Whether you're hitting the backyard, the beach, or the park, these picnic menus are perfect for enjoying al fresco.
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Picnics are the perfect way to entertain during the summer—and while store-bought salads and snacks are great, you can always splurge on a special themed picnic menu that'll elevate your outdoor eating. Whether you're enjoying an outdoor concert and fireworks, or spending the day at the beach with the kids, we have the perfect picnic menu for you. (And don't be afraid to mix and match dishes from these picnic menus to create your perfect meal!)

Tuscan-Style Picnic Menu

A rustic, Italian-style meal al fresco is heavy on fresh produce. You can also include an antipasto spread with meat, cheese, olives, and roasted veggies to snack on.

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Prosciutto and roasted red pepper sandwiches
Credit: Dana Gallagher

Prosciutto and Roasted Red Pepper Sandwich

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Want an easy way to do individual servings of antipasto for your picnic? Try these hearty sandwiches—you can swap out the prosciutto for salami to make it more kid-friendly.

Tomato and Olive Panzanella
Credit: Anna Wolf

Panzanella

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The classic "bread salad" is a crowd pleaser—and gets even better when you let the ingredients meld over time.

Peach, Mozzarella, and Basil Salad
Credit: Ngoc Minh Ngo

Peach, Mozzarella, and Basil Salad

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This tweak on a classic caprese salad swaps out tomatoes for a favorite summer fruit—peach.

Bitter Orange Crostata
Credit: Anna Williams

Bitter Orange Crostata

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Try a traditional Italian dessert with a tart, summer-perfect flavor profile—the crostata won't get messy if you're picnicking on a warm day.

Nectarine Olive Oil Cake Recipe
Credit: Greg DuPree

Nectarine Olive Oil Cake

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Splurge on high-quality olive oil and fresh-from-the-farm nectarines or peaches for this simply delicious picnic dessert.

Kid-Friendly Picnic Recipes

Many classic picnic recipes use the kinds of foods that kids really like. But if you have picky eaters at your picnic, opt for a grazing menu with kid-friendly options like cheese and crackers, fresh fruit, and other goodies they can pick and choose from. Sandwiches also make good kid-friendly picnic food—you can always leave off any ingredients that your kids don't like.

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Roast Beef and Cheddar Roll-Ups
Credit: Dana Gallagher

Beef and Cheddar Rollups

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Wrap sandwiches are easy for little hands to handle. Skip the horseradish for kids and use plain cream cheese instead.

Ants-on-a-Log Sandwich

Ants on a Log Sandwich

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Swap out the same-old PB&J for this fun sandwich version of the classic snack.

Parmesan Pasta Salad
Credit: David Tsay

Parmesan Pasta Salad

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Cheese, tomatoes, pasta—this summery salad includes all the kid-favorite ingredients.

S’mores Blondies
Credit: Raymond Hom

S'mores Blondies

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You can't always have a campfire at a picnic, but this less-messy alternative of the beloved classic is easy to pack.

Oatmeal-raspberry bars
Credit: Dana Gallagher

Oatmeal Raspberry Bars

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Oatmeal and raspberries are a healthy (and kid-approved) combo.

French Picnic Menu Ideas

The French really know how to eat—and while a baguette, great cheese, and a bottle of wine may be all you need for a French-style picnic, these dishes will make for a festive fete.

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Ham and Leek Quiche
Credit: Jennifer Causey

Ham and Leek Quiche

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The classic dish can be served cold or at room temperature—and is a traditional picnic dish in France.

Caramelized Onion and Cherry Tartine
Credit: Victor Protasio

Caramelized Onion and Sour Cherry Tartine

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Tartines are French open-faced sandwiches, and there are plenty of flavor combinations you can try—like cheddar and apple or herby chicken salad—but we love the unexpected combination of sweet caramelized onions and tart summer cherries.

Nicoise Inspired Summer Salad
Credit: Caitlin Bensel

Nicoise Summer Salad

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A bright and flavorful salad, our tweak on Nicoise includes chickpeas, smoked trout, and sugar snap peas.

