35 Fresh, Easy Recipes to Make on a Hot Summer Day

Publish Date June 5, 2024 4 Minute Read

Start your summer right here with our collection of easy summer dinners, summer salad recipes, summer desserts and much more. With the weather heating up and many of us making time for more gatherings and events, summer cooking is all about simplicity. Many of these recipes don’t require much cooking, or they utilize the grill to get the cooking done fast. These picks are also packed with flavor from fresh produce like berries and summer squash, which are at their very freshest right now.

Summer Dinner Ideas

There’s nothing better than a delicious meal under a summer sunset, especially after a hot day at the pool. These summer dinner ideas make great use of produce (like summer squash) and fresh fruit (like peaches). And several of our picks are all-in-1-bowl recipes, like our Zucchini Pasta Salad, which makes both cooking and cleaning up easier than ever.

Summer Salad Recipes

With tons of bright fruits and veggies, these summer salads make the most of the season’s freshest produce with unique flavor combinations and tasty toppings. Best of all, it’s easy to swap the proteins in any of our salad recipes to better suit your preferences or use what you have on hand. For example, you could substitute the chicken in our Southwest Mango Chicken Salad with leftover grilled steak from a cookout, or make the salad without meat for a lighter meal.

Refreshing Summer Cocktails

Cheers to warmer weather and fun in the sun. These summer sippers are perfect for clinking glasses poolside or on the patio. Summer cocktails are all about being refreshing and thirst-quenching, and that’s reflected in our cocktail picks. Most of these recipes can be made into mocktails by simply omitting the alcohol, which can help you stay hydrated on hot days. If you’re planning to spend a lot of time outdoors, we recommend mixing the drinks without the alcohol, then adding it in for every other drink.

Summer Grilling Recipes

Though many of us tend to save grilling for weekends or special occasions, the grill offers fast cooking with maximum flavor, making it a fantastic option for weeknight meals, too. These recipes include fun twists on classics like BLT Hot Dogs, plus unique flavor combos like those in our Cedar Plank Salmon Tacos with Kiwi Avocado Slaw. If you’re interested in learning how to make the most of the grilling season, check out our tips on how to use a smoker or how to grill on cedar planks, plus more grill and smoker recipes.

Summer Dessert Recipes

Gather ‘round the campfire for classic summer desserts like s’mores, icebox cake and many more. This collection of tasty treats includes decadent chocolatey desserts, plus innovative ways to stay cool and get a sugar rush, too. For keeping cool out in the summer sun, we especially love our Mango Coconut Ice Pops, which are easy to whip together and throw in the freezer.

Looking for More Summer Recipe Inspiration?

Check out The Fresh Lane for more hot summer tips and meal planning ideas.