Easy No-Grill Summer Dinner Ideas

Your lease says no grilling, but your heart says summer cookout. What do you do? Is it really summer without burgers or BBQ? These no-grill summer dinner ideas make it easy to listen to your heart without breaking your lease. You might even forget you’re cooking without a grill!

The Main Dish: No Grill, No Problem

First things first: find out your apartment grill rules. Can you grill on an apartment balcony? If so, a portable or indoor grill might be a good option. If not, check to see whether your property has a grill near the pool or courtyard for residents to use.

If your apartment doesn’t allow any grilling, anywhere, try oven-baked barbecue chicken or slow-cooker ribs. Have you got a craving for that char-grilled flavor? Use a cast-iron skillet or stovetop griddle to give your steaks, burgers, and hot dogs an almost-smokey taste.

You can also branch out from the usual staples and try fun summer meals like shrimp tacos or lettuce wraps. Consider taking things from cookout to tiki luau with these fantastic party ideas. Believe it or not, fresh seafood and crisp produce taste better than barbecue when the heat index pushes 95.

Sides and Salads: Your Trusty Sidekicks

Round out your summer cookout with refreshing sides and salads! Garden salad, potato salad, chicken salad, and pasta salad are yummy dishes that take fewer than five ingredients to make and don’t require a grill.

Corn on the cob can be oven-roasted, microwaved, or boiled—try these tips from Bon Appetit to get the most out of every husk. Need other easy ideas to impress at your summer potluck? Hold the charcoal! Baked beans, fresh guac, and deviled eggs are no-grill crowd-pleasers that your friends will appreciate!

Seasonal Produce: So Fresh and So Simple

Nothing screams, “Summer!” like cold watermelon, juicy peaches, and plump heirloom tomatoes. Plus, these fresh fruits and veggies require absolutely no cooking. Rinse, slice, and refrigerate them to keep summertime vibes within arms reach.

While summer produce is excellent by itself, a dip is always a good idea—and there are endless possibilities. Think hummus, zesty ranch, and Cowboy Caviar for veggies and chips. For fruits and crackers, opt for whipped cream or a yogurt- or Nutella-based dip.

Are you feeling fancy? Spruce up your fruit salad by turning it into a charcuterie platter. Find a wooden cutting board and add cheese, cured meats, and crackers for the ultimate smorgasbord.

Drinks and More: Keep Your Cool

While you may not be sweating over a hot grill, you still have summer heat to beat! Luckily, there are plenty of creative ways to keep your cool.

Upgrade plain ice water by adding lemons and cucumbers or strawberries and mint. Sparkling water is also a fun and refreshing alternative. Get inspired by these tasty twists on the classic Arnold Palmer from A Beautiful Mess. Or, if you’re over-21, give Camille Styles’s summer punch recipes a shot.

Lastly, don’t forget sweet but refreshing treats for dessert! In the heat, nothing hits the spot like a popsicle or a scoop of ice cream. Whew! We’re feeling cooler (and fuller) already.

Got the summer dinner ideas, but not the cooking utensils and appliances you need to prepare them? CORT’s got you covered. CORT offers much more than furniture rentals for temporary living situations—they also have pans, silverware, and even dishes for rent!

Is your heart still set on grilling? Rather than trying to cheat your apartment’s anti-grill lease provision, get yourself a new one! A new lease that is. Find your ideal BBQ-friendly apartment with ApartmentSearch!