25 of Our Favorite Go-To Summer Recipes Slideshow
Aguachiles is basically a spicy version of a ceviche. This recipe, from James Beard Award-winning cookbook author Joanne Weir, features shrimp marinated with serrano chiles and lime juice. Served at Weir's restaurant, Copita Tequileria y Comida in Sausalito, CA, this dish is refreshing and flavorful.
Baja Fish Tacos
The work of chef Richard Sandoval, this fish taco recipe comes together with just six ingredients and provides a light, easy summertime dish. We like how the fish is marinated in a classic salsa before being sautéed to perfection, and we also found this recipe is flexible enough to swap in whatever fish you’ve got on hand, like the freshly caught tuna you have sitting in the cooler after a day of fishing.
Corn, String Bean, and Potato Succotash Salad
"We’ll often make this salad with leftover cooked corn. And if we have a little summer squash or fresh peas or favas on hand, we’ll cook them up and add them. You needn’t worry if you have a little more of one ingredient or a little less of another — this salad isn’t finicky. One more thing about this salad is that from time to time we’ll toss in (at the end) some pitted oil-cured olives and small chunks of salty cheese like feta or ricotta salata. Add those, and you’ve got a meal."
Christopher Hirsheimer and Melissa Hamilton
Mixed Berry Cream Pie
Desserts during the summer should always be two things: easy and refreshing. This pie is both, using a prepared graham cracker crust and a whipped cream filling, and it calls for a topping of any fresh berries you’ve picked that day or just brought home from the store. We suggest adding a bit of lemon zest and a dash of vanilla to your berries to give them a burst of freshness.
Mini Buffalo Chicken Balls
From the famous Meatball Shop in New York City, these are everything we love about chicken wings wrapped into a meatball. While we’d make this recipe any time of the year, we love to fire them up on an outdoor grill for a summertime sub.
We’re always looking to mix up our coleslaw for the summer, and this recipe provides an easy and tangy mustard dressing for some variation. Ingredients like cilantro and cumin add an international appeal, and jalapeño adds a bit of heat.
Tomato Stack Salad
Corn, avocado, and tomatoes — three ingredients that scream summer at us. This recipe stacks them all together for a light and easy summertime salad. A creamy buttermilk dressing and flecks of bacon make it a satisfying dish that could easily be enjoyed all on its own.
Sour Cream and Dill Potato Salad
If you’re not one for mayonnaise, this easy potato salad swaps in the thick condiment with two lighter options: sour cream and Greek yogurt. Cucumber and dill are added for a fresh burst of flavor, making this a well-rounded potato salad with all of the flavors we know and love.
South Carolina Pulled Pork Tacos
There’s one dish that we’ll enjoy whether it’s football season or the Fourth of July, and that dish is pulled pork. This recipe, featuring a South Carolina version of it, makes it easy to enjoy the barbecue classic during the summer in taco form, and it's topped with a refreshing cabbage slaw. From the barbecue sauce and rub to the slaw, you’ll keep going back to this recipe over and over again this summer.
Asparagus, Red Pepper, and Potato Salad
Chef and owner of Dinosaur Bar-B-Que John Stage is considered to be one of the best barbecue masters out there, but this recipe demonstrates his skill with another summertime staple — potato salad. Asparagus and red pepper add a fun twist to the traditional recipe, and a spicy dressing made with mustard, balsamic vinegar, and brown sugar is the perfect bath for the potatoes to soak in.
Grilled Whole Chicken with Lemon Potatoes
We first came across this recipe from Michael Psilakis as a roasted chicken recipe, but converted it for the grill to make it perfect for summer. It’s ideal for feeding a crowd and the chicken’s light, lemony marinade is a great summertime flavor.
Vanilla and Honey Shortbread Pie
Served chilled, this dessert will cool your guests off during the heat of the summer, and we love adding fresh berries to the top to add some brightness.
Quinoa Vegetable Salad
Perfect for an outdoor picnic or a light lunch, this quinoa vegetable salad tosses together bright and fresh flavors such as ginger, lime juice, and cilantro to create a refreshing summer recipe that we’ll be making over and over again.
From the True Food: Seasonal, Sustain, Simple, Pure cookbook, this recipe's directions insist that it’s not worth it unless you’re working with the freshest possible in-season tomatoes, making it the perfect summertime pick.
Another recipe from True Food, this medium-hot summertime salsa is perfect when enjoyed with raw vegetables, chips, or even all on its own. Also a great summer sauce for your grilled fish or chicken, the salsa can be flexible with whatever berries you have on hand. The authors suggest swapping in raspberries if fresh strawberries are not available.
We love this recipe because we think it’s an easy way to serve fish to a crowd during one of your summertime gatherings. Throw together the salmon cakes the night before and reheat them quickly in the oven — or even on the grill — just before serving.
Summertime is all about coleslaw, but unfortunately it’s also about bathing suits. This recipe makes both possible, using Greek yogurt as the base for the creamy salad for a healthy alternative. Don’t worry, all of you mayonnaise lovers — there’s still a touch of mayonnaise in there to make it all the more satisfying.
Tomato and Watermelon Salad
Nothing spells summer to us like heirloom tomatoes, and this salad recipe tosses them with juicy watermelon and tart goat cheese. Not only is it a delicacy for your taste buds, but it’s stunning in presentation as well.
Alongside the hamburgers and hot dogs at our summer cookouts will be these vegetable pitas. Mushrooms, zucchini, bell pepper, and red onion make this sandwich hearty and satisfying, and additions like balsamic and goat cheese make it extra flavorful.
Fried chicken is a staple at many summertime picnics, but unfortunately it requires something we hate to do during the heat of the summer: deep-frying. Luckily for us, this recipe makes it possible to enjoy fried chicken without a vat of fat. It’s so good it’s worth turning on the oven during the summer.
Pork Belly BLT
For some of us, there’s nothing like a fresh BLT sitting poolside during the summer. That is until we came across this recipe, swapping bacon out for one of its pork cousins: pork belly. Make the pork belly on a cold and rainy summer day and keep it in the fridge for your summertime picnics.
Mexican Orzo Chicken Salad
A lot of times during the summer it’s ideal to have an all-in-one dish that tastes great at room temperature or cold. This Mexican orzo chicken salad uses fresh, bright ingredients and is perfect to take to a picnic or have on hand for a quick snack.
Hazelnut Banoffee Tartlets
We like preparing the crusts for these little tartlets ahead of time and cooling the filling before putting them together so they’re a refreshing and light dessert and after a summer meal.