31 July Dinner Ideas that Deserve to Be Eaten Alfresco

Ah, summer: The weather is warm, the days are long and we have a never-ending supply of chilled rosé at the ready. As much as we want to eat burgers and hot dogs for dinner every night, we also feel compelled to take advantage of the season’s bounty, including fresh seafood and warm-weather produce. Read on for 31 easy July dinner ideas to make every night this month, so you can spend more time doing the important stuff (unicorn-shaped pool float, we’re looking at you).

90 Easy Summer Dinners That Everyone Will Love

July 1: Caesar Pasta Salad

Crisp, cool lettuce salad or creamy pasta salad? Great news: You can have both. The dressing gets its creaminess from avocado instead of traditional egg. (It also keeps like a charm, in case you'd like to prepare it a few days ahead of serving.)

July 2: Sheet-Pan Gnocchi with Sausage, Peppers and Onions

If you've never cooked pasta on a sheet pan, now's your chance. The gnocchi gets crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, plus it gets coated with all the juices from the veggies and sausage. Best of all, you'll only have to clean one dish. Win-win.

July 3: Miso-Tahini-Glazed Roasted Eggplant with Farro

Believe it or not, eggplant doesn’t need to be fried or covered in cheese to be positively delightful (especially when it's in season). This vegan number proves it with a nutty, umami-rich sauce that turns sticky and caramelized in the oven.

July 4: Shrimp Rolls with New England–Style Dressing

Lobster rolls are delicious...but in this economy? We think not. Get your fix on the 4th with this more affordable alternative made with shrimp. It still has the buttery bun, mayo-based dressing and fresh herbs you crave. Might we suggest pairing the rolls with homemade potato chips?

July 5: Marinated White Bean and Tomato Salad

This recipe is make-ahead, gluten free, vegetarian and a cinch to double for a crowd. You'll only need seven ingredients (including salt and olive oil) and one hour of marinating to pull it off. Pair it with a cheese platter and some charcuterie—we'll bring the chardonnay.

July 6: Greek Turkey Burgers with Tzatziki Sauce

These are lighter and more flavorful (thanks, herbs, onion and garlic) than traditional burgers, so they're prime for warm nights on the patio. We'll be topping ours with pitted olives, crumbled feta and pickled onions, how about you?

July 7: Tomato-Poached Cod with Fresh Herbs

Set the patio table and your timer for 25 minutes: Dinner will be ready before you know it. It requires minimal ingredients *and* is fancy enough to serve at your next alfresco gathering. Are you sure you’re not a restaurant chef or something?

July 8: Corn Fritter Caprese with Peaches and Tomatoes

’Tis the season for all of our produce favorites. Why not combine them in one over-the-top summer salad, which is just as filling as it is elegant? It's satisfying as is, but feel free to top it with delicate strips of prosciutto or dressed arugula to make it even more so.

July 9: Skillet Chicken with Apricots and Fresh Herbs

Apricot season is fleeting, so take advantage while you can still find them at the farmers market. Then, race home to make this timely masterpiece that comes together in your trusty cast iron skillet. Between the shallots, white wine, cream and crispy chicken skin, it's giving Ina Garten.

July 10: Grilled Peach and Halloumi Salad with Lemon-Pesto Dressing

Dinner salads can be hit or miss, so we made sure this one was hearty enough to hold its own as a main. It contains everything from charred halloumi cheese and juicy peaches to crispy green beans and crunchy pine nuts. Save the leftovers for lunch (just don't dress them until you're about to eat, so the greens don't get soggy) and thank us later.

July 11: Midwestern-Style Beer Boiled Brats

Snappy, savory pork sausages, cooked in beer, adorned with grill marks and crowned with soft onions and mustard—does it get more summery than that? Pair them with sauerkraut and pickles for good measure.

July 12: Sungold Spaghetti Carbonara

Sungolds, a golden-orange type of cherry tomatoes, offer bright acidity and seasonal sweetness to this rich pasta dish. If you can't find traditional guanciale (that's cured pig jowl) near you, pancetta or smoked bacon will work in its place. Whatever you use, be generous with the black pepper and pecorino.

July 13: Cheater’s Skillet Paella

Traditional Spanish paella is delicious...but not necessarily suited for a weeknight. Our simplified version is just as tasty and ready in one hour, since we limited the meat and seafood to clams, shrimp and chorizo. Color your guests impresionados.

July 14: Cherry Tomato Galette with Garlic and Herbs

The blistered cherry tomatoes and fresh rosemary and thyme may make this galette look difficult to attain. But the savory pie has a secret shortcut: store-bought puff pastry. Serve it with a big green salad for an effortless, gorgeous meal.

July 15: Hot Honey Chicken Thighs

Nope, our hot honey phase is *not* over. The chicken drippings are the secret to the sweet-and-spicy dressing. Get the thighs as crispy as possible by starting them as you would bacon—in a cold skillet over low heat—to render the fat without burning the skin.

July 16: Grilled Cherry Tomatoes with Yogurt and Mint

Sure, this 15-minute masterpiece looks like an appetizer. But serve it with warm flatbread, pita or crusty baguette for scooping, and it's hearty enough to serve as a low-lift main. Pair it with dressed greens or cold soup to make it even more filling.

