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23 Old-Fashioned Summer Recipes You Need To Make

If you're in the mood for a nostalgic meal, add these summer recipes to your list!
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Summer is here and it's time to dust off the grill, bust out the fresh berries and tomatoes and keep the oven (mostly) turned off. This summer, we're looking back to old-fashioned classic recipes like potato salad, corn on the cob, fragrant butter burgers, and every no-bake dessert we can stir up!

Read on for our favorite old-fashioned summer recipes that will take you back to your childhood and help you make new food memories with your own family.

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Tomato pie

tomato pie

This classic southern dish is perfect for using delicious summer tomatoes. Make this savory pie with chopped fresh tomatoes and basil, topped with a creamy mayonnaise-cheese mixture, and bake it in a store-bought shell.

Get the recipe from The Hungry Blue Bird.


Taco Salad

taco salad

If you're an 80s kid, your parents definitely served this on the back deck on a summer night when it was too hot to cook. You'll need ground beef (or shredded chicken), fresh lettuce, chili beans, and Fritos or Doritos mixed with a sweet and zingy dressing for this simple throwback.

Get the recipe from Cooking on the Ranch.


Vintage Potato Salad

potato salad

Your grandmother's secret ingredient for that perfect creamy potato salad? Evaporated milk! This recipe combines the creaminess of evaporated milk (this recipe is extremely not healthy!) and tart vinegar for that taste you remember.

Get the recipe from Town and Country Living.


Egg Salad

egg salad

This salad takes some work, but if you don't mind peeling a few eggs, you can enjoy this family-friendly, budget-conscious hearty salad. Mustard and paprika give it that extra kick.

Get the recipe from Love Bakes Good Cakes.


Corn on the Cob

corn on cob

Maybe you still make this classic recipe, but the combo of grilled corn with lime and chili is a real summer slam-dunk. Wrap the cob in foil with butter and season with chili powder, cayenne, lime zest, and juice, then just throw it on the grill.

Get the recipe from Serious Eats.


Classic Succotash

homemade succotash

Hearty lima beans and fresh summer corn have made this bright salad a side dish favorite for decades.

Get the recipe from Better Homes & Gardens.


Marinated Tomatoes

marinated tomatoes

Use up all those extra tomatoes with this easy make-ahead recipe – simply shake ingredients in a jar and pour over the fruit to marinate.

Get the recipe from Taste of Home.


Old Fashioned Cucumber Salad

pickled cucumber onion salad

There are so many ways to do cucumber salad in the summer, but this classic recipe with dill and vinegar will taste like summer at grandma's house. This mayo-based, slightly tart salad is a perfect cookout accompaniment.

Get the recipe from Carrie's Experimental Kitchen.


Layered Greek Dip

Layered Greek Dip

You've probably had this at a summer party in the past, and we think it's time to bring it back – not only is this dip with hummus, feta, olives, and fresh veggies tasty – but it's a showstopper if you get the layers just right. It's also easy to make ahead and the flavors set into the layers to make the dip so savory!

Get the recipe from Better Homes & Gardens.


Grape Salad with Pecans

creamy grape salad

If you've never tried this old-fashioned recipe of plump juicy grapes topped with a tangy sour cream dressing and candied pecans, this is the summer to start with these fresh and classic flavors.

Get the recipe from Taste of Home.


Slow Cooker Spareribs

pork ribs

Keep the kitchen cool and be ready for the cookout with classic slow cooker spareribs. Simmer for five hours in honey, soy, ketchup, and ginger for that childhood favorite flavor.

Get the recipe from All Recipes.


Butter Burgers

butter burgers

Midwesterners know, that the best burger is topped with a dollop of butter. It gives the meat a little extra umami and juiciness. You don't really need a full recipe, just add a teaspoon of butter while the meat rests and let it sink in.

Get the recipe from Food Network.


Fried Catfish

Fried Catfish
Courtesy of Simply Recipes

Dredged in buttermilk and coated in fine cornmeal (don't use the coarse stuff!), fried catfish is a classic southern summer dish that appeals to fish lovers and the fish reluctant alike. Just tell your kids it's chicken, they'll never know.

Get the recipe from Simply Recipes.


Chicken Fried Steak

Chicken Fried Steak

Something about sitting outside with a plate of chicken fried steak and a nice slaw sure reminds us of summer at Grandma's house. While it's a labor-intensive meal to make, the crowd-pleasing crunch is worth it.

Get the recipe from Food Network.


Pigs in a Blanket

pigs in a blanket

Of course, hot dogs are classic summer eats, but this classic crescent dough and little dogs recipe are perfect for getting the party started. Put out a selection of dips like mustard, ketchup, and BBQ sauce and watch the dogs disappear.

Get the recipe from Delish.


Classic Cornbread

cornbread in basket wrapped in cloth

Easy to make ahead and keep fresh, there's nothing that complements grilled meats, slaw, and beans like a stack of sweet cornbread on the table.

Get the recipe from Food Network.


Icebox Cake

icebox cake

This cake first appeared about 100 years ago, during the dawn of the icebox (a precursor to our modern refrigerator). Made by layering ingredients such as wafer cookies, cream, condensed milk, and fruit that are set in the refrigerator, this easy dessert is a certified classic.

Get the recipe from The Kitchen Magpie.


Classic Homemade Fudge

pieces of cut fudge on wooden board

If you've ever visited a beach or lake town and picked out some fudge to take home for dessert, you've got to try making it at home. Why? The secret is it's super easy to make and really only three ingredients – unless you want to add nuts or peanut butter chips!

Get the recipe from All Recipes.


Banana Pudding

banana pudding

Like a trifle or icebox cake, this classic recipe is no-bake, so it's perfect for the summertime when you want to keep your house cool. Just layer bananas, wafers, and the pudding mixture for a fruit-forward treat.

Get the recipe from All Recipes.


Homemade Ice Cream

Homemade Ice Cream

Sure, you can hit the ice cream shop this summer, but what's more fun than mixing custom flavors at home just in the old days? Try a custard-style recipe and you won't need an ice cream machine.

Get the recipe from Taste of Home.


Rainbow Jello

layered jello

This delightfully jiggly treat is perfect for kids' parties, Pride events, or any celebration. While it's a little time-consuming to layer and chill, it's not difficult and if you follow the directions (it's all about patience!) you'll have a showstopper dessert everyone will love.

Get the recipe from House of Nash Eats.


Classic S'mores


This treat has gotten fancy over the past decade or so, but we're here to bring back the classic plain graham cracker, marshmallow, and milk chocolate version. Try it this summer, we promise it's as good as you remember!

Get the recipe from Food Network.


Strawberry Shortcake

strawberry shortcake biscuit on a plate

Berries in sugar and lemon, topped with fresh whipping cream and a slice of shortbread take us back to lazy summer days. Bring those childhood memories back with this classic.

Get the recipe from Martha Stewart.

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Tanya Edwards
Tanya Edwards is a seasoned food and health journalist, who has held roles at Yahoo Health as Managing Editor and at Food Network as Programming Director. Read more about Tanya