There are so many reasons to use a sun oven. It’s great for camping, off-the-grid living, and being more eco-friendly in daily activities. We wanted to try a top-rated solar oven and chose All-American Sun Oven, arguably the best solar cooker today. It’s easy, portable and convenient to use. We absolutely love it. Here’s our All American Sun Oven review.
All American Sun Oven review ~ Dehydrating and Preparedness Accessory Package
This sun oven is a one and done type of product: You buy it and that’s it. You don’t need to buy anything else to use it.
We have been using the All American Sun Oven with Dehydrating and Preparedness Accessory Package. This is the deluxe model and comes with everything you need to cook and bake. Here’s what’s included:
- All American Sun Oven
- Two 3-quart pots which stack; one glass lid and one enamel lid
- Two Baker’s Secret loaf pans for bread, cake, meatloaf, etc.
- Multi-level dehydrating & baking rack set (3 racks)
- Earth-friendly parchment paper (70 square feet)
- Water pasteurizing indicator
- Two stakes to keep it mounted in the wind
- CD with recipes, instructions, tips, etc.
All American Sun Oven ships their sun ovens for free in the contiguous US, which is fantastic.
This sun oven is a unique product and one that is practical and fun to use too. All you need is the energy from the sun.
Where can I use a solar oven?
You can use a sun oven anywhere you have access to sun.
- Out and about: Camping, boating, picnics
- At home: Use for recreation, off-the-grid living, when power is out, to be more eco-friendly, to keep kitchen cool in the summer; fun with family
- Educational events: school, scouts, science and STEM activities
All American Sun Oven review – the advantages
There are many benefits and advantages of using the All American Sun Oven. Here’s what we like about it:
- Boil, bake, steam, dehydrate, and slow cook in it
- Cook meat, casseroles, vegetables, desserts, breads, rice and more
- Reaches temperatures between 360 – 400 degrees fahrenheit
- Easy to set up and put away
- Safe to use — just need oven mitts
- Portable and easy to store
- Folds easily
- Easy to carry with the handle
- 22 pounds
- Can be used anywhere
- Glass door so you can see into the oven without opening it
- You don’t need to use your conventional gas or electric oven and heat up your kitchen on hot days
- Eco-friendly using solar power
- Boil or pasteurize water (Guide to Berkey Water Filter)
- Can use when there is a fire ban
- You won’t burn or overcook your food
- You can cook more than one thing at a time with the racks
- No danger of fire
- Wind resistant: contains ground stakes and alignment legs
It’s made in America
The All American Sun Oven is made in America with all of the component parts also made in the USA (except for the thermometer).
How much sun do you need to use a sun oven?
The sun oven works best on clear and sunny days. A bit of cloud cover will slow down the cooking but doesn’t stop the cooking. You can use this whenever you have sun.
How do you know if the sun oven is positioned correctly in the sun?
There are two sun tracker indicators on the sun oven. They aren’t electronic; you simply look through the top opening/hole to make sure there is a round dot centered over the bottom hole.
In addition to placing your sun oven in the proper sunlight, you can further modify it by using the built-in alignment leg on the back of the oven. You can easily adjust it, raising it up or down to maximize sun exposure.
What if I’m not home to turn the sun oven toward the sun?
You can set your food in sun oven in the morning and head to work without worrying. It works like a crock pot in that way. Simply focus your sun oven for the mid-day sun, and it will cook while you are gone, keeping the food warm for when you are ready to eat.
How fast does the sun oven heat up?
Like a conventional oven, you should preheat the sun oven before cooking your food. In strong sun, the oven will typically reach 300 degrees in about 20 minutes.
How long does it take to cook in a sun oven?
It takes about the same amount of time to cook something in the sun oven, assuming your oven was preheated and in the full sun for the duration of the cooking. Add 15 minutes to the cooking time whenever you open the glass door. What’s great is that you can leave the food in longer and not worry about it drying out or burning.
How do I clean the sun oven?
Cleaning a new sun oven
When you first get the sun oven, you need to set three cups of vinegar in a bowl and leave it in the sun oven for 90 minutes. Then wipe down the inside of the oven with the (hot) vinegar, being sure to wipe the sides and the glass door.
