Martha's 12 Favorite Picnic Recipes

Alexis's Light Egg Salad Sandwich
Photo: Earl Carter

Dining in the great outdoors doesn't have to mean roughing it; you can eat exquisitely when you pack your basket with some of Martha's favorite picnic foods.

01 of 13
Picnic basket
Linda Pugliese

Few things rival the simple joy of eating a meal outdoors—there's just something so satisfying and enjoyable about sitting down to lunch or dinner on a picnic blanket with friends in the middle of nature, even if it's just a patch of grass in your own backyard or an urban park.

Picnic foods are some of Martha's favorites, and it's easy to see why. There's something easygoing about them, since they're portable, delicious when served at room temperature, and able to be eaten with just fork or your hands. And they're generally pretty simple, straightforward, and tasty dishes with one "wow" element, whether it's a bracing and zesty lemon bar or a juicy bite of fried chicken. Martha's list of go-to picnic dishes includes a few classic sandwiches: ham and Swiss on buttered baguette, tuna salad jazzed up with apple and basil, and curried egg salad. Potato salad is another crowd-pleasing standby. When she really wants to up the ante, Martha packs a container of moist and flavorful fried chicken, along with its standard accompaniment of buttermilk biscuits flecked with dill, chives, and rosemary.

When it comes to dessert, bars, cookies, and other handheld treats are a must. Martha's a big fan of lemon sugar cookies, as well as rich, tart lemon bars. Brown butter toffee blondies, fudgy brownies, and chocolate chip cookies (her preferred recipe comes from her daughter Alexis) are also no-fail picnic treats, since they travel well and are easy to serve.

Ready to pack your own picnic basket and get outside? Give these delicious recipes a try.

02 of 13

Ham and Swiss Sandwich

Ham And Swiss Sandwich
Earl Carter

Martha knows that a classic ham and Swiss tastes even better served on a buttered baguette and eaten al fresco.

03 of 13

Zesty Lemon Bars


At once rich and tart, these lemon bars from Amy's Bread in New York City are one of Martha's favorite treats.

04 of 13

Mahogany Fried Chicken


Buttermilk and cayenne pepper make an easy marinade that produces moist, flavorful, picnic-perfect fried chicken.

05 of 13

Buttermilk Biscuits


The ideal fried chicken companions, these savory herb-buttermilk biscuits have dill, chives, and rosemary baked right inside.

06 of 13

Potato Salad


Red potatoes combine with grated onion, mayonnaise, vinegar, and a touch of sugar for a deliciously classic potato salad. Garnish with sliced hard-cooked eggs and chopped parsley if you like.

07 of 13

Plum-Nectarine Buckle


A buckle is a decadent dessert hybrid: cake-like cobbler with a crumble topping. It's sturdy enough to transport easily to your picnic site and delicious enough for a sweet finale.

08 of 13

Alexis's Brown Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookies


Martha's daughter Alexis developed this recipe for flat, crisp cookies that are rich with plenty of butter, brown sugar, and best-quality chocolate chips.

09 of 13

Martha's Favorite Tuna Salad Sandwich

Martha's Favorite Tuna Salad Sandwich

Martha loves moist, oil-packed tuna mixed with celery, apple, fresh basil, light mayo, and a squeeze of lemon juice. Make sandwiches on good-quality sourdough bread for a healthy and tasty picnic lunch.

10 of 13

Fudgy Brownies


Doesn't everyone love a brownie? Martha likes hers fudgy rather than cakey.

11 of 13

Alexis's Light Egg Salad Sandwich

Alexis's Light Egg Salad Sandwich
Earl Carter

Here's another recipe from her daughter that's one of Martha's favorites to pack for a picnic. Lighter version than the original, this egg salad uses more whites than yolks and a dash of Madras curry to boost the flavor.

12 of 13

Old-Fashioned Lemon Sugar Cookies

old fashioned sugar cookie

You probably know that Martha loves a lemon dessert. She rates these large cookies with classic lemony flavor, a chewy texture; and glistening, crackly tops created with a double sprinkling of sanding sugar.

13 of 13

Brown-Butter Toffee Blondies


This is a wonderful variation on the blondie; the brown butter gives the treats an extra-rich toffee flavor. We used cookie cutters to form these blondies into fun shapes which make this treat extra adorable as the sweet ending to a picnic.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles