Perfect Picnic Recipes & Ideas

With the weather hotting up and the summer holidays approaching, we’re sure you’ll be planning your adventures soon. There’s nothing better than getting the whole family in the car and setting off for the day to explore a new city, go on a hike or have fun at the zoo, but with lots of hungry mouths to feed, if you’re out for the whole day, the cost of all those drinks, snacks and lunches can quickly add up. The solution? Pack up a picnic.

Our favourite picnic ideas

BBQ on the beach – take a portable barbecue, blanket, some burgers and kebabs (or whatever you fancy), drinks and friends down to the beach and you’ve got yourself a fun-filled afternoon or evening. Why not take some beach games, like volleyball or badminton, too? And if you take a fire pit, you can keep toasty late into the evening too.

Romantic woodland picnic – not sure what to do for an anniversary or birthday? A woodland picnic is easy to organise, but with maximum romantic points. Pack their favourite food and drink (maybe some bubbly?), find a beautiful location, and they’re sure to appreciate the effort.

Teddy bear’s picnic – got little ones to keep entertained on a sunny afternoon? Take them on a teddy bear’s picnic! Keep it simple and stress-free by having it in your garden or local park. All you need is a blanket, some sandwiches and nibbles, drinks, their favourite teddy bears. Don’t forget extra cups and plates so the bears can join the picnic too.

Savvy sandwiches

Rather than buying packs of sliced meat for your sandwiches, which can be quite expensive (and not always the best quality), cook a gammon, joint of beef or a whole chicken. You can use any leftovers for meals later in the week, and you can freeze slices for another day too. Alternatively, you can use the leftovers from your Sunday roast. You can’t beat a roast chicken and stuffing sarnie.

Smoked Salmon & Cucumber Mini-Mousse Sandwiches

Cheese or egg sandwiches are cost-effective and easy to make in large quantities – ideal if you have a large family to feed. Just make sure you have a good cool bag – no one likes a warm egg sandwich! A simple salad can be a nice way to add extra flavour and texture, and you can keep costs down by choosing cheaper salad items that go a long way, like cucumber and whole lettuces. Try our super filling Stuffed Picnic Loaf recipe.

If you are feeling fancy our Smoked Salmon & Cucumber Mini-Mousse Sandwiches are perfect for a day at the races or a birthday picnic in the park. They go nicely with a glass of bubbly too! Speaking of bubbly, with our party-proof Crystal Acrylic Flutes, you can sip your fizz in style, without worrying about breakages. Cheers to that!

Snack time

Thai prawn mini bakes

You tend to do a lot of additional walking about on a day trip, so you can never have too many snacks. Ensuring you have enough food to keep everyone satisfied all day means you’re less likely to need to stop off at any food stalls, shops or cafes, so you can save your money for activities. Veg sticks and hummus, nuts, crisps, fruit – there are so many options for quick, easy snacks.

We recommend our Thai prawn mini bakes – bursting with fresh, zingy flavours, these bite-sized fishcakes are perfect for picnics. Made in our silicone mini loaf mould, they’re already portioned up, so there’ll be no arguments over who gets the bigger slice.

Desserts & Sweet Treats

Ice cream – a must on any summer day trip. But they’re not cheap, are they? Especially in tourist destinations, where the cost of ice cream cones can be eyewatering to say the least. Making your own ice cream can be a fun activity to do with the kids before your picnic, and if you pop your finished ice cream in an insulated food flask, pack some cones and chocolate flakes, you can enjoy a round of 99s for a fraction of the usual price. Don’t have an ice cream maker? Our Strawberry Ice Cream recipe is super easy to make and all you need is a bowl and 3 ingredients – frozen strawberries, honey and Greek yoghurt.

Making your own ice lollies costs very little – simply fill a lolly mould with your favourite fruit squash for delicious results. Pop them in an insulated flask, and enjoy your refreshing frozen treat during your day out.

Our Blueberry & Lemon Curd Mini Sponges are easy to make with the help of our 12-Hole Loose-Based Mini Sandwich Tin, and the combination of sweet blueberries and zingy lemon curd is truly divine. Save one for us!

Pack it up, pack it in

You’ve prepared your picnic food, gathered your snacks and drinks, and now you need to transport everything. An essential for any picnic is a good-quality insulated cool bag to help keep your food fresh – add an ice pack, and it’ll stay nice and cool for even longer. A cool bag with separate compartments for napkins, cutlery and other bits and bobs is useful too. And to avoid opening your picnic bag to find your lovingly prepared picnic transformed to a mushed-up mess, we suggest using sturdy food storage boxes – it’ll make it much easier to pack your food in your cool bag too.

As well as keeping your food cool, if you’re taking hot food on your day trip, a reflective foil-lined insulated bag will also keep your food warm until you’re ready to tuck in.

Stay hydrated

Remember to take enough water or juice to keep everyone hydrated for the day. If each member of the family has their own reusable water bottle to carry around with them, no one will have to lug heavy drinks around, and you’ll save money by not having to buy bottles of water while you’re out – you won’t be adding to the single-use plastic mountain either. Lots of places provide free drinking water top-ups too – look out for water fountains and dispensers while you’re walking around.

If you like to have a caffeine fix during the day, an insulated flask will keep your coffee or tea at the perfect drinking temperature throughout the day, and will save you from expensive coffee shop prices.

How do you keep food hot or cold on a picnic?

An insulated bag is your best bet, as the reflective lining will keep your food at a similar temperature to what it went in as – so it will keep your warm food warm and your cold food cold. To keep chilled food fresh, adding an ice pack to your bag will help keep everything cold for longer. Don’t have an ice pack? Fill a bottle with water, freeze it and use that instead. Bonus – you have ice-cold water to enjoy at your picnic too. You could do the same with juice, or any other drink you fancy. If you’re transporting warm food, you could also wrap it in foil before placing it in your bag to help keep the heat in for longer.

Did you know your insulated flasks can be used for much more than keeping your drinks hot or cold? If you fancy a refreshing ice cream or lolly on your picnic, or even out on a hike, pop it in a quality insulated flask and you’ll be treated to a frozen treat on the warmest of days.

And there you have it. Everything you need, from essential kit to tasty recipe inspiration, to enjoy perfect picnics this summer. Now we just need to keep our fingers crossed for good weather…