How to make a solar cooker step by step

Posted 1 year ago by Kami

Have you ever considered making a cooking box out of cardboard and some other equipment you already have at home?

In this guide, we are going to show you how to make a solar cooker with some easy steps.

Don’t worry, we’ll walk you through each step so you don’t have to be an expert.

Before we get into the technicalities, let’s take a look at how solar cookers work.

The concept behind it is as follows:

The heat gets reflected by a reflector into a box and then gets trapped by the top glass like a GreenHouse effect and heats the cooking utensils.

Let’s go into the details now and show you how to make it yourself.


  • small box
  • foam board
  • black paper
  • aluminum foil
  • glass board
  • carton or cardboard 
  • brown tape
  • glue
  • cutter or scissors
  • wire

Step 1: Prepare the box

The first step is to prepare our box and get one suitable for our project. For this project, we used a small box with a dimension of 235mm* 235mm*140mm. You can also make a solar cooker using a pizza box.

Step 2: Prepare the base

As you know, black is very good at absorbing sunlight and transforming it into heat. 

For this reason, we will glue black paper to our solar cooker base to make sure we are getting as much sunlight as possible.

After gluing the black paper, now it’s about time to insulate the base.

Bring a 230mm* 230mm foam, and put it into your solar cooker.

Step 3: Insulate your cooker

To preserve the heat we collect from the sun, we need to insulate our solar cooker.

For insulation, we went for the cheapest and most common material which is foam.

After installing the base of the box, we need to install the walls of the box too.

To do this, we need to cut four pieces of foam board in a suitable size to fit the walls of the box.

For this project, we cut the four pieces with dimensions 200mm*110mm *10mm to fit our small box and make sure heat doesn’t leak from our cooker.

Step 4: Setup the solar reflectors

As we mentioned before, the working concept of the solar cooker is that reflective materials are used to collect sun rays and transform them into heat to cook our food.  

For this project, we went with aluminum foil as our collector due to its magnificent reflective properties that will help us generate more heat at a lower cost.

All you need to do is to cut aluminum foil to a suitable size to fit the box’s walls, then simply glue them to the foam boards.

Now, we have four walls ready for use so it’s time to install them into the box.

Simply glue all four pieces of the foam into the four sides of the box and that’s it, now we have four walls that will generate heat.

Step 5: Fix the glass board

To allow sunlight to heat your delicious food, we will install a glass board at the top of your cooker.

This glass works like your cooker door, so you can put and pick your heated food with minimal hassle.

It also makes a greenhouse effect by preventing absorbed sunlight from leaving the cooker, resulting in more heat and faster cooking speed.

Before we fix our glass board, we have to cut all the top covers of the box while only keeping one about two centimeters long.

After that, we have to fix our glass board on the top of the box and Voila!

Step 6: Make a collector

To increase the amount of sunlight the solar cooker gets, we need to increase the surface area of the cooker by making a collector.

This collector will collect sunlight and reflect it into the box, resulting in more heat, so you can cook faster and more efficiently, especially when sunlight is scarce.

To make our collector, bring a piece of the carton or cardboard with dimensions 470mm*350mm to be suitable for our box, then glue an aluminum foil on top of it.

After that, bend the collector to make wings and glue them to the top of the main cooker box.

Step 7: Test your DIY solar cooker

Your DIY cooking box is ready now all you have to do is to test it.

Simply put a glass of water inside the box and leave it outside in direct sunlight.

Within 10-30 minutes, your water should be hot enough to make tea.

Last Words

Finally, we demonstrated how to make a solar cooker using simple techniques and household items.

Hopefully, you found our quick guide useful, and if you have any questions, please ask them in the comments section below.

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A passionate solar energy engineer and environmentalist who loves to create content.