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How To Keep Food Warm At A Picnic – 10+ Ways

Norah Clark
Keeping food warm at a picnic.

The best way to keep food warm at a picnic outside is to use a mixture of heating packs and an enclosed picnic basket. An alternative to heat packs keeps food warm in a casserole, crockpot, or insulated food container.

It’s hard to beat an enjoyable picnic outside in the sun on a beautiful day. Delicious meals that are enjoyed amid the beauty of nature.

We believe that having a picnic is one of the most enjoyable ways to enjoy food, whether you do it with family and friends or need to have tranquility and solitude on your own.

The typical picnic involves cold food. However, what if we could break out of the normal and bring something warmer?

Are you planning to bring hot food for your next family or friend’s get-together? Let’s look at the best ways to go about it safely and figure out the best way to ensure your food stays warm outside.

Best Ways To Keep Food Warm At A Picnic

There is nothing wrong with traditional cold picnic foods. We all enjoy the taste of a tasty pasta salad or sandwich. However, sometimes it’s better to think differently, and warm food can provide a completely new flavor to your picnic menu.

The idea of having warm food to fuel your outdoor excursion means you can eat out throughout the year and enjoy delicious hot food on the crisp autumn evening or cold winter’s day.

The warm foods you eat open up a wide range of choices for menus which is great if your children are bored with lunches! Chances are they

It’s not just about soups. Dishes like lasagna, hot dogs, curries, frittatas, casseroles, and hot pots are all delicious when outdoors having a picnic.

While cold picnic food is delicious, food served warm can open up a whole new range of flavors and smells if you are offered the choice of a cold cheese sandwich or a hot lasagna dish. I know exactly which one you would choose, let alone me!

Tips For Safely Serving Warm Food Outside

There are risks to warming a variety of food items for a long time. Bacteria can multiply rapidly when food is kept in the incorrect temperature range, dramatically increasing the likelihood of stomach upset or food poisoning.

Food safety experts recommend that food items be kept at the temperatures listed below:

  • Cold: 40degF or lower
  • Hot: 140degF or more

Therefore, anything between 40 and 140 degrees is considered a danger zone to avoid! Keep in mind that those temperatures represent the ones food products should be stored at and the temperature at which food is served.

This means that the casserole needs to be stored at or at or just above 140 degrees Fahrenheit until the point when you cook or reheat it until you are ready to eat it. This could take several hours in the case of an extended hike!

If you’re planning to serve hot food at any location where the temperature is a problem, think about investing in an instrument food thermometer. This will provide you with peace of mind that the food you serve can be served hot and is safe for consumption.

Be aware that you’ll also require appropriate plates, cutlery, and other utensils if you’re serving hot food during an outdoor picnic.

Use heat-proof bowls and napkins, so that guests are able to protect their hands. You might also require an insulated blanket that can be used for laying out hot meals.

How To Keep Food Temperature Outside At Winter Without Electricity

If you take your food items for an outdoor picnic, try to keep them as warm as possible. The food must have been warmed up to 140 degF before leaving for the picnic.

It’s not a problem when it falls below 140 degrees Fahrenheit. If this occurs, it should be consumed within two hours.

No one would like a cold curry or soup bowl. If you’ve put your effort into creating a tasty dish, it should be served hot!

Ensure that your food is at maximum temperature before leaving for your outdoor adventure without burning it or ruining it. This will allow you to keep it in the range of 140°F for longer.

If you are serving warm food outside, put it in its sealed container until you are in the mood to eat. This is not the place to put extravagant serving dishes. Your food should be kept warm and snug!

Don’t open the food items until the very last possible moment, and keep the food in the container as long as you can.

Anything that has been stored at 140 degrees F or lower for more than two hours should be removed, So the key here is to ensure that you keep the heat in the best way.

Let’s look at some ideas for keeping food hot when you are at the picnic!

Heat Packs

Have you ever thought that a lot of cool packs can be utilized for heating purposes? If you have an unopened cool pack in your fridge or cupboard, check it out and see if it could be the answer you’re seeking!

