We love outdoor parties. Whether we’re having a bonfire with friends or cooking out on the grill surrounded by family, there’s just something about the outdoors and menu that makes the summer spectacular. Like burgers, cheese, sandwiches, bacon, sausages, wraps, and fries. Right?

Of course, we had to compile a list of our favorite cookout hacks to help you take your summer entertaining to the next level. Check ’em out!  Keep reading for cookout hacks that will make your next barbecue more relaxing and fun!

Cookout hacks to take backyard entertaining to Next Level - collage

Best DIY Cookout Hacks and Tips Perfect for Your Backyard

1. Cookout Hack for Bug Control

We’ve all been there. Sitting in a lawn chair visiting with friends and family when all of a sudden the place is overrun with bugs. No one wants to be deep in a conversation and pause to take a sip of their drink, only to find an unwelcome insect floating on top. Don’t worry. There’s an easy cookout hack that fixes this one.

Keep bugs out of your drinks by using cupcake liners to cover cups! That’s right.

Simply cover your favorite drink with one of those aluminum cupcake liners and pop your straw right through the top. No more bugs!

Bug Control Hack - 18 Cookout Hacks to Take Summer Entertaining to the Next Level - One Crazy House

2. S’mores Galore!

This iconic summer cookout food will bring smiles to everyone’s faces as they have “who can make the perfect marshmallow” competitions.

Can you make a S’more without a fire? Here’s a fun cookout hack for you:  Have a S’mores party – even if you don’t have a flame, these desserts are a party hit!

3. Cookout Hack to keep food cool

One of the best parts of summer, a cookout is the relaxed atmosphere. But there is one part of the fun that you don’t want to ignore; food safety! Lucky for everyone, there’s a fun and summery way to keep our food nice and cold.

Keep your food nice and cool (and safe to eat!) by filling a kiddie pool with ice. Get more kiddie pool hacks here!

Cookout Hack to Keep Food Cool - 18 Cookout Hacks to Take Summer Entertaining to the Next Level - One Crazy House

4. Simple Hotdog holders

It seems like a waste of a paper plate to hold a hotdog. Here’s a super easy cookout hack that allows your guests to roam around with this very portable food while keeping their hands nice and clean. Use a coffee filter for an easy hot dog holder!

Coffee filters make the perfect hot dog holders for your next cookout.

Coffee Filters As Hot Dog Holders - 18 Cookout Hacks to Take Summer Entertaining to the Next Level - One Crazy House

5. Keep that tablecloth down with velcro

Because cookouts are enjoyed outdoors, it’s best to think of ways to outwit mother nature. A gentle breeze is refreshing on a hot day, but you don’t want your table cloth flying off or getting whipped into your casseroles and salads!

Apply velcro strips to your tablecloth and the table to hold them down even on the most blustery of days. Easy!

Velcro Strips to Hold Tablecloth Down - 18 Cookout Hacks to Take Summer Entertaining to the Next Level - One Crazy House
Add Velcro Strips to Your Tablecloth from Real Simple

6. Cookout Hack for cooking corn on the cob

This is one brilliant cookout ninja trick that will allow you to cook up a huge batch of corn on the cob.

Easily cook corn on the cob for a crowd right in your cooler!

Materials needed:

  • A clean cooler
  • Shucked corn on the cob
  • Steaming hot water

Toss in the corn, add water, and close the lid!

Important: keep an eye on those little people. Hot water and little hands can present a safety concern. Close supervision is all that’s necessary for this one to be a huge success!

Cookout Hack for Cooking Corn on the Cob - 18 Cookout Hacks to Take Summer Entertaining to the Next Level - One Crazy House

7. Instant Popsicles

You are about to become the most popular adult at this cookout. Imagine how fun it will be to make a frozen treat in the amount of time it takes the kids to complete a quick game of hiding and seek?

Instant Popsicles!(Affiliate) Beat the heat  – these pops are made in mere minutes! The best part? Your party attendees can mix and match their own popsicle ingredients.

no bake summer desserts- colorful popcyles being made in an instant pop machine

8. Keep those mosquitoes away

As the sun sets and everyone begins to settle for the evening under the stars, the local mosquitoes begin to buzz and annoy.

Want to keep mosquitoes at bay? Throw some sage on the fire after you’ve grilled your food. The scent (plus the smoke) will help keep pests away.

Cookout Hacks for mosquitoes- hand holding bundle of sage over the grill

9. Sunscreen for everyone

The best hosts think of everything. Even helping the rest of us remember to apply protection against the sun and bugs!

You don’t want your guests to remember your cookout by getting eaten alive by bugs or getting a nasty sunburn. Set out some bug spray and sunscreen in a convenient spot for everyone to use! DOn’t overthink this one. Collect all the bug spray and sunscreen and toss them into a bucket or basket! Your guests will thank you!

Clever cookout- bucket of sunscreen and bug spray with a sign hanging from a garden stake

10. Cookout hack: Another S’more hack for the win

This cookout hack reminds me of my favorite uncle. I’m telling you, the man was a genius. Can you picture the crowd of kids around this happy scene? It’s like a s’mores assembly line!

