Picnic ideas and recipes for outdoor eating

15 June 2023, 10:27 AM
  • Inspire your customers with our best picnic food ideas for the summer season ahead
Picnic ideas and recipes for outdoor eating

Grab your wicker hampers – it’s picnic season! From a spur-of-the-moment downing of gingham blankets in the garden to a fastidiously packed basket of extravagant treats for seaside meals, the beauty of a picnic is its versatility.

Picnic ideas

Fine food shops are destinations for foodie inspiration, so when customers come in wondering how to pack a perfect picnic, it pays to be prepared with an arsenal of go-to products and recipes. Below, we’ve gathered a list of easy ideas and more elaborate creations that are sure to please families, couples, kids and adults.

Outdoor dining offers a great opportunity to splurge on fancy treats we might not ordinarily buy for a meal at home, but without the expense of dining out. This summer, knowing how to offer an affordable yet high-quality picnic-ready spread is the key to capitalising on this British tradition.

Scotch eggs

Classic Scotch Eggs
Can you have a picnic without this quintessential British snack? We think not, and this recipe is for the purists. Upsell by recommending your favourite piccalilli, English mustard or ketchup.

Smoked Haddock and Seaweed Scotch Egg Photo credit: Clarence Court

Smoked Haddock and Seaweed Scotch Egg
Pescatarian? No problem. For fish-favouring customers, suggest a Scotch egg encased in smoked haddock rather than sausage meat. In fact, some say that this version originated first!

Smoky Scotch Eggs
Customers looking for something a little different will enjoy these smoky snacks with added bacon and chipotle paste in the casing.

Picnic pies

The Perfect Pork Pie
This award-winning recipe from the experts at Dickinson & Morris, who have been crafting Melton Mowbray pork pies for 160 years, is a must-have in anyone’s picnic menu.

Hand Held Lamb & Chorizo Pies
For customers who are ready to bring a twist to the traditional. They can make their own spiced tomato relish, or you can suggest one from your shelves as a time-saving tip.

Sausage rolls

Martha Collison’s Pork & Chorizo Sausage Rolls
Sausage rolls are a mainstay of the British picnic, and this recipe features a kick of chorizo and paprika alongside the usual sausage meat. Chop them up into miniature bites or create one giant sharing roll.

Sausage Plait with English Mustard Photo credit: Tracklements

Sausage Plait with English Mustard
Shoppers can go the extra mile to impress guests with a sausage plait recipe, combining sausage, onion and fresh parsley with English mustard all wrapped in puff pastry.

Picnic pasties

Traditional Cornish Pasties
Sometimes, you just can’t beat a classic. This traditional Cornish pasty recipe is filled with beef skirt, carrot and swede and perfect for on-the-go eating.

Mini Beef Pasties with Tomato & Chilli Chutney
These pasties have the fun twist of added chutney. Why not place a hint near your jars to give customers another reason to buy this versatile ingredient?


Butcher’s Bacon & Farmhouse Cheddar Slices
While customers are buying their bacon for breakfast baps, take a moment to suggest this simple slice recipe.


Mouthwatering Salmon & Watercress Quiche
If your customers are looking for a new favourite, this is just the thing. This impressive dish can be made simpler by using ready-made pastry.

Smoked Chicken and Parsley Pesto Quiche Photo credit: Higgidy

Smoked Chicken and Parsley Pesto Quiche
This delicious quiche has Parmesan cheese baked right into the pastry for that little something special, and the fresh pesto screams summer.

Salmon, Leek & Dill Tartlets
Customers will love sharing out these bite-sized salmon tartlets, and it’s an easy picnic recipe to whip up last-minute.

Crab & Asparagus Tart
Promoting locally grown asparagus? This showstopper tart of sweet crab meat and nutty asparagus will soon become a staple for your customers.

Picnic sandwich ideas

The best picnic sandwiches are simple to make ahead, and best enjoyed cold for minimal faff come mealtime. However, the more adventurous out there might enjoy another recipe we’ve thrown in that requires a bit more effort – but is completely worth it.

Posh Tiger Prawn Cocktail
Take your sandwich game up a notch by filling two slices of sourdough with this posh tiger prawn cocktail sandwich filling.

