85 Insanely Easy Summer Dinner Recipes
Quick and easy? Full of summer produce? Check and check!
In winter, when we’re eating comforting soups and stews for dinner in the dark every evening, we often dream of long, hot summer days. Now that they’re finally here, don’t let them slip away without taking full advantage! This means lots of picnics, BBQs, and days at the beach, as well as making sure that even your mundane weeknight dinners are as summery as possible. We think there are a few must-haves to make a perfect summer meal: one, it’s gotta be as easy and quick to make as possible, and two, it’s gotta showcase all the best summer produce. We think we hit those marks with these 85 summer weeknight dinner recipes: Check them out, and see for yourself.
When it’s hot out, the last thing you want to do is spend more time in a balmy kitchen. To help keep you cool, we’ve included a ton of recipes that use only one pot or pan (it isn’t fun to do lots of dishes in the summer either), and some that skip the oven altogether. Try our one-pot salmon and orzo, our baked cod, or our ahi poke bowls—they’re all super quick to come together, so you can spend more time enjoying the sunshine. Of course, it’s not summer if you’re not grilling as many of your meals as possible. That means burgers, hot dogs, and grilled vegetables, but also tons of other creative options too, like our grilled swordfish with hazelnut miso sauce, our summer panzanella salad, and our California grilled chicken (with avocado!).
Nothing tastes better than a ripe, in-season piece of produce, and that’s never more true than during the summer. Tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, and fruit like pineapples and peaches are truly mind-blowing this time of year, so we’ve highlighted some recipes to showcase their deliciousness. Try our gazpacho, our balsamic grilled steak salad with peaches, our grilled bruschetta chicken, or our garlicky shrimp zucchini boats to see what we mean.
For more ways to avoid your kitchen this summer, check out our Instant Pot and air fryer dinner ideas, as well as our favorite weeknight dinners on the grill. And don’t forget summer cocktails and summer desserts too!
These swordfish steaks, shallots, and radishes are simply seasoned with olive oil, salt, and pepper. After a quick-ish grill, they are dressed with a nutty, salty, sweet, and umami-packed hazelnut miso sauce that will blow your mind.
No one has the time to cook ribs for hours. That's why this crazy shortcut to barbecue ribs is the greatest: It may seem a little odd, but boiling ribs first helps tenderize the meat before grilling. Trust us, this lets you skip the low and slow cook time in the oven or smoker, and they still turn out extra delicious.
Get the Shortcut BBQ Ribs recipe.
Giving the salmon a quick broil at the end of cooking gives the marinade a chance to caramelize—it's too good. Just make sure to keep a close eye on it, so you don't overcook the salmon! Two to three minutes is all you need under a hot broiler.
Get the Baked Pineapple Salmon recipe.
We say the more toppings the merrier. We like our chicken tacos topped with red onion (pickled onions would be great too), avocado, cilantro, and cheese. Pico de gallo, salsa, sour cream, or some crushed corn chips would also be delicious.
Get the Easy Chicken Tacos recipe.
This light but satisfying dinner starts with a vibrant sauce made with some of our favorite sunny, bright flavors: sweet bell pepper, nutty white miso, and earthy turmeric, along with plenty of garlic and ginger. Topped with garlicky sautéed shrimp, this meal comes complete with protein, carb, and plenty of veg.
Sure, gnocchi is amazing served in a bowl with a sauce, but have you ever had nicely browned gnocchi taken straight off the grill? Well, we’re here to tell you that the crispy-chewy texture is something that you simply must try.
Get the Tomato Gnocchi Kebabs recipe.
When you're craving pasta, these zucchini boats are a great option. Sweet, juicy shrimp bathed in a creamy tomato-Parmesan sauce, then baked with mozzarella until the umami skyrockets—the filling tastes almost like an extra creamy shrimp scampi.
The grill adds subtle smoky flavor to these tempeh steaks, almost bacon-like, but there's no meat in sight. Add a whiskey-infused homemade barbecue sauce, a cooling, creamy coleslaw and a toasted buttered bun for the perfect summer sandwich.
Get the BBQ Tempeh Sandwiches recipe.
Peppery arugula is the perfect vessel for this savory-sweet combo, and you just can't beat ripe, juicy peaches come summertime. We love this with funky blue cheese crumbles, but you can use feta too if you prefer.
For your next summer dinner, put a few of these bad boys on the coals and take more time to enjoy yourself away from the kitchen. Once you have the ingredients prepped—all of which can be done the day before and stored in your fridge—it's a few minutes of assembly and only around 15 minutes of hands-off grilling.
Get the Surf 'n Turf Foil Packs recipe.
With the quick cook time, these burgers stay perfectly juicy and basically beg for a melty slice of cheese. Load it up with your favorite toppings and feel like the burger master you are, without all the smoke in your face.
Get the Air Fryer Cheeseburger recipe.
All the spicy, garlicky flavors of your favorite falafel sandwich get deconstructed and stuffed inside bell peppers. It's a vegetarian version of a hearty classic we're putting in regular rotation.
