What’s In Your Picnic Pantry?

Whether you are planning a day picnic or an extended outing, the staples you pack in your picnic pantry will give you the most food flexibility. This checklist from Mama Caruso Cooks includes some basic pantry supplies for your picnicking enjoyment:

Basic Picnic Pantry

  • Collapsible table
  • Table cloth
  • 2 cutting boards
  • 2 knives
  • 2 plastic platters
  • 2-3 plastic bowls
  • 1 set of forks and spoons for all
  • 1 dish towel
  • Serving spoon
  • Cloth napkins
  • Handi-wipes
  • Salt and pepper
  • Corkscrew
  • Plastic cups
  • Can opener
  • 2-3 small trash bags
  • Folding chairs
  • Water

I like to use a basket or bag that has a wide opening to make it easier to find things. Roll the knives and silverware in the dish towel and put similar items together in baggies, such as salt and pepper and other spices. When items are grouped in bags it makes it easier for you to grab them together.

Find some nice shade

Scout out a nice shady location to set-up your picnic. This keeps the food fresher and reduces the sunburn risk. Here’s a video of Mama Caruso’s latest picnic excursion – check it out!

Tips for a carefree picnic

According to Webster’s dictionary,  picnics are carefree outings where participants typically enjoy food outdoors and so here are a few tips about food for a carefree picnic;


Pack hearty food like hard boiled eggs, hard rolls or thick crusted bread, cherries, hard cheeses, salami, cabbage, crackers. No matter how careful you are the items in your picnic basket will get crushed and get smooched in the cooler so pack softer foods in tupperware, even chips and crackers so you have something substantial on which to enjoy your food.


Even if you are picnicking in the middle of winter, food will get hot in your car or while out in the sun, so plan on using a cooler to keep your food fresh. What that means is that food is going to get wet – so pack food that is both hearty and can get wet, cherries, carrots, an unpeeled cucumber. For foods like cheese and dips like hummus, use really good plastic container and only resort to baggies for items that can get wet because they tend to leak.

Despite my love for mayo, I stay away from mayo based foods, there’s just no reason to risk it. However, individual sides travel packs are available for single servings on sandwiches.


Keep your friends and family healthy through a picnic with handi-wipes and wash all your utensils thoroughly, this is especially important when spending more that one day on the road. One other tip about staying healthy – we avoid many sugar-based foods and other items that will attract critters – from bees to chipmunks and bears – reducing the risk will keep everyone healthy.

Enjoy your carefree outdoor eating experience with these hacks and tips. We’d love to hear from you! What’s in your picnic pantry?


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