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The 31 Best Recipes to Cook This August

published Aug 1, 2022
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Credit: Kelli Foster

There’s a lot of great summer cooking that comes with June and July, but August always feels like when summer cooking hits the most delectable crescendo. This months calls for recipes that put the season’s best produce at the center of our plates (and I’m not just talking about salads!); dinner ideas that keep the oven off; and easy, make-ahead lunches for back-to-school season.

Perhaps the very best thing about August is the produce. Tomatoes are the ripest and juiciest you’ll find them all year (it’s the best time for a great BLT!), corn is impossibly sweet and crisp (consider creamy corn pasta with burrata a must), peaches and plums are absolutely perfect right now (use them in a stone fruit panzanella — it is the most impressive salad you’ll make all summer), and eggplant is in its prime.

I’m sure you’ll also need ideas for using up the glut of zucchini: Make lemon-y zucchini muffins, use it as the base for baked eggs, and try a batch of Parmesan-laced fritters. And, of course, don’t forget that you can freeze zucchini.

School is back in session for many parts of the country this month, which means it’s time to start packing lunch boxes again and adjusting your dinnertime routine. My favorite school lunch picks are ham and cheese muffins and marinated bean salad. Both can be made ahead of time (the muffins freeze like a dream), are easy to pack and eat, don’t need to be refrigerated or reheated, and aren’t a sandwich.

Regardless of your back-to-school status this month, it’s always a good idea to keep a short roster of simple weeknight dinners handy. This month go for Instant Pot penne (ideal for super-hot evenings), rotisserie chicken tacos, and salsa pork chops.

Bottom line: August is the month for loading up on all the corn, tomatoes, eggplant, and peaches; dinners that keep the oven off; and sweet treats that start with seasonal produce. Here are 31 of our favorite ideas to inspire your cooking (and baking!) all month long, because we want you to have a positively delicious August.