Make lots of S’mores at once with a clean rake. Repeat: clean rake. Someone was clearly a genius to come up with that! I’m telling you. I think it was my uncle.

genius cookout hacks- smores being cooked on a clean garden rake

11. DIY Watermelon Sticks

How about a cookout hack that includes summer’s most famous food?

Mouthwatering, refreshing, and squirty. Watermelon looks, tastes, and feels like summer!

Watermelon sticks are just the best thing about summer. If you’re not cutting your watermelon this way, you’re doing it wrong! It’s so handy!

no bake desserts- collage of steps to cut watermelon into finger length wedges

12. Tasty Non-stick Cookout Hack

Barbecue sauce, seasoning, and juicy food love to stick and stay on the grill. How about a no-so-secret way to keep food from sticking to your grill while adding aroma and flavor to your food?

Rub half an onion over your grill to make it non-stick. It really works!

Grilling hacks- hand rubbing half an onion across the grate of a grill to make non-stick

13. the Easiest way to light your barbecue

Brilliant cookout hack #147.2. How to light a BBQ in a blink of an eye!

Start a fire the easy way:

Backyard Barbecue Tips- egg carton filled with charcoal and bag of Kingsford charcoal showing easy firestarter

14. Cookout Hack for Glasses: Easy way to keep guest glasses organized

The only problem with having a whole house full of family and guests is keeping track of everyone’s glasses! Thank goodness there’s a better option than handing everyone a new glass every half hour.

Here’s an easy trick to help people keep track of their glass.  Have guests mark their glasses with pipe cleaners so you don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen cleaning up after the cookout.

Genius Organization- collage of colorful pipe cleaners being cut with wire clippers, hand holding wine glass with pipe cleaners wrapped around the stem to identify which glass belongs to which guest

14. Brilliant Cookout Hack for your condiments

Muffin pans can be an incredibly useful tool during your backyard hangouts. Look at this easy way to put out topping for your guests to enjoy in a way that keeps them all in one place!

Put condiments and toppings in muffin tins to make it easier for guests to serve themselves.

Brilliant Cookout Hack- Cupcake pan with different condiments and serving spoon in each of the cup spaces

15. Serve drinks from a watermelon

Option #1: Mix your favorite drink and put it in a pitcher. Easy, but nothing really special, right?

Option #2: Be a super host and put that same drink into a hollowed-out watermelon! How fun! This really doesn’t take too much time.

How easy is it? Super easy!

Tap a watermelon for a fun way to serve adult drinks! Or use tonic water or ginger ale for non-alcoholic drinks everyone can enjoy.

How to Tap a Watermelon

  1. Cut the top off of the watermelon
  2. Hollow out
  3. Add drink tap
  4. Add drink

Be sure to secure the watermelon though so you don’t end up with a drink that rolls!

Fun cookout hack- watermelon with a drink tap pouring out pink drink

16. A Place for the Kids at the Cookout

When your cookout guest list includes a bunch of little people, you will want to pause to make space for them to sit and rest.

Kids will run and run and run. When you think ahead, they will plop down in their “kid zone” to recharge themselves before running off to play again.

One of the easiest solutions: Folding Kids Table.  This is a cookout hack that gives the kids their own space!! It folds up and stores easily when not in use… and (the real perk) you can just hose all the stickiness off when the kids are done eating!

Giving kids a place to claim as their own will give the adults a little extra space to enjoy the other adults during the gathering.


cookout hacks- collage of a woman closing a collapsable child picnic table, 6 children sitting under an umbrella at a child's picnic bench, arial view of folded picnic bench

17. No more sticky hands!

Another win for those extra cupcake liners you have in your pantry.

If kids will be carrying around popsicles, give them cupcake liners to prevent drips and sticky hands. Yes, the adults will appreciate these too! Cookout hack win!

Genius dessert hack- hands holding popcycles by the stick which were poked through cupcake liners to catch drips

18. Ice Cream Hack that saves you time

The more guests you have at your ice cream party, the more you will appreciate that you prepared your ice cream ahead of time!

Pre-scoop ice cream and keep it in the freezer so you can serve it in seconds. Do this a few hours before the party and be ready for “oohs and ahhs” from all the moms.

Pre-scoop ice cream

Bonus Cookout Hack for keeping drinks cool

This cookout hack is a double winner. YAY!

Use frozen water balloons to keep your drinks cool. When they’re completely thawed, have a water balloon fight! Just make sure the balloons have fully thawed before allowing the water fight to begin!

Use Frozen Water Balloons As a Cooler - 18 Cookout Hacks to Take Summer Entertaining to the Next Level - One Crazy House

More Easy Cookout Hacks and Tips From One Crazy House:

  • Grilled desserts and cookout hacks are not just for the 4th of July. This is your guide to cooking with a flamed utensil.
  • Bites on Backyard Cooking and Cookout hacks. Hacks on grilling, grilling accessories, cooking, and more here!
  • With the warmer weather coming, it’s the perfect time to grill up easy meals. We’ve got cookout hacks and recipes for grilling at home.
  • Whether you’re in charge of feeding a crowd or are looking to host a party on the cheap, here are some labor day cookout hacks and ideas to help you out.
  • Looking for recipes and cooking tips for your next seafood feast? Check out all of our seafood recipes and cookout hacks here.

Which of these easy cookout hacks and recipes would you want to try first? Let us know in the comments!

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