30+ Summer Dinner Ideas

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

More Collections: Summer Crock Pot Recipes, Summer Drink Recipes, Summer Dessert Recipes, Summer Salads

Collage of summer dinner recipes

best summer dinner recipes

Do you feel like you’re MORE or LESS busy in the summertime?? Generally, I feel less busy because school is out and the kids’ sports and activities aren’t really in season. Although, I will say we spend a lot more time playing, doing day trips, and getting together with people!

That’s one thing I love about summer—having a little extra time to plan meals, and especially all of our favorite summer dinner recipes. We make a lot of grilled meats and fresh salads, and sometimes if we’re in the mood for a picnic, we’ll do sandwiches and wraps.

Here’s a collection of some of our most popular dinner recipes that we make in the summer!

Tips for Summer Dinners

Some recipes are worth turning on the oven for, but for the most part cooking in the summer means utilizing the grill and my crock pot. Here are a few quicks tips when using either.

Grill:

  • Avoid putting cold food on the grill. Let food sit at room temp for 30 min before grilling. 
  • Don’t flip the food too much. If meat is sticking to the grill, just wait. It will release when it is ready to be flipped. 
  • Don’t squeeze or flatten the meat
  • Use a meat thermometer
    • Chicken internal temp 165°F
    • Pork internal temp 145°F 
    • Beef: rare 125°F, medium 145°F,  well done 160°F
  • Avoid burning thicker slices of meat by cooking in the oven for about 15 minutes before grilling.
  • Always allow the meat to rest for 10-15 minutes after cooking.  

Crock Pot:

  • Inexpensive cuts of meat are often high in fat and connective tissue, which will result in moist and tender fall of the bone meat. 
  • Never use frozen meat in a crock pot.
  • Keep a lid on it! Every time the lid is opened heat escapes slowing the cooking process. It takes 20-30 minutes for the pot to return to the right temp. 
  • Use a crock pot liner for easy clean up, or coat the inside with cooking spray.
  • On many pots, the High temp is 280°F and the low temp is 170°F. Cooking on high for 1 hour is about the same as cooking on low for 2 hours. 

Keeping food warm outdoors

  • Keep warm food in an insulated carrier
  • Use chafing dishes
  • Cover pans with aluminum foil
  • If there is an outlet, use a crock pot
  • Don’t let food sit out for more than 2 hours

Classic Main Dishes

Classic Main Dishes

From classic summer hot dogs to Kalua pork these summer recipes will not disappoint. Best of all? They’re all easy!

