40 Summer Dinner Ideas That Make the Most of the Season

a skillet filled with succotash
Photo: Photographer: Jen Causey, Prop Stylist: Josh Hoggle, Food Stylist: Ruth Blackburn

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.

01 of 40

Slow-Cooker Corn Chowder

Slow-Cooker Corn Chowder
Greg Dupree; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Slow-Cooker Corn Chowder

This creamy soup makes an indulgent but not too heavy meal on a hot summer day.

02 of 40

Tomato, Cheddar, and Bacon Pie

Tomato, Cheddar, and Bacon Pie
Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Tomato, Cheddar, and Bacon Pie

We try to use gorgeous, plump summer tomatoes in any way we can during the season, but a classic tomato pie sure is hard to beat.

03 of 40

Crab-and-Bacon Linguine

Crab-and-Bacon Linguine
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Claire Spollen; Food Styling: Torie Cox

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.

04 of 40

Supreme Pizza

Supreme Pizza
Photographer Victor Protasio, Food Stylist Rishon Hanners, Prop Stylist Sarah Elizabeth Cleveland

Recipe: Supreme Pizza

You'll find the best of everything in this pizza: bacon, pepperoni slices, red and green bell pepper, red onion, black olives, mozzarella, Parmesan, and basil.

05 of 40

Best-Ever Crab Cakes with Green Tomato Slaw

Best-Ever Crab Cakes with Green Tomato Slaw
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Claire Spollen; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: 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.

06 of 40

Easy Catfish Tacos with Slaw

Crispy Catfish Tacos with Slaw
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Tina Bell Stamos

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.

07 of 40

Heirloom Tomato and Chicken Toss

Heirloom Tomato and Chicken Toss
Greg DuPree

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.

08 of 40

Marinated Field Pea Relish

Chicken With Field Pea Relish
Photo: Antonis Achilleos; Food Stylist: Chelsea Zimmer; Prop Styling: Claire Spollen

Recipe: Marinated Field Pea Relish

While field peas are plentiful, keep a pot of them cooked in the fridge, and you can make any number of dinners. Our favorite? This marinated field pea relish, which can be used over grilled proteins like chicken or pork chops, or it can be stirred into pastas for a summery dish.

09 of 40

Grilled Pork-and-Peach Salad With Honey-Mustard Dressing

Grilled Pork-and-Peach Salad with Honey-Mustard Dressing
Antonis Achilleos; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall; Prop Styling: Heather Chadduck Hillegas

Recipe: Grilled Pork-and-Peach Salad With Honey-Mustard Dressing

Sweet summer peaches pair perfectly with grilled pork and a tangy honey mustard dressing in this seasonal dish.

10 of 40

Crab Boil with Beer and Old Bay

Crab Boil with Beer and Old Bay
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Claire Spollen; Food Styling: Torie Cox

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.

11 of 40

Roasted Tomato Quiche

Roasted Tomato Quiche
Photographer Victor Protasio, Food Stylist Ruth Blackburn, Prop Stylist Christine Keely

Recipe: Roasted Tomato Quiche

The brunch-y cousin of our beloved Heirloom Tomato Pie is this tomato quiche. To concentrate the sweetness of the tomato slices, these are roasted before they're added to the egg mixture. The result? A quiche you can truly only savor in summer.

12 of 40

Shrimp-Okra-and-Sausage Kebabs

Shrimp-Okra-and-Sausage Kebabs
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Mindi Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Tina Stamos

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.

13 of 40

BBQ Pork Loaded Baked Potatoes

BBQ Pork Loaded Baked Potatoes
Greg DuPree

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.

14 of 40

Best-Ever Succotash Recipe

a skillet filled with succotash
Photographer: Jen Causey, Prop Stylist: Josh Hoggle, Food Stylist: Ruth Blackburn

Recipe: Best-Ever Succotash Recipe

The easiest "eat the rainbow" healthy dinner, this light, bright salad is on the table in less than 30 minutes.

15 of 40

Pasta with Shrimp and Tomato Cream Sauce

Pasta with Shrimp and Tomato Cream Sauce
Caitlin Bensel; Prop Styling: Claire Spollen; Food Styling: Anna Hampton

Recipe: 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.

16 of 40

Creamy Rice with Scallops

Creamy Rice with Scallops
Photo: Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Missie Neville Crawford; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Creamy Rice with Scallops

Smoky, salty bacon complements buttery sweet scallops and corn perfectly for this impressive but simple dinner.

17 of 40

Green Tomato Gazpacho

Green Tomato Gazpacho in a white bowl
Photographer Victor Protasio, Food Stylist Ruth Blackburn, Prop Stylist Christine Keely

Recipe: Green Tomato Gazpacho

If you've got a bushel of green tomatoes and you're all fried out, turn those bright beauties into this cool summer soup.

18 of 40

Crispy Soft-Shell Crab Sandwiches

Crispy Soft-Shell Crab Sandwiches
Photo: Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Claire Spollen; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Crispy Soft-Shell Crab Sandwiches

A drizzle (or dollop) of Cajun remoulade sauce sends these summery sandwiches over the edge of amazing.

