These 10 Picnic Foods Are A Terrible Idea, Bring These 10 Instead

These 10 Picnic Foods Are A Terrible Idea, Bring These 10 Instead

Forget everything you thought you knew about ideal picnic foods—gone are the days of potato salads and chocolate bars because we’ve got the low down on which foods to bring and which foods to leave at home. 

1. Seafood

We like seafood as much as the next person, but it’s generally a terrible picnic food idea. Without the right temperatures, cold seafood like sushi or shrimp is a one-way ticket to stomach upset—however, cooked fish also needs regulated temperatures. All in all, fish is best reserved for at-home dinners. 

SushiFrank Zhang on Unsplash

2. Chocolate

The best picnics happen on a warm, sunny day…meaning chocolate doesn’t stand a chance. Unless you have some way to protect it, your chocolate will surely melt in the sun, leaving you with nothing but the promise of what could have been. 

Tamas-Pap-Ewjwfoj-Wa0-UnsplashPhoto by Tamas Pap on Unsplash

3. Baguettes

The smell and taste of fresh bread lures in just about everyone, however, it’s not the smartest picnic food. Unless you’ve sliced it beforehand or already used it for sandwiches, a full baguette causes more trouble than its worth. Not to mention, cutting it on site brings a bunch of crumbs, too. 

Sergio-Arze-Cwxibbbxx44-UnsplashPhoto by Sergio Arze on Unsplash

4. Ice Cream

As delicious as it is, don’t bring ice cream to a picnic. Whether it’s a one-liter tub or convenient sandwiches, ice cream makes a mess and attracts every bug in existence.   

Valerian-Koo-2N0Enfkzde8-UnsplashPhoto by Valerian KOo on Unsplash


5. Leafy Salads

Salads are healthy, versatile, and packed with flavor—so why not bring them along? Well, between travel time and how quickly it’s eaten, unattended salad goes soggy. Even if you brought the dressing separate (also a bad idea), it’ll likely go to waste. 

Leigh-Skomal-Kmeek6-Zu2Q-UnsplashPhoto by Leigh Skomal on Unsplash

6. Soft Cheese

Like it or not, soft cheese will betray you at a picnic. When left to bake in the summer heat, don’t be surprised when brie melts into an inedible mess. If you’re itching to bring cheese, stick with cheddar or Gouda. 

Nataliya-Melnychuk-Qkjyxmbdqny-UnsplashPhoto by Nataliya Melnychuk on Unsplash

7. Fried Foods

Fried chicken is great in the bucket, but at a picnic it goes soggy and cold and soon becomes a disappointment. To make matters worse, you’ll need dozens of napkins or wetnaps to get those greasy hands clean. 

Tareq-Ismail-Teg7Ek-Ok3E-UnsplashPhoto by Tareq Ismail on Unsplash

8. Mayo-Based Salads

The first thing mayo does in the sun is spoil, which is exactly why you should leave certain dishes at home. Keep items like tuna, macaroni, and potato salad off your picnic menu—everyone’s stomachs will thank you later.

Eiliv-Aceron-Mw0Libbhnde-UnsplashPhoto by Eiliv Aceron on Unsplash

9. Deviled Eggs

Deviled eggs are a staple at large gatherings; they’re easy to make and a great option for sensitive palettes. What they aren’t great at, however, is standing strong in the summer heat. Deviled eggs are really more of an indoor food. 

Rosalind-Chang- Jf4Udkce-U-UnsplashPhoto by Rosalind Chang on Unsplash

10. Dips

One person brings chips, you bring the homemade guac—everything’s made in the shade, right? The issue with dips is that they need regulated temperatures to stay fresh, so leaving guacamole or hummus to sweat in the sun isn’t the best idea. 

Tessa-Rampersad-9Nd-Qkgs1 8-UnsplashPhoto by Tessa Rampersad on Unsplash

The good news is that you still have plenty of picnic food options! 


1. Fresh Fruit

Watermelon slices in the summer? Yes, please! Fresh fruit is good for you, it’s refreshing, and it’s one of the more affordable picnic menu options. Everyone loves the person who shows up with a bowlful of berries. 

Richard-Burlton-H719Msjc-9C-UnsplashPhoto by Richard Burlton on Unsplash

2. Wraps

Don’t leave out cold cuts or cheese—make them into handy wraps instead! They’re simple enough to make and cater to everyone’s tastes because you can experiment with toppings. 

Ryan-Concepcion-50Kffxbjiog-UnsplashPhoto by Ryan Concepcion on Unsplash

3. Fresh Veggies

Carrot sticks, bell pepper wedges, cucumber slices…the possibilities are endless. Fresh veggies are a picnic tradition, and you can rest easy knowing they’re often the first platter to get picked clean. 

Gabriel-Gurrola-Fcgprzmtm5W-UnsplashPhoto by Gabriel Gurrola on Unsplash

4. Cookies

If you’re stuck on what to bring, or just want everyone to love you, show up with homemade cookies. You have dozens of recipes to choose from and you know people will indulge. 

Mockaroon-Bzlhhi3Mpyy-UnsplashPhoto by Mockaroon on Unsplash

5. Pasta Salad

In the salad kingdom, pasta salad is the safest picnic option. Though you can play around with ingredients, it often consists of no more than noodles, fresh veggies, and a drizzle of olive oil. It keeps in the sun and won’t scare away sensitive stomachs. 

Engin-Akyurt-X4Qcaodtlh0-UnsplashPhoto by engin akyurt on Unsplash

6. Quiche

What’s so great about quiche is that it can be served hot or cold, making it a perfect picnic food. You can pre-cut it for easier serving and don’t have to worry about a ton of food waste either.

Sergio-Arze-Oetdlanecpy-UnsplashPhoto by Sergio Arze on Unsplash


7. Sandwiches

Sandwiches are not only delicious, but convenient, too. They’re easy to pack, can be customized for everyone’s tastes, and don't require utensils. Talk about a slam dunk!

Hillshire-Farm-U0Bzbtt-5So-UnsplashPhoto by Hillshire Farm on Unsplash

8. Granola Bars

We know it’s easier to buy a box, but try your hand at homemade granola bars. They’ll taste way better and some recipes are actually no-bake—you might even find some that only need a handful of ingredients to make. 

Hayley-Maxwell-Xtpxtrhnt9G-UnsplashPhoto by Hayley Maxwell on Unsplash

9. Mini Muffins

As great as cookies are, sometimes you need a lighter option. Mini muffins are perfect picnic snacks because they’ve got the best of both worlds: they’re bite-sized and packed with flavor. You also allow guests a chance to graze without getting too full. 

Verstappen-Photography-O9Xfds6V-Fy-UnsplashPhoto by Verstappen Photography on Unsplash

10. Pickles

Pickles make a good picnic great, so don’t be shy about bringing them. This classic side dish doesn’t need refrigeration, pairs well with mains, and is a widely sought-after finger food. 

Suckerpunch-Gourmet-Fl06Ah9Eq0W-UnsplashPhoto by SuckerPunch Gourmet on Unsplash