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Unique Recipes To Host A Next-Level Picnic Party

A collection of salads and finger foods perfect for your next gathering

By Kellie Walton
preparing a barbecue with friends
FilippoBacci//Getty Images

Grab your checkered blanket and wicker basket, we’re going on a picnic! Whether you’re mixing up date night or gathering with a group of friends, skipping the restaurant reservation and opting for a picnic of homemade favorites is a perfect alternative: it’s both cheaper and more charming, and couldn’t be easier to plan.

Finger sandwiches and side salads (that are usually anything but lettuce) define most picnic menus, but we’ve gathered a collection of recipes from drinks all the way to desserts that are sure to up the ante on a picnic party.


Perfect Arnold Palmer

iced arnold palmer with mint and lemon slices
Emily Hlavac Green

Every picnic is made better by a cold beverage like lemonade or tea – but why not combine the two for your next picnic party? This Perfect Arnold Palmer recipe will help you perfect your proportions, and if you’re feeling a little frisky, add in a shot of vodka, bourbon, or limoncello liqueur.


Strawberry Balsamic Pasta Salad

pasta salad with strawberries spinach feta toasted almonds and balsamic glaze

A savory summer twist on traditional pasta salad, this strawberry balsamic version is perfect for passing around a picnic on a sunny day. Combine cooked penne with baby spinach, sliced strawberries, feta, and toasted almonds, then drizzle balsamic glaze for a flavor bomb.


German Potato Salad

german potato salad with bacon and onions
Mike Garten

There are certain dishes that garner much debate about right and wrong, and potato salad is one of them. This German-influenced recipe may not be common on menus or grocery stores, but it’s sure to be a crowd pleaser. In addition to potatoes, this recipe is packed with bacon, onions, vinegar, sugar, grainy mustard, and even beer.

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Picnic Hoagies with Grilled Peaches, Salami and Brie

hoagie with grilled peaches salami and brie
The Peach Truck

If your picnic spot doesn’t have a grill, you can prepare these summery hoagies ahead of time. Combine grilled peaches with brie, thinly-sliced salami and baby greens on a French baguette loaf for a sweet and savory main, guaranteed to be made better with peaches from The Peach Truck.


Apple Sausage Rolls

apple sausage rolls baked in pastry sheets
Mike Garten

Pigs in a blanket may be a go-to party snack, but this twist sees sausage and grated apples taking the place of cocktail weenies. Carefully fold the mixture in between pastry sheets and bake, then pack them up and bring them ready to dunk in apple butter or mustard at your next outdoor gathering.


Meatball Sub Bites

meatball sub bites dipped in marinara sauce

A sloppy meatball sub is a delicacy, but it’s much too messy to enjoy in a field full of eager ants. Try this mess-free version instead, which tucks a cheesy meatball inside pizza dough that gets baked to (contained) gooey perfection. Bring a side of homemade marinara to dip.

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Melon Prosciutto Skewers

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Melon Prosciutto Skewers | Delish
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Put anything on a stick and call it a skewer, you’ve instantly made a picnic-friendly dish that’s equal parts easy to transport, mess-free, and fun to eat. This recipe is simple but impressive, combining cantaloupe, fresh basil, mozzarella balls, and sliced prosciutto. Top with the same balsamic glaze as before for a seamless addition to any picnic.


Cheesecake Swirled Ghirardelli Brownies

brownies swirled with cheesecake

A picnic wouldn’t be complete without dessert, and if the task falls on your shoulders, you better deliver. We’ve got you covered with this cheesecake and brownie hybrid. The result is so decadent, you won’t have to tell anyone it’s mostly from a box.

Kellie Walton
Freelance Writer

Kellie Walton is a freelance writer based in Nashville, Tennessee. When she’s not eating and adventuring her way around the world, she’s busy telling stories related to all things travel – including city guides, hotel and restaurant recommendations, travel hacks and tales of her own adventures (and misadventures).

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