28 Easy Picnic Side Dishes

A diverse menu of dishes that are simple to transport and consume is the secret to a fantastic picnic. Don’t forget the sides, even if you have a fantastic plan for the main dish!

28 Easy Picnic Side Dishes

Old standbys like pasta salad and more inventive dishes like prosciutto-wrapped cantaloupe are on this list. All of them taste great chilled or at room temperature, and they’re simple to prepare and serve.

1. Bacon Ranch Pasta Salad

This bacon ranch pasta salad features tender pasta covered in creamy ranch dressing, bacon, and many other delectables. To bring along to any picnic or barbecue, this pasta salad is ideal.

If you don’t have the ingredients on hand for the dressing for this recipe, ranch salad dressing from the store will also work for this pasta salad.

2. Fried Okra

In this straightforward recipe, fresh okra pods are cut into slices, covered in seasoned cornmeal, and fried until golden and crispy.

If you want the cornmeal to have a little bit of heat, add a pinch of cayenne pepper that has been ground.

The only steps in making fried okra are to quickly dip the bite-sized vegetables in egg and then toss them in a zip-top bag with a breading mixture made of cornmeal, flour, and cayenne pepper.

3. Thai Cucumber Salad

A common side dish that goes well with any type of dinner is cucumber salad. Because it can change depending on the sauce you choose to use, cucumber is incredibly adaptable.

The benefit of this recipe is that cooking is not even required. Making it only requires marinating the cucumber and preparing the salad dressing. When you combine the two, the dish is prepared for serving.

4. Caprese Salad

A delicious salad known as a caprese is made by alternating slices of ripe, juicy tomatoes and creamy mozzarella. Fresh basil leaves are placed on top, followed by a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and olive oil, salt, and pepper.

The ingredients in a caprese salad should be as fresh as possible. It is a staple during the summer because tomatoes and basil are in season and at their best.

5. Roasted Cauliflower Salad

When roasted, cauliflower transforms from bland and dry to sweet and juicy, making it a fantastic vegetable.

It’s a great ingredient for salads because it soaks up the flavor of dressings when it’s hot and has the additional benefit of being a flavor sponge.

While substantial and unquestionably interesting enough to serve as a meal by itself, it is light enough to serve as a side dish at a picnic.

6. Herbed Deviled Eggs

Great appetizers are deviled eggs seasoned with fresh herbs. In this recipe, everyone’s favorite appetizer is enhanced by a symphony of flavors from Dijon mustard, chopped chives, tarragon, fresh parsley, and garlic.

The eggs can be boiled, cooled, and peeled up to three days beforehand. Additionally, the filling could be prepared separately, kept in the refrigerator tightly covered for up to two days, and then assembled just before serving.

7. Air Fryer Cornbread

You’ll enjoy air frying homemade cornbread if you enjoy warm, freshly baked cornbread. We’ve created a technique that makes it easy and quick in the air fryer with just a few ingredients.

Serve it alongside a steak for dinner, at a picnic, or for breakfast with eggs. Any time of day is perfect for this quick bread or side dish made in the air fryer.

8. Tangy Baked Beans

These flavorful baked beans are perfectly seasoned and prepared. These tasty beans absorb so many flavors, making them delicious for lunch, dinner, or just as a side dish.

If properly stored, homemade baked beans can be kept in the fridge for three to four days.

For best results, store them in an airtight container. Beans are simple to reheat in the oven at 350 degrees F, on the stovetop, or in the microwave (covered with foil).

9. Greek Potato Salad

This zesty, delicious no-mayo potato salad is Greek-inspired. Olive oil, lemon, and herbs from the Mediterranean combine to make a hearty salad that is delicious both warm and cold. Perfect for barbecues, putlockers, and picnics.

Red onion slices are added after the potatoes have cooked and slightly cooled. Then, a Greek-style vinaigrette dressing made with olive oil, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice, garlic, and oregano is drizzled over everything.

The addition of fresh mint really makes this salad shine.

10. Oven Fries

homemade oven-baked fries are healthier. These fries are properly salted, then baked in the oven until the outside is crispy and the inside is fluffy and soft.

They are significantly less expensive than store-bought frozen fries and a lot healthier compared to deep-fried fries because they are baked with only a small amount of oil.

11. Roasted Garlic Butter Parmesan Potatoes

Garlic, herbs, butter, bacon, and parmesan are used to season baby roasted potatoes, which are then baked on a single sheet pan until perfectly crisp.

Garlic and parmesan potatoes are a simple side dish that are delicious. They have a crispy exterior and soft, fluffy interior.

Feel free to use your own creative seasoning combinations based on the spices you have on hand or the herbs that are growing in your garden.

12. Roasted Broccoli and Bacon Pasta Salad

When you’ve had enough of your go-to dinner recipes and want something a little different, try making this Italian broccoli-bacon pasta.

A tasty and speedy pasta dish is Italian Broccoli-Bacon Pasta. You should bring crisp, salty bacon and tender green broccoli to your picnic because they go so well together.

