In The Kitchen Meal Plans

A Week of Picnic Perfect Recipes

Summer is in full swing so why not dine outdoors at the park or in your backyard? Here is a week of recipes for dining al fresco.

"What's For Dinner?" with two bowls of gazpacho set underneath.

Simply Recipes

There are few ways to supper during the summer that feel as playful as having a picnic. Plus, you don’t need to go far to do so.

If you have a back porch or a backyard, lay down a blanket and consider it your dining room. Alternatively, head to your local park and do the same. The “where to dine” is the easy part. The bigger question is, what to cook?

Below you’ll find five supper recipes and one bang-up dessert that are highly portable and picnic-friendly. We’ve included a picnic classic, fried chicken, as well as a few items that are a little lighter and refreshing. Gazpacho, salads, and sandwiches are sure to be family crowd pleasers. 

Get a bottle of wine or quart of lemonade on ice, gather your goodies, and get outside. 

  • Buttermilk Fried Chicken

    Plate of Homemade Buttermilk Fried Chicken
    Elise Bauer

    I’m not sure there’s a more iconic main dish for an old-fashioned picnic than fried chicken. This is a classic preparation using a buttermilk base that results in ridiculously crispy chicken. As for what else to pack? Perhaps a few lighter sides might do, such as this Napa Cabbage Picnic Salad and a big bowl of fresh summer berries. 

  • Gazpacho with Avocado and Corn

    Gazpacho Soup Recipe with Avocado
    Sally Vargas

    This Spanish classic is pumped up with fresh corn and avocado to give it a bit more sustenance. Whirl up a blender full and pour into a big jar to be set over ice. While you’re at it, tuck a bottle of Spanish white in that cooler, too. Crusty bread, olives, and a wedge of Manchego cheese will finish the picnic off just right.

  • Easy Steak Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette

    Steak salad made with thinly-sliced pan-seared flank steak on a bed of arugula and lettuce with avocado, pomegranate seeds, and other add-ins
    Elise Bauer

    This easy weeknight supper is just as good cold as it is warm, which makes it picnic perfect. It’s made with a quick-cooking cut of steak tossed with arugula and a lemony dressing. If you are taking this salad on the road, hold off from cutting the avocado and dressing the salad until just before serving. 

  • Pan Bagnat

    Nicoise tuna sandwich
    Sally Vargas

    This French twist on a tuna sandwich feels a little bit fancy. Pick up a good baguette and layer with olive oil-packed tuna, sliced eggs, anchovies, tomatoes, and basil. Pack up a container of your favorite crunchy vegetables and this tasty muhammara to serve with the sandwiches. 

    Continue to 5 of 6 below.
  • Tomato Galette with Parmesan Whole-Wheat Crust

    Tomato Galette with Whole Wheat Crust
    Sally Vargas

    Pies are highly portable foods, making them ideal for a picnic. This is a galette made with a whole-grain crust and topped with sweet cherry tomatoes, Parmesan, and fresh herbs. Pack up a jar of this DELICIOUS vinaigrette and a container of lettuce to make a salad on the spot.

  • Weekend Baking: Blueberry Crumb Bars

    Blueberry Crumb Bars with Shortbread Crust
    Cindy Rahe

    Bright blueberries get sandwiched between a buttery shortbread crust and crumble topping for a highly portable summer treat. If blueberries haven’t hit farm stands near you yet, not to worry. Frozen blueberries or wild blueberries work well in this recipe, too.