10 Flavors to Add to Your Summer Restaurant Menu 

A new season is on its way, and it’s the perfect time to add some seasonal summer flavors into the mix. Refreshing your food and drink menu with new flavors can put a spin on a staple, pushing them into the spotlight with a twist! 

Summer is a great season to get your cooks and bartenders experimenting with in-season flavors in salads, entrees, appetizers, desserts, and drinks alike. Customers may even like the summer version so much, you may need to make a permanent change!  

Don’t miss out on the season, you’ll want to include these top ten flavors when prepping for the summer:  

Sweet Flavors 

Citrus 

Grilled chicken breast with orange sauce on wooden background, top view

We’re talking lime, lemon, orange (blood orange too), and grapefruit! Citrus is a quintessential summer flavor, invoking lemonade stand vibes of fruity and refreshing tastes. These are easy to integrate into cocktails but also can be great salad toppers or enhance an entrée dish. Is there anything more summery than citrus? 

Pineapple 

Corn tortillas filled with shredded lettuce, shredded barbecue chicken and topped with mango pineapple salsa

One of the most versatile summer flavors is pineapple! This fruit flavor is easy to pair with any meat or seafood, rice, cocktail, and can make a great salsa as well. With their tropical roots, pineapples are already synonymous with summer, why not add them to your menu too!  

Peach 

Tasty freshmade iced tea with peach, mint and ice cubes. Served in glasses with bamboo straw.

Keep your menu peachy keen with this summer flavor. Peach is the perfect ingredient for adding natural sweetness to drinks (it’s a great lemonade add-in) and taking center stage on your dessert menu, pairing well with brown sugar and cinnamon glazes.  

Berries 

Colorful salad of grilled chicken with summer berries and herbs closeup on the table. Dietary food. horizontal

Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries…you name a berry, it’s probably perfect for your summer menu! From salads to drinks to topping meat entrees to desserts, adding any kind of berry can take a run-of-the-mill menu item and make it into a summer classic. When in doubt, add berries to give dishes a summery feel! 

Banana 

Frozen Banana Daiquiri on Wooden Bar at Cabarete Beach in the Dominican Republic

Bananas are a trickier flavor to incorporate into a restaurant setting. The ripeness window is short, making it hard to use them on a regular basis. But when combined into frozen drinks, sauces, or desserts (bananas foster anyone?), bananas can be just what your summer menu needs. 

Mango 

Spicy pineapple and mango refreshing margarita with chips and salsa, summer cocktail

Fruits that can work in several dishes and drinks are the best bang for your buck! Consider adding some mango flavors to your drink, appetizers, salads, and entrees. Mango works just as well with sweet bananas as with something spicier like a jalapeno to give an interesting flavor profile that screams summer. 

Hibiscus 

Beautiful hibiscus kombucha cocktail with gin and vodka, decorated with rosemary branch.

It’s easier to think of fruit summer flavors, but have you ever considered edible flower flavors like hibiscus? Hibiscus has a tart flavor, similar to a cranberry, with floral notes. This flavor is a popular addition to sauces, cocktails, desserts, and craft beer, and can also work well in more savory dishes since it is not overwhelmingly sweet. 

Savory Flavors 

Mint 

Vietnamese prawn noodle , Tasty traditional with rice noodles, spring onions, king prawns, bird’s eye green, red chilies and shiitake mushrooms. Decorated with piece of fresh lime, leaves of mint, basil and slices of spicy peppers. All in bowl with chopsticks on natural wooden background.

Adding mint to your menu can amp up freshness, perfect for lighter summer fare. This refreshing herb is inexpensive and can pack a mean punch on your cocktail menu, creating the ideal refreshing taste for summer.  

Molasses 

half rack barbecue rib platter with french fries on rustic wooden table

Molasses is often used as a baking ingredient in desserts, but did you know you can give your savory dishes a smokey and subtly sweet taste with it as well? Of course, if you have a meat smoker, that works as well, but to try out smokier flavor profiles on your profile, molasses may be all you need.  

Basil 

Pizza. Traditional italian pizza with green basil pesto sauce, top view

Like mint, using basil can bring freshness (the appearance of flavorful, leafy greens can really add presentation and taste points) to dishes that need a little extra oomph. Fresh basil works well on pasta, pizza, seafood, and meats, giving your traditional menu items some more green and life! 

Summer has the largest variety of flavors to choose from when changing up your menu, including ones not on this list! Seasonal menus revolve around what is in season, and summer is the jackpot when it comes to variety. Creating a seasonal menu or specials is a great way to let your staff get a little creative with different ingredients and draw in regular and new customers.  

What flavors will you be adding to your summer menu? Let us know below!  

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