No Cook Meal Ideas for Hot Summer Days

It’s HOT out there. Having a tiny kitchen in a house with no air conditioning does not help! I don’t feel like cooking or baking anything unless it’s absolutely necessary.

But we still have to eat!

No Cook Summer Meal Ideas

No-Cook Meal Ideas

It’s beginning to warm up outside and that means that busier days and less time spent inside are on the horizon. But a family still must eat! So just how do we feed our family when we just want to be outside and we would rather not spend extra on our air conditioning costs as we heat up the oven to cook?

There are a few great solutions to this problem. Here are some simple ideas on how to handle the too-hot-to-cook summer days. These meals and ideas are perfect for the days when you don’t want to heat up your home during the day by turning on the oven.

Crockpot with Water

Alternative Cooking Methods

One good option is slow cooker meals. You won’t heat up your kitchen and house and you still will get a great filling meal. The only downside to this solution is the meal will be a hot dish so if you are already warm you may not feel like eating a hot meal!

Some of our very favorite slow cooker meals are:

Plus you can find 77 more super simple slow cooker recipes here.

Don’t want to pull out the slow cooker? How about the grill or the air fryer?

We have a large griddle-style grill on our deck off the kitchen that I frequently use in the summer when the temps are too high to cook indoors. I don’t have an air fryer but I know many people that love cooking that way as well!

Make It Now Eat It Later

Another great option is to make up some make ahead or freezer meals. Even though you do have to heat up the oven to make most of those meals, you could try and make as many of them as possible at night when it is a little cooler in the house or when you can open the windows and let in some cooler air while you are cooking.

I love doing make-ahead meals at our house (especially for things like sides and breads), here are some of our favorites:

Cold Cut Plate

One of my kids’ favorite summer “meals” is a very un’fancy charcuterie tray. We often have this for an easy lunch because I don’t usually feel like cooking right in the middle of a hot day. Some of our favorite items to have on our “big plate” are:

  • Grapes
  • Watermelon
  • Pineapple
  • Any cold-cut meats
  • Prosciutto
  • Pretzels or Crackers
  • Cherries
  • Celery with veggie dip
  • Olives

Cheese Dip

Find Recipes with Fewer Ingredients

It may not sound like a big change, but if you make recipes that contain fewer ingredients, you will spend less time in the kitchen because you will have less to prep and less to clean up.

Just because you use fewer ingredients doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice on flavor! Here are some recipes that we love to make with 5 ingredients or less:

No Cook Meal Ideas

Here are more great no cook meal ideas to try as well:


No Cook Meal Ideas from Readers

Many of you also shared some of your great no-cook meal ideas with me so I’m adding them to this blog post for everyone to enjoy!

  • Macaroni salad and cold cuts. – Cheryl
  • Deviled eggs – Mary
  • Lettuce wraps. – Jane
  • Taco salad. – Jane
  • Always Potato or Macaroni Salad or ..Cole Slaw – Debbie
  • Taco salad with leftover cooked chicken. – Laura
  • Chef salad. – Jerry
  • Grain salads with lots of veggies- couscous or bulgar. – Sam
  • Chicken salad (using canned chicken). – Roni
  • Asian chicken salad with leftover Costco chicken rotisserie. I add Mandarin oranges and won ton strips. – Ellen
  • Leftover steak I slice and make NamTok ( my version) steak salad( Thai dish) or a peanut sauce dressing over rotisserie chicken and salad or even cold spaghetti noodles and slivered cucumbers. – Ellen
  • You can do Ramen noodle salad too( you do have to boil those Al dente and add fresh green onions and slivered carrots/cucumbers). Or you can crumble the dry Ramen and add it to salad to replace won ton strips. – Ellen
  • Pita bread( I like soft and fluffy ones so like naan) with hummus( fresh better), cucumber and tomato salad or tabbouleh(Trader Joe’s has ones already made in little tubs) and I make a mint chutney yogurt sauce from my garden( very refreshing). – Ellen
  • Chinese chicken salad. Get Rotisserie chicken from the store, Cabbage, Sliced roasted unsalted almonds, 1 pkg Ramen noodles broken into pieces by hand, Green onions (i leave these out, just a personal preference), and Asian Sesame dressing. Easy to throw together and very yummy. – Sally
  • Charcuterie boards, caprese salad, or any kind of fresh green salads. – Mary

Don’t forget the desserts! Here are some yummy no bake desserts:

And of course, there is plenty of fresh garden produce this time of year to feast on! Be sure and make frequent stops at the Farmer’s Market on the days that they are open to be able to indulge in the freshest in-season produce.

Hopefully, you’ve been able to find some great inspiration for no-cook meals in this article for when it’s just too hot or busy to turn on the oven during the day and put in much effort in the kitchen.

What are some of your favorite no cook meal ideas for hot summer days?


This article on No Cook Meals for Hot Summer Days was originally posted on Little House Living in July 2014 and has been updated in July 2022.

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  1. Although you already mentioned egg salad,we often have hard-boiled eggs and fresh veggies. It is easy,good for you,and no cooking! I try to keep some boiled eggs on hand..they go in everything all summer long. Hubby would eat 1/2 a cantaloupe filled with ice cream if he could!!

    1. I have started cooking bacon in the air fryer. Grease doesn’t go everywhere, and it gets crispier if you like it that way. If your air fryer is smaller like mine, cut it in half and fry for 10-11 minutes.

