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How to Make an Easy Solar Cooker… with materials you probably already have at home

Maybe energy costs are driving you to desperate measures. Maybe you’ve read some of our solar recipe reviews here, and now your stomach is rumbling. Maybe you are just the adventurous type. Whatever your motivation, you can quite easily assemble a simple solar cooker that will allow you to solar cook right away (or as soon as the sun is up).

To make your own windshield shade funnel solar cooker, you will need:
Solar Cooker components

  • • a reflective windshield shade, like one of these: windshield shade

    • a bull clip

    • a medium-sized clear glass bowlclear glass bowl

    • a bucket or round wastepaper basket

    Twist the windshield reflector to form a funnel or cone shape by overlapping the two ends. Then use the clip to hold the two edges together. Place the cone in the bucket, tipping it so the back is higher than the front. Now place the clear glass bowl in the center of the funner, upside down, to make the surface for your pot. The bowl also adds stability to the structure and, because it is clear, it doesn’t block the sun’s rays from hitting your pot. That’s all you need to do to start solar cooking.
    Windshield Shade Solar Cooker
    For cooking in our solar cookers, we use light-weight black speckleware, the kind of cooking vessels that people use for camping. My first couple of experiments were simply putting water in the pots and measuring the temperature at various intervals because I wanted to see how hot the water would get (170-180 degrees, if you’re curious). That’s hot enough to cook many foods, given a long enough cooking period. Note: solar cooking is more like baking or roasting that pan-frying or grilling. Plan to cook foods that do well under baking conditions for maximum success.

    Our design is a variation on one found at, a website that has inspired us and taught us a lot. There are lots of great recipes there too.

    Very soon I hope to post some information about and pictures of the solar oven that Jim constructed last summer. Watch for details and more recipes.

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    Continuing the Discussion

    1. The $15,000 Solar Dehydrator | Our Twenty Minute Kitchen Garden linked to this post on September 9, 2010

      […] got another use for those too… as part of a simple but effective solar cooker that we’ve written about here.) Instead of “wasting” the heat of the car, I put that heat to use to dry […]