Mexican cuisine has some of the most portable dishes, so it stands to reason a Mexican picnic theme is a winning alfresco idea.
A cuisine that has become so entrenched in American culture, its adaptations are endless. And it isn’t only in the US where we find a familiar comfort with Mexican flavours and food. All over the world, people have an opinion on soft or hard tacos, a favourite recipe for guacamole or a secret salsa ingredient.
Mexican cuisine is fresh and fiery, celebratory and comforting. And while many of our global adaptations of Mexican cuisine are often far from authentic regional recipes, the flavours and concepts remain true.
Whether it’s an elegant summer picnic with cold pitchers of margaritas, a finger food affair, or a beach picnic with ice-cold beer, Mexican picnic food lends itself to any occasion. It’s an especially great kids picnic theme as it lends itself to easy to manage finger food.
In the spirit of portable food, we tip our sombrero’s to Mexican cuisine for these Mexican inspired picnic ideas.
From fresh and zesty salads to spicy appetisers and dips and, of course, the ever portable burrito, we have rounded up some wonderful Mexican recipes for your next alfresco event.
We’ve also got gorgeous Mexican fiesta decorations and picnic accessories to set the scene for your Mexican themed picnic.
Mexican Picnic Ideas
Whether it be a Cinco de Mayo picnic celebration or you're looking for a themed picnic idea, we've got you covered with some fabulous Mexican picnic recipes that are easy to make and incredibly portable.
Super Simple Mexican Salsa Roja Recipe
There are many different Mexican salsas, but one of the most popular is Salsa Roja – “red sauce”. Found in almost every Mexican restaurant and Mexican home, Salsa Roja is so easy to make, takes only a few fresh ingredients and goes with so many dishes.
Easy Chicken Quesadillas (Fajita Style)
The beauty of the quesadilla is it is easy to make in advance and is the perfect Mexican finger food. Make them in advance and cook them on a bbq grill at your picnic. Or, cook them at home and wrap them in foil to keep them warm (we give you tips for keeping food warm for a picnic here). They're even good cold.
Want a delicious, easy to make vegetarian quesadilla? Look no further than this delicious Mushroom Quesadilla recipe. So portable and versatile, these quesadillas also make a great finger food dish for a brunch picnic.
Mexican Charcuterie Board
A Charcuterie Board is a great picnic idea; a Mexican Charcuterie Board is an absolutely stellar idea.
Take all your favourite Mexican inspired bits and pieces to make a delicious fiesta grazing plate – queso fresco, manchego, guacamole, queso de Cabra, olives, pico de gallo, tortilla chips, fruit, the list goes on. There are so many Mexican delights you can add to your Charcuterie Board, it's a dish that will never get tired.
Roasted Red Pepper Hummus with Chipotle
Try a sweet and smoky roasted red pepper hummus with chipotle as an addition to your Mexican Charcuterie Board or as a stand-alone appetiser with crisp veg dippers or chips.
Make it as spicy as you like; this creamy hummus recipe also works well as an addition to tacos or burritos.
Want more ideas for dips? We have loads of hot & cold dip ideas here.
Mexican Handwoven Basket with Feature Pom Pom
While we can never go past a quality, practical picnic basket, there is always a need for a spare carry-all bag at a picnic. This gorgeous handmade basket by artisans of Oaxaca with feature pom pom is large enough to hold plenty of stuff, stable enough to stand on its own, and is very durable. It also adds a beautiful splash of colour to any Mexican picnic.
Tropical Mango Pico de Gallo
Give pico de gallo a summer twist with the addition of fresh mango.
This Tropical Mango Pico de Gallo is a fresh and flavorful salsa that pairs well with tacos, bbq meats, burrito bowls or on its own with corn chips. It's one of those go-to sides that compliments nearly everything Mexican.
Crispy Pan-Fried Sweet Potato Quesadilla
In a nod to the original Aztec version of the Quesadilla, this vegetarian beauty uses sweet potato, spices, cheese and black beans to make a big tortilla statement. Serve them with a spicy salsa or guacamole for a delicious Mexican picnic spread.
Again, serve these hot or cold, cook them at home and keep warm or finish them on a BBQ hot plate at your picnic.
Extra Large Serapa Fuscia Mexican Blanket
Every picnic needs a picnic blanket so keep your picnic on theme with an authentic Mexican blanket. This gorgeous Fuschia blanket is made in Mexico using a 100% recycled fibre blend. It's super soft and extra-large, perfect for setting out your piece of fiesta real estate.
Pico de Gallo
A dish that strangely translates to "beak of rooster", this fresh sauce is one of the most popular Mexican dishes.
Pico de Gallo is so easy to make, and there's barely a dish it doesn't go with, so there is no reason not to include it in your Mexican themed menu.
