Person holding a tray of three burgers.
Table Talk

How to Celebrate Summer

Whether you're throwing a summer birthday party, a July 4th bash, or you're having friends over just because, we've got the recipes, tips, and ideas to make it a little more magical.

When the temperatures start to rise and the days stretch on like taffy, I look for any excuse to be outside with my friends and family. Who else is ready to celebrate summer? Let's have people over for potlucks (hello, potato salad!), birthdays, holidays, and...just because. Let's eat all the cold tomato salads we can muster, make homemade lemonade and sip it by the pool, and embrace sticky ice cream fingers. Let's celebrate the season, and enjoy the celebrations of the season.

No matter how or what or who you're celebrating this summer, Simply Recipes has the ideas, tips, and recipes to help you pull it all together. Go ahead and make s'mores with your children like writer Thao Thai, and try your hand at a corn on the cob bar like Stephanie Ganz. Eat too much guacamole while sipping on frozen margaritas. Don't skip dessert. And linger outside a little bit longer before going to bed. Consider this is your official invitation to make the most of the new few months—we'll show you how.

— Ariel Knutson, Editorial Director

Celebratory design

Food Writers Share Stories and Tips for Celebrating Summer

Get inspired for your next summer celebration with these tips, stories, and ideas from some of our favorite writers.

Plate of yellow and red watermelon

Simply Recipes / Lori Rice

Do you ever get to the end of summer and regret all the things you didn't eat? Writer Meghan Splawn is planning ahead to make sure that doesn't happen with her family. "I’m acutely aware of just how few summers of ice pops and lazy swimming pool days we have left as my oldest is entering her last year of primary school."

Read the story: The 5 Things on My Family’s Summer Bucket List This Year

Plate of salad with tomatoes, burrata, corn, and arugula

Simply Recipes / Sally Vargas

Just say NO to mayo-drenched coleslaw and a bland pile of greens this summer! "With a few essential tips and some great recipes for inspiration, you'll be on your way to creating a highly memorable summer salad," explains Karishma Pradhan. Her first rule? You need a bigger bowl.

Read the story: 5 Rules to Follow for a Better Summer Salad

Person holding a chocolate s'more

Simply Recipes / Claudia Cash

Thao Thai reflects on making s'mores with her daughter during the summer, and the magic she tries to hold on to. "[My husband] introduced us to wholesome family rituals like these s’mores, and we follow, riveted by the promise of memories, of stories, of licking the sweetness right off our fingers," she writes.

Read the story: What I Want My Child to Remember About the Magic of S'mores

Plate on a table with a burger, corn on the cob, and slice of watermelon

Simply Recipes / Alison Bickel

Cheddar, lettuce, pickles, and tomato will always be a classic burger topping combo, but sometimes you want to go the extra mile. "Do something new and creative, and show your friends and family that your grill skills are only going to improve from here on out," says Su-Jit Lin . She'll show you how.

Read the story: 10 Creative Ways to Top Your Burger This Summer

Someone holding a plate filled with elotes

Simply Recipes / Megan Keno

Stephanie Ganz always has a DIY corn on the cob bar at her summer celebrations because it's fresh, easy, and everyone gets what they want. "If winter’s dinner parties require schematics of menu planning, summer is when I do my best, least encumbered work," she explains.

Read the story: Why My Summer Celebrations Always Include a Corn on the Cob Bar

Glass cup filled with chocolate chip ice cream

Simply Recipes / Megan Gordon

Writer Claudia Cash loves throwing ice cream socials so much that she "bought a fun ice cream maker and a waffle cone maker, and with the help of my oldest daughter, we made waffle cones for days." Here, she talks about her favorite ice cream bases and toppings so you can do it at home, too.

Read the story: 12 Must-Have Recipes for the Best Ice Cream Social

Celebratory design.

Recipes for Your Summer Celebrations

From drinks to dessert, here are the recipes that will help you make the most of your summer celebrations.

The Drinks

Watermelon Pitcher Margaritas
Leela Cyd Ross
  • Watermelon Pitcher Margaritas: If the weather is sporting triple digits and you're floating on a raft in the pool, then it’s time to grab this thirst-quenching margarita.
  • Cucumber Lime Mint Agua Fresca: Looking for a non-alcoholic option that everyone can drink? This agua fresca made with cucumber, lime, and mint is the perfect, refreshing sip.
  • Frozen Siesta Cocktail: This is one of those unicorn drinks that everyone likes in the summer. It's just tequila, Campari, simple syrup, and citrus, blended with ice into a boozy slushee.
  • Blended Whole Lemon Lemonade: We’re using the whole lemon to get a sweet-and-sour drink with just a touch of bitterness. It’s the perfect lemonade for any hot summer day.

The Sides

Greek Pasta Salad in a Bowl
Sabrina Modelle
  • Greek Pasta Salad: Made with kalamata olives, tomatoes, cucumber, and feta cheese, this pasta salad is an easy make-ahead option for your next backyard party.
  • Stone Fruit, Tomato, and Cucumber Salad: Stone fruits like peaches, plums, and cherries pair beautifully with crisp vegetables in this savory fruit salad.
  • Grilled Mexican Street Corn (Elote): Top char-grilled corn on the cob with a tangy, creamy sauce, sprinkle with crumbled cheese and dive in. Make this for your next backyard cook-out!
  • Mediterranean Potato Salad: Summery potato salad with green beans, roasted red bell peppers, red onion, and olives is tossed in vinaigrette that acts as a marinade. It's a make-ahead side that gets more flavorful as it sits.

The Mains

Pork skewers with vegetables over a plate of rice
Marta Rivera
  • Mojo Marinated Grilled Pork Kebabs: Easy, delicious, and loaded with flavor, these Mojo Marinated Pork Kebabs are begging you to make the most of grilling season.
  • Summer Veggie Tacos: These vegetarian tacos are a great way to use up fresh produce for a filling, delicious meal.
  • Chicago Hot Dogs: This hot dog is loaded with yellow mustard, sweet pickle relish, tomatoes, onions, dill pickles, sport peppers, and finished with celery salt.
  • Grilled Shrimp with Chermoula: Shrimp is marinated in Chermoula, an herbaceous North African sauce, then grilled for a delicious summer dinner recipe. It's the perfect main dish for a hot day!

The Desserts

Berry Tart
Elise Bauer
  • Summer Berry Tart: Celebrate summer berries with a fresh berry tart: a mascarpone and whipped cream filling in a rich all-butter crust you just pat in the pan. It's an impressive dessert that's ideal for new bakers.
  • Sweet Cherry Cobbler: Bubbling with sweet summer cherries and covered with a soft biscuity topping, this homey cobbler just begs for a scoop of vanilla ice cream!
  • Blueberry Pie: This luscious blueberry pie will be your new go-to dessert. It's complete with a homemade crust and filling.
  • Classic Ice Cream Sandwiches: Creamy vanilla ice cream layered between thin, soft chocolate brownie “cookies” is nostalgic dessert perfection.