Rabbits are very sensitive to heat stress because they have difficulty eliminating excess body heat. The objective of the current study was to evaluate the effects of heat stress on slaughter weight, dressing percentage and carcass and meat quality traits of rabbits from two genetic groups. Ninety-six weaned rabbits were used: half were from the Botucatu genetic group and half were crossbreds between New Zealand White sires and Botucatu does. They were assigned to a completely randomized design in a 2 × 3 factorial arrangement (two genetic groups and three ambient temperatures: 18°C, 25°C and 30°C) and kept under controlled conditions in three environmental chambers from 5 to 10 weeks of age. Slaughter took place at 10 weeks, on 2 consecutive days. Meat quality measurements were made in the longissimus muscle. Actual average ambient temperature and relative humidity in the three chambers were 18.4°C and 63.9%, 24.4°C and 80.2% and 29.6°C and 75.9%, respectively. Purebred rabbits were heavier at slaughter and had heavier commercial and reference carcasses than crossbreds at 30°C; however, no differences between genetic groups for these traits were found at lower temperatures. No genetic group × ambient temperature interaction was detected for any other carcass or meat quality traits. The percentages of distal parts of legs, skin and carcass forepart were higher in crossbred rabbits, indicating a lower degree of maturity at slaughter in this group. The percentage of thoracic viscera was higher in the purebreds. Lightness of the longissimus muscle was higher in the purebreds, whereas redness was higher in the crossbreds. Slaughter, commercial and reference carcass weights and the percentages of thoracic viscera, liver and kidneys were negatively related with ambient temperature. Commercial and reference carcass yields, and the percentage of distal parts of legs, on the other hand, had a positive linear relationship with ambient temperature. Meat redness and yellowness diminished as ambient temperature increased, whereas cooking loss was linearly elevated with ambient temperature. Meat color traits revealed paler meat in the purebreds, but no differences in instrumental texture properties and water-holding capacity between genetic groups. Purebred rabbits were less susceptible to heat stress than the crossbreds. Heat stress resulted in lower slaughter and carcass weights and proportional reductions of organ weights, which contributed to a higher carcass yield. Moreover, it exerted a small, but negative, effect on meat quality traits.