52 Summer Chicken Recipes The Whole Crowd Will Love

Grilled Chicken and Corn with Charred Scallion-Lime Butter
Photo: Johnny Autry; Prop and Food Styling: Charlotte L. Autry

Nothing will turn around a hungry crowd like a hearty chicken dinner, and summertime might just be when the crowd gets hungriest—between the pool days, bike rides, and general fanfare. Whether just feeding your family or hosting a big barbecue, you're going to be able to find more than a few reasons to serve up these summer chicken recipes all season long.

For a weeknight supper, try one of our easy sheet pan recipes or quick chicken breast recipes on for size. For an outdoor occasion, pick between our chicken kebab recipes, grilled chicken recipes, or chicken wing recipes. We've rounded up our best-ever chicken recipes for hot summer days—so sit back, pour yourself a glass of iced tea, and enjoy.

01 of 52

Oven-Baked Barbecue Chicken

Oven-Baked Barbecue Chicken
Antonis Achilleos

Nothing says summer like barbecue chicken. Spend a few short minutes making the homemade barbecue sauce, then let the sweet and sticky chicken drumsticks bake in the oven. You'll have plenty of time to prepare your favorite potato salad.

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Southwest Chicken Tortillas

Southwest Chicken Tortillas
Greg DuPree

Don't worry—we've got Taco Tuesday handled all summer long. Pull out some leftover cooked chicken, blend an amazing buttermilk-cilantro sauce, and stir them together for a delicious filling. Give your tortillas a quick toast in a skillet and dinner is served.

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Heirloom Tomato And Chicken Toss

Heirloom Tomato and Chicken Toss
Greg Dupree; Styling: Caroline M. Cunningham

Say hello to the best use of your rotisserie chicken and seasonal tomatoes this summer. Both are tossed with a tangy vinaigrette and loads of fresh herbs. Eat it right away or allow the juices to soak in for an hour.

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Garlic-Oregano Chicken With Grilled Leeks And Lemon

Garlic-Oregano Chicken with Grilled Leeks and Lemon
Greg DuPree; Food Styling: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Styling: Christine Keely

Bring Greek-inspired flavors to your next cookout. A 30-minute marinade of lemon juice and zest, oil, garlic, oregano, and crushed red pepper jump-starts this chicken dish. Grilled leeks are an unexpectedly robust and tender accompaniment.

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Honey-Butter Chicken Skewers

Honey-Butter Chicken Skewers
Greg DuPree; Food Styling: Rishon Hanners; Prop Styling: Claire Spollen

Honey? Butter? We're in no matter the dish. A bit of rice vinegar and soy sauce completes the sticky-sweet glaze on these skewers.

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Herbed Chicken-And-Rice Salad

Herbed Chicken-and-Rice Salad
Antonis Achilleos; Food Styling: Ali Ramee; Prop Styling: Christine Keely

Incorporating two mainstays of the Southern diet—chicken and rice—this salad is an example of the kind of old-school home cooking that used everything in the fridge. In this case, summery herbs, tomatoes, and cucumbers are the highlight of the dish.

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BBQ Rub Roasted Chickens With Potatoes And Carrots

BBQ Rub Roasted Chickens with Potatoes and Carrots
Greg DuPree

When everyone and their mama is hanging around this summer, give this sheet pan supper a chance. It'll feed the crowd easily, and you can serve it up on the table family style.

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Chicken Caprese Pasta

Chicken Caprese Pasta
Linda Pugliese; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Torie Cox

This popular summer salad can be converted to a meal that is just as flavorful. In 20 minutes, dress up a simple pasta with shredded chicken, blistered tomatoes, pesto sauce, and torn chunks of mozzarella.

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Sheet Pan Greek Chicken With Roasted Potatoes

Sheet Pan Greek Chicken with Roasted Potatoes
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Tina Stamos

This sheet pan recipe has got major personality. Two spice rack staples—cinnamon and nutmeg—give wonderful depth of flavor—while oregano and tomatoes make this meal as refreshing as a summer day. Use bone-in chicken breasts with the skins for the most juicy and succulent meat.

