June Oven Review: The Updated Smart Oven Is Now $700 Cheaper – CNET

With a built-in thermometer, HD camera to recognize food and a fun, flashy interface, is this smart oven worth the still-high cost?
David Watsky
Senior Editor / Home and Kitchen
I live in Brooklyn where I write about food subscriptions, cooking, kitchen gadgets and commerce. Anything with sesame is my all-time favorite food this week.
When CNET first reviewed the June Smart Oven back in 2018, it cost an unholy $1,300. If the intelligent appliance could fold laundry and drop the kids off at soccer, it still might not have been worth that price. The third generation of the June Oven is down to a more approachable — though still very expensive — $600. (It’ll cost more if you want all the accessories and access to a full library of recipes, though.)
At a recent launch event for the latest iteration of the June Oven, I learned that June’s engineers had made significant updates to the oven. That, paired with a far more attractive entry-level price, signaled it might be time to revisit the sleek smart home device. I used the June Oven for more than a month cooking everything from ribeye steaks to hard-boiled eggs. 
While it didn’t prove to be an I-can’t-live-without-it appliance, and many of the add-ons and accessories are frustratingly expensive, the June is as smart as it claims to be — with user-friendly and futuristic features alongside nifty smart home integrations that make it feel worth the big price. That is, if you’ve got the extra dough laying around to splurge. 
Here’s what I learned about the third-gen June Oven. 
8.4
For the uninitiated, the June is a 12-in-1 smart convection oven with a whole bunch of bells and whistles that aim to make cooking a smarter, more seamless experience. The oven’s cooking methods include toasting, roasting, broiling, baking, proofing, dehydrating, grilling (yes, grilling), air frying and a few more.
June sports a built-in thermometer to monitor the internal temps of meat and fish. The oven is engineered with hundreds of cooking programs with various steps and stages meant to deliver the best possible results on a number of popular foods and dishes. The oven is Wi-Fi connected so you can track said cooking programs and their progress from your smart device. You can also preheat or halt cooking from another location. 
The June has an HD camera that can identify certain foods once they are placed inside and recommend programs. It also allows you to watch food as it’s cooking right from your phone. If you’re a smart assistant user, June is compatible with Amazon’s Alexa so you call out for the oven to preheat or stop cooking without getting off your keister or while you’re chopping onions on the other side of the kitchen.
June’s digital interface is a big boon for the pricey appliance. From the jump, it was super simple — even fun — to use. You can easily toggle through the various cooking methods and quickly drag the cursor to your desired temperature and cooking time. It’s also big and bright so you can see things like the preheat temp and cooking countdown from across a room. 
June’s sleek touchscreen control panel is simple and intuitive. One of the best I’ve ever used.
If you’re like most people, the most common jobs you’ll ask of your countertop oven is toasting bread and bagels or heating foods. June has presets for bagels and toast aimed at hitting your desired shade. It even discerns between wheat and white toast. As with every single other toaster oven I’ve used, these are never going to be exact and you’ll have to learn what setting gets you to your doneness. Despite loads of research into the cooking programs, factors like bread density and slice thickness are impossible to account for. That said, the June gets about as close as any other smart oven or toaster oven I’ve tried. 
Read more: Best Toaster Oven for 2022
Smaller ovens generally preheat faster than large ovens, and June is among the fastest. The oven preheats to 350 degrees F in a hasty 8 minutes. My large oven takes closer to 16. This is not only time-saving and convenient, but energy-saving too. It’ll also alert your smartphone when it’s ready in case you’ve drifted to another part of the house.
June’s built-in thermometer is accurate and lets you know when food is ready. 
If you cook lots of roast chicken and pork loins, you know how anxiety-inducing it can be to determine when the food is done. June’s built-in thermometer keeps tabs on internal temps for any meat or fish you stick in it. I found it worked exceptionally well. Pork tenderloin is one of those foods that when you go even a few minutes too long, jumps from tender to leather. June nailed the cooking time and temp (see image below) on the one I made. The thermometer worked just as well on thick filets of salmon, steak and my whole roasted chicken. 
