Your Home Outdoors

30 No-Cook Summer Dishes for When You Absolutely Cannot Turn On the Oven

Don't sweat dinner.

July  2, 2021
Photo by Ty Mecham

I love my kitchen, I really do. But lately, I’ve been searching for every excuse under the sun to get outside. Whether it’s taking a long walk home from work, bringing my weekend reading to the park, or slipping outside for lunch, I’m making the most of our very warm, sunny weather. But some days are just too hot to think, too hot to move, and certainly too hot to cook. For those sticky, sweaty, sweltering days, make one of these no-cook summer dishes. That means that you don’t have to turn on the stove or oven to enjoy a seasonally inspired meal for lunch or dinner. I want dishes I can toss together sans stove or oven, like crispy salads, cool soups, and crunchy sandwiches. And, thankfully, summer’s bounty is ready to provide. After dinner, cool off with a frozen treat like our no-churn ice creams or dairy-free sorbets. We're in the dog days of summer, when all you want to do is sit by the A/C with a pint of ice cream. Here, I’ve gathered 30 of our freshest no-cook dishes. Now, go outside and enjoy the day!

1. Corn, Shrimp & Avocado Salad With Chipotle-Pepita Dressing

When you’re sick of the heat and don’t feel like cooking, this no-cook salad will save the day. Pro tip: Purchase fresh, precooked shrimp so that you don’t have to turn on the stove.

2. Springy Mozzarella & Chickpea Salad

This salad looks like a rainbow and is chock-full of beautiful bite-size ingredients, like mini balls of mozzarella, chickpeas, chopped cucumbers, grape tomatoes, sliced prosciutto, and a sprinkling of fresh green herbs.

3. Scallop Carpaccio

Carpaccio is one of the ultimate no-cook recipes, but it often feels a little fussy, especially for a weeknight dinner. However, when we’re working with a dish that comes together in 25 minutes and calls for just nine ingredients (including some basic pantry staples like Dijon mustard and extra-virgin olive oil), you’ve got it made in the shade on a hot summer day.

4. Musaengchae (Spicy Korean Radish Salad)

Sweet, savory, and spicy, this Korean radish salad brings together gojuchang, mirin, gochugaru, sesame seeds, and fish sauce for a no-cook side that pairs well with soup or rice (use precooked leftover rice to avoid having to turn on the stove).

5. Dressed-Up Cara Cara Oranges With Prosciutto & Pistachios

For a light and bright starter (or a light no-cook lunch), give juicy oranges an Italian spin by layering slices with prosciutto, shaved Pecorino Romano, a sprinkling of pistachios, fresh mint leaves, and a generous glug of extra-virgin olive oil.

6. Avocado Tartines With Banana & Lime From Apollonia Poilâne

This is not your average avocado toast. First things first: Use good bread. Here we are using sourdough, but you can use any thick, rustic bread you please. Top it with both mashed avocado and sliced banana (yes, both!), plus a drizzle of honey, the zest and juice of a lime, and crushed red pepper flakes for a touch of heat.

7. No-Chop Chickpea Salad

Not only is this hearty salad no-cook, it's also no-chop, meaning even less effort to throw it all together. The best part? It's super versatile and can easily bring together whatever pantry and fridge ingredients you have on hand.

8. Peruvian Shrimp Ceviche (Sivinche)

This bright, garlicky shrimp ceviche packs tons of fresh flavors and comes together in just 10 minutes. Serve it for a bright summertime dinner, or portion it into jars for a week of lunches.

9. No-Cook Tomato Sauce

So technically you'd need some cooked pasta to enjoy this number, but the buttery, tomatoey sauce is worth the boiling pot of water. It's also very good on toast or steamed rice. Store in the fridge for dinnertime emergencies.

10. Torn Pita Panzanella/Fattoush with Salad Greens, Sumac & Feta Cheese

This is a creamy, crunchy, substantial salad perfect for leftover (and maybe stale) bread. Plus, it’s flexible! Substitute whatever breads, herbs, onions, and vegetables your heart desires.

11. Chickpea "Tuna" Salad

This recipes sits squarely in the middle of hummus and a chickpea salad, meaning it can star as a side on lettuce or top toast as a filling main. Keep it in your weekly rotation for a quick dinner or a pack-and-go lunch.

12. Tomato, Peach, Chèvre & Herb Salad With Apple Vinaigrette

Tomatoes? Check. Peaches? Check. Looks like we’ve got summer on a plate, y’all. Just remember to use the best tomatoes and peaches you can find, and don't refrigerate them before using! You'll want everything juicy and flavorful at room temp.

13. Black Bean With Melon & Feta Salad

Hearty black beans and feta get a lift from crisp cucumber and watermelons in this late-summer salad. Don’t have black beans? Try this with navy or cannellini beans instead.

