15 Cool Foods for Hot Weather

A cool, refreshing spread of chilled dishes can really hit the spot on a hot day.

15 Cool Foods For Hot Weather - Pin

Whether you’re planning your first garden party of the season on a thrillingly warm April afternoon, or stumped for options when faced with the unexpected return of sweltering weather in October (like those of us in Southern California experienced last fall), we’ve put together a round-up of some of our favorite cool foods for hot weather that we know you will enjoy.

So read on, get cooking, and prepare to chill out, foodie style.

Icy Beverages

When your t-shirt’s sticking to your back after mowing the lawn or you’ve had a long day at work and the A/C’s on the fritz, nothing beats a nice, refreshing chilled or frozen cocktail to cool down.

Warm weather beverages can also take more substantial (and non-alcoholic) form as satisfying shakes, smoothies, and juices.

1. Lychee Rose Mojitos

Desperate to beat the heat? Cool down with our round up of chilled cocktails, salads, sandwiches, simple sides, and desserts. Read more: https://foodal.com/knowledge/paleo/cool-foods-for-hot-weather/
Photo credit: Love Laugh Mirch

If you’re not already familiar with lychee, it’s a member of the soapberry family, a tropical fruit with a floral aroma and sweet flavor.

Though it’s not often found fresh in the US (definitely grab some if you can find it, and blend it into a puree to add to this drink!) canned varieties are common, as well as bottled juices.

With the lime, mint, and white rum that classic mojitos are known for, plus the sweet flavors of lychee juice and rose water, this is a refreshing cocktail that’s super simple to prepare.

To make your presentation as beautiful as Nisha’s, top each glass with a sprinkle of dried edible roses.

You’ll find this recipe on Love Laugh Mirch.

2. Layered Margarita Popsicles

This recipe from Becky Hardin is both a dessert and a drink, and it can be made with or without the alcohol.

Layered Margarita Popsicles
Photo credit: The Cookie Rookie

Whether you go with the boozy option or the teetotaling mocktail version, this fun, triple-layered popsicle is fruity, refreshing, and delicious.

With layers of strawberry, peach, and lime that are made with fresh fruit and juices, this treat is packed with flavor, sans the artificial colorings and additives that you’ll find in a lot of frozen desserts.

You could also choose to change it up a bit, according to your whims and whatever’s seasonally available in your area. I don’t know about you, but mango, pineapple, and lime is calling my name…

Get the recipe from The Cookie Rookie here.

Or, if tequila isn’t your thing, maybe you’d prefer these rum punch freeze pops.

3. Indonesian Avocado Milkshakes

If you’re already a green smoothie fan, then you’re going to love these avocado milkshakes.

But even if you’re cautious about consuming anything green via a straw, this recipe is worth the leap into unexplored territory.

You need to chill out. And we've got just the thing! Check out our round-up of cool foods for hot weather: https://foodal.com/knowledge/paleo/cool-foods-for-hot-weather/
Photo credit: Olivia’s Cuisine

Here’s the deal – though whole milk is an important component of this recipe, there’s no ice cream in these milkshakes. The rich, silky avocado provides all of the creaminess you’ll need to be sipping in style.

Olivia Mesquita says she grew up drinking these in Brazil, where they were simply referred to as avocado smoothies (and she wonders why the Indonesian version takes precedence over Brazilian attribution). Known in Indonesian as jus alpukat or “avocado juice,” another popular way of serving this drink is with a few shots of espresso stirred in and some sweetened condensed milk, in the style of a Vietnamese iced coffee.

With a touch of zesty fresh lime and a drizzle of chocolate (if you like), this creamy concoction is packed with flavor. Throw your expectations about avocado’s place in the savory realm to the wind, and get out the blender to make a few glasses of this sweet, cooling treat.

Get the recipe from Olivia’s Cuisine here.

Salads and Slaws

When the temperature rises, it can be hard to get excited about a heavy meal, or the prospect of hours spent in the kitchen working over the hot stove.

