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80 Best Summer Recipes Worth Bringing to the Cookout

Everything is easy to make, so you'll have plenty of time to relax!

summer recipes
Kevin J. Miyazaki

The summer season means different things to different people. For some, it's a chance to get outside and stretch our legs with family and friends. For others, it's an opportunity to run around at the beach and get your tan on. And for others still, summer's just about kicking back and relaxing. But no matter who you are or what you enjoy doing, odds are you look forward to one particular aspect of summer all year long: the food! Here are some of Ree Drummond's best summer recipes, including delicious sides, desserts, and grilling recipes to get you even more excited for the season ahead.

Our list has upgraded versions of picnic recipe classics, like a spicy Dr. Pepper-infused pulled pork sandwich and a peach-ginger hand pie, and all of it will have your neighbors calling you up to ask for the recipe. There are also plenty of bbq sides, like Ree's green goddess potato salad (the perfect Fourth of July appetizer!), barbecue chicken, sliders, coleslaw, and more will leave you wondering why you never thought to add this or that ingredient in the first place. Oh, and don't miss out on the chance to try her loaded corn casserole, which—believe it or not—comes together with just four ingredients. Get ready to dig into some seriously tasty dishes—and craft one heck of a Fourth of July menu, too.

summer recipes creamed peas
Ralph Smith
1 of 80
Creamed Peas

Any good summer meal—at home or cookout—needs a few bright sides. These pees come smooth and creamy, topped with crunchy fried onions.

Get Ree's Creamed Peas recipe.


summer recipes shrimp pesto pasta
Ralph Smith
2 of 80
Shrimp Pesto Pasta

Herby pesto and shrimp! How could you get much more summery than that? Oh yes, add some sweet asparagus.

Get Ree's Shrimp Pesto Pasta recipe.

summer recipes greek lemon potatoes
David Malosh
3 of 80
Greek Lemon Potatoes

Give your typical roasted potatoes a summery touch by tossing them in lemon juice. They're utterly addictive.

Get Ree's Greek Lemon Potatoes recipe.

sweet and smoky ribs
4 of 80
Sweet and Smoky Ribs

Start these barbecue ribs in the oven and then finish them off on the grill for a nice charred, smoky taste.

Get Ree's Sweet and Smoky Ribs recipe.

spicy bbq brisket
5 of 80
Spicy BBQ Brisket

Enjoy tender barbecue brisket this summer. Let it roast in the oven and then finish it off on the grill with delicious homemade sauce.

Get Ree's Spicy BBQ Brisket recipe.


green goddess potato salad
Ralph Smith
6 of 80
Green Goddess Potato Salad

For a colorful potato salad at your next summer barbecue, this herby green goddess dish is a great choice.

Get Ree's Green Goddess Potato Salad recipe.

lemon pepper grilled rib eyes
David Malosh
7 of 80
Lemon-Pepper Grilled Rib-Eye

These lemon-pepper rib-eyes are the perfect dinner for a special occasion this summer.

Get Ree's Lemon-Pepper Grilled Rib-Eye recipe.

blackberry icebox cake
The Pioneer Woman
8 of 80
Blackberry Icebox Cake

This summertime cake is so easy to make. Layer pound cake, blackberries, and whipped cream and let chill overnight.

Get Ree's Blackberry Icebox Cake recipe.

fried green tomato blt
Ralph Smith
9 of 80
Fried Green Tomato BLT

Fried green tomatoes are obviously delicious, but they're even better when sandwiched with crispy bacon, lettuce, and mayo.

Get Ree's Fried Green Tomato BLT recipe.

hot dogs and bratwurst with sauerkraut and relish
10 of 80
Hot Dogs and Bratwurst with Sauerkraut and Relish

What beats a hot dog (or bratwurst!) on a summer day? Top them with sauerkraut, relish, and spicy mustard.

Get Ree's Hot Dogs and Bratwurst recipe.


rigatoni with summer vegetables
Ryan Dausch
11 of 80
Rigatoni with Summer Vegetables

Easy summer family dinners are lifesavers. This pasta dish will use up your garden veggies too!

Get Ree's Rigatoni recipe.

cherry pie slice
Con Poulos
12 of 80
Cherry Pie

Is it summer without cherry pie? No way! You'll wow at your next barbecue with this scratch-made pie.

Get Ree's Cherry Pie recipe.

potato salad recipe summer
Con Poulos
13 of 80
Potato Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette

Get ready to field dozens of questions from your friends about this tantalizing recipe, which includes molasses, brown sugar, and mustard.

