The 31 Best Things to Cook This August

updated Jul 31, 2020
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Welcome to August, the absolute best month for summer cooking and eating. This month always feels a little bit like a scramble, where I hurry to check off all the things on my summer bucket list I haven’t gotten to yet. This year it’s grilling gnocchi, cooking my corn in a butter bath, and making an icebox cake layered with Oreos and strawberries.

August is also a stellar month for fresh produce. Whether you’ve been eagerly awaiting the arrival of juicy, ripe tomatoes and peaches or you’re still basking in the abundance of zucchini, fresh herbs, and leafy greens, there’s never been a better time than right now to enjoy fruits and veggies.

For many, August also signals back-to-school season. And while that looks very different this year than in years past (to say the least), the need for easy and practical weeknight dinners is still very much there. Not to mention the desire to avoid turning on your oven on hot August evenings; leave it off and make a tomato sandwich or a cold noodle salad, or fire up the grill for steak skewers instead.

From BLTs and vibrant pesto, to frozen desserts and creamy corn pasta, here are 31 of our favorite recipes to fuel your cooking and fill your bellies all month long.

1 / 31
1-Minute Tomato Sandwich
Studio Food Editor Jesse says that he plans to make as many tomato toasts as he possibly can this month, and almost everyone on the team is with him. Tomato sandwiches are a must in August, and this version is simple and unbelievably satisfying.
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2 / 31
Summer Peach and Tahini Tart
If you make just one thing with peaches this month, you've got to try this tart. It's bright, fresh, and not-too-sweet, and will make you see peaches in a whole new light.
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3 / 31
Easy Basil Pesto
Fresh pesto screams summer. It couldn't be easier to whip up, and while there are so many ways to use it up, we love tossing it with a simple pasta salad.
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4 / 31
Cold Sesame Chicken and Noodle Salad
Here's what to make when you want a no-heat meal that's easy to make. The recipe makes a generous amount of food and it happens to keep well in the fridge for days, which means you've got a couple lunches or dinners for the week covered. Start with a rotisserie chicken to keep things simple.
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5 / 31
5-Ingredient Creamy Corn Bucatini with Burrata
Food Editor Meghan is going straight for the corn and burrata pasta this month. This one-pot pasta sings summer sweetness. It’s got juicy, milky corn; creamy, luscious burrata; and edgy, grassy chives to bring it all into focus.
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6 / 31
Steakhouse Skewers
Take this month as an opportunity to go beyond burgers when you fire up the grill. One of my favorite picks is juicy steak bites, tender red onion, and baby potatoes grilled on skewers and brushed with garlic butter.
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7 / 31
Panzanella (Italian Bread Salad)
Features Director Ariel has her sights set on panzanella this month. Summer is absolutely not complete without making panzanella at least once. Tomatoes are the star of this bread salad, which is filling enough for a meal. Want to bulk it up a little? Add some rotisserie chicken or a few slices of steak.
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8 / 31
Brown Butter Lobster Rolls
You might not be heading to the coast for your planned vacation, but that's just one more reason to make lobster rolls at home. This version, which is mixed with brown butter, is inspired by Eventide Oyster Co. in Portland, Maine.
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9 / 31
Easy French Ratatouille
Make this thick and silky French stew of eggplant, zucchini, sweet peppers, and ripe summer tomatoes before summer ends. It's at the top of Managing Editor Lauren's list of recipes to make this month.
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10 / 31
Scrambled Eggs with Fresh Corn, Goat Cheese & Tomatoes
I've been making this breakfast on repeat for the past five summers. It's a must for me as soon as sweet summer corn hits the market. If you have corn that's crisp and tender, skip the step for microwaving — just a quick minute in the skillet will do.
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11 / 31
Impossibly Creamy Strawberry-Pineapple Whip
This refreshing summer treat is a twist on Dole Whip, the frozen dessert synonymous with Disney theme parks, and tastes like a hybrid of pineapple sorbet and soft serve.
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12 / 31
Slow Cooker Peach Carnitas
If you're wondering what to do with your haul of peaches, this is your friendly reminder that they make a very welcome addition to savory dishes.
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13 / 31
Zucchini Melts
Zucchini melts are one of the most delicious ways you can eat zucchini this summer. They’re part grilled cheese, part panini, and 100% delicious.
