Recipes That Won't Heat Up The Kitchen

Closeup of Crock-Pot Mac & Cheese on a Fork Over a White Porcelain Bowl of It, Selective Focus


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Closeup of Crock-Pot Mac & Cheese on a Fork Over a White Porcelain Bowl of It, Selective Focus

Off the Rack

Whether you don't have access to an oven and stovetop or simply don't want to heat up your house in the summer, you can prepare diverse and satisfying recipes without those conveniences. Instead, rely on smaller appliances such as a microwave, a slow cooker, a pressure cooker, a multicooker such as an Instant Pot, or a blender — or just a bowl, a fridge, and a little time. Here are 35 morning-to-night recipes to get you started. Do you have other favorites in this category? Tell us in the comments.

Related: Easy Recipes You Can Make in 20 Minutes or Less

Four Loaded Potatoes on an Artisanal Wooden Board, Selective Focus, Surrounded By Herbs
Brent Hofacker/shutterstock
Selective Focus of Several Baked Buffalo Wings on a Wooden Cutting Board with Dipping Sauce and Celery
Joshua Resnick/shutterstock
Four Microwave Beef Enchiladas in a Blue-Lined White Enamel Gratin Dish, on a Lavender-Colored Cloth on a White Wooden Table
Bartosz Luczak/shutterstock


Sometimes a dish of hot, bubbly enchiladas is the kind of comfort food you need. This recipe uses the microwave for every step of the cooking. Proteins such as eggs, tofu, beans, or mushrooms can stand in for beef.

Recipe: Food.

A Filet of Cooked Salmon on a White Porcelain Plate, Selective Focus, with a Lemon, on a Table


The microwave actually does a great job of cooking salmon. It's super quick and easy and comes out consistently each time, taking the guesswork out of stovetop or oven cooking times.

Recipe: Joy Bauer

Many Ravioli with Ripe Tomatoes on a Round Black Porcelain Plate, a Fork Next to It, Two Basil Leaves
Anna Shepulova/shutterstock


Ravioli makes an inexpensive yet complete meal — even in a microwave. A mix of ripe tomato and herbs complements the pasta well.

Recipe: Delish

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Closeup of Crock-Pot Mac & Cheese on a Fork Over a White Porcelain Bowl of It, Selective Focus

Mac and Cheese

You might think that, without a stove, the only option for mac and cheese is the packet of yellow powder and microwaved noodles, but there's a better way: A slow cooker recipe that turns out rich and creamy with the press of a button. Starting from scratch saves money compared with the box version.

Recipe: Delish

Still prefer the boxed version? Mix things up a bit with Super-Simple Twists on Boxed Mac and Cheese.

Easy Slow-Cooker Pulled Pork in a Tall-Rimmed White Porcelain Bowl, Selective Focus
julie deshaies/shutterstock

Pulled Pork

Just five ingredients and eight to 10 hands-off hours of slow cooking makes piping-hot and indulgent pulled pork.

Recipe: Southern Living

Top-View of No-Cook Blender Tomato Soup in a White Porcelain Bowl with Two Large Croutons, on the Left with Two Pieces of Bread, All on a White Porcelain Plate
Jane Rix/shutterstock

Tomato Soup

This classic can be made in a blender from inexpensive pantry staples and enjoyed at room temperature, chilled, or warmed in a microwave on cold nights.

Recipe: Serious Eats

Focus on Ground Beef Chili in a Wide-Rimmed Beige Ceramic Bowl, on an Olive Napkin on a Rustic Wooden Table
Brent Hofacker/shutterstock


It doesn't get much easier or more satisfying than slow cooker chili. Drop in inexpensive pantry staples such as canned beans and enjoy a warming meal hours later.

Recipe: Oxmoor House

One Pot New Orleans Dirty Rice in a White Porcelain Bowl
Andrea Skjold Mink/shutterstock

Cajun Dirty Rice

A hearty mix of vegetables, sausage, and rice, this pressure-cooker meal yields perfectly cooked rice in a saucy blend of spices. The (optional) chicken livers in this recipe give the dish a distinct, authentic flavor. To ensure proper cooking time, be sure to use long-grain rice, which holds up better than short-grain varieties.

Recipe: Hip Pressure Cooking

Chicken Tortilla Casserole in a White Porcelain Gratin Dish on a Natural Napkin with a Black Spatula

Tortilla Casserole

Layering fully cooked ingredients and finishing in the microwave allows for a complex casserole. Adapt the ingredients any way you like, using frozen veggies and a can of refried beans instead of meat and cheese, for example.

