Is there anything better than enjoying a feast in the great outdoors? At a time of such uncertainty, it’s hard to know what summer al fresco dining may look like. Whether you’re heading for a socially distanced picnic with friends or enjoying a garden feast on the lawn with your family, we’ve got a wide range of recipes to suit every eventuality.
Discover our pick of the best ever picnic recipes for everyone to enjoy this summer, from classic quiches and pies to refreshing drinks, snacks and easily portable puds. Make sure you are well kitted out with our roundups of the best picnic accessories and best picnic hampers.
For more outdoor dining inspiration, check out our best ever picnic ideas hub page, which includes all our best picnic food, drink and gadget guides.
Picnic quiche recipes
1. Ultimate quiche Lorraine
Quiches are an absolute picnic staple – simple to make, easily portable and delicious served warm or cold. This classic quiche Lorraine is one of our all-time favourites on BBC Good Food and it’s not hard to see why – a crisp pastry base filled with smoky gruyère, cream and bacon lardons is sure to satisfy.
We’ve given traditional quiche a Spanish-style makeover with smoky chorizo sausage and nutty manchego cheese. This stylish dish is perfect for a posh picnic or casual lunch.
3. Next level quiche Lorraine
If you are really looking to impress, this super-sophisticated quiche Lorraine has it all – spiced pastry, smoked pancetta, three types of cheese and an irresistibly light soufflé-style filling. It may take a little bit extra effort but is well worth it.
4. Picnic quiches
Save all the effort of slicing up portions by making these cute individual mini quiches. Each bite delivers a delicious flavour explosion of juicy cherry tomatoes, basil, parmesan and pancetta.
5. Roasted tomato, basil & parmesan quiche
For a mouthwatering meat-free option, try this easy roasted tomato and basil quiche. It’s packed with Italian flavours and is perfect for a family picnic or dinner in the garden.
Picnic sandwich ideas
6. Egg & cress club sandwich
Fans of traditional flavours will love these bumper egg and cress sandwiches. Firmly secure each stack with a skewer before transporting and serving.
7. Stuffed rainbow baguette
Paint the rainbow with this colourful stuffed baguette which kids can help to prepare. It’s absolutely packed full of vibrant veg including beetroot, red pepper, carrot and green leaves, along with hummus, pesto and slices of cheddar. Wrap it in baking parchment and tie with string to transport.
8. Crispy chicken & smashed avocado baps
Looking for a healthy sandwich option? These satisfying chicken baps are packed with crisp lettuce and a creamy avocado spread so you can ditch the calorie-laden sauces. The chicken breasts are covered in a light, crispy coating made from flour, almonds and sesame seeds.
As well as being a delicious breakfast option, this hearty baguette is perfect for a picnic main. A sophisticated take on the sausage sarnie, it packs in salty halloumi, smoky chorizo and a rich homemade tomato paste. To save on spillages, it may be best to transport the paste in a separate pot and spoon it on in situ.
9. Fig & Serrano ham picnic bread
Want to branch out from the traditional picnic sarnie? Pack your basket with a fully loaded flatbread instead. Thickly sliced fresh figs make a picture-perfect topping for this ciabatta-style loaf. The sweet fruity flavour complements earthy sage leaves, tangy onion and salty, umami serrano ham.
10. Vegetarian wraps
Add a DIY element to your al fresco feast with these veggie flatbreads, filled with roasted vegetables, creamy coconut tzatziki and a herby, spicy green sauce. Simply pack up the ingredients into separate containers and let everyone assemble their own wraps at the picnic.
Picnic salad ideas
11. Summer allotment salad with English mustard dressing
New season potatoes pair perfectly with crisp, crunchy vegetables in this fresh potato salad recipe. We’ve used radishes, red onions and cucumber, but it would also work wonderfully with fennel, celery and spring onions.
12. Epic summer salad
Truly ‘epic’ in name and nature, this sharing salad is loaded with fresh ingredients such as tomatoes, avocados, spinach, mango and cucumber, covered in a zingy herb dressing with a crumbling of feta. It’s easy to throw together, required no cooking and perfect for a picnic group of six (though you could easily reduce the quantities).
13. Pesto pasta salad
This vegetarian pasta salad is super easy to make and packed with colourful vegetables. We’ve included crème fraîche as well as pre-made fresh pesto to create a creamy sauce.
Try more pasta salad recipes.
14. Curried rice & egg salad
An egg salad is classic picnic fare, Try this family-friendly twist with turmeric-spiced rice, raisins and toasted almonds. Throw in some grated carrots and cucumbers for texture and you have an easy picnic side.
Tuck into more hearty egg salad recipes.
15. Warm chickpea salad
Budget-friendly canned chickpeas are an ideal base for this filling salad option, bulked out with Mediterranean veg and studded with chunks of feta.
