Solar Cooking in a Sun Oven

I’ve been dying to tell you guys about our new All American Sun Oven. I LOVE IT!! For those who don’t know what they are, basically it’s a box with reflectors designed to capture the sun’s heat to use for cooking.

Here’s what it looks like, with me next to it for scale:

Sun Oven Review
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It folds up and latches closed for easy transportation. It’s pretty lightweight at 22 lbs.

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I also got a little Granite Ware Round Roaster to cook in the oven with. You can use cast iron, but granite ware is lighter and easier to clean up. You use it just like you would use a crock pot.

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My first experiment was with corn on the cob. We bought a bunch of non-GMO corn at Trader Joe’s, and I thought this would be a fun way to cook it. I washed the outside of the husks (without peeling them), then put them into the oven to bake (still moist from the rinsing). The first time I cooked corn in the sun oven I put the ears in a single layer, but since then I’ve learned that you can pack them in there on top of each other and they’ll still cook just fine.

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Pointing the oven toward direct sunlight, I let the corn cook for about an hour. This is how it turned out. Roasted, and SUPER delicious. They were steaming hot, and the corn was so tender and sweet. Cooked to perfection.

No heating up the house. No using electricity. Cooking with free energy!

I was hooked.

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My next experiment was with a bunch of fresh green beans from the garden. I poured about 4 cups of chicken broth into the roasting pan, cut half an onion into wedges, threw in several pieces of cooked turkey bacon, tossed about 2 lbs green beans with it all, sprinkled with garlic powder, and salted and peppered to taste. I covered the pot with the lid, and cooked it in the Sun Oven for about 2 hours before the clouds started to roll in and the rain came. No worries, I folded that bad boy up, and took it inside to continue cooking until we were ready to eat dinner a couple of hours later. The oven stayed hot for a long time. It really does work just like a crockpot, keeping your food hot and tender until you’re ready to dig in!  The beans were absolutely delicious.

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So I got a little braver and cooked chicken. I put two chicken breasts in the roasting pan, poured a little Italian dressing over it, placed the lid on the roaster, and cooked it in the Sun Oven for about 2 hours. The juices from the chicken filled the bottom of the pot, and the meat came out tender and perfectly cooked.

The oven stayed about 300* in full sun, though it can reach up to 400* on the hottest days. I’m eager to try baking cookies and bread in it next.

I can’t tell you guys how much I love this oven. It will be an invaluable cooking tool as we transition to life off-grid. And even though we still have an electric stove functioning in the kitchen as of this writing, I’ve found myself preferring to cook in the Sun Oven as often as possible, to help keep the house cooler and our power bill down.

If you’re interested in solar cooking, there are several good DIY instructions you can find online for building your own cooker out of fairly inexpensive materials. We considered several of these styles before settling on the real deal for one main reason: Efficiency. The reviews I’ve read of homemade ovens were that they worked, but they didn’t hold the higher temps that a real Sun Oven can maintain. If you just want to dabble, or have some fun with the kids, build a homemade solar cooker first to see how you like it. If you’re serious about saving money on cooking and having a backup non-electric cooking method, get an All American Sun Oven.

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I’m looking forward to seeing what delicious dishes come out of my Sun Oven next! Do you have a Sun Oven? What’s your favorite meal to cook in it?

 

Kendra
About Kendra 1123 Articles

A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.

29 Comments

  1. Kendra,

    We received our All American Sun Oven last Wednesday before Thanksgiving 2016. Upon opening the box and inspecting the oven, in atticipation to cook turkey in the Sun Oven the next day for our families, we noticed the inside bottom of the oven had several major dents from shipping which made the edge of the metal to bend up and break the seal in numerous places. I noted the damage on the warranty registration comments as well as took a picture and emailed it to Mr. Munsen last Wednesday. I followed up with a call yesterday and was told by the customer service lady she would look at it later that day. Not hearing back I did a follow up email of the first email today and still haven’t heard anything. Have you had similar problems with damaged ovens and being put off by their customer service representative?

    • Albert,
      I’m so sorry to hear about your troubles!! What a bummer that you weren’t able to use it right away. I was fortunate enough not to have any shipping damages to my Sun Oven when it arrived, so I don’t have any experience with their customer service. I hope you are able to resolve it quickly. Did you order through Amazon or directly through All American Sun Ovens?

  2. Hi Kendra
    Will this oven only work in the summer? I know the sun is not as strong in the cooler months. Love this oven!

  3. I was wondering if there was a way to regulate the heat. I heard u you can dehydrate in the solar oven…but wasn’t sure how that would work out if it gets too hot in there. Anyone know the answer? I’m looking forward to getting a sun oveN once we get into our new home.