Ongoing cleaning for sun oven
The All American Sun Oven is easy to care for. Simply wipe the interior with a dry cloth, eliminating any moisture from the oven. Occasionally, you need to wipe the reflector material and glass to keep it clean so the oven will heat properly. When you store it, do not latch the door closed.
Why is it better to cook in a sun oven?
We love that you can use it anywhere and it’s environmentally-friendly. Here’s what else is unique about using the All American Sun Oven.
Foods won’t burn or overcook
You won’t need to stir the foods after they are put in the solar oven. Also, they won’t burn or dry out like with conventional ovens.
Foods stay moist
Foods retain their natural flavors, without baking out. There is less shrinkage as well.
Less liquid required
When cooked in covered pans, recipes will use less water than in a conventional oven. This will be true for sauces, rices and stews. (For baking, follow the usual directions with liquids.)
At just 22 pounds, the All American Sun Oven folds up easily. It’s easy to carry with the handle. There is a easy-to-use strap which secures the reflectors. For all it does, it is fairly small which makes it easy to travel with and easy to store.
Sun Oven measurements
Closed: 22″ x 19.5″ x 13.5″ (at it’s highest point)
Open: 29″ x 29″ x 28″ (at its highest point)
Before you use the All American Sun Oven
You will be excited to use your sun oven as soon as you get it, but reserve some time to clean everything first. Here’s what you need to do.
- Once you take everything out of the box. Place your All American Sun Oven in the shade and take your time taking the plastic off the reflectors. Be careful to get it all off, especially around the screws. It took about five minutes for me to get all the plastic off.
- Use a screwdriver to loosen the latches so you will be able to seal the oven door.
- Place your sun oven in full sun, making sure to check the indicators for proper alignment.
- Put three cups of vinegar in an open bowl in the sun oven. Latch the door.
- Leave the vinegar for 90 minutes to clean the oven.
- Wash out the pots, racks, and pans it comes with.
- After 90 minutes, use oven mitts to remove the vinegar. Take a towel and use the hot vinegar to wipe down the inside of the oven, including the glass from the inside.
Tips for using the sun oven
- Be sure to wear sunglasses at all times. The sun oven’s reflectors will be magnifying the sun. It will be intense.
- Always use oven mitts when cooking or baking in the sun oven. I have and love these, and they worked great with the sun oven.
- Always preheat the sun oven before use.
- Plan ahead and have the solar oven in full sun to maximize cooking time if you will be in a rush to eat.
- Use lightweight black or dark colored pans for best results. If you need a lid, using Pyrex works the best.
- Be sure to use the leveling rack; don’t set pots and pans on the oven floor.
- Know that some food may take longer to cook than usual if there is cloud cover or if the sun oven isn’t aligned to get full sun.
- Latch the glass oven door in both places.
- When you open the oven door, you need to add 10 – 15 minutes to the cook time.
Solar cooking recipes
If you go to their website, you can find lots of recipes to cook and bake your favorite foods.
Cooking and baking in the All American Sun Oven
We were excited to try out this solar oven. It was easy and fun to use. We used it in our backyard and at a picnic (to show our family and friends) at a nearby park. Everything we made turned out very well. So far, we made the following, in this order:
- Chicken with vegetables
- Hot dogs
- Casserole with potatoes, cheese, onions, sausage, milk
Baking brownies in the sun oven
The first thing we tried was the brownies. I used a glass pan even though the directions explained to use the darker pan — I read this afterwards — but they still turned out wonderfully.
My son said the brownies were “the best he’s tasted in his life,” even though we always buy the exact same mix! I do agree that they did taste MUCH better in the sun oven. They were moist and baked perfectly through. I baked them in an 8″ x 8″ pan which was great for thick brownies. If I owned a 9″ x 9″ I would have used that instead though, just personal preference.
Making rice in the sun oven
I was trying to think of something easy to bring on a camping trip so I decided on rice; however, I did make it in my backyard.
The All American Sun Oven comes with two 3-quart pots so I put the rice in one of them. I choose the glass lid so I could see right through the oven door and into the food to check on it.
