Summer Dinner Ideas That Make The Most of The Season
There’s so much to love about cooking during the summer. There’s an abundance of fresh veggies to choose from and it’s the perfect season for outdoor grilling. Savor those long days with these easy summer dinners that the whole family will love. When it’s too hot to think about turning that oven on, some of our favorite recipes for summer are no-cook or slow-cooker options that keep you out of the kitchen and in the sunshine. Enjoy every last bit of coastal flavor with summer dinners like crab cakes and fish tacos, and don’t forget to use the grill while you can. With delicious steak kebabs, ribs, grilled pork chops, and grilled chicken and veggies, you have all the excuses you need to get out and grill this season. Fresh produce and kid-friendly dishes shine in our easy summer dinner recipes.
Slow-Cooker Corn Chowder
This creamy soup makes an indulgent but not too heavy meal on a hot summer day.
Tomato, Cheddar, and Bacon Pie
Recipe: Crab-and-Bacon Linguine
This easy pasta, made with a delicious white wine cream sauce, will make any ’ole weeknight feel like a vacation. Bonus: Enjoy the rest of the wine chilled with dinner.
Recipe: Steak-and-Potato Kebabs
You know grilling season will fly by, so soak up those late sunsets and make dinner on the grill tonight with this hearty, summery dinner that’s perfectly rounded out with a simple salad.
Grilled Pizza with Summer Veggies and Smoked Chicken
Bring family pizza night into the season and take it outside to the grill! Leftover baked chicken (or grocery-store rotisserie chicken) and prepared pizza dough make this recipe super quick.
Bacon-Spinach-and-Couscous Stuffed Tomatoes
This is the perfect recipe for a summer clean-out-the-fridge night (as we call it in our house). Don’t have couscous? Use orzo, quinoa, or any kind of rice. Don’t have spinach? Use whatever greens you have on hand. Want to add more protein? Grilled chicken or shrimp would be delicious with these fresh tomatoes.
Best-Ever Crab Cakes with Green Tomato Slaw
Crab cakes feel like the type of dish you only order when you’re out at a fancy dinner, but they’re surprisingly easy to make at home! Great for impressing guests or getting a fresh taste of the Gulf Coast on a weeknight.
Pasta with Eggplant, Burrata, and Mint
Fresh eggplant, bright mint, and creamy burrata cheese (paired with a glass of chilled white wine) make for an indulgent but not-too-heavy pasta night that’s perfect for summer.
Easy Catfish Tacos with Slaw
Recipe: Easy Catfish Tacos with Slaw
This lightened up oven “fried” catfish recipe tastes just like the classic, and a bright easy slaw adds the perfect crunch.
Grilled Steak with Blistered Beans and Peppers
We try to plan steak dinners more often in the summer when we can use the grill instead of the cast-iron skillet on the stovetop, and this colorful, so-gorgeous dinner might be worth inviting the neighbors over for.
Heirloom Tomato and Chicken Toss
Recipe: Heirloom Tomato and Chicken Toss
This fresh summer salad is the most beautiful centerpiece for an easy family-style meal. Don’t forget some crusty bread to soak up every last drop of the season’s goodness.
Bacon, Peach, and Basil Burgers
Recipe: Bacon, Peach, and Basil Burgers
Pickled jalapeno-filled patties pair perfectly with sweet summer peaches, a caramelized onion-peach chutney mixture, and tangy goat cheese for the ultimate summertime burger.
Grilled Scallop-and-Mango Salad
Recipe: Grilled Scallop-and-Mango Salad
Fast, fresh, and topped with your new favorite homemade buttermilk dressing, this salad will be a beachy go-to for summers to come.
Grilled Spice-Rubbed Pork Chops with Scallion-Lime Rice
Make use of fresh summer corn and tomatoes with a hearty pork chop dinner that the kids will love.
Crab Boil with Beer and Old Bay
Recipe: Crab Boil with Beer and Old Bay
Nothing screams summer more than a classic, family-style crab boil. Long summer days are perfect to enjoy this coastal feast outdoors.
Recipe: Shrimp-Okra-and-Sausage Kebabs
This 20-minute dinner is amazingly quick and easy, but Cajun seasoning and fresh summer okra makes it incredibly flavorful, too.
Stuffed Eggplant Parmesan
Recipe: Stuffed Eggplant Parmesan
You might not want to down a heavy pasta recipe on a hot summer night, but this low-carb version of eggplant parm is ready for the season.
BBQ Pork Loaded Baked Potatoes
Recipe: BBQ Pork Loaded Baked Potatoes
Easy, kid-friendly, and perfect for a summer cookout, we love this creative way to enjoy two of our favorite things—barbecue pulled pork and baked potatoes.
Chicken and Charred Succotash Salad
The easiest “eat the rainbow” healthy dinner, this light, bright salad is on the table in less than 30 minutes.
Pasta with Shrimp and Tomato Cream Sauce
This simple recipe only takes a handful of ingredients and 25 minutes, which makes it a busy night win with a summery spin.
Creamy Rice with Scallops
Recipe: Creamy Rice with Scallops
Smoky, salty bacon complements buttery sweet scallops and corn perfectly for this impressive but simple dinner.
Crispy Soft-Shell Crab Sandwiches
Recipe: Zucchini Lasagna
Thinly sliced strips of zucchini make this indulgent dish low-carb, but three kinds of cheese ensure you don’t miss out on any comfort-food goodness.
