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How to make an oven for solar-powered cooking

SAFETY FIRST: Ask an adult to help with tools you haven't used before.

You don’t need four burners and a gas line to make some great-tasting trail food. All you need is plenty of sunlight. Make your own solar oven and feed the whole group. Solar ovens work by bouncing sunlight off a reflective surface into a pot. The hotter the pot, the faster your food will cook. It’s easy to make—and cheap.



  • A pizza box
  • Black construction paper
  • Aluminum foil
  • Plastic window covering
  • Permanent marker
  • Glue
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Ruler
  • String


reflector-1STEP 1: Line the inside bottom of the box with foil.

reflector-2 STEP 2: Cover foil with black paper and tape in place.

STEP 3: Set the plastic under the box and trace the outline of the box.

reflector-4 STEP 4: Remove the box and draw another outline 1⁄4-inch inside the first outline and cut along inside line.

reflector-5STEP 5: Close the box cover, and draw another line 1 inch from each side.

STEP 6: Cut along the lines on the front and sides—not the back.

reflector-7STEP 7: Open the cover and line the inside with foil.

STEP 8: Glue foil in place.

STEP 9: Cover foil with the cut plastic and tape in place.

STEP 10: All layers should be airtight and wrinkle-free.

reflector-11STEP 11: On the outside of the box cover, attach a string long enough to keep the flap open and let the sun shine in.

STEP 12: Once you have the oven, all you need is the sun. Choose a spot that will get at least several hours of direct sun away from any strong wind.


Solar cooking takes a little practice. Try this recipe first:

Solar Oven S’mores


  • Graham crackers
  • Milk chocolate bars
  • Marshmallows

Place graham crackers next to each other on the bottom of a black cast-iron pot. Black pots are best because they absorb and retain the sun’s heat better than light-colored pans. Top each cracker with a piece of chocolate and a marshmallow. Put a glass lid over the pot and place the pot in the center of your solar oven. When the marshmallow is gooey, take out the crackers and add the second layer of graham crackers on top to complete it.

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25 Comments on How to make an oven for solar-powered cooking

  1. It would be cool to find different solar ovens and see what solar oven bakes quicker!

  2. spongebob1234321 // April 12, 2008 at 4:16 pm // Reply

    i had to make one for school and it took like 15 mins or less. its been raining for like a week so i can’t test it but im looking for recipes so if anyone had any, post.

  3. what is the best thing to cook?

  4. Bobby Brown // April 2, 2008 at 2:03 pm // Reply

    really that is so cool.:):)

  5. squidward tentacles // March 29, 2008 at 10:17 am // Reply

    I made pizza but it eas too windy and it blew into tree and hit a squirrel.

  6. that’s awsome

  7. bob bo bill // March 22, 2008 at 3:32 pm // Reply

    Mr. wizard the old t.v show did something like this

  8. Cub Scout 530 // March 10, 2008 at 12:34 pm // Reply

    I have not tried it yet, but it looks very cool.

  9. steel of jk // March 5, 2008 at 8:34 pm // Reply

    ttly awesome 😀

  10. You could make nacho’s.

  11. awesome!

  12. That is cool!!!!

  13. made i use it for science fair project for school?

  14. What can b made in a solar pwred oven

  15. what would workthe best pizza box, shoe box, or abox

  16. can you make hot dogs or hamburgers?

  17. I Want To Try It.

  18. 🙂 :))

  19. 🙂

  20. i like money 🙂

  21. cool:)

  22. Derrick, Age 10, Florida // July 26, 2007 at 2:19 pm // Reply

    I love the idea of solar cooking! My family cooks out every Saturday and we always make dessert with the solor oven. At first I made s’mores, but now I have expanded my recipe list to enclude chocolate chip cookies too. You can find more great recipes by serching on the web (with a parent’s permission) for “Solar Oven Recipes” or “Solar Powered Cooking.” Also, the great thing about these solar ovens is that you can bring them on camping trips and cook food right at your campsite without having to bring your whole oven. As for the project, I got help from an adult, but it wasn’t boring work, and I enjoyed making the oven. I couldn’t wait to taste those s’mores, they are the best part! 2 thumbs up for this one. (Or maybe just one, because I’m holding a huges s’more in the other hand!!) 🙂 😉 🙂 😉

  23. care full i burned myself once on these :0

  24. Are troop tried this and when we finished we sold the for $10.00 a pop and made a fortune. these are awesome


  25. 123456789 // July 5, 2007 at 6:38 pm // Reply

    I haven`t tried it yet, but that is another non green house gas thing off the list.

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