CampingOutdoor SolarSolar Ovens

The Best Solar Ovens for Outdoor Cooking

By September 23, 2021No Comments
The Best Solar Ovens

Camping in the backcountry on a bright sunny day, having a solar oven for your cooking needs is a plus. Not only do you save on propane, charcoal, or other fuel, but you get to cook your food differently. Indeed, unlike electric or fuel-based cookers, solar ovens use free energy from the sun. The solar oven generates moderate heat that retains all the flavours and nutrients in your food. Even better, you can never burn food in a sun oven.

Also, if you love foods with solid flavours cooking outdoors keeps your home free of that lingering smell. And, did you know that there are solar ovens that work in cloudy conditions too? Yes, even during the winter, for as long as the sun is shining, you can get a solar oven that you can set up on snow. How cool is that?. Here is a quick guide to help you unravel the possibilities of the best solar ovens in 2021.

All the solar ovens below are from leading brands that use premium materials and accessories for the best cooking experience. More so, the solar ovens feature the latest tube cooker design that is portable, easy to set up, use, and maintain.

Do Solar Ovens Really Work?

Yes. Previously, the use of solar ovens remained in the confines of school laboratories, fairs, or disaster relief areas. Advancements in technology now have solar ovens that cook food fast, hence, competing with conventional ovens. Solar ovens offer the following benefits:

  • They use the cleanest, environmentally-friendly source of energy
  • Most solar ovens have a compact, travel-friendly size
  • Solar ovens are easy to set up and clean
  • These ovens cook healthy meals, free of carcinogens associated with pan-fried or deep-fried meals
  • You can adjust the heat settings to suit your current recipe
  • The cookers have no open flames. They are safe for use by busy families with kids or pets

Still, solar ovens become limited where there is low sunlight penetration, overcast weather, or downpours. And, constant use of the cooker exposes you to accidental reflection from the solar panels, which can harm your eyes. And, if you live in areas with unpredictable weather, you may need to carry a conventional oven for backup. Then, we suggest that you pick the best solar cooker and use it for those occasional family get-togethers. 

What Is A Solar Oven And How Does It Work?

A solar oven uses heat from the sun to bake, fry, cook different types of foods. They retail as tube, parabolic, box, or panel cookers, each with concentration, absorption, and retention components. Mirrors or reflectors form the concentration section. They direct radiation to the absorption chamber, where it attracts or holds heat. Finally, the retention unit will preserve the heat for the food to cook.

Solar ovens rely on the sun’s rays to cook food or sterilize water. They do this by converting radiation from the sun into heat inside the oven. This radiation concentrates in the chamber with the help of mirrors or reflective surfaces that channel the rays to a specific point. Hence, the solar oven works by multiplying the heat to a level that can cook or sterilize food and water.

Do Solar Ovens Work In The Winter?

Yes. A clear winter day has sufficient sun rays to cook food in a solar oven. The cooker relies on the brightness of the sun and not the current temperatures. Still, due to the minimal sunlight in winter, the prevailing temperatures will counter the heat from the solar oven. This means food will take longer to cook during the winter than on a bright summer day. And, the solar oven will not work on overcast days.

Can You Boil Water In A Solar Oven?

Yes. Whereas some solar ovens can get as hot as 550° F, water boils at 212° F. You can use your solar oven to sterilize tap or river water and have it safe for drinking in emergencies.

How Much Do Solar Ovens Cost?

Solar ovens retail in a wide price range that depends on the following factors: 

  • Reflective panels  – Solar ovens using bigger, collapsible reflective panels are portable and cook more food faster. For this, they retail at a higher price range.
  • Temperature range – The temperature range dictates how long it will take for your food to cook. The higher the maximum temperature the less the cooking time, hence retail at a higher price range.
  • Portability – Foldable solar ovens, tube cookers, and box cookers will fit easily in your carry-on bag, backpack, or van. In contrast, parabolic ovens are bulky, hence, require bigger storage space. Such heavy-duty solar ovens cook more food per load, retailing at a higher price range.
  • Thermometer – A solar oven retailing with a temperature gauge or a thermometer helps you monitor your cooking, more so when roasting or baking foods that require high temperatures. This extra feature pushes up the price of the solar oven.
  • Versatility – Versatile solar ovens that cook more types of foods differently retail at a premium price. Here, think of a cooker that only boils water or coffee. Compare it with one that can grill, bake, steam, and roast fish, meat, bread, and vegetables.
  • Accessories – Typical accessories in a solar oven include cooking pans, recipe books, an instruction manual, and cleaning items. Some solar ovens have smart functions, allowing you to monitor your cooking via your smartphone. Others can switch from solar to electrical heat, enabling you to cook after sunset. Then, opt for a solar oven with accessories that complement your cooking style.
What Can You Cook In A Solar Oven?

