Our Editor's Favorite Recipes for Summer
Summer’s arrival means many things for Southerners. Family trips to the beach or lake, firefly catching, homemade ice cream, and of course, farmers’ markets full of gorgeous fresh produce. Fat heirloom tomatoes, juicy peaches, baskets of okra, and too many berries to count are just a few of the fresh ingredients Southern cooks and bakers stock up on during summertime. Though every family has a tattered recipe card for peach cobbler and tomato pie, we’re always looking for new ways to enjoy the season’s beautiful bounty. We’ve gathered our editors’ favorite summer recipes, from a new fruit dessert that’s easier than pie to a pasta salad that will go from picnic to supper party, these are the best recipes to try this summer. Our editors can attest: These are some of the best tried-and-true summer recipes Southern Living has to offer. You’ve got your farmers’ market haul; The only thing left to decide is which recipe you’ll try first!
Gingered Peach Galette
Recipe: Gingered Peach Galette
“My grandmother's favorite way to use up peaches, tomatoes, or pretty much anything she'd found at the summer farmers' market is by slapping it on some pastry and baking it into a galette. It's quick, easy, and doesn't have to be perfectly pretty. It really lets in-season product shine. She's been known to throw ginger into her peach galette, so this recipe feels just like her.” Kaitlyn Yarborough, Assistant Editor
Farmers’ Market Pasta Salad
Recipe: Farmers’ Market Pasta Salad
“Fresh corn? Peaches? Tomatoes? I’m in! It’s become a cliché to announce that a recipe ‘tastes like summer’ but, believe me—this one really does.” Pat York, Assistant Editor
Dr Pepper Texas Sheet Cake
Recipe: Dr Pepper Texas Sheet Cake
“Growing up, we called it Picnic Cake, but this simple chocolate sheet cake was always what I requested for my birthday in June. Instead of nuts, my mom always sprinkled rainbow nonpareils on top.” Betsy Cribb, Features Editor
Basic Deviled Eggs
Recipe: Basic Deviled Eggs
“This classic yet easy recipe is my contribution to every family cookout during the summer. I love that they can be prepared ahead of time and require just a few ingredients that I usually always have on hand.” Jenna Sims, Associate Editor
Lemon-Lime Pound Cake
Recipe: Lemon-Lime Pound Cake
“There’s nothing like the scent of a pound cake cooling on the counter in the middle of summer. Our Lemon-Lime version is a riff on the 7UP pound cakes I remember from my childhood—complete with that subtle citrus flavor that somehow kicks the heavyweight of desserts into refreshing territory. Oh, and it makes one of the prettiest batters I’ve ever set eyes on. You’ll be tempted to lick the bowl clean before the Bundt even makes it to the oven. I serve it both with the glaze and without, depending on how much time I have on my hands.” Patricia Shannon, Senior Editor
Old Bay Rémoulade with Crudités and Shrimp
Tomato, Peach, and Corn Salad
Recipe: Tomato, Peach, and Corn Salad
“I love to go to the farmer's market on Saturdays all summer and I love figuring out each week how to make the bounty I get from the market shine. This salad is a star for some of the very best produce Southern farmers have to offer for summer!” Rebecca Angel Baer, Editor
Cakey Strawberry Cobbler
Recipe: Cakey Strawberry Cobbler
“I crave fruit desserts in the summer. This recipe is so easy and makes enough to serve a crowd. Next time, I’m trying it with fresh peaches or blueberries.” Grace Haynes, Associate Homes Editor
Smoky Grilled BLT
Recipe: Smoky Grilled BLT
“Occam's razor says that ‘the simplest explanation is usually the best one.’ Of all the beautiful dishes you can make with juicy summer tomatoes, the most uncomplicated (and in my opinion, the best) thing you can do with them is put them on a sandwich. I prefer a BLT over the purist’s tomato sandwich, and I’m not afraid to jazz it up with a little avocado or fancy bread. Regardless, the star of the show, that thick, ripe slice of tomato, can’t help but remain in the spotlight.” Mary Shannon Hodes, Assistant Editor
Vera Stewart’s Egg Salad
Recipe: Vera Stewart’s Egg Salad
“There's something so nostalgic about the pairing of a hot summer afternoon and a cold, soft egg salad sandwich on pillowy Wonder Bread. If you don't already add Durkee Famous Sauce to your recipe, prepare to be hooked—if you can find it in the grocery store. My grandmother has been sneaking it into her egg salad and deviled eggs for as long as I can remember, and you just can't beat the tangy flair. Vera Stewart's recipe is no-fuss and insanely simple, as egg salad should be.” Kaitlyn Yarborough, Assistant Editor
Billie Darby’s Easy Blueberry Dessert
“The late Mrs. Billie Darby, one of the best cooks and hostesses in my hometown, gave me a recipe for the easiest dessert that’s a real crowd pleaser. You don’t even have to stir the ingredients. Just don’t tell Weight Watchers how much butter is in it.
Preheat oven to 350.
Spray a 9X13 Pyrex with cooking spray for easier cleanup.
Spread 2 cups of blueberries, frozen and thawed or fresh, across the bottom of your baking dish.
Spread 2 small cans of crushed pineapple (with the juice) over the berries. (I don’t know why 2 small cans work better than 1 big one, but they do.)
Sprinkle one box of vanilla cake mix on top of the fruit; use a fork to break up lumps. (I usually have a little cake mix left over once the fruit is well covered.)
Sprinkle 1 cup of sugar over the cake mix.
Cut up 1 stick of butter and sprinkle pieces over the sugar.
(Optional) Sprinkle pecan pieces (maybe a halfish cup, depending on your taste) over the first stick of butter.
Cut up a second stick of butter and sprinkle the pieces over the top.
*Note: Even if you skip the pecans, which I normally do, you’ll still need 2 sticks of butter.
Bake until gold and bubbly (about 30-40 minutes, depending on your oven). Serve it warm with vanilla ice cream. Blue Bell of course.” Valerie Fraser Luesse. Senior Editor
*Pictured, Southern Living’s Cherry Dump Cake, a similarly prepared recipe.