The 31 Best Recipes to Cook This May

updated Apr 29, 2021
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If there’s one thing we’re excited about this May, it’s getting outside. And eating outside. That means picnicking, grilling, and simply eating as many meals outdoors as possible. And as more and more people become fully vaccinated and restrictions are lifted, perhaps some of you will enjoy family barbecues and small get-togethers with friends in the backyard. May also ends with Memorial Day, the unofficial start of summer to some. My plan is to keep it simple with grilled burgers, my favorite grilled broccoli salad (I bought a giant bag of broccoli at Costco just for this!), and a crunchy slaw.

Next weekend is Mother’s Day, and if your plans include a breakfast or brunch consider getting a head-start with a timeless coffee cake or blueberry studded breakfast casserole, and definitely some cold brew. A spinach-artichoke frittata or breakfast tacos are also good choices. No matter what you make, don’t forget the bacon.

We’re also sliding into one of the sweetest times of year: strawberry season. When you eventually find them at the farmers market, buy two baskets (you know you’re going to devour most of them immediately, so then you’ll have a backup for later). Then use them for a pretty fruit salad, a super-springy arugula salad, or easy, classic strawberry shortcake for dessert.

Despite my best planning efforts, it’s been a little bit of a struggle to get meals on the table in a timely manner lately. The result is a hangry toddler (yikes!). So this month, in addition to keeping plenty of quick and easy recipes in my dinner rotation (think: foil packets and veggie-packed pasta), I’m focusing more on make-ahead meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I have my sights set on overnight oats for the morning, pasta salad for lunches, and slow cooker BBQ shredded chicken for dinner.

Here are 31 of our favorite ideas for recipes to cook and bake throughout the month ahead.

