Parabolic Solar Cooker

Build a Solar Cooker

Have you ever heard the phrase “It’s so hot you could cook an egg on the sidewalk”? Have you ever wondered if it was true? With this experiment you can see how the heat (energy) of the sun can be captured and used to cook food.

What you Need:

  • Cardboard pizza box.
  • Box cutter or scissors.
  • Aluminum foil.
  • Clear packing tape.
  • Cellophane (plastic wrap) or a heavy duty freezer bag.
  • Black construction paper.
  • Newspaper.
  • Ruler or wooden spoon
  • Thermometer


Cut a flap in the top of the pizza box. Make sure you only cut on three sides creating an attached flap. Leave about 1” between the flap and the edge of the lid of the box. Fold the flap up so it stands up when the lid is closed.

Cover the underside of the flap with aluminum foil. Try to keep the foil as smooth as possible so it reflects the sun well.

Using the plastic wrap or the bag create a “window” in the hole left behind by the flap. Fasten the wrap to the underside of the lid with clear packing tape. Repeat this process twice to create two layers of wrap.

Now you will line the bottom and sides of your oven with black construction paper.

Use the newspaper to insulate the sides of the oven by bundling it into roughly the shape of a paper towel role and lining the inside edges with it.

The best hours to use your solar oven are going to be from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. when the sun is at the highest point in the sky. Take your oven to a sunny spot and adjust the flap until the most possible light is reflecting into the oven.

Choose the food you want to cook, perhaps something out of the recipes provided or you can try something else that you think will work well.

Make sure that whatever you are cooking is placed on a clear glass plate or cooking dish. This will ensure that the heat from the sun reaches all parts of the food, not just the top.

Place the thermometer in the oven so you can monitor the temperature.

Once your food has cooked thoroughly use oven mitts or potholders to remove the glass cooking dish.

Understanding how it works:

The heat generated by the sun’s rays is trapped inside your oven, it begins to get very hot much like a traditional oven would. Ovens like this are called collector boxes, because they collect the suns energy. A well designed solar oven can reach temperatures of up to 200 degrees, allowing you to cook almost anything whether it is hotdogs or nachos and cheese. If you don’t want to wait for the food to actually cook you can also use the solar oven to re-heat leftovers, since they are already cooked you do not have to wait for them to heat up to as high a temperature. Make sure that anything you cook in your oven is cooked entirely before you eat it.


Building a solar cooker is fun but want to try something bigger? Take a look at this project:…solar-power-grid/

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