Check out more chickpea salad recipes.
Picnic pie recipes
16. Veggie rainbow picnic pie
This colourful pastry, packed with layers of vegetables, feta and egg, is sure to impress your fellow picnic-goers.
Discover more vibrant vegetarian pie recipes.
17. Pork & ham pie
Meat-lovers are sure to take a thick slice of this pork and ham pie, which has eggs neatly nestled in the middle. It’s a bit of a challenge, but perfect for a weekend cooking project and well worth the effort when you tuck in.
Take a look at our pork pie recipes for more meaty picnic bites.
18. Summer herb & feta pies
Cheese pairs perfectly with basil, mint and watercress in these crisp, bite-sized filo parcels. They’re easy to make but look beautiful on any plate or platter.
19. Coronation chicken pie
Based on a French pithivier, our simple spiced pie is an impressive twist on a classic coronation chicken sandwich filling. It’s equally delicious served warm or cold, and keeps well for up to three days.
20. Vegan pie
Want a meat-free picnic centrepiece? Cutting into this multi-layered bake will reveal a kaleidoscopic rainbow of colourful veg such as beetroot, sweet potato, chard and celeriac. Wrapped in homemade spelt pastry, this crowd-pleasing pie is worth the effort.
Browse our vegan pie recipes for more dairy- and egg-free pastry inspiration.
Picnic snack ideas
21. Summer sausage rolls
A summery twist on classic sausage rolls, with a chicken and bacon filling flavoured with sun-dried tomatoes, garlic and basil.
We’ve got plenty more sausage roll recipe variations. Check out our gourmet versions of this classic picnic snack, including cheese and Marmite sausage rolls and caramelised onion and thyme sausage rolls.
22. Easy Scotch eggs
Another picnic classic, we bring you the perfect recipe for Scotch eggs. With a crispy breadcrumb coating, moist herby sausage meat layer and slightly runny yolk centre, our step-by-step instructions will help you nail this popular snack.
Discover more scrumptious Scotch egg recipes to fill your picnic basket.
23. Classic cheese scones
These savoury scones are easy to make, and are a lovely alternative to bread at a picnic. They’re simply scrumptious split in half and spread thickly with butter.
Peruse more savoury scone recipes, from cheddar to chorizo flavours.
24. Seeded cheese & chive flapjacks
Flapjacks don’t have to be sweet! Bake a batch of these moreish cheddar and chive oat bakes for a scrumptious savoury picnic bite. With a mixture of crunchy seeds, grated carrots and porridge oats, they are full of goodness.
25. Pea & ham picnic eggs
Want a change from Scotch eggs? These tasty bite-sized morsels are instead filled with shredded ham hock and peas alongside traditional sausage meat. Fry them in a crispy breadcrumb coating and serve with mustard, mayo or minty tartare sauce.
26. Vegetarian sausage rolls
These tasty little parcels replace traditional sausage meat with a gourmet filling of mushrooms, chestnuts, leeks and cheddar cheese. Encased in a butter puff-pastry case, they are made for picking up and dunking in a punchy dip (see our ideas below).
If you are also avoiding dairy, then try our equally delicious vegan sausage rolls, which use brown rice miso as a binding agent.
27. Cheese & pesto whirls
If you love Chelsea buns then why not try our super-savoury version for the ultimate picnic snack? These herby tear-and-share bread rolls are easy to make and baked with a moreish filling of mozzarella and sun-dried tomatoes. They are sure to be a hit with the kids!
We’ve got lots more showstopping tear and share breads to enjoy with family or friends.
28. Apple ‘doughnuts’
Try these fun, fruity apple rings for a healthier alternative to real doughnuts. Kids will love helping to make and decorate them with nut butter, cream cheese and sprinkles. Pack them in a small box wrapped in a little greaseproof paper and enjoy as a light picnic treat.
Discover more quick and easy snacks for kids.
29. Chocolate-dipped strawberries
Transform a punnet of ripe, juicy strawberries into a decadent snack by drizzling them in velvety dark chocolate. Drizzle with milk and white chocolate and enjoy as part of a romantic picnic or al fresco gathering.
Take a look at our strawberry recipes for more inspiration with this juicy summer berry.
30. Picnic trail mix
Ditch the shop-bought trail mix and make up your own sweet and salty version to pack in a paper bag. A delicious mix of nuts, seeds, pretzels, dried fruit and chocolate, it’s a great snack for kids to munch on while walking to the picnic site. Any leftovers can also be used as a popcorn alternative on family film night.
Picnic dips and crudites
Hummus is one of the most popular and versatile picnic dips. This rich and creamy chickpea blend is made using just five ingredients and is ready in 10 minutes. Spoon into Tupperware boxes to transport and enjoy with crunchy vegetable batons or pitta breads.