Main Course Easy Steak Marinade Recipe
This is Our All-Time Favorite Steak marinade! It requires only four ingredients, and makes our steak taste SO amazing! Everyone always asks for this Easy Steak Marinade recipe because it's just that good!!
Total Time: 5 minutes
4.88 from 24 votes
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Main Course How to Cook Hot Dogs in Crock Pot
The easiest way to make hot dogs for a crowd! Cook hot dogs in the crock pot for all of your summer potluck needs.
Total Time: 2 hours 2 minutes
5 from 2 votes
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Main Course Ranch Burger Recipe
These Ranch Burgers make the BEST homemade hamburgers!! This easy burger recipe is complete with the most delicious secret sauce that compliments the ranch burger perfectly!
Total Time: 20 minutes
4.82 from 11 votes
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Main Course Crock Pot Pork Roast Recipe
Prepare to be amazed by this ultra tender, fall off the bone crock pot pork roast. It only takes a handful of ingredients to make, including the complimentary gravy.
Total Time: 8 hours 5 minutes
5 from 11 votes
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Main Course Kalua Pork Recipe
This Slow Cooker Kalua Pork is a classic Hawaiian favorite made easily in your slow cooker with just a few ingredients. Eat it on it's own, or in tacos or sliders.
Total Time: 9 hours 5 minutes
5 from 18 votes
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Main Course Zucchini Boats Recipe
Stuffed Zucchini Boats are filled with Italian sausage and tomatoes. They are a delish go-to healthy dinner idea.
Total Time: 35 minutes
4.9 from 19 votes
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Main Course Dr. Pepper Ribs Recipe
Pork ribs cooked in Dr. Pepper, grilled to perfection, and smothered in BBQ Sauce. These Dr. Pepper ribs are fall off the bone delicious!
Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
4.75 from 12 votes
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Main Course Pulled Pork Recipe
This Delicious and Easy Pulled Pork Recipe is one that is made in the slow cooker and takes just minutes to prep. Use the pork for any recipe, including Pulled Pork sandwiches, and you'll love just how simple and tasty it is.
Total Time: 8 hours 5 minutes
4.93 from 13 votes
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Main Course Hawaiian Haystacks Recipe
A pile of fluffy rice stacked with chicken, gravy, and all your favorite toppings! Totally customizable, and great for feeding a crowd!
Total Time: 35 minutes
5 from 10 votes
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Main Course Crock Pot Brisket Recipe
Juicy and delicious meat, easily made in your slow cooker! This crock pot brisket is so tender it just falls apart.
Total Time: 8 hours 5 minutes
5 from 9 votes
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Main Course Homemade Corn Dogs Recipe
Hand-Dipped Corn Dogs recipe - copycat Disneyland's! Hot dogs dipped in a honey cornmeal batter and fried until crispy!! So good!! 
Total Time: 17 minutes
5 from 12 votes
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Main Course Taco Casserole Recipe
This delicious Taco Casserole is like a taco salad in casserole form! With a ground beef and biscuit base, plus layers of sour cream, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, and olives, this casserole is the perfect way to switch up your dinner routine.
Total Time: 40 minutes
4.89 from 80 votes
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Main Course Pork Tacos Recipe
Pork tacos made simple using slow cooker pork and all of your favorite taco toppings! These tacos are flavorful, easy to make, and a big crowd pleaser.
Total Time: 6 hours 5 minutes
5 from 5 votes
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Main Course Pizza Casserole Recipe
A quick, easy and delicious dinner idea that the whole family will love. Prepped in 5 minutes and made in under 30 minutes!
5 from 12 votes
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Main Course BBQ Chicken Pizza Recipe
With barbecue sauce, mozzarella cheese, chicken, bacon, and cilantro, this Barbecue Chicken Pizza will be a new family favorite. Best of all, it's made in less than 20 minutes!
Total Time: 20 minutes
5 from 6 votes
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Chicken Dishes

summer Chicken recipes

Baked, slow cooked, or grilled chicken dishes are always a hit with my family and make a delicious summer dinner. 

Main Course Huli Huli Chicken Recipe
This Grilled Huli Huli Chicken is the juiciest and most delicious Hawaiian chicken you'll ever try! Great alone or served on rice or noodles!!
Total Time: 21 minutes
4.95 from 18 votes
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Main Course Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Sandwiches Recipe
Loaded with juicy grilled pineapple, red onion and crisp lettuce, this Hawaiian BBQ Chicken sandwich is perfect for summer entertaining!
Total Time: 25 minutes
5 from 2 votes
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Main Course Mustard Chicken and Pineapple Skewers Recipe
Sweet or Spicy Mustard Chicken and Pineapple Skewers are tender and juicy. They are a simple and flavorful recipe perfect for your next BBQ!
Total Time: 4 hours 25 minutes
5 from 1 vote
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Main Course Lemon Chicken with Veggies Recipe
Roasted Lemon Chicken with Veggies including green beans and red potatoes. One of the easiest and yummiest dinner recipes!
Total Time: 1 hour 8 minutes
4.48 from 36 votes
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Main Course Chicken Fingers Recipe
A healthy way to eat chicken that kids absolutely love - Baked Chicken Fingers! Chicken dipped in flour, egg, and panko, then baked to a crispy perfection! Not to mention they're SO easy to make!
Total Time: 35 minutes
4.87 from 15 votes
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Main Course Lemon Pepper Chicken Recipe
Flavorful and tender Lemon Pepper Chicken is simple and requires just a few ingredients. Served on its own or over rice, this buttery chicken dish is perfect any night of the week for a simple, quick dinner idea.
Total Time: 15 minutes
5 from 1 vote
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Main Course Chicken Souvlaki Recipe
Chicken Souvlaki is a savory kabob infused with Greek flavors. With marinated chicken, onions, and peppers, it's hearty and delicious.
Total Time: 41 minutes
5 from 9 votes
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Main Course Chicken Marinade Recipe
This easy chicken marinade is the BEST way to marinate chicken breasts before grilling or cooking. It makes the meat juicy, tender, and so flavorful!
Total Time: 4 hours 20 minutes
4 from 1 vote
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Main Course Teriyaki Chicken Burgers Recipe
Marinated Teriyaki Chicken Burgers are quick, easy and full of sweet, tangy flavor! Grilled pineapple makes these burgers perfection.
Total Time: 1 day 20 minutes
5 from 7 votes
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Sandwiches, Sliders, & Wraps