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14 / 31
Grilled Gnocchi with Summer Squash and Burst Tomatoes
Grilling gnocchi gives it a crispy exterior and delicious charred flavor. Juicy, bursting grilled tomatoes act as a simple, summery sauce.
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15 / 31
Big-Batch Ice Cream Sandwiches
Ready to cross homemade ice cream sandwiches off your summer bucket list? This ingenious recipe calls for baking the cookie dough (your choice between homemade or store-bought) in an 8x8 pan, which leaves you with frozen treats for days to come.
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16 / 31
Grilled Nacho Platters
Nachos are one of our favorite super-simple weeknight dinners, and this version takes it to the grill, so you can keep the oven off.
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17 / 31
3-Ingredient Piña Coladas
You might not be sipping a piña colada at the beach, but you should definitely whip up a batch (or two!) at home. All you need for this quick and easy version is pineapple, coconut milk, and rum.
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18 / 31
Prik Khing Curry Clams
Steamed clams are one of the unsung heroes of weeknight cooking. Here, prik khing curry paste adds a spicy aromatic kick, and dinner comes together in just 30 minutes.
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19 / 31
Tomato and Feta Galette
Pair sweet tomatoes with thyme and feta, then wrap it up with a buttery crust for a free-form pie that's easy enough to make on busy weeknights.
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20 / 31
Garlic and Herb Butter Bath Corn
Boiling sweet summer corn in a butter bath with fresh herbs and garlic makes it taste like your favorite steakhouse side. Bonus tip: Save the leftover herby butter and use it to boil a batch of pasta.
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21 / 31
Tomato Salad with Red Onion, Dill and Feta
This is the full-on maximalist tomato salad: tossed gloriously with red pepper, feta, dill, cucumber, and olives. Deputy Food Director Grace is serving it up for dinner and is sure this is the tomato salad that will convert her boyfriend into a tomato-lover.
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22 / 31
Sweet Biscuits with Roasted Peaches
Editor-in-Chief Faith has peaches and biscuits at the top of her list this month. This version falls somewhere between a shortcake and a cobbler, with warm biscuits baked right on top of fresh, juicy peaches, all topped with a spoonful of whipped cream.
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23 / 31
Shrimp and Corn Chowder
Quick-cooking shrimp is the perfect partner to sweet corn, and turns this easy soup into a filling meal.
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24 / 31
Marinated Chickpea and Feta Salad with Spring Veggies
Lifestyle Director Lisa has bigs plans to eat this crunchy, veggie-packed salad on repeat all month."It's cool, crunchy, and just what I need when it's 85 degrees in my house."
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25 / 31
Ice Cream Sandwich Cake
Whether you have a special occasion or just want a nostalgic cool treat, ice cream cake is always a good idea — especially when it's as easy as this one. Simply layer store-bought ice cream sandwiches with softened ice cream and a layer of crushed Oreos (and finish it all off with magic shell).
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26 / 31
Caprese Chicken and Zucchini Packets
"I love just about any foil-packet meal," says Food Editor Meghan. "But this caprese chicken packet is my family’s favorite." It combines easy-to-love vegetables with chicken and pesto, and the whole thing is topped with gooey, melted cheese.
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27 / 31
The Perfect BLT
BLTs are always a good idea, but they're never as good as right now when tomatoes are in their prime.
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28 / 31
Open-Faced Pizza Burgers
Keep this family-friendy dinner on standby for when you need an easy weeknight dinner the whole table will devour. Open-faced pizza burgers are served on split English muffins with ground beef, seasoned marinara sauce, and plenty of melted mozzarella cheese.
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29 / 31
Easy Homemade Corn Dogs
Production Editor Tracey isn't letting August pass by without making corn dogs for her family. They're a state-fair favorite with juicy hot dogs encased in a crispy cornbread coating, and they're easy to make at home.
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30 / 31
Strawberry Oreo Icebox Cake
In this easy no-bake dessert, Oreo cookies and sweet strawberry slices are layered with cookies-and-cream whipped cream.
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31 / 31
Salsa-Simmered Fish
Talk about a super-practical weeknight dinner. This one comes together in less than 10 minutes and is super versatile. The recipe calls for cod, but any firm-fleshed white fish, like halibut, sea bass, or tilapia, can be used, along with your favorite kind of salsa.
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