As long as there is sun, solar ovens can cook any food from fish and meats to grains and greens. However, they are not suitable for recipes involving pan-frying or deep frying. 

Below are some of the foods that cook fast in a solar oven: 

  • Chicken wings: 25 – 35 minute
  • Steaks: 20 – 30 minutes
  • Shrimps: 25 – 35 minutes
  • Sausages: 10 – 15 minutes
  • Bacon: 15 – 25 minutes
  • Potatoes: 25 – 35 minutes
  • Bell Peppers: 10 – 15 minutes
  • Corns: 20 – 30 minutes
  • Pizza: 30 – 40 minutes

1. Sunflair Mini Portable Solar Oven

Sunflair Mini Portable Solar Oven is a collapsible solar oven for your globetrotting lifestyle. It features a lightweight reflector material that focuses heat onto a silicone pot, allowing you to slow cook, pasteurize, or boil foods and drinks. It sets up in seconds and is safe for use inside your camper van. So you can catch and cook your salmon, defrost your dinners, heat hot dogs, or sterilize drinking water. Better still, use the easy-to-follow cookbook that guides you on the latest grilling methods and tips.

Features

  • A lightweight, portable solar cooking oven
  • Collapses to a portable 3-ring binder size
  • Includes a handy thermometer & stuff bag
  • No assembly required

Specifications

  • Brand: Sunflair
  • Dimensions: 13 x 5 x 11 inches; 1.25 Pounds
  • Design: Panel Cooker
  • In The Package: 1 Solar Oven Thermometer, 1 Trivet, 1 Collapsible Silicone Pot, A Handy Stuff Bag
  • Maximum Cooking Temperature: 285ºF

2. All American SUN OVEN with Dehydrating and Preparedness Accessory Package

Are you searching for a solar oven for your preppers? Consider getting the All American SUN OVEN with Dehydrating and Preparedness Accessory Package. It is a durable box solar cooker that dehydrates fruits, re-hydrates dry food supplies, bakes, steams, boils, and slowly cooks various foods in a safe way. The oven relies on its three sets of stackable wireframes and parchment paper for drying foods. Also, there are two stackable ceramic pans and baking trays sold separately for convenient cooking. Indeed, you get more accessories buying this package instead of opting for only the Sun Oven.

Features

  • Solar-powered oven built to last
  • Has a sundial for the correct position of the solar oven
  • Includes a reusable thermometer, recipe book & instruction manual
  • 15-year manufacturer warranty

Specifications

  • Brand: Sun Oven
  • Dimensions: 19 x 19 x 11 inches; 23 Pounds
  • Design: Box Cooker
  • In The Package: All American SUN OVEN®, Multi-Level Dehydrating & Baking Rack Set, Multi-Fuel Water Pasteurizing Indicator (WAP), Spill-Proof Levelator, A Digital Instruction Manual and a Digital Recipe Book
  • Maximum Cooking Temperature: 400ºF

3. GOSUN Fusion Solar Oven

GOSUN Fusion Solar Oven is a hybrid solar and electric grill that you can carry anywhere to cook delicious meals for up to five persons. Weighing 16 pounds, you can lift the solar oven in one hand. Due to its hybrid design, you get to cook day or night. It comes with a 15W electric element that powers easily using the standard charging ports in most cars. Still, there is a GOSUN power bank that can support your cooking at night. The power bank recharges during the day using solar panels.

Features

  • A hybrid solar oven for 24-hour cooking
  • Angles by rotating on scratch-proof feet
  • Sun or electric power source
  • Includes a power bank
  • Holds up to 6 meals per load

Specifications

  • Brand: GoSun
  • Dimensions: 30.3 x 13.5 x 13 inches; 16 pounds 
  • Design: Tube Cooker
  • In The Package: Solar oven, anodized reflector body, stainless steel tray with heating element
  • Maximum Cooking Temperature: 550ºF

4. GoSun Sport®

GoSun makes competitive camping equipment for the best outdoor experiences. And, its GoSun Sport® is no different. When you get this ultimate camping stove, expect a collapsible solar oven that meets carry-on flight restrictions. It has a portable design that fits into a backpack. Its legs fold up to serve as carrying handles. Yet, this minimalistic solar oven will prepare up to 39-oz of meals at a time in under 20 minutes. It has an anti-scald handle allowing you to check on the food without burning your fingers.

