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Oven-free appliances for cooking during summer’s hottest days

Keep your kitchen cool in a heat wave with these small or outdoor appliances


When temperatures rise in summer, keeping your home cool is a serious challenge. The last thing you want to do if you’re trying to keep your cooling bills down is turn on your oven and heat up your kitchen.

Fortunately, you don’t need to use your oven to get a tasty meal on the table this summer. With countertop or outdoor cooking appliances, you can prepare your favorite recipes without generating too much heat and driving up your energy costs.

If you want to keep your kitchen cool when it gets warm, here are the best oven-free cooking appliances that can make delicious meals all summer. 

How to keep your kitchen cool in summer

Use countertop appliances

A full-size oven generates enough heat to make your kitchen uncomfortable in hot summer weather. On the other hand, small countertop appliances like a toaster oven or slow cooker produce much less heat — and cost less money to operate. These appliances are highly versatile, too, so you can prepare plenty of summer-friendly recipes with them. 

Cook outside

Another way to keep your kitchen from getting too hot in summer is to take your cooking outdoors. If you have a charcoal or gas grill, you can prepare barbecue favorites like burgers, hot dogs, steaks, chicken, corn on the cob and grilled veggies. An electric grill works well for outdoor cooking on a patio or balcony if your apartment or condo doesn’t allow full-size gas or charcoal grills. 

Cook at the right times

If you start cooking when it’s already hot outside, your kitchen will only get hotter and more uncomfortable. That’s why timing your cooking right is so important. Try to prepare your meals early in the day when it’s cooler, so you can reheat the food in the microwave when it’s time for dinner. You can also cook in the evening after the sun’s gone down if you don’t mind eating later in the day.

Make large batches of food

Whether you use your oven or a countertop appliance, it’s a good idea to prepare large batches of food, so you have leftovers for later. You can refrigerate or freeze the extra food, and then use your toaster oven or microwave to heat it up when it’s time to eat. 

Oven-free cooking appliances for summer

For under $50

Hamilton Beach Breakfast Sandwich Maker

This compact appliance makes drive-thru quality sandwiches with eggs, cheese and meat for breakfast, lunch or dinner. The cooking surfaces have a durable, nonstick coating, so the sandwiches are easy to remove. All parts of the breakfast sandwich maker are removable and dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning, too.

Sold by Amazon and Macy’s

Elite Gourmet Electric Quesadilla Maker

Enjoy delicious quesadillas in fewer than five minutes with this convenient countertop appliance. It has a large eight-inch cooking surface with a nonstick coating that easily wipes clean. You can also stand it up vertically for more convenient storage.

Sold by Amazon

Aroma Housewares 20-cup Digital Rice Cooker

This extra-large capacity rice cooker can make up to 20 cups of rice at a time. The Aroma rice cooker also offers a slow cooker function and programmable settings, so you can turn it on and leave it to cook. It has a user-friendly digital control panel, too.

Sold by Amazon

Hamilton Beach Four-slice Nonstick Belgian Waffle Maker

Make thick, fluffy Belgian waffles for breakfast, lunch or even dinner with this compact waffle maker. It makes four waffles at a time and has nonstick plates that wipe clean easily. The indicator lights also make operation easy because they illuminate when it’s time to add the batter.

Sold by Amazon, Macy’s and Wayfair

Betty Crocker Countertop Pizza Maker

This countertop pizza maker lets you make delicious 12-inch pizzas without turning on your oven. It has an easy-to-clean nonstick cooking surface and works well for both homemade and frozen pizzas. It’s also ideal for making quesadillas, pancakes, quiches and more.

Sold by Amazon, Home Depot and Wayfair

For $50-$100

Black and Decker Six-slice Convection Countertop Toaster Oven

This toaster oven offers convection cooking technology, so your food cooks more quickly and evenly without preheating. It can bake, broil, toast and warm and is large enough to fit six slices of bread or a 9-inch pizza.

Sold by Amazon and Wayfair

Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 Electric Pressure Cooker

One of the most versatile countertop appliances you can find, this electric pressure cooker also works as a slow cooker, ricer cooker, saute pan, steamer, food warmer and more. The Instant Pot has 13 customizable cooking programs for standard recipes and is easy to clean.

Sold by Amazon, Home Depot and Walmart

Crockpot Portable Six-quart Slow Cooker

With this well-sized slow cooker, you can prepare meals for up to seven people. It can be set to cook for as little as 20 minutes and as much as 20 hours before shifting to the warming setting automatically. The crockpot also has a locking lid that prevents spills when traveling.

Sold by Amazon

Hamilton Beach Electric Indoor Searing Grill

If you can’t get outdoors to grill this summer, this countertop indoor grill allows you to grill burgers, steaks, chicken, fish and more in your kitchen. It reaches 450 degrees and has a large enough cooking surface to make food for up to six people.

Sold by Amazon

Cuisinart 5-in-1 Griddler

Make perfect bacon, eggs, pancakes and other breakfast favorites on this countertop griddle. Its plates are reversible, so you can also use it as a grill or panini press. Because the plates are removable and dishwasher-safe, they’re easy to clean, too.

Sold by Amazon, Home Depot and Wayfair

Kingsford Charcoal Kettle Grill

If you want to cook outside this summer, this classic charcoal kettle grill is an ideal option. It offers over 350 square inches of cooking space and a grate with a durable porcelain coating. The wheeled bottom also makes it easy to move around your yard or patio.

Sold by Amazon

Ninja 4-Quart Air Fryer

Make fried favorites like french fries and chicken nuggets with 75 percent less fat in this compact air fryer. It can hold up to two pounds of food at a time and heat up to 400 degrees. The Ninja air fryer preheats in just three minutes, too.

Sold by Amazon

For $100+

Farberware 1.1 cubic-foot 1000-watt Countertop Microwave

If you want to prepare meals quickly and without generating much heat, this 1000-watt microwave makes it as easy as possible. It offers 10 power levels and six one-touch programs for foods like popcorn, pizza and baked potatoes. The child safety lock also allows for safe operation.

Sold by Amazon and Home Depot

Toshiba Six-slice Toaster Oven

This well-sized toaster oven can fit up to six pieces of toast, a 12-inch pizza, four pounds of chicken or most casserole dishes. It has a temperature range of 150 to 400 degrees and a bright, easy-to-read digital display. It also has a cool-touch handle, so you never have to worry about burning your hand.

Sold by Amazon

All-Clad Programmable Oval-Shaped Slow Cooker

This slow cooker is large enough to cook for a crowd and can be set for four to 20 hours of cooking time. Its digital display is large and easy to read, while the large push buttons allow for user-friendly operation.

Sold by Amazon

Ooni Fyra 12 Wood Pellet Pizza Oven

Cook delicious pizzas in your backyard this summer with this outdoor pizza oven. It can reach 950 degrees in just 15 minutes, so it can cook a pizza in just 60 seconds once it’s preheated. It weighs only 22 pounds, so it’s easy to move, too.

Sold by Ooni

Breville Smart Oven Air Fryer Pro Countertop Convection Oven

This highly versatile countertop convection oven can roast, bake, air fry, dehydrate and more. The super convection setting can reduce cooking time by 30 percent, and the user-friendly display makes operation a breeze. It can fit a 14-pound turkey, too.

Sold by Amazon and Sur La Table

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Jennifer Blair writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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