As much as I love cooking, I find that in the summer I love staying cool even more. Since I live in a small apartment, even heating my oven to 350°F for 30 minutes can raise the temperature of my kitchen and leave me sweating. That's why I take some extra measures to ensure we won't melt in our own home.
If you're looking to keep your kitchen cool this summer, these five tips and tricks can help.
1. Only use your oven at night or in the morning.
If you must bake cookies or roast vegetables, opt to do it in later in the evening or first thing in the morning. The temperature outside will be a bit cooler than it will be in the middle of the day or early evening, which means you'll sweat a little less when the oven heats up your kitchen.
2. Rely on the toaster oven, slow cooker, and Instant Pot.
Better yet, keep the oven off and lean on some of your other appliances. I am 100% pro-toaster oven no matter the time of year, but I find myself using it even more in the summertime since it can do pretty much everything a full-sized oven can do and won't even raise the temperature of your kitchen by a degree. In the same vein, your slow cooker or Instant Pot can help make things like potluck-friendly pulled pork and juicy summer fruit sauce a reality without ever having to turn on the oven. You can take it a step further and set the slow cooker up in the garage.
Read more: 26 Slow Cooker Recipes to Make This Summer
Carve out a little time over the weekend or at the start of the week to cook a few things all at once that you can reheat and eat throughout the week. That way you're only turning the oven or stove on for a small period of time but benefitting for days.
Read more: 10 Big Batch Summer Suppers
4. Go the no- (or low-) cook dinner route.
No-cook dinners like salads and cold soups are easy to love on the hottest days of the season — but don't forget barely-cook meals either. Rice noodles only need to soak in hot water to cook and shrimp can be sautéed in just a few minutes.
Read more: 50 Quick Suppers for Hot Summer Nights
5. Keep cold snacks and drinks close by while cooking.
"I keep lots of cool fruits, veggies, and drinks on hand to nibble and sip while I cook — it gives the illusion of being cool," says contributor Patty Catalano. Chilled cucumber slices, chunks of watermelon, or a cold drink with plenty of ice will help you chill out when the temperature starts to rise.
How do you keep your kitchen cool in the summer?