5-Ingredient Summer Side Dishes

Peach and Tomato Caprese Salad
Photo: Allrecipes

Summer cooking is all about keeping it simple so you can spend less time in a hot kitchen and more time having fun. These fuss-free side dishes make it easy to enjoy every moment of the summer season, from your weeknight dinner to your cookout, potluck, or picnic. All use just five ingredients or fewer (salt, pepper, and cooking oil are considered freebies). You'll find several dishes that celebrate produce at its peak (like stone fruit, tomatoes, basil, and corn), as well as staple dishes like potato fries and deviled eggs. Summer doesn't get much simpler or more delicious.

01 of 18

Oven-Baked Potato Fries

Oven-Baked Potato Fries on a white plate
Baking Nana

If frozen French fries are your cookout go-to, give these homemade, oven-baked fries a try. The golden, crispy spuds are seasoned with thyme and grated Cheddar. We love recipe creator Denise's suggestion to make these with your kids.

02 of 18

Grilled Green Beans

Grilled Green Beans
Pictured:. France C

While the brats and burgers are on the grill, why not grill your veggie side as well? Here, garlic-marinated green beans pick up fantastic charred flavor as they cook. Serve as a simple side, toss into a pasta salad, or use for dunking into a cool, creamy dip.

  • 15 Cheap Grilling Ideas for Your Next Summer Barbeque
03 of 18

Parmesan-Roasted Tomatoes

Parmesan-Roasted Tomatoes on a baking sheet
Butch Chandler

When summer tomatoes are at their peak, this five-ingredient recipe is the perfect way to show them off. They roast whole under a blanket of Parmesan cheese until just shy of fall-apart tender so you can eat them with a knife and fork. Serve with any meat or vegetarian main.

04 of 18

Grilled Romaine

Grilled Romaine

Lettuce on the grill? Of course! Crisp romaine gets fantastic smokiness from just five minutes on the grill. Steak seasoning bumps up the savory flavor. Drizzle with your favorite Caesar dressing and this side is ready for the table.

05 of 18

Mexican Style Corn

Mexican Style Corn on a white plate
Kim's Cooking Now

You'll never go back to plain buttered corn cobs after trying this Mexican street food–inspired version. The combo of creamy, salty, and smoky comes from mayo, Parmesan, and chili powder. Sweet corn is the perfect canvas for all three.

06 of 18

Summer Squash Sauté with Bacon

Summer Squash Saute with Bacon in a white bowl
France C

A bumper crop of zucchini and summer squash calls for a simple, versatile side, and this five-ingredient recipe fits the bill. The squash sautés with bacon and onion until crisp-tender. Serve with any summer main from fancier fish to grilled drumsticks.

07 of 18

Quick and Easy Grilled Potatoes

Quick and Easy Grilled Potatoes on a white plate

Over 170 five-star ratings can't be wrong, this simple recipe is a winner. We include it as a five-ingredient recipe though it really counts as one (oil, salt, and pepper are freebies), so feel free to toss with crispy bacon, scallions, herbs, or cheese.

08 of 18

Oven Baked Zucchini Fries

Oven Baked Zucchini Fries

These zucchini fries might just give potatoes a run for their money. They bake with a cheesy breadcrumb coating until tender but still sturdy enough to dip. Keep the Italian theme going and dip the fries in warm marinara sauce.

09 of 18

Watermelon and Blue Cheese Salad

Watermelon and Blue Cheese Salad on a white plate

Swap your usual watermelon wedges for this beautiful, refreshing salad. Tart balsamic, fresh mint, and funky blue cheese all complement the juicy-sweet melon. It might just become your new summer staple.

10 of 18

Baba Ghanoush

Baba Ghanoush

Escape to the Mediterranean with this traditional eggplant-based dip. While this recipe calls to roast the eggplant, you could also grill it whole for added smokiness. Serve with your favorite veggie dippers or pita chips.

11 of 18

Broccoli Slaw

Broccoli Slaw
SML Nana

Cabbage slaw has met its match with this broccoli-based version. Here, raisins are upgraded to dried cranberries and almonds to pistachios. Store-bought slaw mix and bottled dressing mean you just need to toss it all together.

12 of 18

Quick Savory Grilled Peaches

closeup of a juicy-looking peach half with grill marks
Jennifer Baker

Grilled peaches straddle the line between sweet and savory: Reviewers have paired them with pork chops and with vanilla ice cream. Juicy and caramelized from the grill, this stone fruit needs just a sprinkle of fresh herbs to shine.

13 of 18

BLT Pasta Salad

BLT Pasta Salad in a green bowl
Food Fan

"I'm always asked to bring this recipe to potlucks," says creator Kristy Hopkins. If only they knew it had just five ingredients and was so simple to make! She tosses pasta with the classic sandwich components and a zesty ranch dressing.

  • 11 Creamy Pasta Salads for Summer
14 of 18

Classic Savory Deviled Eggs

Classic Savory Deviled Eggs

No picnic or potluck is complete without deviled eggs. This five-ingredient recipe keeps it classic with a little garlic powder for savoriness and an optional dill garnish. You might want to make extra, as a dozen will disappear in a flash.

15 of 18

Grilled Corn Salad

grilled corn salad

Corn goes from cob to side salad in this five-ingredient dish. Grilling softens the kernels slightly and adds lots of smoky char. Red, yellow, purple, green... this recipe brings a rainbow of color to your cookout plate.

16 of 18

Peach and Tomato Caprese Salad

Peach and Tomato Caprese Salad

This salad is almost too beautiful to eat. Ripe peaches go so well with basil, creamy fresh mozzarella, and tomato (a classic Italian trio). The hardest part of this recipe? Trying not to eat it all before you've finished assembling everything on the platter.

17 of 18

Refrigerator Dill Pickles

Refrigerator Dill Pickles

You won't believe how easy it is to make pickle spears at home and how great they taste. This refrigerated version uses dill and whole garlic cloves to flavor the cucumbers. Serve with burgers, hot dogs, and sandwiches all summer long.

Was this page helpful?
You’ll Also Love