If you don’t have one, cold and hot packs are an incredibly versatile and cost-effective option to keep the food you eat warm.

They can be heated in only two minutes in the microwave. They will remain warm for several hours if they are kept in a well-insulated.

The most effective method to use heating packs would be to place them on top and underneath the food container and wrap everything in an insulating blanket such as towels.

It is also possible to use heat packs in one of our other warm food products, like cool boxes and insulated bags.

Insulated Picnic Baskets & Bags

Insulated bags for long trips can be a fantastic method to keep food warm and tasty.

There are plenty of fashionable functional picnic hampers on the market. You might be capable of securing yourself a packed food delivery bag with insulation – ideal for bringing larger meals for your picnic!

Not forgetting about keeping yourself warm as well – the duffel winter coat I recently bought from LogansFashions.co.uk had an inlay bag made for insulating food or snacks too!

When choosing an insulated bag for your carry, choose one that is comfortable and easy to transport. Make sure that your food container can be placed flat on the bottom of the bag to prevent spills.

Incorporate a couple of heat packs, and you’ll have an ultimate food-to-go transport device!

Cool Box

A cool box isn’t just for cold items; it is an insulated container that can hold heat as well as helps keep food cool! Place your heated food items in the cool box, then cover the container with a lid.

Once you arrive at your location, your food should be at the right temperature for serving right away!

The only issue with the cool box is that they aren’t easy to transport. If you’re buying an old one, make sure you choose one well-insulated and of the right size for hot dishes.

A long handle can be more comfortable for taking long walks.

Of course, you cannot utilize your cool box for hot and cold food in the same container! If you’re taking both or want to drink some cold beverages, you’ll require two containers.

Slow Cooker or Casserole Dish

Crock pots, slow cookers, and large-sided casserole dishes can keep the heat for long durations.

Before leaving for your picnic spot, cook the food items in the dish too hot as possible before putting the container in the heat-resistant bag. The dish should be wrapped in an insulating blanket, such as blankets that can help to keep heat in the dish.

You can also purchase bags that are insulated specifically for transporting warm slow cookers and casserole dishes. They will ensure that your meals stay warm as long as is practical and will allow you to serve hot food wherever you are!

Isolated Food Containers & Serving Bowls

If you’re planning to bring just a small portion of hot food for your picnic or picnic, a sealed food container that is insulated or a serving bowl is a convenient alternative.

Wide-mouthed flasks work well for casseroles and soups, or you can try an all-in-one serving bowl with cutlery in the lid. It is perfect for solo walking in the countryside!


We’ve covered the best ways to keep food hot when you are at the picnic; let’s take another look at some of the questions about the topic!

How do I keep food cool on an outdoor picnic?

Like warming food for lunch, keeping your food cool can be more challenging! Chilled food items should be held at 40 degrees or cooler to stop bacteria from expanding.

If food items are allowed to get above that, they should be consumed within 2 hours.

These are the most effective ways to ensure that food stays chilled during the picnic:

  • Cool Box
  • Insulated Picnic Bags
  • Ice Packs
  • Frozen Water Bottles

To keep food chilled for the longest time you can. Do not remove the food out of the container until you’re ready to take it out to eat. Food containers should be kept away from direct light. If you live near an outlet, drinking chilled water in buckets is an excellent method to keep drinks cold!

What can I do to serve hot beverages at an outdoor picnic?

While cold drinks are lovely and refreshing during picnics, sometimes you’re just in the mood to sip a hot beverage, even on a cold winter’s day!

It is possible to prepare hot drinks ahead of time, store them in a flask or thermos, or make hot water into these containers and prepare drinks during the picnic.

Heating water for hot drinks during the picnic isn’t as complicated as it may sound! Camping stoves are portable and easy to carry around, light to carry, and powered by small propane canisters or wood.

Profile Image Norah Clark

Norah Clark

Norah Clark, Editor of Boyd Hampers! Norah is a food writer with over a decade of experience in hospitality as a pastry chef, sous chef, and barista; former chef at the Savoy Hotel, Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons and Plaza Hotel.

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