4th of july

The 31 Best Recipes to Cook This July

published Jul 1, 2022
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School’s out, we’re a couple of weeks into summer, farmers markets and gardens are bursting with a bounty of glorious summer produce, and we’re happily settling into a season of simplified cooking. This month calls for making extra-easy, low-effort dinners; loading up on all the fresh veggies and ripe fruit; and enjoying frozen treats as often as possible.

When it’s just too hot to consider turning on the oven (or you want easy-as-ca- be meals when you get home from the pool or beach), go for no-cook meals that simply require assembly, like a caprese sandwich. Or turn to the grill for saucy shrimp skewers, your Instant Pot for two-ingredient salsa chicken, your slow cooker for vegetarian stuffed peppers , or the air fryer for brats that are ready in just 10 minutes.

Now that summer is in full swing and we’re gathering with friends once again, it’s a month for summer potlucks, cookouts, barbecues, and picnics a plenty. Juicy grilled burgers and saucy ribs are a good choice for a main, while herb-packed tomato salad and a refreshing watermelon salad with feta and mint are great summer potluck sides, whether you’re hosting or bringing a dish elsewhere. If you’re kicking off the month with a 4th of July cookout, add something festive to the dessert table like firecracker Rice Krispies treats or a red, white, and blue trifle.

National Ice Cream Day falls just after mid-month, on the 17th, and what a great time to check “make ice cream” off your summer bucket list! If you’ll be dusting off your ice cream maker, easy lemon curd ice cream or peach ice cream are good ideas (or try our no-churn ice cream if you don’t have an ice cream maker). Alternatively, grab your favorite pint of vanilla and try some homemade ice cream sandwiches — they’re so nostalgic.

Bottom line: July is a month for all the summer salads, watermelon every which way, easy dinners from the grill, fruit-filled crisps and cobblers, and lots of frozen desserts. 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 July.

