It’s that beautiful time of the year again – the sun’s out, the days are longer, the flowers are in full bloom, and the air smells like a mixture of barbecued food and sunscreen.
Problem is, while the warm nights are generally very enjoyable, you never know what to make for dinner. It’s far too warm to have a large, roasted dish – but you also want something more filling than a small salad.
So, if you’re looking for some inspiration, you’ve come to the right place. Here are 27 summer dinner ideas for warm nights (see also ‘33 Delicious Saturday Night Dinner Ideas‘)!
Nothing quite beats homemade pizza (see also ‘17 Best Frozen Pizzas‘). While some thick pizzas might feel too heavy for summer, this homemade pizza recipe features a thin, crispy base that is both light and filling – ideal for warm nights!
This recipe includes delicious toppings of various grilled vegetables, mozzarella, basil, and garlic butter.
Not only do the flavors match the vibes of a flourishing summer garden, but this is a good excuse to use up leftover veggies in your refrigerator.
Stuffed peppers are one of the most underrated and versatile dinner options for summer.
You can stuff bell peppers with just about anything – from meat to cheese to beans to vegetables – making this is a great option for vegans and meat eaters alike.
This classic stuffed peppers recipe is ideal for those looking to add some vegetables to their diet. While it features ground beef (see also ‘28 Easy Mexican Ground Beef Recipes‘) as the key ingredient, this can be easily replaced with another option.
Serve alongside a refreshing salad or homemade fries.
It’s not summer without the humble corn dog. While corn dogs are most commonly bought at a street vendor, by the beach, at the park, or at a fair, you can easily recreate the infamous American dish in the comfort of your home.
The best part about this recipe is that you don’t need a deep fat fryer to make these delicious corn dogs. Instead, you just need a somewhat deep saucepan and a lot of oil!
Serve alongside some homemade fries and, of course, endless amounts of mustard and ketchup.
At the risk of causing outrage to pineapple-on-pizza haters, it’s time to add the refreshingly sweet fruit into the humble taco.
This taco recipe contains a delicious filling of marinated flank steak, jalapeños, avocado, red onions, and most importantly, grilled pineapple.
The inclusion of pineapple is what makes this the perfect summer recipe for a warm night.
The sweetness of the pineapple coincides with the savory meat and spice of the jalapeños, making for a unique overall flavor that takes you straight to Mexico.
You know those warm summer nights where you’re not hungry enough to eat a filling meal, but you’re still craving salt? That’s where the halloumi and watermelon salad comes in.
The refreshing crunch of the watermelon compliments the saltiness of the halloumi, making for a light yet utterly delicious salad that teleports you straight to the Mediterranean.
If you wish to make this salad more bulky, feel free to add a mixture of salad leaves and other vegetables such as sliced peppers or red onions.
What do you do when you’re craving pasta, but it’s just too hot? Make a pasta salad, of course!
This Greek-inspired pasta salad recipe is ideal for both dinner and lunch in the middle of the week, as it’s easy to make and takes no time at all to prepare.
Combined with black olives, tomatoes, feta, cucumber, and a lemon dressing, and you’ve got yourself a flavorful and surprisingly filling dinner.
Quiche is a staple for summer dinners, partly because it’s delicious, but also because it’s super easy to make.
Cheese and onion are typically the go-to flavors for the classic quiche, but you can always add other ingredients such as ham or onion.
The best part about making homemade quiche is that you can eat it both straight out of the oven or cool. Serve alongside a salad with balsamic dressing.
It’s not summer without a good old burger.
Smashed burgers are often underrated in the world of burgers, because while a lot of chefs will argue against pressing down a burger patty, it’s actually one of the best things you can do.
When you “smash” a beef burger patty the moment it hits a hot skillet, it draws out those delicious flavors and ensures a crispy, brown finish. Pair with crunchy lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, and a fluffy bun.
Fajitas are great for foodies and picky eaters alike. When you make a fajita bar, you’re allowing people to place whatever they like in the grilled tortilla. Not only are fajitas delicious, but they’re also super easy to make.
If you’re not a meat eater, you can replace the chicken with halloumi or tofu.
Slow cooked pulled pork (see also ‘21 Super Tasty Recipes To Use Leftover Pulled Pork‘) is one of the best ways to eat pork. The key is to start cooking the pork at least 8-9 hours before you plan on eating it to allow for a tender and juicy meat.
Cook it at a low temperature and for a long time, and you’ve got pulled pork that simply falls off the bone!
Pair the pulled pork with some homemade crunchy slaw between a fluffy bun, and you’ve got yourself a delicious summer sandwich.
11. Prawn Stir Fry
Stir fries are one of the most versatile dishes that you can make throughout the year.
Summer is arguably the best time to make stir fries, thanks to the refreshing flavors of crunchy vegetables, like snap peas, bell peppers, and sweet onions.
When paired with prawns and a tasty stir fry sauce, this recipe is bound to be a family favorite. Plus, it doesn’t take too long to cook and keeps well in the refrigerator, making it an ideal option for a weeknight meal.
If you’re looking to make a fancy and romantic meal for a summer evening, check out this summer salmon niçoise recipe.
Niçoise typically features tuna, but the substitution of salmon is arguably more delectable – especially when the salmon has been slow-roasted to a tender, juicy consistency.
Serve alone or with a bunch of fluffy bread alongside a bottle of your favorite white wine.
Spring rolls and lettuce wraps are delicious, so it’s time to combine the two to make lettuce rolls!
