These Peach Recipes Are the Essence of Summer

peach and blueberry tart with cream cheese filling
Photo: Paola + Murray

The smell of ripe peaches tells you it's summer. Buy them by the basketful, breathe in the peachy air as they ripen in your kitchen, then share them in these mouthwatering recipes. From peach pavlova and peach pops to peach slab pie and sweet and savory salads and salsas, here are the best ways to put the seasonal fruit to good use.

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wooden bowl filled with peaches
Paola + Murray

Sure, a ripe peach tastes great on its own, but paired with sweet or savory ingredients, they are absolutely mouthwatering. Start by selecting the best peach, then choose a stellar recipe to transform it into something otherworldly. For advice on how to do just that, read on—we have you covered on both front.

Peaches are a type of stone fruit and reach peak ripeness in July and August. You may find them available earlier in the summer and sometimes even in the off season, when they most likely come from South America. When you are shopping for peaches at the farm stand or grocery store, look for fruits that have a fragrant aroma and a flesh that yields a bit when pressed gently. If the peach has cuts, dark spots, or it's either rock-hard or mushy, don't buy it. A green tinge indicates that the fruit is underripe.

Peaches can be white or yellow, and it's worth tasting different varieties to see which you prefer and to think about which color is a better fit for the dish you're making. A good example of when the color of your fruit really matters is our ombré-hued peach salad, which puts both white and yellow peaches on full display. Depending on the type of peach, it is classified as either a clingstone or freestone. Wondering which one you have? Check how easy it is to dislodge the pit from the flesh. Most often you'll find you have a freestone, where the pit and fruit separate with ease.

Now onto recipes: A rip, juicy peach is a much more versatile ingredient than you might think. Peaches star in recipes to enjoy for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert. The fruit is the perfect sweet sidekick to a number of proteins, so try making pickled peaches with crisp-fried chicken cutlets or transform them into a spicy salsa to be spooned over steak. Peaches work in sweet and vegetable-based salads. And, of course, they're guaranteed to impress in cobblers, pies, tarts, sorbets, and just about any fruit-forward dessert.

Beyond perfect pairings, we also included recipes that are great for summer events. Try bringing a giant slab pie or peach pie crumble bars to your next BBQ, pool party, or potluck—both are so tasty and beautiful, you're sure to be heading home with an empty dish. Cool down with peach and guava popsicles or a vodka-spiked adult beverage made from blended peaches and mint. And don't miss out on a Grilled Peach Old Fashioned—it's the perfect cocktail for a hot summer evening.

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Grilled Peaches with Vanilla Ice Cream

grilled peaches with vanilla ice cream
Linda Xiao

If your peaches are a tad hard, grill them to bring out their juiciness and caramelize their sugars. Then top them with vanilla ice cream and crumbled amaretti or gingersnap cookies and dessert is ready in just 10 minutes.

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Quick Peach-Compote Dessert Cups

quick peach-compote dessert cups topped with crushed cookies
Linda Xiao

If you have the opposite problem and peaches you bought are too-soft, it's time to make a quick compote. Layer it with creamy mascarpone cheese and cookie crumbles for each serving and enjoy summer in a cup.

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Peach Panzanella

Aaron Dyer

When you swap out tomatoes for peaches in this spin on the Italian bread salad that is panzanella, you're rewarded with a salty and sweet bite. Marinating the peaches in a quick garlicky oil and vinegar dressing infuses tangy flavor into the ripe fruit. Then, toss them with toasted bread, cucumbers, and handfuls of fresh basil before digging in.

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Peach Slab Pie

Con Poulos

Looking for a dish to bring to picnics, backyard barbecues, and other outdoor events this summer? Try this slab pie. It serves a crowd—12 to be exact—and putting it together is a total time saver. Best of all, it's a surefire way to impress the crowd with your baking skills.

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Tomato, Peach, Buffalo Mozzarella, and Bresaola Tartine

tomato peach mozzarella bresaola tartine
Dana Gallagher

Peaches and tomatoes share the spotlight in this take on the caprese. Arranging the salad on toasted bread makes it easy to share for eating outdoors, and there's no need for a fork and knife. Don't be intimidated if you can't find bresaola; prosciutto or salami are equally delicious substitutes.

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Brown-Sugar Peach Pavlova

brown-sugar peach pavlova recipe
Paola + Murray

Fluffy and crunch with a chewy center, this meringue-based dessert is the perfect balance to pillowy whipped cream and tender poached peaches. It doesn't hut that it's gluten free, either. Keep the leftover peach poaching liquid, as it's perfect for mixing into summer cocktails or a peachy-lemonade.