Grilled Steak Salad with Green Tomato Vinaigrette
Although a perfectly grilled steak is hard to beat, the fresh green tomato vinaigrette is truly the star of this gorgeous salad.
Skillet Orzo with Fish and Herbs
Recipe: Skillet Orzo with Fish and Herbs
This is truly a one-dish dinner that starts and ends in your skillet for ultimate weeknight ease that has the main and side dish in one.
Slow-Cooker Pork Tacos with Fresh Tomato Salsa
Shrimp Boil Vegetable Bowls
Farmers' Market Pasta Salad
Recipe: Farmers’ Market Pasta Salad
This recipe’s name basically sums it up—use any and all of your fresh farmers’ market haul to make a beautiful dinner that’s great warm, at room temp, or cold.
Greek Pork Chops with Squash and Potatoes
Your trusty sheet pan and a short ingredient list make this dinner the easiest one you’ll put on the table all week.
Crispy Chicken Cutlets with Blistered Tomatoes
This recipe is the summery cousin of chicken piccata. We especially love to make recipes that call for dry white wine in the summer so we can enjoy a glass with our dinner.
Memphis Dry-Rubbed Baby Back Ribs
It’s not summertime without some at-home barbecue action. This dry-rubbed recipe is easy enough for even the most novice pitmaster.
Pasta with Burst Tomatoes and Mascarpone
This easy, summery dinner makes that store-bought ravioli that’s been gathering dust in the freezer look dressier than the effort the recipe calls for intends, but your guests (or the kids) don’t have to know that.
Kettle Chip-Crusted Fried Green Tomatoes with Tasso Tartar Sauce
No fryer necessary—all you need to enjoy classic fried green tomatoes at home is your trusty cast-iron skillet.
Chicken, White Bean, and Spinach Salad
The beans, chicken, and dressing for this salad are all made with the ease of your slow cooker when it’s too hot out for the oven and too pretty out to be stuck in the kitchen.
Sloppy Joe Carolina-Style Burgers
Plenty of summer recipes showcase the season’s abundance of fresh fruits and veggies. This is not one of those recipes, but we promise the kids will eat every last bite.
Tortilla-Crusted Tilapia with Citrus Slaw and Chipotle Tartar Sauce
Pan-fried fish filets pair incredibly with a zesty homemade slaw recipe for a beachy dinner that will impress even the pickiest little ones at your table.
Recipe: Whole-Grain Panzanella
If you’re looking for a fresh new way to use that rotisserie chicken in your fridge, say hello to this beauty.
Sheet Pan Pizza with Corn, Tomatoes, and Sausage
Fresh tomatoes cook down with hot Italian sausage for a homemade sauce with a bit of zip that’s way better than jarred.
Toasted Israeli Couscous and Shrimp
Recipe: Israeli Couscous and Shrimp
There’s nothing we love more than a healthy weeknight dinner that cooks in one skillet (and the way it cuts our dish washing time down).
Grilled Creole Chicken and Okra
Recipe: Grilled Creole Chicken and Okra
Chicken thighs, andouille sausage, and plentiful summer veggies taste amazing with Creole spices and a good char from the grill.
Skirt Steak Soft Tacos with Avocado-Corn Salsa
Taco night doesn’t have to be cheat night! Keep it light with grilled steak and fresh avocado-corn salsa.
Grilled Eggplant-and-Corn Romesco Napoleons
This beautiful meatless dish showcases some of summer’s favorite veggies, but you can always serve it with grilled chicken, fish, or shrimp for extra protein.
Sheet Pan Nachos
Recipe: Sheet Pan Nachos
Our sheet pan has come to the rescue countless nights at dinnertime, and this easy recipe will be a repeat, kid-friendly savior.
Sweet-and-Spicy Chicken Drumsticks with Squash
A red pepper jelly-based glaze is the star of this easy one-dish dinner.
Spaghetti with Marinated Tomatoes and Mozzarella
Marinate the tomatoes ahead of time and throw this simple pasta together in a snap.
Tangy Slow-Cooker Pork Shoulder
Fried Delacata Catfish
Tropical Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Recipe: Tropical Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Store-bought rotisserie chicken saves the day again with this healthy no-cook dinner recipe.
Ranch Turkey Burgers
Recipe: Ranch Turkey Burgers
It’s no secret: Southerners love ranch. This lightened up recipe has everything you crave about burger night with extra ranch flavor.
Recipe: Eggplant Rollups
If you’re trying to keep it low carb during swimsuit season, this fresh eggplant recipe will satisfy those pasta cravings.
Lighter Pan-Fried Chicken with Green Beans and Tomatoes
You can achieve crispy-on-the-outside, tender-on-the-inside fried chicken just like Mama’s without a giant vat of frying oil—trust us.
Fish Tacos and Topping Bar
Recipe: Fish Tacos and Topping Bar
Fresh fish tacos, Asian slaw, and a quick chipotle cream sauce combine for a kid-friendly dinner that’s worth inviting friends over for.
Oven-Baked Barbecue Chicken
Recipe: Oven-Baked BBQ Chicken
You don’t need any pitmaster experience to pull of this easy, one-dish dinner that the kids will go crazy for.
Penne with Mushrooms, Corn, and Thyme
A luscious cream sauce makes this fresh pasta dish feel more indulgent than it is compared to weighed-down, high-calorie options.