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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.

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10 Comments on Solar-powered cooking

  1. this is the best thing

  2. Love it!

  3. Old Scout 1960 era // June 5, 2007 at 11:02 pm // Reply

    Ac tually it is quite workable.

    In one case something like this was shown to reffuges in a camp in Africa. One tribal group that seemed impervious to new ideas tried it and soon started taking courses in other subjects.

    Do a GOOGLE search on Solar Cookers, Solar Stoves, ect.

    Another good source “Fun With the Sun” by D. S. Hallacy.

    Simple cookers can be made from three reflector panels (like two walls and a floor), a dark colored glass jar with lid (to hold the food) and a plastic roasting bag. The three panels form a two walls, corner and floor structure. Put the food in the jar and add water to cover and close the jar. Put the jar in the bag. Put the bag in the reflector corner. Inflate the bag slightly and tie it shut. The bag helps to trap hot air around the jar.

    I have heard a rumor that if you lay a closed one liter pop bottle half full of water in the sun for six hours the water will get hot enough to kill microorganisms. I would advise against testing this method but try to see how hot the water can get as a Science Fair project.

  4. this is so cool!!!

  5. i made the oven, and i warmed up a pizza!

  6. i’m in freidens science class!

  7. we are looking for a SOLAR POWERED RADIO XD

  8. Galactic Marine // May 11, 2007 at 5:16 pm // Reply

    This is a neat thing! Great for when you can’t get a fire started!

  9. i can melt a candy bar in my pocket, what if i want a hamburger, or cook up some road kill? bogus.

  10. this rules

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