Home Cooks Are Sharing Their Favorite Go-To Meals For Hot Summer Weather (And The Vast Majority Aren't Even Salads)

·8 min read

I dunno about you, but where I live, the weather is starting to get HOT. And when I can no longer walk down the street without dripping in sweat, the last thing I want to do is touch (or even look at) my stove or oven.

NBC / Via giphy.com

In preparation for summer, u/pambannedfromchilis asked the home cooks of Reddit to share their favorite "no-cook or cool foods" for hot days, and I'm pleased to report that they're A) exceptionally delicious, and B) not all salads.

These are some of the best responses — and for good measure, I even added some of my personal favorites that are made on repeat all summer long. Stay cool, folks! 🥵

1."Pasta alla crudaiola. It's one of my summer favorites, and it's ultra simple. Just smash up some garlic with olive oil, salt, and pepper, add diced fresh tomatoes and any hard cheese you'd like, then toss together with pasta and fresh basil."

Pasta alla crudaiola

"It's kind of like pasta salad, but it's best freshly-tossed and still slightly warm. It's super refreshing and delicious if your ingredients are prime!"


Getty Images

2."Smashed cucumber salad (or pai huang gua) is so easy and SO refreshing. It's a traditional Chinese dish that's commonly served during super hot months, and it's really just a matter of cutting and smashing some cukes and letting them marinade in a simple dressing. The best part: The longer it sits, the better it gets."

—Ross Yoder

—Ross Yoder

Lisa Lin / Healthy Nibbles and Bits / Via healthynibblesandbits.com

3."Charcuterie boards. Summer life improved drastically when I realized I was an adult and I can have snacks for dinner."

charcuterie board
Natasha's Kitchen / Via natashaskitchen.com

4."Liang ban ji. Chinese cuisine has hundreds of cold dishes which normally require some cooking, but are best made in advance and served cold. This one is my favorite..."

liang ban ji - cold chicken in scallion and ginger sauce

"It's just poaching a chicken with ginger and scallion, cooling it, then shredding it and pouring a sauce overtop. It's very common and very tasty."


Chris Terry / Via seriouseats.com

5."Here in the UK, we do a 'Ploughman's Lunch.' It's basically a snack plate of whatever you want — we do sausage, cheese, olives, pickles, some different mustards, and some cut up fruit thrown into the mix."

ploughman's lunch
Tornadoflight / Getty Images/iStockphoto

6."Egg salad, but don't hard boil the eggs! When you really want egg salad but don't want a pot of water boiling in your house, There is no compelling reason why egg salad has to be made from hard-boiled eggs specifically."

egg salad

"Bring a few ounces of water to simmer in a pan. Crack a half dozen eggs in there, cover it and wait. You're chopping the eggs up anyway, so it doesn't really matter whether they were round or flat when they were whole."


Julia Gartland / Via food52.com

7."Mul naengmyeon is a cold Korean 'noodle soup.' It's just thin buckwheat noodles that are boiled and rinsed in cold water, and the broth is cooled and added to the noodles with ice."

Mul naengmyeon

"I made this dish while camping in the July heat. It's become so popular with my friends that it was dubbed the 'magic soup' by them, since it's so cooling and refreshing on a hot summer day."


My Korean Kitchen / Via mykoreankitchen.com

8."I love making cold soba noodle salad with leftover chicken, leftover veggies, plus raw veggies like peppers, carrots, and celery."

sobad noodle salad
Pinch of Yum / Via pinchofyum.com

9."We eat lots of tacos, where the only thing you have to cook is the protein. You can obviously eat them with the protein still warm, but they're also great at room temperature using leftovers with a cool salsa or slaw."

plate of chicken tacos with sliced limes on the side

"My husband smokes and grills a lot of meat, so I'll package up portions and freeze them for tacos specifically. That way, I'll never have to heat up the house cooking them!"


Chas53 / Getty Images/iStockphoto

10."Pasta salad. There are satisfying cold foods out there that aren't sandwiches!"

pasta salad
Inspired Taste / Via inspiredtaste.net

11."I make Vietnamese summer rolls wrapped in rice paper. They're so nice on hot days — you'll feel full without feeling weighed down, since being full of heavy or oily food on hot days sucks."

vietnamese summer rolls

12."Tomato sandwiches. The secret is to season the heck out of 'em. Perfectly-ripe tomatoes with lots of salt and pepper sandwiched between two slices of bread (with mayo, of course) is as good as it gets, and it takes all of one minute to prepare."

tomato sandwich two halves

—Ross Yoder

Food52 / Via food52.com

13."In Bulgaria, we make tarator. It's a cold soup that's one of the most delicious and refreshing meals you could eat on a hot day, and it's made in 5–10 minutes."

tarator cucumber yogurt soup

"It's basically yogurt with diced fresh cucumber, salt, oil, dill, and crushed garlic (plus walnuts if you're feeling fancy). It can last for several days in the fridge, too, so it's easy to prep in advance. It's our national go-to soup for the summer!"