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BBQ Chicken Pizza

BBQ Chicken Pizza
Photographer: Will Dickey Prop Stylist: Missie Crawford Food Stylist: Erin Merhar

This recipe is a tasty way to get your barbecue flavor fix this summer. Top your pizzas with grilled chicken for extra smokiness. Smoked Gouda adds to the chargrilled flavor.

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Brined Grilled Chicken With Dipping Sauces

Buttermilk-Parmesan Ranch Sauce
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Wings can sometimes dry out on the grill, but we've got you covered. The secret's all in the brine, made with herbs, garlic, brown sugar, and chiles. The trio of sauces means plenty of delicious dipping opportunities.

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Lighter Pan-Fried Chicken With Green Beans And Tomatoes

Lighter Pan-Fried Chicken with Green Beans and Tomatoes
Stephen DeVries, Prop Styling: Missie Neville Crawford; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Meet your lightened-up summer fried chicken. This crispy, golden chicken is done with a quick pan-fry followed by baking, making it less heavy than the deep-fried stuff. The meal gets completed with lightly charred green beans and tomatoes.

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Chicken-And-Shrimp Kabobs With Summer Vegetables And Basil Oil

Chicken-and-Shrimp Kebabs with Summer Vegetables and Basil Oil
Photo: Linda Pugliese; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Anna Hampton

Just look at that char, folks. The basil oil accents the chicken, shrimp, and vegetables beautifully. You'll have plenty leftover for dipping and drizzling.

14 of 52

Buttermilk Chicken Tenders With Roasted Potatoes And Green Beans

Buttermilk Chicken Tenders with Roasted Potatoes and Green Beans
Greg DuPree

Skip the fast food drive-thru, because this homemade recipe is so much better. You'll need to soak them in buttermilk, dredge them in panko bread crumbs, and fry them up, but these tenders will be ready in an hour. Roast the vegetables in the meantime to complete the meal.

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Farmers' Market Pasta Salad

Farmers' Market Pasta Salad
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Let your imagination run wild with this pasta salad. Everything from your farmers' market haul is fair game. Smoked chicken enhances the variety of flavors.

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Grilled Creole Chicken And Okra

Grilled Creole Chicken and Okra
Photo: Alison Miksch; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Chicken thighs, andouille sausage, and a parade of fresh summer veggies come together for a top-notch dinner. Serve it with a bottle of hot sauce for a very welcome kick.

17 of 52

Chicken Biscuit Sandwiches

Chicken Biscuit Sandwiches
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Torie Cox; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke

Buttermilk biscuits are filled with slow-cooked chicken, creamy white barbecue sauce, and tangy slaw for a meal that will top any fast-food version. Sweet-hot pickles cap off this standout sandwich.

18 of 52

Sweet-And-Spicy Sheet Pan Chicken With Cauliflower And Carrots

Sweet-and-Spicy Sheet Pan Chicken with Cauliflower and Carrots
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Anything but boring, here's a spectacular weeknight supper for summer. The 30-minute sheet pan recipe has a lot of tasty things going on. Most surprising is the red grapes, which caramelize and sweeten the sauce.

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Grilled Chicken Salad With Blueberries, Goat Cheese, And Pickled Onion

Grilled Chicken Salad with Blueberries, Goat Cheese, and Pickled Onion
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Make your summer work lunch feel fabulously fresh. Once you've pickled the onions, the liquid provides the basis for a sweet-tart vinaigrette. Toss it over greens, blueberries, and a basic grilled chicken breast for a delicious main salad.

20 of 52

One-Pan Chicken With Lemon, Olives, And Artichokes

One-Pan Chicken with Lemon, Olives, and Artichokes
Greg DuPree

A bold Mediterranean dish is the light and healthy supper you're craving on a summer night. Lemony chicken, red onions, and artichokes are topped with a bright and tangy olive relish. Serve the dish over pearl couscous to soak up the delicious pan sauce.

