Advertisement

22 Picnic Sandwiches to Tote to Every Outdoor Gathering This Summer

You were invited to a picnic and wasted no time choosing a cute wicker basket, a flowy sundress and a bottle of rosé for the occasion. But what about food? The best dishes for a picnic should be easy to transport and tasty hot or cold. Better yet, many of them will keep long enough that you can prepare them ahead to save time the day of. Whether you’re feeding meat lovers, vegetarians or picky kids, one of these 22 picnic sandwiches is sure to fit the bill.

68 Picnic Food Ideas to Pack in Your Basket

Sides to Serve with Picnic Sandwiches

You can’t go wrong with the classics: We’re talking refreshing coleslaw, kid-friendly pasta salad, creamy potato salad, pickles and potato chips, store-bought or homemade (they aren’t too difficult or time-consuming to pull off, promise). You can also make a large salad ahead, whether the base be leafy greens or summer tomatoes, or you can serve the sammies with roasted (or better yet, grilled) seasonal vegetables, like corn or zucchini.

Pack pre-sliced peaches, washed-and-dried berries or watermelon wedges for a sweet ending to the meal.

The Best Picnic Sandwiches for Summer

1. Smashed Chickpea Salad Sandwich

Katherine Gillen

  • Time Commitment: 15 minutes

  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, make ahead, no cook, beginner-friendly

Zingy, creamy and full of plant-based protein, these handhelds will satisfy and surprise the picnic-goers. Pickled pepperoncini or jalapeños add the right dose of acid and spice to the mild chickpea salad.

Get the recipe

2. Avocado Egg Salad Sandwich

Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

  • Time Commitment: 25 minutes

  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, make ahead, beginner-friendly

A trio of fresh herbs (dill! parsley! basil!) takes this main over the top. Mix the egg salad a day or two before the picnic. Keep it in a container in the fridge until the big day, then assemble the sammies once you arrive to keep the bread from getting soggy.

Get the recipe

3. The Ultimate Grilled Chicken Sandwich

Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes

  • Why We Love It: high protein, special occasion-worthy

This sandwich is sure to satiate after a long day in the pool or on the softball diamond. Sub store-bought crispy onions to save time; the most important part of this sando is the dill-lemon yogurt sauce anyway.

Get the recipe

4. Rainbow Collard Wraps with Peanut Butter Dipping Sauce

Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes

  • Why We Love It: make ahead, vegan, no cook

A veggie wrap is a great compromise if there are folks at the picnic who don’t eat bread. The sturdy collard green leaves can hold their own against store-bought hummus and sweet-and-spicy peanut butter dip.

Get the recipe

5. Italian Deli Pinwheel Sandwiches

Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

  • Time Commitment: 25 minutes

  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, no cook, make ahead, crowd-pleaser, <10 ingredients

Nothing beats a recipe that calls for nothing but assembly. Pro tip: Toast each tortilla in a warm skillet before rolling the sandwiches—this will make them more flexible and less likely to tear.

Get the recipe

6. Grilled Peach, Prosciutto and Mozzarella Sandwich

Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

  • Time Commitment: 15 minutes

  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, <10 ingredients, special occasion-worthy

Tell cantaloupe to sit this one out—salty, tender prosciutto pairs just as beautifully with in-season stone fruit. Wash this summer stunner down with a crisp glass of rosé or pinot grigio (and grill the peach slices before placing them on the sandwich, if you’re feeling ambitious).

Get the recipe

7. Loaded Hummus Havarti Veggie Sandwiches

How Sweet Eats

  • Time Commitment: 25 minutes

  • Why We Love It: no cook, make ahead, <30 minutes, vegetarian

With store-bought pesto and hummus on your side, it won’t take much to boost the flavor of this sandwich. The recipe calls for arugula microgreens, tomato, cucumber and carrot, but feel free to use whatever produce is wilting away in your crisper drawer.

Get the recipe

8. Tempeh Bacon Bagels

Peter O’Sullivan & Simon Smith/Plants-Only Kitchen

  • Time Commitment: 15 minutes

  • Why We Love It: vegan, high protein, <30 minutes

Alfresco brunch with the girls? We’ve got you covered. The tempeh is brushed with a sweet, smoky glaze and fried until caramelized. Believe it or not, it’s an epic match for vegan cream cheese.

Get the recipe

9. Grilled Goat Cheese Sandwiches with Balsamic Beets

Colin Price/Great Grilled Cheese

  • Time Commitment: 2 hours

  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, make ahead, special occasion-worthy

Don’t let the time commitment deter you: If you prep the red beet purée and roasted golden beets ahead of the picnic, all that’s left to do the day of is assemble and grill. Wrap each handheld in foil, pack them in an insulated bag and head to the park.

Get the recipe

10. Tarragon Chicken Salad Sandwiches

Eva Kolenko/Bread Toast Crumbs

  • Time Commitment: 1 hour and 30 minutes

  • Why We Love It: beginner-friendly, make ahead, high protein

Any sandwich crowned with quick-pickled onions is one we’re eager to devour. (P.S.: You’ll spare yourself a ton of effort by starting with store-bought rotisserie chicken instead of cooking your own…just sayin’.)