19 of 40

Zucchini Lasagna

Zucchini Lasagna
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Tina Stamos

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.

20 of 40

Skillet Orzo with Fish and Herbs

Skillet Orzo with Fish and Herbs
Becky Luigart Stayner

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.

21 of 40

Slow-Cooker Pork Tacos with Fresh Tomato Salsa

Slow-Cooker Pork Tacos with Fresh Tomato Salsa
Greg Dupree; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Slow-Cooker Pork Tacos with Fresh Tomato Salsa

When it's too hot to even turn your oven on , let the slow cooker handle dinner and pair it with a fresh summery salsa.

22 of 40

Shrimp Boil Vegetable Bowls

Shrimp Boil Vegetable Bowls
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Christine Keely; Food Styling: Tina Bell Stamos

Recipe: Shrimp Boil Vegetable Bowls

Get everything you love about a classic lowcountry boil in an easy one-bowl meal that tastes like summer.

23 of 40

Farmers' Market Pasta Salad

Farmers' Market Pasta Salad
Hector Manuel Sanchez

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.

24 of 40

Crab Pie

Crab Pie
Victor Protasio; Prop Styling: Claire Spollen; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Crab Pie

Instead of your usual Quiche Lorraine or springy asparagus-laden quiche , try a summery spin with this decadent crab version.

25 of 40

Greek Pork Chops with Squash and Potatoes

Greek Pork Chops with Squash and Potatoes
Photo: Hector Sanchez

Recipe: Greek Porch 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.

26 of 40

Memphis Dry-Rubbed Baby Back Ribs

Memphis Dry-Rubbed Baby Back Ribs
Hector Manuel Sanchez; Prop Styling: MindI Shapiro Levine; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: 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.

27 of 40

Pasta with Burst Tomatoes and Mascarpone

Pasta with Burst Tomatoes and Mascarpone
Hector Sanchez

Recipe: 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.

28 of 40

Fried Green Tomatoes

Kettle Chip-Crusted Fried Green Tomatoes with Tasso Tartar Sauce
Cedric Angeles; Food Styling: Tina Bell Stamos; Prop Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller

Recipe: Fried Green Tomatoes

No fryer necessary—all you need to enjoy classic fried green tomatoes at home is your trusty cast-iron skillet.

29 of 40

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Herbs

Heirloom Tomato Salad with Herbs
Antonis Achilleos; Prop Styling: Audrey Davis; Food Styling: Emily Nabors Hall

Recipe: Heirloom Tomato Salad with Herbs

If you're looking for a fresh new way to use that rotisserie chicken in your fridge, say hello to this beauty.

30 of 40

Grilled Creole Chicken and Okra

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

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.

31 of 40

Easy Skillet Tacos

Skirt Steak Soft Tacos with Avocado-Corn Salsa
Linda Pugliese; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Torie Cox

Recipe: Easy Skillet Tacos

Taco night doesn't have to be cheat night! Keep it light with easy skillet tacos you can make in a flash.

32 of 40

Sheet Pan Nachos

Sheet Pan Nachos
Greg DuPree

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.

33 of 40

Spaghetti with Marinated Tomatoes and Mozzarella

Spaghetti with Marinated Tomatoes and Mozzarella
Alison Miksch

Recipe: Spaghetti with Marinated Tomatoes and Mozzarella

Marinate the tomatoes ahead of time and throw this simple pasta together in a snap.

34 of 40

Tangy Slow-Cooker Pork Shoulder

Tangy Slow-Cooker Pork Shoulder
Hector Manuel Sanchez

Recipe: Tangy Slow-Cooker Pork Shoulder

Slow-cooker pulled pork is a Southern staple. Serve it between buns, over grits, or savor this sweet and tangy masterpiece by itself.

35 of 40

Fried Delacata Catfish

Fried Delacata Catfish
Hector Manuel Sanchez; Prop Styling: Buffy Hargett Miller; Food Styling: Katelyn Hardwick

Recipe: Fried Delacata Catfish

You can never go wrong with classic, crispy fried catfish on a lazy summer afternoon.

36 of 40

Tropical Chicken Lettuce Wraps

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

Recipe: Tropical Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Store-bought rotisserie chicken saves the day again with this healthy no-cook dinner recipe.

37 of 40

Eggplant Rollups

Eggplant Rollups
Greg DuPree; Prop Styling: Kay E. Clarke; Food Styling: Cat Steele

Recipe: Eggplant Rollups

If you're trying to keep it low carb during swimsuit season, this fresh eggplant recipe will satisfy those pasta cravings.

38 of 40

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

Recipe: 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.

39 of 40

Fish Tacos and Topping Bar

Fish Tacos and Topping Bar
Greg DuPree

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.

40 of 40

Oven-Baked Barbecue Chicken

Oven-Baked Barbecue Chicken
Antonis Achilleos

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.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles