Summer is meant to be the best time of the year. The sun is shining, the air is sweet and there are so many things to enjoy. Now that we don't have to wear a million layers bundled up to our eyeballs, people actually want to go out and spend time outdoors with friends and family. There's something so special about dining al fresco on a hot afternoon or on a warm evening as the sun slinks down in the sky, twinkling fairy lights set the ambiance and laughter lingers late into the night.

The only trouble is that between our outdoor activities and our hosting, summer can end up being the most stressful time of year. To make things simple, we reach for summertime staples that we can rely on again and again for versatility, delicious flavour and quality ingredients, like Hellmann's Real Mayonnaise. And when we're hosting friends for summer soirées or backyard barbecues, there are a few key things we always follow to make sure the party goes off without a hitch. 

Our top summer hosting tips

1. Make a variety of different dishes as sides

Serving dinner shouldn't leave anyone out — we always make a variety of dishes to please different palates. Despite what they say, you can make friends with a beautiful summer salad. Dressings are easy to make with Hellmann's lineup of flavours as a base, and there's even a Hellmann's Vegan Mayonnaise, that offers the same great taste Hellmann’s is known for, but plant-based so everyone can get in on the feasting. You can also cheat with a pasta salad or potato salad — no judgement here. Hellmann's Garlic Aioli does double duty as a dip, a spread, and a welcome addition to a potato salad for a burst of flavour. 

2. Level up your grill game and sauces

We all know the main event is the grill, however, we suggest mixing it up with vegetable skewers, shrimp skewers, hot dogs and hamburgers to provide the ultimate grill smorgasbord. Don’t forget Hellmann’s has you covered with only the best selection of condiments for you and your guests — a flavour for every person. For the main course, guests will love sinking their teeth into the Hellmann's Best Ever Juicy Burger. It's easy to prep in 10 minutes and cook in 10 minutes, plus you can divide the meat up to make sliders if bigger burgers aren't the vibe. For a zesty, creamy topping, combine Hellmann's Real Mayonnaise with barbecue sauce — it’ll be sure make your guests drool.

Winner, winner — a flame-grilled chicken dinner is sure to please guests and offers an option for those who don't eat pork or red meat. Not sure how to marinate it? Slather on the new Hellmann's Chipotle Mayonnaise the night before (yes, you have to marinade your chicken the night before for the best flavour), and serve it as a dipping sauce, too, for an extra kick from the mild heat and smoky flavour of real chipotle peppers.

3. Serve non-alcoholic drinks and fill up on ice

When it comes to summer drinks, we serve both alcoholic and non-alcoholic varieties — and we always load up on ice in advance. A cooler filled with drinks and an ice bucket (with tongs) on the patio, balcony or in the backyard can save countless trips inside and save your precious floors.

4. Keep your fridge stocked with Hellmann's

Our pro tip: Always keep Hellmann's on hand. Its delicious flavour and versatility as a condiment, dip, dressing and key ingredient makes summer hosting that much smoother. Since it's made with free-run eggs from Quebec and sustainably sourced canola oil from the Prairies, it not only supports Canadian farmers, but it can also be used to replace eggs, oil and vinegar if you've forgotten something or ran out while you're cooking, baking or grilling. Hellmann's diverse range of flavourful products is great in a pinch so you can get back to enjoying the summer.

5. Enjoy yourself and have fun

There's a lot to remember, but the most important part of summer hosting is to just have fun and enjoy yourself. Summer is only here for so long.

Seize the summer and get inspired with Hellmann's BBQ recipes