

Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake Bars
Credit: Greg DuPree

5 Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake Bars

These bars are the cheesecake-pumpkin-pie love child we’ve been dreaming of all summer. If you ask us, you can keep your PSL and just bake us a batch of these. For the easiest transport, let this fall recipe cool completely in the baking dish, wrap it up, and pack a knife to slice when you get to your picnic spot.

Get the Recipe: Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake Bars

Molasses-Spiced Spiked Cider
Credit: Caitlin Bensel

6 Molasses-Spiced Spiked Cider

With a potential swing of 20 degrees, fall afternoons can be unpredictable. Best come prepared with a thermos full of warmly spiced, molasses-sweetened apple cider. Make the fall classic without the bourbon and bring a bottle along instead: Keep it virgin for the kiddos and spike it for the grownups.

Get the recipe: Molasses-Spiced Cider