Recipe: Southern Plate

Spicy Chicken Mango Jalapeño Salad in an Oval White Porcelain Plate on a Light Blue Napkin with Two Forks

Spicy Jalapeño Mango Chicken

This simple-to-prepare salad combines plenty of chilies with sweet mango to balance out the spice level and protein-rich chicken to make it a complete meal. Take the easy route and use a store-bought rotisserie chicken.

Recipe: BBC’s Good Food

Ramen Noodles with Chicken and Chives in a Blue-Rimmed Ceramic Bowl with a Pair of Chopsticks Rested Around the Edge of the Bowl


Microwave ramen is a nostalgic food for an entire generation. If the bare-bones version seems a little elementary, add toppings such as fresh vegetables and sauces to make a satisfying meal.

Recipe: wikiHow

Closeup of Heather's Zucchini Noodles with Basil-Pumpkin Seed Pesto on a Fork Over an Artisanal Stainless Steel Plate, Selective Focus
Kade Sudkamon/shutterstock

Zoodles With Pesto

Turning a fresh zucchini into long noodles is even quicker than boiling instant ramen. Tossed with a favorite jar of sauce or, better yet, homemade pesto, one inexpensive vegetable becomes an entire meal.

Recipe: Cookie + Kate

Slow-Cooker Crustless Mediterranean Quiche on a Piece of Round Brown Parchment Paper, One Slice on a Pie Server, Selective Focus
Dani Vincek/shutterstock

Crustless Quiche

You can prepare a warm, satisfying brunch even without an oven. There are plenty of recipes for crustless quiche made in a slow cooker, including versions with chopped veggies, herbs, and breakfast meats. Use leftovers and frozen produce to keep costs low.

Recipe: Betty Crocker

Instant Pot Baked Beans in a Wooden Bowl with a Wooden Spoon Next to It, on a Blue and White Napkin
AS Food studio/shutterstock

Baked Beans

A welcome side dish at just about any gathering, these beans cook up fast in an Instant Pot, which is another handy kitchen accessory if you’re looking to keep the heat down. This recipe combines inexpensive beans with rich pork flavor. The Instant Pot makes beans taste as if they had been cooking for 12 hours over an open hearth.

Recipe: This Old Gal

Couscous in a Terracotta Dish Bowl with a Blue Napkin on the Right


Couscous is one of those magical foods that seems to tick all the right boxes: nutritious, inexpensive, versatile, and quick and easy to prepare. All it needs is boiling water, so a microwave works as well as any stovetop.

Recipe: The Kitchn

Gazpacho in a White Porcelain Bowl with a Blue-Lined White Napkin and Spoon on a Rustic Wooden Table
Brent Hofacker/shutterstock
Closeup of Shrimp 'n' Spinach Risotto in a Delicate White Porcelain Plate, Selective Focus, with a Fork

Shrimp Risotto

This dinner party dish is elegant and indulgent — and made entirely in a slow cooker. Add mushrooms and spinach as suggested for a nutritionally rounded meal.

Recipe: Taste of Home

Top-View of Several Different Ingredients for Meatless Taco Salad, in Bowls, a Plate, and a Wooden Cutting Board

Veggie Taco Salad

This Southwestern-style salad combines fresh vegetables with taco condiments to create a crunchy, cheesy, and slightly spicy meal. Cheap and easy to make with just a bowl, it's a cheap, practical way to get a Mexican-food fix.

Recipe: Taste of Home

Closeup of Smoked Mackerel Pate with Griddled Toast and Cress Salad on a Piece of French Bread, Selective Focus, on a Wooden Board
Yulia Davidovich/shutterstock

Smoked Fish Spread

This blended spread comes together quickly and easily with a packet of healthy and flavorful smoked mackerel or trout, both of which tend to be less expensive than salmon. Use this on crackers or bread as an appetizer with a glass of wine, or as breakfast or lunch.

Recipe: Jamie Oliver

Six Pieces of Vegan Sushi with Avocado, Carrots, Lettuce and Red Pepper on a White Porcelain Rectangle Plate with Blue Bamboo Motif on the Corner

Vegetable Sushi

What can be cooler in the kitchen than sushi? While sushi is often expensive at restaurants and for takeout, it can be incredibly cheap to make at home from small amounts of rice, seaweed, and fillings. Stick to vegetable fillings to keep costs low and eliminate health risks.