Instead, make these dishes in the cool of the evening and chill them overnight to enjoy for days to come. Some serve as meals on their own, while others are best served as accompaniments to your favorite chilled proteins.

4. Mediterranean Farro Salad with Summer Veggies and Herbs

Mediterranean Farro Salad | Foodal.com
Photo credit: P. K. Newby

As a nutrition scientist with a background in public health, P. K. Newby teaches her students and the public about issues related to food in today’s world, including diet and obesity.

Full disclosure: she was my professor of health and nutrition at Boston University, where I studied for my master’s degree in gastronomy. And P. K. is a fierce, no-nonsense instructor who knows her stuff! She also has a passion for food that really shows in her writing, and it was so difficult for me to choose which recipe to include in this round-up (so I chose two!).

This farro salad takes an often neglected whole grain and pairs it with fresh vegetables and herbs, chopped nuts, and a citrus dressing. But what I really love is the way P. K.’s simple recipe encourages experimentation, and using what you have on hand.

You’ll love the flexibility of being able to throw a quick salad together with whatever’s in the fridge, guided by this recipe from Cooking & Eating the PK Way. And if you’re still hungry for more, keep reading. You’ll find another offering from Professor Newby in the sandwiches section.

5. Garlic Dill Potato Salad

Sure, potato salad is a picnic standby, and the addition of dill has become somewhat commonplace. But all you need to do is add the word “garlic” to that, and I’m sold!

Are you with me?

Picnics, barbecues, outdoor soirees- they all have one thing in common: they tend to take place when the weather is hot! Cool your guests down with our selection of cool foods to beat the heat: https://foodal.com/knowledge/paleo/cool-foods-for-hot-weather/
Photo credit: Loaves & Dishes

As a kid, after my mom made a batch of potato salad and let it chill for a few hours, I used to love sneaking a few tangy, starchy, ice-cold cubes of potato at a time from the covered dish in the fridge, hours before the guests had arrived and the backyard barbecue had started.

Of course, the version that I enjoyed was based on the recipe found on the side of the mayonnaise jar, the same way my grandmother and probably her mother before her had also made it. True comfort food, but very simple.

On the other hand, this recipe from Wendi Spraker at Loves and Dishes takes this humble side dish to new heights, with minced fresh garlic, whole grain mustard, dill, green onion, shallot, and chives. Oh, and if you want, Wendi suggests that you can even add a dash of black truffle oil to really bring out that earthiness.

6. Grilled Veggie Salad

If you’ve already gone to the trouble of firing up the grill, why not throw some extra veggies on there while the coals are still hot? This is a great way to maximize that use of the fuel you’re already burning while planning meals in advance for the week ahead.

A beautifully presented grilled salad with parsely dressing.
Photo credit: Kendall Vanderslice

Plus, at least if you’re cooking outside, maybe you can catch a cool breeze…

Lori Jo Hendrix shares the recipe on Foodal.

7. Sesame Carrot and Cucumber Slaw

If you love the crunch of fresh veggies then you’re in luck, because that’s what this slaw from Meghan at Fox and Briar is all about.

Wilting in the heat of the sun? Can't stand the thought of another minute spent near the hot stove? We're here to help, with a round-up of cool foods from some of our favorite bloggers: https://foodal.com/knowledge/paleo/cool-foods-for-hot-weather/
Photo credit: Fox and Briar

Not only does it require zero cooking to make, it’s also vegan and gluten free. This Asian-inspired slaw is flavored with fresh garlic and ginger, soy sauce, sesame oil, and sesame seeds. And you can spiralize those cucumbers, if you’d like.

So simple, and it would be delicious atop a bed of chilled leftover quinoa or rice, if you’d like to make this side into a full lunch or dinner.

Perfect Proteins

When it comes to rounding out a meal, most diners are after a little protein.

Though our favorite warm-weather option is probably hummus with a side of fresh vegetables for dipping, the meat-eaters among us tend to hope for something a little different.

Fortunately, many types of meat are delicious when they’re served cold, and sliced for topping salads and sandwiches.