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Classic Coffee Cake
If you're gearing up to bake something special for Mother's Day, you absolutely cannot go wrong with buttery coffee cake topped with giant, cinnamon-scented crumbles. Bonus: It can be totally made in advance.
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Easy Strawberry Shortcake
Ever since she was a kid, Senior Contributing Food Editor, Sheela, celebrated her May birthday with strawberry shortcake. It's a tradition she can't kick, and this month she'll be grabbing a carton of berries for her annual treat.
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Oven-Cooked Bacon
If you're making a Mother's Day breakfast or brunch, I encourage you to fire up the oven (if it's not already on for a breakfast casserole!) and cook up a tray of crispy bacon. Trust me — everyone will love it!
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How to Grill Really Juicy Burgers
When it comes to backyard burgers off the grill, we all want the same thing: a tender and juicy burger that we can really sink our teeth into.
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Strawberry Arugula Salad
Executive Editor, Patty, has her sights set on this stunning salad. "We're planning an outdoor barbecue with my husband's extended family at the end of the month since we'll all be vaccinated by then. With strawberries coming into season, this salad is perfect. Plus it's simple and unfussy."
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The Best (Mayo-Free) Pasta Salad
Food Editor Kelli will be keeping this tangy pasta salad on repeat all month (or, more likely, all summer) long. "The warmer weather has me craving pasta salad. It's also the perfect make-ahead lunch for my toddler."
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Starbucks-Style Cold Brew Coffee at Home
Welcome to iced coffee season! Here's everything you need to know about making a great batch at home.
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Credit: Jason Rampe
Easy Homemade Herb Sauce
Food Director, Nina, has the following plan for May cooking: "My plan for May is to make this sauce and use it on EVERYTHING."
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Balsamic Glazed Veggie Kebabs
A simple balsamic and garlic glaze will keep you coming back to these veggie skewers all summer.
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Teriyaki Chicken Foil Packets
These fuss-free foil packets with chicken and veggies can be cooked on the grill or in the oven.
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Grilled Broccoli and Radish Salad with Garlicky Miso Dressing
If you're getting bored of basic steamed or roasted broccoli, you've got to try this grilled salad! It's the reason Food Editor Kelli just bought a three-pound bag of broccoli at Costco.
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Blueberry Muffins
Consider these classic muffins the number-one reason to pick up a pint of blueberries this month.
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Sesame Ginger Tofu Poke Bowl
Deputy Food Director, Grace, has been really into eating tofu for lunch. As it gets warmer out, she's looking forward to making these tofu poke bowls, which are also a great way to use up any veggie scraps in the fridge.
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Grilled Pizza
Studio Food Editor Amelia is kicking off grilling season with pizza! "I have a new backyard and I am so excited about all things grilling. I've never made pizza on the grill before. Excited to challenge myself with a new technique."
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Ice Cream Cake (Even Better than Dairy Queen!)
May is a big birthday month in Production Editor, Tracey's, house, and her celebrants always want to top off their special days with a DQ ice cream cake. "I think I’m going to surprise everyone by trying my hand at this DIY version. Customizing the ice cream and filling flavors will hopefully make each birthday a little sweeter."
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No-Bake Sheet Pan Lemon Yogurt Tart
Ever since Faith raved about making this dreamy tart at Easter, Lifestyle Director, Lisa, has been thinking about it nonstop. "It's the first thing I'm making this month. And I have a feeling it will be my go-to dessert of summer."
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Caramelized Figs and Ravioli with Rosemary Brown Butter & Crispy Prosciutto
You know that bag of ravioli that's been hanging out in the freezer forever? This is exactly how you should use it up this month.
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Aash-e Jow (Persian Barley, Rice, & Bean Soup)
Food Editor-at-Large, Christine, is especially excited about cooking up a pot of this aromatic Persian soup with barley, lentils, rice, beans, and spices. "I was just given a really big bag of barley and can't wait to try this recipe."
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Oven-Cooked Ribs
Here's your reminder that you don't need a grill to make really great ribs. Keep this bookmarked for Memorial Day and the rest of summer.
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Loaded Blueberry Cheesecake Breakfast Bake
You can't go wrong with this make-ahead casserole for Mother's Day — toasted golden bread baked with juicy blueberries and swirls of rich cream cheese.
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Lemon Butter Pasta & Veggies
Packed with zucchini and cherry tomatoes and tossed in a lemon butter sauce, here's a quick and easy pasta dinner to make again and again this month. Have asparagus, broccoli, or fresh herbs? Go ahead and toss them in as well.
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Strawberry Dutch Baby
As soon as she gets her hands on a pint of strawberries at the farmers market, Managing Editor, Lauren, has one thing in mind: trying this breakfast favorite with her go-to gluten-free flour substitute.
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Red Fruit Salad with Lemon-Vanilla Bean Syrup
Once she's fully vaccinated this month, the first thing Features Director, Arie, wants to do is go to the farmers market in Hollywood and get strawberries from Harry’s Berries. "I’ll spend too much money, eat handfuls of them at a time, and then make this ridiculously good salad. The vanilla bean syrup is so smart, and it just gets better the next day."
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Slow Cooker BBQ Shredded Chicken
When you're in need of a wildly easy, hands-off dinner this month that also has the potential to be made in advance and freezes well, pull out your slow cooker for a big batch of saucy BBQ shredded chicken.
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Blueberry Walnut Overnight Oats
If breakfast feels like a pain point, try making a batch of these cool, creamy oats. The recipe makes enough to serve one, but is super easy to scale up for however many mouths you're feeding.
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Basic Breakfast Tacos
Food Editor Kelli doesn't want anything fancy for Mother's Day — just a plate of these straightforward breakfast tacos (and a big glass of iced coffee).
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Kohlrabi and Carrot Slaw
Crunchy slaw is a great side for whatever you're serving for dinner. This colorful version is one we'll be making on repeat this month.
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Tomato Risotto & Meatballs
Assistant Food Editor, Nicole, tells me that she was *obsessed* with Spaghettio’s as a kid, which is exactly what inspired this dish. "As soon as it hit the site, I bookmarked Grant's Tomato Risotto and Meatballs to make this month."
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Spinach and Artichoke Frittata
Whether it be for weekend brunch or breakfast for dinner, add this frittata to your May meal plan. It's inspired by the classic dip and loaded with marinated artichoke hearts, spinach, Parm, and a dollop of sour cream.
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Rhubarb and Brown Sugar Skillet Pork Chops
Don't forget to snag some rhubarb. Then whip up a pan of these pork chops for dinner.
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