Features

  • A lightweight best solar oven that works under clouds
  • Portable on its own or in a backpack
  • Uses anti-scald handles and vacuum tube insulation
  • No assembly required

Specifications

  • Brand: GoSun
  • Dimensions: 24 x 16 x 12 inches; 7 Pounds
  • Design: Tube Cooker
  • In The Package: Solar Oven, Cooking Tray, Cleaning Brush, SolarDial, Cook Book, User Manual
  • Maximum Cooking Temperature: 550ºF

5. BBQ Grill Solar Cooker Kit

BBQ Grill Solar Cooker Kit is a solar-powered barbecue stove retailing as a single or double tube cooker. It uses a wide area spotlight to direct heat from the sun to the 304 food-grade stainless steel baking tray. That way, you can prepare your trout, lamb chops, or vegetables for a large family in under 30 minutes. It even boils soups, retaining their flavors and freshness. BBQ Grill Solar Cooker Kit works great on a sunny or cloudy day. It is safe for use at your balcony, beach picnic spot, or near kids and pets.

Features

  • Portable solar oven for large families
  • 1.5L food capacity per tube
  • 45° bevel bracket
  • Easy to set up and clean in seconds

Specifications

  • Brand: Besula
  • Dimensions: 24 x 9 x 8.7 inches; 3.6 kg
  • Design: Tube Cooker
  • In The Package:
  • Maximum Cooking Temperature: 572 ºF

6. Sunflair Portable Solar Oven Deluxe with Complete Cookware, Dehydrating Racks and Thermometer

When you need to cook meals for up to eight persons, in less than 30 minutes, in the middle of nowhere, carrying the Sunflair Portable Solar Oven will save the day. It is a deluxe panel solar cooker fully equipped with dehydrating racks and a thermometer to monitor your cooking. The oven relies on its closed-cell insulation technique to cook food fast while retaining its moisture content and flavours. Besides, it retails with dishwasher-safe pots for easy cleaning. Then, get the cookbook in the package and start experimenting with a new recipe.

Features

  • Pre-assembled solar pizza oven
  • Silicone pots collapsible to 2 cm
  • Compatible with most cookware
  • Easy to set up and use in seconds

Specifications

  • Brand: Sunflair
  • Dimensions: 19 x 15.5 x 2 inches; 8 Pounds
  • Design: Panel Cooker
  • In The Package: 1 Solar Oven Thermometer, 2 Heat-Conducting/Baking Trays, 2 Baking/Dehydrating Racks, 1 Enamelware Pot, 2 Silicone Pots, Carrying Bag
  • Maximum Cooking Temperature: 285ºF

7. Haines 2.0 SunUp Solar Cooker and Dutch Oven Kit

Treehugger Magazine quotes the Haines 2.0 SunUp Solar Cooker and Dutch Oven Kit as the Number 1 Rated Solar Oven in 2021. It is a fast and heat-efficient renewable solar cooker with a parabolic design and makes delicious bread, portions of pasta, veggies, sausages, and eggs. It uses a cooking sleeve that snaps into place in seconds. You can adjust the sleeve to capture maximum sun radiation. And, the reflector is resistant to scratching, oxidation, or spills.

Features

  • A solar cooking oven that adjusts to fit most round pots
  • Boils water in under 40 minutes
  • Easy to set up, use, clean, and store
  • Lasts at least ten years

Specifications

  • Brand: Haines
  • Dimensions: 24 x 12 x 9 inches; 1 Pound
  • Design: Panel Cooker
  • In The Package: 4.5 Quart Stainless Steel Haines Dutch Oven Pot With Tempered Glass Lid
  • Maximum Cooking Temperature: 375ºF

8. GoSun Go

GoSun Go® is a small compact tube solar cooker for quick baking, steaming, roasting, or boiling. It features an all-weather tube design that cooks your food in less than 30 minutes. And, it will keep the meals hot for the next 12 hours after cooking. As an FAA-compliant cooking appliance, you can have your GoSun Go® in a carry-on bag when travelling abroad. The solar cooker has a durable design that lasts for up to 25 years.

