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What to Make When it’s Too Hot to Cook

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What to Make When It’s Too Hot to Cook. Believe me, I get it! Here are 14+ low-cook and no-cook meals you can make when it’s too hot to cook! 

Collage of Images of Low Cook and No Cook Dinners To Make When It's Too Hot To Cook From One Lovely Life

The weather report shows that temperatures are going to hit between 116-118 degrees Fahrenheit this Saturday. That, my friends, is HOT.

If you’re like we are, you’re spending a lot of time in the sun in the summer. And, even if you’re at an air-conditioned desk all day, by the time you walk into your kitchen, it’s HOT. And that means it’s time to make something that doesn’t require a lot of oven time or effort.

Maybe it’s just me, but when the temperature is soaring in the summer, I lose some of my cooking motivation. It’s just hard for me to muster up enthusiasm over heating up my kitchen at a hot stove when it’s well over 100 degrees outside, especially if we’re ravenous from spending the afternoon swimming or running around the splash pad.

Since I know this “it’s too hot to cook!” mentality hits me hard (usually at *least* through June and July), I’m arming myself with a collection of easy, low-cook and no-cook meals and dishes I can turn to when heat has overcome my inspiration and I don’t want to stand around in a hot kitchen cooking.

Here are 14 tried-and-true delicious summer dinners for the hottest of summers.

Whole30, Paleo Chicken Lettuce Wraps from One Lovely Life


There’s a reason this is one of the all-time most popular recipes on my blog. It’s delicious, and it’s on the table in about 15 minutes. Everyone claims their lettuce wraps are just like the P.F. Chang’s ones, but these really are remarkably close. Served on cool, crisp lettuce leaves with my favorite dipping sauce, they’re perfect on hot summer days.

craving a flavor twist?

Front view of an apple cranberry chicken salad sandwich made with a gluten-free bun on a white plate.


Chicken salad with is the perfect way to use leftover rotisserie, poached, roasted, or even grilled chicken. Serve on toast, in wraps, as a sandwich with bread, spooned over greens, or scooped into lettuce leaves. SO easy. So good.

Italian Chopped Salad with Italian Dressing from One Lovely Life


I love ordering big chopped salads like this at restaurants, but they’re also super simple to make at home! This easy chopped salad doesn’t require any cooking at all. Cold cuts, pantry staples, and plenty of fresh produce make this salad easy and fast. And the tangy Italian dressing ties everything all together! It’s a delicious meal any day of the week.

PRO TIP: Serve the components separately and let everyone build their own salad just the way they like! 

Three Peanut Butter Acai Bowls topped with fresh berries, banana, granola, and peanut butter.


Creamy, refreshing acai bowls are the PERFECT way to cool down on a hot day and make a delicious no-cook dinner. Top them with whatever fresh fruit you have on hand, plus a little granola and your tastebuds are on their way to a tropical vacation!

fall in love with one of these acai bowls:

Close up view of BLT Salad with Gluten Free Croutons from One Lovely Life


Everything you love about a BLT in salad form! You can follow my steps to cook your own bacon and make homemade croutons if you want or feel free to add pre-cooked bacon and store-bought croutons to speed things up and cut down on the already pretty minimal cooking time. (The creamy dressing is going to blow your mind!)

Thai Chopped Salad from One Lovely Life, with lettuce, cabbage, carrots, pepper, cucumber, green onions, cilantro, chicken, and Thai peanut sauce drizzle


Talk about a gorgeous salad! This Thai chopped salad uses colorful veggies, some serious crunch, and a creamy peanut or cashew dressing on top to pull it all together. All you do is slice and dice a few ingredients to toss with a yummy dressing–no oven required! Your tastebuds will never be the same again. (Use leftover rotisserie chicken or grilled chicken to make this a totally no-cook dinner!)

Mango Guacamole Chicken Wrap cut in half on a white plate

7. Mango Guacamole Chicken Wraps

Mango. guacamole. I’ll let that sink in for a second. It’s the star of the show here. Serve it wrapped up in a tortilla or wrap (gluten-free, paleo, or wheat-based), or put the chicken in lettuce leaves and dollop the guacamole right on top. Or, just eat the guacamole with a spoon. I’ll never tell.

Black Bean Tostadas topped with Cilantro Slaw and Mango Salsa from One Lovely Life


This vegan black bean tostada recipe is one of my favorites. From the quick guacamole to the tangy slaw to the mango salsa, they’re FRESH, easy and totally perfect on nights it’s too hot to cook.

or, use some of these building blocks to make your own tostadas:

Overhead view of a glass mixing bowl of healthy taco pasta salad on a white background


If you’re willing to cook some pasta, the rest of this easy dinner comes together in a FLASH. Think taco salad + pasta salad. This is the best of both worlds, and the dressing is CRAZY good. We make this on repeat all summer long!

Jars of Paleo Granola Fruit and Yogurt Parfaits with fresh fruit scattered around the background.


Hello layer up on layer of flavor! If you really need something light and fresh, these fruit & yogurt parfaits are calling your name! My berry puree tastes amazing with dairy or non-dairy yogurt, and you can add whatever granola or fresh fruit you fancy. (Add a side of scrambled eggs or some toast or muffins to fill this out a bit for dinner, if you want!) My kids LOVE this dinner!

Bonus trick: you can even mix these up in advance, pop them in the fridge & sprinkle with granola right before serving!

BBQ Ranch Chicken Salad in a large white bowl with a blue and white striped kitchen towel in the background.


One of my favorite summer recipes! Stir some of your favorite BBQ Sauce into some leftover cooked chicken, and get ready to make this amazing BBQ Ranch Chicken Salad. Lots of summer veggies and my creamy BBQ ranch dressing make it ultra crave-able.

have a minute to work in advance? try this slow cooker hack!

Make a batch of this Slow Cooker BBQ Chicken. Use some of it to make this salad, then use the rest to make BBQ Chicken Pizza, Stuffed Baked Potatoes, sandwiches, and more! It freezes well, so feel free to make a double batch!

Two bowls of Thai Quinoa Salad with Peanut Dressing


This gorgeous quinoa salad can be made with all sorts of summer-ripe veggies, so feel free to mix and match from whatever looks good at the market! The dressing will bring it all together! Look for bags of cooked quinoa in the freezer section to save time–they only need a few minutes to warm up in the microwave when you don’t feel like cooking!

quinoa salad is the best! try one of these other flavors, too!

Overhead view of a white bowl of vegetarian black bean taco salad with crispy torilla strips and chipotle ranch dressing


We eat a lot of salads in the summer, but this one is one of our all-time favorites all year long. We love taco salads in all their forms and this one doesn’t require any cooking at all if you use pre-made tortilla strips. The veggies, creamy chipotle ranch dressing and crispy tortilla strips make this one INCREDIBLE.

BLT Chicken salad scooped into avocado halves

14. BLT Chicken Salad Avocado Cups

Dreams really do come true. So many favorite things in one meal–bacon, lettuce, tomato, avocado. Really, any kind of chicken salad is amazing in an avocado cup. Trust me. (Plus, this can be a great keto option, if that’s your jam!)

Six Slices of Gluten-Free toast with different toppings on a white background.


When you REALLY don’t feel like cooking, it’s nice when you can turn something ordinary like toast into a satisfying meal. This post is packed with LOTS of savory and sweet ideas for toast, plus six of our favorite combinations. Each one is hearty enough to count as a meal with some simple fruits or veggies on the side!

Collage of Images of Low Cook and No Cook Dinners To Make When It's Too Hot To Cook From One Lovely Life

What are YOUR favorite no-cook or low-cook meals? 

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