10 Delicious Picnic Food Ideas That Aren’t Sandwiches

Are you tired of the same old sandwiches for every picnic? Want to spice up your outdoor dining experience? Look no further! We’ve compiled a list of 10 delicious picnic food ideas that are sure to satisfy your taste buds and impress your fellow picnickers. From savory salads to sweet treats, these non-sandwich options will make your next picnic a memorable one.

1. Charcuterie Board: A Feast for the Senses

What is a charcuterie board?

A charcuterie (pronounced “shar-ku-tuh-ree”) board is a platter of cured meats, cheeses, fruits, nuts, and other savory snacks. Originating from France, this spread has become a popular option for parties and gatherings worldwide.

Why is it perfect for a picnic?

Charcuterie boards are not only visually appealing but also easy to transport. Simply pack your selected items into separate containers and assemble them on a large wooden board or serving tray at the picnic site. Plus, this spread is customizable to your liking, making it an excellent option for group gatherings where everyone has different preferences.


  • Assorted cured meats such as prosciutto, salami, and sausage
  • Variety of cheeses like brie, cheddar, and gouda
  • Crackers, bread, or crostini
  • Fresh and dried fruits, such as grapes, apples, figs, or apricots
  • Nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, or pistachios
  • Olives, pickles, or other pickled vegetables
  • Mustard, honey, or jams for dipping or spreading


  1. Select a variety of meats, cheeses, fruits, and other snacks for your board.
  2. Cut the meats and cheeses into bite-sized pieces and arrange them on the board.
  3. Add crackers, bread, or crostini around the edges of the board.
  4. Fill in any empty spaces with fruits, nuts, or other snacks.
  5. Serve with condiments for dipping or spreading.

Pro tip: Use a mix of colors and textures to make your charcuterie board visually appealing.

2. Mason Jar Salads: A Portable Meal

What are mason jar salads?

Mason jar salads are layered salads that are assembled in a jar and can be easily transported. The key is in the layering – dressing at the bottom, followed by hearty toppings like protein and vegetables, and lettuce on top to prevent wilting.

Why are they perfect for a picnic?

Mason jar salads are not only portable but also customizable. You can choose your favorite salad ingredients and dressings to create a personalized meal. Plus, the jars keep the ingredients fresh and crisp until you’re ready to eat.


  • Your choice of salad dressing
  • Protein options such as chicken, shrimp, tofu, or beans
  • Chopped vegetables like cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, or carrots
  • Grains such as quinoa, couscous, or rice
  • Lettuce or leafy greens, such as spinach or arugula


  1. Start with your salad dressing at the bottom of the jar.
  2. Layer on your chosen protein and vegetables.
  3. Add grains if desired.
  4. Top it off with lettuce or leafy greens.
  5. Seal the jar tightly and store in a cooler until ready to serve.
  6. When ready to eat, shake the jar to mix the dressing and enjoy directly from the jar or pour into a bowl.

Pro tip: Keep delicate ingredients like lettuce or avocado towards the top of the jar to prevent them from getting soggy.

3. Fruit Skewers: A Colorful and Refreshing Snack

What are fruit skewers?

Fruit skewers are a fun and easy way to serve up a variety of fruits on a stick. They can be made with any combination of fruits, making them perfect for picky eaters or those with dietary restrictions.

Why are they perfect for a picnic?

Fruit skewers are not only visually appealing but also refreshing and healthy. Plus, they’re quick to assemble and easy to eat on the go.


  • Assorted fruits like strawberries, pineapple, grapes, melon, and kiwi
  • Wooden skewers
  • Optional: honey, yogurt, or chocolate for dipping


  1. Wash and prepare your chosen fruits by cutting them into bite-sized pieces.
  2. Thread the fruits onto wooden skewers in any order you prefer.
  3. If desired, serve with a dip of your choice, such as honey, yogurt, or melted chocolate.

Pro tip: For a more aesthetic look, alternate colors and textures when threading the fruits onto the skewer.

4. Pesto Pasta Salad: A Flavorful Twist on a Classic Dish

What is pesto pasta salad?

Pesto pasta salad is a twist on traditional pasta salad, replacing mayonnaise-based dressing with flavorful pesto sauce. It’s a light and refreshing option that’s perfect for a summer picnic.

Why is it perfect for a picnic?

Pesto pasta salad is easy to make and can be served cold or at room temperature. It’s also a great way to add some greens to your picnic spread, as pesto is typically made with fresh herbs like basil.


  • Your choice of pasta, such as penne, rotini, or bowtie
  • Pesto sauce (store-bought or homemade)
  • Cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Mozzarella cheese, cubed
  • Optional: chicken, shrimp, or other protein of your choice


  1. Cook the pasta according to package instructions and let it cool.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the cooked pasta with pesto sauce until evenly coated.
  3. Add in cherry tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and any other desired toppings.
  4. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Pro tip: For a more filling meal, add in grilled chicken or shrimp to your pesto pasta salad.

5. Chocolate-Covered Strawberries: A Sweet Treat for Any Picnic

What are chocolate-covered strawberries?

Chocolate-covered strawberries are a classic dessert where fresh strawberries are dipped in melted chocolate. They’re simple to make and always a crowd-pleaser.

Why are they perfect for a picnic?

Chocolate-covered strawberries are not only delicious but also easy to pack and transport. They require minimal preparation and can be made ahead of time, making them a convenient option for picnics.


  • Fresh strawberries
  • Semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips
  • Optional toppings: chopped nuts, shredded coconut, sprinkles, etc.


  1. Wash and dry the strawberries thoroughly.
  2. In a microwave-safe bowl, melt the chocolate chips in 30-second intervals, stirring in between until smooth.
  3. Dip each strawberry into the melted chocolate, leaving the stems exposed.
  4. If desired, roll the chocolate-coated strawberries in toppings of your choice.
  5. Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and chill in the refrigerator until the chocolate is set.

Pro tip: Use good quality chocolate for the best-tasting chocolate-covered strawberries.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: Can I substitute ingredients for dietary restrictions?
A: Absolutely! These picnic food ideas are customizable to your liking, so feel free to substitute or omit any ingredients that don’t fit your dietary needs.

Q2: How do I keep my picnic food safe to eat?
A: It’s crucial to keep perishable foods at a safe temperature (below 40°F) to prevent bacteria growth. Use insulated coolers and ice packs to transport and store your food until ready to eat.

Q3: Do I need special equipment to make these picnic food ideas?
A: No, all of these options can be made with basic kitchen tools. However, you may want to bring utensils for serving and enjoying your picnic food.

Q4: Can I make these picnic food ideas in advance?
A: Yes, all of these options can be made ahead of time. Just be sure to properly store them in the refrigerator until ready to pack and transport to your picnic site.

Q5: Can kids help make these picnic food ideas?
A: Absolutely! These picnic food ideas are not only delicious but also fun to make with kids. Let them help assemble the charcuterie board, skewer fruits, or dip strawberries in chocolate.


Picnics don’t have to be limited to sandwiches. With these 10 delicious picnic food ideas, you can elevate your outdoor dining experience and impress your fellow picnickers. From savory options like charcuterie boards and pesto pasta salad to sweet treats like chocolate-covered strawberries, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. So pack your picnic basket and head out for a day of fun and delicious eats!


Leave a Comment