The Kitchn’s Top 31 Ideas for What to Cook This July

published Jul 3, 2023
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overhead shot of chicken sliders in a baking sheet; a hand pulls one away from chicken slider group showing cheese pull
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe; Food Styling: James Park

Picking what to cook in July can be a lot like the decision anxiety you have at the start of a vacation: There’s a lot you want to make, but what do you make first? There are the recipes that you’re willing to turn on the oven and the grill for (and they never disappoint), but there are also the equally stellar recipes that demand no time and no heat at all. But with 31 days of delicious eating that lie ahead, you have time to cook and eat everything and do it all to make the most of this month to come — from outdoor dinners, to chill desserts, to stunning cocktails. 

Right off the bat we’ve got you covered with 4th of July cookout inspiration. Lacquered baby back ribs, crispy chicken wings, and burgers are fantastic choices for the center of the table, and to round it out you can add a few cooling sides like a vibrant pasta salad and a black-eyed pea salad — and don’t forget a no-bake dessert or patriotic Popsicles to serve as the fireworks light up the sky. Whether your barbecues, potlucks, or picnics land on the fourth or any other day in July, we’ve got ice-cold cocktail recommendations for you. 

Headed to a rental house for a week or so? Roll up some kimbap to eat as finger food on the car ride over (don’t forget to stop at the gas station for more snacks). Vacation rentals can sometimes fall short when it comes to the amount of kitchen tools, but big-batch recipes like chicken sliders and brown butter za’atar pasta require one cooking vessel and minimal chopping. 

If you can’t stand the heat of your house in July, use that as a cue to enter your no-cook cooking era and serve crudités with a no-cook dip. With National Ice Cream Day on the July calendar, we can choose to stay chill and enjoy many strawberry-flavored scoops of our favorite frozen dessert. With stone fruits and berries in peak season, now is also the time to make a jammy peach blueberry pie. And with it being summer, there’s no better fun than to have a scoop of ice cream on top of your slice of pie. See, I told you July is about doing it all! 

From the Kitchn editors to you, here are 31 of our favorite ideas to help you get excited about cooking in July. 

1 / 31
Baby-Back Ribs on the Grill

These baby-back ribs are meaty and lean while still being delightfully tender.

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2 / 31
Portobello Mushroom Burger

As people who think about food for hours every day, Kitchn editors go through their rotation of hyperfixation recipes. As we move into July, Staff Writer, Patty, has been been thinking about Kelli's grilled portobello mushroom burgers. "Now's the perfect time to put them on the grill. They are so juicy and flavorful that I'd pick them over a beef burger every time."

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3 / 31
Chicken Sliders

For the best-ever chicken sliders, mix shredded chicken with mayo, sour cream, and scallions. Melty cheese and buttery rolls take things to the next level.

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4 / 31
Strawberry Delight

The Kitchn editors cannot stop talking about this month's most popular recipe: this six-layer, no-bake strawberry dessert. "This delight has been bookmarked for 4th of July since the day it was published. So many enticing layers — I'm so glad my sister is (somehow) no longer allergic to strawberries," says Groceries Editor, Mara.

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5 / 31
No-Cook Dip and Veggie Summer Board
Yes, veggies and dip totally count as dinner — especially when it is too hot to cook.
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6 / 31
Brazilian Caipirinha

A three-ingredient cocktail that comes together in the glass you want to drink it from? Say no more. The team is obsessed with Senior Food Editor, Kristina's, take on Brazil's national cocktail.

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7 / 31
Grilled Halloumi

Unlike other types of cheese — which would melt or fall apart under the heat — halloumi has an exceptionally high melting point that makes it perfect for grilling.

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8 / 31
Brown Butter Za’atar Pasta

Recipe Director, Lauren, is delighted to make this zesty, roasty-toasty spin on regular buttered noodles.

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9 / 31

For a bite-sized finger food you can make for a picnic or a party, look no further than kimbap, Korean seaweed and rice rolls.

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10 / 31
S’mores Cookies

If you want to channel the warm and toasty flavors of s'mores in a cookie (and honestly, why wouldn't you?), here's your July baking project. These drop cookies strike the perfect balance between soft and chewy, and have that iconic gooey marshmallow center that begs to be pulled apart.

