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What Are the Different Types of Picnic Desserts?

By G. Wiesen
Updated May 16, 2024
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Different types of picnic desserts typically those that can be easily transported and served while eating outdoors. Many can be made ahead of time and stored in containers that are easy to carry. Largely, these are simple foods that are easily made. Elaborate recipes, however, can serve as picnic desserts with some preparation and planning.

Picnic desserts are typically chosen based on how well they can be prepared and carried to an outdoor location for eating at a picnic. Some of the most common dishes for this type of meal are cookies and brownies, which require baking but can easily be portioned out in advance. Pound cake and cupcakes are also quite popular, and these can be frosted or accompanied by fruit and other toppings that can be added before eating them. These picnic desserts are usually made ahead of time and can be cut into appropriate sizes before they are placed in containers.

While cupcakes or even regular cake may seem like unlikely picnic desserts, they are quite popular and can be enjoyed with just a little planning. Cupcakes can be made before a picnic and then either frosted and stored carefully, or left unfrosted until ready for eating. Slices of cake are usually easy to transport, especially if they are unfrosted, and then fresh fruit slices can be used to top them. Frosting can also be applied to cupcakes and similar treats once at the site of a picnic, though this is not always a practical consideration.

A number of picnic desserts can be assembled and prepared while at a picnic, rather than ahead of time. S’mores, for example, are combinations of graham crackers, toasted marshmallows, and chocolate bars that can be easily made by using a barbecue grill or campfire. Packaged desserts from a store or bakery also make excellent treats for enjoying outdoors at just about any type of picnic.

There are even more elaborate forms of picnic desserts that can be made and taken to a picnic, though these can involve more planning. Berry pies, for example, can be made and baked ahead of time, and then allowed to cool while being transported to a picnic or other event. Certain containers can be used to make this even easier, though eating and serving utensils are typically required for this type of dish. Cobblers or crumbles can also be made as picnic desserts, in much the same way as pies, though they are often prepared in cast iron skillets that may be difficult to transport.

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Discussion Comments
By literally45 — On Jul 16, 2013

@burcidi-- I agree! Peanut butter and chocolate chip bars are perfect for a picnic. And brownies too!

I don't like taking fruit or creamy stuff to picnics because things always go wrong. They melt, become soft and get ruined.

I once took a mousse fruit cake for a picnic. It was the biggest mistake I've ever made. After the meal, everyone was ready for dessert. They opened the cake box and found orange soup. The entire cake melted! I was so embarrassed!

By burcidi — On Jul 15, 2013

@turkay1-- A traditional slice of cheesecake is not the best picnic dessert because it requires plates and utensils. It can also get messy while transporting, not to mention that it has to be kept cool.

But if you serve the cheesecake in individual plastic cups, prepare it at home and put it in a cool container for the picnic, it will probably be okay. You still have to be careful while transporting them though.

Cookies, cupcakes, dessert bars and mini pies are the best for picnics. They don't have to be kept cool and can be eaten by hand. Cleanup is easy and you don't have to worry about having enough plates and forks.

By candyquilt — On Jul 15, 2013

Is cheesecake a good picnic dessert? I'm not very good at making cookies and cakes. I can only make a no-bake cheesecake.

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