Picnic Cooler Food Ideas

By Sheri


The best picnic and camping cooler foods are those that travel well and are simple, but delicious. Use sturdy air and water tight containers so your foods don’t get ruined by melting ice in the cooler. You could use freezer packs or fill plastic bottles with water and freeze them – these can double as extra beverages too. The cooler’s temperature should be at least 40F degrees

Tailor the foods you bring to accommodate allergies and preferences, but in general, classics such as ice cold lemonade, sandwiches and cookies or bars are enjoyed by all. Something about the outdoors seems to jump start most appetites, so bring enough without going overboard on prep time or variety.

You can bake even months ahead by stockpiling extra chocolate chip cookies, brownies and coconut macaroons in the freezer. You can even pack them in containers frozen depending on how soon serving time will be. Its a good idea to also bring containers of chilled grapes, cherry tomatoes, carrot sticks and/or celery sticks.

An easy recipe for homemade lemonade and a variety of sandwich ideas follow:


½ cup water

1 cup sugar

juice from 6 lemons

water to get a drinkable consistency

1.  In a sauce pan or double boiler on low heat, start heating the water. Add the sugar, stirring constantly until it dissolves. Stir in the lemon juice.

2.  Add as much water to make a drinkable consistency. Remember that if you’ll be adding ice later, don’t  overdo the water. You’ll get about 6 glasses from this recipe so you can go from there.

3.  The night before the picnic, you could pour half the lemonade into a bottle and freeze it. Then, when it’s time to pack the cooler, add the remaining lemonade. If you’ve made it a bit stronger, you can bring water and/or ice to add at the picnic or camp site.


Peanut butter and banana on whole wheat wraps

Spread whole wheat tortilla wraps with peanut butter and add lengthwise slices of banana before rolling up each wrap.

Pizza wraps

Spread seasoned tomato sauce onto any flavor of wrap. Add grated cheese and pepperoni or sausage. Roll up each wrap.

Roast beef rolls

On whole wheat rolls, spread on mayonnaise and mustard. Add overlapping slices of cooked roast beef or corned beef plus spinach leaves if desired.

Cream cheese and bacon

Use multi-grain bread and spread both sides with cream cheese. Fill with cooked bacon slices and spinach leaves.

2 Responses to “Picnic Cooler Food Ideas”

  1. Hey there – Thanks so much for the recipe – we made it last week and it was so incredibly EASY!!!. – Joanne

  2. Sheri says:

    You’re welcome, Joanne. Did you make the lemonade and some sandwiches?

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