21 of 52

Chicken And Sausage Jambalaya

Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya
Greg DuPree

This traditional Creole dish will feed a hungry table worn out from fun summer activities. The rice soaks up all the flavors of fire-roasted tomatoes and smoked sausage to create a supremely soul-satisfying meal.

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Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Breasts

Bacon-Wrapped Chicken Breasts
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Missie Neville Crawford; Food Styling: Torie Cox

This no-fuss, kid-friendly meal will be your best friend whenever you need to feed the family pronto. The whole family will love dipping the crispy bacon-wrapped chicken and potatoes dipped in the mayonnaise-chive sauce, which can also be used as a dressing on your side salad.

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Oven-Fried Chicken Salad With Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

Oven-Fried Chicken Salad with Buttermilk Ranch Dressing
Jennifer Causey; Prop Styling: Christine Keely; Food Styling: Torie Cox

This might be the only salad we want to eat as a dinner main this summer. The oven-baked pecan-and-panko crusted chicken tenders taste like fried chicken—but with much less grease and mess.

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Dry-Rubbed Smoked Chicken Wings

Dry-Rubbed Smoked Chicken Wings
Jennifer Causey

This recipe is from pitmaster Wade Reich of Butts To Go in Pell City, Alabama. The secret doesn't lie in the sauce, but the paprika-based dry rub. Low and slow cooking in the smoker makes the meat fall right off the bone.

25 of 52

Tropical Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Tropical Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Photo: Jennifer Causey; Prop Styling: Christine Keely; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Everyone needs a no-cook summer lunch staple, and this rotisserie chicken salad with a tropical twist feels more than worthy. Fruity, slightly spicy, and a bit creamy, the salad can be served in lettuce wraps or wheat wraps depending on your taste.

26 of 52

Chicken-And-Collards Pilau

Chicken-and-Collards Pilau
Greg Dupree

We enjoy a comforting chicken bog on cold winter nights, but in the summer we're looking for more garden-fresh flavor. This one-pot wonder is packed with chicken, sausage, quick-cooking rice, collards, and other vegetables.

27 of 52

Chicken Salad-Stuffed Tomatoes

Chicken Salad-Stuffed Tomatoes
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kathleen Varner; Food Styling: Torie Cox

We can get behind beefsteak tomatoes as a container for chicken salad. In-season tomatoes are so flavorful and complement the colorful bell peppers. And with the use of a rotisserie chicken, this five-ingredient recipe can be ready to go in minutes.

28 of 52

Grilled Curried Chicken Thighs With Charred-Vegetable Rice

Curried Chicken Thighs with Charred-Vegetable Rice
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Season up humdrum chicken thighs with a mix of Southeast Asian spices, then throw them on the grill along with fresh summer vegetables. The smoky, charred ingredients are brightened up with lime juice and cilantro and practically sizzle on your plate.

29 of 52

Slow-Cooker Chicken Lettuce Cups

Slow-Cooker Chicken Lettuce Cups
Alison Miksch; Styling: Caroline M. Cunningham

Everyone loves a cold salad during the summer, and you can make it even healthier by skipping the bread for lettuce cups. The sweet and smoky chicken gains its flavor in the slow cooker, where it simmers with Granny Smith apples, thick-cut bacon, onion, and garlic.

30 of 52

Chicken Stir-Fry

Chicken Stir-Fry
Greg Dupree

This stir-fry only takes 10 minutes and can be whipped together on any busy night. While the recipe allows for frozen veggies, it is meant to be customized with your favorite fresh produce—especially in summer.

31 of 52

Cast-Iron Chicken Piccata

Cast-Iron Chicken Piccata
Greg Dupree

This quick and easy chicken piccata recipe is a secret weapon for when you don't want to spend too long standing over a hot stovetop. Add the lemon juice, capers, and parsley at the end to preserve their color and flavor.

32 of 52

Lemon-Rosemary-Garlic Chicken and Potatoes

Lemon-Rosemary-Garlic Chicken and Potatoes
Becky Luigart Stayner

Garlic, lemon, and rosemary—a delicious trio in the kitchen that makes this "Anytime Chicken" good enough for busy weeknights, fancy dinner parties, and every season of the year. You can brown the chicken right in the roasting pan on the stove before sticking it in the oven to complete its flavorful journey. It makes a delectable sauce you can pour over the chicken and slices of French bread.