Get Ree's Potato Salad with Mustard Vinaigrette recipe.

summer recipes spinach lasagna
Ralph Smith
14 of 80
Spinach Lasagna

Lasagna is one of the easiest pastas to bring to a cookout. Plus, the cheesy goodness is a total crowd-pleaser and will leave everyone satisfied

Get Ree's Spinach Lasagna recipe.

barbecue chicken drumsticks recipe
Con Poulos
15 of 80
Barbecue Chicken Drumsticks

Go on, try to eat just one—or two—of these saucy drumsticks. We dare you.

Get Ree's Barbecue Chicken Drumsticks recipe.


summer recipes blueberry cobbler
Con Poulos
16 of 80
Blueberry Cobbler

A biscuit-like topping and tons of fresh blueberries make this cobbler a cookout guest's dream come true. It'll fill them up, but still leave them wanting more—so make enough for seconds.

Get Ree's Blueberry Cobbler recipe.

spicy bbq sliders recipe summer
Con Poulos
17 of 80
Spicy Whiskey BBQ Sliders

The secret to making sure these sliders are as delicious as possible is to let them soak up every bit of the barbecue-whiskey sauce. A toasted bun goes a long way, too.

Get Ree's Spicy Whiskey BBQ Sliders recipe.

watermelon sangria recipe
Con Poulos
18 of 80
Watermelon Sangria

Waste not! Use the rinds from the watermelon in this refreshing sangria recipe to give each drink a cheerful garnish.

Get Ree's Watermelon Sangria recipe.

cole slaw summer recipe
Con Poulos
19 of 80
Colorful Coleslaw

Colorful veggies—including mini sweet peppers, carrots, and two types of cabbage—come together in this delightful coleslaw makeover.

Get Ree's Colorful Coleslaw recipe.

watermelon salad with feta and mint
Con Poulos
20 of 80
Watermelon Salad with Feta and Mint

There are tons of watermelon salad recipes out there, but in our opinion, nothing tops this one. It's cooling, crunchy, and filled with unexpected flavors.

Get Ree's Watermelon Salad recipe.


fresh corn casserole recipe
Con Poulos
21 of 80
Fresh Corn Casserole

Heavy cream, butter, and fresh corn come together in this decadent—but impossibly simple—side dish. It's equally at home at a Fourth of July cookout or a Thanksgiving buffet.

Get Ree's Corn Casserole recipe.

key lime cakes in a jar summer recipes
Con Poulos
22 of 80
Key Lime Cakes in a Jar

Did someone say "dessert in a jar"? We're sold.

Get Ree's Key Lime Cakes in a Jar recipe.

garden pasta salad
Con Poulos
23 of 80
Garden Pasta Salad

Jicama and radish add texture and crunch to this dish, while buttermilk give it a smooth, creamy finish.

Get Ree's Garden Pasta Salad recipe.

peach melba summer recipe
Con Poulos
24 of 80
Peach Melba Tart

A crispy puff pastry tart loaded with peach slices is just the thing to tote to a neighbor's cookout. Pro tip: Make two.

Get Ree's Peach Melba Tart recipe.

ladds grilled tenderloin summer recipe
Con Poulos
25 of 80
Ladd's Grilled Tenderloin

Ree has every right to brag about Ladd's grilled tenderloin recipe: It's loaded with melted butter, seasoned salt, and a subtle lemon-pepper kick.

Get Ladd's Grilled Tenderloin recipe.


chipotle pasta salad summer recipe
Con Poulos
26 of 80
Chipotle Pasta Salad With Mozzarella

Tangy and colorful, this pasta dish is best served cold. Use either rotini or fusilli; they're interchangeable here.

Get Ree's Chipotle Pasta Salad recipe.

sweet strawberries summer recipe
Con Poulos
27 of 80
Sweet Strawberries

Sweet, sugar-coated strawberries are an unforgettable summer dessert. A sprig of mint adds freshness and extra color.

Get Ree's Sweet Strawberries recipe.

dr pepper pulled pork sandwiches
Con Poulos
28 of 80
Spicy Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork Sandwiches

Can you blame Ree for throwing Dr Pepper into this recipe? After it’s cooked down, the drink adds tenderness and flavor to this pulled pork recipe.

Get Ree's Dr. Pepper Pulled Pork Sandwiches recipe.

peach ginger hand pies
Con Poulos
29 of 80
Fried Peach-Ginger Hand Pies

Ground ginger gives these otherwise sweet hand pies an exciting kick. Serve them with a few big scoops of vanilla ice cream.

Get Ree's Fried Peach-Ginger Hand Pies recipe.

barbecue chicken salad recipe
Con Poulos
30 of 80
Barbecue Chicken Salad

Equal parts healthy salad and delicious cookout fare, this is bound to become a regular in your weeknight rotation. Apricot preserves add tons of tanginess to an already flavorful barbecue sauce rub.

Get Ree's Barbecue Chicken Salad recipe.


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