20 Hot Weather Dinner Ideas

Hot Weather Dinner Ideas - Ricotta Toast with Zucchini

Those hot summer days have hit and while that battle for dinner ideas is a year round one in our house, the struggle for hot weather dinner ideas seems the most difficult.

While I love seasonal summer recipes, not all days and dinner needs are equal, so here are just the dinner ideas you need for hot weather.

Hot Weather Dinner Ideas - Zucchini Quesadillas

Hot Weather Dinner Ideas

The difficulty is multifaceted in my humble, experienced opinion. First, when it’s so hot and you can sense how tired your A/C is from trying to keep the house comfortable, the last thing you want to do is turn on the oven or have lots of pans on the stove.

If that weren’t bad enough, I find that the heat makes me more tired if I’ve been outdoors much (or even a little some days) – I just don’t have energy to do a full meal.

And while I’d be perfectly content with peanut butter toast and fruit for dinner upon occasion, my husband needs a full meal and, let’s be real, I probably do too!

And then sometimes that later sunset times usually find me scrambling for dinner when I realize it about 5 minutes until the time we normally eat!

So here are a slew of ideas. Some require a few minutes on a pan (like grilled cheese and quesadillas).

Others require a pot of boiling water, but it’s just one pot and just for the length of time it takes to make pasta.

Toast Recipes for Dinner

Hot Weather Cooking Tips

Because we have to eat in the summer and life just doesn’t always let you prepare for everything in advance (I’ve also never been a meal planner), I have a few things that help with hot weather dinner ideas.

The first one requires some planning and a fair bit of “cooking for an army.” Anytime I plan to turn on the oven or grill to cook anything, I try to make extra, so I can easily reuse and reheat it later.


Spring Summer Sustainable Seasonal Cookbooks

Usually this is for roasting or grilling veggies, but also grilling or broiling meat (often chicken breast for us). Grilled veggies and meat can easily be reheated or, my favorite, put into a tasty taco really only requiring me to also heat up a tortilla!

I also will make extra rice or quinoa, boil up some extra pasta when possible, or make extra polenta. Anything I can make once and not twice is a win in my book.

Grilled Cheese Meal Ideas

I’m also a fanatical user of our toaster oven. If you have a toaster oven, I hope you’re using to bits. Toaster ovens are great because they can get up to hot oven temps without heating up the house (almost at all).

I use our toaster oven pretty much every night in the summer to roast veggies, broil meat, or reheat food (as we don’t have a microwave).

Along these same lines, any plug-in electric kitchen appliance is likely to be just as good. Crockpots – actually a fabulous thing in summer for cooking full meals without the heat. If air fryers or pressure cookers are your thing, then go for it!

See how to organize your kitchen appliances.

Quesadillas for Hot Weather Dinners

And don’t be afraid to amend a recipe. You’ll find that most of my recipes include roasted veggies because that’s how I love them, but if I didn’t have my toaster oven, I would just sauté them in a pan rather than turning on my big oven. Make the recipes work for you!

A similar idea is to make rice paper spring rolls like the ones in this collection of Vietnamese recipes – very little cooking.

One Pot Pasta Recipes

More Hot Weather Dinner Ideas

If you need some simple side dish ideas, try squash and parmesan (preferably the microwave method), honeydew skewers, and this Mediterranean Cucumber Salad (with or without quinoa)!

Zucchini Quesadillas
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5 from 4 votes

20 Hot Weather Dinner Ideas

Enjoy one of these 20 recipes for hot weather dinner ideas when it's just too hot to cook!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time10 minutes
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Keyword: dinner, easy dinner, summer
Servings: 2
Calories: 406kcal
Author: Luci Petlack



  • 1 ear sweet corn grilled or boiled
  • 2 green onions sliced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • teaspoon fine sea salt


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup diced zucchini
  • ¼ cup diced yellow onion
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Pinch ground black pepper
  • 2 large 10-in spinach or herb tortillas
  • ¾ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese



  • To make the salsa, cut the kernels off the cob and place in a medium bowl. Stir in the other ingredients and set aside.


  • Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini and onion and cook until the vegetables being to soften and brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in the salt and pepper. Turn off the heat.
  • Place one tortilla on a large plate. Spread the cheese evenly over it. Top with the warm vegetables and spread evenly. Place the second tortilla on top.
  • Return the same skillet used to cook the vegetables to medium-high heat. Slide the quesadilla into the skillet and cook for 1 to 2 minutes on each side, until browned.
  • Slide it onto a cutting board and cut into wedges. Serve warm topped with the corn salsa.


Calories: 406kcal | Carbohydrates: 33g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 42mg | Sodium: 1110mg | Potassium: 414mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 736IU | Vitamin C: 19mg | Calcium: 371mg | Iron: 2mg

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