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How to keep a kitchen cool

As summer approaches and temperatures rise, the open flames and scorching ovens inherent to cooking can quickly create an uncomfortably hot kitchen. You aren’t doomed to spend the whole season choosing between splurging on takeout every night or sweating while trying to cook. Take control of the temperature in your kitchen with these practical tips for all spaces and budgets. 

Don’t use your oven 

Range oven use is the leading cause of an uncomfortably hot kitchen. To avoid raising the temperature in your kitchen several degrees, your best bet is to simply not use your oven at all. 

Use small appliances

Cuisinart MSC-600 3-In-1 Cook Central 6-Quart Multi-Cooker

Your slow cooker is suitable for a lot more than winter soups and stews. Cook all kinds of savory dishes — think barbeque pulled pork, mixed summer veggies and garlic parmesan potatoes — all while generating considerably less heat. 

ML2-EM31PAEBS Black Stainless Steel Microwave

A microwave is an obvious choice for heating leftovers and preparing precooked or instant foods. Still, you might be surprised by the meals you can cook exclusively in a microwave, like mac and cheese, loaded potatoes and omelets.

Toaster Oven 4 Slice, Multi-function Stainless Steel Finish with Timer

Your toaster oven can do anything your range oven can while generating less heat. Cook up pizza bagels, nachos and delicacies like toasted pine nuts and garlic kale chips. Not to mention, of course, toast. 

Presto 07211 Liddle Griddle

An electric griddle is perfect for staples like bacon, pancakes, hash browns, grilled cheese and unexpected dishes like falafel and crab cakes. 

Ninja Foodi 9-in-1

Perhaps the most innovative countertop appliance, the pressure cooker is the fastest and least heat-generative way to cook pretty much anything you want. Our top pick is the Ninja Foodi 9-in-1 Pressure Cooker

Eat outside 

Weber Spirit E-310 Liquid Propane Gas Grill

What could be more classically summer than enjoying a meal outdoors with family and friends? Perhaps by a lake, a pool or in your backyard? We recommend firing up the grill to save your kitchen from the unwanted heat (and mess) of cooking inside. 

electronic insect killer

If you don’t already have a deck equipped for outdoor dining, you’ll want a patio dining set that can fit your whole family or core group of barbecue enthusiasts. You’ll also want to keep bugs away. Bug spray works, but we highly recommend an electronic insect killer. 

Eat no-cook meals

Consider planning meals that don’t require any cooking, such as veggie wraps, gazpacho, tuna salad, fresh spring rolls or cucumber salad. 

You can’t go wrong with salads or platters of fresh fruits like watermelon, strawberries, apricots, peaches and berries in the summer. 

Cook during the coolest parts of the day

If you find that you absolutely must use your oven, the best strategy is to only use it during the coolest time of the day, early in the morning, just before sunrise. 

Not up that early? Don’t sweat it. Just start cooking as early as you possibly can. Consider cooking all your food for the day first thing in the morning and reheating it throughout the day. Or, to truly optimize your oven time, plan all your meals by preparing them in large batches and reheating them in a microwave throughout the week. 

Our suggestion for meal prepping is to start small with simple recipes which are easy to prepare in bulk, like pasta salad, stir fry or pizza. Make enough for several meals. 

Rubbermaid Brilliance Storage Food Containers set

If you decide to prepare your meals in large batches, we recommend investing in high-quality food storage containers to keep your food fresh longer. Our top pick is this Rubbermaid Brilliance Storage Food Containers set

Invest in a fan 

Air King 9166F 20" Whole House Window Fan

Stagnant air only makes a hot kitchen feel hotter. A fan circulates air, making you feel much cooler, even if the actual temperature in your kitchen isn’t lowered. We recommend a window fan with a powerful motor for optimal air circulation and cooling effects, such as the Air King

Dyson Pure Hot + Cool, HP01 HEPA Air Purifier

A box fan is a great budget-friendly option for compact, portable air circulation. For combination cooling and air circulation, we highly recommend the Dyson Pure Humidity Cool PH01, which can even be used as a heater in the winter. 

How to reduce heat in kitchen 

Midea U Inverter Window Air Conditioner 

Midea U Inverter Window Air Conditioner 

A portable AC unit can significantly cool your kitchen or any other room in your home. These are ideal for anyone who doesn’t have central air conditioning in their home. They’re compact enough to be used in any space, and they dehumidify as well as cool your space, making them a top choice for reclaiming your comfort in a sweltering kitchen. 

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ECLIPSE Fresno Thermal Insulated Single Panel Rod Pocket Darkening Curtains

ECLIPSE Fresno Thermal Insulated Single Panel Rod Pocket Darkening Curtains

It’s stunning what a dramatic difference simply utilizing window treatments can make on the temperature of a room. Blackout curtains reduce the heat transferred into your kitchen by blocking sunlight from entering your space. You may have to forgo the simple pleasure of mid-morning sunlight streaming through your window, but you’ll keep your kitchen cool all day long.

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Evelyn Waugh is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

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