Introduction: Dashboard Baking

Picture of Dashboard Baking

On a hot summer day, can you bake on the dashboard of your car? Yes, you can!!

With the car doors and windows shut, and the summer sun shining, the car can act like an oven. During a particularly hot afternoon while I was travelling in Texas I thought I'd give this idea a try. I've experimented with cooking in cars before with the car-b-que, cooking savory dinner on the engine manifold and muffler, and now I've successfully made tasty desserts on the hot dashboard!

Making dashboard cookies is actually very easy, needing only to cook the egg in the cookie dough mix to be safe to eat. According to

It is important to cook eggs thoroughly to destroy bacteria... For eggs, the white will coagulate (set) between 144 and 149° F, the yolk between 149 and 158° F, and whole egg between 144 and 158° F.

With temperatures reaching 107°F (41°C) outside, I knew the dashboard of my rental car would be hotter, and be perfect to make freshly baked goodies while I was seeking shelter somewhere there was air conditioning (and possibly a frosty beverage).

Let's bake!

Step 1: Supplies

Picture of Supplies
  • summer heat like the fire of a thousand suns (or, Texas in summer)
  • non-stick cookie sheets
  • parchment paper
  • spatula
  • thermometer
  • packaged cookie dough

Step 2: Lay Out Cookies

Picture of Lay Out Cookies

Even though you've got a non-stick cookie sheet I find it's easiest to line it with parchment paper. Cookie removal and cleanup is much easier.

Lay out cookie dough onto parchment lined sheet, allowing space between cookies for them to expand when cooking.

Step 3: Place on Dashboard

Picture of Place on Dashboard

The car I used had a large dashboard with plenty of sunlight coming through the windshield. Your car may vary. Find a place where you get the most sunlight in your car, and that has a level surface. If you have a slanted surface (or if you are parked on a slope) your cookies can slide on the parchment and become squished, and squished cookies are no good.

Make sure to place your thermometer pointing outwards to you can monitor the internal temperature of the car from outside.

Step 4: Preheat Oven

Picture of Preheat Oven

Inside a closed car temperatures can get very hot, my temperature readings were between 150-160°F (65-71°C).

Knowing that egg whites coagulate at 144-149°F, our dashboard baking oven is at the perfect temperature.

Step 5: Bake

Picture of Bake

Shut the doors and let the sun do its work. Despite the temptation, do not open the car! Opening the doors will let heat escape and cool your car, meaning it will take longer for your cookies to bake.

Peek through the windshield and monitor the cooking process. After an hour of baking the cookies looked all mushy, just like in a regular oven!

Step 6: Cookie Time!

Picture of Cookie Time!

After about 2.5 hours I hopped into the car and checked the cookies...success!

With the air conditioning cranked, I let the cookies cool for a few minutes then gobbled them down. Yum!

Step 7: Bonus: Dashboard S'mores

Picture of Bonus: Dashboard S'mores

Still buzzing from the cookie success, I wondered what else would be fun to make on my dashboard oven. S'mores, of course!

Using the same baking sheets and parchment paper, I arranged graham crackers with dark chocolate and marshmallows.

Step 8: Encase With Second Cookie Sheet

Picture of Encase With Second Cookie Sheet

Because I had extra fluffy marshmallows the graham cracker top didn't want to stay on, so I used a second cookie sheet flipped over to squish the s'mores together and keep everything in place.

Step 9: Bake

Picture of Bake

Since there's nothing that needs to cook, we're really just melting the chocolate and marshmallows. With the dashboard at about 150°F (65°C) this took less than 10 minutes.

Covering my hands with a shirt to protect from the hot cookie sheet, I pulled the s'mores from the dashboard and opened up the enclosure. Perfect, gooey s'mores!

Step 10: Be a Cookie Monster

Picture of Be a Cookie Monster

When you come back to your car you'll have tasty treats ready to go!

If you're feeling generous you might want to share, but that's up to you.


ava.rice (author)2017-02-06


h23maaion (author)2016-12-06

OMG, Great idea! I GOTTA try the smores one! I live in Hawaii, and it get's pretty hot in the summertime on the Big Island!

Amaries (author)2016-07-14

Soooo pity, I live in Sweden. Good idea!

Mr. Grumpus (author)2016-07-12

Double win.

1. I don't need an air freshener anymore.

2. I have treats waiting for me after work.

mikeasaurus (author)Mr. Grumpus2016-07-13

3. Make your parking neighbors jealous :)

Mr. Grumpus (author)mikeasaurus2016-07-13

Yep...I see it now..."I don't care what your Shiny Landrover emails you when your oil is low; my Chevy bakes me cookies. The Law of The Interwebs says I win."

PiguCoupon (author)2016-07-09

I live in Dallas and I am gonna try it! I would probably preheat the cookie sheet on the hood, then put it on the dash.

lgarrison5 (author)2016-06-14

SWEET!!!!!!!!! Gotta try it this summer (if my mom wont kill mr if I do it lol.)

lgarrison5 (author)lgarrison52016-06-14

whoops! *me

crissyisaboss (author)2015-09-06

does it have 2 be packaged cookies?

I think any cookie dough would work. Just make sure the dough is really cold before you start so it holds its shape while you're preparing the trays. Good luck!

Don_M_Weaver_II (author)2014-10-23

That is so cool. I mean hot. I mean cool. I donno what I mean! Am hungry!

thecapper (author)2014-07-28

I'm inspired by the idea--and the shirt! Good job, Mike.

melliott11 (author)2014-07-26

I love this idea. I am sure it makes the car smell incredible. I would park in a secure location....petty thieves might be unable to resist freshly baked cookies. Can you imagine the police report?

