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This collection of summer dinner ideas includes all the best-grilled dishes, sandwiches, and fresh salads that are so enjoyable during the warm summer months.

More Collections: Summer Drink Recipes, Summer Desserts, Summer Salad Recipes

Collage of summer dinner recipes.

We Love hot summer nights!

One thing I love about summer is having a little extra time to plan meals, especially all of our favorite summer dinner ideas!

We love to spend summers outside by the pool so I make a lot of grilled dinners and fresh salads. Sometimes if we’re in the mood for a picnic, we’ll do sandwiches and Flatout Wraps!

Why we love summer recipes:

  • Summertime produce. There are so many fruits and veggies in season during the summer and we love to include them in our dinners!
  • Keep it cool. As in your house! Grilling and crock pot ideas help keep your kitchen cool.
  • Keep it simple. Keep the fun going, use these tips to make serving food outdoors a breeze.
Zucchini boats filled with meat, veggies, and cheese.

Tips for Summer Dinners

All of my best tips stem from one main idea: make a weekly menu.

  1. Make a menu and fill out breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even snacks. Don’t forget to add the sides.
  2. Shop. Base your grocery shopping list on the needed ingredients for the week (check the pantry first!). 
  3. Meal prep. Decide if there is anything you can make ahead of time. At the end of each day look to see what you plan to serve the next day.
    • Pull items from the freezer, chop, and mix up anything you can to make cooking go more smoothly the next day. Many people like to have one large meal-prepping day and keep items in the fridge or freezer until they’re needed. 
Homemade hamburger served on a white plate with french fries.

Summer Produce

Whether you want to create a delicious side dish, whip up a summer salsa, or serve a cool Summer Salad you can’t go wrong with using the fresh ingredients that are in season.

  • Summer fruit. apples, avocado, lime, strawberries, grapes, pineapple, papaya, mango, blueberries, cherries, peaches, plums, raspberries, cherry tomatoes, watermelon, fig, pear, or lemon juice
  • Summer vegetables. broccoli, cilantro, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, green beans, radish, squash, lettuce, leafy greens, bell peppers, zucchini, beets, carrots, or onions
  • Fresh herbs. Fresh basil, garlic, fennel, rosemary, parsley, bay, chives, dill,  mint, or oregano

Best Summer Dinner Recipes

Some recipes are worth turning on the oven for, but for the most part, cooking in the summer means utilizing the grill and making summer crockpot recipes.

These easy summer dinner recipes are our favorites! From shrimp skewers to juicy beef hamburgers to crispy Chicken Tenders, we have our favorites.

Every single one of these recipes is sure to be on repeat all summer long!

1 Best Hamburger Recipe

Main Course Best Hamburger Recipe
Total Time: 20 minutes

Recipe Video

5 from 37 votes
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2 Pulled Pork Recipe

Main Course Pulled Pork Recipe
Total Time: 8 hours 5 minutes

Recipe Video

4.98 from 45 votes
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3 Huli Huli Chicken Recipe

Main Course Huli Huli Chicken Recipe
Total Time: 1 day 21 minutes

Recipe Video

5 from 65 votes
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4 Ranch Burger Recipe

Main Course Ranch Burger Recipe
Total Time: 20 minutes
4.96 from 44 votes
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5 Hawaiian Haystacks Recipe

Main Course Hawaiian Haystacks Recipe
Total Time: 35 minutes

Recipe Video

5 from 16 votes
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6 Steak Marinade

Main Course Steak Marinade
Total Time: 4 hours 5 minutes

Recipe Video

4.97 from 78 votes
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7 Sloppy Joe Recipe

Main Course Sloppy Joe Recipe
Total Time: 30 minutes

Recipe Video

5 from 16 votes
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8 Kalua Pork Recipe

Main Course Kalua Pork Recipe
Total Time: 9 hours 5 minutes

Recipe Video

5 from 81 votes
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9 Hot Dogs in Crock Pot

Main Course Hot Dogs in Crock Pot
Total Time: 2 hours 2 minutes
5 from 36 votes
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10 Taco Casserole Recipe

Main Course Taco Casserole Recipe
Total Time: 40 minutes

Recipe Video

5 from 110 votes

Easy Summer Dinner Ideas

Pizza is a hit all year long, but especially in the summer. We love to mix up a batch of our Homemade Pizza Dough, top it with sauce and mozzarella, and then add our favorite toppings!

For a simple weeknight dish packed with flavor, we grab a pack of pasta and whip up a savory sauce. Our fan-favorite Easy Spaghetti is a go-to, along with these easy dinner ideas to keep it simple!

