The Best Recipes, Hacks + Games for a No-Stress Picnic
Your guide to a breezy summer picnic.
Summer's not quite here yet, but it's just around the corner. Where I'm located, it's warm enough that you want to be outside but not hot enough that you immediately regret it. This type of glorious weather calls for a picnic, IMO. But before you get any wild ideas about an extravagant, pack-up-the-whole-kitchen kind of ordeal, take a look at my easy, no-stress picnic guide. I've rounded up the best recipes, hacks and games for a low-key, stress-free day outside.
Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches
Rotisserie Chicken Trick
Need to serve your guests protein-packed sandwiches, but don’t have the time or skill set to cook something up from scratch? Pick up a rotisserie chicken from the supermarket; then pull it apart and serve it as barbecue chicken sandwiches or sliders.
This is so much easier than you'd think. Simply buy a rotisserie chicken from the supermarket and pull it apart before your picnic. Store the pulled chicken in a container, and pack it in your cooler with a bottle of barbecue sauce. Bring a package of buns, and voila! Guests can build their own sandwiches; just don't forget the napkins.
Nothing pairs better with a barbecue sandwich than creamy, homemade potato salad. You can whip up this recipe a day in advance to make your day-of picnic prep a breeze. Tip: Prepare the vegetables and dressing separately, and combine the two an hour before the picnic for best results.
Make It: Potato Salad
Barbecue? Check. Potato salad? Check. Now there's just one major food group missing from your picnic fare: cole slaw. Our variation is simple and quick to make ahead of time.
Make It: Cole Slaw
Cut-Up Fruits + Veggies
Offset the heavier dishes (ahem, potato salad) with an assortment of fresh, healthy fruits and veggies. Cut them up ahead of time, and store them in containers in your cooler.
Pineapple Hibiscus Punch
Make a large batch of this refreshing punch before your picnic, and bring it with you in a large pitcher. Don't forget to pack ice and cups!
No-Bake Cheesecake Parfait
These make-ahead, no-bake cheesecake parfaits are the perfect picnic dessert. Made in individual jars, they pack easily in the cooler. They're also simple to make, only requiring seven common ingredients.
Make It: No-Bake Cheesecake Parfait
More Easy Food Ideas + Packing Hacks
Picnicking 101 00:58
OTHER PICNIC IDEAS
Add convenient utensil storage underneath your picnic basket’s lid so guests can easily grab flatware, bottle openers or other necessities. Simply attach elastic cord to the bottom of the lid with dots of glue or staples spaced out 1/2-inch apart.
Snack Cone Hack
Flynnside Out Productions
Bringing along snacks like popcorn, nuts, chips or candy? Instead of buying plastic bowls, DIY these cute, inexpensive paper cones. To make them, enlarge our free template by 50 percent, and print onto legal-size copy paper. Transfer the template onto 12x12 card stock. Cut it out, and use a craft knife to cut a slit opposite the tab. Assemble your cones, and secure them with tape.
If you have space for cornhole boards in your car, bring them along to set up at the picnic. Don’t have boards? Make them with our easy tutorial.
Buy or make large wooden dice, and throw them in a pail for a portable game of yard Yahtzee.
Or, if jumbo dominoes are more your style, bring them along, instead.
10 Ways to Take Holiday Entertaining Outdoors: Games and Puzzles
Both kids and adults love to bond over games and puzzles so keep a few on hand in a cute caddy that’s easy to take outside.
Maybe you'd rather just hang out on your picnic blanket. If so, bring classic dominoes or a deck of cards for low-key fun after you've finished eating.
Sponge Ball Bucket Toss
If your kids love water balloons, they're sure to like this game, too. Cut up sponges into long strips, then gather the strips and secure in the middle using zip-ties or twine to create a ball. Soak the sponge balls in ice-cold water, then let the kids start playing. The one that gets the most balls into the bucket, wins!