31 Simple Summer Dinners

Summer is here and it’s time to switch off that oven! If you’re ready to add some easy, no-fuss dinner recipes to your menu this summer, we’ve got you covered with 31 quick and easy summer dinners and meal ideas that are perfect for the season.

A bowl filled with salad and taco meat. Two hands, one holding the bowl and the other holding a fork with a bite of salad on it.

Quick and Easy Summer Dinners

The name of the game when it comes to cooking during the summer is quick and easy. I don’t want to be slaving over a hot pot of chicken soup when it’s 104 degrees outside, so I have a list of delicious meals that I can make that require minimal cooking. Some require a grill, some an instant pot, some a slow cooker, and some require no cooking at all. I can totally get behind that!

If you’re ready to minimize your time in the kitchen and maximize time relaxing with your family, you’ve come to the right place. But first, let’s talk about ways to simplify the dinner cooking routine.

Ingredients for a recipe prepped, chopped and in small bowls - Lettuce, feta cheese, chicken, lemons, onions, tomatoes, cucumbers and seasonings.

Tips for Simplifying Dinner Prep

Even quick and easy dinners require a little prep but especially during the hot summer months I’m trying to get dinner on the table as quickly as possibly. Here are a few tips for simplifying your dinner routine.

  1. Menu Plan: If you’re having guests or just cooking for your family, plan your meal in advance so you can ensure that you have all the ingredients you need. Keep simple dinners that don’t require any cooking on your weekly menu rotation. Things like charcuterie boards with cold cuts, cheese and veggies, or chicken salad sandwiches are perfect for those night when you just don’t want to cook.
  2. Make ahead what you can. Pasta salad, potato salad, and fresh garden salads can all be prepared completely in advance, sometimes even a day ahead. Keep shredded chicken on hand for adding to soups, salads and sandwiches.
  3. Collect Ingredients: Take out all of the ingredients and set them on the counter. Group them by recipe to make them easy to grab when you need them.
  4. Prep: Chop veggies, boil water and open cans before you start cooking. This will keep the flow moving and speed up the process of completing your meal.

31 Simple Summer Dinners with images of pasta, salads, and bbq sandwich

31 Summer Dinners

Some of these easy meals will be a complete meal, some of the recipes will be just the main course in which case I’ll provide some suggestions for side dishes at the end of the post.

