Complete Guide to Solar Cooking

Solar energy is a reusable energy originating from the sun's heat and light rays; it depends on photovoltaics and heat to generate power.  Heat and light are two major elements required for successful solar function, while photovoltaics store energy.  A Solar device must collect and store the energy to covert and redistribute the energy to be used for a variety of functions.

Solar energy is a cost efficient way to cook. Solar cooking has been used since World War II as a device used for cooking and has reinvented itself to include a variety of different models, such as box cookers, panel cookers, and reflector cookers, which cost nothing to operate. Solar radiation is used to cook food in a natural way, without the use of energy consuming appliances, as a sustainable method of cooking, solar cooking does not use valuable resources or emit harmful materials into the environment. Depending on the specific style of the cooker, there are a number of different techniques that are incorporated into solar cooking, but are the same in principle.

Food prepared by solar cooking is similar to food prepared using a conventional method. To build a solar oven or stove costs less than purchasing any traditional cooking appliance; consequently, they are frequently used in developing countries to provide people with an effective and low cost method of cooking. However, there are disadvantages to solar cooking. Solar cooking takes longer than traditional cooking and without efficient sunlight and heat solar cookers will not function. The following resources provide information to get started with solar cooking.

Solar Cooking Basics

Solar Cooking In Depth

Solar Water Pasteurization

Related Technologies

  • Solar Food Dryers: This research paper presents a publication to educate developing counties on the effectiveness of solar food dryers.
  • Heat Retention Solar Oven: An introduction to the mechanics, design, and uses of heat retention solar ovens.
  • Fuel Efficient Stoves: An in-depth look at the advantages and disadvantages of fuel-efficient stoves.
  • Solar Food Dehydrator: Visuals and tips for using and constructing a solar food dehydrator.

Teaching and Promotion

  • Solar Box Cookers: Information for a school project to help students make a difference in the environment.
  • Solar Cookers International: 17 solar cookers set out to educate the world of the need of solar cooking in 1987. Today the organization coordinates solar cooking projects.
  • Solar Cooker Lesson: An alternative energy lesson using a Pringles can for a solar cooker.
  • Practices and Promotions: Dr. Knudson examines the challenges of solar cooking promotion.


Additional Information

  • Renewable Energy: NASA’s impact on solar cooking in countries that receive adequate sunlight.
  • Cooking with the Sun: Examines the benefits solar cookers and efficient stoves have on rural communities.