Features

  • Retails in standard or 2-pack options
  • 13.5 oz cooking capacity
  • Holds 1 – 2 meals per load
  • Works under clouds

Specifications

  • Brand: GoSun
  • Dimensions: 14.17 x 7 x 3.37 inches; 2 lbs
  • Design: Tube Cooker
  • In The Package: Solar Oven, Cook Tray, GoSun Dial, Silicone Cook Pans (4x), Universal Action Mount, Cleaning Brush, SolarDial, Cook Book, User Manual, Drawstring Carry Case
  • Maximum Cooking Temperature: 550ºF

9. MrMapMax Solar Oven Portable Oven

MrMapMax Solar Oven Portable Oven is another large-capacity solar oven that cooks up to 4.5 liters of food. It relies on the latest tube solar cooker design to bake, steam, or roast food all year round. With this solar oven, expect temperatures of up to 550ºF when preparing your moist, tasty, and tender meat chunks. Then, use the convenient zipper storage to store it away from kids or pets after cooking and cleaning. MrMapMax Solar Oven Portable Oven is ideal for road trips, camping, hiking, outdoor barbecuing, and family picnics.

Features

  • Large capacity solar oven with a durable construction
  • Cooks food in under 20 minutes
  • Easy to use and carry
  • No assembly required

Specifications

  • Brand: MrMapMax 
  • Dimensions: ‎25.8 x 11.9 x 9.6 inches; ‎14.02 pounds
  • Design: Tube Cooker
  • In The Package: 1 Solar Cooker, Thermometer
  • Maximum Cooking Temperature: 550ºF

10. GOSUN Survival Gear Solar Oven Sun Cooker

GOSUN Survival Gear Solar Oven Sun Cooker is a compact tube solar cooker with a portable clamshell design. The oven snaps into position in seconds to prepare delicious meals in under 20 minutes. Featuring a cool-to-touch stainless steel tube chamber, the food can reach temperatures of up to 550ºF. Unlike other solar cookers, this survival solar cooker version requires minimal adjustments when cooking. Plus, it has convenient accessories to help you clean up afterward.

Features

  • A low maintenance solar oven 
  • Uses folding parabolic reflectors
  • Converts up to 80% radiation into cooking heat
  • Has 2-year manufacturer warranty

Specifications

  • Brand: GoSun
  • Dimensions: 24 x 5 x 8 inches; 3.6 Kilograms
  • Design: Tube Cooker
  • In The Package: Tube Cooking Chamber, 2 Foldable Parabolic Reflectors, Stainless-Steel Cooking Tray, Cleaning Tool, and Instruction Manual
  • Maximum Cooking Temperature: 550ºF

11. KECOP Solar Oven Sun Cooker

When you are in the mood for a delicious steak outdoors, consider getting the KECOP Solar Oven Sun Cooker. It is a lightweight solar oven that grills food and boils water at the same time. It will make juicy hotdogs, eggs, soups, and bread for three people. The cooker has a sturdy, ergonomic design that includes stainless steel components. Plus, the package has reliable accessories to protect you from getting burnt, cook more recipes, and travel with your favourite solar cooker wherever you want.

Features

  • Portable solar oven for outdoor cooking
  • Durable 304 food-grade stainless steel construction
  • Boils up to 1.2 litres of water
  • Cooks food in under 30 minutes

Specifications

  • Brand: KECOP 
  • Dimensions: 28.8 x 11.6 x 5.3 inches; 8.25 Pounds
  • Design: Tube Cooker
  • In The Package: 1 Solar Oven, Two Disposable Mini-Baking Pans, Anti-Scald Gloves, 10 Food Grade Tin Cartons, Ergonomic Handbag
  • Maximum Cooking Temperature: 550ºF

The best solar ovens keep getting better; hence, quite common in many homes. You can get an all-season solar cooker that prepares a hot meal in less than 20 minutes on a clear winter day. And, during the summer, when the sun is at its peak, you can use your solar oven without scalding your hands from the extreme temperatures. Most solar ovens are portable, require no assembly, and are easy to clean and maintain. Then, get this clean cooking alternative and keep tabs on your carbon footprint.

Sebastian Arciszewski

Sebastian Arciszewski

I'm super excited about the continuing electrification of our infrastructure, much of which is being powered by massive solar installations. Additionally, more and more companies are incorporating the power of solar panels into their proucts. I also write about Electric Bikes and Minimalist Design Products. You can find me on twitter: sebastian_a