Summer is one of my favorite times to cook, but also the time when I want to whip up a meal, fast. Spending the day outside, then coming into the kitchen and getting dinner on the table in under an hour (with minimal effort) is the dream, amiright? Especially when I’m entertaining guests, the last thing I want is to be trapped in the kitchen stressing over meal prep. My goal this summer is to nail the best easy summer recipes that use seasonal ingredients, take less than an hour, can serve large groups, and are customizable to various dietary preferences.
As we kick off the official start of summer (because, unofficially, summer’s been here for weeks) it felt like the ideal time to curate a list of easy summer recipes that I can continually return to for quick and delicious dinners. So, read on for 20 of the best easy summer recipes you’ll be making for dinner all season long. And we want to know! What are your go-to easy summer recipes?
Featured image by Kate LeSueur.
Why We Love It: Camille says that this fresh summer pasta never fails to satisfy her carb cravings, while filling her plate with loads of veggies that can be varied based on what’s in the fridge. Even better? It comes together in one pan, meaning less time scrubbing dishes and more time soaking up those long summer nights.
Hero Ingredient: Grab some sugar snap peas and get ready to enjoy the sweet, sweet taste of summer.
Why We Love It: The star of this recipe is the Green Goddess dressing. It comes together by simply throwing all of the ingredients into a food processor and voila. Whatever you choose to add this dressing to is immediately 10x more delicious. I love how this recipe uses all of summer’s best produce but gives you the freedom to customize it to your liking.
Hero Ingredient: The roasted chickpeas are the perfect crunchy topper.
Why We Love It: What screams summer more than BBQ? These chicken skewers come together in just 30 minutes and are perfect for any of your upcoming gatherings. The Avocado Corn and Feta Salsa adds a delicious summer flare that you’ll crave for days to follow.
Hero Ingredient: No skewer? No problem. Just toss that chicken on the grill and go with a fork-and-knife strategy. Or your fingers… there are no rules in the summer.
Why We Love It: This watermelon salad is a total summer crush. It’s refreshing, sweet, and crunchy—what summer dreams are made of. Any recipe that allows me to blast Harry Styles’ Watermelon Sugar while I’m cooking is a win in my book.
Hero Ingredient: This recipe makes great use of that leftover watermelon that’s (probably) sitting in your fridge.
Why We Love It: These sesame soba noodles are such a creative way to use summer veggies in a dinner recipe. It has that distinctive flavor I can never get enough of, but I also love that it has avocado, snap peas, edamame, watermelon radishes, and mint. Mouth = watering.
Hero Ingredient: Again, those sugar snap peas are so refreshing and crisp.
Why We Love It: I know there are a lot of turkey burger haters out there, but I can’t get enough. This recipe, however, takes them to a whole new level. Arguably the best part? They’re ready in 20 minutes.
Hero Ingredient: Adding a dollop of mayo to the burger mixture is truly genius—it’s the key to keeping your patties from drying out.
Why We Love It: This recipe from our resident wellness expert, Edie Horstman is summer in a bowl. It highlights all of summer’s ingredients, and when doubled, can feed all of your guests with no problem. While it’s technically a side dish, I could eat this as my main meal for every meal.
Hero Ingredient: Load up on all that farmer’s market produce.
Why We Love It: The Defined Dish’s rotisserie chicken recipe round-up is one of my all-time favorites. I love store-bought rotisserie chicken for how easy it is, but totally get tired of eating it, so I’m forever indebted to these creative recipes. This Greek bowl is one of my favorite recipes of the bunch. It’s so light and fresh.
Hero Ingredient: Creamy tzatziki kicks things up a notch, and makes a delicious dip for fresh veggies.
Why We Love It: Over here at Camille Styles, we’re serious about pizza. It’s definitely a year-round dish, but I love playing with toppings that go with the seasons. This spinach and ricotta pizza is totally perfect for summer: it’s light and fresh, while also managing to keep you satisfied.
Hero Ingredient: The garlicky olive oil is to die for.
