14 Make-Ahead Recipes for Summer Picnics & Barbecues

Food Love: Summer
14 Make-Ahead Recipes for Summer Picnics & Barbecues

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April 7 2023


What's spring or summer without a good picnic? We have delicious ideas for make-ahead appetizers, mains and sides! Prep these recipes in advance so they're ready to pack in the cooler for your summer picnics, barbecues and Fourth of July parties.

  1. Loaded Potato Salad

    It's not a picnic or backyard barbecue without potato salad. Load it up with bacon, cooked potatoes and sour cream. Our version can be made up to 2 days in advance.

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  2. Herb-Roasted Chicken Sandwiches

    Make these sandwiches up to 2 days in advance and store them in the refrigerator until they're ready to serve.

  3. Southwestern Burrito Jars

    Layered burrito jars make for easy transportation, and the layers stay separate so the ingredients remain crisp — even if you make them a few days in advance.

  4. Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Fusilli

    It's pasta salad reimagined! Mix sun-dried tomatoes, olives, fresh mozzarella and fusilli pasta to make an unforgettable side dish. Make up to 2 days in advance.

  5. Light and Tangy Coleslaw

    It's light and oh-so-tangy. Enjoy this salad as a side or on top of your burger or brat. Make up to 2 days in advance.

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  6. Garlic 'N' Herb Potato Salad

    Pre-cook the potatoes and mix them with all the ingredients except the arugula. Then, just before serving, mix with fresh arugula. The longer the potatoes stay in the champagne vinaigrette and seasonings, the more flavorful they will be.

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  7. Grilled Corn Salad

    Grilled sweet corn tastes even better when you let it marinate for up to 3 days with cilantro-avocado yogurt dressing and flavorful chopped ingredients.

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  8. Quickest Pickles

    If you love something salty with your meal, keep these quick refrigerator pickles on hand! They can easily be transported to any location and will keep in your refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

  9. 20-Minute Pasta Salad

    Pasta salad tastes even better on the second day because it has time to soak in all the flavors. We love this recipe for two reasons: you can store it for up to 3 days, and it only takes 20 minutes to make.

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  10. Keto Avocado Deviled Eggs

    If you're following a keto diet, then you'll want these deviled eggs at the barbecue! This delicious take on deviled eggs can be prepared 1 day in advance.

  11. Bacon Ranch Penne Pasta Salad

    If you're like us, you already love pasta salad. You'll love it even more with bacon and ranch.

  12. Summertime Salsa

    If you're bringing the chips, remember to bring something to dip them in — like this Summertime Salsa! Make it a day or two before the party, and refrigerate until you're ready to dig in. 

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  13. Ultra Simple Chopped Kale Salad

    Dressed salads can be made in advance? That's right! Make sure to use a hearty leafy green such as kale that soaks up all that delicious dressing flavor.

  14. Tarragon Green Bean-and-Tomato Salad

    Add a little something special to your salad. And "something" means fresh tarragon, feta cheese and tomatoes.