6 Best Solar Ovens to Cook Delightful Dishes using Sunlight

Yes, the sun can cook, and it cooks pretty well. Have you ever tried cracking an egg on the hot summer street? If yes, then you know it better than anyone else.

And when you have the best solar oven to expedite the cooking process, dishes will be real delights.

Sunlight may not even boil a cup of water, but if you can focus it on a point, it will make magic. A great solar cook does the same to cut down cooking time and make the process eco-friendly. All it uses is the specular reflection of sunlight. 

Getting a conventional oven for standard cooking is much more convenient than picking a reliable solar cooker. Therefore, we make things easy for you by reviewing all the major brands of the solar stove and cherry-picked the best 6 for you.

Put any of them in the camping bag or survival kit, and forget cooking can ever be a hassle in the wild.

Table of Contents

Why is Solar Oven so Unique?

Have you ever tried burning paper using solar power through a magnifying glass? We all did it. A solar stove does the same thing. Instead of using a magnifying glass, shiny reflective surfaces are used to put the light on a focal point of the pot.

The whole process does not need any fuel or anything. So no chance of any smoke and gases. Moreover, no annoying faces of the campers or trackers after seeing your leftover burned wood or charcoal.

Another uniqueness of solar power is its simplicity and portability. You can assemble and disassemble them even on a survival run. The compact size makes it easy to carry in any carrying bag or backpack during emergency preparedness.

Last but not least, the solar cooker comes at a super affordable price. What else you can ask for from a modest but effective cooker.

Best Solar Oven Reviews

1.   All American Sun Oven

All_American_Sun_oven_best_solar_oven
source: Amazon.com

Since the last three decades, All American Sun ovens make using solar energy easy for cooking. Each of their new models outsmarted the last one with superior quality and built. Either in picnic or power outage, it will be perfect for outdoor cooking. 

This all-purpose portable oven is 20% larger than any sun oven. Therefore, cooking for a large group is easier. Anodized aluminum reflectors concentrate the sunlight into the box for efficient heating.

You will get a 15% more temperature boost to reach 400-degree Fahrenheit in no time. No matter how windy the outdoor is, the box has all the adjustment features to counter it. In the same way, no matter how low the sunlight is, you can align the oven with the sunlight angle detector for a better outcome. 

The robust build of the oven will ensure better stability and perfect sunshine cooking. Are you worried about what and how to cook? Please don’t because the attached CD has all the great recipes and instructions.

Pros

●     Quick heating

●     High temperature

●     Robust build

●     Wind resistant

●     Comes with recipes and instructions

Cons

●     Heavy

●     A bit pricey

2.   Haines 2.0 SunUp Solar Cooker and Dutch Oven

Haines 2.0 SunUp Solar Cooker- best solar cooker
source: Amazon.com

This is a lightweight yet highly practical solar oven for diverse use. Free carrying sleeve and a 4-quart pot make it super convenient for the newbies.

The aluminum reflector can jack up the temperature up to 325-degree Fahrenheit quickly. You may not cook a lot due to the limited cooking surface, but the time will be sufficiently short.

You can adjust the cooker easily for its ultra light structure. The lack of a sun detection device may make the process a little tricky, but you need some instinct to enjoy the wild. Don’t you?

Pros

●     Lightweight

●     Storage sleeve

●     Free 4-quart pot

●     Highly adjustable

Cons

●     No sun angle detection device

●     Smaller cooking area

3.   ETE ETMATE Portable Parabolic Integrated Solar Oven

ETE ETMATE - best Portable Solar Oven
source: Amazon.com

One of the best things about this parabolic cooker is its ultra-portability and reliability. The stainless steel parabolic reflector and advanced heating polymer absorbs all the radiation from the sun and turns it into heat.

Reaching the staggering 550-degree Fahrenheit is an easy task for this portable cooker. So as long as you have the sun in the sky, you can cook. You can use the 4.6-liter capacity of the vacuum tube cooking container to make fantastic dishes. However, it is essential to have a considerable amount of water in the food.

The 11.24-lbs oven is both efficient and eco-friendly. Thus, it won’t leave any annoying trace behind after the cooking is done.

Pros

●     Parabolic reflector design

●     550-degree Fahrenheit temperature

●     Stainless steel made

●     Highly portable

●     Free carrying case

Cons

●     Not great for dry foods

4.   Sunflair Portable Deluxe Solar Oven with Complete Cookware Set

Sunflair Portable Deluxe Solar Oven
source: amazon.com

Sunflair is an oven for a versatile and diverse environment. No matter if you are hiking on rugged mountains or snowy white peaks, cooking will never be an issue with Sunflair.