13. Jalapeño Popper Potato Salad

The spicy and delectable Jalapeño Popper Potato Salad, made with bacon, cream cheese, and lots of Jalapeño peppers, is the perfect addition to your next cookout or picnic.

Red potato chunks are mixed with all the flavor of Jalapeño in Jalapeño Popper Potato Salad.

Along with plenty of chopped pickled Jalapeños, there is also a lot of salty crumbled bacon, creamy rich cream cheese, and Mexican blend cheese that has been shredded.

14. Grilled Corn Guacamole

During the corn season, this corn guacamole recipe is a great alternative to your standard guacamole recipe. You’ll adore this simple guacamole recipe with grilled sweet corn.

It makes the ideal summertime snack or hors d’oeuvre. Put the chips out and begin dipping.

This quick appetizer/dip can be made in about 15 minutes and is a simple way to improve your guacamole. Guacamole-topped corn is delicious as a burger topping, excellent with enchiladas, and excellent as a dip.

15. Watermelon Salad

Make this simple watermelon salad in the summer to enjoy outside in the warmth. Mint and watermelon both contribute lots of cooling flavor, and salty feta and olives provide the ideal balance.

For this salad, feta’s saltiness and crumbliness work best, but fresh mozzarella balls or goat cheese also work well if you’re not a fan. Red onion slices can be soaked in water for about 15 minutes to lessen their bite.

16. Prosciutto-Wrapped Cantaloupe

This prosciutto and melon appetizer is one of the simplest and most delectable summer dishes because it only requires three ingredients and requires no cooking.

You can prepare it in five to ten minutes, and you’ll enjoy the taste of the ripe, sweet cantaloupe and the salty prosciutto ham.

Fruits that go well with prosciutto include figs, pears, apples, and melons. If you don’t like cantaloupe or don’t have one on hand, you can also use those.

17. Goat Cheese Mini Stuffed Peppers

These stuffed mini peppers are ideal for picnics because they pack up easily. They can be prepared ahead of time and are very simple to make.

They can be roasted in the oven or cooked on the grill, and they resemble a healthier and milder version of a jalapeo popper.

The best thing about this recipe is that there are many different flavors of goat cheese to try.

Goat cheese is a wonderful canvas for other ingredients because of its tart, earthy flavor. Either purchase a flavor that has been expertly blended, or make your own.

18. Watermelon Salsa

Make a unique watermelon salsa if you’re looking for a fresh way to eat watermelon while it’s in season.

The majority of this sweet and reviving salsa is composed of diced watermelon and cucumber. To cool it all down, it is combined with finely minced Jalapeños, red onion, and fresh mint.

When served in a substantial bowl with tortilla chips for dipping, watermelon salsa is delicious. However, this intriguing salsa can be used in a variety of other ways.

Try serving the grilled white fish or chicken with the watermelon salsa on top.

19. Fiesta Fried Potatoes

The much-loved Taco Bell Cheesy Fiesta potatoes have recently been removed from the company’s menu. When you make these fresh potatoes at home, you can quickly enjoy them with cheese and sour cream on top.

Because of their high starch content, mild flavor, and thick skins, russet potatoes are the best choice.

While the mild flavor does not overpower any of the other seasoning flavors, the starch aids in the development of a crispy, uniformly colored crust when Russets are fried.

20. Black-Eyed Peas with Bacon

This quick and simple Black Eyed Peas recipe cooks away with bacon, onion, garlic, and herbs for a flavorful, savory, and smoky dish. Serve the black eyed peas with cornbread for a warm, inexpensive meal, or bring them along on your picnic as a side dish.

Since the 17th century, black-eyed peas, a medium-sized legume, have been grown in the Southern United States.

The peas are frequently cooked with a pork product like bacon, ham bones, or fatback and onion for flavor, and pepper-flavored vinegar or hot chili sauce for extra zing.

21. Mashed Potato Cakes

The ideal breakfast or picnic side dish for leftover mashed potatoes is this. In less than 30 minutes, simple, cheesy, fried potato cakes can be prepared.

Mashed potatoes come in different varieties. Some people have more “run” than others. Some include salt, butter, and milk. However, our recipe has the advantage of being able to be used with any kind of mashed potatoes.

22. Tangy Red Cabbage Slaw

Red cabbage, raisins, and pecans are combined with a sweet and sour dressing in this slaw recipe. Serve this tasty red cabbage slaw at your next barbecue or include it on the menu for your holiday dinner.

It pairs well with roasted meats, hot dogs, hamburgers, and hot dogs. However, it also goes well with other dishes like tacos, grilled salmon, and kebabs.

Serve this red cabbage salad anywhere a meal would benefit from a burst of something crunchy, tangy, and fresh.

23. Hummus

Chickpeas, tahini, lemon, and spices are combined to make the delectable spread or dip known as hummus. In the Mediterranean and the Middle East, it is a popular food.

