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When It’s too Hot to Cook Summer Dinner Ideas (Easy)

The very last thing you want to do on hot summer nights is heat up the kitchen more with a hot stove! What you need is a meal plan of hot summer days easy dinners that the whole family loves like this list of when it’s too hot to cook summer dinner ideas (easy) ! Like a list of Oprah’s Favorite Things, here’s a list of simple recipe items that use low heat appliances like the air fryer, Instant pot or gas grill and are perfect easy summer dinner recipes. 

Salad for when it's too hot to cook summer dinner ideas (easy)!
Make sure you get some of every layer of your cornbread salad!

When hot weather arrives you need simple ingredients, fresh veggies, and fresh flavors to assemble into a delicious dinner on hot days! Here’s a great list to bookmark these for your recipe box and keep handy rather than cook dinner in a heat wave! 

1. My Mom’s Taco Pie

With minimal effort you can have a delicious meal with this awesome Taco Pie! It’s perfect for when it’s too hot to cook in the summer time! It’s straight out of my own mothers recipe box and uses ground beef, sour cream and refrigerated biscuits for an easy summer recipes. 

Taco Pie for when it's too hot.

A great use for a pound of ground beef and all you do is assemble it and pop it in the oven. You can even make it ahead, refrigerate and then bake on the night you plan to enjoy it for dinner. TIP: Bake it in your toaster oven to cut down on kitchen heat!  Pair with a fresh fruit salad for a colorful and deliciously lite dinner. 

2. Steakhouse Potato Salad

Oh boy, make this ahead and stick in the fridge. You won’t be sorry that you have this Steakhouse Potato Salad as a side for any lighter fare! Delicious and cold is perfect when it’s too hot to cook in the summer time! Pair with your favorite charcuterie board and some tortilla chips or a pasta salad and burgers on the grill for a perfect summer salad recipes! 

steakhouse potato salad on a fork when it's hot!

3. Summer Cherry Tomato Salad

Speaking of side dishes, try this Summer Cherry Tomato Salad for a no cook summer meals! Pair it with some nutty toast coated with cream cheese and use rotisserie chicken on top and that’s the perfect summer meal! 

Summer Cherry Tomato Salad for a summer dinner.

4. Southern Style Chicken Salad Using Rotisserie Chicken

Of all the chicken recipes out there, this Southern Style Chicken Salad Using Rotisserie Chicken might be one of my favorite main dish items. You can pull it together in minutes tops and using that rotisserie chicken you get a fresh taste in less time that it takes to shout hallelujah!

TIP: You could use this in a spring roll bowls by putting it over some crunchy chips, topping wiht fresh tomatoes and a drizzle of something sweet as well as some roasted sweet potatoes. Sounds crazy, right? It’s delicious! 

You can find larger inexpensive rotisserie chicken at Sams’ Club and Costco!

An image of easy rotisserie chicken salad sandwich on a croissant with the chicken salad falling out the sides and lettuce poking out under the chicken salad

5. Chicken Tacos

Chicken Tacos anyone? You can use that same rotisserie chicken for tasty adulting and only cooking (warming up) the tortillas, black beans and some queso! Delicious

Old El Paso Taco Instructions

6. Marinated Pork Chops

These marinated pork chops are just delicious using soy sauce and other pantry staples AND you can use the same marinade and make these thin pork chops! It’s a no brainer to marinate them, throw them on the grill and then sprinkle with fresh herbs. Pair with a pasta or potato salad and some summer cocktails for the perfect end to the day! 

a photo of Marinated Pork chops on a silver plate with two forks

7. Pineapple Mango Chicken

A dish that uses chicken thighs is always forgiving and this one is no different. Plus, it has those fresh fruit flavors of summer AND it’s a one pan wonder! You can’t beat Pineapple Mango Chicken for the best results and sweet flavors! Pair with a delicious salad and you’ve got dinner licked, literally! 

pan of pineapple mango chicken

8. Watermelon Salad

Did someone say “no cook recipes”? This watermelon salad is not only cool and refershing, it’s easy and a no cook item! Need I say more? Talk about easy recipes! It’s the perfect combination of flavors and a great way to get that taste of home! 

Watermelon Fruit Salad

9. Meatballs with a Dipping Sauce

One of my favorite summer meals is to offer meatballs with a choice of dipping sauces! Simply make the meatballs in this article ahead of time (cook them too) and freeze them.

On the summer day you don’t feel like cooking, retrieve them from the freezer, allow them to thaw, throw them on a grill pan and grill on the gas grill until heated through.

pot of meatballs

Whip up a couple of sauces like this Yum yum sauce or this marinara sauce. Then serve the whole thing with a grocery store salad and some garlic toast and YOU are in business!

10. Whole Chicken in a Crockpot

Can you plop a whole chicken in a crockpot, apply salt and pepper, put the lid on, turn it on and walk away for 8 hours? That’s the perfect way to make dinner when it’s too hot to cook in the summertime! I make this recipe and it’s better than a rotisserie chicken, promise!

Use it for chicken tacos, you can just have it as pieces of chicken. The leftovers make a great chicken salad. Use it to top a salad and then give it a creamy dressing. Serve it over rice noodles with an asian sauce. It’s a completely fresh take on choosing a grocery store precooked chicken. 

A photo of the rotisserie chicken, purple grapes and a celery stalk for easy rotisserie chicken salad

If you give these 10 “when it’s too hot to cook summer dinner ideas (easy)” dinners a try, I hope you’ll visit me on social media, leave me a photo and a comment in the comment section below! I LOVE hearing from you!

Wendi is the writer, CEO and dishwasher at Loaves and Dishes! When not in the kitchen or behind the computer, you can find Wendi serving on International Food Conference Boards, Speaking at various conferences, Leading and Cooking for the local Arts Council's "Taste of Stokes" events or donating home cooked goodies to various local non profits such as the Danbury Songwriters and Stokes Partnership for Children. Wendi is also a Registered Nurse with a Master's Degree and serves on her town's board of councilmen.


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