Dreading summer meal prep? Don't sweat it! We've got the best tips and tricks for keeping your kitchen cool while cooking this summer…without having to order take-out!

Image of a stainless steel oven with the door partially open, with white cabinets on each side and a gray countertop. - Shelf Cooking

The dog days of summer are here, and boy are we feeling it! They say if you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen…but somebody's gotta find a way to feed the family, right?! What's an overheated mama to do??

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If you're tired of sweating it out in the kitchen while simultaneously watching your energy bill skyrocket, do we have the post for you! We've compiled our best ideas on ways to keep your kitchen cool this summer. Read on to learn how to enjoy great food without melting!

Fire Up The Grill To Keep The Kitchen Cool

Image of large bbq grill with the lid open and pizzas placed on the grate. In the background you can see the set up for an American picnic. - Shelf Cooking

There's a reason grilling is synonymous with summer, and it's not just because it's fun! Not only is it more enjoyable to barbecue in the warm summer time rather than slushing through the snow, it's the perfect way to cook a delicious dinner while keeping the heat outside!

If you don't currently have a grill there are so many options available — from fancy smoker/grill combos to simple charcoal set-ups that a lot of old school die-hards still swear by. A little patio or deck is all you need to get cooking!

Here are some of our favorite ways to use the grill and keep that kitchen nice and comfy:

  • Marinate meats like chicken, pork, beef, or seafood for extra flavor. We have a whole post dedicated to delicious marinade recipes you don't want to miss!
  • Don't forget the sides. Grill up some veggies, corn on the cob, sliced pineapple, peaches, toasted buns…we could go on and on! We've compiled a bunch of recipes and ideas HERE. You can prepare an entire meal that will taste out of this world!
  • Think creatively. Check out our post on grilling hacks that will amaze you! (Psst…did you know you can cook a frozen pizza on your grill? Try it!)

Keep The Kitchen Cool With No-Cook Meals

When we think “home-cooked meal”, most of us probably imagine roasted turkeys, casseroles, or simmering soups, which all mean one thing…heat! And when it's pushing triple digits outside (or already there!) the last thing you want to do is run your oven or stove for long periods of time.

The good news is that you CAN make delicious meals without having to use a heat source. Here are some of our favorites:

  • Need to take a dessert to a potluck? This No-Bake Strawberry Cream Pie is AH-mazing and will be requested again and again.
  • Quit cooking your oatmeal on the stove and try these overnight oat recipes instead! Easy to prep ahead in mason jars and tons of flavor combos!
  • Sandwiches and salads are your friends! You can't go wrong with cold cuts with veggies on a bun, or this delicious Spinach Strawberry Salad that is oh-so summery!
  • Check out our post of over over 20 no-cook dinners that your family will love!

Slow Cooker To The Rescue

Image of a black and stainless steel slow cooker on a wood table and food cooking inside. In front is a small wooden bowl of garlic. - Shelf Cooking

If you're thinking of how to keep your kitchen cool in the summer, utilizing a slow cooker or Instant Pot will be one of your best methods!

The low and slow cooking method of a slow cooker uses minimal energy and lets off very little heat, so you won't even notice a rise in temperature inside while still preparing a hot meal. Plus, you can throw dinner in the slow cooker in the morning and come home to something ready to go after a day of summer fun!

Need ideas for what to make in your slow cooker this summer? Well you're in the right place, of course!

Embrace Batch Cooking And Prepping

In the event that you do need to use the oven or stove, we suggest batch prepping as much food as possible at once and then popping it in the freezer for later.

Need to cook up some ground hamburger or some chicken breasts? Make extra then bag, label, and freeze the rest to use for later. That way you only need to heat up your kitchen one time, and you can easily repurpose the prepped food for tacos, burritos, salads, and sandwiches later on.

Check out this post or this post to learn more about how to make extra and repurpose leftovers for easy-peasy food prep later on.

How do you feel about summer cooking? Love the heat or hate it? Grill master or newbie? We'd love to hear in the comments!

If you're looking for more food and kitchen hacks, we've got the goods right here!

Stay frosty, friends!