Hummus is made from chickpeas as the base. A smooth paste is created when the beans are softened. For this recipe, chickpeas can be cooked from scratch or canned.

This is a fantastic, nutrient-dense snack that is high in protein, fiber, and a lot of micronutrients, including a significant amount of the mineral copper, which keeps our hair and skin healthy.

Serve it with warm breadsticks, flatbreads, or crunchy vegetables for dipping.

24. Roasted Chickpeas

These delightfully crunchy, crispy, salty little morsels are ideal for adding to a large green salad, heaping on fresh buddah bowls, sprinkling over soups or pastas, or simply munching on them on their own.

They are very versatile when it comes to adding protein and texture to meals because they are soft enough to serve as the foundation of a salad and crispy enough to serve as a snack.

For up to four days, homemade crispy roasted chickpeas can be kept at room temperature in an airtight container. Due to the lack of preservatives, they may begin to mold after that.

25. Chicken Pasta Salad Bowl

With practically everything you could want in a salad, this creamy chicken pasta salad can be made in under 20 minutes.

It is versatile and can be prepared ahead of time. It makes a great side dish for a meal or a filling lunch.

A creamy dressing is combined with chicken, bacon, pasta, and chunky vegetables to create a delicious comfort food dish for the summer.

This nutritious pasta salad is not only simple to modify with any vegetables you have on hand that need to be used, but it’s also a fantastic way to use up leftover chicken.

26. Cheesy Corn Fritters

With lots of cheese, cilantro, Jalapeños, onions, and a flavorful seasoning blend, these simple to make Cheesy Corn Fritters are loaded with flavor.

All were lightly fried to achieve a perfect golden crust. This quick and simple recipe for a side dish of vegetables can also be used to make a light meal.

Fritters are tiny corn-based fried cakes. A thick batter holds the corn and diced vegetables together. They are lightly fried, giving them a crispy exterior and soft interior that is stuffed with melty cheese and fresh kernels of juicy corn.

27. Parmesan Cauliflower Rice Skillet

Easy and incredibly nourishing recipe for parmesan cauliflower rice. This 20-minute parmesan cauliflower rice skillet is low-carb, paleo, keto, and gluten-free and can be eaten on its own, as a quick lunch, or as a side dish.

This straightforward recipe for cauliflower rice is the ideal foundation for your lunches and dinners if you’re trying to eat low carb.

28. Fried Baby Potatoes with Garlic Brown Butter

Fried potatoes with garlic and butter are incredibly tasty and perfectly seasoned. These wonderful fried potatoes go great with just about anything.

The baby potatoes are simply boiled before being delicately covered in a decadent sauce made of brown butter, garlic, herbs, and lemon.

When looking for a quick, simple, and delicious side dish to include in your picnic spread, this fried potato dish is just what you need.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Should You Bring to a Picnic at the Last Minute?

If you were last-minutely invited to a picnic and are worrying about what to bring. A charcuterie board is a surefire hit.

These are delicious and incredibly simple to put together. Simply take a shallow plastic tray and load it up with all your favorite foods, like cheese, crackers, olives, pickles, cured meats, grapes, dried fruit, and nuts.

To hold anything wet, such as the olives or pickles, use tiny plastic bowls or silicone cupcake liners.

What Is the Most Popular Picnic Food?

Of course, potato salad is the most preferred dish at cookouts and picnics. It can feed a large crowd and is simple to prepare.

Additionally, there are numerous variations of potato salad, making it an exciting and delectable dish to serve at your picnic for many years to come.

What Are Some Good Picnic Desserts?

When choosing desserts for your picnic, barbecue, or backyard get-together, keep in mind that they should be simple to serve, able to withstand heat, and extremely delicious.

It’s simple to prepare cookies, brownies, and bars in advance, and they travel well when packed. Additionally, they keep well and are simple to serve, including loaf cakes, cakes, and pies.

What Else Should You Bring to a Picnic?

Having the right equipment can be just as crucial as having the right ingredients, in addition to the usual plates and cutlery.

Always bring a small cutting board, a sharp knife, and a roll of saran wrap to cover any leftovers so you can prepare any ingredients you’ve just grabbed.

While a plastic mixing bowl can be useful for serving salads or preparing last-minute desserts, empty, clean jam jars are ideal for mixing dressings, holding dips, layering desserts, and even serving drinks.

If the weather suddenly changes, you can also pack up quickly with the help of hand wipes, a tea towel, and a clean cloth.


If you can’t wait for your next picnic in order to try these delicious dishes, the best part is that you don’t actually have to wait for a picnic to prepare one of them.

Try including them in your barbecue side dishes, include some in your casual weeknight meal, or include some in your lavish family feast spread.

28 Easy Picnic Side Dishes

28 Easy Picnic Side Dishes

Recipe by Jenna

Are you searching for the perfect dish to make for your next picnic? Just because it is a picnic, doesn’t mean you have to be limited to sandwiches! Here are some easy picnic side dishes to try.

Course: Side Dishes
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