50 Quick and Easy Summer Dinners For When It’s Too Hot For the Stovetop
There’s nothing more fun than a summer spent down South, but there’s also nothing hotter. When the temperature starts to spike, the last thing you want to do is stand over a hot stovetop and heat up the entire kitchen at dinnertime. It’s inevitable that summers will be hot and that meals will still need to be made. To keep your house cool, your wallet safe from too many dinners out, and your family dinners on track, we rounded up the best summertime dinner ideas for hotter-than-hot days. These recipes take minimal effort, make use of handy kitchen hacks that save time, and taste like a family favorite waiting to happen. There’s twists on old classics and introductions to new recipes that are bursting with summer’s best ingredients. With refreshing shrimp-topped salads, no-fuss pita sandwiches, slow-cooker spectaculars, and sheet-pan dupes for grill classics, you won’t need to touch that stovetop. Dinner tonight? Done! Here are our favorite dinner ideas for hot summer days.
Lemon Vinaigrette Pasta Salad with Field Peas
Pick whichever pasta you prefer and combine with an easy honey-lemon vinaigrette and fresh veggies for a side dish that goes with anything.
Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos
Recipe: Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos
This taco night classic just got way easier by being able to make it all in your slow cooker, which leaves you ample time to savor the summertime breeze outside.
Chicken Caesar Salad Sandwiches
Recipe: Chicken Caesar Salad Sandwiches
Use that rotisserie chicken to the bone with these delicious sandwiches that are perfect for lunch or dinner. The chicken salad mixture can be made a day ahead for extra ease when assembling your sandwiches.
Steak-and-Bell Pepper Salad
Recipe: Steak-and-Bell Pepper Salad
This savory salad is delicious and hearty enough to enjoy for a quick summer dinner on the patio. Toasted sourdough croutons and juicy steak take it from basic to super special.
Slow-Cooker Pork Tacos with Fresh Tomato Salsa
Let the slow cooker do the work on the pork, and throw the tacos together with a healthy salsa recipe when you get home for dinner.
Creamy Broccoli Slaw
Recipe: Creamy Broccoli Slaw
Because every easy summer main dish needs a hard-working side, and that's exactly what this creamy, crunchy slaw is here to do.
Tropical Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Recipe: Tropical Chicken Lettuce Wraps
These healthy lettuce wraps are no-cook and all good. The light chicken salad mixture brings both heat and sweet for a 15-minute recipe that’s anything but boring. Serve in lettuce wraps, wheat wraps, or over a bed of greens.
Easy Egg Salad
Recipe: Easy Egg Salad
Southerners do love to smear up an egg salad sandwich on the go, so pack up a basket of these to eat outside on your porch or at the park.
Recipe: Watermelon Gazpacho
We didn’t know a five-ingredient recipe could look and taste fancy, but this chilled soup is proving otherwise. If watermelon is your favorite summer fruit, this recipe is a unique, fun, and delicious way to prepare it.
Shrimp Cobb Salad with Bacon Dressing
The only thing you have to prep for this salad is the bacon, and once you taste this dressing, you won’t mind the few minutes you spent cooking it. This light recipe feels so much more indulgent than it is.
Greek Grilled Chicken Pita
Recipe: Greek Grilled Chicken Pita
This is worlds away from that boring deli chicken sandwich, while still being easy enough to whip up on the busiest of days.
Tuna Pasta Salad
Recipe: Tuna Pasta Salad
This isn't your great-aunt's tuna salad, and thank goodness for that. Packed with fresh arugula, cherry tomatoes, and some pickled peppers for a pop of heat and color, this tuna pasta salad is a crowd-pleaser.
Instant Pot Crack Chicken
Recipe: Instant Pot Crack Chicken
Made with a winning combination of pepper Jack cheese, sour cream, chicken, and bacon, this family-friendly recipe is what we turn to when we need something comforting and no-fuss.
Slow-Cooker Pork Roast with Carrots, Turnips, and Potatoes
A boneless pork loin makes for an inexpensive and satisfying meal, especially when paired with all-time classic veggies like potatoes and carrots. Set the slow cooker and forget about it.
Pickled Shrimp and Vegetables
Recipe: Pickled Shrimp and Vegetables
This zingy dish just tastes like summertime. Okra and sweet peppers add color and flavor to classic pickled shrimp.
Salmon Bagel Sandwiches
Recipe: Salmon Bagel Sandwiches
Stay cool with this recipe that you can eat from brunch to dinner. Cook the salmon ahead in the slow cooker and assemble the best bagel sandwich you’ve ever had.
Wedge Salad with Turkey and Blue Cheese-Buttermilk Dressing
This homemade salad will be so much more satisfying than the pre-packaged one from the store.
Slow-Cooker Carnitas Tacos
Recipe: Slow-Cooker Carnitas Tacos
Using this convenient shortcut to typically skillet-toasted carnitas, you can broil the meat on a sheet pan to brown and crisp the entire batch at once before popping in a slow cooker until oh-so tender.
Marinated Tomato-and-Herb Salad
Recipe: Marinated Tomato-and-Herb Salad
When it’s too hot to cook, we look to our farmers’ market baskets and get creative. This chunky tomato salad will be your new favorite side dish to throw together.
Chilled Radish-and-Avocado Soup
Recipe: Chilled Radish-and-Avocado Soup
This refreshing summer soup gets a peppery bite from radishes, hot sauce, and chile powder that is wonderfully balanced out by creamy avocados, tangy whole buttermilk, and a little honey for sweetness.
