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Solar Ovens

Solar cookers utilize the sun's free, clean energy to heat water and cook food in a manner healthy for you and the environment.

solar cooking

Solar ovens use the sun as their main power source instead of electricity, gas or wood. This means you can cook with nothing more than the sun energy, but will need a constant source of sunlight to cook. When cooking with solar ovens, you will need to think about the weather and the time of day.

3 Types of Solar Ovens

Solar Box Oven

solar box oven
The Lotan green apprenticeship students use this solar box oven to cook food.

An insulated box, closed with a glass or plastic window and reflectors to reflect more sunlight inside.

solar box
This solar box oven was built by a former Lotan green apprenticeship student.

Solar Panel Cooker

solar panel cooker
A solar panel cooker. Image courtesy of

The panels act as reflectors for the sunlight to be trapped in a plastic bag or bowl where the food is cooked.

Both these cookers use the greenhouse effect where sunlight passes through glass or plastic where it is trapped and turns into heat. The cooking time is 2-4 times longer than a regular cooker because the temperature is not as hot, the normal temperature of a solar oven is 120 -140 degrees Celsius or roughly 250 degrees Fahrenheit. Although the cook time is longer, the food tastes better and retains more vitamins.

Solar Parabola Cooker or Hot Plate

parabolic cooker
The Lotan EcoCampus parabolic cooker was made from an old satellite dish.

Using a parabola dish with mirrors or a mirror like surface the sun is reflected and concentrated to one point where the cooking utensil is.

This solar parabola hot plate brings instant high temperatures, needs constant supervision for safety and to refocus the parabola dish. It is possible to cook, fry and boil things like a regular gas plate.

The weight allows the chef to adjust the oven as the sun moves while maintaining a level surface for the food.

Use these additional resources to learn how to make a backyard solar oven of your own!


  • Website:
  • Book: Cooking with the Sun - Beth & Dan Halacy
  • Book: Heavens Flame - Joseph Radabaugh


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