summer

The 31 Best Things to Cook This July

updated Jul 2, 2020
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
Credit: Joe Lingeman

When it comes to picking favorite months, I unabashedly choose July. Maybe it’s because of all the fresh produce coming into season, or that it feels like winter is lightyears away. Whatever the reason, it’s a month I always look forward to.

Despite this particular July feeling different, due to COVID-19, I am still trying my best to celebrate these sunny summer days the best I can. So are my colleagues. We’re planning to grill, eat plenty of ice cream, and load up on too many peaches. We hope you do, too. Here’s what we’re most excited to make.

All the Stone Fruit

Peaches, plums, nectarines, and cherries have finally made their return and we’re ecstatic! Our Lifestyle Editor, Lauren Masur, expects to be overloaded with stone fruit in her weekly produce box this month. “Can I cobbler nectarines?” she asked. Absolutely! Definitely cobbler peaches, too, and maybe make a cherry pie, for good measure.

1 / 5
Easy Peach Cobbler
Fresh summer peaches are covered with a pillowy cream biscuit topping for the easiest-ever Southern peach cobbler.
Go to Recipe
2 / 5
One-Pan Basil-Plum Pork Chops
Go ahead and cook up some sweet plums with your pork chops for the ultimate summer skillet meal.
Go to Recipe
3 / 5
Blackberry and Nectarine Upside-Down Sheet Cake
Can't get ahold of nectarines? This showstopping upside-down cake is also really great with peaches.
Go to Recipe
4 / 5
Cardamom and Stone Fruit Clafoutis
If you've never had clafoutis, think of this French dessert as somewhere between a pancake and an eggy custard.
Go to Recipe
5 / 5
Cherry Pie
With a lightly sweetened filling that lets the fresh cherries shine, and a gorgeous lattice crust, this is our go-to cherry pie every summer. And the best part? The filling uses an easy formula, so you can make it with any stone fruit you have on hand.
Go to Recipe

Summer Veggies on the Grill, on the Plate, and Between Bread

We can hardly think of July without immediately thinking about all the fresh summer vegetables stepping into their prime. Cucumbers, tomatoes, zucchini, fresh herbs — we’re excited to eat as many fresh vegetables as we can all month long. “We published these pulled mushroom sandwiches last year, but I never got around to making them, so they’re first on my list for July this year!” says our Deputy Food Director, Grace Elkus. While our Managing Editor, Lauren Kodiak, just got a new grill pan and plans to try this pasta salad loaded with zucchini, tomatoes, and fresh herbs.

1 / 5
Pulled Mushroom BBQ Sandwiches
Super-savory, flavor-absorbing mushrooms take the place of meat in this vegetarian riff on a pulled pork sandwich.
Go to Recipe
2 / 5
Grilled Zucchini Pasta Salad
While you could just toss raw veggies into your pasta salad, grilling them first makes things a whole lot more interesting.
Go to Recipe
3 / 5
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.
Go to Recipe
4 / 5
Japanese-Inspired Cucumber Salad
This summery cucumber salad, inspired by sunomono, is crunchy, refreshing, and swimming in delicate umami notes.
Go to Recipe
5 / 5
Grilled Open-Faced Cauliflower Banh Mi
Grilling the baguette and the cauliflower florets adds bold, smoky flavor to a vegetarian banh mi.
Go to Recipe

Meaty Meals

Studio Food Editor Jesse Szewczyk cross-tested this Szechuan chicken a while back after our Food Editor-at-Large, Christine Gallary, developed it; he’s been wanting to make it again, so it’s at the top of his list. “It’s so, so good!” he says. Grilled foil-packet dinners are at the top of our Food Editor Kelli’s list. “I have a grill for the first time in my adult life and just got acquainted with foil-packet dinners. What a game-changer. This month I plan to keep them in my meal plan rotation a couple nights a week. I’m most excited for steak fajita packets.”

