25 Easy Recipes For Weekends At The Lake

Take a deep dive into some delicious recipes.

Shrimp Salad Rolls
Photo: Photographer Victor Protasio, Food Stylist Ruth Blackburn, Prop Stylist Christine Keely

Weekends spent on the lake sitting on the pier or dock or wharf (depending on where you come from) with friends and family are like none other. You’re making incredible memories with your loved ones, and of course the good Southern way is to have some delicious food to go along with it. My best friend from college loves spending summer weekends on Smith Mountain Lake with her family. She treasures those moments with members of her extended family, but she also raves about the s’mores, the homemade ice cream, hamburgers and hot dogs her family enjoys together whenever they make the trip. She says it’s “nothing fancy,” but dinners like her grandmother’s will always hold a place in her heart. “She didn’t make any casseroles, but homemade spaghetti sauce from the tomatoes from her garden and stuff like that,” my friend shared with me. It’s a special place and a special memory for her, and everyone deserves some fun on the lake. To help get the fun started, we’ve pulled together a list of sandwiches, off-the-grill classics, dinners for a crowd as well as desserts and snacks that will satisfy everyone.

01 of 25

Southern Tomato Sandwich

tomato sandwich halves stacked on top of one another
Photo: Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

Wherever you are, a true Southerner knows nothing compares a bite of a fresh Southern Tomato Sandwich. Build up your appetite paddling in the water and then enjoy the best sandwich a Southerner knows how to make.

02 of 25

Creamy Peach Icebox Cake

Creamy Peach Icebox Cake

Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling; Kathleen Varner; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Lake days are reason for celebration, but that doesn't mean that you have all the time in the world to do something like make a cake. Our Creamy Peach Icebox Cake comes together in a flash, which makes it just perfect for those days when you'd rather be playing in the water than in the kitchen.

03 of 25

Shrimp Salad Rolls

Shrimp Salad Rolls
Photographer Victor Protasio, Food Stylist Ruth Blackburn, Prop Stylist Christine Keely

When you're vacationing on the water, it's customary to enjoy some seafood. Our Shrimp Salad Rolls are an easy way to get your shellfish fix without spending all day in the kitchen.

04 of 25

Egg Salad Sandwiches

Egg Salad Sandwiches
Jen Causey

Cold salad sandwiches hit the spot after a day relaxing in the sun. Personally, we think our Egg Salad Sandwiches are just what you need.

05 of 25

Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta Salad

Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta Salad
Jennifer Causey; Food Styling: Melissa Gray

We call this the ultimate summer side for a reason. For this recipe, you boil the pasta to instructions and then create a pesto to dress the pasta in. Our Test Kitchen says you can serve this salad up hot or at room temperature, it's up to you.

06 of 25

Spicy Pineapple Slaw

Spicy Pineapple Slaw
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Kellie Kelley; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke

Versatility is key when it comes to sides in a vacation home. You want something that can as easily go with a side of tortilla chips as it can when topped on a burger: May we present Spicy Pineapple Slaw. This fun, bright slaw makes 8 servings and goes with just about anything you serve with it.

07 of 25

Fudge Cake

Fudge Cake Recipe
Alison Miksch; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Anna Hampton

Bringing dessert down to the lake? Consider this Fudge Cake the family favorite. Rich and indulgent yet portable, everyone will want to take a bite.

08 of 25

Skillet Spinach-Artichoke Dip

Skillet spinach-artichoke dip in cast iron

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

Feeding a crowd isn't an easy task, but our Skillet Spinach-Artichoke Dip is sure to satisfy the masses. The best part? It's ready in 30 minutes.

09 of 25

Mini Muffulettas

Mini Muffulettas
Jennifer Davick; Styling: Amy Burke

Mini is mighty, especially when all of the family is in the same house. You can pick up the Mini Muffulettas for a midnight snack or an after-swim sandwich.

10 of 25

No-Bake Granola Bars

No-Bake Granola Bars
Photo: Linda Pugliese; Prop Styling: Claire Spollen; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Make three different bars for every type of sweet tooth with the same base. It's a great thing to have in a lunch box on your kayak or or just sitting by the water.

11 of 25

Ranch Oyster Crackers

Southern Living Ranch Snacker Crackers in a bowl to serve

Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

A staple at Southern parties, our Ranch Oyster Crackers need to take a trip to the lake, too. Throw them next to your cocktail peanuts for cocktail hour or just grab a handful before you hit the dock.