This vegan recipe is especially tasty during those warm summer evenings, and a great way to incorporate those lovely Asian flavors into your diet.
If you don’t like tofu, you can easily replace it with chicken for a meaty alternative.
If you’re looking for a low-carb, low-calorie (see also ‘28 Easy 300 Calorie Meals‘), and healthy dinner for summer, look no further than a humble vegetable couscous salad.
Not only is this a tasty and healthy way to implement vegetables and nutrients into your diet, but this salad is also super quick and easy to make!
Serve either alone or with a chunk of wholewheat bread. Alternatively, this makes a great salad for a barbecue.
Nothing is better than a buttery fish in summer. This pan-fried fish recipe is buttery and lemony, which works beautifully with the addition of lemon.
When paired with pasta – specifically spaghetti noodles or linguine – you’re left with a satisfyingly filling dish that is perfect for date night, or even just a regular Wednesday!
New England lobster rolls are the pinnacle of summer, so it’s time to make your own!
This recipe features classic sweet lobster met with the delicate and complimentary flavors of mayonnaise and lemon, making for a fresh and simple sandwich.
Serve alongside a portion of homemade fries to feel like you’re sat on the beach. If you don’t have access to fresh or frozen lobster, you can substitute this for imitation crab – though it won’t be as nice as the real thing!
Summer is the ultimate season for vegetables, so it’s time to bring those glorious flavors together in the iconic Mexican dish, enchiladas.
This recipe takes you through every step to make the most authentic vegetable enchiladas, including a homemade tomatillo-poblano salsa and a tasty pinto beans recipe.
Plus, while these are vegetarian and vegan-friendly, you can add meat such as chicken or ground beef for added protein.
Some of the most memorable dinners are the ones that include a huge main, such as a chunk of fish or meat, that everyone can tuck into (see also ‘12 Best Perch Recipes Including Baked And Fried‘).
This baked lemon garlic salmon is perfect for those warm evenings in the backyard – it’s flaky, juicy, quick to bake, and oh-so delicious.
Serve the fish on a platter in the middle of the table for everyone to eat, alongside sides such as boiled baby potatoes, salad, roasted vegetables, and bread.
Yet again, nothing beats sharing your dinner with your friends, family, or partner! Whether it’s for a romantic date night or a birthday celebration, a bowl of mussels never goes amiss.
This recipe features a delectable white wine, garlic, tomato paste, and onion sauce and a homemade lemon aioli.
Serve alongside chunks of thick bread to mop up the liquids after you’ve eaten the mussels.
If you’ve got a bad history of making dry and tough pork chops, you need to follow this recipe.
This recipe takes you through the necessary steps to make juicy and tender pork chops, with the delicious inclusion of garlic and rosemary to add more flavor to the meat.
Make sure to have a meat thermometer at hand if you want to make the perfect pork chops. Serve alongside potatoes (boiled or mashed), vegetables, and bread to mop up the juices.
If you want an easy meal that doesn’t involve cooking (especially for those really hot summer nights), check out this Mexican bean salad recipe.
This is a highly nutritious and protein-heavy salad featuring a range of beans found in every kitchen cupboard, combined with a refreshing and complimentary dressing.
If you’re in the mood for a barbecue without having to cook every type of meat imaginable, why not make some grilled chicken skewers?
This chicken skewers recipe is ideal for quickly grilling on the barbecue, either as a side or main, and they’re absolutely delicious.
The chicken is marinated in a honey garlic mixture, making for a sweet and sticky coating that glazes over the meat when grilled.
If you’ve ever tried grilling ribs at home, you might have had some disappointing experiences. There’s a specific way to grill pork ribs, and it’s a secret kept by some of the best restaurants.
The key is to grill it at a low heat and for a long time to allow for the meat to fall off the bone with the juiciest texture.
There’s a reason why Cobb salads are so popular in the States. This classic Cobb salad recipe includes everything from bacon and chicken to avocado and hard-boiled eggs.
This is quick and easy to make, and an ideal light dinner for summer.
Tilapia (see also ‘19 Perfect Side Dishes To Serve With Tilapia‘) is a notoriously mild and flaky fish, so the best way to cook it is by blackening it. This doesn’t mean burn the fish – instead, the fish is coasted in a cajun-based seasoning that turns dark brown when cooked.
Serve alongside your favorite vegetables.
26. Pasta Pomodoro
Sometimes, a full bolognese dish is too heavy for a warm summer night. Instead, you can get away with a light yet satisfyingly filling pasta pomodoro!
This recipe is super easy and quick to make, which is ideal for weeknight meals. Serve with a sprinkle of Parmesan and even some homemade garlic bread.
A great way to get your kids to eat their vegetables is with zoodles – noodles made of zucchini (see also ‘34 Delicious Zoodle Recipes‘)!
This zucchini noodle salad features a range of summer vegetables, combined with a delicate dressing made of olive oil, garlic, white balsamic vinegar, and seasoning. Perfect for a quick dinner or side dish!
So, there you have it! Hopefully, these 27 recipes have given you some inspiration on what to make for dinner on a warm summer night.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Can I Make For Dinner On A Hot Day?
When it’s a hot day, the last thing you want is a boiling hot dinner. If you want to cool down while still settling the hunger pains in your stomach, here are some meals to consider making:
- Zucchini noodle salad
- Cobb salad
- Mussels with white wine
- Salmon niçoise
- Lettuce wraps
- Greek-style salad
If you’re looking for more inspiration, check out our guide above to the 27 best summer dinner ideas for warm nights!