Summer BBQ Recipe Ideas

by Beth - Budget Bytes
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Memorial Day is just a few days away and you know what that means, Summer is about to (un)officially begin!! I’m already getting requests for recipes to bring to BBQs and potlucks, so I thought I’d do a roundup. Here are 25 of my favorite recipes for summer BBQs and potlucks.

Collage of recipes for summer bbqs with title text in the center.

I suspect that most people will do classic burgers, dogs, chicken, and ribs for their main grilling dish, but I have included a couple of specialty burgers, plus a vegetarian alternative so that everyone can eat happily. In addition to that, I have plenty of salads, sides, and other dishes that you can bring to feed a crowd. Full disclaimer: most of these recipes are for around six servings, so please consider the size of your party and scale up the recipes as needed. You can scale the recipes on my site by simply typing in a new number in the servings field on the recipe card and the ingredient quantities will automatically adjust. Yay!

Burgers and Alternatives

You simply can’t have a summer BBQ without a burger. So here are some fun burger options if you want something a little different:

1. Mediterranean Turkey Burgers

Mediterranean Turkey Burgers

Overhead view of an open faced Mediterranean Turkey Burger on a paper lined plate with cucumber salad on the side
Spinach, sun dried tomatoes, feta, and a dilly yogurt sauce make these Mediterranean Turkey Burgers full of flavor and color.
4.90 from 77 votes
$11.47 recipe / $1.91 serving Get the Recipe

If you think the idea of a turkey burger sounds boring, think again! These turkey burgers are packed to the brim with delicious Mediterranean flavors, perfect for summer.

2. Black Bean Burgers

Homemade Black Bean Burgers

Side view of a single black bean burger on a bun, fully dressed, sitting on newsprint
Black beans, cumin, sriracha, garlic, and fresh red onion make these homemade black bean burgers a flavorful and filling vegetarian meal.
4.90 from 38 votes
$2.57 recipe / $0.43 serving Get the Recipe

These hearty black bean burgers are perfect for your vegetarian friends and family members, so no one gets left out of burger time!

3. Green Chile Turkey Burgers

Green Chile Turkey Burgers

These Green Chile Turkey Burgers can't be beat for a fast, flavorful weeknight dinner. Ready in about 30 minutes and full of southwest flavor. BudgetBytes.com
These Green Chile Turkey Burgers can't be beat for a fast, flavorful weeknight dinner. Healthy, ready in about 30 minutes, and full of southwest flavor. 
4.82 from 32 votes
$10.71 recipe / $1.79 serving Get the Recipe

If you’re craving a southwest flare, try these green chile turkey burgers! Chiles, cumin, and pepper jack cheese fill these burgers with flavor.

4. Marinated Portobello Mushroom Burgers

Marinated Portobello Mushroom Burgers

Close up side view of a marinated portobello mushroom burger topped with a slice of tomato and two red onion rings.
With their deep savory flavor, Marinated Portobello Mushroom Burgers are a fast and easy vegetarian option for summer grilling. 
5 from 19 votes
$5.68 recipe / $2.84 serving Get the Recipe

If black bean burgers aren’t your jam, here’s another super flavorful vegetarian option for squashing that burger craving.

5. Cajun Salmon Burgers

Cajun Salmon Burgers

Cajun Salmon Burgers with guac from above on a cutting board
Shelf-stable canned salmon plus a few more pantry staples make an incredibly easy and flavorful Cajun Salmon Burger perfect for weeknight dinners. 
4.84 from 25 votes
$7.19 recipe / $3.60 per burger Get the Recipe

A hefty dose of Cajun spices and a creamy avocado topping make these unique burgers a total winner.

6. Hawaiian Burgers

Hawaiian Burgers

These rich and juicy Hawaiian Burgers are flavored with sweet pineapple, tangy teriyaki sauce, savory green onions, and creamy Monterey jack cheese. Budgetbytes.com
These rich and juicy Hawaiian Burgers are flavored with sweet pineapple, tangy teriyaki sauce, savory green onions, and creamy Monterey jack cheese. 
4.66 from 20 votes
$8.64 recipe / $2.16 serving Get the Recipe

Juicy ground pork, sweet pineapple, caramelized onions, and teriyaki sauce make the perfect sweet-savory burger.


Potato Salads

Potato salad is a staple at any summer BBQ or potluck and we’ve got all the love for this simple side. Creamy, mayo-free, spicy, and more.