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Cardamom-Scented Peach-Apricot Cobblers

cardamom-scented peach-apricot cobblers
Paola + Murray

This dessert features a stone fruit duo, peaches and apricots, plus warm notes from the addition of cardamom in the fluffy drop biscuit topping. Individual portions elevate a humble cobbler into the perfect ending for an elegant dinner party.

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Easy Peach Potpie

peach pot pie recipe
Sidney Bensimon

Sometimes the easiest recipes bring the biggest flavor. This potpie features a magical combination of ripe summer peaches, bourbon, and vanilla. The trick to a super flakey crust without a lot of work is store-bought all-butter puff pastry, which always cooks to perfection.

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Pickled-Peach and Mozzarella with Fried Chicken Cutlet

Pickled-Peach and Mozzarella Salad with Fried Chicken Cutlets
Christopher Testani

Tart and sweet pickled peaches are the perfect balance to richer dishes, like crispy fried chicken cutlets and mozzarella. Once pickled, the peaches last up to three months, extending peach season into the fall. Try them on any protein or in a salad.

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Peach Salad with Melon and Lillet

peach salad with melon and lillet
Paola + Murray

Salad for dessert might sound unconventional, but there is nothing better than finishing a meal with ripe, in-season fruit. White and yellow peaches are combined with watermelon and cantaloupe for a visually striking salad with different colors, shapes, and sizes. It's a true feast for the eyes that's finished with a splash of Lillet Rosé, a refreshing aperitif with herbal notes.

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Grilled-Peach Old Fashioned

grilled peach old fashioned
Johnny Miller

Everything's better on the grill, and we do mean everything—even cocktails. A trip over the flames intensifies the flavor of fresh peaches, and their sweet, slightly smoky aspect pairs brilliantly with bourbon.

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Peach Custard Pie

Con Poulos

With its sunny arrangement of peach slices, this dessert is summer in a pie plate. Peaches pair very well with the creaminess of the custard, for a peaches and cream sort of vibe.

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Peach and Guava Pops

peach-guava pops
Paola + Murray

For a tropical peach dessert, pair our favorite stone fruit with guava in these tangy-sweet popsicles. They're the perfect treat on a hot summer day. Use this recipe as a base for your own popsicle creations just by swapping out the fruit juice.

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Peach-and-Blueberry Tart with Cream-Cheese Filling

peach and blueberry tart with cream cheese filling
Paola + Murray

This peach and blueberry topped tart gets a little tang from the luscious cream cheese filling, a play on the iconic peaches and cream combo, and a crisp outer texture from its buttery tart shell.

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Peach Pie Crumble Bars

Bryan Gardner

All the flavors of peach pie are packed in these portable brownie-sized squares. They're perfect for summer outings and potlucks. This smart recipe calls for only one quick pie dough then divides it for both the crust and the crumble.

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Stone-Fruit Trifle with Lemon Mousse

Stone-Fruit Trifle with Lemon Mousse
Beatriz DaCosta

Fold whipped cream into a luscious lemon-white wine curd to make the fluffy mousse for this trifle. Layer the mousse with cubes of purchased pound cake and roasted peaches, and refrigerate for at least two hours—or up to one day—before serving.

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Grilled Pork Chops with Peach Relish and Herb Rice

Marcus Nilsson

Thai bird chiles lend a little kick to this savory-sweet and quick-to-make peach relish, a perfect condiment for a pork chop with a little char and smoky flavor from the grill. Boost the herbed rice with the addition of whatever leafy green herb you have on hand, try basil, mint, or tarragon: The anise notes in these herbs pair so well with peaches.

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Peach Sorbet

Marcus Nilsson

No special equipment is required for this super simple three-ingredient peach sorbet. Just freeze fresh, ripe fruit and blend. It's ready to enjoy right away with a frozen yogurt-like consistency, but you could also freeze it until firm and serve it by the scoop.

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Peach-and-Mint Frappes

Matthew Williams

Blend frozen peaches with vodka, agave, peach nectar, and mint for a refreshing frozen cocktail. It's perfect for sipping on the porch or poolside and easy to make for a crowd.

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Peach-and-Raspberry Oat Cobbler

peach and raspberry-oat cobbler
Kate Mathis

Pair two delightful summer fruits, peaches and raspberries, and add oats to the topping for added texture and flavor and the result is a cobbler that is a little different and absolutely delicious.

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Peach Salsa

Grilled Peach Salsa on steak salad
Andrew Purcell

This peach salsa is delicious served over steak or other protein, especially seafood like shrimp and salmon. For an appetizer take, swap out the basil for cilantro and the Thai chilies for a small amount of diced chipotle pepper for a version that pairs so well with tortilla chips.

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