12 of 25

Mixed Stone Fruit Pie

Mixed Stone-Fruit Pie

Alison Miksch

A warm day on the lake deserves a cool, refreshing treat and you cannot get much better than Mixed Stone Fruit Pie. Light and sweet with just the right mix of fruit, it's the pie to end all pies.

13 of 25

Cast-Iron Skillet Burgers

Cast-Iron Skillet Burgers
photographer: Jennifer Causey; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer

As you are well aware, the cast-iron skillet can do no wrong, and we love how it transforms the everyday burger into the best beef burger you will ever have. Before putting those patties into the pan, fry up your onions and slap on some bacon and watch as those elements accent every bite.

14 of 25

Black Bean Burgers With Avocado Slaw

Black Bean Burgers with Avocado Slaw
Victor Protasio; Food Styling: Rishon Hanners; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis

A homemade Black Bean Burger does not disappoint, especially with the addition of our Avocado Slaw. Even meat-eaters will chow down on this beauty of a burger.

15 of 25

Sweet Heat Hot Dogs

Sweet Heat Hot Dogs

Jennifer Davick; Prop Styling: Allison R. Banks; Food Styling: Marian Cooper Cairns

We love a good, old-fashioned hot dog, but when you brush a hot dog with some chili sauce, something magical happens. Finish them off with some chopped onions and cabbage and you will be amazed at how good these are.

16 of 25

French Dip Sliders

French Dip Sliders

Antonis Achilleos; Prop Stylist: Caleb Clarke; Food Stylist: Emily Nabors Hall

You might want to make two trays of these depending on the company you keep. Our French Dip Sliders easily slid their way into the test kitchen's hearts, as they were gone in just 10 minutes. We'll be shocked if your family doesn't do the same.

17 of 25

Chicken Spaghetti Casserole

Chicken Spaghetti Casserole

Victor Protasio; Food Stylist: Karen Rankin; Prop Stylist: Claire Spollen

A classic on your dinner table at home makes an appearance at the lake! It's even delicious the next day.

18 of 25

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

Southern Living Spaghetti Sauce plated serving over spaghetti with the pan of sauce beside

Caitlin Bensel; Food Stylist: Torie Cox

While casseroles might not make their way onto a table at the lake, Grandma's spaghetti sure does.

19 of 25

Bacon Cheeseburger

Homemade Onion Dip
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

We have all types of burgers on this list, but a Bacon Cheeseburger will always be something we crave. We even put bacon in the patty for a meat lovers dream.

20 of 25

Charcuterie-Board Snack Mix

Southern Living Charcuterie-Board Snack Mix in a bowl to serve

Antonis Achilleos; Prop Stylist: Christina Daley; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer

Feeling a little fancy? Charcuterie-Board Snack Mix adds a little bit of elegance to any part of your vacation. From boat rides to the hour before dinner, this snack is the perfect pick-me-up.

21 of 25

Classic Southern BLT

southern blt stacked on top of each other
Monica Farber/Southern Living

We've included the Southern Tomato Sandwich on this list, but the Classic Southern BLT is equally worthy of a place on this list. Fry up some extra bacon at breakfast and then all you have to do is assemble.

22 of 25

Buttermilk-Peach Popsicles

Buttermilk-Peach Popsicles
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Ginny Branch; Food Styling: Torie Cox

You can make a delicious treat that's perfect to enjoy on your back porch or on the dock in just five ingredients. Blend up some peaches and buttermilk along with some other ingredients and then pour the mixture into plastic pop molds and freeze.

23 of 25

Cheese Lover's Snack Mix

Southern Living Cheese Lover’s Snack Mix in a bowl to serve

Antonis Achilleos; Prop Stylist: Christina Daley; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer

In just one step, transform your kiddos favorite snacks into something that even the adults will enjoy. With a hint of spice to counteract all of that cheesy goodness, watch a whole bowl of this mix disappear in moments.

24 of 25

Sheet Pan Nachos

Sheet Pan Nachos

Greg DuPree

After a long day on the lake, a family movie night might be in order. Sheet Pan Nachos are an easy dish that you can customize to suit your family's tastes.

25 of 25

Blueberry Ripple No-Churn Ice Cream

Blueberry Ripple No-Churn Ice Cream
Joy Howard

A scoop of homemade ice cream might be the highlight of this whole vacation. No special equipment it required for Blueberry Ripple No-Churn Ice Cream which makes it even more appetizing.

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