Looking for the perfect picnic side dishes? These easy recipes are the ideal addition to your picnic lunch.
Summer is synonymous with picnics and barbeques. It’s also the perfect time to impress your friends with your awesome cooking skills.
Don’t worry if you’re a newbie. These picnic side dishes are both scrumptious and easy to make!
But just because they’re easy doesn’t mean they’re not spectacular. These dishes are certified crowd-pleasers.
Whether you’re in charge of the side dish or dessert, we have you covered. This list has everything from salads to pasta to cookies.
Make your next picnic extra special! Choose from any of these recipes for an unforgettable get-together.
25 Summer Picnic Side Dish Recipes We Adore
Our first picnic side none other than the beloved classic: Waldorf salad.
It’s made with chicken chunks, grapes, apples, walnuts, celery, and mayonnaise.
I never thought a salad could be such a show-stopper until I made this chicken Waldorf salad.
The different colors, textures, and flavors of each component contribute to just how amazing this dish is. It’s an explosion of flavors, too!
You can serve the salad as is, or place it on a bed of lettuce. Or how about stuffing the entire thing in a tortilla for an epic vegetarian burrito?
Whatever you do, one thing’s for sure: this salad will blow away your taste buds.
Speaking of mind-blowing salads, here’s another one for you.
Ambrosia fruit salad is a fun and fruity combination of mandarin oranges, pineapple, marshmallows, coconut, and whipped cream.
As a kid, when I was first served Ambrosia fruit salad, I didn’t think it would taste good at all. I mean, marshmallows, oranges, and coconut?
It seemed like such an unlikely combination. But it only took one bite to make me fall in love.
Now I understand why Ambrosia salad is named such. It truly is divine.
Sweet, tangy, rich, and creamy, it’s everything I can ask for in a dessert.
Green beans and tomatoes are tossed in fresh herbs and a vibrant vinaigrette.
This salad is a light, and refreshing side that goes wonderfully well with burgers, kabobs, and other barbecue staples.
Crunchy, juicy, and loaded with flavor, this salad is sure to disappear in minutes.
The color contrast between the green beans and bright red tomatoes also makes it even more appetizing!
4. Ramen Salad
Ramen salad is a popular midwestern creation that’s known all over the country. It’s crisp, refreshing, and packed with flavor.
This salad is so good, it’s hard to believe it’s also good for you.
It’s made with shredded cabbage, almonds, mandarin oranges, ramen, and a creamy dressing. It’s coleslaw with a twist!
I initially found adding uncooked ramen to salad puzzling. But after trying it, I completely understand why.
The crunch of the uncooked noodles adds such a wonderful contrast to the salad. Yum!
You guys, you have to try this recipe. Even if you’re not attending or hosting any parties soon, you have to! Strawberry butter is insanely delicious!
If you think regular butter on toast is already perfect as it is, wait until you try this butter.
It’s rich and creamy as expected, but the fresh strawberries and powdered sugar give the butter such a sweet and refreshing twist!
Bread has never tasted this good.
Looking for a hearty, healthy, and vibrant salad to serve your vegan friends? Look no further!
This Mexican bean salad is loaded with three different beans and a medley of vegetables.
Black beans, red kidney beans, and white cannellini beans create such a pretty color contrast.
But it doesn’t end there. This salad also has red bell peppers, jalapenos, onions, and avocado!
Tying them all together is a tangy cilantro-lime dressing. Together, they create a beautiful medley of flavors and textures.
Kabobs are mostly made of beef, pork, chicken, and veggies. But not these guys. Say hello to sweet skewers!
Brownies, strawberries, and marshmallows are skewered into sticks and drizzled with hot fudge sauce.
These kabobs are every dessert lover’s dream. They look heavenly, too.
They’re such a breeze to make as well! Store-bought brownies are totally fine for this recipe. Just ready all the ingredients and skewer away.
