The Best Summer Recipes to Add Fresh Flavors to Your Menu

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All-American Barbecued Chicken

The best summer recipes include bold and bright seasonal ingredients. That's what we have for you here in this collection of summer recipes, including grilled burgers, barbecue chicken, and homemade ice cream. So sit back, relax, and enjoy these warm-weather greatest hits.

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Sweet and Spicy Bourbon Pulled Pork

Sweet & Spicy Bourbon Pulled Pork
Brie Passano

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 in a simple sauce in your slow cooker (while you enjoy the weather).

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Chilled Corn Soup with Crispy Corn and Panko Toppers

bowls of Chilled Corn Soup with Crispy Corn
Brie Passano

Soup in summer? Sure! When you serve it chilled, like with this unique late-summer spin on gazpacho, the easy summer recipe makes for a stellar starter when you're not in the mood for another salad.

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All-American Barbecued Chicken with Balsamic Barbecue Sauce

All-American Barbecued Chicken
Andy Lyons

Barbecue chicken is truly a classic summer recipe, but there's something special about this batch. Find out why this recipe is a reader favorite, and why you'll want to cook it up every week. We'll give you a hint: It's all about the homemade barbecue sauce!

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Noodles and "Zoodles" with Saffron and Cream

Noodles and “Zoodles” with Saffron and Cream
Blaine Moats

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 meal is much lighter than many other pasta recipes, making it the perfect warm-weather dinner.

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Peach and Tomato Salad

Peach-Tomato Salad
Buff Strickland

We love ripe summer peaches and tomatoes, so why not combine the two? The result is a sweet and tangy side dish 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!

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Watermelon-Berry Limeade

Watermelon-Berry Limeade in clear glass
Andy Lyons

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.

Buy It: Ninja Professional 72-Ounce Countertop Blender ($90, Amazon)

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Grilled Fruit Pizza

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.

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Pasta with No-Cook Tomato Sauce and Mozzarella

Pasta with No-Cook Tomato Sauce and Mozzarella
Andy Lyons

Put away that jar of marinara sauce. You can make this delicious 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.

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S'mores Icebox Cake

S'mores Icebox Cake recipe square white dish
Brie Passano

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.

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Skillet Zucchini

Skillet Zucchini
Blaine Moats

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!

Buy It: Lodge Cast Iron Skillet ($30, Target)

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Greek Salmon Burgers

Greek Salmon Burgers
Andy Lyons

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.

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Southwestern Stuffed Roasted Peppers

Southwestern Stuffed Roasted Peppers
Andy Lyons

Spice up fiesta night with veggie-stuffed peppers! Overflowing with Southwestern flavor and topped with creamy Alfredo sauce, these chicken-and/or-shrimp peppers are packed with flavor and a fun variation on traditional chiles rellenos.

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Grilled Donuts

Grilled Doughnuts
Andy Lyons

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.

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Farro and Fruit Salad

Farro and Fruit Salad
Andy Lyons

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.

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Chicken and Peach Pesto Pizza

Chicken and Peach Pesto Pizza
Blaine Moats

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.

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Cherry-Berry Sangria

Cherry-Berry Sangria
Con Poulos

If you like mulled wine in fall and winter, then you'll love this fun 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.

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Fresh Corn Salad

Fresh Corn Salad
Andy Lyons

Turn to this summer recipe for a colorful kaleidoscope of fresh, in-season produce for your next dinner on the deck. Enjoy corn off the cob, arugula, and jalapeño, all tossed in a sweet-and-tangy pepper dressing.

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Rosemary-Strawberry Shortcake Pizza

Rosemary-Strawberry Shortcake Pizza
Sara Remington

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?

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5 Crazy-Good Corn on the Cob Toppers

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.

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Bucatini with Shrimp and Spicy Cherry Tomato Pan Sauce

Bucatini with Shrimp and Spicy Cherry Tomato Pan Sauce
Andy Lyons

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.

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Indian Cauliflower Fried Rice

Indian Cauliflower Fried Rice
Jason Donnelly

Pack this light and flavor-punched dish for a picnic or serve it up on the patio. Either way, this takeout-inspired skillet meal 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.

Buy It: Cuisinart Chef'S Classic Non-Stick Hard Anodized Open Skillet ($30, Walmart)

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Burrito Bowls

Burrito Bowls with bowls of cheese, guac, and pilo
Blaine Moats

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.

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Blueberry Ice Cream Pie

Lemon Blueberry Fans
Blaine Moats

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.

Buy It: OXO Good Grips Glass Pie Plate with Lid ($15, Amazon)

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Chicken-Chorizo Meatballs

Chicken-Chorizo Meatballs
Kritsada Panichgul

Start any summer shindig with zesty 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.

Buy It: Instant Pot Ultra 60 Electric 10-in-One Pressure Cooker ($140, Amazon)

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Tri-Tip Roast with Grilled Avocados

tri-tip roast with grilled avocados
Karla Conrad

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.

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Summer Spaghetti Salad

Summer Spaghetti Salad
Andy Lyons

This noodle recipe definitely gives pasta salad a whole new meaning! Spaghetti, string cheese, and squash noodles get the freshest tomato topping in this easy summer dinner recipe. Top with crunchy toasted walnuts for a tasty finish to this light vegetarian entrée.

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Roasted Vegetable Pasta Salad

Roasted Vegetable Pasta Salad
Jason Donnelly

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.

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Classic Vanilla Ice Cream

Classic Vanilla Ice Cream
Andy Lyons

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.

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Shaved Fennel Salad with Dill, Arugula, and Walnuts

Shaved Fennel Salad with Dill, Arugula, and Walnuts
Jason Donnelly

This fan-favorite summer salad recipe has just the right combination of sweet and savory. Arugula, zucchini, and fennel all play a role in making this quick salad recipe light, fresh, and delicious.

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Smoky Slider Skewers

Smoky Slider Skewers
Blaine Moats

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.

Buy It: OXO Good Grips Stainless Steel Grilling Skewers, Set of six ($15, Bed Bath & Beyond)

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Radish and Cucumber Salad

Radish Cucumber Salad
Reed Davis

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.

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Turkey Burger with Peaches and Blueberries

Turkey Burgers Peaches Blueberries
Andy Lyons

Sweeten your burger repertoire with this summer supper. 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.

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Four-Layer Caramel-Crunch Brownies

Four-Layer Caramel Crunch Brownies
Jason Donnelly

With brownie, crunchy caramel, peanut butter nougat, and velvety melted chocolate, each bite of this decadent summer recipe is sure to be better than the last. After all, when it comes to dessert, the more layers, the better!

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