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Time-Tested & Kid-Friendly: 45 Easy Summer Dinners

Time-Tested & Kid-Friendly: 45 Easy Summer Dinners

Flexible and straightforward, summer dinners take on a new vibe when summer time arrives! Enjoy this list of 45 laid-back summer dinner recipes!

Schedules are different. 

Activities are different. 

The weather certainly is different. 

So summer dinner ideas are often more flexible and straightforward. 

Summer dinner grilling ideas may be at the top of the list for those who only have their grill available in the warm months. 

If dropping a few pounds is on your schedule, summer dinners recipe low carb recipes are the ones you’ll be looking for, like #8 and #18 on this list. 

Since it is a beautiful growing season for all kinds of vegetables, summer dinners vegetarian style are in full swing! 

We all have to eat, so we may as well eat fresh, right? 

Summer dinner recipes abound since this is the time of year we do not want to spend much time in the kitchen, but rather with friends and family and being outdoors.  

I started this list because I know myself and am much more likely to pick up fast food than cook my own if I do not intentionally make a list and have the ingredients for meals on hand. 

I’m sure you can relate. 

I was looking for creative summer dinner salad recipes and was pleasantly surprised at how many other excellent summer dinner ideas were easy to prepare! 

So I branched out and included all kinds of summer dinners recipe Instant Pot ready and air fryer summer dinners! 

I hope you can slow down this summer and enjoy at least a few leisurely days near some water or around a table with good company and great food! 

I tried to include a wide variety of summer dinners on this list of forty-five recipes, and I know something will catch your eye! 


Table of Contents

1. Ground Beef Dinner With Summer Vegetables

Let’s kick off this list of summer dinners with a simple ground beef and summer vegetable medley. 

Pull that fresh corn, zucchini, tomatoes and herbs, and the ever flavorful onion and garlic to combine with browned ground beef for dinner!

Here two beautiful ingredients are combined in this next of my summer dinner recipes! 

BBQ chicken on a grilled cheese sandwich makes a great flavor profile! 

You can not go wrong with buttered bread that’s pan-fried, Havarti cheese, onions, and chicken! 

It is phenomenal!

Chicken gyros make for fantastic summer dinner ideas! 

There is a sauce for the chicken to marinate in for several hours and a tzatziki sauce to make and refrigerate. 

The assembly is easy on the flatbread with lettuce, tomatoes, red onion, cucumber, chicken, and sauce!

The air fryer will cook these lemon pepper shrimp in these summer dinner ideas easy peasy! 

Shrimp, oil, lemon juice, salt, and pepper combine for luscious, perfect shrimp. 

Serve on a salad or pasta or tucked in a taco!

Are you looking for a summer dinner recipe Instant Pot ready? 

This one is easy and comforting! 

Chicken fried rice includes rice, broth, chicken, egg, carrots, and peas. 

Jasmine rice is recommended, and the chicken is diced before cooking.

This low-carb version of a Chinese summer dinner salad is fantastic. 

It includes lettuce, red cabbage, carrots, green onions, cilantro, and chicken! 

The sauce is made with Swerve, and the toppings include sesame seed and almond slivers!

You knew pineapple would make its way into my summer dinners grilling ideas! 

Here the chicken thighs marinade in a blended Hawaiian BBQ sauce with dates used as the sweetener! 

Both the pineapples and chicken are grilled. 

Serve with rice or cauliflower rice!

Burger lettuce wraps make great summer dinners low carb! 

Just look at all those toppings, though! 

Red onions, tomatoes, pickles, and cheese, along with the savory burgers wrapped in Boston or Bibb lettuce leaves!

When looking for vegetarian summer dinners by design, this black bean burrito bowl will sound delicious! 

It is a party for your taste buds with seasoned black beans, rice, roasted corn, creamy chipotle sauce, and toppings like tomato, avocado, and cilantro!

Air fryer summer dinners mean no heat in the kitchen on already hot summer days! 

Here ingredients are sliced, seasoned, and air fried for a satisfying dinner in twenty minutes! 

So gather baby potatoes, Brussels sprouts, kielbasa, olive oil, and seasonings, and you’re halfway there!

