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An RVer’s Guide To Cooking In Hot Weather

This post was updated on March 15th, 2024

Take it outside. Photo via Wikipedia
Brian Chu

An RVer’s Guide To Cooking In Hot Weather

Everyone knows that summer is camping season. Unfortunately, summer is also the hot season, and sometimes hot weather and camping don’t mix well.

Luckily, if you have an RV, you can combat the heat with your air conditioner. However, an RV’s A/C doesn’t always want to keep up with the extreme heat.

After all, nobody wants to walk into a hot, stuffy camper to use the restroom, nap, or prepare a meal. For this reason, we highly recommend doing everything you can to avoid heating up the rig. This includes keeping windows and doors shut and covered with Reflectix, as well as turning off all lights that aren’t in use. Perhaps our best tip, however, is to change the way you cook.

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You see, the propane appliances that come standard in most RVs can heat things up quickly, making it impossible for the air conditioner to keep up. This leads to some pretty uncomfortable cooking situations and makes dining indoors completely unpleasant.

Obviously, you’re going to want to find a way to combat this. We’ve compiled a list of ways you can cook during the hot summer season without heating up your RV.

1. Take it outside

The first and most popular tip is to simply pick your cooking up and take it outdoors. You are camping after all, and cooking on a grill or over a campfire is only natural.

Additionally, there are a wide variety of meals you can make in the great outdoors, so hamburgers and hot dogs don’t have to be the only thing you eat during your getaways.

Not only will this keep your camper cool for hanging out in after dinner, but it’ll also encourage you to spend more time outside and connect as a family.

2. Switch to electric

As mentioned before, your propane appliances will quickly heat up your small space. For this reason, we recommend switching to electric appliances in the summer.

Whether it’s a Crock-Pot, an Instant Pot, an electric griddle, or an induction burner, there is almost certainly an electric appliance that’ll work for you. Sure, electric appliances—and all the moving around that comes with cooking—will still make things a bit warmer in your little home-on-wheels, but this rise in temp won’t be nearly as drastic as it would be with propane appliances.

Just make sure to cover foods whenever possible to prevent heat from escaping, and use a vent fan if your cooking is releasing steam into the space.

3. Opt for cold foods

Ending the day with a warm meal is always welcome in the winter. However, this isn’t always the case when it’s super hot outside. In fact, there are some days when a cold meal is much preferred. Take advantage of this by putting some cold dinners into your meal plan.

Sandwiches, salads, and other foods that are prepared and served cold can be delicious and refreshing on a super hot day, and making them won’t heat up your little kitchen at all. As an added bonus, cleaning up after these types of meals is a cinch, giving you more time to enjoy the evening in your nice, cool RV.

Eat cold foods instead. Photo by Gabriel Garcia Marengo
Eat cold foods instead. Photo by Gabriel Garcia Marengo

4. Cook in advance

In some cases, meal prepping might be the answer to your hot kitchen woes. If you’ll be going on a short-term camping trip, you can make meals in advance in your home kitchen, freeze or refrigerate them, and reheat them in the RV microwave when mealtime rolls around.

Clearly, this won’t work quite so well for escaping the heat when you’re on a long-term trip or if you live in your RV. However, you can do something similar by doing your cooking after the sun has gone down and things have cooled off a bit, then chilling your food for the next day.

Some of the best meals to make in advance and reheat include soups, casseroles, and rice and pasta-based dishes.

5. Take it easy

On those extra hot summer days, you probably aren’t going to feel like cooking at all, even if you can figure out how to do so without heating up your living space. On these days, you might consider kicking back and enjoying some takeout.

This is an especially good option if your camping trip happens to be a vacation. However, there’s no reason those living in their RVs can’t use this trick once in a while. Pizza, Chinese food, and fast food are all relatively cheap, and by supplementing with a bagged salad and some fruit, you can stretch the food further and make the meal a bit more healthy.

Hopefully, these tips will help you stay cool and well-fed during the hot summer camping season. After all, nobody should miss out on camping because they’re worried about the heat, and nobody should skip out on eating a good meal each night for the sake of keeping the camper cool.

Do you have a tip you’d like to add? Share your experiences below!

See also: 10 Must-Haves For Cooking Outside On A Hot Summer Day

3 thoughts on “An RVer’s Guide To Cooking In Hot Weather”

  1. I BBQ almost ever night. A small table serves a a place for our toaster oven. Cold dish Salads, Sandwiches, snaaks and such are prepared inside works for me.

  2. We use our electric frypan in and out of the RV. Also, we make meals in aluminum foil packets and heat them over a small campfire. No cleanup by using the aluminum foil as your plate! Cheese and crackers, fruit and ice cream make a nice meal too.

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