With only 8-lbs weight, this oven will go with you anywhere. You will quickly get between 180 and 300-degree Fahrenheit fast. Cooking for a group of 8 is convenient for this large-sized oven.

Closed-cell insulation keeps the temperature inside the box for a long time. Using any medium-sized pot or pan is easy. Besides, you can do both cooking and baking with it.

Pros

●     Versatile oven

●     Portable

●     Tons of free stuff

●     Super lightweight 

Cons

●     Durability issues

5.   GOSUN Portable Solar Oven and Stove

GOSUN Portable Solar Oven
source: amazon.com

You love this futuristic design of this parabolic solar cooker. Moreover, the easy to carry features makes it ultra-portable in any condition.

Reaching up to 550-degree Fahrenheit is like a child’s play for this EVA frame cooker. No matter if you or on the sea or the land, cooking will be equally fun and easy now inside the glass tube.

The freebies that come with the cooker will make you feel complete. A glass vacuum tube for cooking, two reflectors, RVA structure, SunDial, silicon cooking pans, user manual, recipe book, and stabilizing stand is enough to make this a complete cooker. 

Pros

●     Futuristic design

●     Complete survival kit

●     Portable

●     Fast cooking

●     High Temperature

Cons

●     No carrying case

6.   Sunflair Mini Portable Solar Oven

Sunflair Mini Portable Solar Oven
source: amazon.com

This is the smaller version of Sunflair Deluxe. Despite the smaller cooking space, the cooker has all the greatness of any Sunflair oven.

You can use it on any bright day or gloomy afternoon. Closed cell insulation ensures efficient heat convection inside the cell. This process can raise the temperature from 180 to 300-degree Fahrenheit in the shortest interval.

The panel also reflects the ultraviolet light of the sun. It enhances the heat capacity and quick heating processes. From freshly caught trout to white rice, you can relish anything with this best solar oven.

Pros

●     Portable

●     Easy to set up

●     Lightweight

●     Diverse use

●     Affordable

Cons

●     Smaller cooking area

Common Accessories for Solar Ovens

Solar ovens are not only about a few stands and reflectors. You need a few accessories that turn any raw ingredients into a culinary art in the wild.

Before you make the purchase, make sure to have them with the cooker.

Trivet

Trivets work as a buffer between the cooking area and the pot. It ensures the heat distribution is even and not too much to burn the food. You may find wrought iron or wooden trivets with some of the solar cookers.

But you can also use the metal tray as a rivet that comes with the cooker. And for further satisfaction, a diverse range of rivets with different materials are available.

Pot

The cooking pot is the most essential but tricky part of solar cooking. Before started cooking using a solar stove, you need to have at least one pot that will go along the cooker.

An excellent cooking pot for solar cooker needs to be

●     Thin-walled

●     Smaller sized

●     Dark (Black is the best) Colored

●     Lid Covered

All of the features make sure the pot absorbs the heat efficiently and cook the food in it faster. Roaster, casserole pan, bean, or stockpot works excellent with a solar cooker. If you can’t carry them, any stainless steel covered pot will work correctly.

Sun Angle Detection Device

If you cannot align the reflectors with the sun, the oven will behave like a slow cooker. And you may end up biting half-cooked veggies or rubbery meat. To avoid this, you need a sun angle detection device.

These devices help to align the reflector in a way so that the sunlight falls on them perpendicularly. Does it remind you of Geography 101? Yes, sunlight works best when it falls perpendicularly.

Recipe Book

Solar cooking is becoming a new trend in the foodie’s world. From home cook to professional chefs, everyone is leaning towards this new trend and developing new recipes.

Yes, you heard it right, new recipes. Cooking risotto or frittatas in a conventional oven is completely different from cooking on a solar stove. Therefore, the recipe needs some tweaks.

Most of the high-end solar cookers come with free recipe books. They include numerous recipes for easy cooking on the sunshine stove. However, you can also get these from any online or brick and mortar bookstore.

Thermometer

Sunlight has unlimited energy and can make cooking really fast. However, too much of anything is not good. So, you need to keep an eye on the temperature of the food so that it doesn’t burn out.

A food or meat thermometer is a great and essential accessory for a solar stove. They help you to check the food temperature and decide whether you need more cooking or not.

Typically, manual thermometers come free with some of the big brands. But, you can also get the digital version that you can monitor from your smartphone.

If you want to have a sip on the chilled bear while enjoying the basking sunlight, get a digital one.

Buying Guide for the Best Solar Oven

Solar Oven Types

Solar cooker comes in three different designs.

Solar Panel Cooker

These are the most common cookers that come with flat reflectors. All you have to do is to arrange the cooker in a way so that the sunlight falls perpendicularly on the surface. The rest will be magic.

The only downside of this type is the cooking capacity. You may not cook any fluid-based item but the fluidity, aka portability of the cooker is excellent.

