Cooking with the Sun

Jarin Murray

Have you experienced cooking with the sun? Why use a sun oven? Some common responses are: save energy, not heat my house by using my oven during the hot summer months, means to cook while camping, or emergency preparedness. Acceptable as these answers might be, my reason for cooking with a sun oven comes down to one simple reason — it is amazing to cook with the sun and lots of fun. (An added bonus, the neighbors will wonder what you are up to now!)


I can place my food in the sun oven, leave, and come back to a hot cooked meal. I’ve heard a sun oven referred to nature’s slow cooker—so true. You may be surprised at how fast, slow cooking can be in a sun oven.

Surprisingly, the air temperature is not critical to obtaining good cooking temperatures. Alignment with the sun is what matters most, creating 300+ degrees in my sun oven. Yes, a sun oven can be used in the winter. Lining up a sun oven can be done by using shadows or a gauge on some commercial sun ovens. Adjusting the sun oven every hour helps maintain a high temperature. This of course is not necessary, but shortens the cooking time.

What can be cooked in a sun oven? Anything you want. Generally, only the cooking time needs to be adjusted for any recipe you want to try. I have cooked bread, cookies, baked potatoes, corn bread, rice, meat, lasagna and hardboiled eggs. Foods can be cooked using many types of cookware, however black enamel pots get great results. If using a pot with a reflective lid, a towel can be placed over the lid to avoid reflecting heat.

No water required to hard boil eggs in a sun oven. Take an egg carton, remove the top. Place the eggs in the carton. Set the carton with eggs in a sun oven to cook. Let the sun do all the work.


Cooking is not the only use for a sun oven, it can also be used to dehydrate food and is one of the best methods to rehydrate stored food.

Do you have crystalized honey? A sun oven is the perfect method to melt crystallized honey. Similar to hard boiling an egg, no water needed. If you have bees you can use a sun oven to melt beeswax.

Sun Ovens can be used to pasteurize water. A Multi-fuel Water Pasteurization Indicator (WAPI) can be used with a sun oven to determine when water is pasteurized.

Enjoy cooking with the sun. Share what you try…I need to sun oven an apple pie, who wants a slice?



Purchase the Sun Oven pictured in this article:

Recipes: Cooking with Sunshine

DIY instructions: 18 DIY Solar CookersMother Earth News instructionsSolar Oven Slideshow

Solar oven kid’s project (from a pizza box): Scientific American—pizza box oven


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