1 / 31
Mediterranean Tuna and White Bean Salad with Pesto Vinaigrette
In the heat of August, Senior Food Editor, Megan, is always looking for easy no-cook meals — and this is her go-to one right now.
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2 / 31
Easy Pesto
Whether you picked bundles of basil from your garden or snagged some from the farmers market, remember that you can never go wrong with turning it into pesto.
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3 / 31
One-Pot Eggplant Caponata Pasta
All the tangy, sweet, and savory elements of the classic Sicilian eggplant dish of tomatoes, olives, capers, and more come together in this flavor-packed one-pot pasta.
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4 / 31
One-Ingredient Banana Ice Cream
Editor-in-Chief, Faith, is all about cool treats this month. "My kids have been really loving the good ole banana ice cream this summer — especially with peanut butter added."
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5 / 31
Zucchini Muffins
A full pound of zucchini goes into these lemon-y muffins, which makes them perfect for using up that summer bumper crop.
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6 / 31
Tortellini Salad with Marinated Artichokes and Feta
Copy Chief, Lauren Kodiak, has been eyeing this pasta salad since last summer! This month she plans to get her hands on some decent-tasting GF store-bought tortellini, and get this in her meal plan.
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7 / 31
Chilled Cucumber Noodles with Sesame Dressing
Keep this refreshing number on tap when it's just too hot to even think about cooking. Bulk it up with some rotisserie chicken, smoked salmon, or tinned fish.
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8 / 31
Roasted Shishito Peppers
Executive Food Director, Nina, is reaping the rewards of a robust vegetable garden this month. "Thanks to Farmer Matt (aka my husband), we have a bumper crop of shishito peppers. I'm excited to spend August eating blistered shishitos with Magic Summer Sauce on repeat."
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9 / 31
Magic Summer Sauce
This is the quick and easy three-ingredient sauce Nina plans to use as a dip with her blistered shishitos. It also happens to be a perfect condiment for grilled chicken, steak, and vegetables.
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10 / 31
Panko Parmesan Zucchini Fritters
This Italian summer staple brings the best of the summer garden — zucchini, basil, and parsley — into a freshly fried patty.
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11 / 31
Gluten-Free Fresh Fig and Almond Cake
August is the beginning of fig season and that means this darling cake is at the top of Executive Editor, Adriana's, list.
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12 / 31
Balsamic & Mustard Glazed Chicken Thighs and Figs
And while she's loading up on figs, Adriana is also super excited to slot this fast and fancy chicken dinner into her meal plan.
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13 / 31
Grilled Shrimp Tacos with Tomatillo Salsa
Spicy, smoky shrimp and a homemade tomatillo salsa combine in these flavor-packed summer tacos.
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14 / 31
3-Ingredient Cottage Cheese Pancakes
These high-protein, 3-ingredient cottage cheese pancakes have a fluffy texture with a wholesome, subtly sweet flavor.
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15 / 31
Steak Kebabs Recipe
Like the average New Yorker, Associate Food Editor Cory doesn't have a backyard or a grill, but that's not going to stop him from finding a way to get these steak kebabs on his table.
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16 / 31
Classic BLT
There's hardly a better way to use juicy, ripe tomatoes than this perfect summer sandwich.
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17 / 31
Stone Fruit Panzanella
Like most of the Kitchn Team, Senior Lifestyle Editor, Mara, is really looking forward to this salad. "I just want to swim in that photo!"
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18 / 31
Summer Peach and Tahini Tart
The peaches have been so perfectly sweet this summer, so Senior Contributing Food Editor Sheela plans make this perfect tart. "I made it a couple of summers ago and I still dream of it. Peaches and tahini? Who knew?"
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19 / 31
Cheesy Corn Garlic Bread
You'll find Recipe Director, Lauren Miyashiro, making this cheesy corn garlic bread on repeat until summer is over. "The garlicky, herby corn butter is out-of-this-world good. Plus, the recipe is chill and flexible. For example, a combo of sharp white cheddar and Gruyère will still taste delicious if, say, you totally forget to buy the fresh mozz. (Me! I forgot the mozz!)"
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20 / 31
Easy Lemon-Marinated Bean and Vegetable Salad
Creamy white beans and crunchy vegetables are marinated in a honey-lemon vinaigrette for the ultimate make-once, eat-all-week lunch. And, it's also a great option for lunch boxes.
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21 / 31
Cucumber Soup
Cucumber salads are great, but for Senior Contributing Editor Kelli, nothing beats this chilled soup. "It's cool, creamy, totally refreshing, and packed with a bundle of herbs. My vegetable garden is bursting with cucumbers and this is how I'll use them up this month."
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22 / 31
Rotisserie Chicken Tacos
This all-around-easy, family-friendly dinner checks all the boxes! It's a must for steamy summer days when it feels too hot to cook, hectic back-to-school evenings, nights you don't much feel like making dinner, or just when you want a super-tasty taco.
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23 / 31
Ham and Cheddar Lunch Box Muffins
Try these as a lunchtime sandwich alternative. These hearty muffins are mixed with cornmeal for extra heft and texture, and loaded with thick-cut chunks of ham, sharp cheddar, and a pinch of chives.
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24 / 31
Corn Ice Cream with Berry Crumble Swirl
Of all the ice cream flavors to churn up this month, this is the one you've got to try. It's sweet, creamy, and tastes like summer.
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25 / 31
One-Skillet Salsa Pork Chops
This easy weeknight skillet is also a great way to use up that zucchini and summer squash you have sitting around.
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26 / 31
Instant Pot Penne Pasta
Bookmark this 20-minute meal for back-to-school time when you need something super easy. The beauty of Instant Pot pasta is that there's no watching the stove or stirring.
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27 / 31
Pantry Party Cookies
Back-to-school calls for a batch of homemade cookies. These chewy cookies are a total mix-and-match situation, stuffed with granola, nuts, seeds, chocolate, coconut, and dried fruit (basically anything you have hanging around in the pantry).
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28 / 31
5-Ingredient Creamy Corn Bucatini with Burrata
Senior Contributing Food Editor Kelli waits patiently all summer for the *really good* corn to arrive, and once it does, this totally irresistible pasta is the first thing she makes.
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29 / 31
Easy Caprese Salad with Balsamic Glaze
It's the height of tomato season, which means caprese is a must! Our easy caprese salad recipe features in-season tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, fragrant basil, a drizzle of olive oil, and a spoonful of balsamic glaze.
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30 / 31
Summer Squash Shakshuka with Baked Eggs
Here's a riff on ​classic shakshuka using summer squash and zucchini as a bed for baked eggs. It's perfect for breakfast, brunch, or even dinner.
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31 / 31
Veggie Sandwich
Senior Contributing Food Editor Kelli has been thinking about this sandwich *nonstop* since the first time she laid eyes on it! "I haven't been this excited about a recipe in a loooong time, and I'm making it for dinner this week. And if my kitchen gets too steamy, I may opt for grilling the veggies instead of roasting."
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