Set of Frida Kahlo Paper Napkins
One of Mexico's true icons, whether you love Frida Kahlo or not, these Frida napkins will be the talk of your picnic.
Every picnic needs a condiment or two, so why not make it special with this deliciously smoky chipotle aioli. Using only four everyday pantry ingredients, you can whip up this super versatile Mexican style condiment in under five minutes.
Crispy Pork Carnitas
Crispy Pork Carnitas is perfect for tacos, burritos, enchiladas, taquitos, taco salads, etc. It’s quick and easy to make and has so much flavour. Crisp it up in the oven after cooking for a dish that tastes just like it came from a Mexican restaurant.
The Mexican version of shredded pork, this dish is perfect for some serious picnic DIY platters.
Red Cabbage Mexican Slaw Recipe
Coleslaw is one of the quintessential picnic make-ahead salads; everyone loves a delicious coleslaw recipe. A versatile salad with so many incarnations and adding a Mexican twist to coleslaw is one of those wonderful variations.
Whip it up in 5 minutes; this Mexican coleslaw is full of fresh lime and cilantro flavours with sweet bursts of pomegranate and crunchy cabbage and cashews.
Bean and Rice Burrito
Burritos are like the Mexican version of the picnic sandwich. They are super portable, require no effort to eat and have countless variations – the perfect picnic food. This bean and rice burrito is a go-to if you want a hearty vegetarian burrito full of fresh and spicy flavours.
Spicy Vegan Mexican Rice and Black Beans
Whether it's rice on the side, as a burrito filler, or part of a burrito bowl, this easy one-pot Mexican rice and black beans is rich, flavorful and super filling. Loaded with Mexican spices, make it as hot or not as you like for a very versatile and portable picnic dish.
Hand Painted Mexican Fiesta Paper Decoration Banner
It's not a fiesta without decorations. Set the scene at your alfresco gathering with these delightful handmade traditional Papel Picado banners representing Mexico's vibrant culture.
Handmade from tissue paper, each flag is then glued to the string and assembled by hand to create the garland. Each flag depicts Mexican folk art images of nature.
Vegan 7 Layer Mexican Taco Dip
Take all of Mexico's most delicious ingredients and flavours and layer them to create the ultimate Mexican dip.
It's delicious but also healthy, easy to put together and a definite crowd-pleaser. Perfect for feeding a picnic crowd.
Breakfast Burrito Recipe
It might be called a breakfast burrito, but I like to think of this as any time of day burrito. Easy to make wraps with scrambled eggs, ground pork, kidney beans, and Mexican trimmings, these burritos are perfect for a substantial stand-alone picnic meal or cut into halves for smaller sharing burritos.
Cowboy Caviar (Texas Caviar)
This budget-minded dish is chock-full of colourful veggies and black beans with a zesty and spicy homemade dressing. Whether you call it Texas Caviar or Cowboy Caviar, it is perfect as a side dish or appetizer served with tortilla chips.
Chipotle Lime Roasted Sweet Potato Salad
For a Mexican spin on potato salad, this Chipotle Lime Roasted Sweet Potato Salad is an absolute winner. It's also a tasty and very healthy option.
Sweet, tangy, spicy and smoky, you can serve this salad warm or cold. It's also a nice vibrant side dish for a Mexican picnic spread.
Roasted Chili Corn Salsa
Here's a tasty and versatile little dish if ever I saw one. A Roasted Chili Corn Salsa loaded with roasted poblanos, garlic, onions, cilantro, and corn can be served as an appetiser with corn chips, as a side dish, or as a stand-alone salad.
To keep it simple, the recipe calls for frozen fire-roasted corn, but you can always swap it with fresh.
Traditional Mexican Embroidered Panama Hat
A hat is a welcome picnic accessory no matter the style of the picnic, so why not stay on theme with this gorgeous embroidered Mexican Fedora. It's made out of Palm, so it is lightweight and breathable.
Easy Vegetarian Empanadas
It wouldn't be a Mexican picnic without an empanada. These baked Vegetarian Empanadas are so easy to make and are a perfectly portable addition to any Mexican themed picnic. Add a dipping sauce of your choosing.
Fresh Mexican Avocado Salad
Avocados and Mexican food are a natural fit, as is this light, refreshing Mexican avocado salad. You only need five fresh ingredients to pull this green beauty together, and thanks to the simple lime juice dressing, you don't have to worry about your avocados browning.
Black Bean Guacamole Cups
Take your guacamole next level portable with these adorable bit size black bean guacamole cups. So much better for you than corn chips, these little black bean cups make great dip carriers and are really simple to make. I bet you'll be the talk of the picnic scene with these delightful Mexican appetisers.