8. Cold Chicken Strips

Sonia (a.k.a. The Healthy Foodie) recommends that we skip the cold cuts, and go for home-grilled chicken instead.

But how to avoid the usual ho-hum feelings along the lines of, “What? Boring chicken again?”

Take your chicken from plain to insane (alright, maybe I went a little too far with that one…) by adding a simple marinade, or maybe spice things up by using a few different marinades to impress your guests with a selection of multiple flavor combinations to choose from.

Nothing quite hits the spot like a satisfyingly cold beverage or dish on a hot day. We've rounded up our top picks from some of our favorite bloggers: https://foodal.com/knowledge/paleo/cool-foods-for-hot-weather/
Photo credit: The Healthy Foodie

Sonia offers an Asian-style option, marinated in ginger, garlic, soy, rice vinegar, lemon, mirin, and honey. Sliced and ready to go, chicken will keep in the fridge for a few days, for topping salads and sandwiches.

Get the recipe now, from The Healthy Foodie.

9. Gourmet Hummus

The traditional variety that’s flavored with garlic and tahini is always a classic, but we think it would be boring to stick with the same old standby every time you pull out the food processor.

Sarah Hagstrom also offers variations made with jalapenos, sun-dried tomatoes, kale and basil, and even a dessert-style chocolate version that’s perfect for dipping slices of apple and fresh strawberries.

Recipe for Kale Basil Hummus
Photo credit: Sarah Hagstrom

Get the recipes here on Foodal. And don’t forget to save that chickpea water to whip up some amazing vegan aquafaba meringues and mayo.

Simple Sandwiches and Wraps

A great way to use up leftovers, sandwiches can also be the star of the show when they’re made with fresh, crunchy, tasty, and nutrient-packed ingredients.

Try combining some of the above on your favorite bread or wrap (slaw and sliced chicken, anyone?) or peruse the options below for inspiration.

10. Heirloom Tomato Sandwiches with Garlic-Caper Aioli

Heirloom Tomato Arugula Sandwich
Photo credit: P. K. Newby

You’ve heard me wax poetic about the tomato sandwich before, and I think this version is a perfect example. Though it does ditch the Hellmann’s, I’ll make an exception for P. K.’s homemade garlic caper aioli.

Serve sliced heirloom tomatoes on some lightly toasted whole grain bread, top it all off with a handful of peppery arugula, and you’ve got the perfect combination of flavors and textures with no hot stove cooking required.

11. Spiralized Beet Noodle Wrap

Serving spiralized vegetables is an easy way to prepare raw or lightly cooked ingredients featuring the best produce. But did you know there’s more to using your spiralizer than zucchini noodles with pesto night after night?

Healthy Wraps with Spiralized Beet Noodles | Foodal.com
Photo credit: Sarah Hagstrom

If you’ve been reading closely, of course you did. You can make excellent spliralized cucumbers to throw into your slaw!

Start expanding your repertoire even more and continue to get some use out of that veggie slicing gadget with this hummus and beet noodle wrap from Sarah Hagstrom.

Get the recipe from Foodal now.

Sweet Relief

Maybe hot and heavy meals are a turnoff, but it’s hard to say no to dessert when a delicious frozen concoction is on offer.

It looks like our sweet tooth got the best of us again, since admittedly, a few items already mentioned cross over into dessert territory. But with so many great options to choose from, can you really blame us?

12. Mint Chocolate Cheesecake Popsicles

Maybe mint and cheese wouldn’t be your first choice of flavors to combine, but throw some chocolate in the middle and you’re on your way to warm-weather dessert bliss.

These mint chocolate cheesecake popsicles from Jessica Pinney combine cream cheese and whipped dairy-free topping with chocolate, vanilla, and mint for a freeze pop base that’s somehow light and airy, and rich at the same time.

Just stir together your base ingredients, fill up your popsicle molds, freeze for a few hours, and dessert is ready. To up the chocolate factor even more, dipping these babies in chocolate once they’re frozen and rolling them around in even more chopped mint chocolate is encouraged.