1 / 4
Smoked Ribs
If summer isn't summer without getting your hands messy eating ribs, this is the recipe for you.
Go to Recipe
2 / 4
Steak Fajita Foil Packets
These steak fajita foil packets are fun, practical, and tasty, too. Everyone can customize their own add-ins, they require virtually zero cleanup, and the rice is extra flavorful thanks to all the juices from the meat and vegetables
Go to Recipe
3 / 4
Szechuan Chicken
If you’re a spicy food fiend, Szechuan chicken is a stir-fry dish that should absolutely be in your weeknight dinner rotation.
Go to Recipe
4 / 4
Sirloin Steak Sandwiches
Sirloin steak is a no-frills cut that's wallet-friendly. Here it gets dressed up with grainy mustard, pickled onions, and arugula on onion rolls.
Go to Recipe

Pizza on the Grill

Our Food Editor-at-Large, Christine Gallary, plans to grill a whole of pizza this month. I can’t blame her because I’d totally be doing the exact same thing if I had a grill. They’re not only easy, but also infinitely customizable and arguably better than anything you’d order for delivery.

1 / 4
Bruschetta Pizza
All the flavors of bruschetta, transformed into a simple, flavorful grilled pizza.
Go to Recipe
2 / 4
Cherry Tomato, Corn, and Goat Cheese Pizza
Corn might seem like an odd pizza topping, but when it's this sweet and juicy this time of year, it's perfect.
Go to Recipe
3 / 4
White Pizza with Avocado, Spinach & Mozzarella
This tomato sauce-free recipe is practically a salad in pizza form, which means you can definitely go in for an extra slice.
Go to Recipe
4 / 4
Grilled Pesto Chicken Flatbreads
Harness the flavorful power of pesto in these easy grilled chicken and cheese flatbreads.
Go to Recipe

Light & Fresh Summer Rolls

I moved from Charlotte, North Carolina, a few months ago, and I am currently missing the awesome Vietnamese restaurants in my neighborhood. I’m taking matters into my own hands and turning to homemade summer rolls, now that it’s so hot outside that I barely want to cook. They’ll probably be much more messy-looking than the ones I liked to order at my favorite spot, but they’re sure to still satisfy my craving.

1 / 5
Chicken Summer Rolls
Packed with juicy chicken, ribbons of crisp veggies, creamy avocado, and a lush layer of fresh herbs, this easy summer meal is bursting with freshness.
Go to Recipe
2 / 5
Vegetable Summer Rolls with Spicy Peanut Sauce
Feel free to use any mix of your favorite seasonal vegetables for these colorful rolls.
Go to Recipe
3 / 5
Shrimp and Avocado Summer Salad Rolls
Buttery avocado is the perfect match for sweet shrimp in these satisfying rolls.
Go to Recipe
4 / 5
Veggie Nori Rolls
It's a little tricky to get these rolls perfectly shaped without a sushi mat but that's okay — they'll still taste delicious.
Go to Recipe
5 / 5
Summer Fruit Spring Rolls
It's not just veggies and protein you can stuff inside rice paper. Here they're filled with fruit for a sweet twist.
Go to Recipe

No-Cook Inspiration

Speaking of sticky July days and the desire for meals that keep the oven off, there are even more great ideas beyond summer rolls. I plan to throw together many panzanellas this month and absolutely lean into the idea of shrimp cocktail for dinner. Especially because it’s a fast and fancy excuse to open my favorite bottle of rosé.

1 / 4
Rotisserie Chicken Panzanella
Rotisserie chicken, toasted bread cubes, and sweet summer veggies combine for a shortcut panzanella you'll want to eat all summer long.
Go to Recipe
2 / 4
Shrimp Cocktail for Dinner
The easiest, most luxurious hot-weather meal involves exactly zero cooking: just open a bag of shrimp and swish up a quick cocktail sauce.
Go to Recipe
3 / 4
Honey-Yogurt Avocado Toast
If you're finally getting tired of your usual iteration of avocado toast for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, this version should lend some spark to your routine.
Go to Recipe
4 / 4
Sesame Ginger Tofu Poke Bowl
This vegan twist on a poke bowl features cubes of marinated tofu and a colorful array of toppings.
Go to Recipe

What are you most excited about eating and cooking this month? Tell us in the comments below!