summer is here! plays well with butter tips for entertaining a crowd this summer, plus 50 amazing summer recipes for appetizers, cocktails, main dishes, side dishes, & desserts perfect for summer parties & gatherings. what are you waiting for?! pull out the grill, get some lawn games going, & let’s have a party!!!
i’m beyond excited today: summer is finally here in minnesota!!!
summer is my absolute favorite season to entertain. yes, i realize that i say this about every single season but there’s something really special about summer. the sun is shining, the grill is roaring, the playlist is blasting, the cocktails are flowing…summer parties are just effortless fun.
the key to effortless summer entertaining (aside from a cooler full of beer & a pitcher full of sangria, that is) is keeping things casual. i like to invite over a big crowd for a casual gathering, offering to provide the main dish & some sort of signature cocktail, & requesting that everyone bring a dish to share to share & any other beverages that they’d like to bring along with them.
for example: “chris & i are having a barbecue in our backyard this saturday night & we’d love it if you joined in on the fun! feel free to come over any time after 4:30. we’ll be grilling up burgers & chicken sandwiches, & we’ll also have a couple pitchers of sangria! please feel free to bring over your favorite dish to share & any other drinks you’d like for the night. i hope you can make it; significant others, puppies, & kiddos are of course welcomed too!!!”
99% of the time, your friends will rsvp to your summer party in one of two ways:
- to let you know that they’ll either be bringing their famous *insert dish to share here*, which is great because you know you’ll be getting a tasty addition to your summer party spread.
- or to ask you what they can bring, which is also great because you can push them in a direction that ensures you don’t end up having 12 pasta salads or a table full of guacamole: “thanks so much for bringing something! i don’t think we have any fruit salad/pasta salad/chips & dip/sweets/etc.. yet! would you like to bring something like that?” …but on second thought, a table full of guacamole may also be ideal…
read on for tons of inspiration for apps, cocktails, mains, sides, & desserts perfect for summer parties. these recipes are from my most favorite & most trusted food blogs, with a couple of plays well with butter faves thrown into the mix. they’re all easy, tasty, & perfect for feeding a crowd. (oh! & you can also follow my summer parties pinterest board for more ideas & inspiration all summer long!)
now what are you waiting for? invite your favorite people over for a summer party!!!
the best appetizers for summer parties use seasonal produce (think farmer’s market fruits & veggies) & are inviting enough to walk up to & help yourself without further explanation (dip! guacamole! bruschetta!).
it doesn’t get easier than my prosciutto-wrapped cantaloupe with balsamic. 3-ingredients & 10 minutes is all you need! plus, the flavor combo is seriously ahhhmazing!
i’m obsessed with these simple skewers. not only are the colors gorge, the combination of the melon + berries + feta is to die for. such a simple way to feed a crowd! get the recipe at camille styles.
so, i think the title of this festive cheeseboard pretty much speaks for itself, but omg how gorgeous is this?!?! homemade strawberry bruschetta, cheeses, fresh fruits, olives, & crackers…plus, zero cooking is involved #justsayin. get the recipe at eat yourself skinny!
my guacamole is always, always the star of a party – it’s the one dish people request that chris & i bring with us to parties & gatherings!
this elegant app takes bruschetta to a whole ‘nother level! cherry tomatoes (or mini heirlooms would be fantastic too!) get braised & broiled with olive oil & garlic before getting poured over creamy burrata cheese & served with toasted bread. oh.em.gee. get the recipe at the modern proper.
perfectly toasty bread smeared with homemade cantaloupe + honey jam & topped off with thinly sliced prosciutto & crumbled goat cheese. my crostini are complete summer perfection!
i like making these peppers in a cast iron right on the grill & simply serving them up on a big platter with lemon wedges. shishito peppers work great, too. your guests will love digging on in! get the recipe at what’s gaby cooking.
six more ideas for summer crostini! my personal fave is the cheddar cheese + blueberry jam + thyme…so funky but so good!get the recipe at half baked harvest.
when it comes to serving drinks at summer parties, i like to keep things super simple. a pitcher full of sangria that can be made in advance & a cooler full of icy cold microbrews. to go the cocktail route, i let my guests serve themselves…just prepare all the mix-ins & garnishes ahead of time & teach them how to mix your favorite signature drink as they arrive. it doesn’t get easier than that!
my favorite cocktail recipe this summer! pair a good rosé with an easy-to-make homemade lavender lemonade. these cocktails are absolutely perfect for summer parties.