DIYbabe (author)2014-07-25

Love this! Yummy.

bizzycrafter (author)2014-07-25

Look fantastic!! Wouldn't be very good where we live, but we can make frozen fruity-drinks in the car 7 months a year!!

revdrmarsh (author)2014-07-25

Also being a Texas resident, I have made dashboard cookies a couple of times. They never really get brown, but when you let them cool off, they are no longer soft and become just a bit crunchy/hard! And you don't have to use the energy to heat the oven.

pfunk237 (author)2014-07-25

If only you could do this with BACON!!!

Jessie Marie (author)2014-07-25

What a fun idea! I'll have to try this!!

steinie44 (author)2014-07-25

And this my friends, is why you don't leave kids or pets in a car!

mommyhen42 (author)2014-07-25

Several years ago I wrote an article titled "How to bake cookies in your car" that has since been rewritten many times over by others, it was designed to point out just how hot the inside of a car can get and that you should never leave pets or children inside a car alone on a hot day.

Your article is well done, and I am glad to see someone else writing the same way about a serious subject such as inside car temperatures on hot summer days.

Good Work

ezreen.fazlinda (author)2014-07-24


Zclip (author)2014-07-24

Brilliant!!! I was born & raised in Central Texas, and have often bought extra food at breakfast and used the dash on a hot day to keep it hot (or warm if it's sunny in winter) but it just never occurred to me to actually bake on the dash. Now it just sounds like it should be intuitively obvious to even the most casual of observers. *Palm-Forehead* Thanks for the "wake-up"!

elicitone (author)2014-07-24

Just dropped a batch in 30 min ago... Time will tell. :) The car is already up over 198 degrees!

elicitone (author)elicitone2014-07-24

My little Miata Oven lol

nixiadel (author)elicitone2014-07-24

here's an idea. If you have a dutch oven ( they are black and cast iron) load it with veg and some soup stock. Get a cheep picture frame (one with real glass not plastic...) take out the glass, lay it flat on the filled pot. Cook a nice veggie stew. I'd put a pot holder under it just to make sure it's doesn't damage the dash if it gets really hot. The same can be done with any casserole that has pre cooked meat so long as it's hot enough. You just turn your whole car into a solar oven.

CobyUnger (author)elicitone2014-07-24


elicitone (author)CobyUnger2014-07-24

Thanks.. they came out great... Might have to make another batch tomorrow.... better than running the oven at 375 degrees when the AC is giving all its got to keep the house cool... lol

elicitone made it! (author)2014-07-24

With about 104 degree temps, my car got to a max temp of 198 degrees... and sugar cookies coulnd't have turned out better... Thin crunchy outer layer... Soft but not doughy centers, and not the slightest bit burnt... gotta love it

Thanks for the Afternoon snack!!!!!

willowspain (author)2014-07-24

use toothpicks to hold s;mores together...

BrianJewett (author)2014-07-24

BTW, using parchment or aluminum foil actually dramatically reduces the amount of solar heat collected because the light color and reflective surface actually bounce the radiation back out through the windshield. Dark colors will absorb the radiation and convert it into heat which then does not pass back through the glass. With a nice older darkly patinated baking sheet you won't need 107° temps to bake cookies.

mikeasaurus (author)BrianJewett2014-07-24

We actually did a few batches using different methods. Lined and unlined pans, covered and uncovered with foil, and even some outside the car. Somehow the uncovered, parchment lined cookies inside the car came out the best.

The science is sound, but the results were different. I can't explain it, so I just showed the process that worked best for me.

Novina (author)mikeasaurus2014-07-24

I can tell you why from the cooking perspective. When you cover something in the oven, the steam traps back to the food. So it's really more "steaming" than baking. Why baking should be done uncovered.

tankapotamus (author)Novina2014-07-24

They were talking about foil or parchment lining the pan, not covering it.

BrianJewett (author)mikeasaurus2014-07-24

I'm sure the results do mesh with the science somehow. I'm sure the 107° temps had something to do with it. Did you get any burned cookies? I'm curious how the bare pan cookies came out compared to the parchment batch. I'll never see 107° here in Vermont. ;-)

Novina (author)2014-07-24

Not hot enough here. If I ever go anywhere near Texas or the Saudi, I'll give it a try. ;p

tankapotamus (author)Novina2014-07-24

It's hot enough here in Michigan!

kbc2 (author)2014-07-22

this is AWESOME!!!! I have done many engine block cooking.... steaks, taters, chicken (caught fire), and warmed many MREs, but never thought about sweet stuff.

mikeasaurus (author)kbc22014-07-24

Maybe a steak on the manifold and a few cookies on the dashboard...dinner and dessert!

I was born and raised in Texas and I can attest to this idea working very well I bet! FUN instructable!

Thanks! It was a really hot trip there :)

Aaron Porterfield (author)2014-07-23

Also works with frozen burritos!

Ooh, good idea!

BrianJewett (author)2014-07-24

Wrong! Squished cookies are the best! Since they look damaged, you don't really want to share them and can eat them all yourself! ;-)

mikeasaurus (author)BrianJewett2014-07-24


Snazzy_Girl_2003 (author)2014-07-23


.Jak (author)2014-07-23

They actually had a small segment on the news about baking cookies in summer hot cars.You`re famous!

Ciege666 (author)2014-07-23

You should test if you can increase the heat by placing a sun reflector behind the dash to the top of the windshield, use the sun blockers at the top to hold it in place.

gravityisweak (author)2014-07-23

Or you could call this one "Best car air freshener ever"

sandroknexmaster (author)2014-07-23

Omnomnom :p

About This Instructable




Bio: I'm Mike and I make crazy things at Instructables HQ in San Francisco. Follow me and try a few of my projects for yourself!
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