14. Zucchini Pasta Marinara

According to vegetable guru Gena Hamshaw, this is one of the simplest (and best!) ways to eat zucchini noodles. “The marinara sauce is raw—nothing more than blended tomatoes and some seasoning—but in spite of that it manages to taste rich and complex,” she says.

15. Viana La Place's Umbrian Black Olive Panino

We’re here to tell you that you can and should make olives into a sandwich. You’re welcome. This one's spiked with lemon and olive oil, and would be happy with a thick slab of mozzarella, thank you very much.

16. White Gazpacho

Break out the blender: This combination of cucumbers, grapes, garlic, and vinegar is best reserved for those 95°F days.

17. Raw Corn with Tomatoes, Feta & Herbs

To make this sweet, salty salad a little more satisfying, add beans. Or don’t and serve yourself double the portion.

18. Summer in Denmark Avocado Toast

Avocado toast gets a zip from cottage cheese and lemon zest for the ultimate summer spread. Be sure to eat it on very good rye bread!

19. Fruit Salad With Tahini-Coconut Dressing

Why limit no-cook just to dinner? We want this tahini-coconut dressing over all of summer’s sweet fruits.

21. No-Cook Butter Pecan Ice Cream

This creamy ice cream flavor has a buttery, nutty crunch from toasted pecans and light maple syrup sweetness. The method is a clever, quick no-cook technique that uses condensed milk to thicken the mixture.

22. Single-Serving Chocolate & Peanut Butter Cookie

A quicker-than-quick way to satisfy that sweet craving without sending the kitchen temps rising. Oats add a nice heartiness and melted chocolate is obviously a welcome guest at any cookie party. Just stick it in your freezer until it sets, and it's done.

23. Peach & Lemon Sorbet From The River Café

All you need are three ingredients—sugar, ripe yellow peaches, and a large juicy lemon—to make this dairy-free sorbet that requires no stovetop cooking. It’s exactly what we want to make, and eat, during summer.

24. No-Churn Strawberry Cheesecake Ice Cream

You don’t need a fussy ice cream maker to make this ice cream inspired by everyone’s favorite old-fashioned summer dessert. A food processor or blender will do the heavy lifting required to blend together a luscious combination of ripe strawberries, sweetened condensed milk, heavy cream, and goat cheese.

25. No-Churn Ice Cream With Vanilla Bean & Scotch

A single tablespoon of scotch makes this no-churn ice cream just a touch boozy, which is exactly what we want on a hot summer day. Recipe developer Eric Kim recommends using your favorite type of scotch, as the flavor will be plenty pronounced.

26. Honeycomb Ice Cream

Remember the old-fashioned honeycomb breakfast cereal? This frozen treat tastes just like that, but so, so much better. Honeycomb candy is made with just four ingredients—granulated sugar, corn syrup, baking soda, and salt—and is mixed with a homemade vanilla ice cream base.

27. Peaches & Sour Cream Ice Cream

Instead of using heavy cream, condensed milk, or eggs to make ice cream, this version calls for 2 cups of sour cream. The result is an extra-tangy, super-duper-creamy scoop that is the only thing we want to eat when the heat index is over 100°F.

28. No-Churn Avocado Ice Cream With Lime & Coconut

For a dairy-free dessert to make when it’s so hot outside that even your moisture-wicking clothes are drenched in sweat (sorry for the visual, but we’ve all had those moments!), enjoy a large cone or cup of this avocado and mango ice cream.

29. No-Churn Chocolate Soft Serve Ice Cream

If you missed the ice cream truck coming down your street, this dark chocolate soft serve ice cream will do the trick. Kids and adults alike will run to the freezer for a couple of scoops to cool off (and have something sweet to eat, too).

30. Mango Sorbet With a Chocolate-Chile Ripple

“Sorbet is as refreshing as dessert gets—but so many versions are cloyingly sweet. In this recipe, a few bonus ingredients make all the difference: lime juice, salt, dark chocolate, and chipotle powder,” says recipe developer Emma Laperruque. It’s the ultimate vegan treat to enjoy after a day spent in the sun.

What's your favorite no-cook meal? Share your recipes in the comments below!
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A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Liz Summers
    Liz Summers
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    Renate Elyse Smith
Katie is a food writer and editor who loves cheesy puns and cheesy cheese.


Liz S. July 8, 2021
Instant Pot for summer, no oven things: pasta for cold pasta salad, potato-eggs for potato salad, steamed beets (I love sliced, steamed beets with goat cheese and microgreens ... sandwich or salad).
Wayne June 17, 2018
tuna salad, chips & dips, and Margaritas.
Renate E. June 12, 2018
Actually, I hate the summer, which is why I REALLY appreciate these suggestions!!!
Liz S. July 8, 2021
Me, too ... re not a fan of Summer!! I take exception to the Cara Cara Orange recipe ... WHERE, exactly are you finding Cara Cara Oranges in July???