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Will there ever be such a thing as truly automated cooking? Sure, the restaurant industry is experimenting with robots right now that can wait your tables, and even prepare some basic dishes. But what about your average, everyday home cooks who look at their counter and think, “How do I have so many appliances, and still take this long to put food on the table?”
On my never-ending quest to test and review the newest, most innovative kitchen gear, this became more of a curse than I blessing when I recently moved apartments and realized how much stuff I already had, and how much I still needed. Three coffee and espresso machines? Check. Toaster oven, microwave, air fryer, etc? Zilch. But counterspace is a precious commodity in my tiny New York apartment, so I knew I had to choose wisely.
Enter: the June Oven. This high-tech, high-concept, and high-everything oven makes big claims on its ability to streamline the entire cooking process with the press of a touchscreen button. Jam-packed with smart features, a built-in camera, and an abundance of cooking programs, June Oven promises to replace “12 cooking appliances in one magic machine.” That’s a bold statement, and for a pretty bold price tag. So we decided to see for ourselves if the future of cooking is June, or if the oven should stay in Tomorrowland.
What Is the June Smart Oven?
The June Smart Oven is less of an “oven” per se, and more of a full countertop smart kitchen. The oven comes with an internal HD camera that can recognize various ingredients, and incredibly, how many of each item you’ve put in the oven. From there, it automatically gives you a prompt on the touchscreen (if the camera captured it correctly), to let you know which cooking program you should use. WIFI connectivity allows you to monitor the cooking process of your food on the corresponding app and control the oven from any room in your house — or even while you’re away from home.
Speaking of settings, this oven is seriously smart. The recognition software could tell exactly how many strips of bacon I put on the baking tray, and even whole wheat versus white bread. It’s pretty impressive, though the cut of your food does matter (spread out your chopped vegetables or it may get confused), and certain ingredients may leave the June stumped (it struggled when presented with goat meat and dumplings, for example).
The touchscreen is thankfully easy enough to use, with the main highlight of the oven very clearly being its automatic cooking programs. Just select which type of food you want to make, from steaks to chocolate chip cookies, and the June Oven will use that information to automatically cook the dish at the correct time and temperature. Not only are these handy, there’s definitely a geeky thrill to trying to test what June can do for you. Especially if you’re an inexperienced home cook, or want to save yourself the time googling “easy fast pork chop recipe,” they can be useful. Though they’re not without their drawbacks.
June Smart Oven vs. Cuisinart Convection Toaster Oven
With the novelty of owning an air fryer wearing off, combining the functionality of convection cooking (which is all air frying really is, if we’re being honest) with a solid toaster oven has been the latest appliance wave. Air fryer toaster ovens, like our favorite Cuisinart TOB-260N1, perform many of the same functions as the June Oven, but at half the price. So how do they compare?
Both have the capacity to fit a 13 x 9 inch baking sheet and a 12-inch pizza, but the June somehow feels more massive and takes up way more space than you’d think. It could easily fit a three-quart Dutch oven, and claims to even fit a 10-pound turkey (although it’s pretty cramped, which leads to some crisping issues we’ll get to later).
What June does have is zone-style cooking from every angle, creating a virtual rotisserie effect in addition to the two convection fans for more even cooking overall. That being said, with all the investment in mechanics for cooking a wide variety of ingredients, June tends to play it safe.
Because the June meant to be so automized you could get up and walk away from dinner as it cooks, it has a tendency to underbake and not crisp up on preset programs. The roast chicken I prepared didn’t come out with super crispy skin like I wanted, and the steak didn’t exactly get a good crust, even if the inside was cooked perfectly medium. Though Cuisinart doesn’t have as many smart programs, it consistently delivers.
Cuisinart and June’s ovens both come with a variety of accessories, including baking pans, roasting racks, etc. (although these additions get pricey for the June, which is a big miss). One thing Cuisinart lacks is a built-in smart probe thermometer like June has. June’s probe not only monitor internal food temperature, but give you an estimate of how long it will take to finish cooking.
One key feature neither have? Microwaving. While this is a nothing burger for the Cuisinart oven, it’s shockingly absent from the June considering the way the oven markets itself as a replacement for the majority of your kitchen appliances (but perhaps there’s a limit to how much tech you can pack into one countertop device).
How Does the June Smart Oven Work?
Get ready to jot this down: on the touch screen, we have Bake, Broil, Roast, Air Fry, Slow Cook, Dehydrate, Toast, Proof, Reheat, and Keep Warm. You can also choose a separate tab for ingredients from Whole Foods, although we’ve found they’re not that much different than if you had chosen the regular ingredient instead.
Choose then from different types of cooking programs, including meats, vegetables, seafood, frozen food, and leftovers (although we’ve found this really only works best for frozen pizza). June can also be paired with an Alexa device, so you can use voice commands to control the oven. The June app is also great for getting notifications when your food is done, and accessing a library of 400+ recipes with video tutorials (this requires a subscription fee).
It’s at this point that we must say that you can input function, cooktime, and temperature manually, which might make the oven more appealing to advanced cooks or those with a specific recipe already in mind. While they clearly want to give a hands-off experience, the best results I’ve found come from using it the way you would a normal toaster oven.
June Oven Final Verdict: Is the June Smart Oven Worth It?
When you take into account the size, capacity, and variety of heating and conventions elements, the June Oven could easily replace for your average kitchen oven. The HD camera and recognition software are a tech-y chef’s dream, and there’s an almost infinite amount of possibilities to play around with when it comes to cooking various ingredients with different methods.
But shooting for the stars sometimes means you forget to ground yourself — for all its innovations, it’s still a splurge that isn’t always justifiable if you’re looking for a air fryer toaster oven to use alongside basics like your microwave. While it might not be worthy of a place on everyone’s countertop, if you’re an inexperienced chef looking for guidance and a hands-off approach, this oven is a worthy investment. Looking for the latest innovative kitchen gadget? Well, the kitchen of the future has to start somewhere, and for you, this oven would be the right place to start.