This story is over 5 years old.


24 Summer Date Night Recipes for You and Your Boo

Alexa, play "Summer Lovin'" from Grease.
24 Summer Date Night Recipes for You and Your Boo
Photo by Heami Lee. 

What does one do on a date night at home when the very last thing one wants to do is turn on the stove? You dig deep and remember that either 1) your partner is worth whatever sweating over you’re about to endure in your poorly-ventilated kitchen, 2) the continuance of this delightful summer fling you’re experiencing is dependent upon a grand romantic gesture, or 3) you’re tryna get laid. (You do you, y’all.) Point is—there’s an art to summer date night menu crafting that both requires some careful consideration, and also is open to a wealth of creative options based on all the foods at the height of their seasonality. You’ve got plenty of produce to choose from for fresh, light options that pair perfectly with a nice gin cocktail or every millennial’s favorite summer staple, an Instagrammable glass of rosé. So get planning something special before its too cold to drag a blanket out to the park and pack a bottle of wine and some Solo cups in a tote bag for the perfect casual-yet-cheesy-romantic Tuesday night. We pulled together some recipes to inspire you to end-of-summer dinner date greatness.


This red snapper curry from chef Cheetie Kumar of Raleigh’s Garland restaurant, is light and vibrant and full of flavor, but not too heavy for a hot summer night. Serve it up with a quick-pickled kohlrabi for the perfect punch of acidity.

Headed to a movie in the park? Keep it casual (but tasty) with this chicken sandwich that doesn’t waste all that flavor from the delicious, crispy skin.

For the date night host who has neither time nor patience, you can get home from work at 6:30 and have this one-sheet wonder on the table by 7 with plenty of time to spare to pop the cork on a nice bottle of wine and shove your dirty clothes under your bed so you don’t look quite so much like a slob.

It is still summer, after all, and if you’ve got a grill, you should be lighting it up as long as you can. This citrusy grilled chicken is juicy and tender, and pairs easily with a simple salad for a full meal.

Are you really trying to pull out all the stops on this date night in? Plate this up real nice with a bed of creamy polenta, a smattering of charred corn kernels, perfectly cross-hatched scallops, and skewers of cherry tomatoes that are sure to impress.

Lobster is a sure fire way to knock your date’s socks off, or, you know, other articles of clothing, if that’s what you’re going for.

This recipe is quickly becoming a staff favorite at MUNCHIES, and for good reason—the marinade is super simple but packs a flavor punch that’s impossible to not crave. You can watch our culinary director Farideh Sadeghin make it here, too.


For the date night that’s keeping things fun and isn’t afraid to get a little messy. Dig in to these peel-and-eat shrimp with your bare hands and enjoy.

Pasta might seem a bit heavy on a date night, especially in the summer, but this pasta a la chittara gets a simple white wine sauce and garnished with fresh-grated, salty Bottarga.

Why get takeout pad thai if you can make it at home? Flex your skills a bit with perfectly seared scallops that are sure to make date night a little extra special.

You can’t really go wrong with pizza, but you can make it feel like it's a little more special than your average dollar slice with some nice black trumpet mushrooms (or whatever seasonal mushroom you can get your hands on), pancetta, and pecorino.

Sungold Tomato Sauce Recipe

Stuff on tiny toasts is probably your best bet for a go-to fancy-ish appetizer, and nothing is more summery than Sungold tomatoes. Serve up with a generous drizzle of olive oil and plenty of flaky herb-infused sea salt.

This is another recipe for post-workday date night. You can make something special with half an hour and a single pan. Serve these clams up with a side of olive oil-drenched pasta, or grilled toast.

Vegan Caesar Salad Recipe

A well-made Caesar salad (get that bottled dressing nonsense out of here) can accompany just about any main dish, and this vegan version doesn’t miss any of the egg or cheese.

Kung Pao Chicken Recipe

Upgrade your Netflix-and-chill night with some homemade kung pao chicken and your (and your boo’s) beers of choice.


You can serve this dish extra rustic and skip the shucking of the mussels altogether and dig in with a fork. Be sure to serve this up with crusty bread to soak up all that good garden veggie sauce.

If you’re not into cannabis-infused liquors, you can use a regular London dry gin for what is otherwise a totally classic French 75—because everyone loves a little bubbly.

This is barely a recipe, friends. This is a vodka soda with simple syrup and a rosemary sprig in it to make you feel FANCY. And maybe to make you feel like you might be someone who plucked said rosemary from your blossoming little herb garden instead of from the grocery store.

You or your date not an imbiber? This limeade is perfectly refreshing and delicious, and can still be used as a mixer for a light cocktail, if you should so choose.

Perfect Negroni Recipe

Not going to have dinner ready right when your special friend gets to your door? Have a nice little aperitif waiting for them, and you most certainly can’t go wrong with a negroni.

Want to make sure you don’t make a drunken fool out of yourself in front of your date? Keep your beverages low in ABV and you can sip all evening without getting too tipsy.

The genius behind the dessert menu at Flora Bar in New York, Natasha Pickowicz, is here for you with a tasty frozen dessert where your refrigerator does most of the work for you.

We’re particularly fond of this galette with a strawberry filling, but feel free to use whatever berries or stone fruit are at their peak.

Keep it simple with a pint of high-quality vanilla ice cream, and this homemade bourbon caramel sauce for a dessert you can’t go wrong with.