Easy Foods For Entertaining in Summer

Sharing my go-to’s for Easy Foods For Entertaining in Summer. Keep your sanity and your guests happy with these crowd-pleasing recipes.

I love to entertain and the summer is my favorite time to do so. Yes, it’s hot, and somewhat more work considering the outside elements. However, there is something magical about this time of year. Maybe it is the way the days are less jam-packed with school work and seems to be ours to do what we wish. I find myself leaning towards the entertaining with ease take on this.

Menu planning around things that either require little on my part or can be done well enough ahead that I don’t find myself scrambling in a hot kitchen last minute. Don’t let the ease part of that last sentence sway you as nothing is lacking on the summer menu here.

We are talking full-on flavors. Color and tons of freshness. Here are a few often found on my summer table. These easy foods for summer entertaining are simple to throw together. Yet, delicious enough that they make the occasion feel special.

They will have you stressing less on the menu and focusing more on the joy of spending time with the people you care about.

These Easy Foods Are…

  • Great for dinner parties, summer gatherings or warm weather holidays.
  • Simple recipes that take little prep work, or need little effort to put together.
  • The best ways to entertain with ease and have food the whole family can enjoy.
  • A series of main dish recipes, easy sides and a stunning dessert or two for your next dinner party.
  • Proof that a delicious meal doesn’t need to take a lot of time.

Simple Salads and Platters

I would say if there were such a thing as the “holy grail” of foods to serve for entertaining, it would have to be simple salads or platters like the ones here. For one thing, they are as the name implies, simple to make. But many are so delicious and beautiful that they require almost no fuss around serving them. Not to mention, most actually taste better when made well in advance. If that does not convince you, I don’t know what will.

Prosciutto and Melon

This classic Italian summer dish needs no recipe to put together. Only the finest cantaloupe you can find and a good quality prosciutto. The combination of sweet and salty is a summer taste sensation and for me, a meal in its entirety.

The saltiness of the thinly sliced prosciutto paired with the sweetness is so complimentary. Not to mention it is quite lovely on display and even the most reluctant of guests are found nibbling on a slice or two at some point. But this one is purposely first up on the list of easy foods for entertaining. Because honestly, I don’t think it gets easier than this.

What You’ll Need Prosciutto and Melon

1 sweet ripe cantaloupe

1- 3 oz package of prosciutto


Half the cantaloupe and scoop the seeds out. Slice into long wedges. Remove prosciutto from the package and cut each slice in half. Then fold long ways dropping each piece over a slice of melon. Keep covered in the fridge until ready to serve.

Tomato and Mozzarella Salad

If I had a signature thing I am known for bringing or serving, this may be it. I make this my contribution to most gatherings in the spring and summer. And why not? It is fresh, delicious, and always a favorite on the table. Not to mention, great use of the summer tomato harvest. But the best part, is its simple to make. You can make it ahead of time and it’s a colorful dish that everyones seems to love.

easy foods to entertain with is a mozzerella and tomatoes on a platter

What You’ll Need To Make It

4 large tomatoes

1 package precut fresh mozzarella

1 bundle fresh basil

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (optional)

1 spring of fresh oregano

olive oil

salt and pepper


Slice tomatoes and arrange them on the platter alternating cheese then tomatoes. Drizzle olive oil evenly over. Salt and pepper. Chop herbs and sprinkle on top. If using vinegar, add that last to the entire top of the salad. This salad is lovely with or without vinegar.

Panzanella Salad with Peaches

This one is completely unexpected and so vibrant that just having it on the table is enough. The fresh fruit and tomato blend surprisingly pairs well. The flavor is bright and summery while being completely satisfying. On hot days at home, I will make this solely for lunch when cooking is too much of a bother. However, when it comes to entertaining, this fruity salad works nicely serve alongside grilled meats especially chicken, and pork.

