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Solar Cooking Indoors?

by Anne Brennan

Hi Nathan,

I've been following your solar cooking blog for about six months and enjoy both the background/product info and the reader questions you post. I live a few miles outside of Philadelphia, where (I believe) the season for solar cooking is fairly short due to our cold winters. This time of year, high temps are in the mid 30s, and sunny days are almost always windy during the cold months. I plan to try solar cooking this Spring when conditions better favor success!

In the meantime, I wonder if there's any potential to set up and use a solar cooker indoors, just inside a large sunny window, during the winter months? I realize the window glass itself would reduce the sun's intensity, and modern double-pane gas-filled windows even more so. Do you have any experience with indoor solar cooking, and if so, which cooker style would you recommend to start?

Thanks in advance for any advice you can share!

Anne Brennan
Jenkintown, PA


Greetings Anne,

Thank you for visiting our site and for your compliments as well as the inquiry.

I know of a few people who have used a solar cooker through their south facing windows and have had good results.

Of course I don't know what kind of windows they had, because as you mentioned, the double paned gas filled windows might cut down on the effectiveness of the solar cooker. But, that is something that could be experimented with in order to find out if that would be the case.

One drawback to placing a solar cooker at the window would also be the size of the window.
If it is not very large or long then you would be limited on how much sun you could take advantage of, because as the sun moves across the sky it would surely reach a point where it would be impeded by a structure, trees etc. and would not be shining into the window.

If you have an ideal situation and location of a window for indoor solar cooking you could pretty much use any solar cooker you desire.
One note though on using a solar panel cooker.
In our northern hemisphere in the winter, the sun is so far south that it is very challenging to be able to get enough of an angle for effective solar cooking of sufficient duration.

If you have not already done so, you might find this page helpful for
winter time solar cooking information
You also mention that you live in an area that has volatile and changing winter time weather which could affect your use of a solar cooker outside.

As long as you have sunshine on any given day you can cook with a solar oven, even if the outside ambient temperature is very cold; it is the clarity of the sunshine that is the most important factor.
Of course if it is too windy (sustained gusts of 35 mph plus) then you would not do well to cook outside.
If it is below that you can still cook on windy days, but I would recommend bracing and stabilizing your solar cooker with bricks or wood etc. This is what we do when it is windy.

Solar Box cookers that are well insulated such as the Global Sun Oven and the SOS Sport will reach and maintain sufficiently high cooking temperatures in the winter.

I had our Sun Oven out the other day on a 33 F. day and it reached an internal temperature of 350 F. at its max for at least a couple of hours if not more.

I have a colleague in Minneapolis, MN that solar cooks all through out the year.
Of course he has lots of wintertime weather related issues in regards to how often and how effectively he can cook, but he does it quite often.

I hope this information is helpful to you.


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Jul 29, 2022
by: Anonymous

Hola, La solución para cocinar mediante una cocina solar en lugares con muy bajas temperaturas, pero con la condición de tener días soleados, es la utilización de una cocina solar indirecta. Consta de un reflector lineal que se ubica al Sur ( en el emisferio Norte) y la olla se ubica dentro de la casa. El usuario cocina a resguardo, no a la intemperie como en las cocinas directas. Yo trabajo en Argentina en la investigación de este tipo de cocinas solares y tengo algunos desarrollos. Mi dirección de e-mail es si están interesados les mando una publicación mía de este tema. Un Saludo Nicolás.

Dec 08, 2014
by: jerreh saho

Hi All.
Am finding out about solar cookers , I live in West Africa where there are much sun light around the year ,am looking for a system that I can connect to my solar system and cook with . system that is purely DC indoor cooker , like how solar heaters work .
Any good information please get back to me through . this mail .

Jan 24, 2011
Follow up to indoor solar cooking question
by: Anne

Thanks, Luther, for your helpful input. Unfortunately, the idea of indoor solar cooking remains on the back burner (ha!) for now so haven't tried it in earnest. Some new information I've explained below isn't very encouraging...

I've noticed recently that our new "energy efficient" windows seem to block a lot of the sun's warmth. Where I used to feel the heat of the sunbeams, I now notice very little. I researched this and discovered that, to gain the EnergyStar rating, new windows must reduce "solar heat gain" by at least 70%! As I understand it, coatings on the glass reflect this "excess" energy (radiant heat?) rather than letting it pass through.

I think this "feature" is supposed to keep heat from escaping outside in winter, and from entering the house in summer, but I can't help but wonder if the engineers behind this are missing the forest for the trees. I miss my warm sunbeams! I feel a little misled by the whole situation... these windows weren't cheap!

Again, thanks for sharing your experience with indoor solar heating. Your solar oven is especially interesting!


Dec 08, 2010
Solar Cooking Indoords
by: Luther Krueger-Minneapolis

Hi Anne and Nathan!

Anne, I am probably the colleague Nathan refers to in Minneapolis :) I collect cookers and have built about a dozen of varying types. I am working on a design for what a couple solar cooking inventors call a "through-the-wall" solar oven, which is actually what it sounds like, a cooker attached to a hole in the wall of a house (or if I am successful, my garage). Here is the story and plans for the TTW oven designed and used daily by Barbara Kerr:

Solar Wall Oven

Now, she lives in Arizona so she seldom has a cloudy day get in the way of cooking, and your weather is probably a lot like Minneapolis's--I say we live in the "Variety Weather Belt"! :)

It is probably an uphill battle to have one installed with the blessing of most cities' zoning or inspections authorities, but it is a very workable idea. I have all the materials for my garage TTW cooker but am going to build it in as part of a conversion of half my garage into a studio/workshop. I'll certainly post the final product/pix here when I get it done.

Meantime I agree with Nathan, I have a SOS Sport and Sun Oven and cooking in the winter is not a problem, although the time frame is narrower (I can cook from maybe 9 or 9:30am to 5pm in the summer, but really only about 10:30 to 3pm max in the winter with the box cookers). However, I am getting more adept at using the Tiny Tech parabolic I got from Nathan and am even going to try to use it for baking soon.

Thinking about cooking indoors... I think if you have a window with the regular glass-- and not the high-tech glass which is intended to reduce the sunlight/power for aesthetic reasons --that you could probably cook with a Sport or Sun Oven. Otherwise it probably depends on how comfortable you are modifying your south-facing windows with a removable standard-glass window.

Well that's what comes to mind so far. Good luck with your cooking and hope to hear more!



Greetings again Luther,

Thank you for your great input.
It's always nice to hear from all of the solar cooking experts out there.


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