Black Sea Drones Studio / Getty Images/iStockphoto

14."Curry chicken salad. It's so easy when you use store-bought rotisserie chicken and eat it with pieces of store-bought naan."

curry chicken salad with crackers
Budget Bytes / Via budgetbytes.com

15."Homemade 'sorbet' is the best warm weather dessert. Just blitz some frozen fruit with Greek yogurt, a splash of liquid (like milk or almond milk), and a dash of vanilla extract in the food processor."

sorbet in food processor
Gimme Delicious / Via gimmedelicious.com

16."Watermelon salad is a great side (or app). Just watermelon chunks, big pieces of feta cheese, and torn mint leaves. So easy, but so impressive."

watermelon salad with feta and mint
Two Peas & Their Pod / Via twopeasandtheirpod.com

17."I love making poke (or poke-inspired) bowls, and if you, like me, always have leftover rice in the fridge, there's no cooking required! If buying and preparing raw fish intimidates you, I've also been known to use pre-cooked shrimp...or imitation crab...or honestly, canned salmon or tuna."

poke bowl

—Ross Yoder

The Recipe Critic / Via therecipecritic.com

18."Rotisserie chicken-based salads are my best friend during the hot summer months here in Louisiana. You can pretty much make them to match whatever flavor profile you desire."

rotisserie chicken in salad
How Sweet Eats / Via howsweeteats.com

19."Cucumber sandwiches. Just to say it, cuke sammies are highly underrated."

cucumber sandwiches
Jo Cooks / Via jocooks.com

20."My wife and I like to make gazpacho with parmesan crisps for really hot days. Keeps in the fridge damn near forever as well."

gazpacho in a bowl
Gimme Some Oven / Via gimmesomeoven.com

21."Mexican shrimp cocktail (or coctel de camarones). Serve it in a halved avocado, and it's a meal that's perfect for hot weather."

mexican shrimp cocktail
Little Spice Jar / Via littlespicejar.com

22."Homemade veggie flatbreads. If I know there's going to be a series of really hot days, I'll make a huge batch of pizza dough and roll it into large, thin squares..."

Veggie flatbread

"I then brush them with a bit of oil, sprinkle seasoning on them, and bake. They'll store for up to a week in an air-tight container. Come meal time on a hot day, I'll spread cream cheese on it then top it with a mountain of veggies — like pickled red onion, cucumber, avocado, cabbage, shredded carrots, or even smoked salmon and balsamic glaze.

It's one of my absolute favorite meals on a hot day. You could even use store-bought flatbread of pizza dough, if you'd prefer."


Laura in the kitchen / Via youtube.com

23."Coconut shrimp in the air fryer. When I do have to cook, I utilize my Instant Pot (and air fryer lid) a LOT more than my stove or oven, since it doesn't generate all that much heat. So even making coconut shrimp is much less heat-producing than frying them in oil on the stove."

Ontherunphoto / Getty Images/iStockphoto

24."We occasionally enjoy what I call 'dip for dinner.' We'll just pick up some store-bought hummus, baba ganoush, cut up some veggies for dipping, and finish with some pita or pita chips."

baba ganoush on a platter with veggies

"Basically, you can go anywhere you want with it. Leave out the hummus, make guacamole instead, or do whatever you want. Dip! It's what's for dinner."


Cookie & Kate / Via cookieandkate.com

25."For the vegetarians out there: chickpea salad sandwiches! They can usually be made with all store-bought ingredients, so you just have to mix it together and store it in the fridge. If you don't want to eat it with bread, you can even have it with crackers as a 'dip.'"

chickpea salad sandwiches
Budget Bytes / Via budgetbytes.com

26."Caprese salad for the win — no cooking, just slicing and arranging!"

caprese salad
Love & Lemons / Via loveandlemons.com

27."BLTs! Yes, you do have to cook the bacon...but you can easily do that in advance (or buy the already-cooked kind). Everything else is cold, and it truly only takes a minute to assemble."

BLT on a platter
The Food Charlatan / Via thefoodcharlatan.com

28."I'm from Poland. During hot days, I love chlodnik — a cold beet soup. It's so simple. Just top it with yogurt and herbs, but you can also add things like radishes, cucumbers, or even hard-boiled eggs if you'd like."

chlodnik beet soup
Food52 / Via food52.com

What's your favorite meal to "cook" (or assemble) as the weather starts to get warmer? Drop it in the comments below! 👇