7. Southern Style Potato Salad

Classic Southern Style Potato Salad

overhead view of a a bowl full of potato salad with celery, relish and eggs on the sides
This classic Southern Style Potato Salad uses both mustard and mayonnaise for a super flavorful dressing that is rich, tangy, and creamy.
4.88 from 8 votes
$5.56 recipe / $0.70 serving Get the Recipe

Classic, creamy, and a little tangy from a touch of yellow mustard, you can’t go wrong with a simple southern-style potato salad.

8. Cajun Potato Salad

Cajun Potato Salad

This smoky and flavorful Cajun Potato Salad uses the magic of blackened seasoning to take it to the next level. Pairs perfectly with grilled meat!
4.50 from 6 votes
$5.36 recipe / $0.89 serving Get the Recipe

Zesty Cajun spices added to classic potato salad really takes the flavor to the next level!

9. Herby Potato Salad

Herby Potato Salad

side view of a platter full of herby potato salad.
This Herby Potato Salad has tender baby potatoes, a bright and zesty lemon-Dijon vinaigrette, and a healthy dose of fresh herbs.
5 from 3 votes
$4.50 recipe / $1.13 serving Get the Recipe

If you’re looking for a mayo-free potato salad option, this bright and summery Herby Potato Salad is it!

10. Roasted Sweet Potato Rainbow Salad

Roasted Sweet Potato Rainbow Salad with Lime Crema

This Roasted Sweet Potato Rainbow Salad combines a medley of vibrant colors and flavors, brought together by a bright and creamy dressing. BudgetBytes.com
This Roasted Sweet Potato Rainbow Salad combines a medley of vibrant colors and flavors, brought together by a bright and creamy dressing.
4.89 from 53 votes
$7.93 recipe / $1.32 serving Get the Recipe

This “rainbow” salad has it all! Sweet potatoes, beans, bright vegetables, and a zesty lime crema dressing.


Bean Salads

BBQ and beans go together like peanut butter and jelly, and I’ve got no shortage of delicious bean salads to serve alongside your summer BBQ.

11. Cowboy Caviar

Cowboy Caviar

Close up overhead view of cowboy caviar in a bowl with chips on the side.
Cowboy Caviar is a deliciously fresh bean salad with a colorful mix of beans and vegetables, plus a zesty lime dressing.
4.91 from 50 votes
$5.30 recipe / $0.53 serving Get the Recipe

This classic bean salad features a brightly colored medley of beans and vegetables, plus a light and zesty vinaigrette dressing.

12. Mediterranean White Bean Salad

Mediterranean White Bean Salad

Overhead view of a bowl full of Mediterranean White Bean Salad with parsley, tomatoes, and garlic on the side
This Mediterranean White Bean Salad is a fast, easy, and fresh side dish that pairs nicely with any grilled or roasted meat.
4.83 from 17 votes
$4.87 recipe / $1.22 serving Get the Recipe

This simple salad is light and fresh, perfect for pairing with all of your summer eats!

13. Three Bean Salad

Classic Three Bean Salad

Overhead view of a bowl of three bean salad
Simple ingredients come together in this Classic Three Bean Salad to make a simple summer side dish, perfect for BBQs and potlucks!
4.60 from 10 votes
$2.79 recipe / $0.56 serving Get the Recipe

It doesn’t get any more simple or classic than this three-bean mix! 

14. Cucumber and Black Bean Salad

Cucumber and Black Bean Salad

Cucumber and Black Bean Salad in a bowl with a black spoon
This light and fresh cucumber and black bean salad is the perfect summer side dish. It is refrigerator stable so make it once and snack on it all week!
5 from 17 votes
$3.20 recipe / $0.80 serving Get the Recipe

This fresh bean salad has a slight southwest flavor and would pair great with tacos and more.


Vegetable Salads and Slaws

When it’s hot and you’re eating outside, vegetable salads become EXTRA refreshing. These tasty salads will help lighten your plate, and add color and texture to your meal.

15. Creamy Coleslaw

Easy Creamy Coleslaw

Overhead view of a bowl of creamy coleslaw on a blue napkin
This classic sweet and tangy homemade coleslaw recipe is perfect for piling onto pulled pork sandwiches or serving as a side with dinner.
5 from 2 votes
$1.63 recipe / $0.41 serving Get the Recipe

This simple, classic coleslaw is an absolute must for any summer BBQ!

16. Marinated Cauliflower Salad

Marinated Cauliflower Salad

Overhead view of marinated cauliflower salad in a white serving bowl
Marinated cauliflower salad is full of crunchy and colorful vegetables marinated in a homemade Italian dressing. Perfect for meal prep!
4.83 from 17 votes
$8.40 recipe / $1.05 serving Get the Recipe

It’s colorful, full of bold flavors, and low carb!