Per the sun oven’s directions, when using liquids for cooking, you need to cut the liquids down by a third, which I did. Even though the rice directions said to boil the water and then add the rice, I put them both in together. I checked on the rice after an hour and 15 minutes; I’m sure it was done much sooner though. The rice cooked perfectly and tasted great. It didn’t stick to the pot, and it didn’t burn or overcook.
Making chicken and vegetables in the sun oven
The third time we used the sun oven, we used it to make chicken with potatoes, onions and carrots for dinner. I put it in the 3-quart pot with the glass lid. I put a little bit of olive oil and water on the bottom out of habit. Next time I won’t add water as the sun oven won’t dry out foods.
I used frozen chicken. This time I set the food in the sun oven at 1pm and checked on it at 6pm in time for dinner. The vegetables cooked well and had a nice consistency. They were done but not overcooked. The chicken was cooked through and tender and not at all dried out like what often happens in the stove.
ADVANTAGES: I loved being able to leave the food and not having to check on like I do when cooking in my oven. It was also nice to put it in the sun oven and then take it out when we were ready to eat without having to reheat it for dinner.
Cooking hot dogs in the sun oven
We brought the sun oven to a gathering at a park to see what it was like to use it somewhere other than our house. First of all, it was the talk of the party. All the adults and children were interested in it and talked about it. The “sun oven talk” also lead to other ways people were trying to be eco-conscious and also talks about camping and other trips. We were glad we brought it because the sun oven was a huge hit!
It was important that we were able to cook a lot of hot dogs at once so we used the multi-level baking racks. We let the sun oven preheat which took about 18 minutes on the hot day. We put the hot dogs on the bottom and middle racks then lowered it into the oven. Once it was in place, we put more hot dogs on the top rack. We let them cook for about 20 minutes. They were precooked so we could have taken them out sooner probably but because we cooked so many at once, we thought it was better to leave them in longer. The hot dogs turned out great. Everyone enjoyed them; even a few kids tried them who usually don’t eat hot dogs.
We cleaned the bottom of the sun oven with paper towels and water. The next time we would probably line the bottom of the racks with the parchment baking paper but we forgot to bring it.
Cooking potato and egg casserole in the sun oven
Another day, I successfully made a casserole with potatoes, eggs, onions, milk, cheese and sausage. I used the small, frozen link sausages and put them in a casserole dish in the sun oven frozen. It would have been interesting to see how fast this would have taken to cook; however, I put in the sun oven around 10am in the morning and checked on it when I arrived home at 5:15pm.
I usually make this casserole in my 13″ x 9″ pan in my conventional oven. I knew it wouldn’t fit in my sun oven so instead I put it in my 11″ x 8.5″ x 2″ oval-ish Corning Ware dish without the lid. If I needed it cooked faster, I would have used the lid.
The sun oven kept the casserole warm so we were able to take the food out and eat it for dinner. It wasn’t overcooked; it was perfect! I would never leave my stove on all day, so it was nice to be able to start this in the morning and come back to a cooked meal. I use my crock pot to do this for meats and stews but have never used it for a casserole so I really enjoyed making this in my sun oven.
Each time you use the sun oven, be sure to preheat it first. There are so many more things I want to try in this sun oven. We are going to try making bread and then pizza next.
All American Sun Oven review
We choose to review Sun Oven International’s All American Sun Oven because they are at the forefront of solar cooking. They are making it possible for people to become more self-sufficient without relying on electricity. Harness the energy of direct sunlight for cooking, boiling and steaming food and drinks.
They ship for free too!
We always choose to support practical and environmentally-friendly ways of living which made us excited to use the sun oven. Cooking with a sun oven is a viable alternative to cooking with charcoal and wood. Solar cooking also helps minimize our reliance and dependence on fossil fuels and electricity. The All American Sun Oven has a very low carbon footprint.
We are excited to take this sun oven when we go camping with our Cub Scout pack, and we also plan to bring it to my children’s school’s Earth Day celebration. Whether you love cooking and baking or you think of it only as a necessity, you will enjoy using the All American Sun Oven.