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Picnic Food for Adults: Quick & Easy No Fuss Foods for the Great Outdoors

Updated on July 18, 2018
Gabriel Wilson profile image

Gabriel Wilson loves to cook, eat tasty foods, and drink a glass of wine—without having to do the washing up.

Sliced Lemon and Herb Chicken, Topped with Coleslaw on Homemade Brown Soda Bread

Open Sandwich on Brown Soda Bread
Open Sandwich on Brown Soda Bread | Source

Great Foods for Adult Picnics

The great outdoors is the best place to be when the days grow warmer and the sun rises high in the sky. A picnic is one of the simplest ways to enjoy being outside. Throw some tasty food and a bottle of plonk together and you have the ideal basics for an adult picnic.

Whether you opt for the beach, the mountains, a lush green field or your own back garden the food you choose for your picnic is just as important as the setting. Delicious food doesn't have to be difficult.

I have a few ideas to share with you to ensure the perfect food for the perfect adult picnic. The book: The Picnic as advertised by Amazon (on the right) has lots more interesting ideas if you are a Picnic Junky (from your basket to your blanket).

Perhaps the next time you decide to meet friends for lunch you'll pass on the restaurant and go on a picnic instead. You'll save money, breath in some fresh air and eat some great food.

Picnic Points:

  • First and foremost: a picnic is about having fun outdoors not slaving away in the kitchen all day preparing loads of food. Check out the book: From Basket to Blanket for even more inspiration.
  • Second: a picnic basket is an ideal investment as is a cool box or basket. They last forever and your food arrives fresh and intact (no squashy bum prints in sight or sweaty hot food).
  • Third: if your group is a really large one and glasses. Why? they can all be thrown in the bin when finished, cutting down on the washing up!
  • Fourth and last: transport your food in plastic containers. The food will stay fresh and won't get squashed. What's left can go straight in the fridge on your return.

A special picnic to celebrate a special occasion doesn't have to be hard work. Choosing the right foods and where to buy them is half the battle. First port of call, the seafood counter at your local supermarket.


  • cooked lobster or crab meat (allow 150g/person)
  • cooked prawns or muscles (allow 6 to 8/person)
  • a regular jar/bottle of ready made prawn cocktail sauce
  • a regular jar/bottle of lemon mayo (if not available, squeeze some fresh lemon juice into a jar of mayo and mix)
  • a fresh lemon
  • a mixed leaf salad bag
  • a tub of cherry tomatoes
  • a large bunch of green grapes
  • a tub of mixed berries
  • ready made potato salad
  • a french stick or crusty bread rolls
  • a jar of pickled vegetables
  • a pre packed cheese selection and crackers
  • a couple of bottles of quality white and red wine


  • Cut the lemon into slices and put it into a small container.
  • Slice the french stick or bread rolls and butter, placing the buttered pieces together, put the slices into a paper bag.
  • Put your cooked seafood meat into a sealed container.
  • Put your cooked shellfish into a sealed container.
  • Pack the seafood, lemon slices, cocktail and mayo sauces, salad leaf, tomatoes, grapes, berries, potato salad and cheeses into your cool box.
  • Pack the white wine into a cool box too.
  • Everything else goes in your basket.

On Arrival at Your Picnic Spot:

  • Dish up your seafood on to individual plates, with a choice of lemon mayo or cocktail sauce and a slice of lemon.
  • Everyone can help themselves to the salads, crusty bread and pickled vegetables.
  • The mixed berries, grapes, cheese selection and crackers are for dessert.

Quick and Easy Options:

  • Swop your seafood for smoked salmon and cream cheese.
  • Lose the cocktail sauce and add a sweet onion chutney.
  • Pick up a cheesecake and pass on the cheese selection.
  • Add a bottle or two of sparkly.
  • Change the berries and grapes for strawberries and dunk them in the sparkly, delightful.

Everyday Picnic Options:

  • A whole cooked chicken (ask the deli assistant to cut into pieces).
  • A tub of coleslaw.
  • A good quality salad dressing.
  • A bag of mixed salad.
  • Your favorite sliced cold meats (add a jar of mustard for ham, and horseradish for beef).
  • Assorted cheeses.
  • Pickled gherkins.
  • A jar of pickled onions.
  • A jar of sweet chutney.
  • Salted biscuits.

Finger Food Picnic Options:

If you want to keep your picnic extra simple, opt for finger foods. Pick up some of the following tasty treats from the local deli.

  • mini pork pies
  • slices of quiche
  • scotch eggs
  • boiled eggs
  • sausage rolls
  • cocktail sausages
  • mini pasties
  • pineapple chunks
  • cheese squares

Check out the desert section for some simple delicious deserts.