You'll love this roundup of cool foods for hot weather, collected from some of our favorite bloggers around the web: https://foodal.com/knowledge/paleo/cool-foods-for-hot-weather/
Photo credit: Cooking with Janica

You’ll find the recipe here, on Cooking with Janica.

In the mood for a different sort of popsicle? Check out these recipes for blueberry frozen yogurt pops, tahini fig pops, and choco-latte paletas.

13. Soufflé Glacé à L’orange (Deep-Frozen Orange Soufflé)

A light, citrusy, and refreshing dessert, this one requires a bit more time at the stove to prepare than the other recipes on this list. But the results are well worth it.

Shari Scheske combines orange juice with gelatin and egg yolks, adds whipped cream, and then folds this mixture into an Italian meringue base before freezing.

Frozen Orange Souffle
Photo credit: Whisk

Like an orange-flavored mousse or semifreddo, it’s delicate and sweet, just fancy enough to impress your guests no matter the occasion. Plus, it can be made well ahead of time and pulled out of the freezer whenever you’re ready.

As is pictured here, to boost the fun factor (and for fewer dishes to wash up afterwards) try halving and carefully scooping out the rinds of a few oranges, and serve this frozen treat inside natural bowls.

Get the recipe here, on Whisk.

14. Frozen Strawberry Fluff

I am a huge fan of homemade pie, but it’s not always my first choice if the temperature is rising and the humidity is high.

There is, however, a solution for that. Another light, airy, sweet, and truly delightful option, this is a strawberry mousse cake with a graham cracker crust, the polar opposite of a buttery, gooey, juicy, fruit-filled version (but still just as delectable).

Chill out with a slice of strawberry fluff pie, a lychee mojito, or a mint chocolate cheesecake popsicle. We share the recipes and more: https://foodal.com/knowledge/paleo/cool-foods-for-hot-weather/
Photo credit: NeighborFood

Entirely no-bake with a gluten-free option as well, you won’t be able to get enough of this fresh berry freezer pie.

Courtney Rowland shares the recipe on NeighborFood.

15. Red Wine Ice Cream Sundaes

Another amazing dessert from Jessica Pinney, this one takes us back toward cocktail territory, with the addition of red wine.

Red Wine Ice Cream Sundae
Photo credit: Cooking with Janica

If you haven’t tried red wine ice cream yet, it’s a must, flavored with wine, brown sugar, vanilla, and cinnamon. After you’ve let the base do its thing in your ice cream maker and firmed it up in the freezer for a few hours, scoop your creation into parfait glasses or dessert dishes. Jessica tops hers with vanilla whipped cream, spiced red wine syrup, and lavender marcona almonds.

Yes, you can actually make this yourself at home! Get the recipe from Cooking With Janica here.

Eat Good Food and Chill

Looks like we’ve reached the end of our round-up! Hopefully you’ve been inspired by these cool options.

Remember to wait to use your large appliances and refrain from turning on the stove until the cooler evening hours, to conserve energy and avoid heating your house more than you have to. And plan ahead – making multiple dishes at once when the oven or stove is already on is the best way to minimize your time spent in the kitchen.

Whip up a pitcher of cooling cocktails, a freezer full of tasty desserts, a few bowls of salad and slaw, and a tray of sliced meats, and you’re in business! Good luck with the hot days ahead. At least they’ll be delicious!

For even more ideas, check out our round-ups of mojito recipes and chilled soup recipes.

What’s your favorite thing to eat when you’re trying to beat the heat? Let us know in the comments!

Photo Credits: All photography in this article is owned and copyrighted by their respective owners as identified. Used with permission by Ask the Experts, LLC. All rights reserved by all parties. Additional link contributions by Nan Schiller and Lori Jo Hendrix.

