Baking Beyond the Oven: 7 Best Ways to Bake Without an Oven

How to bake without an oven: 7 best ways

Baking is a popular cooking technique that usually requires an oven. However, there are situations where an oven may not be available or practical. In such cases, it is possible to bake without an oven by using alternative cooking equipment and adjusting the cooking technique. In this article, we will explore seven of the best ways to bake without an oven.

Toaster oven

One of the most versatile alternatives to baking in an oven is the toaster oven. While still technically an oven, toaster ovens differ from traditional built-in convection ovens in several ways. They are smaller in size and do not have a built-in fan to circulate heat.
Toaster ovens rely on heating elements, usually at the top and bottom, to provide heat. The smaller chamber of a toaster oven allows for faster and more direct heat distribution, resulting in perfect baked goods. It is especially good for baking delicate items such as pastries and cakes because the lack of a fan prevents the dough or batter from warping.
When using a toaster oven, it is important to note that the smaller size limits the capacity for baking large items. It is advisable to either bake multiple portions or adjust the shape and size of the item accordingly. In addition, if the toaster oven does not have precise temperature control, using an oven thermometer can help ensure accurate baking temperatures.

Air Fryer

Air fryers have gained popularity in recent years due to their ability to cook food using less oil. These appliances use a small chamber, a built-in fan, and a special heating element to distribute heat quickly and evenly. While primarily designed for frying, many air fryers now come with a “bake” setting, making them an excellent alternative for baking without an oven.
By using the bake function, the fan in the air fryer either runs at a low speed or doesn’t run at all. This allows for the application of dry heat without air circulation, resulting in even baking without excessive crispiness or dryness. Air fryers also have the advantage of preheating much faster than conventional ovens.
When using an air fryer for baking, it may be necessary to make adjustments to the recipe. Using a smaller baking sheet or a heat-resistant baking pan is recommended, as baking directly in the fryer basket is not ideal. Lowering the baking temperature slightly can prevent overbaking, as air fryers tend to bake items quickly. Monitoring the baking process is critical to ensure the desired doneness.

Microwave oven

While microwave ovens are primarily used for reheating food, they can also be used for certain types of baking. Microwave baking is suitable for items that can tolerate some moisture, such as cupcakes, cakes, cheesecakes, brownies, soft cookies, and certain types of rolls.
It is important to note that not all baked goods can be successfully microwaved. The moisture content and texture of the item play a significant role in determining its suitability for microwave baking. Microwave baking is commonly associated with mug cakes, where individual portions of cake batter are baked in a mug.
When using a microwave for baking, it is important to follow specific guidelines for each recipe. Microwave-safe containers, such as microwave-safe cups or pans, should be used. It is also advisable to reduce the baking time compared to conventional oven baking, as microwaves cook food much faster.


Another alternative to baking in the oven is to use the stovetop. While stovetops are primarily used for direct heat cooking, certain baking techniques can be adapted to work on a stovetop.
One popular stovetop baking technique is to use a Dutch oven. A Dutch oven is a heavy, thick-walled pot with a tight-fitting lid. It is designed to retain and distribute heat evenly, making it suitable for baking bread, cakes, and other baked goods. The Dutch oven is placed over a stovetop burner, and the heat from the burner simulates the baking environment.
Stovetop baking requires careful temperature control and monitoring. Heat intensity can be adjusted by regulating the stovetop burner. It is important to follow recipes specifically designed for stovetop baking and make necessary adjustments based on the type of stove and heat source available.

Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker

Instant and pressure cookers are versatile appliances known for their ability to cook food quickly under high pressure. While they are primarily used for pressure cooking and slow cooking, they can also be used for baking certain items.
Baking in an instant pot or pressure cooker requires a separate baking pan or mold that fits inside the appliance. The food to be baked is placed in the pan and the appliance is set to the appropriate baking mode. The high pressure and heat generated inside the pot or pressure cooker creates a baking-like environment that allows for the preparation of cakes, breads, and other baked goods.
It is important to note that baking in an instant pot or pressure cooker may require some recipe adjustments. The cooking time may be different from traditional oven baking, and it is recommended to use recipes specifically designed for this cooking method. In addition, the size of the baking pan or mold should be considered to ensure that it will fit in the instant pot or pressure cooker.

Open flames/Dutch oven

For outdoor enthusiasts or those without access to traditional cooking appliances, baking over open flames using a Dutch oven may be a viable option. Dutch ovens are thick-walled cast iron pots that allow for even heat distribution and retention.
To bake with a Dutch oven, the oven is placed directly over hot coals or an open fire. The heat from the fire circulates around the pot, creating an oven-like environment. The lid of the Dutch oven helps trap heat and moisture, contributing to the baking process.
When baking with a Dutch oven, it is important to control the temperature by adjusting the distance from the heat source or by adding or removing coals. Baking time may vary depending on the intensity of the fire and the size of the item being baked. It is recommended to use recipes specifically designed for Dutch oven baking for best results.

Electric Skillet

An electric skillet is a portable cooking appliance with a flat cooking surface. While primarily used for frying and sautéing, electric skillets can also be used for baking certain items.
To bake in an electric skillet, a heat-resistant baking dish or pan is placed on the cooking surface. The temperature is set to the desired baking temperature and the item is baked as it would be in a traditional oven. Electric skillets provide even heat distribution for consistent baking results.
When using an electric skillet for baking, it is important to consider the size and capacity of the skillet. Larger items may not fit in the skillet, requiring adjustments to the recipe or baking smaller portions. Monitoring the baking process is essential to ensure even cooking and prevent overbaking.


While an oven is the traditional and preferred method of baking, it is possible to achieve baking-like results using alternative cooking appliances. Toasters, air fryers, microwaves, stovetop methods, instant pots, Dutch ovens, and electric skillets are all viable options for baking without an oven.
When using these alternative methods, it is important to make recipe adjustments and closely monitor the baking process. Each appliance has its own unique characteristics and may require modifications to achieve the desired results. By understanding the capabilities and limitations of these alternative appliances, it is possible to enjoy baked goods without access to a conventional oven.


Can I bake without an oven?

Yes, it is possible to bake without an oven by using alternative cooking equipment and adjusting the cooking technique. There are several options such as toaster ovens, air fryers, microwaves, stovetop methods, instant pots, Dutch ovens, and electric skillets.

What can I use instead of an oven for baking?

Toaster ovens, air fryers, microwaves, stovetops with Dutch ovens, instant pots or pressure cookers, open flames with Dutch ovens, and electric skillets are alternatives for baking without an oven. Each appliance has its own unique characteristics and requires specific adjustments for baking.

Can I get the same results as baking in an oven?

While alternative cooking appliances can produce baking-like results, it’s important to note that there may be slight differences in texture and appearance compared to traditional oven baking. However, with proper adjustments to recipes and techniques, you can still enjoy delicious baked goods.

Do I need to make any recipe adjustments when baking without an oven?

Yes, recipe adjustments are often necessary when baking without an oven. Factors such as baking time, temperature, and size of the baking pan may need to be modified to accommodate the specific alternative cooking method being used. It’s important to follow recipes designed for the specific appliance or cooking method.

Can I bake all kinds of foods without an oven?

While many types of baked goods can be made using alternative cooking methods, it’s important to note that not all recipes are suitable. Delicate items such as pastries, cakes, cookies, and certain breads are generally well suited to alternative baking methods. However, some recipes may not work well without the specific heat and airflow provided by a traditional oven. It’s best to choose recipes specifically designed for the alternative cooking method you plan to use.