The Best Fall Picnic Menu Ideas and Recipes

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

We rounded up our favorite fall picnic food ideas, ideal for 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.

They're perfect for taking along on an apple-picking or pumpkin-picking outing, at an outdoor get-together with friends, a fall tailgate, or if you're enjoying a little friluftsliv outdoors.

01 of 10

Turkey Sandwiches With Apple and Walnut Mayo

Turkey Sandwiches With Apple and Walnut Mayo
Tina Rupp

Slices of crisp-tart Granny Smith apples add a touch of fall to turkey sandwiches.

02 of 10

Arugula Apple Salad With Spicy Toasted Pepitas

Arugula and Apple Salad With Spiced Toasted Pepitas
Jennifer Causey

Pumpkin seeds and slices of apple give peppery arugula a fall makeover.

03 of 10

Pumpkin Cream Sandwiches

Halloween desserts and Halloween treats - Pumpkin Cream Sandwiches

These impressive looking goodies actually take just a half-hour to whip up for your fall picnic or tailgate.

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04 of 10

Mexican Hot Chocolate

Mexican Hot Cocoa Mix
This mix makes for a sweet and comforting hot cocoa with a hint of cinnamon and spice. If you prefer more of a kick, up the cayenne to a rounded ¼ teaspoon. For an even richer treat, use half and half in place of milk. Once a batch is made, it only takes a few minutes to make a mug (or three), so it’s great to keep on hand all winter long. Serve with freshly whipped cream or marshmallows. Get the recipe:Mexican Hot Cocoa Mix. Grace Elkus

For a cozier picnic, a hot beverage is a must—and this take on the classic features cinnamon and a hint of spice.

05 of 10

Carrot Ginger Dip

Carrot Ginger Dip
Caitlin Bensel

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.

06 of 10

Broccoli and Mushroom Salad

Broccoli and Mushroom Salad
“This crunchy salad is best if it’s made the day before, but good luck waiting that long to eat it. As a kid, I remember peeling back the foil on the bowl and sneaking tangy florets. Don’t be tempted to use only olive oil—it will overwhelm the flavors of the vegetables.” — Dawn Perry, staff food editor Get the recipe. Chris Court

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.

07 of 10

Chopped Winter Salad With Butternut Squash, Apple, and Feta

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

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.

08 of 10

Antipasti Sandwich

Antipasti Sandwich
Who said antipasti isn’t portable? This sandwich combines all the elements of a classic platter—cured meats, silky vegetables, salty cheese—in one compact package. And with flavors this big, a simple drizzle of olive oil and tart balsamic is the only dressing required. Get the recipe: Antipasti Sandwich. Sarah Karnasiewicz

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.

09 of 10

Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake Bars

Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake Bars
Greg DuPree

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.

10 of 10

Molasses-Spiced Spiked Cider

Molasses-Spiced Spiked Cider
This cider is slightly sweet and tangy from the molasses, but filled with warm spice thanks to ginger and cinnamon. Serve on a cool fall night after dinner with a cinnamon stick in every cup. Get the recipe:Molasses-Spiced Spiked Cider. Caitlin Bensel

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.

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