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Summer Picnic Recipes

picnic recipes

Summer is the season of leisure—and few outings are more leisurely than picnics. The sandwiches, sides, and sweets here benefit from being made-ahead and they're easily packable, making them ideal for picnicking. All you need now is a basket, a blanket, and a bottle of wine.


Moroccan Grilled Chicken Sandwiches with Onion Marmalade

These full-flavored sandwiches pack especially well thanks to a layer of arugula that not only adds fresh flavor, but also keeps the bread from getting soggy.

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Yellow Tomato Gazpacho with Avocado Salsa

This recipe makes a jumbo batch of gazpacho. Take some to the picnic in a thermos or other leakproof container and save the rest for another day.

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Sweet & Spicy Fried Peach Pies

Hand-held treats are always a good thing when you’re eating in the elements. These little pies make the most of summer peaches, with hot pepper jelly and a hint of cayenne for a spicy kick.

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Classic Fried Chicken

Nothing says summer like a picnic basket full of crunchy, juicy fried chicken. This southern favorite tastes so much better made from scratch than it does coming from a bucket.

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Chilled Cucumber-Buttermilk Soup

In this summery soup, sour cream bolsters the buttermilk’s tang, which in turn plays up the cooling notes of cucumber; celery lends a savory undertone. Plus, the soup makes a fresh counterpoint to fried chicken.

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Potato Salad with Olives, Scallions & Garden Herbs

This herby, mayo-free potato salad is a picnic must-make. Just be sure to make it several hours ahead so the flavors have time to meld.

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Ginger-Spice Sandwich Cookies with Lemon Cream

If you make these a day ahead of time, the cookies will soften a bit, and the flavors will mingle nicely.

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Spicy Italian Ham & Salami Sandwich

This “sitting sandwich” is great picnic fare because it only gets better as it sits. Pack it at the bottom of the basket so any weight on top will compress it, making it easier to eat.

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DIY Ice Cream Sandwiches

It's worth lugging a cooler to the picnic if it's carrying these homemade treats. Made ahead and individually wrapped, the sandwiches will keep in the freezer for up to two weeks. 

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Hummus Sandwich with Cucumber, Radish Sprouts & Red Onion

The lemony hummus in this sandwich incorporates whole chickpeas, which add great texture, and a pinch of cumin, which makes it especially interesting and flavorful.

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Green Bean Salad with Tomatoes & Arugula

This epitome-of-summer salad features a fresh basil dressing reviewers rave about. You’ll want some crusty bread to mop it up.

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Brined Grilled Chicken Breasts with Red Chile Oil

These brined and grilled chicken breasts beg to be served with this cool hearty bulgur salad; the flavors play off one another and make for decidedly elevated picnic fare.

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Toasted Pita with Black Sesame Seeds & Sumac

Bagged chips will do for a picnic on the fly. But if you’ve got time, it’s worth doctoring up pita breads for these Middle Eastern-inspired “chips” dipped in spicy yogurt sauce.

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Tomato, Chickpea & Feta Salad

Za’atar—a Middle Eastern spice blend treasured for its savory thyme-oregano flavor—adds a lovely herbal quality to this easy-to-pack side salad.

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