1 / 31
The Ultimate Grilled Zucchini Salad
Zucchini is grilled until smoky, then tossed with a lemon vinaigrette, feta, and mint.
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2 / 31
Grilled Swordfish
If you're new to grilling fish, thick and meaty swordfish is a pretty forgiving and a good place to start. Brushed with a fresh lemon-herb sauce, the fish cooks on the grill in just under 10 minutes.
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3 / 31
Tomato Salad with Red Onion, Dill and Feta
This happens to be Senior Contributing Food Editor Kelli's absolute favorite tomato salad, so it's likely no coincidence that her vegetable garden is planted with tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, and a bevy of herbs. She'll be eating this for lunch and serving it alongside grilled dinners all month long.
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4 / 31
Oven-Cooked Ribs
We've cracked the code to making perfectly tender and mouth-watering barbecued ribs in the oven.
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5 / 31
Classic Blueberry Buckle
If you love coffee cake, let me introduce you to its fruit-filled friend, the buckle — a slightly sweet breakfast cake that’s the ideal vehicle for summer fruit.
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6 / 31
Super-Juicy Burger Patties
Just one ingredient will make your burgers infinitely juicier this summer, and it's already in your kitchen: butter!
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7 / 31
Firecracker Rice Krispies Treats
This easy recipe for Pop Rocks Rice Krispies treats is perfect for celebrating the Fourth of July.
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8 / 31
Watermelon Salad with Feta & Mint
Watermelon is one of the joys of summer for Senior Food Editor, Megan. She'll eat it by the slice, of course, but is most excited about this sweet-salty salad.
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9 / 31
Overnight Oats
This cool, creamy make-ahead breakfast is how Senior Contributing Food Editor Kelli (and her toddler!) start their morning in the summer. She tops it with fresh-cut fruit, a dollop of jam, or a spoonful of Greek yogurt.
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10 / 31
Instant Pot Salsa Chicken
This two-ingredient recipe is one of the easiest, most foolproof ways to cook chicken. Try the shredded meat in tacos, burritos, grain bowls, sandwiches, and salads.
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11 / 31
Zucchini Bread
You're about to get bogged down with zucchini, so be sure to keep this classic quick bread recipe handy.
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12 / 31
Grilled Guacamole
You can't go wrong with bringing this to a summer potluck or cookout. Grilling avocados creates a lightly smoky, rich and silky guacamole.
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13 / 31
Lemon Curd Ice Cream
You know that jar of lemon curd in the back of your fridge that you're not sure what to do with? A rich and creamy batch of ice cream is the best way to put it to work right now.
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14 / 31
Elote (Mexican Street Corn)
Meet Food Editor-at-Large, Christine's, favorite way to eat corn on the cob.
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15 / 31
S'mores Bars
"Summer is time to feel like a kid again, especially when it comes to dessert." That's why these s'mores bars are on Contributing Editor, Patty's, summer bucket list.
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16 / 31
Slow Cooker Stuffed Bell Peppers in Marinara Sauce
These protein-packed and fiber-rich stuffed peppers are the perfect vegetarian meal. Best of all, you won't have to turn on the oven.
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17 / 31
Curry Fish Ball Skewers
Senior Food Editor, Megan, is a huge fan of fish balls (her favorite thus far is the fish ball soup at Bo Ky in NYC's Chinatown), so needless to say these newly published skewers are at the top of her must-make list.
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18 / 31
Summery Salmon Niçoise
An easy Niçoise salad that features baked salmon instead of the usual tuna.
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19 / 31
Italian Potato Salad
This mayo-free potato salad is made extra colorful, thanks to green beans, cherry tomatoes, and lots of fresh herbs.
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20 / 31
Sesame Ginger Tofu Poke Bowl
This vegan twist on a poke bowl features cubes of marinated tofu and a colorful array of toppings.
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21 / 31
Blueberry Crisp
From the sweet, jammy filling spiked with a hint of earthy ground coriander to the buttery, lemon-kissed crisp topping, it's impossible not to go wild for this summertime classic. Just don't forget the vanilla ice cream.
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22 / 31
Caprese Sandwich for a Crowd
Whether you're packing lunch for a picnic, the pool, or a day at the beach, or just need a no-cook dinner that will feed the whole table, this large, make-ahead sandwich is a good pick.
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23 / 31
Air Fryer Brats Recipe
Making golden and juicy bratwurst doesn't get any easier, thanks to the air fryer.
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24 / 31
Easy Tomato Pie
It could be the layers of sweet, ripe tomatoes or the cheesy mayo mixture (likely both!) — either way, this savory summer pie is the number-one reason Production Editor, Tracey, is looking forward to her local farmers market opening.
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25 / 31
Slow Cooker Pesto Chicken
Homemade pesto mixed with hearty chunks of chicken in the slow cooker, ready for a week's worth of salads, wraps, and grain bowls.
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26 / 31
Instant Pot Pork Carnitas
Thanks to the Instant Pot, you can enjoy flavorful, impossibly tender carnitas in a fraction of the time.
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27 / 31
Slow-Cooked Hoisin and Ginger Pork Wraps with Peanut Slaw
Juicy pulled pork and a crunchy peanut slaw, all ready to be wrapped up.
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28 / 31
Firecracker Shrimp Skewers
Just a few brushes of the sauce and the shrimp will be glossy, sticky, and spicy. Serve straight from the skewer, scatter over rice, or tuck in a taco.
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29 / 31
Tomato and Feta White Bean Salad
This light and easy no-cook salad is just the thing when it's too hot and you have no energy to cook dinner. Make it now before the season's tomatoes disappear!
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30 / 31
Red, White, and Blue Trifle
This festive trifle is really more fruit than cake, with cherries and raspberries and blackberries squeezed between homemade pudding and cream.
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31 / 31
One-Pan Basil-Plum Pork Chops
Executive Food Director, Nina, is eyeing this pork chop and plum skillet dish. "I love pork cooked with fruit and it's so easy, which is also something I fully support. I think I'll stick the skillet on the grill or, even better, the campfire."
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