Panzanella with peaches on a platter

Main Dishes

Main dishes are always the star of the show and probably the most nerve wracking because of this factor. At Thanksgiving its all about the bird, on the 4th its the grilled meat everyone is after and a Christmas roast is talked about weeks ahead of time. So anytime we think of entertaining, the same looming question is there. What will I serve? Easy sides are fine but it is the main event that has us scratching our heads. These main dishes are ones that have been chosen for their simplicity, crowd pleasing qualities and you guessed it, taste. There is no getting around it, the taste remains the most important factor.

Grilled Spatchcocked Chicken

This whole chicken recipe cuts down the workload of making an entire chicken. As far as proteins go, this one tops the list of easy foods for entertaining in summer. It’s sliced open and grilled in half the time needed for a roasted chicken. Double up to feed more if you like. Served right off the grill or even at room temperature, this chicken is the perfect meat to serve when needing to feed a crowd. And to get the full recipe simply click the link below.

Slow Cooked Pork Ribs

Dishes that are a throw-together and forget are pretty much the theme here if you hadn’t already guessed. This last one is probably the quintessential recipe for such themes. Made with a quick homemade dry rub, sprinkled, and then thrown in the oven to slow cook and you’ve got yourself a crowd-pleasing main course with about as minimal effort as there ever was. And to get the recipe simply click the link below.

Salt Crusted Chicken

This one could not be easier and I have to say, guests are always intrigued by it. It is not a very common way to serve or cook chicken in the states. At least not here in California. Salt crusting meat is one of the simplest and most delicious ways to cook a protein. You are literally doing as the title suggests. Encasing the meat or in this case the bird in a salt layer to cook it. You will need a Dutch oven and plenty of kosher salt for this one.


Having any sort of gathering without a dessert is a must not do. In my opinion anyway. The nice thing about desserts is that you can easily pick up something from the bakery and it is completely acceptable. However, if you love to bake or want to go the homemade route, there are few simple recipes you can make that are sure to be a hit.


A fruit tart is much simpler to make than an entire pie. First off, you only need to make one crust. That crust can easily be smashed into the shape of your tart pan making for less effort in rolling it out. Second, it requires a lot les fruit to make one than a pie and offers the same flavor combination. I have both my Blueberry Tart and Peach Tart Recipes listed here. You can get either recipe by clicking on the links below.

Peach Tart

Fresh Peach Tart upclose

Easy Blueberry Tart

easy blueberry tart in a white dish

Strawberry Shortcake

Always a crowd pleaser and especially when you allow people to make their own. I simply have it prepped and then set it out at dessert time. A large bowl of strawberries, homemade whipped cream, and a platter full of pound cake slices. It is the perfect summertime dessert. Making it one of the best easy foods for entertaining. As you can make it ahead and even have people helping themselves.

sourdough strawberry shortcake

What You’ll Need To Make It

1- 3 lbs container of fresh strawberries

2 pound cake loaves or make these Sourdough Strawberry Shortcakes

2 cups of heavy cream

4 tbsp sugar


Slice your strawberries into bite-size pieces and place them into a large bowl. Sprinkle 2 tbsp of sugar evenly over them and give them a quick stir. Cover with plastic wrap and place them into the fridge. The sugar will pull the sweetness out of the strawberries as it sits. Slice the pound cake and place it on your serving platter. Cover with plastic wrap until ready to serve.

Whipping the cream can be done minutes beforehand or during your party. It takes just a couple of minutes in your stand mixer. When ready, pour the heavy cream into your stand mixer bowl, then sprinkle in the 2 tbsp of sugar. Using your whip attachment, turn the mixer on and slowly click it to a higher setting to whip the cream.

This happens pretty quickly so be careful not to whip of you’ll have butter. To serve, simply uncover the strawberries, along with the pound cake slices, and place them beside the bowl of cream on your table for a self-serve dessert. I promise your guests will get excited.

*Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive commissions if you choose to purchase through the links I provide (at no cost to you).

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