Now that summer has finally arrived, it's time to step outside and enjoy the warm weather. And few foods are more picnic-friendly than sandwiches—portable, easy to share, easy to eat, and totally customizable. From lobster rolls to the most awesome fried chicken sandwich you'll ever eat, we've got 18 recipes to fill your basket.
The Ultimate Lobster, Bacon, Lettuce, Avocado, and Tomato Sandwiches
Sweet, tender chunks of lightly dressed lobster, smoked bacon, fresh tomato, crispy iceberg lettuce, and creamy avocado are piled on a butter-toasted ciabatta roll slathered with homemade, lemony mayonnaise. It's sure to become a staple in your summer sandwich repertoire.
Fried Chicken and Cole Slaw Sandwiches
The combination of hot, crisp, juicy, seasoned chicken with cool, crunchy, creamy cole slaw in a warm buttered bun is a hard sandwich to beat. They key is great fried chicken&mash;brine the meat to keep it moist once it's fried in peanut oil.
Vegan "B.L.A.T."s: Lettuce, Tomato, Avocado, and Crispy Smoked Mushroom Sandwiches
This sandwich is crisp and fresh, smoky and sweet, creamy and juicy. Basically, everything you'd ever want in a great sandwich. Our vegan mushroom bacon is the real star, though, delivering all the savory, smoky, meaty, crisp-but-pliant texture of the best bacon with none of the meat.
Mayo-Free Chicken Salad With Kimchi, Ginger, and Scallions
Mixing mayonnaise into chicken salad is the most common way to add moisture, but it's not the only way. Vinaigrette works well too, like this tangy Korean-inspired rendition with kimchi and sesame oil. Pine nuts, celery, and lots of fresh ginger add flavor and texture.
This green chutney is mildly spiced and slightly piquant, the perfect spread for a quick vegetable or shredded chicken sandwich. It keeps for a few days in the fridge, so it's ideal for a spur-of-the-moment picnic.
Make-Ahead Salami Sub with White Bean Spread and Kale-Slaw
A homemade white bean spread is what makes this sandwich special, not to mention especially ideal for making ahead. It has the creaminess of mayo but with sustainability, and packs a tangy punch with a touch of horseradish. Unlike lettuce, kale stays fresh and crunchy over time, and a sturdy baguette or ciabatta roll keep their texture. This one's for the destination picnic, if you will.
Muffuletta Shooter's-Style Sandwiches
Shooter's-style sandwiches are truly meant for picnics. They're totally self-contained, so they don't make a mess. They're typically big and cut up into neat portions, so they're perfect for sharing. Luckily, we have not one, but six shooter's sandwich recipes, all equally great for picnicking. Let's start with a classic muffuletta sandwich, filled with olives, Italian meats, and provolone. It's really delicious on a warm summer day.
Turkey, Bacon, and Broccoli Rabe Shooter's-Style Sandwich
Feed a happy crowd with this shooter's-style sandwich made with turkey, sharp cheddar cheese, bacon, and sautéed broccoli rabe. It gets pressed overnight for the best flavor and texture, making it especially good for taking on the go.
Italian Sausage and Fontina Shooter's-Style Sandwich With Onions, Peppers, Fennel, and Sun-Dried Tomato-Caper Relish
Juicy Italian sausage bound with melted Fontina cheese is all packed into this pressed sandwich with sautéed onions, fennel, and red peppers. Rich and tangy sun-dried tomato and caper relish balances out the fat.
Pork Carnitas and Oaxaca Cheese Shooter's-Sandwich With Spicy Refried Beans and Pickled Red Onions
Inspired by the flavors of Mexican tortas, this sandwich solves the messiness problem by packing it all into a bread boat and pressing under heavy weights until it forms a single, intensely flavorful package with juicy pork, pickled onions, jalapeños, beans, and gooey melted Oaxaca cheese.
Roast Duck Shooter's-Style Sandwich With Pickled Carrots, Daikon, Cucumber, and Hoisin Sauce
Peking-style roast duck is packed into a sandwich with quick-pickled carrots and daikon radish, sliced cucumbers, and hoisin sauce. The flavors are inspired by Chinese sesame pancakes, but pressed into a neat, flavor-packed meal.
Roasted Vegetable and Goat Cheese Shooter's-Style Sandwich
Roasted vegetables, caramelized onions, and goat cheese combine in this perfect bite-height sandwich. The vegetables are all cooked to maximize moisture loss, resulting in more concentrated flavors and a sandwich that doesn't get soggy or slimy as it sits.
Herbed Cucumber Radish Tea Sandwiches
For a tea-time picnic, pack these fresh and tasty cucumber sandwiches. Thin-sliced white bread is buttered and filled with herbed labne (yogurt cheese), pea shoots, fresh cucumbers, and peppery, crunchy radishes.
Smoked Chicken Salad
Next time you spend the afternoon smoking meat, throw an extra chicken into the smoker for sandwiches later. Mixing the smoked chicken meat with a mayonnaise-based dressing tempers the smokiness, celery and scallions add a nice freshness, and vinegar and lemon juice give it a contrasting tang that hints at a white barbecue sauce.
Wicked Good Lobster Rolls
If you really want to treat everyone at your picnic, then bring fresh, homemade lobster rolls. Follow The Food Lab's tips for tender, juicy meat, dressed simply and piled atop a buttery roll.
BLT Sandwiches with Candied Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato Jam
This BLT starts with candied bacon: thick-cut strips are rubbed with dark brown sugar, cinnamon, ginger, and black pepper, then baked until crisp and caramelized. Add tomato jam with ketchup-inspired flavors and cool, crisp iceberg lettuce to mayo-spread and toasted bread, and you have an ideal picnic-worthy BLT.
Deviled Ham Salad Sandwich
Intense and rich smoked ham is the base of this sandwich filling. Yellow mustard, Worcestershire, red onion, and cayenne pepper add some punch, while honey and sweet gherkins balance everything out.
Smoked Salmon and Dill Tea Sandwiches
This version of the classic smoked salmon tea sandwich calls for a dill-flecked cream cheese and some red onion to brighten things up. The sandwiches pack well and make a light but satisfying snack for a lazy afternoon picnic.