A Menu of Make-and-Take Recipes for Picnic Season

Stock up on easy-to-transport recipes from Food Network for your summer picnic

Marcela Valladolid makes Watermelon Salsa, as seen on Food Network's The Kitchen

When it comes to the glory that is summer picnicking, convenience is key. With make-ahead dishes packed in snappy storage containers on your side, all there is left to do is open ‘em up and dig in once you plop down in the grass. Check out our guide for the Ultimate Packable Picnic, and stock up on easy-to-transport summer recipes that are best devoured while sprawled out on a picnic blanket — no tabletop necessary.

Appetizer: Keep It Quick and Convenient

Begin with a light, bright starter that doesn’t take much time or effort. Not only does Marcela Valladolid’s Watermelon Salsa take just 10 minutes to prep, it is also easy to scoop into and out of a travel container. Throw a bag of tortilla chips in with the rest of your picnic loot and the first course of your picnic is served.



Food Stylist: Stephana Bottom Prop stylist: Marina Malchin

©Con Poulos

Con Poulos

Main Dish: Make It Finger Food

Believe it or not, fried chicken is a prime choice for make-and-take eating. Just as good at room temperature as it is piping hot, crispy chicken you can nibble off the bone is leaps and bounds better than a soggy sandwich jammed in a plastic zip bag. These summery Crunchy Lemonade Drumsticks are finger-friendly, so you can munch on them at will without a fork.



Beverage: Repurpose Your Water Bottles

Instead of mixing up Ree Drummond’s kid-friendly, from-scratch Raspberry Lemonade by the pitcher, blend your next batch with an on-the-go approach. Once it’s blended, pour this refreshing drink into large reusable water bottles (or insulated, temperature-controlled water bottles, if you are a master picnicker). Store it in a cooler and pack plastic cups to revel in this icy cold refreshment in the great outdoors.

Neely's Lemon Pasta Salad; The Neelys

Photo by: Tara Donne

Tara Donne

Side Dish: Last-Minute Assembly Is Crucial

Pasta salad is a picnic must-have. For a 5-star side, go for Lemon Pasta Salad with crumbled feta, peas, asparagus and tomatoes. Pro tip: Pack the pasta, veggies and lemony dressing in separate containers so you can dress and toss this pasta salad on the road. Goodbye, soggy pasta salad.



Food Stylist: Stephana Bottom Prop Stylist: Paige Hicks

Photo by: Andrew Purcell

Andrew Purcell

Dessert: Some Sweets Are Better Hand-Held

Just like the rest of your perfectly executed potluck menu, the dessert course should be easy and portable. Blow your picnic-mates’ minds with self-contained Cherry Hand Pies that pack everything we love about summery, fruity pie slices into neat, compact packages. All you need to do before eating is sprinkle with powdered sugar.

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