Pizza Box Solar Oven

A Pizza Box Solar Oven is a great Solar Oven Project for Kids, which can help them better understand the science behind solar energy … the energy inherent in the sun's powerful rays which so abundantly cover our planet earth.

Also see our Simple Solar Panel Cooker for more solar cooker options

A simple solar cooker can harness, multiply and concentrate the energy from the sun to levels that can cook almost any food you can imagine.And It is accomplished by the basic principle of passive solar design which can concentrate a source of energy to such a point (level) as to create a change in the object (food) receiving the concentrated energy.


For more on how solar cooking works see our page Solar Cooking: How it works

So, why do they call it a Pizza Box Solar Oven?Is it because it was intended to be used for solar cooking a pizza?

...You may have also heard mention of the related solar cooking term or description...Solar Hot Dog Cooker.

Is this because it was intended to be used for solar cooking Hot Dogs?

You could answer yes and no for both of these questions.

Can a Pizza Box Solar Oven cook a pizza?...yes, but it is probably not the best choice for solar cooking your pizza nevertheless, it can be accomplished with some enhancements and adjustments (the results would be better though by using a conventional solar oven.)

The Term Pizza Box Solar Oven refers more to the style of cooker and even to the materials used in making this cooker.

You really can build a simple solar cooker using just a pizza box... and you can even use it as a solar power hot dog cooker if you like.

A pizza Box cooker, if constructed well, can reach and sustain temperatures well beyond the minimums required to fully cook food...if you build it well.

You may though just want to build a simple solar cooker, a basic pizza box solar oven that can heat some foods up or…melt some 'smores, just to demonstrate basic scientific solar principles.

But if you want to build a solar cooker that will really "cook up a storm" you can construct a solar box cooker which is very similar in design to the pizza box cooker but with more space, higher temperatures and greater cooking ability.

Below you will find the Instructions and Materials list to make your very own Pizza Box Solar Oven.

Materials:

  • Cardboard pizza box (the kind delivered pizza comes in)
  • Box knife or scissors
  • Aluminum foil
  • Glue
  • Tape
  • Ruler
  • Plastic wrap or Plexiglas (if available)
  • Black construction paper or black ground cover
  • Stick or dowel

What to Do:

  1. On the top flap of the pizza box draw a square with a marker with edges spaced 1" from the four sides of the box.
  2. Use a box knife or sharp scissors to cut a flap in the lid of the pizza box. Cut along three sides, leaving about an inch between the sides of the flap and the edges of the lid. Fold this flap out so that it stands up when the box lid is closed. Cover the inner or bottom side of the flap with aluminum foil so that the rays from the sun will be reflected off. Be careful to make as few wrinkles as possible, and smooth out whatever wrinkles occur. This will be your reflector panel.
  3. Use clear plastic wrap to create an airtight window for sunlight to enter into the box. Do this by opening the box and taping a double layer of plastic wrap over the opening you made when you cut the flap in the lid. Leave about an inch of plastic overlap around the sides and tape each side down securely, sealing out air.
  4. Line the bottom of the box with aluminum foil to reflect heat and then cover that with black construction paper--black absorbs heat.
  5. Now your oven is ready to try out! Take it outside to a sunny spot and adjust the flap until the most sunlight possible is reflecting off the aluminum foil and onto the plastic-covered window. Use a stick or a dowel to prop the flap at the right angle.

Your solar oven will reach about 200 F. on a sunny day, and will take longer to heat things than a conventional oven, but can cook just as well.

For greater heat retention and better cooking results, use a shallow, black or dark colored pan, dish or pot that will fit inside the solar box cooker and place it inside of an Oven roasting bag (used for roasting turkeys) and then seal or tie the bag closed.This will create what is known as the "greenhouse effect", trapping extra heat and retaining steam and moisture which will in turn maximize temperatures and cooking results.

If you wish, you may add some extra reflector panels on the side in order to increase the concentrations of sunlight into the box and onto the cooking pot, thus increasing your temperatures. 


Return from Pizza Box Solar Oven back to building a solar cooker
 

Go to: 
Build a Simple Solar "Panel" Cooker



Share with others your tips, suggestions and ideas on what you did to build a homemade solar oven.

If you have been successful, and even unsuccessful,in building a solar cooker, whether it's the first solar oven or the tenth oven, we would like to hear how you did it!

Tell us:


  • What kind of solar cooker did you build?

  • what materials did you use and why?

  • How well did it turn out and how well did it cook?


**Many of our visitors come looking for detailed, hands on instruction for building a solar oven and we would really appreciate sharing your experiences in order to help them.

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What Other Visitors Have contributed

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Sort of worked... 
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the wonderful solar oven works!!  Not rated yet
i used both solar ovens for my JETS project and boiled an egg but guess what i did not qualify to the next level in the fair:-( _____________________________________ …

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I used this solar cooker for my science fair Project and I am waiting to see what kind of grade I got. So I am hoping this helps :D __________________________________ …

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So I built a solar box oven out of thrift store parts and was surprised how well it works. Potatoes, eggs, ribs, beans, roasted chicken, rice, and much …

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