  2. BLT! I cook the bacon in the microwave so that I do not have to stand over the hot stove. Also nachos-this is a great way to use a good can of chili and top it up with cheese and veggies.

  3. I love these ideas, thank you. But what is that delicious tomato pie picture. Do you have a recipe for that? Wow, that looks amazing!

    1. It’s a tomato pizza. I’m a very simple pizza girl, I like fresh tomatoes sliced over the crust for “sauce” then topped with cheese (preferably mozzarella but cheddar works). Then after it’s cooked I dip it in garlic butter. 😀

  4. What a wonderful list! I am so glad I found your blog from a link-up today. What recipe goes with that picture up above? Is that a pizza?

  5. Gazpacho!!!Get fresh veggies like tomato, bell pepper cucumber , zucchini onion garlic any kind of lettuce and blend them with a little water and whatever seasoning you like cool in the fridge. If you are more adventurous you could add peach or watermelon. Delicious

  6. I so need this list! I’m always looking for ways to not heat up the house! Thank you for sharing at The Creative Exchange, I’m featuring you today.

  7. I always use either kidney or black beans in my salads and tacos just drain and rense with cold water then add. No having to mess with cold refried beans. Pasta Salads, cold soups or gazpacho, Sandwiches made from homemade Dutch oven bread with cream cheese and cucumbers. Lightly frozen fruit drizzled with honey. I’m almost anti cook in the summer. Especially since we have no ac and Arkansas summers are normally Hot and Humid.

  8. Love your recipes. Use many of them. Thank you for sharing. We are in the middle of a heat wave, also. Try to keep cool.

  9. Wonderful ideas!!! We don’t have air conditioning either, and I’m finding myself wanting cold foods especially at supper.
    We also sometimes like popcorn for supper (I know, weird. 😀 )
    I can’t WAIT to try these–especially the Dorthy Lynch dressing!!! I have always loved that dressing but now can’t have the preservatives, etc. Thank you so much!!!

  10. What recipe did you use for the pizza crust on the pizza pictured above with the tomato slices on it? It looks different than regular pizza dough…it also looks scrumptious! THANKS!

    1. I don’t really have a recipe for it but it was something we threw together with gluten free flour, baking powder, salt, water, oil, and butter.

  11. The pizza looks amazing! I always forget salads when I’m thinking of no cook meals. We always resort to wraps and the microwave when we don’t want to turn on the oven.

  12. I love this post! We almost always head to the grill when it gets really hot- my favorite thing to make is grilled chicken salads with greens and veggies from the garden. Thank you for the post!

  13. Keeping a spray bottle for water near the sink for spritzing on you neck, etc. can help in the kitchen if you have a fan on too.

  14. I live in the Deep South where summers are really hot and humid. The summers, usually from June to August stay in either the 90s or 100s. During the hot months, if I run my AC, it can cost over $200 per month. I’ve started buying old-fashioned ice bags (available at Amazon) and either fill them with ice cubes or plastic cubes and place them at my feet at night and you can put one against your head or neck to cool off so you can sleep. You can also put them against your neck during hot days to cool off.
    In the winter, I turn my heat down as far as the thermostat allows. I use a small heater wherever I’m sitting. When I sleep, I use old-fashion hot-water bottles, one under my feet and one on each side and I wear a ski cap to keep warm.
    Both of these ideas work well for me.

  15. I’ve been “stealing” these ideas for cool meals in hot summer weather from you each year. Thanks for sharing the ideas from others, too.


  16. Has anyone considered a sun oven? I’m in Australia, so it’s wet and cold for us at the moment. But for our stinking hot summer days we can cook using a sun oven. Uses the free sunshine without heating a house anymore so reduces the power bill as well.

  17. For camping I just made freezer meal burritos. I browned the meat with taco seasoning, mixed mashed black beans with sour cream and salsa, layered those on a tortilla (my family doesn’t do cheese but that would work too). Then I individually wrapped them in foil and froze them. I put them on a cookie sheet on the BBQ, turning a few times. I forget how long exactly but they came out perfect! Lightly toasted and yummy!

  18. I’m a big fan of chicken salad in the summer. I poach chicken breasts and freeze them, then pull one out to thaw. Cut it up with half a cup celery, 1/4th cup sweet pickles, and add a little mayo. I can eat it straight out of the bowl, as a sandwich, or mounded in the center of half a cantalope. So yummy and easy.

    Sadly hummus is verboten right now for me, but when I did have it I’d serve it with pita bread, a green salad, and fruit.

    I also like a plain hunk of cheese with bread and fruit for a quick and cool supper.

  19. Hi y’all,

    I hope some of my suggestions will help. I live in Southeast Texas and it’s been hot.

    Sometimes I’ll open up two cans of roast beef, and heat it on low while jasmine rice is in the rice cooker.

    I have an Instant Pot and it sits on my kitchen island because I use it so much. It doesn’t heat up the kitchen. Since the food is pressure cooked more of the nutrients stay in the food.

    A family favorite is pork loin and it takes 30 minutes. Leftovers are used to make barbecue sandwiches. Cut it up into small pieces, add the amount of
    barbecue sauce to your liking.

    Chicken breasts are cooked often, too. The time varies due to the size of the meat.

    I make boiled eggs in my mini Instant Pot, about 15 minutes total. I use them in tuna salad, egg salad, or deviled eggs. The egg shells peel off easily when they’re made in the Instant Pot.

    Other than chilled soup (which can be fruit or veg), served with a green salad and french bread.