About Allison Sidhu

Allison M. Sidhu is a culinary enthusiast from southeastern Pennsylvania who has returned to Philly after a seven-year sojourn to sunny LA. She loves exploring the local restaurant and bar scene with her best buds. She holds a BA in English literature from Swarthmore College and an MA in gastronomy from Boston University. When she’s not in the kitchen whipping up something tasty (or listening to the latest food podcasts while she does the dishes!) you’ll probably find Allison tapping away at her keyboard, chilling in the garden, curled up with a good book (or ready to dominate with controller in hand in front of the latest video game) on the couch, or devouring a dollar dog and crab fries at the Phillies game.

10 thoughts on “15 Cool Foods for Hot Weather”

  1. Well that picture of the popsicles looks about the best thing ever for a hot day, but I also would not mind having a nice mojito after a long day in the heat. Thankfully the summer is almost done for us, and it has been a pretty brutal one this year. I am not sure I have ever even hear of edible roses, either, so that makes em really want to try one of those. Looks great, and thanks for sharing.

  2. Honestly, you had me at the mojitos. 😉 Everything else looks so delicious.
    Rz3300, there is a great article on this site on edible flowers. It’s worth a look!
    When I lived in India, we used to put beet slices in jars of water in the morning and let them cook in the sun. They were perfectly cooked a little before dinner, and I’ve never had any beets quite as delicious. That would be a great way to prepare them to be used in the beet wrap.
    And I love the wine ice cream. I saw some once in San Francisco and haven’t seen it anywhere since. Thanks for posting this!

  3. My favorite is the sesame and carrot coleslaw variation as it’s healthy and easy to make. When it’s so hot you don’t feel like eating and I prefer to graze. I am a fab of creamy potato salad, but I always worry about the mayonnaise and whether in the heat it will go off quickly, so tend to eat that first.

    A safer bet is always hummus and some chips, or on some wholegrain crackers to be extra healthy.

  4. This list of cool foods is God sent for me! I live in the middle of the Caribbean, and unlike the rest of the world the four seasons of the year around here are summer, summer, summer, and summer with breeze. There is something from my country that is really fresh and sweet as well called “morisoñando”, which roughly translates to “dying while dreaming”. It is made with condensed milk and either lemon or orange juice. I recently did a little spin on it and served it with passion fruit juice. It’s so yummy!

  5. Wow! This is just what I needed since I live in one of the warmest countries in this world, well, my region is the warmest, indeed. I will surely copy down the Mediterranean Farro Salad, it actually caught my attention, for real. Thank you very much for sharing these, highly appreciated.

  6. The frozen strawberry fluff and orange souffle really caught my eye. The cheesecake popsicles sound delicious right up until the non-dairy whipped “topping”. I’ll have to experiment to find actual food I can substitute for that, like grass-fed whipping cream and real sugar perhaps. I never thought of making popsicles with cream cheese in it though so I’m going to have to try it one of these days. I used to enjoy making and eating strawberry cheesecake as a kid so I might even make some strawberry cheesecake popsicles. Also if you’ve ever tried that “magic shell” stuff, you can make a better/cheaper version at home with chocolate(or caramel, juice etc) and virgin coconut oil. I bet some graham cracker crumbs would also go great in that. So I might try mixing it up with a strawberry-banana cheesecake popsicle with a caramel shell for example. Yummy.

  7. The rainy season has come in my part of the world. The weather is getting cooler, but I sure don’t mind eating some of the fares here. The popsicles especially the one listed as No. 12 is a super delight. No. 15 is also something I wouldn’t mind having now. Although, No. 3 I think will also fight for my attention as I too love avocados! Locally, what I make during hot weather season is boil some mung beans, crush them, pour in some condensed milk and chill.

  8. I just got done eating a very warm and spicy bowl of soup and the desserts and drinks are calling to me. I want frozen strawberry fluff!!!
    Liked the ideas I saw here. It would be fun to try all of the desserts. I loved the orange dessert in the orange peels. Looks very impressive.
    I was just thinking of making potato salad for supper tonight. Looks like I’ll have a recipe to use. I want to try the grilled chilled chicken as well. Looks like it would be a good thing to put in my lunches. The layered popsicles look really awesome as well. I want to try this sometime but I will have to invest in some popsicle molds. Makes me thirsty just looking at them!


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