  • mini eclairs
  • individual fruit tarts
  • mini danish pastries
  • apple tart-lets
  • fancy cup cakes
  • fruit bars
  • dried fruits (apricots or dates)
  • fresh fruits (peaches or plums)

Easy Peasy Picnic Food Ideas:

Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella Cheese
Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella Cheese | Source
Mixed Leaf Salad With Dressing
Mixed Leaf Salad With Dressing | Source
Cold Sliced Quiche
Cold Sliced Quiche | Source
Mini Savory Tarts
Mini Savory Tarts | Source
Salt Prawns With Lemon
Salt Prawns With Lemon | Source
Cold Pork Chops
Cold Pork Chops | Source

I Love This Little Book: Great Recipes and Well Written

A Fabulous Book: Great Picnic Ideas to Indulge

Cold Roast Joints Perfect for Picnics:

Boned and Rolled Roast Lemon and Herb Chicken
Boned and Rolled Roast Lemon and Herb Chicken | Source
Honey Glazed Gammon Joint
Honey Glazed Gammon Joint | Source

A Few Extras to Add to Your Picnic

  • If you'd like your picnic to last a little longer than a mere lunch date, start off with some sliced melon wedges and cured ham. Honeydew melon or watermelon are great with prosciutto. Slice the melon into wedges and serve the prosciutto straight from the pack. An easy no fuss picnic starter that will tickle those taste buds.
  • Pick up a large tub of cooked prawns (shelled) and let everyone help themselves to some cocktail sauce, a slice of lemon and mix leaf lettuce to make the perfect prawn cocktail. Add slices of buttered brown bread or rye bread and you have a wholesome picnic dish.
  • Choose a delicate smooth pâte from the deli to start your picnic. Duck with port, pork with apple or a wild mushroom pâte spread lusciously over crisp french bread will have everyone smiling. Bring along a jar of onion marmalade to really impress. Deliciously easy.
  • Love cheese: head for the deli and choose your favorite flavors (three varieties are more than enough). Serve your cheese choices with a selection of fancy salt biscuits and pickles (onions, gherkins, capers). Slice up some apples in easy to bite wedges to go on the side. Add some chopped walnuts, seedless grapes and celery sticks, you'll have a cheese plate that makes an impressive dish without any fuss.
  • An adult picnic wouldn't be a picnic without the vino. White wine is lovely with a picnic, being lighter than red wine. Make sure you choose wines that your companions will enjoy (of course you can tell them to bring a bottle of their favorite wine). If you prefer to go easy on the vino add a bottle of sparkling water and make wine spritzers. Keep white, rosé, or sparkly (cheaper than Champagne) in the fridge. Packing carefully into your cool box.
  • You can always pack a red wine or two to have with your cheese platter or make a sangria; adding fruit and lemonade to your red wine. Screw caps are great for picnics, as you can put the lid back on. If you like the old fashioned cork (like me) invest in a wine sealer. Don't forget the bottle opener. I leave one permanently in my picnic basket and another in my cooler.

Easy and Tasty

Prawn Cocktail
Prawn Cocktail | Source
Cold Cucumber and Mint Soup
Cold Cucumber and Mint Soup | Source
Forget The Cheese: A Chocolate Cake Will Win Smiles
Forget The Cheese: A Chocolate Cake Will Win Smiles | Source

Amazons Choice and Mine Too: an attractive very functional and robust picnic basket

Keep Food and Drinks Cool: use a handy picnic cooler for fresh food and cold drinks

Last Tip

Pay attention to this last tip, it's a very important tip indeed.

Make sure your picnic blanket doesn't take half the sticky things on the ground back home with it. How? buy a plastic sheet, a little like a plastic table cover. Put the cover down on the ground first followed by your picnic blanket. You've gone to so much trouble not to cook, or wash up! You don't want to spend the rest of the evening picking the forest floor off your blanket, trust one who knows far too much on the subject.

Happy picnicking ...

Favorite Foods

What's your favorite picnic food?

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© 2010 Gabriel Wilson


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    • Gabriel Wilson profile imageAUTHOR

      Gabriel Wilson 

      9 years ago from Madeira, Portugal

      I hope you'll get some sunshine soon Thelma so you can stir up some good memories and have a picnic :)

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 

      9 years ago from Germany and Philippines

      Thank you for sharing this great hub. It makes me a bit homesick for I associate picnic with my home country where there is almost always sunshine. Picnic on the beach is what I love. Voted Up and Bookmark.

    • askjanbrass profile image


      10 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Watermelon is an essential picnic food, whether the picnic is with kids, adults, or both. Thanks for the great I'm in the mood to organize a picnic with my friends. :-)


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