Recipe: The Green Plate 

BLT Sandwich, Selective Focus, on a Brown Napkin, on a Rustic Wooden Table
Brent Hofacker/shutterstock


Bacon lovers would do themselves a favor to master the art of cooking bacon in a microwave. There are so many ways to turn simple dishes into satisfying meals with it. A classic bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich is just the most obvious.

Recipe: Food.

Chef's Salad in a White Porcelain Bowl, Selective Focus, on a Wooden Table

Chef's Salad

Turn a no-cook salad into a hearty meal by adding plenty of lean protein. A traditional chef's salad contains ham, but you can try any combination of cooked meats, beans, and cheese. Use what's on sale at the local deli counter to keep the cost low.

Recipe: Epicurious

Deli Sandwich with Ham, Cheddar Cheese, Lettuce, Tomato, and Onions on a Square White Porcelain Plate
Mike Flippo/shutterstock

Deli Sandwich

Keep ingredients such as deli meat and cheese, mustard and mayonnaise, and sliced bread on hand to allow you to whip up a sandwich when hunger strikes with no kitchen appliances needed.

Easy Pea Soup in a Dark Brown Ceramic Bowl on an Olive Wood Serving Board with a Spoon, on a Wooden Table
Martin Turzak/shutterstock

Split Pea Soup

This soup can be whipped up with a blender until smooth and creamy and enjoyed cold or warmed in a microwave. Using frozen peas keeps the cost low.

Recipe: Wonky Wonderful

Overnight Oats in a Snap Lid Glass Jar on the Left, Cut Banana on a Cutting Board on the Left, Surrounded By Bananas

Overnight Oats

Oats are one of the cheapest grains available and a true superfood, containing tons of beneficial fiber to keep you full for a long time. Let oats soak up moisture in a bowl in the fridge overnight, so a fresh portion is ready to enjoy in the morning with your favorite toppings.

Recipe: Kath Eats Real Food

Top View of a Raspberry Smoothie in a Glass with a Pink and White Stripe Straw with Raspberries on Top


Smoothies can be enjoyed any time of day or act as a meal replacement. There are endless variations on blender smoothies that are cheap to make at home using seasonal ingredients as well as freezer and pantry staples.

Two Basic Chia Seed Pudding in Glass Cups with Strawberries, Raspberries, Blueberries, and Blackberries, with Two Spoons on a Blue-Lined White Napkin, on the Right

Chia Pudding

This cheap and nutritious alternative to rice pudding tastes like dessert for breakfast. It requires only three ingredients and takes just five minutes of active prep time to make a batch that could last all week — just soak and refrigerate.

Recipe: Oh She Glows

Two Yogurt Parfaits with Strawberries, Raspberries, and Blueberries with One Porcelain Spoon on the Right with an Olivewood Serving Board on the Left

Yogurt Parfaits

A yogurt parfait is a quick and easy way to assemble breakfast, dessert, or a snack for yourself or a crowd. Simply layer yogurt with favorite fruits, preserves, nuts, or cereal.

Three Blueberry Vanilla Popsicles, One on Top of Two, Surrounded By Blueberries, Some Blueberries in the a White Bowl on the Top Left, Many Popsicle Sticks on the Top Right


To make popsicles, just blend fruit, yogurt, and sugar and pour into paper cups to freeze. Homemade popsicles have the benefit of being healthier and cheaper than store-bought and, of course, can be customized.

Recipe: Allrecipes

Closeup of No-Bake Cheesecake with Cherries and Cherry Syrup on Top and Around It, on a Light Blue Plate, Selective Focus
Closeup of Six Easy No-Bake Peanut Butter Balls on Wax Paper, Two Are in the Center with Two on Top and Two on Bottom of Image
V J Matthew/shutterstock

No-Bake Peanut Butter Cookie Balls

These treats are an ideal stand-in for freshly baked cookies. They have a similar shape, size, and texture and can be customized in similar ways. Try using other nut butters or a combination of many.

Recipe: Recipe Girl

Closeup of Chocolate with Almonds Bark Cut in Many Large Pieces
Arina P Habich/shutterstock

Chocolate Bark

Chocolate bark tends to be expensive to buy but is so easy to make. The microwave melts the chocolate; the freezer sets trail mix into it.

Recipe: PBS Kitchen Explorers

Top-View Easy Microwave Chocolate Mug Cake in a White Porcelain Cup, Focus on One Spoon Over the Top with a Piece of It
Bjoern Wylezich/shutterstock

Mug Cake

By mixing up cake batter from scratch in a microwave-safe mug, you can indulge a craving in just minutes.

Recipe: Allrecipes