Vanessa Pass

Editorial Assistant at Kitchen Stories

Whether at the lake, on the beach, or in your favorite park, when the first rays of summer start to shine, it’s difficult to contain your urge to fill up a picnic basket with goodies and grab your loved ones for a little trip—because everything tastes better al fresco!
But, aside from a nice spot to lay down your picnic blanket, what else is really needed for a perfect picnic? We’re thinking cool drinks, fresh fruits, and colorful salads—so grab your gear, and let’s go!
If you don’t know exactly what’s best for hot temperatures, we put together the ultimate checklist with delicious recipes and ideas that will keep you well fed, all day.

What to take with you for a picnic

There’s nothing more annoying than arriving at the ideal picnic spot, grabbing the wine bottle and glasses out of the picnic basket and realizing that you forgot the corkscrew. Note to self: Preparation is everything. And while we’re on the topic of drinks—let’s cover the basics, which you’ll find below in a checklist. The purchase of a cooler with ice or cooler bag with batteries is not a must, but absolutely worth it for continuously cool and sparkling drinks on hot summer days.
Our tip: Paper or plastic tableware is fine but in terms of being environmentally conscious, reusable dishes are the much better option. They can easily be rinsed off at home.

Packing list: The 7 picnic essentials

1. Picnic basket
2. Picnic blanket
3. Plates
4. Glasses
5. Cutlery
6. Napkins or paper towels
7. Corkscrew

The ideal snacks and drinks for a picnic

Not every dish is suitable for take away or outdoor dining. Translated from French, pique-nique refers to “picking minor details.” Light finger food, quiches, and colorful salads—which you can put together on your plate as you wish—can be easily prepared at home and taken with you. Here are some recipes for you!
Next to heartier treats, summery drinks like sparkling rhubarb spritzer (the syrup can be easily prepared ahead and also goes well with sparkling wine) or homemade lemonade should not be forgotten. Put the drinks in the refrigerator the night before and try transferring them to thermoses with ice cubes or stow them on ice in a cooler. All great options to enjoy ice cold summer drinks all day long!

The perfect summer picnic foods

- Fruits with skin (e.g. watermelon, apples, oranges, grapes, etc.)
- Salads with a vinaigrette (avoid creamy salad dressings)
- Sliced bread
- Snacks like olives, nuts, and popcorn
- Sliced hard cheeses and salami
- Non-dairy-based dips, homemade pesto, or hummus

What you should leave at home

Sticky fingers, creepy crawlies, and muddy salads should not be part of a beautiful afternoon at the lake. Therefore, we feel the need to cover foods you should leave at home. Something sweet should be included, however, don’t even think about pastries with cream, chocolate, or buttercream—not only are they heavy in the stomach, but they also don’t work very well with the sun or heat. Fresh fruits or these summery desserts for to-go upgrade every picnic spread.
With the help of a few little tips nothing can go wrong—except of course the weather!

Avoid these kind of food at a picnic:

- Super syrupy sweet drinks
- Fruits that can mash or bruise easily (e.g. bananas or raspberries)
- Soft cheeses or meats that need to be kept cold
- Ingredients in large bottles / packages (too heavy!)
- Easily perishable foods (e.g. dishes with dairy products like yogurt or cream)

Simple picnic recipes to prepare ahead

Fresh salads, delicious wraps, creamy dips, and simple tartlets—the selection of delicious recipes are endless! Here is a collection of our favorite recipes to take away, so that you are well-prepared for a spontaneous escape out of the city, or simply to your own backyard.

Light salads

Zoodle salad with tahini dressing

Zoodle salad with tahini dressing

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Light pesto pasta salad

Light pesto pasta salad

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Chicken zucchini couscous salad

Chicken zucchini couscous salad

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Finger Food

Mixed tomato and goat cheese tart

Mixed tomato and goat cheese tart

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Turkish cheese rolls

Turkish cheese rolls

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BBQ chicken wings

BBQ chicken wings

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Breads and dips

Carrot hummus with pita bread

Carrot hummus with pita bread

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White bean and fennel dip

White bean and fennel dip

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Crispy grissini with sesame

Crispy grissini with sesame

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Braided Italian bread

Braided Italian bread

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More delicious ideas for you