Sandwiches, Sliders & Wraps

Sliders, sandwiches, and wraps are all perfect to take on a picnic, or just for a simple summer dinner at home. 

Main Course Ham and Cheese Sliders Recipe
Everyone loves these Hot Ham and Cheese Sliders because they're easy, cheesy and addicting! They don't take long to make, and are perfect for any get together—always a crowd pleaser!
Total Time: 30 minutes
5 from 28 votes
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Main Course Veggie Panini Recipe
Delicious Veggie Panini - one of our favorite sandwich recipes filled with cheese, tomatoes, avocado and spinach.
Total Time: 11 minutes
5 from 6 votes
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Main Course Chicken Stuffed Crescent Rolls Recipe
Shredded chicken mixed with cream cheese, Italian dressing mix, and cream of chicken rolled into buttery crescent dough! These flavorful Chicken Crescent Roll Bundles have become a family fave.
Total Time: 34 minutes
4.69 from 22 votes
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Main Course Chicken Caesar Wrap Recipe
These Chicken Caesar Wraps are simple, delicious and the perfect recipe for lunch or a picnic. Yummy romaine, chicken, bacon, croutons, and caesar dressing all wrapped in a flour tortilla!
Total Time: 5 minutes
5 from 3 votes
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Main Course Greek Chicken Wrap Recipe
Simple Greek Chicken Wraps are a quick & easy lunch making them a great grab and go lunch for extra busy days!
Total Time: 5 minutes
5 from 1 vote
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Appetizer Monte Cristo Sliders Recipe
Monte Cristo sliders are the ultimate sweet and salty party food! Everything you love about a Monte Cristo sandwich - cheese, turkey, ham, and powdered sugar - but in appetizer form.
Total Time: 40 minutes
5 from 6 votes
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Main Course, Side Dish Egg Salad Recipe
Egg salad is classic, simple, and only requires a handful of ingredients! Serve it as a side, or make it into an egg salad sandwich. Either way, it's perfect for feeding a crowd!
5 from 12 votes
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Main Course Sloppy Joes Recipe
Saucy and savory homemade Sloppy Joes are a delicious meat loaded sandwich. They are quick and easy, perfect for feeding a crowd!
Total Time: 30 minutes
5 from 11 votes
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chicken parmesan slider with lettuce on red plate
Appetizer Chicken Parmesan Sliders Recipe
Marinated and grilled chicken breast, melty cheese, marinara sauce, and lettuce all sandwiched between a ciabatta bun. These chicken parmesan sliders make for the perfect appetizer, but can hold their own as a main dish too!
Total Time: 15 minutes
5 from 1 vote
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Appetizer Buffalo Chicken Sliders Recipe
Great served as dinner, a snack, or appetizer, these Buffalo Chicken Sliders are flavorful and simple. If you love the buffalo taste, you'll love these simple sliders. 
Total Time: 35 minutes
5 from 14 votes
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About the Author

Kristyn Merkley

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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