July 17: Vegetarian Sloppy Joes

Here, lentils take over for traditional ground beef. But don't let that deter you: These handhelds are just as tasty (and quick-cooking) as you'd hope, thanks to the zingy, tomato-based sauce. Top each sammy with coleslaw and a sesame seed bun for maximum nostalgia.

July 18: All-Year-Round Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

Any salad starring bread and cheese is one we can get behind. Scoop up the prettiest vine-ripened cherry tomatoes you can find at the farmers market, plop them on a sheet pan with hunks of ciabatta, drizzle on a quick dressing and finish the spread with fresh mozz and basil—it's that simple.

July 19: Grilled Honey-Sriracha Chicken Drumsticks with Fennel-Apple Slaw

Think of these spicy-sweet drumsticks as the summer version of chicken wings. If you prefer eating chicken with a fork and knife, feel free to substitute thighs or breasts. Either way, you’re going to want extra napkins and lots of lime wedges for this one.

July 20: Shrimp Boil Skewers with Corn, Sausage and Potatoes

Nothing against burgers and dogs, but they have no idea what’s coming for them. (Three words: Cajun. Spiced. Butter.) Bonus? These skewers will leave you with hardly any cleanup if you make them on the grill, and even less so if you serve them on a newspaper-topped picnic table.

July 21: Grilled Flank Steak with Lemon-Herb Sauce

Nothing wows a crowd like an impeccably grilled steak. The marinade is loaded with vinegar, which will tenderize the connective tissues in the meat, resulting in a softer texture. Just think of the marinating time as a built-in cocktail hour for the chef—you've earned it.

July 22: Cheater’s Prosciutto Hawaiian Pizza

Alright, we’ll confess: We actually kind of love Hawaiian pizza, as long as the pineapple is grilled. It's a game-changer. Factor in using a store-bought flatbread or prebaked pizza crust and the pie becomes even more irresistible.

July 23: Sweet Corn, Tomato and Zucchini Grain Salad with Peach-Dijon Vinaigrette

Ready to devour in 15 minutes without a second of cooking? Where do we sign? This grain salad stars all your favorite summer produce, along with sweet peach jelly and pretty edible flowers that are guaranteed to wow your guests (or your roommates).

July 24: Donna Hay’s Best Veggie Burgers

Most veggie burgers are dry and bland, but these are the opposite. Tender canned beans, grated carrot and grated beet ensure that the patties turn out soft and moist. Make a double batch and store the leftovers in the freezer if you want to go the extra mile.

July 25: Caramelized Black Pepper Trout

Give salmon a rest in favor of this ten-ingredient masterpiece that relies on pantry staples you likely already have on hand. (You can also substitute tofu, Brussels sprouts or diced chicken if trout isn't your thing.)

July 26: Soba Noodles with Asparagus, Miso Butter and Egg

Make this 25-minute meal once, cook asparagus evenly forever. Separating the sturdy stalks from the softer tips is the trick: The tough ends are briefly cooked with the noodles to tenderize, while the tips are tossed in right at the end. Ta-da.

July 27: Lamb Chops with Buckwheat and Black Pepper Strawberries

A seven-ingredient main that cooks to perfection in a single skillet: Be still our fruit-loving heart. The strawberry juices help deglaze the caramelized crunchy bits left behind by the lamb chops, incorporating their intense, drool-worthy flavor into the sauce.

July 28: Pork Milanese with Cucumber Yogurt

Finish your plate with a generous spritz of lemon and an herb salad to cut through the fatty richness of the pork chop. (The tangy yogurt sauce, which could double as a crudité dip or salad dressing, does a great job of that as well.)

July 29: Pan-Fried Polenta with Blistered Tomatoes and Burrata

Don't let its elegant appearance fool you: This comforting dish is decidedly non-fussy. Serve the cheesy polenta atop a bed of greens or alongside a bowl of cold soup. (This 15-minute cucumber-avocado number is one of our faves.)

July 30: Spicy Corn Carbonara

Our goal this month is to eat corn as many ways as we possibly can, and this pasta is among our favorite applications. Take your pick of bucatini, spaghetti or linguine—they'll all hold the creamy Parmesan sauce like a charm. In the off season, substitute fresh corn for canned kernels (because you will want to make it again).

July 31: Yellow Tomato Gazpacho

Do all your slicing, dicing and crouton toasting the night before, then blend the produce (which include two summer peaches for extra sweetness, BTW) and assemble your soup bowls in under ten minutes flat right before serving. You won't even break a sweat, promise.

40 Quick Summer Dinners You Can Make in 30 Minutes or Less

Taryn Pire is PureWow’s associate food editor. A former bartender and barista, she’s been writing about all things delicious since 2016, developing recipes, reviewing restaurants and investigating food trends at Food52, New Jersey Family Magazine and Taste Talks. When she isn’t testing TikTok’s latest viral recipe, she’s having popcorn for dinner and posting about it on Instagram @cookingwithpire.

Katherine Gillen is PureWow’s senior food editor. She’s a writer, recipe developer and food stylist with a degree in culinary arts and professional experience in New York City restaurants. She used to sling sugary desserts in a pastry kitchen, but now she’s an avid home cook and fanatic baker.


Senior Food Editor

Katherine Gillen is PureWow’s senior food editor. She’s a writer, recipe developer and food stylist with a degree in culinary arts and professional experience in New York City...

taryn pire

Food Editor

Taryn Pire is PureWow’s food editor and has been writing about all things delicious since 2016. She’s developed recipes, reviewed restaurants and investigated food trends at...