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Homemade box cooker

by Stephen
(Modesto, California)

I was working on a ranch shearing sheep when the rancher's wife served us up a delicious lunch that was cooked with a simple cardboard solar box cooker. This fascinated me and I asked if I could measure the box and make my own. She was happy to share the plans with me.

I decided to make it from thin plywood which was being thrown away at my job. They were also scraping polished stainless steel sheeting.

I built the interior out of thin 22 gauge stainless steel and also one reflector about 9 square feet. This oven was heavy so I mounted it on a stand with heavy duty castors that were also being thrown away at my job.

I liked that I could aim it and come back hours later to a hot meal. It reached temperatures of 350 degrees in July and used it from April to September. During the winter the temperatures would barely top 180 degrees, so it was not too good for cooking.

After years of use I took off the stainless steel reflector and replaced it with a yard sale glass mirror. That increased the temperatures by 20 to 30 degrees over the polished stainless steel reflector.

The next year my now ex-wife threw it away, saying it was "stupid."

I just finished building another box cooker, this one is cut at 60 degrees and is 18" X 18" on the inside. The back is 18" deep and the front is about 7" deep. It is made of stainless steel sheeting with plywood on the outside. I used simple fiberglass insulation. It has a single mirror polished stainless sheet 19" by 30" high. The sheet follows it's natural curve sort of reflecting into the box as a parabolic.

Yesterday on April 8, it reached 265 degrees at 3 PM. Not bad. I looks like it will work better than my last oven.


Thank you Stephen for that progressive narrative on the evolution of your solar cooker...very well written.

When it comes to solar cooking I have found we all "are still learning" the more we experiment with this fascinating art.

Congratulations on your new solar box cooker and I hope it gives you some delicious meals.

Please contribute your solar cooking experiences with us any time you like.


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