Honey Whole Wheat Strawberry Clafoutis
Credit: Kelsey Hansen

Strawberry Clafoutis

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This custardy cake is easy to pack along, and can be made with your favorite fruit. (Cherry is traditional, but our recipe uses fresh strawberries in its place.)

Asian-Inspired Vegetarian Picnic Recipes

Meatless picnic menus can include plenty of amazing fresh flavors—and your guests likely won't miss the meat.

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Tofu Banh Mi Sandwich with Pickles
Credit: Charles Masters

Tofu Banh Mi

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This fresh and flavorful take on the classic Vietnamese sandwich is super-easy to prepare. (Just leave the cilantro on the side if you have guests who aren't into it.)

Peanut Noodles With Edamame
Credit: Marcus Nilsson

Peanut Noodles With Edamame

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The classic cold noodle salad can be customized with your own favorite veggies—carrots, cucumbers and peppers are also great if you're not feeling the cabbage or snow peas.

Carrot Slaw With Pineapple and Peanuts
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Carrot Slaw With Pineapple and Peanuts

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Pineapple adds a little sweetness to an Asian version of the classic picnic side dish.

Fruit Salad With Ginger and Lemongrass
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Lemongrass Ginger Fruit Salad

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A festive fruit salad, flavored with mint, ginger, and lemongrass, makes a fun picnic dessert that works for vegans and vegetarians.

Coconut Pound Cake
Credit: Kelsey Hansen

Coconut Pound Cake

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Pair a pretty cake with fresh fruit like mango or berries for a simple dessert.

Classic Picnic Menu

Sometimes you shouldn't mess with what works. This classic picnic menu includes all the essentials (hello, potato salad!).

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Spiced Cold Chicken
Credit: Anna Williams

Spiced Cold Chicken

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Cold chicken is a picnic favorite. A little paprika and dry mustard give this recipe a little extra kick.

Creamy Potato Salad With Bacon
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Creamy Potato Salad With Bacon

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Let's face it—a picnic isn't a picnic without a little potato salad on the side.

Spicy Beef Kebabs With Watermelon Salad
Credit: Christopher Baker

Minted Watermelon Salad

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Watermelon is the it fruit of summer—here it's paired with red onion and fresh mint for a simply delicious picnic side.

Lemon Bars
Credit: Victor Schrager

Lemon Bars

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These sweet-tart treats add a fresh palate cleanser at the end of your meal.

Strawberry-Thyme Hand Pies
Credit: Roland Bello

Strawberry-Thyme Hand Pies

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Pie is a classic summer dessert—but can be a little tricky to pack for a picnic. Small hand pies help reduce the mess (and the need for more utensils!).

Heat-Safe Picnic Menu

If you need picnic foods that can sit out for hours without spoiling, this picnic menu that can take the heat won't disappoint.

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Watercress Salad With Olives and Tomatoes
Credit: Roland Bello

Watercress Salad With Olives and Tomatoes

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A green salad that won't wilt? Start with hardy, flavorful watercress—ricotta salata, a harder cheese, can also stand up to time on the picnic table.

Three-Bean Salad
Credit: James Baigrie

Three Bean Salad

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The classic side dish provides plenty of protein, and won't put you at risk of food poisoning.

Crunchy Broccolini With Lemon and Pecans
Credit: Victor Protasio

Crunchy Broccolini Salad With Lemon and Pecans

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This flavorful salad features grilled and fresh broccolini and tart lemons.

Garlic Herb Potato Salad
Credit: Greg DuPree

Garlic and Herb Potato Salad

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Skip the mayo—but don't skip the classic picnic dish!

Moroccan Couscous Salad
Credit: Greg DuPree

Moroccan Couscous Salad

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Roasted veggies, dried fruit, and spices make up a festive picnic salad.

mango-pound-cake-0419foo
Credit: Victor Protasio

Mango Pound Cake

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A tasty pound cake is an easy-to-share picnic dessert that won't disappoint.

Pretzel Turtle Brownie
Credit: Joseph De Leo

Pretzel Turtle Brownies

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Skip the messy frosting and go with a brownie recipe that bakes extra flavor into every bite.