11 BBQ Pork Chops Recipe

Main Course BBQ Pork Chops Recipe
Total Time: 45 minutes
5 from 13 votes
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12 Chicken Parmesan Sliders Recipe

Appetizer, Main Course Chicken Parmesan Sliders Recipe
Total Time: 30 minutes
5 from 9 votes
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13 Crock Pot Brisket Recipe

Main Course Crock Pot Brisket Recipe
Total Time: 8 hours 5 minutes

Recipe Video

5 from 303 votes
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14 Corn Dog Recipe

Main Course Corn Dog Recipe
Total Time: 17 minutes

Recipe Video

5 from 111 votes
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15 Chicken Souvlaki Recipe

Main Course Chicken Souvlaki Recipe
Total Time: 41 minutes
5 from 12 votes
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16 Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Sandwiches Recipe

Main Course Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Sandwiches Recipe
Total Time: 25 minutes
5 from 6 votes
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17 Baby Back Ribs Recipe

Main Course Baby Back Ribs Recipe
Total Time: 4 hours 40 minutes

Recipe Video

5 from 19 votes
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18 Monte Cristo Sliders Recipe

Appetizer Monte Cristo Sliders Recipe
Total Time: 40 minutes
4.89 from 9 votes
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19 Baked Spaghetti Squash Recipe

Main Course Baked Spaghetti Squash Recipe
Total Time: 40 minutes
5 from 5 votes
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20 Pineapple Meatballs Recipe

Appetizer Pineapple Meatballs Recipe
Total Time: 15 minutes
5 from 21 votes
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21 Steak and Tortellini Salad Recipe

Salad Steak and Tortellini Salad Recipe
Total Time: 25 minutes
5 from 7 votes
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22 Chicken Sausage Pasta Recipe

Main Course Chicken Sausage Pasta Recipe
Total Time: 20 minutes
5 from 1 vote
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23 BBQ Chicken Pizza

Main Course BBQ Chicken Pizza
Total Time: 20 minutes

Recipe Video

5 from 12 votes
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24 Dr. Pepper Ribs Recipe

Main Course Dr. Pepper Ribs Recipe
Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
4.89 from 27 votes
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25 Teriyaki Chicken Burgers Recipe

Main Course Teriyaki Chicken Burgers Recipe
Total Time: 1 day 20 minutes
5 from 20 votes
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26 Ham and Cheese Sliders Recipe

Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish Ham and Cheese Sliders Recipe
Total Time: 30 minutes

Recipe Video

5 from 97 votes
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27 Tuna Salad Recipe

Side Dish Tuna Salad Recipe
Total Time: 25 minutes

Recipe Video

5 from 24 votes
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28 How to Make Egg Salad recipe

Main Course, Side Dish How to Make Egg Salad recipe
Total Time: 10 minutes

Recipe Video

4.95 from 20 votes
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29 Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas

Main Course Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas
Total Time: 40 minutes
5 from 5 votes
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30 Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos Recipe

Main Course Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos Recipe
Total Time: 7 hours 5 minutes

Recipe Video

5 from 13 votes
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Healthy Summer Dinner Recipes

Keep dinner light by filling your meal with seasonal fruits and veggies! Whether you’re making a delicious green salad or a wrap, use the freshest fruits and vegetables.

Summer veggies, zucchini noodles, lettuce wraps, or turkey burgers keep it healthy along with these favorites!

31 Steak Bites Recipe

Main Course Steak Bites Recipe
Total Time: 1 hour 11 minutes

Recipe Video

5 from 3 votes
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32 Sausage Sheet Pan Dinner

Main Course Sausage Sheet Pan Dinner
Total Time: 45 minutes

Recipe Video

5 from 7 votes
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33 Lemon Pepper Chicken Recipe

Main Course Lemon Pepper Chicken Recipe
Total Time: 15 minutes
5 from 1 vote
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34 Dr. Pepper Ribs Recipe

Main Course Dr. Pepper Ribs Recipe
Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
4.89 from 27 votes
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35 Baked Salmon Recipe

Main Course Baked Salmon Recipe
Total Time: 40 minutes

Recipe Video

5 from 17 votes
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36 Chicken Caesar Salad Recipe

Salad Chicken Caesar Salad Recipe
Total Time: 10 minutes

Recipe Video

5 from 21 votes
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37 Veggie Panini Recipe

Main Course Veggie Panini Recipe
Total Time: 11 minutes
5 from 20 votes
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38 Zucchini Boats Recipe