33 of 52

Country Captain Chicken

Country Captain Chicken
Photo: Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Torie Cox

This fragrant dish is packed with fresh vegetables, sweet raisins, and toasted almonds for an absolutely irresistible flavor. The Lowcountry favorite has been around since at least the 19th century, and it's time you give it a try if you haven't already.

34 of 52

Mama's Fried Chicken

Mama's Fried Chicken
Southern Living

Behold: our best-ever fried chicken recipe of all time. It's great anytime of year, but we love it on a Southern summer day. Make sure to soak your chicken in buttermilk for a minimum of two hours before frying.

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Crispy Chicken With Rice And Pan Gravy

Pam Lolley’s Crispy Chicken with Rice and Pan Gravy
Hector Manuel Sanchez

This recipe makes full use of fresh herbs such as parsley, chives, and thyme. Toss them with long-grain white rice, melted butter, and salt and pepper, and you have a savory herbed rice as a bed for crispy baked chicken.

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Pan-Grilled Chicken With Fresh Plum Salsa

Pan-Grilled Chicken with Fresh Plum Salsa
Photo: Jennifer Davick

Spicy meets sweet in this fresh plum salsa spooned over pan-grilled chicken. This recipe uses fast-cooking chicken cutlets, which means dinner is ready in about 15 minutes. Serve it with your favorite vegetable or white rice on the side.

37 of 52

Herb-Grilled Chicken

Herb-Grilled Chicken
Southern Living

Use your favorite summer herbs to season grilled chicken to perfection. The sprigs are tucked inside each breast to release their flavor. Top herb picks include fresh dill, basil, sage, rosemary, flat-leaf parsley, thyme, tarragon, and oregano.

38 of 52

Grilled Chicken Legs

Southern Living Grilled Chicken Legs on a platter to serve with white barbecue sauce

Victor Protasio; Food Stylist: Ruth Blackburn; Prop Stylist: Christine Keely

What makes this grilled chicken different from the rest? How about a briny marinade made of mayonnaise and dill pickle juice. The result is incredibly juicy meat with flavor that penetrates to the bone.

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Marry Me Chicken

Southern Living Marry Me Chicken in the skillet to serve topped with fresh basil leaves

Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

If you have so much basil in the garden you don't know what to do, it's time you try this easy but luxurious skillet recipe. Sundried tomatoes, cream, and fresh herbs marry together in a dish that's worth getting hitched for. Serve it over pasta or with slices of garlic bread.

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Chicken Salad With Grapes And Pecans

Chicken Salad With Grapes and Pecans on a plate with leaf lettuce and club crackers
Will Dickey

Personally, we're pro-grapes-in-chicken-salad, especially when it comes to this recipe. You get a wonderful mix of textures from the juicy grapes and crunchy pecans. Sour cream and a squeeze of lemon juice provide a light tang to balance out the salad.

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Chipotle Chicken Tacos

Chipotle Chicken Tacos
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Ruth Blackburn; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

This chicken recipe starts with a jar of salsa, but it's the chipotle chiles in adobo sauce that really make it spectacular. With an Instant Pot, the chicken cooks in about half an hour with very little hands on-time. That means very little effort on Taco Tuesday or your next big family gathering.

42 of 52

Doritos Casserole

Southern Living Doritos Chicken Casserole whole in pan

Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

Somewhere between enchiladas and nachos, this delightfully easy casserole uses ready-made ingredients like Nacho Cheese Doritos, rotisserie chicken, cans of Ro-tel and beans, and cream of chicken soup. This recipe is sure to be a kid-favorite and can serve a crowd.