Summer dinners with pasta are typically a hit, so this linguine with tomatoes, basil, and melted Brie may become a family favorite, especially since the ingredients are super fresh! 

The Brie melts just perfectly in the linguine! 

A splurge summer dinner!

Salmon is a great base for summer dinner recipes! 

Here it is pan-seared and served with a creamy parmesan sauce rich with garlic, cherry tomatoes, spinach, and basil. 

Pair it with pasta, potatoes, cauliflower rice, or a green salad!

Sometimes chicken can get a bad wrap because it is boring, but nothing is boring on this list of summer dinner ideas! 

I present avocado salsa to serve on your grilled chicken! 

It’s made with avocados, red onions, cherry tomatoes, cilantro, lime juice, salt, and pepper! 

Talk about a beautiful plate!

Some days you might want to put your crockpot to work for summer dinner ideas as easy as pie! 

Make the sauce, add the chicken and onion and let it cook for four hours. 

Shred the chicken, prepare the buns and sides, and dinner is ready!

Same flavor profile as the one above but different protein in this summer dinners recipe Instant Pot style! 

Mix the rub, season the cubed pork chunks, sear, and add broth and BBQ sauce, store-bought or homemade. 

Cook, shred, and serve however you like best!

This vegetarian summer dinner salad is full of crunchy diced ingredients that work so well together! 

Cucumbers, green bell peppers, red onion, hard-boiled eggs, pepperoncini peppers, sunflowers, and Italian dressing with additional seasonings! 


Here is another superb summer dinner grilling idea that puts its money on the marinade! 

The chicken is marinated overnight in a sauce of oyster sauce, ketchup, honey, chili garlic sauce, Dijon, garlic, ginger, and water! 

Then thread onto skewers, brush with oil, salt, and pepper, and grill! 

Serve with literally anything!

Louisiana flavors come through loud and clear in this summer dinners recipe, which is low carb and filled with fresh veggies! 

Chicken, zucchini noodles, Cajun/Creole seasoning, bell peppers, onion, and raw cashews are needed. 

The cashews make the cream sauce. 

Great pictures to follow along while making!

Flavorful is the best way to describe these summer dinners’ vegetarian recipes! 

It is like a Vietnamese summer roll in a bowl with almond butter and lime dressing. 

The veggies include carrots, cucumbers, scallions, and a shallot, mixed with baby greens, cilantro, mint, basil, and rice stir fry noodles. 

Air fryer summer dinners list has to include a delicious chicken wings recipe that is ready in twenty minutes! 

Pat them completely dry, coat in suggested seasonings or your favorite, and go into the air fryer! 

Serve with a dip or corn on the cop, sweet potato fries or salad, or you get the idea!

If you enjoy gnocchi, this summer dinner recipe will wow your family or friends! 

It is made from grilled corn, sauteed cherry tomatoes, and boiled gnocchi mixed with red onion, arugula, parmesan, burrata, and basil! 

An eye-catching dish for sure!

Gotta love summer dinner recipes where it is all hands on deck! 

This Crock Pot shrimp boil is eaten with hands only. 

Chunks of corn on the cob, shrimp, kielbasa, and baby potatoes are slowly cooked in a Cajun/Creole flavored broth. 

Yes, there are many variations of this recipe. 

Yes, it is fantastic!

Wraps are wonderful summer dinner ideas with the combination of ingredients being flexible and versatile! 

Chicken, veggies, beans, corn, and dressing make the basic wrap. 

Other options could include lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, or salsa. 

Only wrap what you need, and leftovers can be saved for the next day and wrapped when ready to eat; otherwise, the tortilla can get soggy!

Lazy days of summer need summer dinner ideas that are easy, delicious, and filling! 

This salmon sushi bowl is all those things and more! 

Combine cooked salmon, rice, avocados, cucumbers, seaweed snacks, and seasoning in a bowl. 

Make the sauce and drizzle over the bowl before enjoying it!

Another of my summer dinners recipe (Instant Pot friendly) is this one: tacos with lime! 

It starts with onion, garlic, chicken, lime juice, and water in the Instant Pot. 

The tacos can be made with your preferred tortillas and fillings, including avocado, queso fresco cheese, and cilantro.

