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Make a Solar Hot Dog Cooker

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

If you curve some aluminum foil just right, you can cook hot dogs with the sun’s heat.



  • Utility knife
  • Tape
  • Saw
  • Drill
  • Roofing nails
  • Glue
  • 2 sheets of corrugated cardboard, 7 1/2 inches by 30 inches
  • 2 2-by-2-by-12-inch connector boards
  • Piece of poster board large enough to cover the bottom of the cooker
  • 12-inch-wide aluminum foil
  • 2 1-by-1-by-13 1/2-inch wood uprights
  • Small wooden dowl, sharpened at one end


Step 1. Using the utility knife, cut a curve from the two pieces of cardboard.

Step 2. Connect the curves together using the 12-inch connecting boards, glue and roofing nails.

Step 3. Bend the poster board over the curves, mark with a pencil and cut to size. Glue and tape in place.

Step 4. Spread glue evenly onto the poster board. Carefully glue down the aluminum foil. Make it as smooth as possible.

Step 5. Drill a hole in one upright, cut a notch on the other and glue in place.

Step 6. Aim the cooker at the sun, skewer your hot dogs, and get the rolls and mustard.


The sun reflects heat off the parabolic curve and concentrates it at a single point.


Check out these photos of the completed project sent to us by Boys’ Life readers. If you have a photos of a BL Workshop project, please use the form below to send them to us.

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12 Comments on Make a Solar Hot Dog Cooker

  1. mathiselle // March 14, 2013 at 7:03 pm // Reply

    How do you know where to place the hotdog skewer? In other words, how do you determine the focal point…or do you just wing it? curious. I do a similar project but we use copy paper boxes. The kids have to keep the focus in the box. I think I want to modify the project and use your idea but tie more of the math to it. And is there a reason you chose the dimensions you used?

  2. wow.i will try it.

  3. I can’t wait to try it 😀

  4. I just like building it

  5. 🙂

  6. Hey this is cool.I made one.It works well.I like it.Thanks for the instructions.

  7. Our teacher told us we had to make a hot dog cooker..thanks so much…but does anyone know how many degrees it goes to? the minimum we are required is 100C

    • Hey, just wondering if this worked for you 😛 I’m doing the same thing, and wanted to know how hot it got, and how well it worked. Thanks 🙂

  8. 🙂

  9. Eagle Scout Grampa // August 23, 2012 at 8:58 pm // Reply

    If you want to get really creative you could figure out a way to connect an electric motor to the skewer to slowly turn it so the Hot Dogs cook evenly on all sides. 🙂

  10. Does this work in the Moonlight?

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