Planning a Trip? Pack These Easy Recipes to Make in a Vacation Rental

Pasta Salad with Tomatoes, Mozzarella, and Chickpeas
Photo: Ren Fuller

One of the biggest advantages to renting a home or condo for a vacation is having a kitchen where you can cook your own meals. On the other hand, who hasn't run into a set of dull knives, minimal counter space, or a stove where only half of the burners work?

Whether it's a lakeside cabin, a bungalow on the beach, or a snowy chalet in the mountains, a rental vacation home kitchen can be a gamble. But if the view from the window above the sink is pretty and the company is wonderful, then there's nothing a few good recipes can't fix.

We've gathered tasty meals that require minimal equipment and even less prep (that's precious time you should spend exploring!). If you plan on cooking on your next trip, look through this gallery of recipes curated with vacation rental kitchens in mind.

01 of 17

Tomato Panzanella with Ricotta


Remember this timeless salad near the end of your vacation, when the overripe tomatoes and lemon wedges collect alongside day-old baguettes and leftover red onion halves. It all gets mashed together for a bread salad that pairs well with add-ins like cucumbers, herbs, and ricotta.

02 of 17

Grilled Peaches with Vanilla Ice Cream

grilled peaches with vanilla ice cream
Linda Xiao

Sweet and simple, grilled stone fruit is a quick dessert that requires very little knife work and hardly any patience at all. Make it special by serving them with a scoop of locally made vanilla ice cream and crumbled cookies from the store.

03 of 17

Artichoke-and-Spinach Skillet Pizza

Armando Rafael

It's unlikely that a pizza stone will be stocked in a rental home kitchen, but a skillet should do just fine for this easy recipe. Pre-made dough from the supermarket or the local pizzeria works great, and the toppings are blissfully simple, comforting, and easy to find at the new-to-you grocery store.

04 of 17

Hazelnut S'mores Sandwich

Andrew Purcell

If you're going for an outdoorsy theme at the cabin this year, but the weather or space won't allow for a campfire, these handheld s'more sandwiches are a great alternative.

05 of 17

Cucumber and Watermelon Salad

Cucumber and Watermelon Salad

This crisp salad tastes like pure summer and keeps well in the refrigerator for grazing. Stick to the palate-pleasing side dish just the way it is, or upgrade it with add-ons like crumbled feta cheese, grilled shrimp skewers, chopped fresh herbs, or spicy minced chiles.

06 of 17

Coconut-Strawberry Granita

strawberry-coconut granita recipe
Kirsten Francis

Especially appropriate to enjoy at a beach house, this tropical cooler made with coconut water doesn't require any fancy equipment.

07 of 17

Pasta Salad with Chickpeas, Green Beans, and Basil

Pasta Salad with Green Beans and Basil
Ren Fuller

This is deli-inspired salad will only get better after a day in the refrigerator, and who doesn't like a make-ahead recipe? Light and tangy with an Italian flavor profile, this pasta salad will be perfect as a lunch, snack, side, or all three!

08 of 17

Cheaters Mac-and-Cheese

Cheater's Mac and Cheese recipe
Con Poulos

Perfect as either a side to barbecue chicken or as a main meal, this recipe only needs one pot and a handful of accessible ingredients to turn itself into a delectable mac-and-cheese that crowds of all ages will adore.

09 of 17

Sumac-Dusted Salmon with Broccolini

Sumac-Dusted Salmon with Broccolini
Kate Sears

Don't deny yourself the local catch of the day just because you don't have your favorite nonstick skillet and fish spatula handy. This recipe uses the common baking sheet to make a simple and nutritious salmon dinner.

10 of 17

Potée Savoyard

Potee Savoyard
Con Poulos

You can hit the slopes all afternoon and still come home to a knockout dinner by putting this rustic one-pot stew on the stove on low to slowly simmer together cozy ingredients like pork shoulder, root vegetables, cabbage, and ham hocks.

11 of 17

Ginger-Peanut Turkey Stir Fry

Ginger-Peanut Turkey Stir-Fry
Justin Walker

This clever stir-fry doesn't require a long list of thinly sliced vegetables for you to contend with; instead, it leans on ingredients like crunchy butter lettuce, torn herbs, and lime wedges to bring a fresh burst of flavor to every bite.

12 of 17

Striped Plum Tart

plum tart
Johnny Miller

This free-form tart is a great dessert to plan on making when you aren't sure what equipment will be in the kitchen of your vacation home. No need to worry about pie plate dimensions when you have store-bought sheets of puff pastry that you can roll out with a wine bottle!

13 of 17

Skillet Cod with Bulgur, Zucchini, and Tomatoes

braised cod and bulgur with zucchini and tomatoes
Justin Walker

Straight from the farmers market and into the skillet is the name of this one-pan recipe's game; feel free to swap the cod in for any local white fish of a similar size.

14 of 17

Gnocchi with Sausage, Zucchini, and Tomato

tomato eggplant gnocchi
Ren Fuller

Does the locale you're visiting have a great supermarket? This recipe was made for browsing the aisles to find the best gnocchi, pesto, and sausage you can find. Then, pull it all together in just one skillet by adding fresh tomato and basil.

15 of 17

Blueberry Beignets


The batter for these fruity blueberry beignets comes together in one bowl and they fry up into the famously soft and pillowy parcels.

16 of 17

Summer Smoked-Salmon Chowder

summer smoked salmon chowder
Ren Fuller

This smoky one-pot chowder will fit right in when placed on the table of a coastal New England cottage rental.

17 of 17

Cherry-and-Cream-Cheese Hand Pies

cherry and cream-cheese hand pies
Kate Mathis

Store-bought puff pastry encases fresh sour cherries and sweetened cream cheese in an easy dessert recipe that won't require any fancy molds or baking pans.

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