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7 Better Ways To Make Dinner When It’s Hot Out

Summer Cooking

Although it’s only technically been summer for a day or two, it’s been feeling a lot like summer for some time! We’d already reinstated many of our favorite summertime “heat management” practices, like opening and closing the windows at strategic times, never ever leaving the doors open, and of course, avoiding using the oven as much as possible. (I haven’t quite gotten to the point of banning it entirely, but I’m sure we’re not far off!)

Cooking during the summer is always tricky, because it’s hard to balance your desire for a warm meal with your desire for a cool house. But there are plenty of ways to cook up a great meal without heating up your house, and I’ll be sharing a few of them with you today! So without further ado, here are 6 alternative cooking methods that will help you keep your family fed and your kitchen cool this summer. :-)

7 Ways To Cook That Will Keep Your House Cool

Summer Cooking

1. Get Out And Grill

Summer is the season of grilling and barbecuing, and you should take advantage of it as often as possible! You can cook a wide variety of foods out on your grill, including steaks, chops, chicken, pizzas, fish, veggies, and more! If you’re worried about food sticking to your grill, you might want to invest in a good set of grill mats.

Summer Cooking

2. Use Plug-In Appliances

Small appliances like your Instant Pot, crockpot, toaster oven, and electric griddle don’t give off much heat at all, so they’re great for summertime cooking. Plus, it’s a fun, creative challenge to come up with new things to cook in your small, plug-in appliances. (For instance, your waffle iron is much more versatile than you might think—check out the link below for more on that!)

Related: 15 Surprising Foods You Can Make In Your Waffle Maker

Summer Cooking

3. Take The Kitchen Outside

Even if you’re not a grilling pro, you can still find ways to take the heat of cooking outdoors. For instance, you can always set up and use your favorite electric cooker outside! Just run an extension cord out the door, find a shady spot to work, and invite the family out to enjoy your fancy new outdoor kitchen! :-)

Summer Cooking

4. Don’t Cook At All

You won’t heat up the kitchen if you don’t cook anything! During the hottest days of the summer, cold foods can be a refreshing respite from the relentless heat. There are plenty of things you can make to help beat the heat, like salads, sandwiches, wraps, and chilled soups. Yum!

Related: 8 Brilliant Things You Can Make With A Bag Of Salad

Summer Cooking

5. Do Your Cooking Early

Even during the hottest part of the summer, temperatures can still cool off quite a bit overnight. You can use this to your advantage by limiting your oven or stove use to the early morning hours, before the sun has a chance to heat up your house. It might feel a bit weird at first to cook dinner at 9am, but desperate times call for desperate measures!

Summer Cooking

6. Cook In Batches

When you do decide to turn on the oven or stove during those hot summer day, make it count! Cook extras of whatever it is that you’re cooking (whether it’s pasta, rice, hard-boiled eggs, pancakes, etc.) Keep the leftovers in your fridge or freezer to eat later.

Summer Cooking

7. Cook Over A Fire

If your local rules and regulations permit it, set up a fire pit in your backyard. (You can also check with your local parks and campgrounds to find out if they have fire pits or charcoal grills that are free to use!) Cooking over a fire is a summertime tradition, and it’s a great way to keep your house cool too.

And if you need some inspiration for what to cook over your fire, check out the link below for 10 delicious ideas!

Related: 10 Easy Foods You Need To Cook Over A Campfire This Summer

How do you keep your house cool during the dog days of summer?

Jill Nystul Photo

Jill Nystul (aka Jillee)

Jill Nystul is an accomplished writer and author who founded the blog One Good Thing by Jillee in 2011. With over 30 years of experience in homemaking, she has become a trusted resource for contemporary homemakers by offering practical solutions to everyday household challenges.
I share creative homemaking and lifestyle solutions that make your life easier and more enjoyable!

About Jillee

Jill Nystul

Jill’s 30 years of homemaking experience, make her the trusted source for practical household solutions.

About Jillee

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Food & Recipes

  • I very recently (within the past month) discovered SOLAR cooking with the power of the sun! My solar cooker is the equivalent of a slow cooker: I’ve made pot roast, beef stew, and chicken in BBQ sauce. The food cooks for about 6 hours in the solar cooker and has been delicious.

  • We had Thanksgiving in June one year — the roaster with the turkey sat on the back porch!

    At the camper, since electricity is included in our lot rent, I have dual-burner hot plate, electric skillet, big George Foreman grill, toaster, percolator, tea kettle, and a crock pot. No need for wood, charcoal, or propane.

  • One of my favorite summer meals to beat the heat is to use leftover meat (steak, chicken, pork chops) diced up over a big salad. My husband and I will have this several times a week.

  • This past week, we had three days of 95 -100 degree heat, and in this part of NorCal, few people have air conditioners! To keep the house cool on the hottest day (102 degrees), we ordered pizza! Easiest way to keep the house cool!

  • We’re definitely going to try grilling more as well as your “don’t cook” suggestion…it’s summertime, why not enjoy more fresh fruits, veggies, and salads!

  • Thanks for the history lesson. Prior to WWII this is how most women cooked. Before the Civil War, especially in the South, the more affluent kept the kitchen separate from the house. I grew up in a home without central air, a window unit, or a grill. My Mother practiced many of these tips which I still utilize today to keep the electricity bill low. Some of these tips are not practical if you work outside of the home or live in an apartment. My favorite is cooking in large batches. I also prefer fresh, uncooked fruits and vegetables in the summer. I have a solar cooking device that I am trying to learn to use. Millennials might suggest calling for food delivery, but that leaves a large carbon footprint.

  • I must say Jillee that you have one of the most useful websites on the internet. My occupation (college educator) keeps me on computers and the internet everyday, and your website is my stress reliever. I enjoy all the thought, time, and research that you put in to your posts, and I use ideas from your site frequently. Thank you and please keep up the great work!

  • Great ideas. I agree. It gets very hot and humid in Missouri in the summertime.It can be a real challenge with the heat. We try and do some cooking early. Salads or the.pasta salad mixes are great to use when it’s hot.Also using the microwave to cook some items is another great way not to overheat the kitchen.

  • I live in Florida so I certainly do know about heat and humidity.
    However, wearing an apron, sweater and a shirt beneath that will also over heat you terribly.
    Perhaps a lighter weight type clothing will help

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