72 Best Picnic Food Ideas & How to Plan a Romantic Picnic Date

Picnics are one of the best romantic date activities. They are a great way to spend a first date or make any date feel like a special occasion. Planning a picnic shows your date that you put a lot of effort and care into making their day special. 

It can feel overwhelming to plan a whole picnic date and keep it romantic. But don’t worry! We have everything from the supplies you need to bring to easy picnic food ideas in this guide. Read on to learn what you need to bring, the tips we have for a successful picnic, and a long list of food ideas for you to choose from.

Picnic Essentials 

Your picnic can be as simple or elaborate as you’d like it to be. All you really need is a place to go, some food, and your date. However, we love to take picnics to the next level for the ultimate romantic date setting. You don’t need everything from this list. Just pick and choose what works for where you are going, what foods you’re bringing, and the mood you’re trying to set. 

Perfect Picnic Area

Picking the perfect location is the best way to make sure your date has a good time. Places like parks are a great choice for warmer weather days. If it’s a hot day or cold outside, you’ll need to be more creative in finding a place where you’ll be comfortable. Also, there’s no rule that your picnic has to be outside. 

Picnic Basket

There is just something extra romantic about packing your food into a wicker basket. However, you don’t have to use a traditional picnic basket. We have used tote bags and coolers to bring food to a picnic before. 

But, if you’re going for the traditional, romance vibe, we recommend looking into baskets. The one we have at home for our picnic dates folds open and has plates, silverware, wine glasses, and storage compartments.  

picnic wicker basket

Dinnerware

If you don’t have a designated picnic basket with dinnerware included, you’ll need to bring those things separately. Make sure you have everything you will need to enjoy the food you pack. This could include plates, bowls, utensils, cups, wine glasses, serving trays, etc. 

What you bring could be as simple as paper plates. However, if you are bringing an elaborate meal, you’ll end up needing more supplies. If you are planning on going on a lot of picnic dates, it’s nice to set aside designated supplies so you can keep them together rather than pulling from your regular dishes all of the time. 

Food Storage

You’ll want to bring along things to keep your food at the right temperature. For cold items, you can bring a cooler, ice, or ice packs to make sure the food doesn’t get warm. For warm/hot foods, you can bring insulated bags, a thermos, or portable crockpot.  

Picnic Blanket

If you’re going for a traditional picnic, you’ll want to bring a blanket to spread out on the ground or floor for you and your date to sit on together. This can be any large blanket that you have lying around. 

We like to use our waterproof picnic blanket for dates. It keeps you dry even when placed on areas like damp grass. Plus it’s easy to wash and toss with our other picnic supplies. 

Picnic Tables

If you are not into sitting on the ground while enjoying your food, you can find an area that has picnic tables for you to sit at. They do make serving and eating a little easier. If you are going somewhere remote or enjoying your picnic in a place like your backyard, you can purchase a portable table to take with you.

Next Level Romantic Picnic Supplies

If you are really trying to impress your date, you can bring more supplies that will create a romantic ambiance. To step up your picnic game, bring some of these things along:

planning a romantic picnic date
  • Candles
  • Twinkle lights
  • Fresh flowers
  • Rose petals
  • Love songs (on your phone or portable speaker)

Picnic Food Tips

Picnic prep is essential to make sure that you and your date can enjoy yourselves and not have to focus on putting things together. We recommend doing all of the cooking at home unless you are able to work outdoor cooking, like on a bbq, into your date. 

Get all of your food prep done ahead of time. Any chopping, cooking, baking etc. should be done ahead of time. Then, all you need to do is keep your food hot or cold until your picnic starts. Cold food can be kept in a cooler with ice packs or on ice. Food that needs to be kept warm can be put in an insulated bag or thermos.

Make the food as ready to serve as possible by prepping it on serving platters or plates so all you need to do is take it out and enjoy. Drinks can also be prepped in tumblers with lids so you aren’t worrying about mixing or pouring anything. 

The Best Picnic Foods to Take on a Date

You can take pretty much any food you want on your picnic date. Anything that can be cooked or prepared ahead of time is a great idea. We recommend picking a theme and building around it. For example, you could have a brunch picnic, a Mexican food picnic, an Italian food picnic, etc. Pick some snacks, sides or main dishes to mix and match for a variety of foods to choose from.