See our hummus recipes for plenty more flavour variations, including beetroot, pea and squash hummus.
Whip up this Middle Eastern-style dip as part of an al fresco mezze feast. The smoky flavour of charred aubergines pairs well with nutty tahini, sharp lemons and parsley.
33. Chickpea & red pepper dip
Roasted red peppers provide a flavour boost in this speedy, low-calorie dip. You could add feta or goat’s cheese to the ingredients in the processor for an extra tangy hit.
A cooling mint, garlic and yogurt dip, perfect for summer snacking. Enjoy it with pitta bread toasts or spread over wraps as a filling.
Keep the hunger pangs at bay with this light yet satisfying vegan dip. Blitz the avocado with beans, garlic, spices, lemon zest and juice in a blender and serve with a scattering of mixed seeds, crackers or crudités.
For an even healthier version, try our vegan avocado hummus & crudités recipe, which delivers all five of your 5-a-day.
Healthier picnic ideas
36. Falafel Scotch eggs
Combining two of our favourite foods – falafel and Scotch eggs – this is a great healthy veggie option to bring along to a picnic. We’ve given perfectly boiled eggs a tasty coating of chickpeas spiced with cumin and coriander, plus a crisp Scotch egg-style panko breadcrumb coating.
37. Easy crustless quiche
Quiche lovers can now enjoy our lighter version of this picnic classic, minus the pastry case. It’s still packed with a comforting mix of cheese, smoky pancetta and asparagus, so you won’t be compromising on taste.
38. Pastry-less pork pie
Another picnic favourite without the calorie-laden pastry. Our clever pork pie uses strips of seasonal courgette and plenty of spices to make an attractive picnic main that’s also full of flavour.
39. Chicken skewers with tzatziki
Combine lightly charred chicken breasts with a vibrant mix of veggies, herbs and homemade creamy tzatziki. Wrapped in wholemeal tortillas, these Greek-style skewers are sure to be popular with kids and adults alike.
40. Salmon picnic platter
Looking for a lighter option to traditional picnic fare? Try a Scandi-style picnic spread complete with cooked salmon, hot-smoked salmon, stuffed eggs and a cucumber, yogurt and dill salad. Pile onto rye bread rolls and prepare to take a big bite!
Check out our healthy picnic recipes for more light and summery treats.
Picnic drink ideas
Is it really a picnic without Pimm’s? Capture the flavour of summer with this classic fruity drink. Though the recipe is simple, you can’t beat it.
42. Homemade ginger beer
Make your own zingy syrup by cooking fresh ginger root with lemon peel and sugar. Topped up with soda water and lemon juice, it makes a wonderfully crispy and refreshing summer drink to take to a picnic.
43. Coconut & pineapple cooler
This crowd-pleasing fruity cocktail can be made in advance and nestled in an ice bucket or chilled cooler, ready for drinking. The boozy base is coconut rum and gin, and we’ve added an optional garnish of coriander to give it a lift.
44. Zingy blackberry lemonade
Blend lemons, blackberries and mint together to make a refreshing drink that’s delicious served with sparkling water. If you want to take it to the next level (or vary it for the adults), it pairs perfectly with prosecco.
45. Easy iced tea
Refreshing and citrussy, this easy iced tea is guaranteed to impress at a family picnic. With the subtle flavours of tea, honey, lemon and mint, it’s the perfect palate cleanser after all those pies!
Cool down with more of our best picnic drinks ideas.
Picnic dessert ideas
36. Blackberry bakewell squares
Put fresh blackberries centre stage in this tasty traybake with a crumbly digestive biscuit base and a tangy layer of blackberry jam. Cut into squares and transport in a tin – they’ll even survive well on a sunny day.
37. Tropical rocky road
Take rocky road to new heights by adding a tropical twist. We used dried pineapple, mango, banana chips and dessicated coconut, but you can add any dried fruit, nuts or biscuits that you have to hand. Experiment with new flavours and textures – it’s hard to go wrong!
38. Rhubarb & custard blondies
Fudgy and irresistible, these blondies look impressive but are actually really easy to make. We’ve swirled a custard and rhubarb mix through the blondie batter for an extra-rich hit in every bite.
39. Coconut & jam macaroon traybake
Transport your tastebuds to the tropics with our simple coconut traybake. It’s easy to divide up into squares – each with a jammy raspberry centre and dark chocolate drizzle. Portion into lunchboxes for a sweet al fresco pick-me-up.
40. Vegan cherry & almond brownies
Decadent, moreish and plant-based to boot – it doesn’t get better than these vegan brownies. Glacé cherries add a lovely burst of fruity flavour against the chocolate batter, made extra rich with dark chocolate, cocoa powder and coffee.
Indulgent in more of our perfect portable picnic dessert recipes.
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