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18 Cheap Picnic Ideas for a Portable Feast

Cut culinary costs with these cheap picnic recipes and spend your summer savings on outdoor activities!

By: Jordan Sward, Editor, CheapThriftyLiving.com
Cheap Picnic Foods for a Portable Feast

On days when there’s not a cloud in the sky and the summer sun is shining, it’s almost a sin to stay inside, even to eat! Whether you’re running around with the kids, soaking up sun rays or taking a hike through the park, before long you’re bound to get hungry. Don’t get caught empty handed on your next day out. These summertime recipes allow for a few cheap eats! These cheap picnic ideas also double as ideas for your July cookout and family potluck!

We’ve compiled our favorite cheap picnic recipe ideas so you’ll be able to enjoy a meal in the park without breaking the bank. It’s a good thing there’s no shortage of flavors in these budget-friendly recipes because let’s face it, who wants to spend their summer paychecks on expensive picnic food when it could go to water park admissions or outdoor concerts?

1. Must Have Classic Deviled Eggs

Simple yet delicious, just the way deviled eggs should be. Make them in the morning and pack them in a plastic container for a picnic appetizer that doesn’t even require utensils.

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Must Have Classic Deviled Eggs

2. Party Perfect Strawberry Jell-O

Party Perfect Strawberry Jell-O is that retro dessert recipe you've been craving for your next big bash. Impress everyone with this flamboyant Jell-O mold recipe that is vibrantly pink and deliciously strawberry-flavored.

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Party Perfect Strawberry Jell-O

3. Golden Raisin and Broccoli Salad

Easy: check! Cheap: check! Delicious: check! This salad meets all the criteria for a budget-friendly recipe that makes a perfect picnic starter.

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Golden Raisin and Broccoli Salad

4. Perfect Potluck Cucumber Salad

This is a crazy delicious salad that is great for all year around and takes only 15-20 minutes to make.

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Perfect Potluck Cucumber Salad

5. Southern Corn Salad

This corn salad recipe has a bit of sweet, spicy, and savory all mixed into it making it quite possibly the best salad you will ever eat.

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Southern Corn Salad

6. Comforting Retro Tuna Noodle Casserole

If you don’t mind packing a few forks, pack this pasta casserole. Super cheap to make and a delicious portable meal.

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Comforting Retro Tuna Noodle Casserole

7. Easy 5-Minute Chicken Salad

This chicken salad recipe will blow your mind with just how easy it truly is. The mix of savory and sweet makes for a wonderful explosion of flavors!

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Easy 5-Minute Chicken Salad

8. Easy 7-Layer Potato Salad

Made with eggs, shredded Cheddar cheese, bacon bits and plenty more, this is an easy potato salad recipe that will keep them coming back for seconds.

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Easy 7-Layer Potato Salad

9. Cake Mix Peach Cobbler

These irresistible cake mix peach cobbler only uses 4 ingredients, so you will save on time and money.

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Cake Mix Peach Cobbler

10. Irresistible Cake Mix Bars

These cookie bars are made with cake mix, so they’re both inexpensive and easy to throw together before heading outside.

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Irresistible Cake Mix Bars

11. Easy Monster Cookie Recipe

There's something in these cookies for everyone! From peanut butter to oats to candy pieces, these monster cookies really have it all!

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Easy Monster Cookie Recipe

12. Ramen Noodle Salad Recipe

Elevating cheap ingredients is the easiest way to ensure you stay on budget! This Ramen noodle salad is the perfect picnic food as it's portable, inexpensive, and, most importantly, delectable!

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Ramen Noodle Salad Recipe

13. Easy Watermelon Pizza Recipe

This watermelon pizza will entice your kids to eat all of their fruits! This fun dessert is ideal for any outdoor adventure!

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Easy Watermelon Pizza Recipe

14. 3-Ingredient Grape Salad

This three-ingredient salad could not be easier! This light and fluffy delicacy combines the creaminess of yogurt with the sweetness of grapes!

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3-Ingredient Grape Salad

15. Joyful Jello Oranges

These orange slices will really brighten your kids' faces! These joyful jello creations provide a delightful way to finish a picnic meal!

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Joyful Jello Oranges

16. Easy Pico de Gallo Recipe

Add some freshness to your summer spread with this easy pico de gallo! This side dish is best served with tortilla chips for a bright addition to your picnic offerings!

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Easy Pico de Gallo Recipe

17. Easy No Bake Cookies Recipe

The best picnic recipes are those that don't require any cooking at all! These no-bake cookies create chocolatey morsels that won't heat up your house!

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Easy No Bake Cookies Recipe

18. Avocado Hummus Recipe

What's the best way to start a picnic? Spicy avocado hummus! This recipe creates a hearty hummus that acts as a delightful dip for carrots, celery, and anything else!

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Avocado Hummus Recipe

What’s your favorite outdoor picnic dish?

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I'm a little apprehensive about the tuna casserole, but everything else looks legit... especially those cake mix bars!

These recipes look so delicious. I'm especially intrigued by the tuna noodle casserole. My mom used to make that dish throughout my childhood, so it's very nostalgic.

I love pasta salad, though not the traditional kind with lots of mayo. A simplified version with some vinaigrette or oil is perfect because it's not as heavy. The food in this list looks so tasty that I am definitely going to add some of these to my picnic list.

My mom makes an amazing pasta broccoli salad that my family completely devours at picnics. The tuna noodle casserole looks tasty - I'll have to give it a try!

These recipes look so yummy! I love to pack sandwiches in my picnic, and the chicken salad recipe here looks perfect for that.

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