Get the recipe

11. Crispy Tofu Bánh Mi

Photo: Mark Weinberg/Styling: Erin McDowell

  • Time Commitment: 40 minutes (plus chilling time)

  • Why We Love It: vegetarian, beginner-friendly, special occasion-worthy

Complete with pickled vegetables, spicy mayo, fresh herbs and a sesame seed crust. Wrap the sandwiches in foil to keep them warm, leaving a vent for steam to escape so the tofu doesn’t turn soggy.

Get the recipe

12. Cuban Sliders for a Crowd

Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes

  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, beginner-friendly, make ahead, <10 ingredients

Did you know you could make 15 sandwiches in one fell swoop? Simply add the bun bottoms to the baking dish, slather them in mustard, pile them high with ham, pickles and Swiss cheese and bake until melty. Then, top the dish with foil and head to the picnic. Bonus points for adding a layer of roast pork to the sliders for authenticity.

Get the recipe

13. Roasted Cauliflower Sliders

Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

  • Time Commitment: 50 minutes

  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, vegetarian, beginner-friendly

Don’t risk serving less-than-delicious veggie burgers. Instead, roast hefty slices of seasoned cauliflower to perfection, then sandwich them on buns slathered in spicy mayo and hummus. The plant-based eaters at the function will thank you.

Get the recipe

14. Buffalo Chicken Wraps with Blue Cheese and Celery

Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

  • Time Commitment: 20 minutes

  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, <10 ingredients

The only “cooking” you’ll need to do is toast the tortillas ahead of filling them so they’re pliable. In the words of Ina Garten, how easy is that? Sub ranch dressing for blue cheese if you’re not a fan of its funkiness.

Get the recipe

15. Ham, Swiss and Apple Sandwich

Emily Morgan

  • Time Commitment: 5 minutes

  • Why We Love It: no cook, <30 minutes, <10 ingredients, kid-friendly, make ahead

It doesn’t get simpler (or more kid-friendly) than stacking brown sugar ham, Swiss cheese and paper-thin slices of red apple on honey mustard-kissed potato bread. If you prepare the sammies ahead, spritz the apples with lemon juice to keep them from browning.

Get the recipe

16. Chicken Pesto Focaccia Sandwiches

The Minimalist Kitchen

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes

  • Why We Love It: high protein, special occasion-worthy, make ahead

Pillowy focaccia bread can give any sandwich that fresh-from-a-fancy-deli look. Here, it’s doused in cheesy, garlicky homemade pesto and topped with tender chicken, tangy feta, sun-dried tomatoes and greens.

Get the recipe

17. Grilled Vegetable Sandwich with Herbed Ricotta

Foodie Crush

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes

  • Why We Love It: vegetarian, beginner-friendly, make ahead

Herb-spiked ricotta is neutral enough that it can pair with just about any vegetable, from mushrooms to yellow squash to bell peppers. Add a touch of honey to the spread for sweetness or crushed red pepper flakes for heat.

Get the recipe

18. Pancetta-Wrapped Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Yum Creative/I Heart Cheese

  • Time Commitment: 25 minutes

  • Why We Love It: <30 minutes, <10 ingredients, kid-friendly

Are you there, comfort food? It’s us, PureWow. Cover these savory, salty, cheese-pully sandwiches in tented foil to keep them warm yet crisp or cook them at the picnic if there’s a grill available.

Get the recipe

19. Green Goddess Wraps

Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

  • Time Commitment: 30 minutes

  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, vegetarian, make ahead

It’s so easy being green with these tiny wraps in tow, which boast broccoli, cukes, bell peppers, avocado and lots of fresh herbs. Don’t even get us started on the tangy green goddess dressing, made with sour cream and buttermilk.

Get the recipe

20. Avocado Chicken Salad

Photo: Liz Andrew/Styling: Erin McDowell

  • Time Commitment: 45 minutes

  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, high protein, make ahead

Rotisserie chicken saves the picnic once again. Your guests will be none the wiser once the meat is chopped and combined with celery, scallions, avocado and a tangy, herbaceous dressing. Sub Greek yogurt for mayo if you’d prefer.

Get the recipe

21. Brussels Sprout Slaw Sandwich

Emily Morgan

  • Time Commitment: 5 minutes

  • Why We Love It: <10 ingredients, vegetarian, <30 minutes, beginner-friendly

How does this sammy come together in five minutes flat, you ask? It’s all thanks to pre-shredded or shaved Brussels sprouts. (You could shred them yourself, but the picnic guests won’t detect your shortcut, promise.)

Get the recipe

22. Giant Italian Picnic Sandwich

So Much Food

  • Time Commitment: 15 minutes

  • Why We Love It: crowd-pleaser, special occasion-worthy, high protein

When in doubt, stick with a crave-worthy classic. The onions—marinated in oregano, olive oil and red wine vinegar—and the Calabrian chili mayo will totally seal the deal.

Get the recipe

31 Camping Recipes That Aren’t Just S’Mores and Hot Dogs

Taryn Pire is PureWow’s associate food editor. A former bartender and barista, she’s been writing about all things delicious since 2016, developing recipes, reviewing restaurants and investigating food trends at Food52, New Jersey Family Magazine and Taste Talks. When she isn’t testing TikTok’s latest viral recipe, she’s having popcorn for dinner and posting about it on Instagram @cookingwithpire.