Coleslaw is already flavorful and colorful as it is. But you know crushed pineapples take it to the next level!
The sweet, juicy, and mildly tart fruit gives the classic salad a lovely flavor and texture contrast.
The added pop of color makes the salad even more irresistible as well.
If you’ve never tried adding pineapple to your coleslaw before, now is the time. It’s the perfect combination of sweet, crunchy, tangy, and creamy!
This isn’t just any ordinary mac and cheese. I’m talking about mac and cheese bites!
Caution: these bite-sized snacks are seriously addictive. If you want your party to be a hit, this finger food is the way to go.
They’re just as rich, creamy, and cheesy as classic mac and cheese, but they look so much more adorable. How can anyone resist?
Since the mac and cheese is formed into small mounds and baked, each piece gets a generous amount of crisp and golden brown edges. Delicious.
While we’re on the subject of smaller versions of things, here’s an idea: mini burritos!
Don’t worry, just because they’re smaller, doesn’t mean they’re less flavorful.
There may not be a lot of ingredients involved, but trust me, these three are all you need. Plus the tortilla, of course!
Personally, I think these mini-burritos taste even better than the regular kind. With mini-burritos, you’ll get more tortillas in every bite!
11. Mini-Fruit Tarts
Crisp and buttery pastry is topped with fluffy whipped cream and loaded with fresh fruits. These mini-tarts are packed with maximum flavor.
You really can’t go wrong with fresh fruits and cream.
Whether it’s mangoes, bananas, or berries, the combination of creamy whipped cream and sweet and juicy fruits always works.
The pastry crust also adds a crunchy contrast that ties all the components together in one neat bow. Together, they create the perfect bite.
Pizza for dessert? Sure!
These fruit pizzas are ultra-loaded! First up, the crust isn’t your typical pizza crust, rather, sweet sugar cookies. Wow.
Then there’s the cream cheese frosting. A simple combo of softened cream cheese and powdered sugar is absolutely divine.
Just like any make-your-own pizza, you’re free to mix and match fruits you want to top these bad boys.
Bananas, kiwi, berries, mangoes – take your pick!
Together, these simple ingredients create the most beautiful, appetizing munchies.
13. Cheese Dip
Looking for the perfect dip to go along with your favorite bag of chips? The search is over. This cheese dip is the winner.
All you need is 5 minutes and your dip is all set. Just blend cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, cheddar cheese, and dijon mustard in a food processor, and voila!
What you’ll get is a ridiculously rich, creamy, and cheesy dip so good, you’ll want to eat it on its own!
Go grab a spoon. Don’t worry, I won’t judge.
14. No-Bake Cookies
If you can’t bake even if your life depended on it, yet don’t want to come empty-handed to your next potluck, here’s the solution.
Cookies that do not require baking? I never thought such a recipe existed!
So when I came across this recipe, I couldn’t believe it. I had to try it right away.
Boy, was I glad I did. Oatmeal, peanut butter, cocoa powder, milk, sugar, butter, and vanilla is all it takes to make these super-rich, chewy, and chocolatey cookies!
Done in under 20 minutes, these cookies are possibly the easiest treats you’ll ever make.
15. Tater Tots
Give these home-made tater tots a try, and trust me, you’ll never go back to store-bought again.
Not only do these tater tots taste a hundred times better than store-bought, but they are also a breeze to make.
There are special ingredients or cooking equipment required to pull this off! With a simple cheese grater, you can shred the spuds with such ease.
Flavored with the best herbs and seasonings and fried until golden brown, these babies are wonderfully crisp and absolutely addictive.
Sweet, savory, and smoky chorizo meets rich and salty cream cheese and cheddar cheese in these lip-smacking treats.
Crisp and flaky puff pastry is stuffed with chorizo, cream cheese, cheddar cheese. Talk about flavor!
These rich and savory bites are so good, you can’t stop at one.
