Solar Cooking Tips and Recipes

As food heats up it releases steam which causes condensation on the lid.  This blocks sunshine from entering the cooking chamber. I place half a clothes pin under the lid to vent steam.  It is a little less than 1/4″ thick.   It takes only a few minutes for it to evaporate. The oven returns to 200°F quickly. I used to wipe off condensation, but found venting is easier.  The goal in venting is to NOT open the lid too much or TOO much cooking heat will escape.

My solar cooker is usually cooking at 200°F.  This is the same as the low setting on a crock pot or slow cooker so no adaptation needed. If my oven is at 180°F then I expect the food to need more cooking time.    Slow cooking is very forgiving.  I have often left food in an extra hour or more with no problem.   In general, the taste of solar cooked foods is better than conventionally cooked foods.  The exceptions have been cauliflower, brussels sprouts, broccoli.  These veggies need to be cooked faster because slow cooking cause them to have a much stronger flavor than I prefer.

At 20″ diameter, mine oven is small.  The smaller the oven the smaller the amounts of food you can cook at one time.   The larger the amount of food the longer it will take to cook.

Cooking foods in a canning jar will speed up cooking time.  I learned that when it is 200°F in the solar cooker, it is 267°F in an empty canning jar from 2pm-4pm.  Knowing this helped me extend my cooking day.  One mostly cloudy day, my son wanted baked potatoes.  The cooker was below cooking temperate 150°F.  I put them in the solar cooker in a 2-quart canning jar with a lid on.  I don’t remember how long they took, but they were almost over done when I remembered to take them out.  They were delicious.   This has me thinking about using the lower temperature to get some foods done and out of the oven before it arrives at cooking temperature.  Then load it with food I can’t fit into canning jar.

The solar cookers you can purchase are usually heating up to 300°F and above so solar cooking times will be shorter than in my oven.

The following articles are specifically about solar cooking and cookware:


I use crock pot recipes for guidelines on solar cooking.   As long as the solar cooker stays at or above 200 degrees F, then solar cooking times are the same or shorter than crock pot cooking.

Additional Resources

About Hemet Sunshine

I am a homeschooling mom living in Hemet, California. I am interested in building a better community for the ones I love.
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