With this feature, there’s no more stabbing at the food constantly with a manual model. The June’s thermometer was even more consistent than some other smart thermometers I’ve used including Meater and Yummly. Those will cost you around $100 alone. 
The cooking program and built-in thermometer worked in concert to nail this pork tenderloin, without much effort on my part. 
The June Oven’s accessories are as smart as the rest of the oven, especially the nonstick roasting pan which comes free with the basic bundle. It’s about as nonstick as nonstick gets. (I’m told it was designed by a NASA engineer.) When cooking bacon, skin-on chicken and other greasy, messy, sticky foods, it makes cleanup pain-free. The basic June bundle also includes the aforementioned thermometer, a simple wire shelf and a removable crumb tray that slides into the bottom.
To get the oven with a full slate of toys — including the cast-iron grill pan, pizza peel, air fryer baskets, extra nonstick tray and roasting rack — it’ll run you $1,000. Spoiler alert: You probably won’t need all those, especially the duplicate trays and pans. A better option would be to buy only the accessories you want since they can be purchased individually. They’re also not particularly cheap, ranging from $29 to $129. 
It is nearly impossible to get food to stick to June Oven’s nonstick pan.
This is one of the newer additions to the June accessory line and it doesn’t come with the standard bundle. The cast-iron grill plate fits snugly over the bottom burners so it gets screaming hot. Steak and burger programs instruct you to wait for the cast iron to come to temp and then sear the meat, flipping it after a few minutes to sear the other side. The thermometer is also employed to ensure a perfect internal temp (see below).
The cast-iron grill pan works to sear the outside of a steak while the oven cooks it to the proper doneness. 
The June did a nice job with my ribeye. 
To get premium access to all the programs and recipes you’ll have to shell out an extra $10 per month, which is too expensive for what it is. If you spring for the $849 June Oven Plus bundle, you’ll get access to the full library of recipes and cooking programs for one year. These include some created and uploaded by June users and others developed in partnership with Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods using their products. 
This extra cost feels like a hard one to swallow after shelling out $600 for a small appliance. It is worth noting that recipes and programs are being added and refined all the time. 
A breakdown of the June Oven membership tiers.
For $600, you’re probably hoping this smart oven does a lot of the thinking for you. Well, it does… and it doesn’t. 
There are lots of cooking programs to make full recipes and meals from start to finish but some proved more successful than others. Many of them engage different temps and methods throughout the course of cooking to deliver ideal results. A steak program, for instance — one I found worked well — has eight steps, changing heat and cooking method to get a good sear on the outside and desired temp on the inside.
I tried several and the roasted chicken over vegetables was one of the biggest winners. The thermometer kept tabs on the chicken while the program directed me when to add a layer of vegetables on the cooking tray under the racked chicken so the juices would drop down and season them. 
This 4-pound chicken fit comfortably inside the June. The excellent roast chicken program employs heating elements that move around the bird to imitate a rotisserie oven.
The air fryer fried chicken program, on the other hand, didn’t cook my coated chicken thighs long enough to get them truly crunchy and browned and so I had to adjust accordingly. A program to reheat a slice of pizza did an OK job, but it too could have used a few more minutes to crisp up my floppy day-old slice. 
Speaking of which, adding time to a cooking program can be a bit of a nuisance since it usually only allows for you to extend the cook one minute at a time. Otherwise, you have to stop the cook and restart it with a fresh cycle if you want to go longer. It’s not the biggest inconvenience but it would be nice to have more manual control in those situations. 
Because no two frozen pizzas, chicken breasts, steaks, heads of broccoli or slices of bread are the same, it tracks that the June can’t nail every program exactly on the first try. What’s nice is that you can easily adjust and retrofit the programs, but it takes effort on your part.
An example is a batch of Mason Dixie biscuits I made (side note: if you haven’t tried them, they’re amazing). During the first attempt, June recognized them as biscuits (a good start) and suggested a cooking program. When the program ended the biscuits were visibly underdone, so I continued cooking them (in those annoying one-minute increments) and then hit “finished cooking” when I felt they were. While the initial program wasn’t perfect, the next time I stuck biscuits in June remembered the adjustments and had them logged as my new biscuit baking program. Pretty smart stuff. 
