The Best Summer Recipes to Add Fresh Flavors to Your Menu
Sweet and Spicy Bourbon Pulled Pork
Pulled pork is a favorite summer recipe for good reason: Since you’re likely wearing short sleeves, you can get as saucy as you like devouring your sandwich. In addition to a splash of bourbon, this homemade barbecue sauce gets sweetened with a can of soda. To keep your kitchen cool, the pork simmers with onions and that simple sauce in your slow cooker (while you enjoy the weather).
Chilled Corn Soup with Crispy Corn and Panko Toppers
All-American Barbecued Chicken
Noodles and "Zoodles" with Saffron and Cream
Dress up your spaghetti by adding zoodles (aka zucchini noodles) to the mix. A light and creamy sauce makes this double-noodle dish perfect for slurping down on a toasty summer night. This twirlable summer recipe idea is much lighter than many other pasta recipes, making it the perfect warm-weather dinner.
Peach and Tomato Salad
We love ripe summer peaches and tomatoes, so why not combine the two? The result is a sweet and tangy salad with red onion, feta cheese, and fresh basil that will fit right in at your picnic. It’s so light and refreshing, this easy summer recipe will disappear in a flash; you may want to make a double batch!
We all love cooling off with a juicy slice of watermelon, so we turned this favorite summer fruit into a refreshing drink! Blend in strawberries and coconut water to really make this summer sip sparkle. When the ultra-hot days of summer hit, cooling off with this best summer recipe is a must.
Related: 41 Refreshing Summer Drink Recipes
Grilled Fruit Pizza
Add this dessert pizza to your repertoire of good summer recipes to grill, because your family will be craving it at least once a week. Turn a plain fruit salad into a summer wonder by tossing cantaloupe, honeydew, and watermelon on your barbecue. Serve on top of warm flatbread with prosciutto, honey, and ricotta cheese for a flavor-packed final course.
Pasta with No-Cook Tomato Sauce and Mozzarella
Put away that jar of marinara sauce. You can make this great summer recipe for pasta sauce with tomatoes from your garden. Even better, to help keep your home cool in the sweltering summer heat, no cooking is required for this garden-fresh topping. All of that makes this noodle recipe a definite must-try this season.
S’mores Icebox Cake
There's no need for a fire to toast marshmallows when you can savor the same flavors in frozen form. Tucked inside one of our favorite summer recipes for dessert, you’ll find rich mascarpone-marshmallow whipped cream, chocolate chips, and graham crackers. And of course, since no s’mores recipe would be complete without ‘em, we call for topping things off with broiled mini marshmallows.
Transform your zucchini surplus into a side dish you'll want to eat all summer long by searing slices in a cast-iron skillet with a few other ingredients. Between your fridge and your garden, we bet you already have everything you need to make this veggie side dish. You don't even have to fire up the grill to make this easy summer recipe!
Greek Salmon Burgers
The next time you grill out, skip the ketchup and mustard. If you've been searching for summer seafood recipes, you're in luck. Perfect for backyard meals, these juicy salmon burgers are packed with flavor and fresh ingredients, then topped with Greek yogurt. This summer dinner recipe is high in protein and fairly healthy, too.
Southwestern Stuffed Roasted Peppers
Fried or baked donuts are good. Come summer, though donuts go grate (sorry!) or the grill. Doing so makes this sweet summer recipe crispy and totally dippable. Take a break from standard s’mores, fire up the grill, and bring the last course outside for a delish twist on a summer dessert.
Farro and Fruit Salad
On hot summer nights, we often find ourselves craving a fresh, light meal for dinner. Those days, this easy summer recipe comes to the rescue. This whole grain salad is bursting with fresh blueberries and a lemony vinaigrette. Eat it fresh or make it ahead for a grab-and-go lunch or later dinner.
Chicken and Peach Pesto Pizza
Pesto pizza gets a warm-weather makeover in this sweet and savory pie, one of our best summer recipes. It's a flavor combination you never expected, but it tastes just right. If you really want to crank up the summer vibes, try using barbecue chicken on your pizza instead of just grilled chicken.
If you like mulled wine in fall and winter, then you’ll love this great summer recipe for a spiffed-up happy hour drink. Cherries, strawberries, and blueberries infuse this drink with a fresh and fruity spark. Watching your sugar consumption? Try citrus sparkling water instead of lemon-lime soda.
