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I'm a baker who's avoiding my oven this summer — here's what I'm using instead

This list has 'range': A smoke-free indoor grill spares you from heat (and bugs) while a Ninja Creami takes care of dessert.

Oven alternatives: Ninja Creami, Cuisinart air fryer, Ninja indoor grill
These oven alternatives will have you making homemade meals without breaking a sweat. (Amazon/Walmart)

As a former professional baker, there are few things I enjoy more than mixing up a cake from scratch or delivering homemade cookies to my neighbors. Well ... that's the case when it's any season other than summer, anyway. The temps have been pretty brutal in my neck of the woods, and if you're also feeling less than inspired to turn on your oven lately, all hope is not lost. There are plenty of kitchen helpers that won't make you wonder whether you stumbled into the center of a volcano, like a top-rated Ninja indoor grill, a No. 1 bestselling Instant Pot pressure cooker and a nifty little Cuisinart ice cream maker (because dessert is a must no matter what temperature it is). Oh, and many of these appliances heat up more quickly than a full-sized oven, so win-win!

Keep scrolling for solutions that don't involve turning to takeout 24/7 — and stay cool!

Faster food, cooler kitchen — this compact appliance is a no-brainer, especially during the warmer months when turning on your oven is the last thing you want to do. I've used it for everything from cakes and brownies to baked pasta and even roasted tofu and vegetables. It heats up in no time, plus it can fit a decent amount of food: six slices of toast, a 12-inch pizza or even a 4-pound chicken. The LED display has six functions: toast, bagel, bake, broil, keep warm and reheat. Oh, and this is its lowest price all year!

Check out my full Cuisinart Deluxe Convection Toaster Oven review for more. 

$144 at Amazon
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$144 at Walmart$180 at HSN

So, your outdoor space is too small for a grill, and you'd really like to avoid a house full of smoke — but you're still craving a nice char. This indoor grill sears proteins and veggies like a champ, but its smoke control system means you won't be breathing in soot while you cook. In addition to a grill plate, it comes with a flat-top griddle (smash burgers, anyone?) and you'll be able to fit up to six steaks at a time on its roomy cooking surface. Bonus: It comes with a food thermometer for accurate results every time, and you won't have to deal with mosquitoes!

Check out our roundup of the best grills of 2024 for more. 

$180 at Amazon

If baking just isn't in the cards, this wildly popular appliance will satiate your sweet tooth when the ice cream truck isn't parked on your block. It churns out everything from ice cream and sorbet to milkshakes and more — just add your ingredients, freeze overnight, press a button and ta-da! Plus, you'll be able to customize your creation with your favorite mix-ins.

Check out our full Ninja Creami review for more. 

$149 at Walmart

Not ready to splurge on the Creami? This fan-favorite pays for itself in just a few uses and mixes up frozen desserts in under 30 minutes. It can churn up to 1.5 quarts at a time, has a spout for pouring in nuts, candy, fruit and any other additions and has a small countertop footprint. Scoop it up while it's down to one of its best prices in months.

Here's how to make an easy homemade ice cream cake with your new favorite gadget. 

$55 at Amazon
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$55 at Macy's$70 at Lowe's

Air fryers are essentially mini ovens, and having one could make preparing meals infinitely more enjoyable when the temps rise above 80°F. With so many on the market, we put 15 models to the test. According to Yahoo Life writer Kristin Granero, who conducted the tests, this one "boasts substantial cooking room, minimal required maintenance and an easy-to-master learning curve, all while looking non-clunky." Its LED display has five cooking functions — air fry, roast, bake, broil and warm — as well as five preset options for popular foods like fries, wings, frozen snacks and vegetables. Other cool components include its interior light and see-through doors, which allow you to keep an eye on your food while it cooks, as well as a "toss reminder" that'll alert you when it's time to flip your food in the basket.

Check out our roundup of the best air fryers for more. 

$119 at Amazon
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$119 at Macy's$150 at Wayfair

Prefer a smaller model? Bring your crispy, crunchy culinary dreams to life with this Walmart bestseller. It can roast, reheat and dehydrate, all in one machine — and with little to no oil. Plus, it's compact but can accommodate up to 2 pounds of fries in its basket. Eat your heart out, Mickey D's. (Psst: This price is better than Amazon's!)

$59 at Walmart

Pressure cookers not only let you set it and forget it, but they also help you beat the heat — and this No. 1 bestseller is down to its lowest price of the year. Its 6-quart capacity holds food for up to six people, and you can use it for everything from steaming veggies and preparing rice to making your own yogurt. Plus, it works up to 70% faster than other cooking methods, meaning dinner will be on the table in a snap.

$130 at Amazon
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$139 at Groupon$150 at Ace Hardware

Don't forget about the first meal of the day! Enjoying a homemade breakfast on a busy morning has never been so easy, thanks to this contraption that'll make a bacon, egg and cheese without you having to stand over a hot stove. Just fill each tray with the essentials and any toppings you'd like, and it'll cook everything so that it's nice and melty by the time you've gotten dressed. If you're feeding multiple people, there's also a dual model.

$30 at Amazon
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$33 at Ace Hardware$30 at Boscov's

When the thought of doing any cooking whatsoever seems like a chore, it's smoothies and cold soups to the rescue! This sleek Oprah-approved blender is a looker, alright. Aside from the fact that it's compact and aesthetically pleasing, it's powerful enough to blitz ice down to a pulp and includes a nifty hydration system that'll have you infusing your own spa water and bringing it on the go. This is one appliance you won't mind having on your counter at all times. 

Check out our full Beast Blender review for more. 

$195 at Macy's
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$195 at Verishop$195 at Bloomingdale's

And when all else fails? Just zap some leftovers in the microwave and call it a day! Oh, you need a new one? Well, this No. 1 bestseller has 1.2 cubic feet of space, six auto settings, 10 power levels, a smart humidity sensor, defrost, soften and melt functions, plus an eco-mode that can help cut down your energy bill. Frozen pizza sounds good right about now!

$120 at Amazon
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$141 at Lowe's$150 at Wayfair