50 Easy Dinner Ideas for When It’s Too Hot to Cook

If it’s hot enough to fry an egg outside, then the last thing you want to do is stand over a stove or turn on the oven for dinner. We’ve got you covered with some of our favorite Mediterranean diet inspired summer meal ideas for when it’s just too hot to cook.

Hot Summer Nights are Near

Summer is one of our favorite seasons. The sheer amount of Seasonal Summer Produce alone is enough to make us run to the local farmer’s market.

However, sometimes it’s just too hot to cook. The thought of turning on the oven or standing over a hot stove is enough to make our face melt off. In a dream world, summer would include having someone on call to create delicious meals for you to enjoy poolside (naturally), while sipping on a tasty beverage and reading a good book until the heat dies down. We can’t be alone in that day dream right?

Since we have to live in reality, we’ve come up with the next best solution. A list of no cook dinners and meal ideas that will come in handy on hot summer days.

What Can You Make When It’s Too Hot to Cook?

As we were compiling this ultimate list of no cook dinner ideas, we were surprised at the number of options available. Sometimes it just takes some good old fashioned pantry staples or a bit of meal prep to pull together some delicious and easy dinners on hot evenings.

Summer Salads that make Great Meals

Before you state that “salad” is an obvious choice, let us just share that these salad recipes go way beyond some lettuce in a bowl.

These are some of our favorite Mediterranean diet Salad Recipes that make great meals on their own (or paired with other dishes).

We’ve even shared how to take a store bought Bagged Salad and turn it into a quick, no cook, Mediterranean diet inspired meal.

summer salad too hot to cook recipe

Speaking of salad, the awesome group behind The Devil Wears Salad put together this amazing Salad Gazette. It’s a free download that features 32 new and exclusive salad recipes from creators around the globe. One of our very own creations made the cut and graces the pages of this gorgeous magazine.

No Cook Meals in a Bowl

These are two great examples of how using lentils, beans, hummus or grains can create light but filling meals that don’t require any cooking.

Recipe We Want to Try

This Summer Grain Bowl with Green Goddess Feta Dressing from What’s Gaby Cooking has us rushing to gather up all the ripe ingredients!

Sandwich Style Meals

While sandwiches typically remind us of lunch, there is no reason they can’t be enjoyed at dinner. Especially when it’s too hot to cook and all the energy you can muster is placing ingredients between two slices of bread.

Some recipes that go beyond cold cuts include –

Breakfast for Dinner

On hot days when you may not want a meal that’s heavy or too filling, one of our favorite things to do is enjoy one of these lighter breakfast recipes for dinner.

Simple Meal Idea – two slices of whole grain toast with peanut/nut butter, sliced banana or blueberries and a sprinkling of cinnamon

Fire Up the Grill

Take the heat outside and fire up the grill with these delicious recipes when it’s too hot to cook inside.

Check out this collection of 15 Kebob Recipes Perfect for Any Summer Cookout

Use that Air Fryer / Instant Pot / Slow Cooker

Take advantage of those kitchen appliances and consider using an air fryer, instant pot or slow cooker during hot days to beat the heat in the kitchen.

This collection of Instant Pot Recipes will come in handy this summer!

Meal Prep for No Cook Meals

A little pre-planning can come in handy, especially as the temperatures rise. These meal prep ideas will help you stay cool when it’s too hot to cook in the kitchen.

Shortcuts for When it’s Too Warm to Cook

DIY Charcuterie Board from trader joes ingredients

Sometimes you just have to rely on shortcuts from the store to save you time and sweat during the summer. Some of our favorite tricks include –

  • Using microwaveable rice / pasta / grains to create easy dinners. This Fast Cooking Farro from Trader Joe’s is a summer staple for us
  • Pick up a Rotisserie Chicken and a Bagged Salad and call it a day
  • Smoked Salmon makes a great salad or sandwich topping that requires zero cooking
  • Canned Tuna is healthy, filling and no cooking required
  • Pre-cooked shrimp is great for rice bowls, as a protein with a side of veggies, or a salad topper

Another favorite summertime meal idea – Charcuterie Boards! Simply create a grazing board with some of your favorite summer fruit, crackers, cheese, olives, etc. It’s light, simple and satisfying.

Check out our Kid Friendly Cheese Plates or DIY Charcuterie Board from Trader Joe’s Items for more grazing ideas.

Summer Meal Ideas from The Mediterranean Diet Made Easy Cookbook

If you have a copy of The Mediterranean Diet Made Easy cookbook, we put together a few of the recipes from the book that are perfect to make when it’s hot outside.

  • Quick and Vibrant Nicoise Salad (page 67)
  • Tangy Tuna and Arugula Wrap (page 75)
  • Effortless Shrimp and Avocado Bowl (page 79)
  • Mango and Black Bean Tacos with Avocado Yogurt (page 99)
  • Quick Grilled Shrimp with Pesto and Zucchini Noodles (page 103)
  • Farmer’s Market Panzanella Salad with Creamy Burrata (page 128)

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Tags: summer recipes Last modified: July 6, 2023