    • Yes, you can dehydrate by keeping the glass door slightly open (resting on top of the clips). You can also regulate the temp by not pointing it directly at the sun. It will take some experimenting, but you can do that without anything in the oven so you don’t risk ruining something. I love mine!

  4. This is so exciting! I’m very excited to get a Sun oven in the future!

    I was a bit concerned about the off taste Felecia described and found a website with tips to help so wanted to share!

    “A new Sun Oven can have the smell of the newly manufactured and coated interior the first few times it is used. We recommend to all of our customers that the first time they use the GSO that they put it out in the sun with the cooking pot half full of water and a few drops of dish detergent, leaving it to steam for about five to six hours. Then, taking a dish rag and tongs,(very hot) wipe the whole interior of the solar oven to clean it out. This should help greatly with the smell. If need be, repeat the process another time.”

    This is about the prior model but I think it still applies.

    Then if you still have trouble, here is the page as they have a link to another page that says to use vinegar and that it’s possible to remedy it:
    http://www.solarcooker-at-cantinawest.com/using_a_solar_oven.html
    (Just scroll down to where it talks about Global Sun Oven).

    It also said this, which I thought was good to know:
    “You can use your GSO to also sterilize medical instruments, pasteurize and sterilize unclean water for drinking, boil water for cleaning and bathing, sterilizing grains that may be infested.”

  5. Hi Kendra! I read this post about cooking corn on the cob in the sun oven right before we got in the car to go to my brothers for a 4th of July celebration cookout. I asked my husband to load up the sun oven into the car and with a quizzacle look he did. I knew my brother would have corn on the cob so I grabbed 6 ears, piled them on top of one another into the sun oven and voila….in know time, yummy corn on the cob! Nobody had seen a sun oven and were very impressed! The neighbor saw it in the driveway and walked over and asked about it! Haha! Anyway, thanks for providing me a way to promote solar cooking in an everyday setting!

      • Hi Kendra, My family also lives off grid and last year my husband bought me the same solar cooker. I absolutely love it! It works great for slow cooking and makes the best banana bread(a family favorite). We also use it for drying herbs and making yogurt. My four girls love to cook and bake and they are learning to use it too. It makes a great science project for homeschooling,also. I enjoy your website. Thanks. Christina

  6. Hi Kendra! I love my Sun Oven! I have the very same one! The best thing I ever cooked in mine was a whole chicken bought at the grocery store. I never ate chicken that tasted so good! I don’t know why it tasted so much better! I have baked cookies and bread in mine, but they came out with an ‘off’ taste, sort of like the rubber lining the oven. I cleaned the oven just like it said but still the taste. I hope you have better success with your bread and cookies. I will be waiting to see how yours turns out. Thanks for sharing! Blessings from Bama!

  7. Thank you for sharing! I was unaware there was such an oven. I am very interested now and I’ll be adding this to my wishlist.

  8. I love it, Kendra! A neighbor…way down the road, made one of these a few years ago. We’ve wanted one ever since. Now I’m re-inspired to make one. We are going through our usual July heat (90-100) most days, so turning on any heat source is never at the top of my to-do list. It’s time for solar! Thanks for the post.

  9. Great post on cooking with solar! We’ve had one of these ovens for a few years now and love it! We’ve baked bread in it with wonderful results. Have made brownies when it was 22F outside in the dead of winter…took 3 and a half hours but they were delish! Cookies, omelets, pizzas, frozen roasts and chickens…it will cook anything!

    • I and some of my friends have a Sun Oven, we have tried and tried to bake a good loaf of bread, really tried, for years we have tried, in the heat of summer at 100 degrees or spring and fall with temps outside ranging from 65-100, with no avail. What are we doing wrong, I have gone to a few classes on it, have done all they say, and still can not get it to look like it was baked in the home oven. We are begging you for your secret on bread baking! We have got the bread down packed in the Apple box oven however, but would like to use the power of the sun to cook everything, HELP PLEASE! Other than the bread we love our Sun ovens and use them very often during the summer, my favorite is a whole chicken flavored with lemon pepper, it turns out awesome everytime. BTW we live in Utah, we think we just do not have the Sun. (laughing)

      • Is your bread not cooking through, is it sinking in the center, or does it just not brown like it does in a conventional oven? If you give me a little more detail about what issues you’re having maybe we can trouble-shoot. 🙂

  10. I have this same oven, for 5 years now it has been cooking to perfection everything I have put in it. We also have cooked in the dead of winter 16 degrees outside and about 270 in the oven

  11. Kendra, so glad you’re sharing about this oven and your experience with it. Look forward to seeing more things you’ve cooked in it! Looks like I’ll be saving up some more money to get another “helper” for our home, in this Sun Oven :-). About that small roaster, I saw one at a Goodwill recently but by-passed it thinking I wouldn’t be able to use it much. Will have to keep my eye open for another one, lol. As always, thanks so much for sharing!

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