Tuna Macaroni Salad
A dish is filled with Tuna Macaroni Salad
The Best Tuna Macaroni Salad recipe is a classic potluck staple. Serve as a hearty side dish or a light yet satisfying main dish.
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One Pan Chicken Apple Sausage Pasta
Chicken & Apple Sausage Mac and Cheese has tender pasta with a savory sweet sausage all cooked in one pan for a quick and easy weeknight meal.
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Creamy Chicken Pesto Pasta
A pan filled with Chicken and Pasta, topped with a creamy pesto sauce.
Chicken Pesto Pasta has pasta and chicken coated in a creamy, cheesy pesto sauce. It's an easy, delicious meal that's ready in 30 minutes!
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Sloppy Joes Sandwich
Sloppy Joe featured image.
Classic Sloppy Joes recipe with ground beef, onions, ketchup, Worcestershire, and brown sugar sauce for the ultimate sweet and savory meal. 
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Grilled London Broil
Close up of grilled London Broil Steak
London Broil is a cut of beef that's marinated then and grilled over a high heat. This tender, juicy steak is a budget friendly yet classy weeknight meal.
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Healthy & Easy Taco Salad
Taco salad in a bowl topped with chips, cheese, and sour cream.
This easy Taco Salad is made with ground turkey instead of beef for a healthy, colorful, meal-sized salad. It's full of crisp lettuce, and topped with a zesty ground turkey and bean mixture and all of your favorite taco toppings.
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Ground Beef Tacos
A plate of crispy ground beef tacos
Learn how to make the most tender and flavorful meat for Ground Beef Tacos! These tacos are the perfect weeknight meal and are ready in about 20 minutes.
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Crockpot Ribs (Slow Cooker Barbecue Ribs)
A pan full of saucy Barbecue Ribs
Learn the secrets to making the best Crockpot Ribs with this easy recipe. Get flavorful, tender and juicy bbq ribs while your slow cooker does all the work!
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Crockpot BBQ Chicken
Social media image of Crockpot BBQ Chicken Sandwich
Crockpot BBQ Chicken (aka pulled chicken) is made with just a few ingredients and right in your slow cooker. Perfect for sandwiches, wraps, pizza and more!
Check out this recipe
Grilled Salmon Salad
A bowl of salad with salmon, red onions, and olives
This Grilled Salmon Salad is full of crunchy veggies, grilled salmon and an easy homemade champagne vinaigrette. Easily customized for lunch or dinner!
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Greek Chicken Salad
A plate of Chicken and Salad
A simple and delicious Greek chicken salad that is loaded with juicy grilled chicken, crisp lettuce, and all your favorite toppings.
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Instant Pot Pulled Pork
Instant Pot Pulled Pork is delicious and ready in under an hour! This easy instant pot pork recipe is perfect for filling sandwiches, wraps and more!
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Turkey Burger
Turkey Burger on wood board.
Easy turkey burgers that are so juicy and flavorful. Made with ground turkey and seasoned to perfection, these burgers cook up in only 10 minutes!
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Balsamic Chicken Tortellini Salad
Social media image of chicken tortellini salad
Balsamic Chicken Tortellini Salad is a simple, Italian-inspired pasta salad full of chicken, veggies and a balsamic dressing. Delicious served warm or cold.
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Smoked Sausage and Zucchini Skillet
Social media image of smoked sausage and zucchini
This Smoked Sausage and Zucchini Skillet has loads of flavor and veggies for a quick 20 meal! Serve over rice or pasta for a dinner to satisfy everyone!
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Pasta Puttanesca
Social media image of Pasta Puttanesca
Pasta Puttanesca is a light meal of fresh pasta with lemon juice, tomatoes, spinach and arugula and a robust saltiness from capers and olives.
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Shrimp Fajitas
Social media image of pan filled with shrimp and peppers and onions
Make any night Fajita Friday with these easy Shrimp Fajitas! Simply seasoned and full of Mexican flavors, this weeknight dinner comes together in about 15 minutes and will leave every belly around the table satisfied.
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Ramen Noodle Salad with Salmon
A bowl of ramen noodle salad
This Crunchy Ramen Noodle Salad with salmon is a unique version of the potluck classic salad with toasted almonds and a sweet Asian style dressing.
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Tuna Pasta Salad
Social media image of Tuna Pasta Salad
My Tuna Pasta Salad is the perfect picnic lunch or anytime meal. With tender pasta, a creamy dressing and healthy tuna, it's the perfect meal for any time.
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Grilled Shrimp Pasta Salad
A bowl of Shrimp Pasta Salad
Turn a classic summer side dish into a main course when you serve up a batch of this Grilled Shrimp Pasta Salad! Turmeric-kissed grilled shrimp are tossed in a seasonal pasta salad, complete with asparagus, fresh tomatoes, and summer squash.
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Teriyaki Chicken Salad (Red Robin Copycat)
A plate of Teriyaki Chicken Salad
This Teriyaki Chicken Salad is my take on Red Robin's Banzai Salad. It's got sweet teriyaki chicken and mandarin oranges, toasted almonds, edamame and a creamy honey mustard dressing. A refreshingly perfect main dish salad for summer!
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Chicken Bacon Avocado Chopped Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette
A close up of Bacon Avocado Chicken salad
This Bacon Avocado Chicken Salad has veggies, bacon, avocado and a healthy lemon dressing, making this recipe completely guilt free!
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Hawaiian Chicken Tacos
Grilled Hawaiian Chicken Tacos are not your average taco! Tender chicken is marinated in a teriyaki pineapple blend then grilled, stuffed into tortillas and topped with a sweet and spicy slaw.
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Blackened Salmon
Blackened Salmon is seasoned to perfection and prepared on the grill for a tender and flaky salmon with a cajun spiced crust. Served with a sweet mango salsa for an irresistible meal that cooks in 10 minutes.
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Instant Pot Chicken Caesar Wraps
Instant Pot Caesar Chicken Wraps are perfect for light dinner or for prepping lunches for the week.
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Grilled Salmon with Summer Vegetable Relish
This Grilled Salmon Recipe will make you want to grill all year around- it's super quick and easy to make for a fresh dinner you'll love!
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Grilled Pizza
Best Grilled Pizza - learn how to make our easy grilled pizza at home with step by step photos using our 30 minute homemade miracle pizza dough!
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Slow Cooker Italian Beef Sandwiches
This easy Crock Pot Italian Beef Sandwich recipe makes the most amazing savory sandwiches loaded with juicy shredded meat, melted provolone cheese, and pepperoncinis or giardiniera!
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Steak Sandwich
A sliced grilled ribeye, grilled tomatoes, peppery arugula, and a blue cheese thyme butter between crusty grilled bread – this steak sandwich is the stuff of dreams!!
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Honey Lime Shrimp
Easy Honey Lime Shrimp is made with only 5 ingredients! You get tender pan seared shrimp coated with rich butter, bold garlic, vibrant lime, and sweet honey. It's the perfect pairing of flavors and a super simple summer meal.
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Mediterranean Salad with Chicken
An easy Mediterranean salad made with leafy greens, salty feta cheese, protein-packed chickpeas, briny olives, fresh chopped veggies, and shredded rotisserie chicken, then topped with a tangy red wine vinaigrette. Fix this for a quick lunch or dinner in about 15 minutes or prep it ahead of time for a simple & healthy meal.
Check out this recipe

Side Dishes for Summer Dinners

These are some of the no (or minimal) cook recipes I keep in rotation for rounding out our meals during the summer.

A collage of images showing simple summer dinners. Text reads "31 Simple Summer Dinners

Kristin Maxwell

Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.

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