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Try these 5-ingredient barbecue recipes for easy, breezy summer dinners

Cooking out doesn't need to be complicated.


Five-ingredient recipes have an immediately obvious allure that transcends summer, but in the season of outdoor living, the faster you get food ready, the sooner you can start relaxing on your patio. Since it's also the season of grilling everything, at CNET's sister site Chowhound we rounded up our best easy barbecue recipes with five ingredients or fewer, for effortless, on-point eats all summer.

Ground rules

We'll admit to fudging a few things -- namely, we're not always counting cooking oil, salt, pepper, water or other such common ingredients in the total number. If you're a stickler, we're sorry, but not really, because these are all extremely simple and delicious.

We are focusing exclusively on recipes that are made entirely or at least partially on the grill. But we're not covering things as obvious (yet still satisfying!) as pairing chicken with store-bought barbecue sauce, since frankly, you can figure that out on your own.

Below, you'll find grilled mains, sides, drinks and desserts, all with five core ingredients or fewer, that you can come back to again and again this summer -- and make from memory in no time because they're just that easy.

Easy barbecue recipes with 5 ingredients or fewer

Happy eating!

Grilled corn with soy sauce and mirin


Sadly, our version of elote is one ingredient over the limit, but adding just two new elements to your cobs -- salty soy sauce and sweet mirin -- makes them taste brand new. It's also healthier than slathering them with butter (which means you can eat more dessert). Get our grilled corn with soy sauce and mirin recipe.

Grilled shrimp boil skewers


Shrimp skewers are ideal summer eating any way you dress them up: with pineapple, perhaps, or with sweet chili sauce and lime. But for a surf-and-turf treat, thread the shellfish on the skewers alternating with sausage and add a lemon wedge on top for a shrimp boil on a stick. Squeeze the smoky lemon juice over everything before you dig in. Get our grilled shrimp boil skewers recipe.

Grilled summer squash with feta and mint


This peerless summer side dish is delicious enough to fill up on. Add some hummus and flatbread and that's a wrap. Get our grilled summer squash with feta and mint recipe.

Grilled chicken sausage and peach sage skewers


Fresh sage leaves and ripe peaches skewered and grilled alongside chicken sausages look deceptively simple, but wait till you taste them all together. Don't skip the drizzle of cider vinegar over the sweet and smoky stone fruit just before serving. Get our grilled chicken sausage and peach sage skewers recipe.

Campfire trout with herbs and bacon


Even if you haven't hooked your own trout by a pristine lake, this method of preparing the whole fish will transport you to a serene campsite in your mind, at least. The bacon helps baste the fish, and the herbs and lemon infuse it with even more flavor. While it's best over an open fire, it works well over charcoal too. Get our campfire trout with herbs and bacon recipe.

Argentine grilled chicken


If you let the olive oil, salt and pepper slide, this basic-but-not-boring chicken comes in under the five-ingredient limit. Then again, the chimichurri sauce we like to serve it with surpasses that amount alone -- still, it's so easy to make, we don't think you'll mind. Butterflying a whole chicken as in our our Argentine grilled chicken recipe is a method well worth learning, but you can also use the same flavors on chicken skewers or thighs if you prefer.

Bourbon marinated flank steak


Bourbon, Dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce combine for a quick but complex steak marinade. Grill extra so you have leftovers to slice up for steak sandwiches the next day. Get our bourbon marinated flank steak recipe.

Spiral cut cheddar bacon hot dogs


Spiral-cutting hot dogs is a brilliant move, even if you only anoint them with mustard and ketchup -- but add bacon and melty cheddar cheese for an over-the-top dog that'll give any burger a run for its money. Get our spiral cut cheddar bacon hot dog recipe.

French chicken kebabs


Give your plain old chicken skewers a zesty Mediterranean flair by adding grainy mustard, fresh orange (zest and juice, but we're counting this as a single ingredient), fennel and black olives to the mix. Serve over rice, couscous or in flatbread for a fabulously easy meal. Get our French chicken kebab recipe.

Grilled sweet potatoes


If you skip the sauce, these grilled sweet potato wedges are well under the limit. A cumin and cayenne oil makes them flavorful enough even without anything to dip them in, but you can play around with other seasonings as you like. You can prep the potatoes up to a couple days ahead of time too. Get our grilled sweet potatoes recipe.

Grilled halloumi and vegetable kebabs


This is another one where you'll have to skip the sauce to meet the five-ingredient limit -- luckily, these vegetarian halloumi, eggplant, mushroom and pepper skewers taste great with store-bought pesto slathered on instead. Get our grilled halloumi and vegetable kebabs recipe.

Grilled shishito peppers


When they're in season, shishito peppers are perfect for throwing on the grill. With a mere sprinkle of coarse salt and a slick of oil, they're perfect, but if you have togarashi seasoning on hand, hit them with some of that too -- or whatever other spice blend sounds good. Get our grilled shishito peppers recipe. (grilled padron peppers are equally simple and equally good.)

Grilled pizza


Use a raw, store-bought ball of pizza dough, a good store-bought tomato sauce and your favorite mozzarella and you have an easy three-ingredient dinner that beats delivery every time. Add whatever else you like; sausage and peppers are always good. Fresh basil too, if you have an herb garden. Get our grilled pizza recipe.

Apple and cheddar breakfast sausage burger


Making a burger patty out of breakfast sausage is a great shortcut to tons of flavor; brushing an apple slice with maple syrup before you grill it takes it to the next level and melty cheddar tops it off beautifully. The toasted English muffin makes it five ingredients on the dot. Get our apple and cheddar breakfast sausage burger recipe.

Grilled fig sundae


You should definitely also be grilling dessert, and grilled fruit is a no-brainer for the final course. Here, grilled figs are brushed with honey and orange blossom water, then spooned over vanilla ice cream with salted pistachios for a piquant crunch. Get our grilled fig sundae recipe.  

Grilled pound cake with sorbet


Grilled pound cake is another great sweet option, particularly when paired with ice cream and/or fruit -- or a fruity sorbet for something in between. Buy the pound cake ready-made and pair it with our raspberry sorbet recipe or our pineapple rum sorbet recipe and you'll still come in under five ingredients total (except for some ice, but we'll look the other way on that one). Get our grilled pound cake with sorbet recipe. Naturally, store-bought ice cream is more than acceptable here too.

S'mores banana boats


Grilled banana desserts are summer's answer to banana bread (i.e., the best way to use up ripe bananas when you can't stand another smoothie). These easy campfire treats work just as well on a backyard grill, and are sort of like fruity s'mores. Graham crackers optional. Get our banana boats recipe.  

Grilled caipirinha


Yes, we'll grill drinks too -- or as close as we can get. In this case, it's grilling limes to be muddled into the classic Brazilian cachaça cocktail. Get our grilled caipirinha recipe.

Grilled pineapple daiquiri


Could there be any more summery sip than a grilled pineapple daiquiri? The caramelized fruit adds complexity to this refreshing drink, yet it's still supremely easy to pull off (even after you've had one or two already). Get our grilled pineapple daiquiri recipe.

This story was originally published on Chowhound.