These summer family dinner ideas include all the best recipes to share with your loved ones while school is out for the summertime! From grilled meats to fuss-free crockpot meals, each dish will have your family rushing to the dinner table! Who knows, you may find a new family favorite recipe!
Best Summer Family Dinner Recipes
The long days of summer mean you have a little more time on your hands to whip up some new and unique family dinner recipes. Not to mention, it's the perfect time to fire up your grill or smoker!
Below are a few of my favorite summer family dinner ideas that have always been a hit with my own family, so yours is sure to love them too! You could also choose a few of my summer vegetable side dishes to round out the meal!
- Best Summer Family Dinner Recipes
- 1. Smoked Duck
- 2. BBQ Shrimp
- 3. Chicken Teriyaki Skewers
- 4. Slow Cooker Goulash
- 5. Grilled Baby Back Ribs
- 6. Million Dollar Spaghetti Casserole
- 7. Steak Stir Fry
- 8. Creamy Smoked Salmon Pasta
- 9. Pineapple Chicken
- 10. Mexican Lasagna
- 11. Chicken Bacon Risotto
- 12. Slow Cooker Beef Cheek Tacos
- 13. Slow Cooker Ranch Chicken
- 14. Taco Stuffed Shells
- 15. Chicken Sausage with Apples, Onions, and Potatoes
- Tips For Choosing Summer Family Dinners
- ☀️ 🍟 🥗 Summer Side Dishes To Try
- 📋 Recipe
- Summer Family Dinner Ideas: Smoked Duck (+More Delicious Recipes!)
- Ingredients US CustomaryMetric
- Equipment You May Need
- 💬 Comments
1. Smoked Duck
For most people, duck isn't a frequent dinner option which means any time it is served feels like a special occasion! This smoked duck is spatchcocked, so every bit of the meat is exposed to the smoke. The skin crisps up golden brown, and the flavor is out of this world!
2. BBQ Shrimp
This 10-minute BBQ shrimp is perfect for summertime backyard barbecues! You can use your favorite bottle of BBQ sauce or give my sweet and smokey honey BBQ sauce a try!
3. Chicken Teriyaki Skewers
Your family will love these grilled bites of chicken coated in sticky teriyaki sauce! You can always grill some veggies alongside the meat or add them to your chicken skewers to make it a full meal.
4. Slow Cooker Goulash
This easy crockpot recipe for macaroni noodles with seasoned ground beef is a fuss-free family favorite you can set and forget until dinnertime. It's a super easy dinner option for summertime, but honestly, it's delicious any time of year!
5. Grilled Baby Back Ribs
Nothing says summertime like some fall-off-the-bone tender grilled baby back ribs! These perfectly caramelized ribs are super easy to prepare with just a handful of ingredients, including a bottle of your favorite BBQ sauce.
6. Million Dollar Spaghetti Casserole
This ultra meaty and cheesy spaghetti bake is a highly requested dinner at my house. Pair it with some easy air fryer garlic bread for a new spin on spaghetti night!
7. Steak Stir Fry
This 30-minute steak stir fry is loaded with tender-crisp veggies and my delicious homemade stir-fry sauce. It's a great way to use up any extra summer vegetables you may have lying around, too!
8. Creamy Smoked Salmon Pasta
If your family loves seafood, they'll be head over heels for this creamy smoked salmon pasta! Best of all, it only takes about 15 minutes to prepare from start to finish!
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9. Pineapple Chicken
10. Mexican Lasagna
Mexican lasagna is a flavorful twist on classic lasagna made with layers of corn tortillas instead of pasta. It also features plenty of seasoned ground beef, cheese, beans, green chiles, and tomatoes!
11. Chicken Bacon Risotto
Chicken bacon risotto is pure comfort food full of cheesy goodness, tender chicken, and smokey bacon. It's rich and indulgent without being overly heavy, making it a great meal to enjoy with your family this summer!
12. Slow Cooker Beef Cheek Tacos
These beef cheek tacos are the perfect way to elevate your Taco Tuesdays! Your crockpot does all the hard work, and the result is tender, perfectly seasoned barbacoa that makes for an incredible street taco.
13. Slow Cooker Ranch Chicken
Ranch chicken is a cheesy and creamy mixture of tender ranch-seasoned chicken that can be served on rice, potatoes, noodles, and more! It's easy to prepare and always a hit with kids and parents alike!
14. Taco Stuffed Shells
If you can't choose between Mexican or Italian cuisine, why not have both? These stuffed pasta shells are filled to the brim with a flavorful mixture of taco-seasoned ground beef, tomatoes, salsa, and cheese!