17. Super Fresh Cucumber Tomato Salad

Super Fresh Cucumber Tomato Salad

Super Fresh Salad is a cold, crunchy, juicy mix of flavorful vegetables topped with a simple red wine and oregano vinaigrette. BudgetBytes.com
Super Fresh Cucumber Salad is a cold, crunchy, juicy mix of flavorful vegetables topped with a simple red wine and oregano vinaigrette.
4.93 from 39 votes
$7.30 recipe / $1.22 serving Get the Recipe

It’s not summer until this super fresh cucumber tomato salad makes an appearance!

18. Vinaigrette Slaw with Feta

Vinaigrette Slaw with Feta

This super simple three-ingredient cabbage salad is huge on flavor and is the perfect side for all of your summer grilling. This Vinaigrette slaw with Feta will become your easy go-to side dish. BudgetBytes.com
This super simple three-ingredient cabbage salad is huge on flavor and is the perfect side for all of your summer grilling. This Vinaigrette slaw with Feta will become your easy go-to side dish.
5 from 3 votes
$5.93 recipe / $0.74 serving Get the Recipe

This light and zesty slaw is the perfect no-mayo alternative to classic coleslaw.

19. Honey Mustard Broccoli Salad

Honey Mustard Broccoli Salad

Front view of a bowl of Honey Mustard Broccoli Salad with a black fork and spoon in the side of the bowl.
This crunchy, sweet, tangy, and creamy Honey Mustard Broccoli Salad only takes minutes to makes the perfect summer side dish.
5 from 35 votes
$4.10 recipe / $0.82 serving Get the Recipe

A sweet and tangy homemade honey mustard dressing drenches perfectly crunchy broccoli for the perfect summer side salad.

20. Charred Corn and Zucchini Salad

Charred Corn and Zucchini Salad

Overhead view of a bowl of Charred Corn and Zucchini Salad with a black and white napkin on the side.
This Charred Corn and Zucchini Salad perfectly captures the flavor of summer with fresh sweet corn, salty feta, and a smoky grill-like flavor. 
4.92 from 12 votes
$3.92 recipe / $0.98 serving Get the Recipe

If you’ve got the grill going, char up some fresh corn for this irresistible salad!


Pasta Salads

Pasta salads work double duty at potlucks and BBQs, as both a side dish and a filling non-meat option for vegetarians. Plus they hold up great to buffet-style serving. Here are some of my favorites:

24. Summer Vegetable Pasta Salad

Summer Vegetable Pasta Salad

Overhead view of a bowl full of summer vegetable pasta salad
This light and fresh Summer Vegetable Pasta Salad is perfect for summer BBQs and potlucks, or your weekly meal prep.
4.84 from 31 votes
$8.76 recipe / $1.10 serving Get the Recipe

All of summer’s fresh produce together in one classic pasta salad.

25. Broccoli Pasta Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette

Broccoli Pasta Salad with Tomato Vinaigrette

Close up side view of broccoli pasta salad with tomato vinaigrette on a platter
This Broccoli Pasta Salad features a tangy homemade vinaigrette, nutty sunflower seeds, and creamy-salty feta.
4.63 from 16 votes
$4.67 recipe / $1.17 serving Get the Recipe

If you love fresh broccoli, you’ll love it in this pasta salad paired with a tangy tomato vinaigrette and salty feta.

26. Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad

Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad

This classic summer Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad features smoky fire licked vegetables and a homemade creamy balsamic vinaigrette. BudgetBytes.com
This classic summer Grilled Vegetable Pasta Salad features smoky fire licked vegetables and a homemade creamy balsamic vinaigrette. 
4.94 from 16 votes
$9.65 recipe / $1.21 serving Get the Recipe

Toss a few veggies on the grill so you can make this amazing pasta salad with a tangy homemade balsamic vinaigrette.

27. Summer Sweet Corn Salad

Summer Sweet Corn Salad

Close up of a bowl of Summer Sweet Corn Salad with a wooden spoon in the middle
Colorful summer vegetables, creamy avocado, pasta shells, and a homemade lemon vinaigrette make this light and fresh Summer Sweet Corn Salad.
4.78 from 18 votes
$7.67 recipe / $0.96 serving Get the Recipe

When summer sweet corn is at its peak, you’ve got to make this deliciously fresh salad!

28. Italian Pizza Pasta Salad

Italian Pizza Pasta Salad

Close up of a serving bowl of pizza pasta salad, a wooden spoon in the side
Repurpose your leftover pizza toppings into this deliciously simple Italian style pizza pasta salad. Including a simple homemade Italian dressing!
4.67 from 12 votes
$7.98 recipe / $1.00 serving Get the Recipe

Like pizza in a bowl, no one will turn down this delicious pasta salad.