Coronation Prawn Buns Photo credit: Foolproof Fish by Libby Silbermann

Coronation Prawn Buns
This easy take on coronation chicken uses prawns instead, and it’s simple to throw together. Make up the mixture and pop it in an airtight container for perfect picnic sandwiches.

Best Ever Steak Sandwich with Cream Cheese & ‘Nduja
For those picnicking in style, bring a portable barbecue and you can grill the beef in this flavour-packed sandwich on site.

Vegetarian picnic food

From simple tarts to healthy picnic food, there are plenty of options for the vegetarians in your group. With a few tweaks, you can find inspiration for vegans too.

Cheese, Potato & Onion Pasties
The portable pasty is a classic picnic option, and this vegetarian recipe is full of flavour. The traditional cheese, potato and onion filling is spruced up with a few dollops of chilli jam.

Pea & Mint Scotch Egg Photo credit: William Shaw

Pea & Mint Scotch Egg
This twist on the ultimate British picnic snack is vegetarian-friendly and a healthy picnic recipe. The crushed pea and mint, which takes the place of the sausage meat, is deliciously fresh on a hot day.

The Hairy Bikers’ Cheese & Marmite Scones
These Marmite-laced scones are wonderfully savoury and fantastic for filling spare pockets of space in the picnic basket.

Tomato & Goat’s Cheese Galette
For customers wondering what to do with a glut of tomatoes, this recipe is a great alternative to traditional tarts. Plus, the ‘rustic’ style of a galette makes it the perfect picnic companion.

Red Onion Tarte Tatin
This simple storecupboard recipe can create one large portion or four individual sizes for ease of eating while picnicking.

Healthy picnic food

Cut through the stodge with our five healthy picnic ideas. Read on to discover simple recipes, vegetarian options and ideas for large groups.

Crab & Artichoke Salad
Light and fresh, but substantial enough to stand out against pies and pastries, this salad is best enjoyed outdoors.

Wild Garlic Potato Salad
Potato salad is a must, and garlic is the star of the show in this dish. If wild garlic isn’t in season, suggest other products to give a kick of garlic goodness.

Crab Salad with Fennel, Asparagus & Courgette Photo credit: Foolproof Fish by Libby Silbermann

Crab Salad with Fennel, Asparagus & Courgette
Juicy seafood and raw, shaved salad is a perfectly fresh combination on a warm summer’s day.

Broad Bean, Fennel & Radish Salad with Lemon & Tahini Dressing
This quick salad is topped with an easy, whisk-up dressing, but why not use an alternative from your shelves?

Summer Courgette Salad with Quick Pickled Shallots
Using seasonal produce and a quick pickle that gives a wonderful bite, this simple picnic recipe is a summer favourite.

Picnic dip ideas

The best picnic foods can often be improved with a dunk into a fresh, homemade dip. However, for customers looking for time-saving tips, speciality dips are often just as delicious so be sure to promote them come picnic season.

Parsley Hummus
This easy recipe uses shop-bought hummus as a base for a dash of fresh herbs, lemon and cumin.

Easy Crab Dip
For customers who want to impress their picnic guests, this simple crab dip is unbeatable – especially when served in the crab shell.

Whipped Butter Bean Dip with Crispy Herbs
Although this recipe uses butter beans, shoppers can easily swap them for cannellini beans, chickpeas or borlotti beans to make the most of what’s in their cupboards.

Picnic dessert recipes

Satisfy your customers’ sweet tooth with our recipes, including easy no-bake ideas and desserts in a jar.

Edd Kimber’s Peppermint Chocolate Slices
These no-bake slices are simple to make and cool and refreshing to eat in the summer heat – just don’t forget the cool bag!

The Queen Elizabeth Sponge Cake
A Victoria sponge is a firm favourite among picnickers, and this easy sponge is a winner.

Jam Jar Lime Cheesecakes with Raspberries Photo credit: Waitrose & Partners

Jam Jar Lime Cheesecakes with Raspberries
These no-bake cheesecakes are simple to make, and with a kick of zesty lime topped with fresh raspberries, they’re brilliant on a hot summer’s day.

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