15. Chicken Sausage with Apples, Onions, and Potatoes
Tossing chicken sausage, fresh apples, onions, and potatoes onto one sheet pan and baking it in the oven is one of the easiest summertime dinners! Better yet, it means there is only one dish to wash!
Tips For Choosing Summer Family Dinners
Here are a few great tips and tricks to consider when planning your summer family dinners. Also, consider the summer temperatures where you live; some summers are more pleasant than others!
- Use seasonal produce: When choosing fresh fruits and vegetables, opt for ones that are in season during the summertime. These fruits and veggies are more flavorful and affordable during this time of year.
- Fire up the grill: Whether you're hanging by the pool or enjoying a meal on the back patio, grilled meals are the perfect way to enjoy the summer weather. You can experiment with different marinades and grilling techniques to find a flavor your family loves!
- Explore international cuisines: While the kids are out of school, it's the perfect time to introduce them to new cultures and flavors! Try out some new-to-you recipes, such as Mediterranean, Thai, or Mexican cuisine!
- Make it interactive: Family dinners where everyone can customize their own meal are always a hit! Burger bars, hot dog bars, and taco bars are a great way to get the kids engaged in dinnertime.
- Plan for outdoor dining: Warm summer evenings are a great time to enjoy a backyard picnic, barbecue in the park, or dinner on the beach! Plan your meal around how easy it will be to transport and serve at your desired location.
I hope your family enjoys these summer dinner recipes as much as mine does! Let me know how everything turns out by dropping a comment below!
☀️ 🍟 🥗 Summer Side Dishes To Try
- Cream Cheese Mashed Potatoes - These rich and creamy mashed potatoes are delicious with butter or gravy!
- Steamed Corn on the Cob - Corn on the cob is the perfect accompaniment to smoked or grilled meats and seafood!
- Smoked Gouda Mac and Cheese - The rich, cheesy, and smokey flavor of this mac and cheese is perfect for summertime!
- Lobster Salad - Cold and creamy lobster salad makes a refreshing side dish or sandwich!
- Caesar Salad - When in doubt, you can never go wrong with a light Caesar salad and homemade dressing.
- Broccolini Slaw - This cool and crispy broccolini slaw is a great alternative to classic coleslaw!
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Summer Family Dinner Ideas: Smoked Duck (+More Delicious Recipes!)
- To get started, rinse your duck under cold water and pat it completely dry using paper towels. Trim off any excess skin, remove the tail, and trim the wing tips if desired. If there are any giblets or other packages inside the body cavity, remove those and discard them (or save them for something else).
- Use corn on the cob keepers to carefully pierce all over the skin of your 5 lb duck (avoiding piercing the meat itself). Generously season the entire bird with 1 tablespoon salt, set it into a baking pan, and then place it uncovered in the fridge to dry brine overnight.5 lb duck, 1 tablespoon salt
- The next day, preheat your smoker to 275°F (135°C). Remove the duck from the fridge and spatchcock the bird (remove the backbone, flip it over, and firmly press down to break the breast bone so that it lays flat).
- Sprinkle the duck with a little more salt and ¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper and then place it into the smoker.¼ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- Smoke your duck for a total of 30 minutes per pound. After the first 40 minutes of cooking, mix together ¼ cup honey and ¼ cup maple syrup and brush the mixture onto the duck every 30-40 minutes until it is done cooking.¼ cup honey, ¼ cup maple syrup
- Once the internal temperature has reached 160°F (71°) remove it from the smoker, lightly cover it with aluminum foil, and let it rest for 30 minutes before slicing and serving.
Equipment You May Need
- Hang on to your trimmings and giblets to make some duck broth that can be used in a delicious smoked duck and mushroom risotto!
- Duck is done cooking when it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°), but you'll want to remove it from the smoker when it reaches 160°F (71°) as the internal temperature will continue to rise an additional 5°F while resting (called "carryover cooking").
- Soy sauce OR balsamic vinegar would make a great addition to your honey and syrup mixture. You could also add a splash of orange juice!
- Spatchcock the duck so that it can lay flat in your smoker and cook evenly.
- Dry brining the duck will help to remove any excess moisture from the skin, causing it to become nice and crispy.
- I recommend using fruity hardwoods, such as maple, apple, cherry, or pecan.
- To store: Keep any leftover duck stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 5 days. I recommend carving the duck for easier storage.
- To reheat: Place your duck meat into a baking dish with a small amount of chicken broth or water. Tightly cover it with some aluminum foil and warm it in the oven at 300°F (150°C).
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!