29. Creamy Lemon Dill Greek Pasta Salad

Creamy Lemon Dill Greek Pasta Salad

Creamy Lemon Dill Greek Pasta Salad is packed with bold flavors and fresh vegetables, making it a delicious light lunch. 
4.86 from 21 votes
$10.40 recipe / $1.73 serving Get the Recipe

If you’re craving something a little on the creamy side, this pasta salad hits the spot!


Desserts and Drinks

And of course, no BBQ or potluck would be complete with a little something sweet and a cold drink to sip on.

30. Chili Lime Cantaloupe

Chili Lime Cantaloupe

This quick and refreshing Chili Lime Cantaloupe is a unique way to dress up summer fruit. Pairs well with any southwest or Asian inspired meal.
4.80 from 5 votes
$1.35 recipe / $0.34 serving Get the Recipe

Sweet, fresh cantaloupe pairs with a light honey-lime dressing, and a few flecks of spicy red pepper for a unique and summery dessert.

31. Strawberry Rosé Slushie

Strawberry Rosé Slush

This Strawberry Rosé Slush is a fast and inexpensive frozen drink to enjoy this summer. No fancy blender or liquors required! 
5 from 7 votes
$2.76 each Get the Recipe

When you want to get your drink on but still stay cool in the summer heat, these adult slushies will do the trick.

32. Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry Shortcake is a simple yet impressive dessert that requires nothing but some fresh fruit and a few pantry staples. BudgetBytes.com
Strawberry Shortcake is a simple yet impressive dessert that requires nothing but some fresh fruit and a few pantry staples. 
4.94 from 15 votes
$6.63 recipe / $0.83 serving Get the Recipe

When fresh summer strawberries are in season, make this classic dessert!

33. Pineapple Orange Julius

Homemade Pineapple Orange Julius

When you need a tropical escape this homemade Pineapple Orange Julius is the perfect sweet and creamy frozen drink to take you away.
4.67 from 15 votes
$1.37 each Get the Recipe

This deliciously tropical drink is best enjoyed outdoors, not inside a shopping mall. ;)

34. Honey Vanilla Cottage Cheese Fruit Dip

Honey Vanilla Cottage Cheese Fruit Dip

A hand dipping a fresh strawberry into the fruit dip on a fruit platter
Cottage cheese is whipped up into a silky smooth texture, sweetened with honey, and flavored with vanilla in this deliciously sensible dessert fruit dip. 
$0.94 recipe / $0.24 serving Get the Recipe

This cheesecake-like fruit dip has a surprising ingredient–cottage cheese!

35. No Churn Balsamic Peach Ice Cream

No Churn Balsamic Peach Ice Cream

Overhead view of one bowl of no churn balsamic peach ice cream with waffle cone and a fresh peach on the side.
This No Churn Balsamic Peach Ice Cream is incredibly easy and pairs the flavor of fresh sweet summer peaches with a tangy and buttery balsamic glaze.
4.50 from 4 votes
$4.70 recipe / $0.67 serving Get the Recipe

Sweet peaches and a tangy-salty swirl of balsamic glaze makes this ice cream taste 100% gourmet!


I don’t know if I’ve told you, but I’m OBSESSED with summer and even just writing this post has gotten me so excited! I can’t wait for spending time outside, playing in the water, and grilling delicious food. What are your favorite summertime foods for BBQs and Potlucks? Share your favorites in the comments below!

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  1. Thank you. I don’t eat dairy or meat, but I appreciate that you include a variety of wonderful recipes for all of us, that are also budget-friendly.

  2. I’m a big fan of your site and have heavily relied on your recipes for about 5 years. In the past week or so, the email subscription prompt has become really intrusive and annoying. I’m already subscribed to your emails, yet the request to subscribe pops up seemingly every 60 seconds. Hitting the esc temporarily ignores it, but it pops up again pretty quickly. Can you add an “I’m already subscribed” function? Or an option to ignore it altogether?

    1. I second Sean. I couldn’t get past it on my device today without subscribing and since I REALLY wanted to try a recipe (your bbq bean sliders w/ coleslaw – 5 stars! btw), I just kept signing up – 4 or 5 times i think. I’m assuming something has gone wrong programming wise, but it really is annoying.

    2. I’m so sorry about that. I installed a new plugin and it went a bit haywire, but apparently not for me when I was testing it, just everybody else. I think I have it cleared up now.

  3. I do a Greek style pasta salad a lot. Tri colored rotini, feta cheese, cucumbers, olives, artichoke hearts and Greek dressing.  

  4. Mexican corn on the cob! Grilled corn with mayo, sour cream, cotija cheese, cilantro, chili powder, and a squeeze of lime.