can we all obsess over this festive sangria together?! let a good white wine sit overnight in patriotic fruit to take in all of the flavor & let your guests simply serve themselves! get the recipe at fox and briar.
these pretties take palomas to the next level with smoky mezcal & charred grapefruit juice, which you can make by simply tossing the grapefruit on the grill before your guests arrive. get the recipe at the modern proper.
bourbon pairs perfectly with fresh summer berries in these mojito-like cocktails! make a big batch of the minty blackberry smash in advance. set it out with the bourbon & the ginger beer to let your guests help themselves! get the recipe at half baked harvest.
it doesn’t get more refreshing than these cucumber vodka sodas! you can make the entire pitcher in advance…& the pretty green color basically makes it healthy, right?! get the recipe at how sweet eats.
the perfect side dishes for summer parties can be made in advance & taste great at room temperature. the other trick to having a perfect spread? TONS of variety & texture…simple as that!
this summer salad is loaded with israeli couscous, tomatoes, corn, avocado, & pepitas! such simple ingredients, but they add up to such amazing flavor. assemble the salad in advance & let everyone top it off with basil vinaigrette when they serve themselves. get the recipe at two peas and their pod.
i made this easy grilled veggie dish earlier this summer at chris’ birthday party & everyone was literally astounded with the avocado whipped feta – the guests at your summer parties will be too! get the recipe at how sweet eats.
nothing is more satisfying this time of year than grilled corn! this version is taken up a few notches with toasted sesame oil and a homemade cilantro honey compound butter. throw the cobs straight on the grill while you’re grilling up other goodies for your party! get the recipe at with salt and pepper.
panzanella is one of my favorite summer dishes – italian bread gets soaked in a red wine vinaigrette & paired with the most colorful veggies that the season has to offer. ellie’s is the best – get the recipe at hungry by nature.
my caprese turkey burgers taste like summer. turkey patties with homemade kale pesto mixed in, topped with melty mozz & farmer’s market heirloom tomatoes. these burgers are sure to please everyone at your party!
we’re no strangers to brats here in the midwest, but i’m obsessed with this italian twist. grill up some peppers & onions & serve them, thinly sliced, over your favorite sweet or spicy italian sausage. get the recipe at with salt and pepper.
is there a more fun idea for summer parties than a build your own hot dog bar with crazy toppings?! all you have to do is think up some great combinations (hawaiian dogs, banh mi dogs, mexican elotes dogs, etc.), grill some good dogs, & set out the toppings for you guests to have fun with! get the recipe at the modern proper.
um. can we agree that these goat cheese stuffed burgers are basically the most outrageously delicious thing we’ve ever seen? only further proof that guacamole belongs on everything, if you ask me. ok great, glad we’re on the same page. get the recipe at how sweet eats.
the best three-ingredient grilled chicken
the best recipes, in my book, are the ones that are simple enough that you can remember & throw together easily. these grilled chicken skewers totally fall into that bucket – lindsay even gives us one simple mantra to remember how to marinate the chicken! get the recipe at pinch of yum.
sometimes a delicious, filling salad is just what you need at a summer get-together. my kale salad totally does the trick. assemble the salad before your guests arrive & once everyone’s enjoying drinks & apps, you can quickly grill up the chicken & asparagus. a great light dinner that will leave everyone feeling satisfied!
summer entertaining couldn’t be easier or more delicious than with these grilled shrimp skewers. marinate the shrimp, assemble the skewers & make the sauce just before your guests arrive. (ps – they’re whole30 compliant!) get the recipe at eat the gains.
because it wouldn’t be a party without dessert! treats at summer parties should be refreshing & fun. & when all else fails…s’mores are always, always, always the best.
um…i’m 99% sure that everyone will freak out over these homemade ice cream bars. feel free to knock out a step of prep by using your favorite ice cream from your favorite local shop. get the recipe at how sweet eats.
these crumble bars are the perfect way to use fresh-picked strawberries, plus they’re made entirely with good-for-you ingredients. gri
this shaved ice is super whimsy & fun, & loaded with summer flavors like basil & juicy fresh blackberries. your guests will love ’em! get the recipe at adventure gather eat.
almond butter gets STUFFED between 2 thick layers of dark chocolate. make them in advance – & just be sure not to eat the whole pan before your summer party rolls around! get the recipe at miss allie’s kitchen.
because nothing could be better than s’mores AND cookies. get the recipe at how sweet eats.
ok…now that i’ve dished out all of my favorite recipes for summer parties, tell me…what are YOU serving up this summer?!
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