Why We Love It: Yes, I know this recipe literally says “antipasto” in the name, but it could definitely stand alone as an entrée with a side salad for a light summer dinner. Because they’re easy to grab and go, skewers are great for buffet-style dinners, and this take really shows off some standout summer flavors. The tortellini makes it more substantial than just the cheese and tomatoes, too. As far as easy summer recipes go, this one is a favorite.
Hero Ingredient: That Lemon Basil Vinaigrette deserves an award for best bread-dipper of all time.
Why We Love It: These simple, but flavorful fish tacos will transport you to the beach after just one bite. Camille has made them for countless pool parties and backyard barbecues, yet the recipe manages to always (and forever) garner rave reviews. Plus, if you’re making it on an outdoor grill, it’s one of the most stress-free meals to serve a crowd. Just add chips and salsa, some Mexican street corn, and good margaritas.
Hero Ingredient: Pickled red onions bring an acidic, flavor-packed bite to the party.
Why We Love It: Sometimes, the key to quick and easy summer recipes is making the most of store-bought ingredients. There can be a stigma around buying things rather than making them from scratch, but honestly, who cares? As long as it tastes good and is made right, I’m all for it. I love that this 30-Minute Chicken Caprese is simplified with store-bought ingredients. (Of course, you’re also welcome to make your own pesto if you prefer.) It’s so delicious, so pretty on a plate, and definitely a crowd-pleaser.
Hero Ingredient: I’m a total sucker for balsamic glaze. Yum. Just yum.
Why We Love It: From Camille herself: “This fig and burrata salad is so easy that you might just want to keep it as your little entertaining secret this summer. Because once you whip it up for your friends, they’re going to think you’re a professional. This salad is fresh, seasonal, and crispy—the perfect combo for lunch by the pool with friends, or for dinner Sunday night.”
Hero Ingredient: Candied nuts bring crunch and amazing flavor to this salad. You’ll want to eat them by the handful.
Why We Love It: Try Camille’s homemade pizza dough with these toppings, and I swear you’ll never think of pizza the same. It sounds dramatic, but pizza can get a little boring when it’s prepared the same way over and over. This recipe is anything but boring and is perfect for summer.
Hero Ingredient: The fresh figs, balsamic onions, and arugula come together in a way that makes every bite crave-worthy.
Why We Love It: This recipe is addictive—it’s as simple as that. I personally swap out the tofu for chicken, and I love that you can really use whatever veggies you have on hand and it will be just as delicious.
Hero Ingredient: The tahini stir-fry sauce is a delicious mix of ginger, tamari, lime, maple syrup, and chili garlic sauce.
Why We Love It: I don’t know how else to describe this salad other than absolutely amazing. You’re getting vibrant citrus flavors, bitter onion slivers, and salty Marcona almonds, all graced with a little olive oil for the perfect bite. If I could eat this every day, all would be right in the world.
Hero Ingredient: Buttery, salty Marcona almonds. Nothing more needs to be said.
Why We Love It: With only five ingredients, you should run—don’t walk—to make this recipe. It’s some of the best fajita meat I’ve ever had and is so easy to throw on a sheet pan. Dinner? Done.
Hero Ingredient: Don’t be shy with your lime juice. Bring on the citrus.
Why We Love It: One-bowl dinner? Yes, please. This protein-packed salmon bowl brings together all kinds of Asian-inspired flavors to create a refreshing but filling lunch or dinner. It also delivers all the sushi vibes at home. Definitely a win.
Hero Ingredient: Nori brings a nice crunch and texture to the bowl.
Why We Love It: Easy summer pastas are truly a gift. Just because it’s hot outside doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy delicious and indulgent flavors. What’s even better is when they utilize the flavors of the season, as is the case with this Green Goddess Pasta Salad. Lots of green herbs and fresh veggies are all that’s standing between you and your new favorite lunch or dinner.
Hero Ingredient: Creamy avocado bites send this over the edge.
Why We Love It: I just can’t get enough of these sheet pan recipes. I mean, they’re just the easiest. Here, you’re combining lemony chicken with artichokes, green olives, cherry tomatoes, red onion, and more for weeknight dinner or meal prep.
Hero Ingredient: The garnishes here deserve some love. Fresh basil, parsley, lemon slices, mmm…
This post was originally published on June 27, 2021, and has since been updated.