This summer dinner salad is gorgeous because of the collection of colors and the fresh ingredients used!

After marinating the steak for thirty minutes, grill it with the corn to your liking! 

There is a homemade gremolata and balsamic vinaigrette as well. 

The salad includes cherry tomatoes, red onion, Gorgonzola cheese, lettuce, spring greens, corn, and steak! 


Using foil packets for summer dinners grilling ideas adds many foods that might not otherwise be grillable due to size or texture. 

This recipe suggests using garlic, sausage, corn, bell peppers, red onion, mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, zucchini, squash, asparagus, cherry tomatoes, and watermelon radish. 

Lots of tips on cutting and seasoning! 

Extra points for the easy cleanup!

Want to know a super-easy way to dress up a grilled chicken breast? 

This summer dinner recipe in low-carb style turns it into Caprese chicken by adding tomato, mozzarella, basil, and a lovely low-carb sauce! 

Delightfully elegant!

Summer dinners and vegetarian cheeseburgers are headed your way next! 

This recipe creatively uses large portobello mushrooms as the burger and loads the sandwich with lettuce, cheese, tomato, and all the toppings you love best! 

Serve with fries, chips, potato salad, or fruit!

Pork shoulder is the best meat for this air fryer summer dinner recipe. 

Thin slices of pork are marinated for thirty minutes in a homemade sauce before being threaded onto skewers. 

Air fry and serve with cucumber sticks and rice!

Summer dinners can deliver when you are in the mood for some good beef! 

This recipe uses beef cubes slow cooked in the oven or slow cooker, with bell peppers and zucchini added near the end. 

Served over couscous and garnished with parsley and red onion!  

Video included!

Mexican street corn is a welcome appearance among my summer dinner recipes! 

And yes, it is a dinner since chicken has been added! 

Three simple steps of seasoning the chicken, adding the sweet corn mixture, and baking! 

This recipe has tons of information for variations, sides, and leftover options!

Summer dinner ideas that are finger-friendly seem simpler somehow. 

These chicken bacon ranch pull-apart rolls are brilliant and easy to make! 

Cut tops off a tray of rolls (savory or sweet), then layer on the toppings of chicken, bacon, cheese, and ranch dressing. 

Place the tops back on and bake! 

The seasoned butter makes the dish!

I love a flavorful, fully loaded kebab for summer dinner ideas that are easy to prepare! 

Here pineapple chunks, red onion, bell pepper, and chicken are marinated and grilled. 

The key is to brush on more marinade each time the skewers are rotated. 

Fresh pineapple is best! 

When everyone is hungry, summer dinners recipe with Instant Pot instructions come in mighty handy! 

It all starts with cooking the pasta, then the vegetables, including cherry tomatoes, asparagus, artichoke hearts, and frozen peas. 

The final dish is lovely and colorful once all cooked and combined!

Let’s dress up the summer dinner salad with some tortellini! 

A healthy amount of tomatoes, red bell peppers, corn, and cucumbers are all mixed with the tortellini and a homemade basil vinaigrette or pesto! 

Serve with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese on top!

Kebabs are some of the best of my summer dinner grilling ideas! 

I hope you don’t mind that I added four to this list!  

This recipe includes two separate skewer combinations: salmon and lemons together and artichokes, peppers, and onions. 

There are lots of swap options too! 

The marinade is key to keeping everything juicy.

Summer squash and zucchini make fantastic summer dinner recipes low carb for everyone! 

After scooping out the seeds, bake, fill with ground beef, Swiss cheese, and mushroom mixture, and bake again. 

Fun to make and easy to eat! 

Pizza is often a back burner, plan B type recipe, but this recipe brings pizza front and center for a summer dinner vegetarian-style prep! 

Earlier, we had a Caprese chicken summer dinner, and now it’s a pizza with pesto, mozzarella, fresh tomato slices, and basil. 

Give a go at grilling it!

Air fryer summer dinners to the rescue! 

Here steak bites are juicy inside with a caramelized outside. 

Taking the time to toss them in garlic butter before serving takes them next level! 

Oh, and don’t forget the five minutes to rest before enjoying the first bite!

Now I understand you not wanting to turn on your oven for your summer dinners. 

