Desserts for picnics—your top picks

It's hard for us to think of a dessert we don't like—love, even. Sadly though, not all desserts can stand the test of transportation or time outside on a warm, sunny day. Tell us below: what are your go-to, tried-and-true desserts for picnics?

Emily Kochman


PaneToscano May 27, 2021
If you can bring a cooler of some kind to keep dairy cool, Eton Mess is wonderful. It's just whipped cream, strawberries, and merengue.
Emily K. May 27, 2021
We so agree!
Nancy May 27, 2021
Some desserts that are usually served at room temp and can be eaten with fingers - examples, baklava, halva.
If you have a campfire or a grill, bring the fixings and make S'mores at the end of the meal.
Emily K. May 27, 2021
Love these ideas, Nancy!
702551 May 26, 2021
Girl Scout Cookies? I jest...

Generally speaking kid-friendly individual serving desserts will be the easiest: cookies, cupcakes, brownies (the cakey kind are more manageable than the fudgy kind).

If an ice chest is available then ice creams can be included which opens up possibilities like do-it-yourself ice cream sandwiches.

Fruit salad is an excellent addition as well since it addresses the vegan, gluten-free, nut and chocolate allergy sufferers, etc. It's also typically the healthiest choice. It can be easily transported in ziplock bags so there are no bulky receptacles to bring home. Make it non-alcoholic with simple syrup and bring along a bottle of Grand Marnier for the adults who want a little more uh, body.

Provided you have a suitable receptacle for transportation, seasonal fruit tarts and pies will be a great match.

As always, much of this is governed by your knowledge of the food preferences of the diners. If it is a small picnic for people whose tastes you know intimately (like direct family members), you can make more deliberate choices than if you are going to a holiday potluck with a number of guests whose tastes and appetites that you do not know (just like a fall football tailgate).
702551 May 26, 2021
Also, if kids will be in attendance, I'd try to add some fun stuff: chocolate and multi-colored sprinkles, silver mini pearls, maybe odd-colored whipped cream in addition to the standard sliced almonds, chocolate chips, etc.

I've been attending the same football tailgate for over 25 years and when the kids are happy, the parents are usually happy. And yes, some of the kids that attended this tailgate in the early years grew up, had kids of their own and are still attending.
Emily K. May 27, 2021
Thanks as always for the wonderful suggestions, 702551! Thinking first about others in attendance always goes a long way :).
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