Whether you're temporarily without an oven or just don't want to heat up your home in warm weather, finding alternative ways to bake foods without an oven is essential at least sometimes. Many people use a large toaster oven or countertop oven to do their baking and roasting, but these can still heat up the kitchen. Instead, there are other devices you can use to create cookies, cakes, pizzas, and more without heating up the home.
The most obvious alternative is your microwave. From mug cakes to quick French-bread pizzas to microwave cookies, you can adapt most recipes if you want to use the microwave instead of the oven. The batches will be smaller, of course—don't attempt to make dozens of cookies in a few hours in the microwave unless you're really patient—and foods might not look as nice because they won't hold their shape like they would in the oven. For example, cookies baked in the microwave often spread unevenly rather than spreading in a nice, round circle like they would in the oven. But you can find recipes for most foods if all you're looking for is some small-batch cooking.
Another option is to get a standalone combination cooker that you use outside. Sometimes these can be grills used for baking pizza; other times these can be specialty cookers like the Big Green Egg, sold by companies such as Hearth and Patio. This cooker can bake items with the help of special inserts. And as the Internet has proved, you can even use your rice cooker to bake cake-sized pancakes. You're using these outside, with the exception of the rice cooker, so no heat is getting in the house (and the rice cooker doesn't really add heat, either). Depending on the size of the cooker, you could bake enough for a large get-together.
If it's truly hot out, your car might be your best substitute. You can bake a couple of batches of cookies on your dashboard if the temperature is just right (according to Baking Bites, it has to be at least 95 Fahrenheit outside), and there's a whole subculture dedicated to manifold cooking, which is cooking meals on a hot engine. Granted, this is not a consistent alternative unless you live somewhere like the Mojave Desert, Phoenix, or another mostly hot place, and it does take time—chocolate chip cookies can take 2 1/2 hours, per Baking Bites. But it's a fun way to spend a hot day if you do have the time.
Alternative methods of baking can help you stay stocked with your favorite baked foods without increasing the heat in your kitchen and making your air conditioner work harder. Of course, it's nice to have the option to bake large amounts of food, so a standalone cooker may be the better choice for constant baking.Share