Boxed Solar Cooker

These cookers seem like a box made with solar reflectors. You can place the pot in it and the food inside will start cooking. Boxed cookers come with a front shield to keep the heat inside.

It behaves more like your conventional oven. So you can both cook and bake using this oven type. Despite the lack of heat efficiency, you can cook a large amount of food in it.

Parabolic Shaped Cooker

The parabolic cooker looks like a satellite dish. Their main objective is to concentrate the sunlight into one small spot and complete the cooking quickly. Unlike any conventional oven, you can use vacuum tubes on the trivet and the focused heat will complete the cooking.

One of the major downsides of these cookers is the lack of portability. Besides, they are not safe if you have children or pets wandering around the cooking area.

Oven Materials

The most common material of the solar cooker is plastic. As they are durable and portable, major manufacturers prefer them to make solar cookers. However, nylon, metal, other reflective materials, and glass are also used but on a limited scale.

If you have budget constraints but looking for portability, it is better to get a plastic made oven. Otherwise, metal or nylon cookers will work perfectly for backyard cooking.

Oven Capacity

Solar cookers are not for party cooking. It is more likely to serve up to 4 people. Therefore, keep your expectation low when you are checking the oven capacity. A large oven can accommodate a regular baking pan and can cook a whole chicken. The only downside is the portability. 

Typical solar cookers are a good fit for medium-sized soup, bean, or gravy pots. Moreover, you can put in a loaf pan to bake cakes and bread.

Temperature Capacity

The temperature capacity of any best solar oven ranges from 250 to 550-degree Fahrenheit. Higher temperature capacity means faster cooking. But it is not always a good thing. High Temperature may reduce the cooking time but, at the same time, can also degrade the food quality.

According to the solar oven enthusiast and manufacturers, the 300 to 400-degree Fahrenheit range is the most appropriate for regular uses. Anything above this range will require constant monitoring.

Weight and Portability

Weight and portability have an inverse relationship with capacity. Lightweight and portable cookers come with limited space and vice versa. The weight of a solar cooker can vary from a mere 1.3 to 22-lbs.

Heavyweight cookers will offer more cooking space and can serve a larger group. However, they are not easy to carry and set up. If you prefer backyard solar cooking only, get these bulky beasts. Otherwise, lightweight sunshine cookers will be great for almost any outing and camping.

Easy to Use

A solar cooker is a simple device but requires constant monitoring. Unlike slow cookers or portable stoves, you need to tweak the food and check the temperature.

Typically, lightweight cookers are easy to set up and fold. Besides, they can fit in any carrying bag. You may find it surprising that a few solar ovens can work even in the gloomy winter days whereas others are only capable of performing in sunny days.

It all depends on your preference and budget which one you want to buy. We will recommend checking the features and your wallet before punching the card.

Storage Bag

Storage bags are for both carrying and storing the solar cooker safely. The material of the bag can vary from simple cloth to clamshell cases. It is obvious that the hard cases or durable material will be perfect for better portability and storage.

However, great things come at a great price. So you may end up paying some extra bucks to get the high-quality storage bags.

Oven Price

The solar cooker may be a simple device, but it can cost you a few hundred bucks. The typical price range of solar over rangers from $100 to $400. Inexpensive varieties have limited capacities. If you are a newbie in sunshine cooking, get one from this range.

Mid-range ovens are much robust in built and durable. They also have a bit wider capacity and can cook more. One of the best things about this range is they offer higher temperature.

The more expensive ones are larger and can accommodate larger pots for a bigger group. These big-daddies of sunshine cookers come with additional thermometers, pots, and sun direction finders. It may be a little challenging to move them, but they are the next best thing after a conventional oven.

FAQ

What can I cook in a solar oven?

Solar ovens are more on to slow cook dishes. Wondering why? To cook properly, the water needs to be boiled at 212-degree Fahrenheit and meat should reach the internal temperature of 160 to 165-degree Fahrenheit. A solar cooker can hardly reach there in regular weather conditions or take time to reach.

Therefore, you need modification in the recipes. But you can cook almost anything if you have extra time and a modified recipe. Size is another issue that may restrict cooking choices. But if you can fit it you can eat it.

What Makes a Good Solar Oven?

At least three things make a really good solar oven.

●     Durable Material

●     Lightweight Built, and

●     Considerable Cooking Capacity

Plastic or nylon is much more durable than any metal or glass. When you have a durable but lightweight cooker, it is easy to carry them almost anywhere. So the balance between these two features needs to be met.

When you are going out with a group, a larger cooker will definitely be helpful. However, for a personal or just a couple outing, a smaller cooker should meet all your needs.

How to make a solar oven?