It’s such a simple recipe, to boot! All you need are crescent rolls, chorizo, cream cheese, and cheddar cheese.
Stuff all the ingredients in the rolls and bake until golden. It’s so easy, yet it yields the most drool-worthy bites!
Lemon and coconut together in one cookie? If you’ve never tried this combination before, now is the time.
Perfectly sweet and mildly tangy, what a wonderful pair lemon and coconut make!
These bites are not only full of flavor but have such a lovely consistency as well. They’re soft, moist, and absolutely amazing.
18. BBQ Baked Beans
How can you go wrong with beans, beef, and barbeque sauce? It’s a well-loved classic, and for good reason.
It’s sweet, smoky, savory, and simply spectacular. One spoonful is enough to warm your belly, heart, and soul. It’s the ultimate comfort food.
Make these irresistibly tasty beans for your next picnic. Your family and friends deserve the best!
Don’t worry, unlike traditional recipes, this one only calls for 40 minutes.
Tender, and moist bread is covered in a rich, creamy, and cheesy sauce, baked to golden perfection, and topped with ripe red tomatoes.
Tomato cheese bread, how happy I am to have you in my life!
What a hearty and decadent treat! The sauce is made from sour cream, cheese, and mayo. No wonder it’s incredibly rich.
The sweet tomatoes counterbalance its intense umami-ness. Together, they create a perfectly balanced bread.
20. Macaroni Salad
If you’re looking for a sure-fire way to delight your friends, this is the way to go.
Macaroni salad is made even creamier and more flavorful.
Firm and chewy elbow macaroni is accompanied with hard-boiled eggs, red peppers, pickle relish, onions; and a sweet, savory, and tangy dressing.
Macaroni salad never tasted this good! It’s such a cinch to make, too. It’s just a matter of cooking the pasta and tossing all the ingredients in a bowl.
Pretzels, cream cheese, and strawberry jello is a unique combination that creates a truly majestic treat.
Just to set things straight, this dish isn’t really a salad. Far from it, in fact! It’s a sinful dessert in square form.
Here’s a breakdown of what goes into this salad. The crust is made with crushed pretzels, brown sugar, and butter.
That alone gives you such a rich, buttery, sweet, and savory bite.
Next up is the filling, made with cream cheese, powdered sugar, and strawberries.
It’s a simple blend, but it sure hits the spot. It has all it takes to make a phenomenal dessert.
Lastly, the topping is a simple yet tasty strawberry jello!
Apart from the look and flavor, its jiggly consistency also adds a wonderful contrast to the crumbly crust and velvety filling.
22. Quinoa Salad
Going on a picnic with a bunch of health buffs? This quinoa salad will be a certified hit!
It’s a super healthful dish that’s also packed with flavor.
Fluffy, creamy, and nutty quinoa is mixed with spinach, tomatoes, avocado, cucumber, and green onion. What a wonderful combination of flavors and colors!
Drizzled with a simple yet spectacular honey lemon garlic, this is the salad that even salad-haters will get on board with.
23. Chicken Tenders
These tender and juicy chicken strips have a crisp golden coating. They’re baked, not fried, meaning you can have as much as you want, minus the guilt.
Trust me, you will be eating a lot of this! Crisp on the outside, and super juicy on the inside, these tenders are seriously addictive.
Quench that summer thirst with this unbelievably refreshing strawberry limeade slush.
Diet Sprite, strawberries, lime juice, and crushed ice are sweet and fruity! It’s the perfect beverage to beat the summer heat.
Best of all, it’s super healthy. It’s probably the lowest-calorie drink next to water.
25. Rocky Road Fudge
Finally, for dessert, here’s a 10 minute-fudge that calls for only three ingredients.
All you need are chocolate chips, peanut butter, and marshmallows! They’re such basic ingredients that you may already have them on hand.
And the flavor? It’s incredibly chocolatey, fudgy, and ooey-gooey. What a sinful and heavenly treat.
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