Main Course Zucchini Boats Recipe
Total Time: 35 minutes

Recipe Video

4.97 from 51 votes
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39 Chicken Fingers Recipe

Main Course Chicken Fingers Recipe
Total Time: 35 minutes

Recipe Video

4.87 from 15 votes
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40 Chicken Taco Salad Recipe

Salad Chicken Taco Salad Recipe
Total Time: 25 minutes
5 from 6 votes
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41 Chicken Caesar Wrap Recipe

Main Course Chicken Caesar Wrap Recipe
Total Time: 5 minutes
4.91 from 11 votes
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42 Baked BBQ Chicken Recipe

Main Course Baked BBQ Chicken Recipe
Total Time: 25 minutes
4.74 from 15 votes
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43 Applebee’s Oriental Chicken Salad Recipe

Salad Applebee’s Oriental Chicken Salad Recipe
Total Time: 15 minutes

Recipe Video

4.96 from 99 votes
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44 Cobb Salad Recipe

Salad Cobb Salad Recipe
Total Time: 15 minutes

Recipe Video

5 from 12 votes
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45 Southwest Salad Recipe

Salad Southwest Salad Recipe
Total Time: 15 minutes

Recipe Video

5 from 18 votes
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Pile it High!

Totally customizable Hawaiian Haystacks are a pile of fluffy rice stacked with chicken, gravy, and all your favorite toppings!

This is a family favorite! The “haystack” part of the name is because you pile all those toppings onto the chicken and rice, and it kind of looks like a haystack.

Here is the recipe:

5 from 1 vote

40+ Summer Dinner Ideas

By: Lil’ Luna
This collection of summer dinner ideas includes all the best-grilled dishes, sandwiches, and fresh salads that are so enjoyable during the warm summer months.
Servings: 4
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 35 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can chicken broth
  • 1 (10.5-ounce) can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2-3 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 3-4 cups steamed white rice, or minute rice made according to the package instructions

Garnishes

  • slivered almonds, shredded cheese, green onions, pineapple tidbits, chow mein noodles, chopped celery, Homemade Wonton Strips

Instructions 

  • Stir broth, soup, and sour cream together in a slow cooker until combined well.
  • Salt and pepper to taste, then stir in chicken cubes. Cook covered on low for 3-4 hours, or high for 1-2 hours.
  • To serve, prepare a bed of rice in a bowl, then top with chicken and gravy. Sprinkle with desired toppings, including pineapple, green onions, shredded cheese, and fried wonton strips.

Notes

Stove Top Directions: Combine broth and soup in a large saucepan over medium-low heat. Add sour cream, chicken, salt, and pepper and mix. Cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 10 minutes, then serve over rice.
To Make with Uncooked Chicken: Add uncooked chicken cubes in Step 2, along with salt and pepper. Stir, cover, and cook in the crock pot on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours.
To Make Rice in the Slow Cooker: Coat the inside of your slow cooker with butter or cooking spray. Add 1 cup rice (Uncle Ben’s converted white rice works best) and 1½ cups water (or chicken broth). Cover and cook on high for 2–3 hours, stirring every 20–30 minutes. Once the water has been absorbed and the rice is soft and fluffy, it’s ready. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Nutrition

Serving: 1g, Calories: 398kcal, Carbohydrates: 36g, Protein: 29g, Fat: 14g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 4g, Trans Fat: 0.01g, Cholesterol: 106mg, Sodium: 444mg, Potassium: 535mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 394IU, Vitamin C: 2mg, Calcium: 77mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Making this recipe? Tag us!
Share it with us on Instagram using the hashtag #lilluna, so we can see what you’re creating in the kitchen!

Simple Summer dinners

We hope you enjoy this collection of simple summer dinners that are so easy to put together, but don’t compromise on taste! Whether you’re firing up the grill, using your slow cooker, or putting together a hearty salad there is something for everyone on this list!

More Collections: Summer Soups, Summer Appetizers, Summer Side Dishes

About Kristyn

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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6 Comments

  1. I love all the different salad options. Im just a beginning gardener, but do have a few things that I managed to grow. I’m looking forward to making all the different salads you have here.

  2. So many tasty looking recipes! I’m adding the ingredients for ranch burgers to my shopping list, and then I’ll be making the huli huli chicken! 🙂

  3. Summer is one of my favorite times for cooking! I love all these ideas, and can’t wait to try a few this summer.

  4. I really enjoy the lazy days of summer. The food choices are never ending. It’s a great time to grill or just make something really simple. All the recipes you need are right here.