Easy Picnic Food Ideas

Amidst the whimsical symphony of nature’s awakening, a whisper lingers in the air, inviting us to embrace the essence of the season. As your blanket eagerly awaits its rendezvous with the grassy embrace and your trusty cooler stands guard, a palpable anticipation dances in harmony with the rustle of the leaves.

The world beckons, yearning for your presence, and all that remains is the perfect ensemble of flavors to accompany you on this journey into the heart of the wilderness.

In my journey, I’ve discovered that the true essence of a delightful picnic lies not merely in its delectable offerings but in the intricate simplicity of each culinary masterpiece. They are creations crafted with foresight, born to withstand the test of time, evolving gracefully with the passage of moments.

They nestle snugly in the confines of a cooler or a bag, requiring nothing more than a mere whisper of utensils. And should you find yourself devoid of such tools, fear not, for the magic only deepens in the absence of the ordinary.

As the gentle embrace of the Chicago summer envelops us, my cherished companion, Jack, and I eagerly anticipate our humble escapades, weaving a tapestry of memories amid the city’s bustling rhythm. If your heart too yearns for the company of nature and the symphony of flavors, allow me to present to you over 50 heartfelt culinary tales.

From the enigmatic allure of sandwiches and wraps to the refreshing ballads of salads, the harmonious echoes of side dishes, and the sweet serenades of delectable treats, may you discover a piece of your soul within each culinary creation.

Let your journey be adorned with the tapestry of taste, and may your soul be nourished by the profound essence of each morsel shared in the wilderness.

Picnic Food Ideas

1. Caprese Sandwich

Caprese Sandwich

2. Caprese Pasta Salad

Caprese Pasta Salad

3. Classic Deviled Eggs

Classic Deviled Eggs Recipe

4. Pickled Watermelon Rinds

Pickled Watermelon Rinds

5. Egg & Cress Club Sandwich

Egg & Cress Club Sandwich

6. Chickpea Salad Sandwich

Chickpea Salad Sandwich

7. Grain Salad with Trout, Almonds, and Herbs

Grain Salad with Trout, Almonds, and Herbs

8. Stuffed Rainbow Baguette

Stuffed Rainbow Baguette

9. Best Egg Salad

Best Egg Salad

10. Classic Southern Pimento Cheese and Quick Refrigerator Pickles

Classic Southern Pimento Cheese and Quick Refrigerator Pickles

11. Crispy chicken & Smashed Avocado Baps

Crispy chicken & Smashed Avocado Baps

12. Smoky Snack Mix

Smoky Snack Mix

13. Lemon Coconut Tart

Lemon coconut tart

14. Romesco Cauliflower Sandwich

Romesco Cauliflower Sandwich

15. Cilantro and Sunflower Seed Dip

Cilantro and Sunflower Seed Dip

16. Fish Finger Hot Dogs

Fish Finger Hot Dogs

17. Spicy Pineapple Slaw

Spicy Pineapple Slaw

18. Summer Slice

Summer Slice

19. Fresh Spring Rolls

Fresh Spring Rolls

20. Squash Ribbon Salad with Sunflower Seeds

Squash Ribbon Salad with Sunflower Seeds

21. Epic Summer Salad

Epic Summer Salad

22. Blackberry-Peach Cobbler Bars

Blackberry-Peach Cobbler Bars

23. Aish baladi (Egyptian flatbread)

Aish baladi (Egyptian flatbread)

