The art of eating al fresco is more difficult than it looks. Thankfully, there’s one source we turn to when packing up for an outdoor meal—you can score all the best picnic foods from Trader Joe’s, but knowing how to curate a selection for every occasion—well, that requires a bit more finesse.

Ahead, we’ve gathered the essentials for an indulgent French picnic (complete with an insulated basket), a breezy, beach-size gathering, the ultimate al fresco charcuterie set-up, and beyond. Whether it’s an impromptu affair or you just don’t feel like fussing with recipes, we’ve made our picnics as effortless as possible with foods curated exclusively from Trader Joe’s. Because filling your picnic basket should be easy on your budget—and we’ll take any excuse to hit up TJ’s.

Feature image by Teal Thomsen.

Image by Teal Thomsen

How to Pack a Breezy, Beachside Picnic

Unless you’re lucky enough to have an oceanfront address, a beach picnic likely means a bit of a haul. In order to save room for the integral wine, we’ve kept our suggestions on the lighter—but no less satisfying—side.  

Image by Belathée Photography

How to Pack a Gluten-Free Picnic

Perhaps your group is well-versed in the limitations of Celiac. Or maybe your friend just so happens to be avoiding gluten for trendier reasons. No judgment here—a gluten-free spread can be as substantial as a hearty glass of wheat beer thanks to our picks for the best picnic foods from Trader Joe’s.

Image by Michelle Nash

What to Pack for an Indulgent French Picnic Spread

We tend to think of relatively light fare when we think of picnics. But when you’re al fresco dream looks like a scene from Marie Antoinette, it’s time to call in the Trader Jacques heavy hitters.

Image by Michelle Nash

The Ultimate Charcuterie Picnic

Ah, the most leisurely picnic of them all. No cooking—just slicing, organizing, and nibbling. Feel more than free to pair with your favorite wine.

Image by Hannah Haston

The Best Prepared Foods at Trader Joe’s for a Picnic

We weren’t about to do a roundup of the best picnic foods from Trader Joe’s without devoting an entire section to what the beloved grocer does best: prepared foods and killer dips. 

Swap out something in our curated lists for these bestsellers below—or simply supplement. You can’t go wrong with a parmesan pastry pup or two.

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