Finding The Best Solar Oven System For Your Needs

Avatar Samantha Biggers  |  Updated: August 22, 2019
Finding The Best Solar Oven System For Your Needs

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Solar ovens are a popular cooking choice for those who have the right environmental conditions.

In this guide, I’ll discuss what to consider when buying a solar oven and  suggestions of the ones that work best for prepper’s.

First let’s cover the basic pros and cons.

Pros of Solar Ovens

  • A solar oven offers a cooking choice when there is little or no firewood or other cooking fuel. You can also use them during dry conditions without the fear of a fire getting out of control. When it comes to camping, there are plenty of areas that don’t allow camp fires but they do allow camping stoves and solar cookers.
  • Solar ovens are eco friendly and simple to use.
  • A solar oven allows you to cook meals without heating your house up during the summer months which can save you on energy costs and make your home more comfortable over all. This is like having  a crock pot that doesn’t burn electricity at all!
  • Solar ovens can be used to heat water for cleaning and hygiene. Some ovens like the Solavore even have a pasteurized water indicator to let you know when water is sanitized. This water can be cooled and used to drink. If you have clear water then this can make your water filter last longer. Of course if water is muddy or has sediment you are not going to want to just pasteurize.

Cons of Solar Ovens

  • Solar ovens need sunlight. During the winter months and short days they are not practical for those living in more northern climates for a large part of the year. They might be great for part of the year but  when you are really craving a hot meal on a cold day you are going to be out of luck if you expect to cook really fast.
    • For meals early in the day, they are not going to deliver, so breakfast is a meal you will have to either bake ahead of time or find some other way.
  • Solar ovens are expensive compared to a camp stove that runs on wood or propane fuel and they do not cook as fast.
  • Some solar ovens are small and not necessarily big enough for some families. The Sun Oven is one example of a solar oven that is made to accommodate large pans and bigger cooking jobs.  If an oven costs less then it may be because it is smaller so pay attention to size when planning what to get.

Finding The Right Oven For You

Solar ovens can cost as much as a real stove so it is important to weight the positives and negatives of many different ovens. You might be perfectly happy with the $100 oven or you may just want one for occasional use. Plenty of us are probably curious but not quite ready to invest $300 on something we are not sure we will want to or like to use. You can rely on Backdoor Survival to help you find a great solar oven and get started on some fabulous outdoor cooking on or off the grid!

Sun Oven

One thing to love about the[Sun Oven is that you can reach temps up to 360-400 degrees so you can get a lot of cooking done when the sun is out! This is a great system but the price tag makes this something that you need to be sure you really want. If you don’t have a dehydrator already then you can just buy a solar oven and get the best of both worlds if you at least have the dehydrating racks.

We recommend getting the Sun Oven Dehydrating and Preparedness Accessory Package because it has everything you need to get started using a solar oven including a recipe book with 600 recipes you can start making immediately.

Sun Oven Dehydrating and Preparedness Accessory Package

You also get 2 stackable pots with lids, 2 loaf pans, baking racks, and dehydrating racks. This means you can take care of dehydrating and cooking needs with one thing instead of two. Customers report that this oven will cook on colder days but to allow for longer cooking times.

The Sun Oven has been redesigned to be more spacious than ever and easily accommodates a lot of the larger 9 x 13 inch pans that can feed a whole group of people. A lot of the ovens that we talk about later on do not accommodate larger groups or standard casserole size pans so that is something that definitely puts the Sun Oven top on the list for those that want a back up cooker for a group.

Special Note: You can save $70 off the Preparedness and Dehydration Package or $50 off just the Sun Oven by following this link and using our special BDS code “BackdoorSurvival” or “BackdoorSurvivalASO” at checkout. This deal is active until July 31st, 2017.

So do I really need a solar oven?

Solar ovens are good to have if you actually will use them and I don’t just mean in an emergency. You don’t want to be learning the pros and cons of the oven you own during a major situation. If you decide to get an oven then start using it as soon as you can. Practice will teach you what meals you enjoy the most from the oven, how evenly it cooks, and the actual cooking times during different seasons or weather conditions. Knowing the actual capability and true performance of your oven is crucial.

Solar ovens can cook some foods fairly fast under the right conditions but if you are a really impatient person then a solar oven might drive you a little crazy.

On the other hand, there are inexpensive options in the $100 range that mean you are not losing too much by trying one out.

I would say a solar oven is a fabulous supplement to your cooking tools but you don’t want to think you can rely on it too much. In a survival situation, you should have several ways of cooking in mind if possible as well as some foods that you can just eat without heating if necessary. Being prepared means having a Plan A, B, C, and D not just an A plan.

Suggested Recipes & Cooking Ideas

Fans of solar ovens have a lot of favorites. Here are some suggestions for trying out your solar oven and learning what it can do.

  • Beef stew meat and vegetables
  • Whole chicken or if using a tube style cooker you can cut up the chicken
  • Beans and rice
  • Cornbread
  • Baked potatoes
  • Biscuits
  • Steamed or baked fish

Do you have experience with solar cooking or a favorite recipe to share? Please comment below with your experiences and what you love to cook in your solar oven! 

Also let us know what challenges you have faced, especially those situations where you have tried to cook under not so ideal conditions like cold temps and low sunlight. We hope this article can create a dialogue where we can all learn something from one another!

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2 Responses to “Finding The Best Solar Oven System For Your Needs”

  1. If you are on a tight budget and want one for just a few dollars you can use a shiny pan, a cooking bag or Saran wrap and 1-2 windshield shade reflectors. We bought a $3 reflective shade at a dollar store, a disposable tin pan and some Saran wrap to cover it. I was able to drape the shade over a patio chair and cooked cookies using the sun In total it costed $6 for the everything. We could easily use it to cook food or warm up canned food.

  2. The oven in my RV cooks unevenly, so I was unable to use it and couldn’t cook things like roasts, casseroles, hot dishes, and baked goods until I bought a beat-up old Sun Oven from a friend. I loved it, and eventually bought the new larger Sun Oven, as well as the folding SunFlair. Several years ago I bought the cheapest ham I could find for Easter and cooked it in the Sun Oven. It turned out to be the best ham I’ve ever had!

    I’m not sure a cast iron pan is a good choice for a solar oven. Lightweight pans are normally recommended to more quickly transfer the heat to the food.

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