The grill has the ability to elevate sweet, juicy peaches from over-the-sink snack to dessert or a side dish with nothing more than heat. Grilled peaches are the kind of magic that happens in a hot grill's twilight — when dinner is nearly done, and sweet fruit is the only thing that can be reasonably paired with the cold wine and the ice cream destined for dessert.
The truth is that grilled peaches are stunningly simple. They only require fresh peaches and olive oil, make the most of residual heat from a cooling grill, and can play side dish to grilled meats or become a knock-out summer dessert. Here's how to make the best peaches on the grill in just four steps.
The Best Peaches for Grilling
Look for freestone peaches that are still firm when squeezed for grilling. Really ripe peaches have more sugar, which will burn quickly, and are too tender to take the heat. Grilling the peaches in halves, rather than slices, prevents overcooking and makes the peaches easier to handle — no slices slipping through grill grates. Brushing the peach halves with olive oil prevents sticking but won't burn the way sugar or spice rubs can when added to the fruit.
Use Medium Heat for Grilled Peaches
I most often find myself cooking peaches on the grill after dinner, when the coals have cooled down. That being said, perfect peaches are as good an excuse as any for firing up the grill, so medium heat is best when you plan to grill peaches. Grill the peaches uncovered for four to five minutes on each side. Resist the temptation to reposition the peaches once on the grill — good grill marks on peaches are the result of patience (and clean grill grates).
The finished peaches should be more tender, but not falling apart, with distinct grill marks. Most of the time the peach skin will be loose and falling away. Feel free to pull these off with tongs before serving if desired.
How to Serve and Eat Grilled Peaches
Here's how to be the hero of your next summer cookout: Bring a tray of scooped ice cream and spoons to the table, add the warm peaches from the grill to the ice cream, and let everyone dig in. Plan on at least one peach half per person. And don't stop there — grilled peaches are also one of my favorite sides for grilled pork tenderloin.
How To Grill Peaches
Serves 6 to 8
What You Need
6 peaches, preferably freestone
Gas or charcoal grill
- Prepare the grill. Light a gas grill to medium heat. If you're cooking over charcoal, grill the peaches after everything else has been grilled.
- Halve and pit the peaches. Run a sharp knife along each peach's seam to halve them. Remove the pit and brush each cut side with olive oil.
- Grill cut-side down, over medium heat, for 4 to 5 minutes. Place the peaches cut-side down on the grill and cook undisturbed until grill marks appear, 4 to 5 minutes.
- Flip the peaches and cook until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Flip the peaches and grill until the skins are charred and the peaches are soft, 4 to 5 minutes more.
- Serve the peaches. Remove from the grill. Serve the grilled peaches with vanilla or butter pecan ice cream, or even as an accompaniment to grilled pork.