The 7 Best Solar Ovens of 2021

Harness the power of the sun to bake your next meal

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The Rundown
"The Haines 2.0 Solar Cooker and Dutch oven are the perfect duo for cooking up dinner under the sun."
"This super portable, lightweight solar oven bag is simple to set up and budget-friendly."
"Weighing in at just 2 pounds, this oven is ready to take along on any adventure."
"Are you looking for an extremely portable oven? The Sunflair Mini may be your perfect packable cooking aid."
"This sunny oven is large enough to cook a turkey, and doesn't limit the size of cookware."
"This rust-proof, anodized aluminum oven lets chefs bake, boil, or steam recipes."
"Thanks to a 150-watt heating element, it can be plugged in at night or on rainy days when there’s not enough sun."

Solar ovens are a hot commodity among homesteaders, tiny home dwellers, and those living the van life. But they’ve been around since 1767 when Swiss physicist Horace de Saussure invented the first one. They’re designed with reflective inner surfaces and lids to trap solar radiation. That means that they don’t require fossil fuels to cook, making them environmentally friendly. Solar cookers are also renewable energy solutions — especially in areas where electricity and gas are especially expensive or unavailable.

They’re also a safer option for camping than traditional fires and can be used in areas with wildfire burn restrictions. Many models are easily transported, making them an ideal addition to disaster-preparedness kits or camping gear.

Here are the best solar ovens on the market today:

Best Overall: Haines 2.0 Solar Cooker and Dutch Oven Kit

Haines 2.0 Solar Cooker and Dutch Oven Kit

The Haines 2.0 Solar Cooker and 4-quart Dutch oven are the perfect duo for cooking up dinner under the sun. The set allows a newbie chef to stew, boil, bake, or fry—even in cold weather.

The petal-shaped reflectors are adjustable to follow the sun and help heat all sides of the pot more quickly and efficiently. It can reach up to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s color-coded for easy assembly, sturdy enough for day-to-day use, and portable enough to take on a camping adventure.

Best Budget: Jwn Green Portable Solar Oven Bag

Jwn Green Portable Solar Oven Bag

This super portable, lightweight solar oven bag is simple to set up. There are no extras included, which makes it budget-friendly. Simply unroll the bag, and you’ll find an oven with a decent-sized cooking area of about 17 x 16 inches.

Its temperature range is modest (up to 250 degrees Fahrenheit), but that doesn’t limit its functionality. The insulating plastic shell makes the bag durable enough to tote along on camping trips.

Best for Camping: GoSun Portable Solar Oven

GoSun Portable Solar Oven

When you’ve had a long day of biking or backpacking, you may not want to spend a lot of time at camp cooking. The GoSun Go Ultra evacuated glass tube solar oven can cook a meal in as little as 20 minutes and heats to 550 degrees Fahrenheit in full sunlight. Hitting dusk or sitting under cloudy skies? If you can see a defined shadow, you can fire it up.

The cooking kit is complete with a stainless-steel cooking tray, silicone cooking pan, stabilizer stand, and cleaning brush. Weighing in at just 2 pounds, it’s ready to take along on any adventure in any season.

Cooking with Silicone

A number of solar ovens come with silicone cooking accessories. We encourage cooks to be cautious about using silicone in direct contact with food at high temperatures because some research suggests silicone may leach chemicals into foods.

Best Mini: Sunflair Mini Portable Solar Oven

Sunflair Mini Portable Solar Oven

Are you looking for an extremely portable oven? The Sunflair Mini may be your perfect packable cooking aid. It folds down to the size of a three-ring binder and is designed to protect the fragile inner section.

It’s not the hottest option, only reaching 285 degrees Fahrenheit. Yet it can boil water, heat soup, and cook meat for safe consumption. It comes with a number of helpful accessories, including a solar oven thermometer, trivet, collapsible silicone pot, and bag. The entire kit weighs in at 0.751 pounds. Use the cookbook to learn best practices and become a solar chef in no time.

