Satisfied Summer: Food Ideas for Fun & Friendly Gatherings

Apartment Therapy's Guide to the Perfect Summer

So, we've given you four options for a fun and friendly summer gathering you can throw for your friends. We've instructed you to choose a date, and tried to persuade you to go for paper invitations to set the tone. What's next on the summer gathering to-do-list? Plan a menu, of course!

Food continues to be a vital way to attract guests and keep them satisfied at your gatherings. For today's post, we've hunted down some of our favorite Kitchn recipes we think would be perfect for the four types of get-togethers we've been coaching you through planning.

Do you have to follow our suggestions to the letter? Not one bit. As with all of these posts, these are simply guides to make finally planning a cool summer gathering as easy as can be. And with that theme in mind, you'll notice the recipes we chose are either on the make-ahead side or the easier-to-make side, because really we're trying to encourage you to share your home and enjoy the company of friends more; good food is just a bonus.

1. Chill Cocktail Social
The attention here will really be on chill cocktails and cool conversations, so don't sweat it and just provide a light spread of snacks to nibble on. We like:

2. Sweet Sunday Brunch
Spend time celebrating your friends as they arrive, not slave over the stove! This compact collection of our favorite brunch items are easy-to-make, colorful and totally make-ahead-able:

3. Family-Friendly Barbecue Picnic
Nothing's better than firing the grill up and smelling cooked scents wafting on a summer breeze. Even if you don't have a backyard big enough to house a huge barbecue pit, you can still find room with these small space grills.

4. Stellar Sci-Fi Movie Night Under the Stars
What do you serve at an outdoor movie night under the stars? Obviously delicious homemade snacks! We love these ideas:

What snacks and main dishes have you made at past parties that were huge hits? Share your favorite recipes that you know always knock it out of the park when celebrating with guests!

Visit the Guide to the Perfect Summer main page for links to all of the posts published so far or sign up to have them delivered directly to you each weekend.

(Image credits: Faith Durand; Emma Christensen; Nealey Dozier; Anjali Prasertong; Janel Laban)