One disappointing feature was the June Oven’s air fryer function. This popular super-convection cooking method was not initially engineered in this iteration of June but rather added remotely to ovens — and it shows. I found the air fryer weak compared to most others I’ve used. Part of this may be the relatively large cooking capacity, which usually translates to substandard results since air frying relies on hot convection air hitting food directly, hard and rapidly.
Read more: The 5 Best Air Fryers for 2022
The air fryer function isn’t great. This air-fried chicken needed longer than the program called for.
One of the biggest differentiators between June and your standard countertop oven is that it’s constantly improving even after you buy it. The June engineers are able to add cooking programs along with actual cooking methods. June Oven’s founder Matt Van Horn told me that during the pandemic, when the bread-baking craze had taken hold, June added a proofing program for dough. The same goes for the aforementioned air fryer method, which was also added in post.
Another practical example is tortillas. Initially, Van Horn explained, the June Oven had no targeted program for warming tortillas. Because they’re able to collect data through the built-in cameras and connected app, they saw June owners were warming corn and flour tortillas in the June and often burning them (not hard to do). The team got to work and added a tortilla-warming program that recognizes the food and heats it to desirable doneness.
While some programs are added, others get tweaked. Take bacon, for example. There was originally just one program to cook bacon but it didn’t account for multiple slices. Users were reporting negative results via the June app for burnt or underdone bacon. Now, there are 64 programs to nail the number of slices you want, and they work well enough (see evidence below).
Making bacon in the June Oven was as easy and mess-free as any other method I’ve tried. 
One of June’s flashier features is the built-in camera. While it did successfully recognize a lot of the food I stuck inside — bacon, biscuits, broccoli, chicken wings — it missed about 25% of the time. This is a minor inconvenience that June engineers are likely improving on the back end. 
Another feature the camera allows for is to monitor your food remotely from your device. I used this feature sparingly and mostly during longer recipes like roast chicken. I didn’t find that it improved the cooking experience very much.
There is no short supply of smart ovens in 2022. The $400 Suvie bills itself as a “kitchen robot” and sells preassembled meals that you can cook in it with one touch of a button. The Tovala Oven — another one I’ve tried — looks more like a conventional countertop oven but this brand also sells assembled meals engineered to be cooked in the oven with tailored programs that utilize convection and steam heat. It’s normally $300 but you can nab it for $49 right now if you also order six weeks’ worth of meals. 
Breville makes the $400 Smart Oven Air and a similar model with no air fryer function for $270. While I really like the oven and it has about as large a capacity as the June, calling it a smart oven is a stretch. There’s no connectivity to an app or smart home hub and it doesn’t have intricate one-button cooking programs like most other smart ovens. Brava is another smart oven startup. We have yet to test this one but it is the most expensive countertop smart oven of the lot, starting at around $1,300.
The bottom line: This smart oven lives up to its billing, but it does cost a pretty penny even with the reduction from its gulp-inducing launch price. The June interface is one of the best user experiences I’ve had with any kitchen appliance, not just ovens, and the built-in thermometer makes cooking certain foods far more stress-free. 
What really makes June a true smart oven is that it’s actually getting smarter, even after you take it home. Since this model was launched, several key cooking programs have been added or refined, albeit with varying levels of success. 
Unfortunately, the June can’t air fry with the best of them and a few of the cooking programs are clunky, but most deliver. The June made a roast chicken, pork tenderloin, “grilled” ribeye steak, bacon, biscuits, bagels and veggies about as well as any other cooker I’ve used. I’ve gotten used to turning it on via Alexa and checking countdowns from another room.
My biggest shaking fist goes to the extra $10 monthly June owners are required to shell out in order to access the full library of recipes and cooking programs. The accessories are also expensive but some of them, especially the cast-iron grill grate, are worth the coin if you’re already splurging. 

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