Summer is finally here. The days are long and the temps are warm, so now’s the time to get outside and stay there as long as possible. The important thing is that you enjoy the gorgeous weather and, of course, eat lots of tasty bites. But instead of eating boring hot dogs and potato salads, try some new and inventive picnic food ideas. These easy picnic recipes can all be cooked ahead, and take less than an hour to prepare.
Queso-Filled Mini Peppers
Mini sweet peppers make a tasty and colorful bite-sized vessel for the rich cheese dip. Don’t worry if the queso looks a little broken when the cheese melts in the evaporated milk, the cream cheese will make it smooth again. Pickled jalapeños add a tangy note to the dip, but if you like your queso extra spicy, use finely chopped fresh jalapeños instead.
Basic Pimiento Cheese
There are countless views on pimiento cheese perfection. It can be a smooth and spreadable version sandwiched between two slices of white bread. It can be chunky, spiked with hot sauce and cayenne pepper, and stuffed into celery sticks. It can be made with extra mayonnaise for a creamy cracker topper. However you enjoy it, two things are essential: First, hand shreds the cheese. Second, pick jarred pimientos that are diced, not sliced. This classic recipe works as a dip, spread, or all by itself.
Tropical Chicken Lettuce Wraps
These no-cook lettuce wraps are impressive enough for a party but easy enough to pull off on the busiest weeknight. The chicken salad, which is livened up with a touch of jalapeño, lime zest, and honey, may surprise you. Wrapped in tender butter lettuce and garnished with cashews for crunch, these lettuce wraps have more flavor and texture than you would expect in their small package.
Ham salad is one of those retro Southern dishes that never go out of style. Whether you’re serving it sandwiched between airy these gougeres (cheese puffs), on a bed of salad greens, or on toast points or crackers, it makes a satisfying lunch or snack. To make the salad, the chopped ham is mixed with finely chopped scallions, finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, Creole mustard, ground cayenne pepper, and black pepper for a hint of heat, and one unexpected ingredient: cream cheese.
Ham & Cheese Sandwich
This ham sandwich is great for many reasons. It’s got a beautiful golden crust (thanks mayo!), a quick and simple honey mustard sauce, and briny pickles for crunch. Make it with leftover spiral ham and you’ve got yourself a prize-winning lunch.
Golden Corn Fritters
This recipe is undeniably simple and oh-so-tasty. With less than 10 ingredients, corn fritters are the perfect choice for a scrumptious and last-minute side dish. The flavorful finger food is complete with milk, sugar, and fresh corn for a sweet and hearty addition to your Southern meal. Golden corn fritters are a comforting and nostalgic dish that pleases the crowd every time.
These collections of picnic food ideas appeal to adults and kids, vegetarians and meat-lovers, and an array of restrictive eaters. Most of these perfect picnic recipes can be prepared the day before or morning of with minimal work. As for packing up? We recommend a little foil comes in handy and vintage picnic buckets, too!