We’ve polled our talented testers and come up with a list of what they’ve deemed the 12 outdoor entertaining essentials.

A group of people enjoying garden-to-table entertaining.

Ah, Spring. Those first few days each year when the sun seems to shine a bit brighter, the breeze feels a bit fresher, and the picture-perfect daffodils start to poke up from the soil as if to say ‘hello.’ It is finally that time of year where menus begin to transition from hearty soups and braises to lighter, baby vegetable-studded salads and fruit-based desserts; all of which add an extra skip to our steps and smiles to our faces.

Something else to get excited about as the days get warmer is more time spent outside—whether it is time spent grillin’ and chillin’ with your neighbors, dining al fresco, or simply relaxing poolside with your favorite refreshing beverage, we couldn’t be more excited to embrace this much-anticipated springtime vibe! That is precisely why we decided to brainstorm with our dedicated group of talented testers and hand-pick outdoor entertaining essentials that are certain to jump start the season; products that are guaranteed to carry us right into the sweltering heat of summer.

Good things come in threes

Zormy Insulated Wine Cooler Tote.

Can’t decide whether to bring a festive bubbly, a crisp French rosé, or a refreshing vino verde to the party? With this stylish, thermal-insulted wine carry-all you don’t have to choose. All three of your curated selections will arrive perfectly chilled and ready to be sipped. All of which would be perfectly paired with a Classic Cheese and Charcuterie Board or a savory Herbed Ricotta Dip with Spring Vegetables.

3-Bottle Insulated Wine Tote, $24.99 on Amazon.com

Straws that will survive the apocalypse

Three Hiware stainless steel metal straws in glasses mostly filled with red liquid.

This 12-pack of sleek, reusable metal straws is the perfect accessory for your next backyard gathering.  They are super durable so they won’t break or bend, plus they are non-toxic, stain-free, rust-proof, scratch-proof, and 100% recyclable. They just can’t wait to be a part of your next pitcher of fruit-filled sangria or tart homemade lemonade. Go ahead and slurp, you know you want to.

Stainless Steel Straws, $6.99 on Amazon.com

Could you be any cooler?

A blue Yeti cooler with wheels.

YETI Tundra coolers are the stuff of legends. They’re built for whatever Mother Nature throws their way, which is surprisingly a long list of incredibly dangerous creatures and weather patterns. But no sweat — these outdoor coolers are more than up for the challenge. From the backcountry to the BBQ get-together, your YETI Tundra is ready for any and every outdoor adventure.

Yeti Tundra Wheeled Cooler, $400 on Amazon.com

The party starts here

4 Piece French Bull Melamine Plates.

With their vivid pop art-inspired designs, these colorful French Bull Melamine Dinner Plates are sure to make a splash at your next outdoor gathering. With scratch and shatter-resistant properties, these durable plates are just perfect for any indoor or outdoor get-together. Durable, functional, and supremely fun. The trifecta of easy outdoor entertaining essentials.

French Bull Melamine Dinner Plates, $25.47 on Amazon.com

Five blades are better than one

Poromi 5 Blade Herb Scissors.

Snip. Snip. Snip. Snip. Snip. Is that the sound of you snipping fresh herbs into a springtime salad or a crave-worthy bowl of Homemade Fire Roasted Salsa? We thought so. These nifty multi-blade herb scissors have not one, but five stainless steel blades to simplify chopping and to keep delicate herbs intact.

Multi-Blade Herb Scissors, $14.99 on Amazon.com

A chimney so good you’ll dance on the roof

Stainless steel charcoal chimney starter with wooden handle.

Ahhh. Grilling made easy. Whether you are in the mood for a classic bistro steak, a juicy cheeseburger, or even a plate of colorful grilled veggies on a lazy afternoon, nothing speeds up the process like this chimney starter. With its aluminized steel frame, unique conical shape, and extra-large capacity bin, your charcoal will be glowing and ready to go in no time.

Weber Rapidfire Chimney Starter, $27.41 on Amazon.com

A candle you’ll go buggy for

A citronella candle in a white jar decorated with a butterfly and a wooden lid.

We could all use some extra help getting rid of those pesky summertime pests. Citronella is a proven, all-natural insect repellent made from the lemongrass plant that repels insects by masking the smells biting insects are attracted to. These candles have an 80-hour burn time and come in three refreshing scents: Blossom, Eucalyptus, or Sea Salt. Now, shoo! Get back to that hot grill. Those glazed ribs are not going to grill themselves.

Citronella Triple Wick Candle, $38.25 on BallardDesigns.com

Winner winner, chicken dinner

Koohere Beer Can Chicken Holder.

Because who doesn’t like a tender, fall-off-the-bone whole chicken that is crispy on the outside and moist on the inside? This Beer Can Chicken Holder (plus a can of beer and a whole chicken of course) is just about all you need to achieve just that. Whether you are cooking on your trusty charcoal or gas grill, in your beloved smoker, or even your oven, just don’t forget to let us know what time to come over for dinner.

Beer Can Chicken Holder, $11.99 on Amazon.com


Meat your new best friend

Wireless Meat Thermometer next to case next to smart phone.

Just in time for grilling season, this brilliant wireless meat thermometer is there to save the day. The New Long Range MEATER+ is the first truly wireless, smart meat thermometer that allows you to monitor your food up to 165 feet away. MEATER+’s companion app sends estimated cook times and alerts to your smartphone, giving you the freedom to step away from the grill and enjoy the party or sit back and relax.  Whether you have grilled steak, barbecue chicken, or sticky glazed ribs on tonight’s menu, behold the digital age of grilling.

MEATER+ Wireless Meat Thermometer, $99.95 on Amazon.com

Fly in your soup? That is so past tents

Odies 7 Pack Food Covers.

Every once and a while an idea crosses your path that just makes you say, ‘Why didn’t I think of this?!’ This is one of those. These handy dandy, collapsible mesh food covers protect your food from outdoor elements while keeping your food visible. While definitely an outdoor entertaining essential for picnics, barbecues, and even camping, these must-haves can also be used as plant tents to protect plant seedlings in your garden.

Mesh Food Tents, $30.99 on Amazon.com

Simply un-grill-ievable

Fire Sense Yakatori Charcoal Grill.

Did you know that yakitori is the Japanese word for ‘grilled chicken on skewers?’ Well now that we are up to speed, this Fire Sense lightweight, charcoal Yakatori grill offers crave worthy street food-style grilled meats right in the comfort of your backyard. Whether you are craving grilled chicken, grilled pork, or even grilled scallops, it is time to get fired up.

Yakatori Grill, $63.07 on Amazon.com

For food that deserves to tower above the rest

Choice 3 Tier Seafood Tower.

This elegant 3-tiered serving tower is a gorgeous way to present your favorite party nibbles. Not only that, but its innovative aluminum construction helps maintain cool temperatures to keep your food staying fresher longer. We can’t think of a better way to highlight your thoughtfully prepared culinary creations!

3-Tiered Serving Tower, $178.99 on Amazon.com

Originally published May 6, 2022

About Anna Scott

Anna Scott has been an LC recipe tester since December 2010. Her love of food was inspired by her father, who taught her that a meal isn’t just the act of eating, but rather an experience that involves all of the senses—the presentation on the plate, the warm smell of the kitchen, the lively conversations at the dinner table, and the texture of the bread that you break. A Le Cordon Bleu graduate, she now works as a personal chef in Atlanta. The focus of both her clients’ meals and her personal cooking endeavors is on seasonal ingredients and on incorporating mise en place into her everyday repertoire.

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