Fresh Corn Salad
Rosemary-Strawberry Shortcake Pizza
Strawberry shortcake is a classic summer recipe. To make this recipe a little quicker so you can spend more time by the pool, bake the rosemary-spiked dough all together instead of making individual shortcakes, then slice into squares. Oh, and did we mention you can grill this dessert instead of baking it?
5 Crazy-Good Corn on the Cob Toppers
Little tastes better on a sunny summer day than in-season corn on the cob. Upgrade your garnish game with these uber-tasty corn-on-the-cob topper ideas for the best kernels you've ever tasted. Add the toppings just after pulling your ear of corn off the grill for the best results with this easy summer recipe.
Bucatini with Shrimp and Spicy Cherry Tomato Pan Sauce
Twirl a forkful of delicious summertime pasta for your next dinner. Quick-cooking shrimp join garlic and tomatoes in this 30-minute meal. It’s one of our favorite summer recipes not only for the lick-the-bowl-worthy results, but also for the versatility: it’s simple enough to make for a weeknight supper but special enough to serve to company.
Related: Quick and Healthy Shrimp Recipes
Indian Cauliflower Fried Rice
Pack this light and flavor-punched dish for a picnic or serve it up on the patio. Either way, this takeout-inspired entrée will disappear fast. Surround fresh veggies with creamy cauliflower fried rice for a healthy, filling, and delicious meal. To finish this summer dinner recipe, top each bowl with cilantro from your garden (if you're a cilantro fan, that is) for an extra burst of freshness.
You can skip the trip to your nearest Mexican restaurant: Handmade burrito bowls are as easy as 1-2-3. Mix up veggies, chicken, and cauliflower rice for a quick, easy, and healthy summer dinner recipe. To make your bowl super seasonal, use fresh herbs from your garden or mix up your own tomato salsa.
Blueberry Ice Cream Pie
Get those fresh blueberries ready for this great summer recipe! You’ll stun your summertime dinner companions with a berry-covered ice cream pie, complete with soft vanilla ice cream and an almond-brown sugar crust. Nutmeg and fresh lemon zest give an extra kick to this pie's hidden sliver of rich blueberry sauce.
Start any summer shindig with zesty Chicken-Chorizo Meatballs. Slow-cook these appetizer-perfect bites in a special homemade sauce featuring garlic, poblano pepper, and zippy salsa. They're a great appetizer (or light main dish) for a summer celebration.
Tri-Tip Roast with Grilled Avocados
The tri-tip, cut from the bottom sirloin, is prized for its rich flavor. Grill up this juicy roast next to avocado and freshly chopped veggies for a blue ribbon-worthy summer dinner recipe. When you top it off with fresh pico de gallo, you'd be hard-pressed to find other summer recipe ideas that can compare.
Related: How to Choose a Steak
Summer Spaghetti Salad
Roasted Vegetable Pasta Salad
Little screams “summer!” more than a bowl of pasta salad loaded with piles of fresh, seasonal veggies. And even though it contains zero meat, this savory pasta salad recipe will please any picnic guest thanks to protein-rich beans, "meaty" mushrooms, and satisfying root vegetables. We seriously doubt you'll have any leftovers of this easy summer recipe to tote home afterward.
Classic Vanilla Ice Cream
Ice cream cones and summertime are a match made in heaven. Scoop up sweet childhood memories with classic ice cream made with whole vanilla beans and pure vanilla extract. Bonus: It’s a breeze to dress up your DIY ice cream with combos like lavender and cinnamon or strawberries and chocolate to make this summer recipe your own.
Shaved Fennel Salad with Dill, Arugula, and Walnuts
Smoky Slider Skewers
Slider, meet skewer. Grill up these cool kabobs for perfect outdoor eats. These skewers may be simple (just ground beef and a few spice rack staples), but they're a definite step up from a basic summer hamburger.
Radish and Cucumber Salad
If you don't have your own vegetable garden, it's time for a trip to the farmers market! Use fresh and summery cukes and radishes for the ideal al fresco dinner side. Drizzling a quick vinaigrette of olive oil, lime juice, and vinegar on top doesn't hurt the healthy summer dinner recipe, either.
Turkey Burger with Peaches and Blueberries
Sweeten your burger repertoire with this great summer recipe. Healthy turkey burgers meet summer fruit for an in-season dinner. You won't even need condiments to make these burgers outrageously delicious: just fresh peaches, blueberries, and a few slices of cheese.