Here are 50+ cheap recipes that are appropriate for a picnic, including summer salads, sandwiches, sides, and desserts. Scroll to the bottom for easy tips to enjoy a picnic on a budget.

Cheap picnic foods and recipes. Click through for 50 ideas!

Call me old-fashioned, but there are few things I enjoy more than a picnic in the park.

Thankfully, a great picnic does not have to cost a lot of money. All you need is a picnic table, friends and family, a few great menu items, and an open schedule.

I’ve got 50 cheap recipes that are appropriate for your next picnic:

Salad Recipes

No picnic is complete without a salad – or two or three:

Butternut squash pasta salad with apples, walnuts, and grapes. Click through for recipe!

Sandwich Recipes

Your picnic definitely needs sandwiches. Just remember to pick sandwich fillings that won’t result in soggy bread. Here are some ideas:

Set up a DIY hot dog bar: Click through for dozens of topping ideas!

Miscellaneous Picnic Foods

Here are some crowd-pleasing miscellaneous food items:

Get recipe ideas for a summer picnic! Click through for 50 cheap recipes.

Slow-Cooker Recipes

Warm foods can be a delightful surprise at a picnic. If you have access to an outlet at your picnic spot, consider making one of these recipes and keeping it warm in a slow cooker:

Dips and Other Snacky Picnic Foods

Be sure to pack chips, crackers, and veggies for these dips:

A recipe for green pea "guacamole" - a new twist on traditional guacamole.

Picnic Desserts

The perfect picnic dessert is one that is easy to transport and not messy. Here are some low-effort picnic desserts:

What does whiskey do to chocolate? Something very, very delicious. Click for this whiskey brownie recipe.

Picnic-Appropriate Drinks

Bringing bottled or canned drinks may be the easiest option. But if you’re looking to make a homemade drink, here are some to try:

50 Cheap Summer Picnic Recipes

Planning a Budget-Friendly Picnic

A picnic is generally not an expensive event. But here are some additional tips to keep your budget in check:

  • Potluck! The easiest way to keep your costs down is to plan a potluck picnic. Every guest/family should bring one dish to share. The fewer menu items you have to prepare yourself, the cheaper your picnic will be.
  • Choose budget-friendly ingredients: To keep costs down, choose dishes that are made from cheap ingredients like pasta, potatoes, eggs, beans, and in-season produce.
  • Know where to shop: If you’re watching your food budget, where you shop matters. ALDI is usually one of the cheapest grocery stores, but do your own research to identify the grocery store nearest you with the best deals on food.
  • Keep it simple: There’s no need to over-plan your picnic. Just make sure to have a few dishes to choose from – one salad, sandwich, and dessert option will do. Less cost+ less stress = better picnic.

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