24. Quinoa Veggie Wrap

Quinoa Veggie Wrap

25. Apple Cider Donut Bundt Cake

Apple Cider Donut Bundt Cake

26. Veggie Rainbow Picnic Pie

Veggie Rainbow Picnic Pie

27. Coronation Chicken Pie

28. Mini Muffulettas

Mini Muffulettas

29. Asparagus and Ricotta Baked Frittata Tart

Asparagus and Ricotta Baked Frittata Tart

30. Pico de Gallo

Pico de Gallo

31. Pineapple Salsa

Pineapple Salsa

32. Buttered Leek and Gruyère Galette

Buttered Leek and Gruyère Galette

33. Strawberry-Lemonade Angel Pie

Strawberry-Lemonade Angel Pie

34. Classic Cheese Scones

Classic Cheese Scones

35. Tomato Sandwiches

Tomato Sandwiches

36. Focaccia With Rosemary and Potatoes

Focaccia With Rosemary and Potatoes
Chicken Kathi Roll

35+ Best Easy Picnic Food Ideas

With several shortcuts, these chicken kathi rolls are a fabulous way to enjoy Indian street food. You can customize them with any toppings you like – make them spicy or not. Any which way, they're delicious!
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 45 minutes
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine Indian
Servings 8 rolls


Chicken kebabs

  • 1 tsp ginger paste or minced fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp garlic paste or minced fresh garlic
  • ½ tsp paprika (hot, sweet, smoked or a combination) or red chili
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp Tandoori masala
  • ½ tsp dried fennel leaves (optional)
  • 1 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 6 ounces plain Greek yogurt (nonfat, low, or full fat)
  • 2 tsp oil (any type – canola, corn, grapeseed, olive, safflower, etc.)
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken, either breasts or thighs, cut into 1 to 2-inch cubes


  • 8 paratha or burrito (flour tortilla) shells about 8-inches in diameter
  • 1-2 tbsp oil, ghee, butter or a combination
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten


  • ¼ – ½ cup pickled red onions
  • ¼ – ½ cup chutney
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro leaves
  • lime wedges (squeeze juice over the roll before closing)
  • ¼ – ½ cup mixture of yogurt, minced jalapeno, dash of cumin, squeeze of lime juice, and small dollop of minced garlic or garlic paste


Chicken Kebabs

  • In a medium-sized bowl, mix all the ingredients together except for the chicken.
  • Add the chicken cubes and mix again to completely cover the cubes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 3-4 hours.
  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F or start the grill. If using the oven, cover a half-sheet pan with foil with a wire rack on top. Lightly spray the rack with cooking oil.
  • Take the cubes out of the refrigerator and thread them on skewers. Allow most of the yogurt/spice marinade to remain on the cubes, but there will still be some left in the bowl. (Because it had raw chicken marinating in it, you must throw this excess out.) Place the skewers on the wire rack or the grill. Cook until done, turning occasionally. It will probably take 20-30 minutes. If using the oven you may need to turn on the broiler at the end to get crusty edges on the chicken cubes.

Making the Chicken Kathi Rolls

  • Heat one tablespoon of the oil on a grill or in a large, heavy pan. Once it is shimmering hot, add 1-2 shells (depending on size of grill) and cook on both sides, turning occasionally, until the shells are warmed and slightly puffy.
  • Lift up a shell, add a dollop of the beaten egg (about 1/2 an egg), and put the shell on top. Let the egg with the shell on top cook for a few minutes. The egg should adhere to the shell. When it's done, lift up the shell and put it on a plate.
  • Once you have cooked the shells, lay them out with the egg-side on the top. Add the 3-4 cubes of the cooked chicken (taking the cubes off the skewers as you fill the shells) and then put on the toppings. Close each shell and enjoy!


If you use bamboo or wooden skewers, soak them in water for at least 5 minutes before adding the chicken cubes. That soaking prevents them from burning when you place them in the oven or on the grill. Breast (white meat) cooks more quickly than thigh (dark) meat, so plan accordingly. In either event, make sure the chicken cubes are fully cooked.
The best way to test is to use an instant read thermometer. The internal temperature for the cubes, regardless of whether they are breast or thigh meat, should be 165 degrees F according to the FDA. I used store-bought chutney for this batch. In the future, I will try my homemade apple and caramelized onion chutney. Here is a recipe for easy pickled red onions,
Keyword Chicken Kathi Roll, Garam Masala

Read more: Fall Dinner Party Recipe Ideas

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