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Prosciutto-Wrapped Chicken Cutlets With Haricots Verts

Prosciutto-Wrapped Chicken Cutlets With Haricots Verts on a plate with a glass of water

Victor Protasio; Food Stylist: Ruth Blackburn; Prop Stylist: Christine Keely

We love an impressive-looking meal that is deceptively simple to prepare. You'll love the satisfyingly salty prosciutto wrapping chicken cutlets and anise-scented tarragon. Haricots verts are just a French variety of green beans, which can be swapped with any fresh-picked beans from the farmer's market or your garden.

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Chicken Brunswick Stew

Chicken Brunswick stew in black bowl

Victor Protasio; Food Stylist: Micah Morton; Prop Stylist: Jillian Knox

This recipe starts with simmering a whole chicken in a pot until the meat falls off the bone. Corn, butter beans, tomatoes, onions, okra, and pepper join it for the classic summertime stew served up at every Southern barbecue joint.

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Green Chile Mac And Cheese With Chicken

Green chile mac and cheese with chicken in white casserole dish

Antonis Achilleos; Prop Stylist: Lydia Purcell; Food Stylist: Ruth Blackburn

Fresh poblano peppers add just enough spice to this 15-minute recipe. A pinch of cumin and sprinkling of cilantro give this comforting dish even more Southwestern flair. With the addition of a rotisserie chicken, you have a hearty and filling main dish or side for your next picnic.

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Chicken-And-Vegetable Pot

Chicken-and-vegetable pot in blue bowl

Victor Protasio; Food Stylist: Micah Morton; Prop Stylist: Jillian Knox

Chicken quarters nestle in a bed of tomatoes, fresh corn kernels, potatoes, and bell peppers in this recipe reminiscent of a hearty vegetable stew. The ingredients simmer in a Dutch oven undisturbed until they have fully absorbed each others' flavors. This soul-food favorite comes from Ruth L. Gaskins' 1968 cookbook, A Good Heart and A Light Hand.

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Martina McBride's Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup

Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup
Courtesy Oxmoor House

When the country artist shared her personal recipe for tortilla soup, it quickly became a fan favorite. A creamy masa mixture makes the soup thicker and richer than most. She recommends using fresh corn and adding more jalapeños if you get a kick out of spice.

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Chicken And Fontina Panini

Chicken and Fontina Panini
Greg Dupree

This five-ingredient recipe packs a lot of flavor for so little effort. Buy a jar of pesto sauce from the store, or make your own with fresh basil. Plum tomatoes melt slightly along with the fontina cheese.

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King Ranch Chicken Casserole

King Ranch Chicken Casserole

Stacy K. Allen, Food Stylist: Ruth Blackburn, Prop Stylist: Christina Daley

Here's a Tex-Mex dish that's equally popular at family dinners and summer potlucks. Chicken, tortillas, bell peppers, and chiles melt into a bubbly mixture of cream soups and cheese. This dish can also be made ahead and frozen until you're ready to bake it.

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Slow-Cooked Barbecued Chicken Sandwiches

Slow-cooked Barbecued Chicken Sandwiches
Becky Luigart-Stayner; Styling: Mary Clayton Carl

The homemade sauce for this chicken gets its Southern flair from cola, brown sugar, and bourbon. The barbecued chicken takes just a few minutes to prep, but you'll also want to try our Simple Slaw, Pickled Peppers & Onions, and Sweet Potato Cornbread.

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Chicken Noodle Bowl With Peanut-Ginger Sauce

Chicken Noodle Bowl with Peanut-Ginger Sauce
Greg DuPree

Light, refreshing, and wonderfully cool, this noodle bowl features rotisserie chicken, cucumber, bell pepper, Napa cabbage, and a tasty Peanut-Ginger Sauce. Save this dish for when you'd rather not heat up the kitchen.

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Grilled Chicken And Corn With Charred Scallion-Lime Butter

Grilled Chicken and Corn with Charred Scallion-Lime Butter
Johnny Autry; Prop and Food Styling: Charlotte L. Autry

Fire up the grill and make a complete meal with this recipe for grilled chicken thighs and corn on the cob with a smoky and tangy herb butter for spreading. The Charred Scallion-Lime Butter can even be made a day in advance, making dinnertime almost effortless.

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