Breakfast or Brunch Picnic Foods

Having a breakfast or brunch inspired picnic can be really romantic. Have your picnic early in the day and plan something fun afterward. You can bake many of these options ahead of time. Or you can choose simple fruits and yogurts to make things easy.

picnic breakfast food ideas
  1. Muffins
  2. Scones
  3. Biscuits and gravy
  4. Breakfast casserole
  5. Fresh fruit
  6. Yogurt
  7. Pancakes
  8. Waffles
  9. Bacon
  10. Breakfast burritos
  11. Bagel sandwiches
  12. English muffins
  13. Cinnamon rolls
  14. French toast
  15. Egg scramble

Appetizer and Simple Snack Ideas

Your whole picnic can be based on appetizers and snacks alone. We love snack trays and charcuterie boards to pick through while enjoying an outdoor picnic. You can prep most of these items in advance or grab some quick items from the grocery store on your way. 

picnic snack ideas
  1. Charcuterie board
  2. Fresh fruit 
  3. grapes, apple slices, cherries, orange slices, etc.
  4. Fresh veggies 
  5. bell peppers, juicy tomatoes, carrot sticks, cucumber slices, etc.
  6. Spinach artichoke dip with bread, crackers, and vegetables
  7. Hummus, flatbread, crackers, and vegetables
  8. Cheese and crackers
  9. Pinwheel sandwiches 
  10. Kabobs
  11. Deviled eggs
  12. Spring rolls

 Picnic Side and Main Dishes

There are thousands of options for sides and main dishes that you could bring to a picnic. Bring things that you can easily cook ahead of time and keep hot or cold until you’re ready to enjoy them. 

For times when we don’t want to cook, we like to grab things from the local deli or stop by a pizza place and order food to go. 

foods to bring on a picnic date
  1. Potato salad
  2. Fruit salad
  3. Egg Salad
  4. Pasta Salad 
  5. Macaroni salad
  6. Coleslaw
  7. Baked beans
  8. Green beans
  9. Grilled vegetables
  10. Chicken wings
  11. Wraps
  12. Our favorite quick pasta salad recipe mixes cooked tortellini, red peppers, olive oil, lemon juice, and red onion.
  13. Grilled vegetables
  14. Sushi
  15. Potatoes
  16. Rice
  17. Chicken salad sandwiches
  18. Sliders
  19. Pizza
  20. Pasta
  21. Fried or baked chicken
  22. Grilled meat
  23. Burgers
  24. Corn on the cob
  25. Tacos
  26. Burritos
  27. Stir fry
  28. Asian noodles

Desserts to Bring on a Picnic Date

Your picnic won’t be complete without a little something sweet. You could even have a whole dessert-themed picnic and skip the other foods. You can bake these treats ahead of time or stop by a bakery on the way and pick up some of your date’s favorite sweets. 

  1. Cookies
  2. Brownies
  3. Cupcakes
  4. Rice Krispie treats
  5. Cake
  6. Pudding
  7. Cheesecake
  8. Ice cream
picnic romantic desserts

 Picnic Drink Ideas

Picnic drinks can be literally anything. Pre-mix cocktails and bring them along or opt for something prepackaged from the store. Just be sure to bring a few different options for your date and get things that go well with the food you’re bringing along. 

  1. Fruit juice
  2. Bottle of wine
  3. Sparkling water
  4. Sangria
  5. Pre-mixed cocktails
  6. Soda
  7. Iced tea
  8. Hot chocolate
  9. Lemonade 

FAQ

What do you bring to a romantic picnic?

You can bring anything you want to a romantic picnic. We recommend picking a theme and bringing food and drinks that go along with it. You could also bring a blanket, flowers, or other romantic touches to make the picnic extra special.

How can I make my picnic date special?

There are lots of ways to make a picnic date special. You could pick a theme and decorate or bring along special foods and drinks. You can also bring along romantic touches like flowers or a sweet playlist.

What are some good picnic food ideas?

There are lots of great picnic food ideas. Some of our favorites include charcuterie boards, grilled vegetables, wraps, sandwiches, salads, and desserts.

What is the best food for a romantic picnic?

There is no one “best” food for a romantic picnic. It depends on your personal preferences and what you think your date would enjoy. Some good ideas include picnic staples like sandwiches, salads, and desserts. You could also get creative and pick a theme like breakfast, Italian, Mexican, or brunch.

What should I wear on a romantic picnic?

Your outfit will depend on the weather and what activities you have planned after the picnic. We recommend wearing something comfortable that you can easily move in. If you’re planning on doing a lot of walking or hiking after, make sure to wear good shoes. You should also bring along a jacket or sweater in case it gets cold.

Conclusion

Going on a picnic date is a great way to enjoy some time outdoors, get to know your date better, and have a romantic experience. Be sure to choose the right location, pack the perfect picnic basket, and bring along the best foods and drinks. With a little planning, you’re sure to have a picnic that your date will love.

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