A couple uses a solar oven to cook food outside their van at their campsite

Solar ovens use the sun’s energy to cook food and have several benefits that make them a popular choice for cooking outdoors. They are 100% renewable and also very efficient. These ovens can reach up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit, so you can cook just about anything in them.

Moreover, solar cooking requires minimal effort—you set the oven up in the sun and let it do its job.  

Solar ovens also win on the portability front. You can take them with you when you go camping or hiking. They are also great for emergencies because you can use them for cooking food even if there is no power.

Solar ovens are overall an excellent appliance that will last for many years. But did you know that you can make one with a mirror at home? 

In this post, we will teach you how. 

But first, let’s discuss how solar ovens work. 

What Are Solar Ovens and How Do They Work?

A solar oven is a device that uses the power of the sun to cook food. The sun releases massive amounts of energy as electromagnetic radiation, which comprises visible light, infrared rays, and ultraviolet radiation.

When these infrared waves fall on our skin for prolonged periods, we feel a burning sensation and eventually get “sunburn.”

Now, think about what can happen if you concentrate these waves on one tiny space? 

One way to go about this is by using a magnifying glass. You could also use a mirror. 

Such is the idea behind a solar oven. 

Closeup of an arm stirring a pot cooking in a professional solar oven set up

Solar ovens work by trapping heat inside an insulated box, which is then used for cooking food. Some ovens have reflectors that help direct sunlight onto the food, while others use black pots and pans to absorb as much heat as possible.

However, transparent materials like glass are the most efficient at allowing radiation to pass through. Opaque objects will absorb light and convert it into thermal energy.

Regardless of the material used, solar ovens are becoming increasingly popular as people become more interested in finding ways to use renewable energy. They are a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and are fun to use.

You can cook meats in a solar oven and bake bread and desserts to perfection!

So, it makes total sense to make one with a mirror at home if you care for the environment and want to save money on purchasing an oven itself and the energy it will consume.

How to Make a Solar Oven With a Mirror: Step-by-Step Instructions

Making a solar oven with a mirror is a fun project that requires only a few simple supplies. For the DIY project, you will need a large mirror, a box, tinfoil, and tape.

  1. The first step is to line the inside of the box with tinfoil. It will help reflect the sunlight and make your oven more efficient.
  2. Once you have lined the box, set the mirror inside of it. Make sure that the mirror is facing up. Also, the size of the mirror matters here.
    Using a small mirror will focus all energy on a tiny spot, making it challenging to cook bigger food items. On the contrary, a larger mirror will collect more energy and work more efficiently.  
  3. Next, use the tape to secure the mirror in place.
  4. Now it’s time to test your oven! Set your solar oven in a sunny spot and place some food inside. We recommend starting with something simple like hot dogs or baked potatoes. Close the lid and let the sun do its work.
  5. After a few hours, you should have some delicious food entirely cooked by the sun’s power!
A pot in a solar oven on a table in backyard

Are Solar Ovens Worth It?

Making the switch to solar cooking can be a big decision. There are pros and cons to consider before making your final decision.

On the one hand, they have a lot of pros going for them, but there are some drawbacks as well. Let’s take a look at what these are.

Advantages of Using a Solar Oven

The biggest pro of solar ovens is that they are environmentally friendly. They do not require any electricity or gas to operate, which equals zero emissions.

Solar ovens also tend to be very cheap. The DIY oven we just discussed might not require you to get anything from the market if you already have the supplies at home. 

Another great thing about them is that they are silent and don’t produce any smoke, making them perfect for cooking outdoors. There is no need to worry about disturbing your neighbor with the noise of a traditional oven or stovetop. 

Plus, they’re lightweight and portable, meaning you can take them with you on camping trips or picnics. Lastly, solar cooking doesn’t require heavy, costly fuel, allowing you to save money in the long run. 

Disadvantages of Using a Solar Oven 

One big downside is that solar ovens only cook during the daytime—if you need to cook something after the sun goes down, you’re out of luck!  

They also tend to cook food more slowly than traditional methods, so they might not be ideal if you have less time up your sleeves or want to cook for a large group of people.

In addition, it can be tough to fit multiple pots and pans in a small model, so you’ll have to camp for more extended periods and plan your day around the cooking task. 

Ready to Make a Solar Oven With a Mirror at Home?

Sustainability is one of the most critical issues of our time. It’s something that we all need to be aware of and do our part to protect. 

One way to help promote sustainability is by using solar ovens. These ovens offer a fun way to cook food without contributing to climate change.

Unfortunately, when most people think of solar ovens, they think of the large, industrial-sized ovens used in developing countries to help cook food. But now you know how you can employ solar cooking at home using some simple materials! 

While the decision to make a solar oven at home ultimately comes down to your needs and preferences, we think you should try it if your area has decent weather and you like to cook outdoors occasionally.

It will give you a sense of naches and allow you to save plenty of money along the way!

Hopefully, you will face no trouble making one with a mirror at home using our instructions. Then, after getting the hang of solar cooking and enjoying your DIY mirror oven for a few months, you can start experimenting with other designs!

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