But having a casserole that can be made the day ahead and then baked the following day can come in mighty handy sometimes! 

Here, chicken, broccoli, rotini, cream soup, sour cream, milk, cheese, and fried onions combine to make a family-friendly summer dinner casserole!

This sandwich option on my summer dinner recipes collection is a beloved favorite! 

Sloppy Joes are made with ground beef, onion, quintessential ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and brown sugar combo for that sweet and savory taste! 

Yes, they’re messy! 

Yes, they’re delicious!

Summer dinner ideas in salad form need staying power. 

This one has it with a handful of ingredients that are wildly different in texture and taste but combine beautifully for marvelous mouthfuls of enjoyment! 

Marinate and bake the chicken the day before for even quicker assembly!

One more of my Instant Pot summer dinner ideas here with a light lemon risotto with summer squash. 

It becomes a complete meal when served alongside chicken or a lovely broiled fish. 

Risotto does require your full attention for thirty minutes, but it is time well spent!

For the Moms out there fixing summer dinners for picky eaters, this confetti rice might be an excellent crossover attraction! 

Dicing up the yellow squash, zucchini, and red bell pepper into small bites with corn could make all the difference. 

It is roasted on a sheet pan in the oven while the rice is cooking. 

Combine and see what happens!

The bottom line

Summer dinners do not need to be complicated or time-consuming! 

I hope you find some of these summer dinner recipes intriguing and try them!

45 BEST Summer Dinners

45 BEST Summer Dinners

Flexible and straightforward, summer dinners take on a new vibe when summer time arrives! Enjoy this list of laid-back summer dinner recipes!


  • Ground Beef Dinner With Summer Vegetables
  • BBQ Chicken Grilled Cheese
  • Easy Chicken Gyros
  • Air Fryer Shrimp With Lemon & Pepper
  • Instant Pot Chicken Fried Rice
  • Chinese Chicken Salad - Low Carb
  • Healthy Grilled Pineapple Chicken
  • Low Carb Burger Lettuce Wraps with Special Sauce
  • Black Bean Burrito Bowl - Plant-Based
  • Potatoes & Kielbasa Dinner Recipe in the Air Fryer
  • Linguine with Tomatoes Basil and Brie
  • Creamy Tuscan Salmon
  • Avocado Salsa over Grilled Chicken
  • Crockpot Hawaiian BBQ Chicken Sandwiches
  • Instant Pot BBQ Pulled Pork
  • Hot Girl Summer Salad
  • Honey Garlic Asian Chicken Kabobs
  • Cajun Chicken Zucchini Noodles - Low-Carb
  • Fresh Summer Roll Rice Noodle Salad
  • Air Fryer Chicken Wings - Super Crispy
  • Summer Skillet Gnocchi with Grilled Corn and Burrata
  • Slow Cooker Shrimp Boil
  • Southwest Chicken Wrap
  • Easy Cooked Salmon Buddha Bowl
  • Instant Pot Chicken Tacos with Lime
  • Balsamic Steak Gorgonzola Salad with Grilled Corn
  • Sausage and Veggie Grill Packets
  • Keto Caprese Chicken - Low-Carb
  • All-American Grilled Portobello Mushroom Burgers
  • Asian Pork Skewers - Air Fryer
  • Slow-Cooked Summer Beef Casserole
  • Mexican Street Corn Chicken
  • Chicken Bacon Ranch Pull-Apart Rolls
  • Hawaiian Chicken Kebabs
  • Instant Pot Pasta Primavera
  • Summer Tortellini Salad
  • Mediterranean Salmon and Artichoke Skewers
  • Stuffed Summer Squash Boats with Beef, Shiitake Mushrooms & Swiss
  • Grilled Caprese Pizza
  • Garlic Butter Air Fryer Steak Bites
  • Chicken Noodle Casserole
  • Classic and Easy Sloppy Joes
  • Mandarin Chicken Salad
  • Pressure Cooker Lemon Risotto with Summer Squash
  • Kid-Friendly Confetti Rice


  1. Gotta love these time-helper and kid-friendly Summer Dinners!
  2. Pull up this list when you need some meal inspiration.
  3. Start cookin’ and chewin’ and share with your friends!

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