Cookout Meal Ideas


Many people have cookouts during the warm summer months when the weather is perfect to hang out on the lawn or by the pool. Cookouts are often social events with friends, relatives and coworkers and sometimes are used celebrate holidays like the Fourth of July. Host a successful cookout with these cookout meal ideas.

Traditional Cookout Meats

  • Cookouts often involve several types of meat cooked on a grill. Hamburgers, hot dogs, sausage and steak represent four cookout classics. Also consider cooking meat on a kebab; shrimp makes a great kebab. Some people also grill lamb or other meats. Make sure you have a variety of condiments and toppings, such as lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise and relish.

Traditional Cookout Side Dishes

  • Traditional cookout side dishes include potato salad, pasta salad, coleslaw, baked beans and salad. Add more flair by serving fresh corn, garlic toast or tomato and mozzarella salad.

Delicious Desserts

  • Many options exist for cookout meal dessert ideas. Since many berries are fresh in summer, pies can be a delicious dessert option. Cookies and brownies also provide tasty and simple dessert options. Fresh or grilled fruit also offers a fabulous end to a meal.


  • Expect your guests to be thirsty from the hot weather and salty food. Always have plenty of water and ice; you may also want to offer lemonade, soda, iced tea or alcoholic drinks like beer or wine. If children will be attending, have apple juice or orange juice.

Healthy Cookout Options

  • If you or any of your guests are on a diet or prefer healthier food, you may want to offer some healthier cookout options. Consider offering skinless grilled chicken, lean cuts of steak, whole wheat buns, grilled veggies and fresh fruit along with traditional desserts.

Vegetarian Cookout Options

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  • Photo Credit cookout image by Michael Wuelfrath from homemade lemonade image by Steve Lovegrove from Fruit image by Tabitha Little from
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