Skip to main content

5 kid-friendly dinner ideas that don’t require an oven

When it’s hot outside, the last thing you want to do is turn on the oven. That’s just a recipe for making your already-hot house feel like an inferno. So, do what any smart parent does and opt out of using the oven for the day.

No, that doesn’t mean you’ll have to wrangle the kids into the nearest restaurant. Instead, make a delicious dinner that doesn’t require the oven, stove or anything else that’s going to raise the temperature. You’ll stay cool, the family will be fed and everyone will be happy.

Related Videos

Here are 5 must-try, kid-friendly dinners for when you’re searching for easy dinner ideas that don’t require an oven.

Wild salmon salad 

Okay, so fish of any kind usually isn’t the first thing you think of when you’re trying to find something to feed your kids, but hold up. This salmon salad is an alternative to tuna salad, but the flavor is milder, which means your child may be more receptive to it; plus, your child will never even know this salad is made with fish if you don’t tell them. (And if you’re really doubtful your child will accept the salmon, you can always swap it out with canned chicken.) 

The recipe only requires a few ingredients and comes together quickly. Serve the healthful salmon salad on bread along with a few fresh-cut veggies and you have a picnic-worthy, refrigerated dinner that’s both light and refreshing. 

Greek salad and hummus pita pizza 

Kids love pizza, but when it’s too hot to turn on the stove, it’s time to look for cooler alternatives, like this Greek salad-inspired pita pizza. A store-bought pita (toasted or not, whatever you prefer) is topped with hummus, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, peppers and feta cheese, for a light and healthful pizza that you can eat with your hands — which is always a plus for kids. Make the experience more fun for them by letting them top their pizzas with the ingredients of their choosing, once they’re cleaned and diced. You can add some other ingredient options into the mix, too, like pepperonis or olives.

A kid-friendly charcuterie board

Sure, you know that a charcuterie board and a couple glasses of wine is a perfectly agreeable dinner, but how do you translate that into something kid-friendly? Put together a kid-approved charcuterie board featuring turkey or ham (roll up some slices of either from the deli and skewer them with a toothpick), sliced veggies, sliced fruit, sliced cheddar cheese and some kid-friendly dipping sauces, like caramel for some green apples or ranch for some baby carrots. Get some wine for you and a juice box for the kids, and you’re good to go. This is also a no-cook dinner that works well for picnics. 

Veggie hoagies 

Upgrade your normal ham and cheese sandwich for a dinner-ready meal that’s hearty and filling, but still cool as a cucumber. These veggie hoagies pile the veggies high, including red onion, artichoke, tomatoes, lettuce and pepperoncini, with some provolone and balsamic for extra zest.

Let your family mix and match their toppings so everyone gets their favorite flavors, pile it all onto baguettes, and then toss the sandwiches in a cooler and grab some potato chips before you head to the beach, park or just the backyard. This is not only a yummy summer-ready, cool dinner, but it’s also a very easy one, with minimal prep work required.

7-layer chicken taco salad 

Make it ahead or wait until you’re ready to eat. Whichever option you choose, this seven-layer chicken taco salad comes together in mere minutes.

Use canned or leftover chicken so there’s no need to cook, and add a mixture of salsa, diced veggies, black beans, cheddar cheese, Greek yogurt and more, for a colorful, varied salad that’s as pretty to look at as it is to eat. This is even a great dish to serve as a side at your next barbecue. It’s entirely filling enough to work as a main dish, though, and just the thing for a Taco Tuesday when it’s too hot to brown up some ground beef for tacos. 

mother and son making dinner
Just Life/Shutterstock

Keep the family fed without ever turning on the oven

Just because your kids rely on you for dinner each night that doesn’t mean you have to slave over a hot stove (especially during the summer). Save yourself some work (and some sweat) by making one of our favorite five no-cook recipes, all of which are packed with flavor, fun, and healthful ingredients that you and your kids are sure to love. 

Need more dinner ideas and ways to keep the family fed this summer? Check out our article on best Facebook groups for feeding even the pickiest of eaters.

Editors' Recommendations

9 healthy air fryer recipes that will replace fast food and takeout
Forget expensive and unhealthy takeout - try tasty air fryer cooking
Mom making dinner using an air fryer

Busy afternoons following work and school often result in fast food or takeout for dinner. It's quick and convenient when the family is rushing around with activities and playdates, but it's not healthy. Of course, the kids love the takeout, especially when it's pizza night. Parents, however, understand the lack of nutritional value in fast food, not to mention the toll eating out takes on the family budget. Instead of opting for takeout on those busy nights, save eating out for special occasions and embrace air fryer cooking.

Making family favorites like fries, chicken tenders, hot dogs, and more in an air fryer are healthier than conventional frying in a pan or deep fryer. Even better is the plethora of healthy air fryer recipes that will make the kids forget about their favorite fast-food and takeout stops. If you haven't tried air fryer cooking, now is the time. So, what is an air fryer and why is it healthier? Let's find out.

Read more
6 healthy sheet-pan dinners that make cleanup a breeze
Learn to love your oven with sheet-pan cooking
Delicious sheet-pan dinner for busy families

Making home-cooked dinners is a lot healthier for the family and certainly budget-friendly, but it can be hard for busy parents to find the time. Dinner preparations and cleanup can be difficult when you're running off to practices and other after-school activities. Who wants to clean a sink full of dishes and pans after soccer and hockey practice? Lack of time is often why many on-the-go families opt for the convenience of takeout on those crazy weeknights.

Ultimately, home-cooked dinners are best for the family because they are healthier. However, not everyone wants to invest in an Instant Pot or a slow cooker to help get evening meals on the table quicker. There are other dinner options that don't take a lot of time or effort.

Read more
6 easy muffin recipes for kids to make with or without your help
Healthy muffin recipes that are so easy to make, your kid can be the chef
Two kids having fun baking in the kitchen.

While kids would prefer to eat dinosaur-shaped chicken nuggets partnered with mac and cheese for every meal, sometimes parents want to see their children eat something a bit healthier. That’s where we'll help. If you thought all muffins have to be either loaded with sugar or taste like dry cardboard, you're going to love us.

We found six healthy muffin recipes for you to make with your younger kids, but they are also simple enough that your older kids could make them for you. Eating healthier doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice when it comes to flavor. Make one (or all) of these delicious easy muffin recipes that your kids will enjoy as much as you will.

Read more