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The 12 Ultimate List Of Summer Dinner Dishes

Getting ready for a summer dinner party? Here’s the ultimate list of summer dinner dishes you should try at home!

We all dreamed of hot summer days spent grilling juicy chicken thighs, making DIY snow cones and syrups, and homemade ice cream during the winter. 

But, standing over a hot stovetop and heating the entire kitchen at dinnertime is the last thing you want to do this summer.

Despite this, I always make sure that my regular evening dinner routine is as summery as possible.

How do I do that? Use time-saving kitchen hacks like no-cook cooking foods to prepare meals with minimal effort and time!

So, I prepared the ultimate list of summer dinner dishes for you to serve to your family!

1. Chicken Caesar Salad Sandwiches

Summer Dinner Dishes: chicken salad

So you decided to go on a picnic with your family by the beach. And for dinner, you want something light on the stomach.

Chicken Caesar Salad Sandwiches are ideal for this occasion! It takes only 20 minutes to prepare. You can make the chicken salad mixture the day before going to the beach. And just pack that store-bought rotisserie chicken and dressing. Simply put together the sandwiches when you’re ready to enjoy them!

2. Shortcut Barbecue Ribs

Summer Dinner Dishes: barbecue ribs

Oh, some ribs from the grill! Prepare your barrel grill for some mouthwatering barbecue ribs. BUT, with a twist!

I know that you don’t want to spend much time in the kitchen this summer. That’s why this crazy shortcut barbeque rib is the best.

Boiling ribs first softens the meat before grilling, which saves you time. And it will be more delicious if you make these 3 different flavors of barbecue sauce!

You can also check out the best wine to pair with barbecues!

3. Steak-and-Bell Pepper Salad

Summer Dinner Dishes: steak salad

How can you provide your family with a healthy, filling dinner with minimal work and cooking time?

Steak-and-Bell Pepper Salad to the rescue! All you need is a simple dressing to bring everything together.

This recipe calls for sourdough croutons, but you may use any variety of homemade bread.

Reverse searing a steak is my secret to a juicy steak. However, this method needs additional prep time. You may simply use a cast-iron skillet.

4. Air Fryer Cheeseburger

Summer Dinner Dishes: cheeseburger

Are you running out of summer air fryer recipes? Then you should try this Air Fryer Cheeseburger.  

If you don’t have one, you can check my review for the best air fryer on Amazon.

Back to this cheesy, juicy cheeseburger! Fill it with your favorite toppings and feel you’re a burger master without the smoke in your face.

You can form the patties ahead of time and keep them refrigerated and tightly covered for up to 2 days in advance. You can just pop them in the air fryer when you’re ready to cook.

5. Summer Zucchini Noodle Salad

Summer Dinner Dishes: noodle salad

Do you have a strong desire for diverse flavors this summer? I am, after all! And happily, this Summer Zucchini Noodle Salad has all of the summer tastes I crave!

Making zucchini noodles is both fun and tasty. And this calls for the best spiralizer. Check out my review of different spiralizers on Amazon.

You don’t have to do any cooking. Plus, the noodles are fresh and healthy! I simply drizzle a simple vinaigrette over the salad and serve.

6. Chilled Cucumber Soup

Summer Dinner Dishes: cucumber soup

No one wants a hot soup for dinner in the heat. However, this chilled cucumber soup will cool you down on those hot summer days!

You don’t need to use the oven, stove, or even the grill to make it. Simply mix all ingredients in a blender, purée, and chill! I love using the best Vitamix blender to make this recipe.

They can be a great start to a light meal or a main dish with a salad and warm bread.

7. Air Fryer Coconut Shrimp

Summer Dinner Dishes: coconut shrimp

What’s the best way to cook dinner without heating the kitchen this summer? There’s no better way than to use your Air Fryer! Another air fryer recipe on the list.

I’ve been using my Black+Decker Purify Air Fryer for over a year. I eventually ran out of recipes to cook it with. Then I found this Air Fryer Coconut Shrimp recipe!