Field Pea Fattoush Salad
Recipe: Field Pea Fattoush Salad
This salad makes the most of your summer peas. Bright and fresh in flavor from mint and lemon, it gets great added crunch from both the crisp romaine and toasted pita.
Oven-Roasted Corn on the Cob
Recipe: Oven-Roasted Corn on the Cob
Don't worry about bringing a big 'ole pot of water to boil—because this easiest-ever recipe makes your corn perfectly tender and steamy right in the oven. No tongs required.
Sheet Pan Hanger Steak and Vegetables
When it's just too hot to fire up the grill outside, this sheet pan supper will satisfy your family’s desire for steak.
Air Fryer Coconut Shrimp
Recipe: Air Fryer Coconut Shrimp
Your frying skillet has no place here. Get all the crunch and crispiness of fried shrimp in just 30 minutes with this mess-free recipe that uses your air fryer.
Sheet Pan Fajitas
Recipe: Sheet Pan Fajitas
Get all the fun of Taco Tuesday without having to tend to a hot skillet for an hour. Pop in the oven and you're ready to go in less than half an hour. Minimal hands-on time is always a plus.
Instant Pot Potato Salad
Creamy Pesto-and-Shrimp Penne with Peas
Pre-peeled shrimp, frozen peas, and store-bought pesto makes this tasty pasta come together in a jiff. Just like that, you have a hearty summertime dinner up your sleeve.
Air Fryer Okra
Turkey, Apple, and Brie Sandwich
Recipe: Turkey, Apple, and Brie Sandwich
You can snag all of these ingredients at the grocery at the start of each week and dole out these hearty sandwiches filled with turkey, hot pepper jelly, Dijon mustard, brie cheese, and more whenever you don't feel like cooking. Ask for thick-cut turkey to make it more filling!
Zucchini Noodle Salad
Recipe: Zucchini Noodle Salad
This no-cook recipe is light but full of flavor. Top with rotisserie chicken or cooked shrimp for extra protein and feel free to throw in any fresh farmers’ market produce you bring home, too.
Recipe: Ham Salad
This retro Southern recipe is ideal for having on hand when you don’t feel like cooking. Serve on a buttery croissant (or between two slices of whatever bread you have), with a side of crackers, or over leafy greens for a quick, comforting meal.
Herbed Shrimp-and-Rice Salad
Recipe: Herbed Shrimp-and-Rice Salad
Microwave rice and cooked shrimp make this easy recipe the healthiest dinner you’ll get on the table in just 15 minutes. It’s pretty enough for luncheon company, too.
Turkey, Pesto, and Fresh Mozzarella Sandwich
This filling sandwich features fresh pesto as a staple ingredient.
Recipe: Ham-and-Cheese Sliders
These sliders are a great crowd-pleasing dinner that’s reminiscent of a croque monsieur.
Shrimp and Bacon Salad Sliders
Recipe: Shrimp and Bacon Salad Sliders
Shrimp salad has been on our menu for years, but this version adds a bit of bacon for crunch and some citrus flavor for tang.
Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken
Recipe: Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken
Serve this flavorful chicken over rice or as a base for tacos.
Slow-cooked Barbecued Chicken
Recipe: Slow-cooked Barbecued Chicken
This chicken recipe is prepped right in the slow cooker and then left to cook for five hours.
Slow-Cooker Ginger, Sweet Tea, and Whiskey Short Ribs
These ribs are covered in a tangy sauce that’s inspired by spiked sweet tea and topped with parsley, scallions, and lemon zest.
Slow Cooker Asian-Ginger Wings
Recipe: Slow Cooker Asian-Ginger Wings
Broil these wings before putting them in the slow cooker with the sauce.
Recipe: Shrimp-and-Corn Succotash
We served this succotash cold so it tastes as refreshing as can be on summer nights.
Chicken Salad-Stuffed Tomatoes
Recipe: Chicken Salad-Stuffed Tomatoes
Take advantage of in-season tomatoes and make this irresistible handheld chicken salad dish.
Kale-and-Chicken Salad with Jalapeño-Lime Dressing
This salad is a cool and light dinner option that will keep you full thanks to the healthy greens and plentiful protein.
Cold Cucumber Soup
Recipe: Cold Cucumber Soup
Garnish this refreshing soup with cucumber slices, fresh dill, or crunchy croutons if you so please.
Recipe: White Gazpacho
This gazpacho recipe doesn’t include tomatoes, and is reminiscent of recipes that originated in the southern Spanish region of Andalusia.
Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta Salad
Recipe: Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta Salad
This easy pasta salad is full of fresh flavors like sun-dried tomatoes, pesto, feta cheese, and basil.
The SL BLT
Recipe: The SL BLT
Nothing hits the spot like a BLT on a hot day.
Broccoli, Grape, and Pasta Salad
Recipe: Broccoli, Grape, and Pasta Salad
This salad does it all. Broccoli and bacon add crunch, while grapes add a burst of juicy summer fun.
Spaghetti with Marinated Tomatoes and Mozzarella
Just a few minutes of stove time is required to cook the spaghetti in this recipe. The rest comes together after the pasta cooks.
Brisket Tacos with Summer Salsa
Recipe: Brisket Tacos with Summer Salsa
Flavorful tacos are a favorite summer meal, and we love the bright salsa on these ones.
Four-Ingredient Slow-Cooker Pot Roast
Let this pot roast cook in your slow cooker while you enjoy your summer vacation.