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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. I Tried it it works awesome

  2. Looks Fun!!!!!!!

  3. If oven does not work – eat pizza.

  4. cooool! cant wait to build it. i wonder if it cooks meat….

  5. and it worked

  6. I used tin-foil

  7. how long do you cook it for?

  8. ours is wrinkled and it work …but it wont stay open

  9. spyscout123 // April 24, 2009 at 10:19 am // Reply

    I like it

  10. bazooka dude // April 11, 2009 at 12:32 pm // Reply

    this idea seams so good that i am going to use it for a school assignment!! if this works out, my class mill be very happy

  11. SGT MoRoN6618 // February 26, 2009 at 2:00 pm // Reply

    i hve 2 make 20 hot doge and 20 smores i hope this thing work fast cuz i only have an hour and a half to make them

  12. SGT MoRoN6618 // February 26, 2009 at 1:57 pm // Reply

    we are doing this in class and me and 1 of my frands got the project i think it is gonna take us lik 15 minuts 2 build it and the next sunny day we gotta make hot dogs and smores for the whole class does it work fast?

  13. none of ur bees waks ! // December 15, 2008 at 2:51 pm // Reply

    these things r awsome 4 smores thanks!!!!

  14. were the best

  15. Optimus Prime // October 19, 2008 at 4:49 pm // Reply

    I made a HUGE one of thes with a moving box from Home Depot, it worked GREAT!!!

  16. its cool but the robot is the best

  17. SWEET

  18. WebeloScout530 // September 14, 2008 at 6:35 pm // Reply

    Im gonna ask my den leader if we can try this at scout camp

    It looks awesome

  19. lobstahboy // July 26, 2008 at 4:15 pm // Reply

    i made a 90% finished grilled cheese in like two hours

  20. this is grate but is it waterproof?

  21. Very cool but in NY it’s hard too find a day with good weather while camping.

  22. techtation // May 27, 2008 at 8:00 am // Reply

    thiss looks pretty kwell we have to do a project like this for a tech project

  23. i have to make a progect for school this might work!

  24. it sounds cool but can it cook meat??

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