This Air Fryer Coconut Shrimp is ready to serve your family and friends in less than 30 minutes. The perfect combination of salty and sweet will become your new favorite way to serve fried shrimp.

8. Instant Pot Potato Salad

Summer Dinner Dishes: potato salad

I’m obsessed with time-saving Instant Pot recipes. I’m constantly trying to come up with all-in-one instant pot meals that allow me to put everything in the pot and have a quick dinner.

And this Instant Pot Potato Salad never fails to impress me! Imagine having your favorite potato salad meal ready to serve in less than half an hour. 

It is filled with crunchy celery, tangy dill, a mustardy punch, tender potatoes, and a hearty scoop of mayonnaise. I always turn to this recipe when I don’t feel like cooking.

9. Grilled Chicken Thighs

Summer Dinner Dishes: chicken thighs

We sometimes want to have our friends around for dinner despite the hot summer days. And what’s the best dish to cook? Grilled chicken thighs!

I covered how to grill chicken thighs in 5 foolproof steps! You should check it before grilling. 

Nothing beats chicken thighs when it comes to flavor. Cook the chicken on both sides for 10 minutes each. It’s a simple and fun way to spend time outdoors with friends.

10. Perfect Baked Cod Fish

Summer Dinner Dishes: perfect baked cod

If you’re worried about preparing seafood at home, cod is the fish for you. It’s nearly impossible to mess this up!

It cooks quickly. And it is difficult to overcook unless you completely forget about it. This recipe is a no-brainer that will have you eating delicious, tender cod in no time.

11. Watermelon Gazpacho

Summer Dinner Dishes: gazpacho

I never imagined a five-ingredient recipe could look and taste so great! This is a great way to stay cool this summer.

Gazpacho is a chilled, traditional Spanish soup made with seasonal fruits and vegetables. Imagine it is similar to eating a fresh salad with a smooth, creamy, and rich dressing.

This recipe is a unique, fun, and delicious way to prepare watermelon. And watermelon is my favorite summer fruit!

12. Seafood Boil

Summer Dinner Dishes: seafood

Make a seafood boil if you enjoy a messy, dig-in-with-your-hands dinner. This dish includes classic boil ingredients and is cooked in a delicious broth with a hefty dose of Old Bay.

Make sure you have all of your ingredients ready before you start cooking. All you need is the perfect timing for this perfect dish! You don’t want your seafood to overcook.

People Also Ask

How long do ribs need to be on the grill at 400 degrees?

Set the oven temperature to 400 degrees and put the ribs on the grill for 1 1/2 hours. Season the ribs with pepper and salt. Place the slabs on a large piece of heavy-duty foil, seal it up, and set it on a baking sheet with a rim. Cook for about 1 1/2 hours, or until the meat is soft enough to cut with a fork.

Are cheeseburgers good to make in an air fryer?

Using an air fryer to cook hamburgers is the next big thing. They always turn out perfectly, without the need for splashing grease or standing over a hot grill. You’ll love the savory beef flavor in these juicy, flavorful burgers.

How can chicken thighs be grilled without drying them out?

Put 2 tbsp of oil in a large cast-iron pan and heat it over medium-high heat for two min. Once the pan is hot, put the chicken thighs in with the skin side down and leave them alone for 8 minutes.


Summer is finally here! Picnics, BBQs, and beach days are all on the agenda. And, with all of our summer activities, we’re sometimes too tired to cook dinner for the family.

The last thing you want to do is spend more time in a hot kitchen. So these recipes will simply take a few minutes of your time in the kitchen. No need to make a sweat!

I used to look forward to summer because my father would always set up the grill. And enjoy meals in our outdoor kitchen.

If you have a foodie father, check out my most recent review of the best Father’s Day gift for foodie dads. This is a reminder that you can always give gifts without occasion. 

What’s your favorite recipe every summer? Let me know in the comments!