Best Large Capacity: SolCook All Season Solar Cooker

SolCook All Season Solar Cooker

The 17 x 12 inch “Camper” is the newer, larger version of SolCook’s popular solar oven. It’s large enough to cook a turkey. This panel-style design doesn’t limit the dimensions of the cookware you can use. The flaps also allow it to be folded for compact storage or travel.

The small wooden “sunsight” device guides you in setting up the oven at the most beneficial angle to capture and absorb the sun’s rays.

Best Splurge: Sun Oven All American Sun Oven

Sun Ovens All American Sun Oven

Marketed as “the ultimate solar appliance,” this rust-proof, anodized aluminum oven lets solar chefs bake, boil, or steam their favorite recipes. It's capable of reaching a temperature of 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

The oven is sturdy enough to use at a backyard cookout and light enough (23 pounds) to take along to the next family holiday gathering. Accessories include a thermometer, leveling leg, and cookbook to inspire your solar cooking creativity.

Best Hybrid: GoSun Fusion Hybrid Solar Oven

GoSun Fusion Solar Oven

The Fusion is the first solar-electric hybrid solar oven. Thanks to a 150-watt heating element, it can be plugged in at night or on rainy days when there’s not enough sun to heat the oven.

The electric mode is powered by a 12-volt power source, which uses the equivalent power draw of an incandescent light bulb. It also has a larger capacity than many other options and can feed up to six people. Since it could also reach up to 550 degrees Fahrenheit, it cooks meals more quickly than other options. You can fry, steam, bake, and roast in it.

Final Verdict

The Haines 2.0 Solar Cooker and Dutch Oven (view on Amazon) is a great set for those looking for a portable, easy-to-use, all-in-one option. The Sunflair Mini Portable Solar Oven (view on Amazon) is an excellent lightweight model for trailblazing backpackers.

What to Look for When Shopping for a Solar Oven

There are three basic styles of solar ovens. Choose one based on what and how much you want to cook, where you want to use it, and how fast you need to prepare food. Most solar ovens are affordable, but durability is also a good consideration as some models are made with better and potentially more expensive materials.

Box ovens tend to have the largest cooking area. That makes them ideal for preparing large amounts of food at a time.

Panel ovens are ideal for travelers as they tend to be lightweight, but maximum temperatures tend to be lower.

Parabolic ovens concentrate heat on a single area to quickly reach high temperatures, but they also require adjustments to follow the sun’s position in the sky.

FAQs

Why would I use a solar oven? 

Solar ovens are an energy-efficient and eco-friendly solution for cooking food. You can use them in lieu of starting a campfire for cooking or during a power outage.

What are the pros? 

Beyond the sun, no additional fuel sources are necessary to run a solar oven. They are extremely safe. They’re also low maintenance, so your investment will be long-lasting.

What are the cons? 

Solar cookers can’t be used effectively on cloudy days or at night, so you might need a backup stove option. They can also be trickier to use in cold temperatures.

Where do I find recipes? 

Many solar cooker manufacturers publish recipes online or include printed recipes with their products, along with cooking tips such as prepping smaller pieces of food so they cook more quickly. There are also some websites dedicated to solar cooker recipes.

Are accessories included? 

Some ovens come with complete kits, and some don’t. If you are new to solar cooking, you might benefit from an option that comes with pots, pans, racks, and utensils.

Can I make my own? 

A basic solar oven can be constructed using as little as a cardboard box and some foil. However, if you're more ambitious and don't mind doing a little wiring, check out Treehugger’s tutorial for making a solar oven with automatic sun tracking.

Why Trust Treehugger?

Treehugger is committed to helping our readers transition away from fossil fuels.

Being a travel and adventure writer for many years, author Heidi Wachter knows how handy the sun’s rays can be for cooking up delicious meals without worrying about matches and firewood or packing non-recyclable fuel canisters.