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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.

145 Comments on Solar-powered cooking

  1. It like it!

  2. amby bamby // May 8, 2007 at 1:47 pm // Reply

    wow i dont even knoazy how too make it lol im cr

  3. I’m gonna get food poison and suit the magasine. The real American Way!

  4. Mr. Mustache // May 7, 2007 at 10:51 am // Reply

    It was a good idea but still flawed

  5. Anonymous // May 5, 2007 at 11:35 pm // Reply

    I think it is a great idea and it sounds lightweight.

  6. Pack 84 den2 TW // May 5, 2007 at 11:33 pm // Reply

    I think it is a great idea and it sounds lightweight.

  7. I thought it was great!! By the way, I don’t want to sound rude or anything, but for those who asked “how does it get the heat?” the answer is the following: Light energy in the form of photons hits the black construction paper. The black construction paper absorbs the light energy, turning it into heat. The aluminum is apparently for centering more light onto the paper, therefore creating more heat.

  8. 93 fanatic!! // May 2, 2007 at 10:58 pm // Reply

    It seems soooooooooooooooo cool!0:)

  9. hott bunz // May 2, 2007 at 9:28 pm // Reply

    i wish we did this in Girl Scout camp, but we only did the “Dutch Oven.”

  10. the camper // May 2, 2007 at 8:45 pm // Reply

    can you make briscuits,pizza,steak,fish,hambergers and other stuff??

    write back

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