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11 / 31
Grilled Chicken Wings

Groceries Editor, Mara, admits that until recently she had never grilled chicken wings before. But these crispy, coated ones are all she desires for laidback summer dinners. "I mean, just look at that crispy skin!" The key to that coveted crispiness is an ingredient you likely have in your pantry right now.

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12 / 31
Peach Cobbler Foil Packets

This easy foil-pack peach cobbler has the familiar flavors of classic peach melba, including sweet cooked peaches and raspberries in a beautiful warm, fruity sauce.

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13 / 31
Black-Eyed Pea Summer Salad
A bright summer salad with black-eyed peas, avocado, cherry tomatoes, corn, and cucumbers dressed in a punchy lime vinaigrette.
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14 / 31
Silken Tofu with Pine Nuts and Pickled Chiles
Silken tofu is so named because it is passed through silk and is the most delicate of all the tofus both in flavor and texture.
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15 / 31
Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Recipe Production Coordinator, Justine, loves chocolate and loves zucchini. Naturally, she gravitated towards this fun, plush chocolate zucchini sheet cake as her dessert pick for July. It's super-moist from the zucchini and tastes decadent from a triple dose of chocolate.

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16 / 31
Honey BBQ Sauce

This sticky honey BBQ sauce is excellent on ribs, but it works just as well with grilled chicken or salmon (or, if you're plant-based, firm tofu).

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17 / 31
French Onion Burger Recipe

This grilled hamburger is piled high with caramelized onions and melty Gruyère cheese.

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18 / 31
Smashed Shito Cucumber Salad

If you're in need of a good cucumber salad this summer, this one from Associate Culinary Producer, Nicole, is the one. Big flavor comes from the spicy-fresh contrast between crisp cucumbers and shito, a smoky Ghanian hot pepper sauce. "I can’t wait to get my hands on a jar of shito of my own to make this recipe; it’s so good," says Senior Food Editor, Kristina.

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19 / 31
Shoyu Chicken

A simple dish that’s beloved in Hawaii, shoyu chicken features bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs simmered in a salty-sweet combination of soy sauce and brown sugar.

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20 / 31
Grilled Shrimp Skewers with Chimichurri
An herby, garlicky chimichurri sauce doubles as both the marinade and a dipping sauce for these easy shrimp skewers.
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21 / 31
Chicken Fajita Casserole

This comforting casserole leans on the classic components of a chicken fajita.

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22 / 31
Lemon Parmesan Grilled Broccolini

The combination of crispy florets, tender stems, smoky lemon, and wispy tufts of salty Parmesan cheese make this grilled Broccolini a side dish that you’ll make on repeat.

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23 / 31
Slow Cooker Migas Casserole

We took the classic skillet migas and transformed them into a low-and-slow, cheesy migas casserole for a weeknight dinner hero.

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24 / 31
Strawberry Ice Cream

This pretty strawberry ice cream uses an egg-free base to ensure the creamiest texture that's easy to achieve every time. Because we're in peak strawberry season, we recommend using the ripest ones you can find.

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25 / 31
Sheet Pan Halloumi with Burst Tomatoes, Summer Squash, Preserved Lemon, and Mint

Recipe Production Coordinator, Justine, has this rainbow-colored sheet pan vegetable and cheese recipe on standby for a quick, hands-free meal.

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26 / 31
3-2-1 Pitcher Margaritas

These easy pitcher margaritas serve a crowd, and are made with just tequila, orange liqueur, and lime juice.

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27 / 31
Pesto Pasta Salad

Staff Writer, Patty, says she makes this pesto pasta salad practically every week in the summer for easy lunches and dinner sides. Adding spinach and mayo to store-bought pesto keeps the green sauce bright and lively for days.

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28 / 31
Ube Tiramisu

If you are looking for a relatively low-effort dessert that everyone will fall in love with, this vibrant ube tiramisu from Culinary Producer James will steal the show.

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29 / 31
Summer Corn Chowder
This corn chowder recipe doubles down on sweet corn flavor with its homemade corn stock and juicy corn kernels throughout.
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30 / 31
Peach Blueberry Pie

In addition to blueberries, this sweet level-up on the classic pie puts fresh summer peaches to incredible use.

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31 / 31
Sun-Dried Tomato Pesto Penne

"I made this and I could eat the pesto by itself with a spoon," says Senior Food Editor, Kristina. After hearing that and making it for herself, Recipe Production Coordinator, Justine, is strongly aligned. The key to that delicious pesto is a jar of sun-dried tomatoes packed in oil.

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