When it comes to intense heat waves and record high temperatures, we will do everything we can to keep our homes cool this summer. And that effort can already start in the kitchen.
Turning on your furnace can release unnecessary heat throughout your home, causing your air conditioning and other cooling equipment to work overtime (and add up to your utility bill).
The good news? There are plenty of meal kit delivery services that offer oven-free recipes that can be prepared without turning up the heat (in some cases, even off your stove), so you can enjoy a home-cooked meal without breaking a sweat… literally.
The first no-brainer option? A meal package that requires no cooking. We rated Freshly our favorite ready-to-eat meal delivery service after being so impressed with the meals we couldn’t believe they just came out of the microwave.
We also found that the portions are large and satisfying, even after a workout. And since summer schedules can be busy, having a healthy and satisfying meal ready in minutes can be a godsend.
We already know that HelloFresh is a great choice for busy home cooks, thanks to features like 20-minute meals and family-friendly options. But it’s especially a good choice for those looking for variety in their weekly meal prep.
HelloFresh offers some of the widest selections in the industry – over 40 different recipe options per week – including many oven-free.
Pro Tip: When browsing the menu, scroll through each recipe card for details like “necessities needed” (tools like baking sheets and plates are clear indicators of oven use) and labels like “easy cleanup” (which is always welcome in the summer heat).
You can also browse for 5- or 10-minute lunch options, which usually consist of meals such as sandwiches, salads, and bowls that can be prepared without heat. Or, if grilling is more your forte, get out there and keep an eye out for HelloFresh’s “Cookout Collections”†
3. Any plate
People looking for a cheaper alternative to brands like HelloFresh: Allow us to introduce you to EveryPlate. This affordable service offers meals from just $4.99 per serving, and every recipe we tried during testing was delicious — with generous portions and crowd-pleasing flavors.
Part of the same company as HelloFresh, there are similar labels to look for when choosing your meals, such as “Easy Cleanup” or “30 Minutes or Less,” which typically require less heat than other recipes.
You can also review the step-by-step instructions for each recipe before adding it to your cart to gauge how much heat is needed. (Another pro tip: When it comes to making something like a side of fries for a no-fuss recipe like this Chickpea salad sandwichuse your air fryer instead of lighting the oven.)
4. Home cook
Our favorite meal kit company doesn’t disappoint when it comes to oven-free meal options.
Home Chef offers seven main categories of meal types to choose from, including the microwave-friendly Fast & Fresh meals. These aren’t your typical ready-to-eat meals eaten in the same tray they arrive in. They require some minimal preparation so you feel like you’re really did put together dinner, but they only need to be cooked in the microwave and come together in just 10 minutes.
Do you feel brave enough to turn on the stove? Home Chef also offers plenty of one-pan, stovetop-only options every week. The 15 minute meals are particularly suitable for keeping the heat to a minimum while still taking advantage of a freshly prepared dish.
5. Tanning Bed
Our favorite vegetarian meal set offers a range of ready-to-use Fresh & Ready meals which conveniently need a quick four minutes in the microwave before going in.
When we tested these meals, we found that every dish was tasty and packed with fresh ingredients, with options for vegans and omnivores alike. We were also pleasantly surprised that the meals were reasonably priced, with portions large enough to satisfy two people.
Earlier this year, Sunbasket also expanded its Fresh & Ready range to include lifestyle bowls – cereal bowls, noodle bowls and burrito bowls – which are disposable and perfect for a non-sweaty, work-at-home lunch.
6. Snap Kitchen
Breakfast, lunch and dinner are ready in no time with this ready-to-eat meal service. Every dish arrives fresh (not frozen!) at your door every week, ready to heat up in the microwave and enjoy within a few days.
This service offers options for a variety of dietary needs, including gluten-free, keto, paleo, and whole 30s, so it’s especially great for anyone on a restrictive meal plan.
And these aren’t your run-of-the-mill health foods: Menu items include dishes like lemon poppy seed pancakes, steak street tacos, and cacio e pepe with rosemary chicken — all packed with protein. After trying it ourselves, we were impressed with Snap Kitchen’s variety of recipes and how tasty (and filling) each serving was. And the fact that there is no cooking was definitely a plus.
7. Daily Harvest
There’s nothing like an ice cold smoothie to cool you down in the summer – am I right?
Daily Harvest is known for its healthy, ready-to-eat meals that are plant-based, organic and very tasty. In addition to the ever-growing list of ready-to-drink smoothies (the chocolate blueberry is out of this world), the service also offers hearty meals that can be served together in the microwave.
The Harvest bowls† Forager Bowlsand crumbling (which are great in salad cups or low-maintenance tacos) can all be cooked in the microwave and on the stove with little to no prep. Plus, you know you’re getting the highest quality ingredients, so you can feel your best all summer long.
Prices were correct at the time this article was published, but may change over time.