Catering for Picnics: Ideas, Hints and Tips

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Picnics blend the simple joy of outdoor dining with the delight of shared meals. Whether it’s a casual family outing, a chic wedding celebration, or a lively company event, the right food can turn these gatherings into memorable feasts.

From kid-friendly snacks to elegant appetizers, discover picnic catering ideas that cater to every occasion, taste, and moment.

Family Picnic Food Ideas

Picnics are a fun way for families to spend quality time together outdoors. When planning food for a family picnic, keep things simple and kid-friendly.

Here are some delicious ideas:

Sandwiches, Wraps, and Burgers

These handheld foods make perfect on-the-go picnic options and are easy to eat using disposable tableware. Try simple sandwiches with peanut butter and jelly or deli meats. Chicken, tuna, and egg salad wraps are also easy.

Grilled hamburgers, veggie burgers, or turkey burgers can be prepared ahead of time and reheated on site. Have a topping bar with slices of cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickles, ketchup, mustard, and mayo.

Chips and Snacks

Kids love crunchy snacks. Pack individual bags of potato chips, tortilla chips with salsa and guacamole, crackers, pretzels, trail mix, popcorn, and nuts. String cheese, yogurt tubes, and apple sauce pouches also make great portable snacks.

Simple Desserts

Cookies, brownies, fruit skewers, and trail mix bars can be made ahead of time and are perfect sweet treats. Individual bags of candy or jellybeans work too. You can also pack supplies to make s’mores over a small portable grill. Don’t forget to end with something refreshing, like popsicles.

Pro tip: Order a CMJJ Gourmet sample kit and try our excellent packaging options that can help you pack your picnics perfectly.

The picnic includes a variety of dishes such as sandwiches

Elegant Wedding Picnic Ideas

A wedding picnic is a beautiful way to celebrate your special day outdoors with loved ones. The menu should feel upscale but also easy to eat without non-disposable utensils.

Elegant Finger Foods

Mini crab cakes, smoked salmon pinwheels, and chicken satay skewers served on decorative platters are sure to impress. Other sophisticated finger foods, like deviled eggs, caprese skewers, and petite lamb chops, work well.

Shared Appetizers and Salads

Large salad bowls pre-tossed with dressing allow guests to easily serve themselves. Build your own bruschetta bars with baguette slices, tomatoes, basil, olive tapenade, and ricotta. Mason jars filled with layers of salad ingredients can be shaken tableside.

Display Platters

Create a visually stunning spread by artfully arranging cheeses, fruits, crudités, and dips on tiered platters and boards. Include your wedding colors in the display. Provide a mix of soft and hard cheeses like camembert, aged gouda, and manchego.

Signature Cocktails

Create a special cocktail just for your wedding day. Pitchers of sangria, mint juleps, or sparkling rosé lemonade make a refreshing sip. Stock coolers with bottled beers, ciders, and seltzers that suit your taste.

Mini Desserts

Mini cupcakes, macarons, truffles, tarts, and shooters are the perfect one- or two-bite desserts. Display them on a multi-tiered cake stand or serve them family-style on decorative platters. For a late summer wedding, hand out mini ice cream sandwiches.

Company Picnic Food Ideas

Planning food for a company picnic can be tricky, but having a wide variety of picnic food ideas like these will make sure there’s something tasty for everyone at your company picnic. Some great food ideas include:

BBQ Chicken

For a hearty protein, barbecue some chicken quarters, legs, wings, or boneless breasts on the grill. Chicken can be tossed in your favorite BBQ sauce or dry rub to add lots of flavor.

Offer guests a choice of sauces like classic barbecue, honey mustard, spicy buffalo, teriyaki, or jerk seasoning. Chicken is easy to cook in large batches and can be kept warm in a slow cooker or chafing dish.

Burgers & Hot Dogs

You can’t go wrong with juicy grilled burgers at your company picnic. Set up a DIY burger bar with pre-cooked burger patties, buns, cheeses, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pickles, ketchup, mustard, and mayo so people can customize their meal.

Have veggie burger options on hand too. If you aren’t on a low-budget catering menu, you can even consider throwing in some premium burger toppings like avocado, bacon, sautéed mushrooms, or fried eggs can take your picnic burgers to the next level.

In addition to burgers, hot dogs are a picnic staple. Grab regular hot dogs as well as turkey or vegetarian options to please all preferences. Offer different bun varieties, like classic white buns as well as whole wheat or pretzel buns.

Provide traditional hot dog toppings like relish, onions, sauerkraut, chili, and cheese. You can also do more unique toppings like pineapple salsa, kimchi, or crumbled tortilla chips.


A picnic wouldn’t be complete without a variety of thirst-quenching drinks. Be sure to pack plenty of hydrating options, like water, juice, lemonade, and iced tea, as well as soft drinks and, of course, adult beverages.

Stock up on a variety of plastic cups, straws, and napkins to keep everyone refreshed and minimize spills.

For tips on how to keep drinks cold at a party, especially during outdoor events, check out our guide here.

Wrap Up

Every picnic, be it a cozy family get-together, a romantic wedding celebration, or a fun company outing, comes to life through its food.

From easy-going snacks for kids to sophisticated nibbles for weddings and varied delights for corporate events, it’s the meals that make these moments truly special and heartwarming.

Crafting a catering menu that resonates with the occasion adds a personal touch, ensuring each picnic is as unique as the people it brings together.


  • Country Living (2023). 70 Picnic Food Ideas for Porches, Patios, Yards, & Parks. Retrieved from
  • Zola (n.d.) 51 Best Wedding Food Ideas. Retrieved from
  • My Food Book (n.d.) 30 family picnic food ideas. Retrieved from


    • Dacia Flowers

      Dacia Flowers is a graduate of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) with a major in Cultural Anthropology. Since graduating in 2019, she has expanded her expertise and applied her anthropological background in the practical domain. As the Administration Manager at CMJJ Gourmet since August 2022, Dacia handles crucial day-to-day operations, ensuring the warehouse's optimal functionality, timely delivery of orders, and managing invoices. Her commitment to excellence and in-depth understanding of organizational dynamics stem not just from her academic prowess but also her personal passion. Beyond her professional responsibilities, Dacia has a keen interest in reading, loves to travel, and stays active through regular exercise.

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