19 No-Cook Meals & Cold Dinner Ideas because It’s Hot Outside

There are some classic summer recipes here

When you’re sweating it out in the summer, the last thing you want to do is turn on the stove and make an elaborate dinner. From refreshing salads and cold dinner ideas to delicious wraps, we’ve whipped up a list of our favorite summer recipes that don’t involve cooking. Take a break from the oven and make one of these tasty no-cook meals!

Shrimp Spring Rolls

These fresh and delicious shrimp spring rolls from Tastes Better from Scratch are such an easy cold dinner idea, you’ll want to add them to your recipe rotation ASAP.

Chopped Thai-Inspired Chicken Salad

Thai chicken salad is a cold dinner idea
Pinch of Yum

Grab a bag of pre-shredded cabbage and carrots, roast chicken, peanuts, and other yummy ingredients like ginger, soy, and of course, peanut butter, and whip up this Thai-inspired chicken salad from Pinch of Yum without ever having to turn on the stove or oven.

Easy Summer Corn Salad

corn salad is a great cold dinner idea, a great no cook meal and an easy summer recipe

Great as a side or a delicious dinner, this summer corn salad is refreshing and light. Made with a homemade dressing, you can easily dress up this salad by adding a protein and make it easier, by chopping up everything the night before! Find the recipe at Hip2Save.

Best Ever Chicken Salad

Chicken salad is a perfect cold dinner idea and a classic summer recipe
How to Feed a Loon

Psst! The secret to this chicken salad from How to Feed a Loon—besides fresh and simple ingredients—is that it uses rotisserie chicken. It makes the prep work extra easy and the result extra delicious. Enjoy it as a sandwich or on top of a bed of lettuce!

Mexican Bean Salad

Mexican bean salad is a good no-cook meal and one of the easiest cold dinner ideas

Now, this is our kind of cooking: the most work you’ll have to do for this Mexican-inspired salad is chopping and opening a few cans of beans. And since letting it sit helps the flavors meld together, it tastes even better the day after you make it. To get the recipe, click here.

Tomato Marinara Sauce

Heather Ford via Unsplash

Your mind will be blown when you try this tomato sauce that doesn’t require any cooking at all. Just throw all the ingredients into the blender or food processor and prepare to be impressed. Click here to grab the recipe.

Chicken Taco Pinwheels

chicken taco pinwheels are a good cold dinner idea and an easy summer recipe
Lisa’s Dinnertime Dish

These tasty pinwheels from Lisa’s Dinnertime Dish make the perfect lunch or light dinner. With an assist from a rotisserie chicken, a little spinach, and a sprinkling of taco seasoning, they’re as tasty as they are a healthy summer recipe. 

Related: 25 Cold Pasta Salad Recipes (because It’s Just Too Hot)

Crab Rolls

One of our favorite cold dinner ideas! Inspired by the classic lobster roll, you can make these with pre-cooked crab from the store. With a few other ingredients, you’ll have a no-cook meal ready in under 30 minutes. Click on the picture for this incredible summer recipe.

Chicken Caesar Pasta Salad

chicken Caesar pasta salad recipe
Life Made Simple

What do you get when you combine pasta and Caesar salad? This dish from Life Made Simple! It’s loaded with all the classic flavors you expect—crisp romaine, pasta, chicken, cherry tomatoes, and lots of cheese! 

No Noodle Pad Thai

Cookie and Kate

It doesn’t get much more refreshing than this noodle-free pad Thai by Cookie and Kate. Fresh and crunchy veggies are coated with a sweet, tangy, slightly salty peanut sauce to make a fabulous light dinner.

Open Sandwich with Cold Cut Salad

no-cook meals
A Gourmet Food Blog

This Dutch recipe from A Gourmet Food Blog has all the makings of an instant kid favorite: crusty bread, lunchmeat and a little mayo. It’s a fun way to take your bologna sandwich to the next level.

Rainbow Raw-maine Taco Boats

no-cook meals
Minimalist Baker

For a super fresh and satisfying dinner, you’ve got to try this fun take on taco boats from Minimalist Baker. Veggies are nestled into leaves of romaine, then it’s all drizzled with hummus and a creamy tahini sauce.

Bagel Toast

no-cook meals
The View from Great Island

When it’s too hot to contemplate cooking, a bagel bar is THE way to go. There are a million delicious ways you can layer them up, and the results can be as hearty and healthy as you want. Get inspired to make your own over at The View from Great Island.


Related: 14 Trader Joe’s Products Perfect for a Summer Cookout

Kiddie Cobb Salad

this kiddie cobb salad is a great cold dinner idea
Mom's Kitchen Handbook

Here’s a win-win idea from Mom’s Kitchen Handbook: skip the over-complicated summer meal and get the kids to eat more greens. They’ll love this cobb salad, which sports delicious add-ons like avocado, smoked turkey, and egg. 

Mozzarella and Tomato Salad

Caprese salad is a classic summer recipe, a great cold dinner idea and a great no cook meal
Bryony Elena via Unsplash

When you need a summertime meal, keep it simple! Combine fresh mozzarella and tomatoes for an easy peasy, kid-approved salad. For the quick how-to, (courtesy of Chef Brendan Collins), click here.

Gouda Rollups

these cheese roll ups are an easy cold dinner ideas

These rollups from Arla are a great way to change up a lunch routine or give your usual summertime dinner a new spin. Use your favorite cheese, add in some extra veggies for a healthy kick, and you’re good to go!

Antipasto Salad

no-cook meals
Dinner at the Zoo

Psst! Looking for a salad that won’t trigger your picky eater’s veggie radar? This no-cook meal from Dinner at the Zoo is loaded with meat, cheese, olives and yes, veggies, so it’s got a range of tasty ingredients. You can even top it off with a homemade Italian-style dressing!

Southwestern Veggie Hummus Wrap

hummus veggie wraps are one of the best cold dinner ideas and they are an easy summer recipe
Chelsea's Messy Apron

This delicious wrap idea from Chelsea’s Messy Apron is super flavorful and even includes hummus and a bunch of good-for-you vitamins and minerals. Eat it straight-up as a summertime salad or just have a tasty wrap for dinner!

Greek Salad

Jeffrey Betts/Unsplash

For a cold dinner idea that everyone will love, why not go the classic route of sweet tomatoes, crisp cucumber, and tangy feta? This salad is a cinch for picky eaters—just arrange it on the table salad-bar style, which allows each family member to create their own unique dish. Snag the recipe for this no-cook meal here.

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