It may sound ridiculous, but you can make a solar oven by yourself. All you need is a few pieces of shiny reflective surface, rope or string to tie them together, and a stand to hold the pot. Place the surface aligned with the sun and enjoy the sunshine cooked meal.  To know more about how to make a solar oven follow this step by step guide.

How hot do solar ovens get?

A regular-sized solar oven can go up to 400-degree Celsius. It is enough to cook meat for a considerable amount of time. However, if you choose a larger one, the temperature can go up to550-degree. These are perfect for big sized pots, but the wait time may be longer in gloomy weather.

How does a Solar Oven Work

The main job of the solar oven is to focus the sunlight on a pot so that it can heat the contents inside. For doing so, reflective surfaces are used to divert the sunray towards a particular point.

You need to arrange the surface in a way so that they can focus and concentrate the ray on the pot and turn it hot in no time.

How Solar Energy Can Be Used To Cook

Solar energy is rerouted towards the pot using reflective surfaces made with glass or plastic. The surface directs the ray towards the pot and turns the food inside the pot. 

What’s the Best Solar Oven Design?

The boxed solar cooker is by far the best design as a solar cooker. This enclosed design ensures the light is correctly reflected in the pot. Besides, the front cover keeps the heat inside like a conventional oven.

Can I adjust the temperature of my solar oven?

Yes, you can adjust the temperature. A solar cooker gives the best heat when it is correctly aligned with the direction of the sun. If you change the alignment there will be less energy and low heating.

What are solar ovens made of?

Generally, solar ovens are made of plastic. However, you will find ovens made with nylon, glass, and metal. The plastic ocean is by far the most lightweight and affordable than the rest of the models.

This easy making technology makes this an excellent source for clean energy in the developing countries. With a low carbon footprint and almost no impact on the greenhouse effect, these cookers can save electrical power too. 

What kinds of pots/pans/kitchenware are appropriate for a solar oven?

Any regular metal cooking pan will work in a solar cooker. However, if you are looking for the best result, make sure the pan is

●     Dark Colored with Lid

●     Thin-Walled, and

●     Smaller in Size

Can I cook multiple dishes in my solar oven at the same time?

You can cook multiple dishes in a larger solar oven. Nevertheless, you will end up paying more and may have to compromise the portability. 

In a lightweight, smaller oven, it is not easy to cook more than one time at a time. But the best thing is you can take them anywhere.

Can a solar oven boil water?

Drinking water boils at 212-degree Fahrenheit and the minimum temperature of the smallest solar oven is 250-degree. So I think telling it will be redundant but still, yes, you can boil water in a solar oven.

How long does it take to cook in a solar oven?

Bigger cookers heat up the food faster than the smaller ones. Besides, weather conditions also play a vital role here. Bright sunny days are suitable for quick heating whereas the gloomy days may not be that appropriate.

What Are the Different Types of Solar Ovens

There are three types of solar oven in the market. They are

●     Solar Panel Cooker

●     Solar Box Cooker

●     Parabolic Cooker

What to Look For in a Solar Cooker

While you are out there to get a solar cooker, try to focus on the following aspects

●     Cooker Types

●     Materials

●     Price

●     Weight

●     Portability

●     Cooker and Temperature Capacity

●     Ease of Use

●     Carrying Case

Is it hard to aim and adjust a solar oven?

No, it is not hard. If you have a sun direction detection device, aiming the sunlight and adjunct the cooker will be like a breeze.

Can I use a solar oven to dehydrate foods?

Yes, you can. Keep the food in the cooking area for an extended period and you will see the change. Make sure you keep an eye on the food as it may go too dried up or eventually burnt.

Does food need to be stirred when you use a solar cooker?

Yes, the food needs frequent stirring to even distribute the heat. Otherwise, one part of the food will be dehydrated whereas the other will still be uncooked.

Do you need special pots and pans for a solar cooker?

No, you don’t need any special pot. But if the pots are dark with thin walls, covered with a lid, and are relatively smaller in size, they will work perfectly. 

Can I use a solar oven when it’s cold outside?

Solar cooking relies on sunlight not the temperature. Therefore, as long as there is sunlight you can cook. The cooking time may vary depending on the weather condition. It is obvious that cooking in summer morning will be far away different than a gloomy afternoon in the winter.

Final Thoughts

If you want to use the sunlight at its best for cooking, get the best solar oven. No matter how much is your budget or where you want to put the cooker, the review has one for all. Now picking the best sunshine cooker is just a click away.

Do not waste time before your favorite cooker goes out of stock. Rush towards the browser or the supermarket to get one. Enjoying the sun will be a great joy both literally and metaphorically. What do you think? If you think this guide is helpful to you then don’t forget to share this best solar oven review guide with your friends.