The Perfect Little Dinner Menu for Anyone Cooking for Father’s Day

updated Jun 8, 2021
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Credit: Melissa Ryan

If you’re able to be close to the father (or fathers) in your life this June 20, celebrate all that they do with a summer barbecue that’s easy to pull off, yet feels as fun and festive as it should be. This straightforward menu hits on a few classics for Father’s Day while remaining approachable and flexible. Follow along, use the helpful timeline, and enjoy a special dinner with Dad.

Kitchn’s Guide for a Simple Father’s Day Dinner on the Grill

This menu is intended to be unfussy yet festive. It’s fun to fire up the grill on Father’s Day, if you’re able to, so the main and some of the sides are barbecued, while the rest is assembled inside. In the menu below, we’ve included a handful of recipe alternatives to try if your dad prefers them or they’re easier for you to make, as well as a quick timeline to help you pull dinner together seamlessly.

Credit: Mia Yakel/Kitchn

Main Dish: Grilled Steak with Herb Compound Butter

Steak on the grill is about as traditional as you can get when it comes to Father’s Day dinner (and if it’s not broke, well … you know the saying). What makes this version special is the herby compound butter that’s slathered on top of the warm meat.

Get the recipe: Grilled Steak with Herb Compound Butter

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Credit: Photo: Joe Lingeman; Food Styling: Cyd McDowell

Side Dish: Grilled Baked Potatoes

Baked potatoes are typically made in the oven, of course, but since you’ve got the grill going, you might as well cook them on the grill instead. It will take a bit of time for the potatoes to cook through, but luckily it’s all hands-off time. Reserve some compound butter to tuck inside the hot potatoes and serve them with sour cream, if you like.

Get the recipe: Grilled Baked Potatoes

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Credit: Joe Lingeman; Food Stylist: Cyd McDowell

Salad: Salt and Pepper Smashed Cucumber Salad

A refreshing cucumber salad is the perfect counterpart to a hearty steak and potato dinner. What’s best is the salad actually improves the longer it rests, so you can make it well ahead of time and pull it out when dinner is ready.

Get the recipe: Salt and Pepper Smashed Cucumber Salad

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Credit: Joe Lingeman

Dessert: Cherry Pie Bars

Even if Dad claims he doesn’t need dessert, make him something sweet. These cherry pie bars are a nostalgic summer treat — and it’s obviously a given they go well with a scoop of ice cream. Plus, leftovers make for a fun breakfast the next morning.

Get the recipe: Cherry Pie Bars

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Your Easy Father’s Day Dinner Timeline

The timeline for this menu is totally fuss-free. Prepare the salad and bars the night before or on the morning of, and the rest comes together just about an hour before dinnertime.

  • Saturday night or Sunday morning: Make the cucumber salad and cherry pie bars. Tuck the salad in the refrigerator and keep the bars, wrapped tightly, at room temperature. Then season the steaks and put them in the fridge, too.
  • Heat the grill: Once the grill is hot, put the potatoes on and while they cook, make the compound butter and remove the steaks from the fridge.
  • Grill the steaks: When the potatoes are done, remove them from the grill, increase the heat to high, and cook the steaks.
  • Sit down to dinner: Let the steaks rest, then slice and serve them with the compound butter, potatoes, and cucumber salad. Then enjoy the cherry bars for dessert!