Vegan Tex Mex Quinoa
Tex Mex Quinoa packs a punch on the Mexican aesthetic and flavour. Full of nutritious veggies and quinoa finished with a robust, tangy, lime-garlic marinade. It's such a simple salad yet so impressive.
Mexican Corn (Elote)
What's more portable than Mexican street food, and there's no more portable or popular street food than Elote – Mexican Corn. A great addition to a summer Mexican picnic when corn is at its best, these handheld treats make perfect picnic finger food.
You can also apply the same principle using baby sweet corn for a more petite version.
Sweet Potato Burritos
For a completely plant-based version of the beloved burrito, try these super delicious sweet potato burritos. The sweet potato is cooked in an aromatic mix of Mexican herbs and spices for a flavourful and filling vegan burrito.
Set of 6 Mexican Tortilla Baskets
Add these adorable Mexican tortilla baskets to your picnic set for an authentic Mexican vibe. Fill them with corn chips or sweet biscuits or line them with paper for individual DIY tortilla baskets. There are so many uses for these cheery baskets at a picnic.
Homemade Pork Tamales with Red Chili Sauce
You can’t get any more portable than delicious tamales; after all, they come in their own handy container.
Contrary to popular belief, one of Latin America's most popular dishes, tamales, are pretty easy to make and oh so delicious. Also, who doesn't love something you can eat straight out of its own wrapper?
Mini Taco Appetizers
Again, portability is the mother of invention, especially when talking about little bite-size taco appetisers.
It's everything you love in a taco but in an easy to manage bit size taco cup. They also look adorable, so who wouldn't be impressed?
Mexican Embroidery Otomi Reusable Frosted Cups
Make a Mexican inspired nod to the environment with these reusable plastic drinking cups adorned with Mexican embroidery designs. These make delightful little margarita cups that won't get broken, are stable for any picnic surface, and you can use them again and again.
Mexican Bean Salad
Try this Mexican Bean Salad recipe for a quick, simple, hearty salad that is also light and fresh. It's packed with flavour and ready in no time at all. A perfect addition to any Mexican themed alfresco gathering.
Mexican Pasta Salad
For a Mexican twist on pasta salad, this colourful bowtie pasta with sweet, juicy tomatoes, black beans and a creamy avocado vinaigrette really hits the mark. The vinaigrette style dressing keeps this pasta salad light and breezy while avocado adds some creaminess. Some might call it healthy.
Mexican Dessert Ideas
Every picnic needs a sweet treat. These Mexican dessert ideas are sweet little tributes to traditional Mexican recipes that are perfectly picnic portable.
Mexican Fruit Cup with Tajin
Give your fruit some spark with this tart and tangy Mexican fruit cup recipe. Fruit slices are topped with a tajin chilli lime seasoning, making the ripe fruit pop with unique and vibrant flavour. A healthy picnic snack with a little kick everyone will love.
Mexican Wedding Cookies
Mexican Wedding Cookies (also called Mexican Wedding Cakes) have centuries of history spanning the world finally arriving in Mexico in the 16th century. These powdered buttery morsels loaded with finely chopped nuts literally take less than half an hour to make for a delicious post picnic sweet treat.
Pan de Elote (Mexican sweet corn cake)
Another nod to typical Mexican street food is the Pan de Elote, a delicious, fluffy and moist Mexican sweet corn cake. Traditionally made with fresh corn and mostly sold by street vendors in Mexico, it is not difficult to make your own version of this deliciously moist cake.
Recipes may vary from family to family, but this recipe ensures the fluffiest, moist Pan de Elote. Sometimes it is the simplest recipes that are the best.
Everybody loves Churros and this homemade Churros recipe gives you the know-how for a gorgeously crunchy and sweet picnic dessert with the warming flavours of cinnamon and sugar.
If you are having your Mexican Fiesta picnic at home - serve them piping hot. For transporting them to a picnic, let them cool and store in an airtight container lined with paper towel to retain maximum crispiness.
Spiced Orange Tres Leches Cake
Brighten your day with this fresh and zesty Orange Spice Tres Leches cake – literally three milks cake. A beautifully moist and fluffy sponge-like cake that can be made well ahead of time. It actually does well to be made a little in advance.
We are big fans of brownies for picnics – we rounded up a bunch of brownie recipes here. There are so many ways you can make brownies and so many variations in flavours so why not spice them up a bit with a Mexican twist. Thick, rich and fudgy, it's all in the addition of a key few spices that make these brownies uniquely delicious.
These festive little Mexican Cookie Rings are a delicious buttery chewy sugar cookie you can whip up in around half an hour. Delightfully decorated to match your Mexican picnic theme,