Traditional tacos al pastor are made on a vertical rotisserie just like chicken shawarma. The method was used by Lebanese immigrants to Mexico and the tacos adapted to fit the culinary scene of Mexico with their spices and quickly became a popular street food. We make ours on the grill to speed things up!
Get the Tacos Al Pastor recipe.
Panzanella salad is one of those recipes that truly tastes like summer. It's one that you want to make in peak season—when the tomatoes are extra juicy, the squash slightly sweet, and the basil extra cheap. To give this classic dish more flavor, we grill the bread, zucchini, and onion until charred, then toss those with the remaining ingredients.
Get the Summer Panzanella recipe.
Like most salads, this one is ripe for improvisation. Raw, thinly sliced napa cabbage is exceptionally crunchy and sweet, but sliced romaine is a perfectly good replacement. (If you want to add in some additional crunch, go with thinly sliced endive.) Chopped toasted peanuts are a crucial final addition, but can be replaced with toasted sunflower or sesame seeds for a similar effect.
Get the Shrimp Mango Salad recipe.
Using cooked rotisserie chicken, frozen corn, and sweet cherry tomatoes, you can have a summer chowder in under an hour, served in a crispy-tender zucchini boat. While bacon isn’t totally crucial in this dish, rendering it provides a salty, flavorful fat you can then brush onto your roasted zucchini and use to start your savory chowder with.
This is our favorite combo of ingredients, but you can feel free to swap in your favorites or whatever you’ve got in the fridge. The key is to aim for color and variety, but the world really is your oyster... er, tuna!
Get the Ahi Poke Bowls recipe.
Pulled chicken is made so easy in the slow-cooker and this version includes brown sugar, a little Italian dressing, and bourbon for a bit of smokiness. You can definitely leave it out, but we think it's the best part. 😉 Dress these up with homemade coleslaw for the greatest dinner with zero effort.
We love this meal because it comes with lots of veggies! If you want to be extra-healthy, serve the salmon over a bed of arugula salad or spinach.
Get the Greek Salmon recipe.
The pineapple in this recipe doesn't just serve as a pretty serving vessel. It adds a fresh and vibrant sweetness to this teriyaki sauce as well. Use the juice that pools at the bottom of your pineapple when scooping out the chunks.
Tofu can be a hard sell. There are many complaints about its bland texture and flavor, but when given a special treatment, a transformation takes place. We've got two tips for you: Use extra-firm tofu that has been previously frozen, and simmer it in salted water briefly before stir-frying. This will enable it to absorb flavors more readily!
Get the Tofu Stir Fry recipe.
To spice things up a bit, these chicken patties are seasoned with smoked paprika and loaded with crunchy, bright coleslaw to really give beef burgers a run for their money. We then top 'em with creamy avocado slices, spicy fresh red onion, and cheddar and jalapeño before sandwiching all of it between buttery brioche buns for the ultimate bite.
Get the Chicken Burgers recipe.
Chicken tastes even better when slid on skewers alongside bok choy and green onions, then glazed with a hoisin barbecue sauce. The best part of the glaze is that there's no need to cook anything! Just whisk the ingredients together and you’re ready to go.
Get the Grilled Chicken Kebabs recipe.
The foil packets trap in steam from the wine and juices from the tomato and corn as everything grills, which in turn cooks the gnocchi to perfectly tender while infusing the pasta with all the flavors of the dish. Bonus: Some of the meal browns a bit on the bottom right before it finishes cooking, adding extra flavor.
Get the Gnocchi Foil Packets recipe.
Zoodles allow this dish to be extra delicious and satisfying while keeping it low-carb! It's a win-win dish, and we can't get enough.
Get the Burrito Zoodles recipe.
This is the perfect weeknight dinner. After marinating the chicken, everything — including the veggie side! — comes together in one pan in less than 30 minutes. Call it another skillet chicken dinner win!
Get the Basil Balsamic Chicken recipe.
In this meat-free Vietnamese classic, the pressed tofu will marinade twice: once quickly before cooking so it doesn’t soak up too much liquid and again after it’s cooked, to flavor it through. Trying to avoid bread? Try our grilled bahn mi kebabs instead!
Get the Tofu Banh Mi recipe.
We love the classic fish and chip combo and normally turn to our favorite beer battered fish when the craving hits. But frying can be messy and sometimes we like to skip that part. This air fryer fish is the perfect substitute. It is every bit as crunchy and the fish stays perfectly flaky.
Get the Air Fryer Fish recipe.
You won't miss the hoagie in these low-carb Philly Cheesesteak lettuce wraps. Yes, they're made with provolone—NOT traditional Cheez Whiz, so swap it out if you're a purist.
Get the Philly Cheesesteak Wraps recipe.
Even seafood haters can get behind this blackened tilapia. The mild-tasting fish gets a delicious flavor-packed spice rub from brown sugar, cumin, paprika, and oregano. Serve the fish topped with our super-easy avocado salsa—or don't. It's delicious enough on its own.
Get the Blackened Tilapia recipe.