Picture of Hot Dog Cooker / Solar Oven

This Hot Dog Cooker / Solar Oven is simple and easy to make. We have had it reach temperatures over 170 degrees Fahrenheit on a cloudless 80 degree day. Today is a pretty cloudy low 80s day and the oven still was over 115 degrees.

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Step 1: Materials

Picture of Materials


  1. Pringles can or other cylindrical container.
  2. Sharp knife, make sure you can handle a sharp object or ask for help. Kids - ask a responsible adult for help.
  3. Straight edge, we used a cut piece of aluminum laying around but a ruler would be good.
  4. Sharpie marker or other marking pen.
  5. Skewer
  6. Hot Glue
  7. Drill / Drill Bit


Magnet, Plastic Wrap, Tape

Step 2: Procedure

Picture of Procedure

Empty contents. Fat Cat had no problem eating the chips in our cans to "help" us out.

Using a straight edge draw a rectangle on the side of the can. We used this side because there were lines already.

Use your knife to cut the rectangle out. Save this piece for later.

Using your skewer, poke a hole through the plastic lid.

Take skewer out and put plastic lid on to bottom of can.

Mark can where hole should go on the bottom of the can.

Drill hole with drill in bottom of can.

Put skewer through the lid, the center of can, and the bottom hole.

Step 3: Stand

Picture of Stand

Use the rectangle piece we cut out to make a stand. This will help keep the oven from flipping over.

Take the scrap piece and run a bead of hot glue along the center of the piece. Do not put on the shiny side.

Place the scap piece to the can. Try to make sure that when the solar oven is set down that it will be angled at the sun and not straight up or straight forward. We eyeballed it.

If you want to be exact, use a protractor to determine angle. Different parts of the world get different angles of sunlight and an oven angled properly will get more direct sunlight into the oven causing higher temps.

The stand also allows for different angles. Just rotate the can on its side. Experiment with it and you will see.

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brandt e6 months ago

It heats up great! I used magnets for an adjustable base.

brandt e brandt e6 months ago

it only got to about 130ºF but I think it can get hotter. I got it so clear by stretching it out with tape

Cats Science Club (author)  brandt e6 months ago

Thanks for making and posting!!

How hot did yours get? How did you get your plastic so clear? That is how it should be. Great idea with the magnet!

Isn't the heat somewhat bad for the magnets? Just wondering.

You'd have to get them a LOT hotter to hit the Curie point of the magnet to ruin it. :)

nissan07126 months ago

nice to see that my idea in Boy Scouts bout 25 years ago is still out there. I made this same thing back in Boy Scouts for a project. haha. nice. I didnt take pics back then though. Too bad i didnt.

Cats Science Club (author)  nissan07126 months ago

Do you still have the can? ;-) That would be pretty cool to see the old cans.

How does this work and why does it work?

Also how hot dose this have to be to cook?

i seriously wish i did. back then i never thought of videoing or taking pics of everything i made or came up with. not like today when 9 out of 10 people are bloggers for food, cars, gardening, etc. hahaha.
i still believe i came up with the donut hamburger first. i created mine in 1984. the official one came out in like 2004. the LUTHER BURGER. cause it was made for luther vandross at a baseball stadium. and BATTLESHOTS. battleship with shot glasses. i made my first game back in HS in wood shop. still got the original ships somewhere.

Cool, Awesome, nice

Gregory Grookett thanks this is very cool I would have never thought of doing this but I think this coming summer I'm going to have to try it I'm in the winter months here in the USA.

I gregory grookett have also started following you hopefully you can do the same I am new to this site. Thanks again for the awesome post I'm going to share it sincerely your new follower gregory grookett.
ijtw694 months ago

I tried this and came up with another method. Instead of plastic, I cut the top and bottom off of a 2 liter bottle. Cut it along it's length, so you can re-roll it to fit inside the can. I also cut the Pringles Can opening about 1/2 inch smaller the the length of the plastic. This give it a 1/4 inch overlap on each side. I also cut the Pringles Can opening wider. A little over have the width of the can and used the two flaps as reflectors. For storage, I use two rubber bands to get the flaps closed and to secure the skewer. That way I can still have chips with my hotdogs!!

Cats Science Club (author)  ijtw693 months ago
Great idea! Thanks for sharing!!
omikeo6 months ago

yes excellent job, if you could paint the outside black(something non-toxic I hope) - I think it would help with the heating up.

domdomegg omikeo4 months ago

The problem with coating it with black is that black matte surfaces both absorb and emit more than shiny surfaces. As it is hotter inside the solar oven, the best thing you could do would to have a vacuum container and a shiny surface on the outside (just one would be good). This is mainly the principle of a vacuum flask :)

Cats Science Club (author)  omikeo6 months ago

Painting it black is a great idea. We suggest painting the whole thing black before cutting into it. Thanks for pointing that out.

yw, this is really one of the best things(a simple useful upcycle, (well kinda like my visors-shameless plug(but who wants to squint while their hotdog cooks))) i've seen up here. with slight improvements I think it could be ready for prime time. If you can do an ear of corn let me know. Haven't I heard there's a firewood(for cooking, well heat too but every little bit helps) shortage in some rather hot places - let's donate pringle ovens. I guess you lose a little charm with black paint but we get to eat sooner - always trade offs, gl, mike
rwalton44 months ago

How about upsizing it with a round oatmeal box, paint the outside black, inside lined with aluminum foil or cut up one of those dollar store car window sun shields which has the added advantage of an insulated backing. At some point though it might become too efficient and the cardboard could become a fire risk.

The problem with coating it with black is that black matte surfaces both absorb *and reflect* more than shiny surfaces. As it is hotter inside the solar oven, the best thing you could do would to have a vacuum container and a shiny surface on the outside (just one would be good). This is mainly the principle of a vacuum flask :)

nodcah made it!5 months ago

S'mores anyone?

Cats Science Club (author)  nodcah4 months ago

Very Cool!! Did you put foil on the lid side? To keep heat in? Where did you put the chocolate? Your pics made us all smile and got us hungry for s'mores!

Awesome! I threw away the metal seal that came with it, so I improvised and used tin foil to keep the heat in instead. XD
The chocolate just melted because the marshmallows got super hot!
scottdave5 months ago

Looks like a fun and fairly easy project.

Klappstuhl6 months ago

Dunno about using plastic parts (lid, foil), but I could probably try to swap the Pringles can for an Aluminium Cylinder and cut a glass window out of a bottle or Mason jar...

Good idea you have there, gets me thinking. I'll see if I get similiar results with my version. Favorited!

Cats Science Club (author)  Klappstuhl6 months ago

So, have you got around to making yours? Looking forward to seeing it!

Haven't yet, but I'll have to use something else for the Aluminium as well, apparently it can cause Alzheimers in contact with food.

stubbsonic5 months ago

One possible mod would be to NOT remove that rectangle but instead shape the flaps into more of a parabolic lens.

The pringles container might have a plastic coating which might not be good to heat up. Another mod would be to line it with shinier foil which would take care of that issue and might increase the reflection more.

For sealing the oven (the clear "oven door") rather than using plastic wrap, one could save the over-wrap from a micro-wave meal. Those plastics are designed for high heat situations.

The bigger the lens, and the more accurately if focuses light, the better the results. So the pringles can won't work as well as a larger can.

I'm not a meat eater, but if I was in a situation where I was trying to cook some dead animal, I'd want enough heat to make it safe to eat.

johnpointer715 months ago
Hey I know everybody else is making hot dogs but I'm gonna show you guys how to make a BONG out of a Pringles can
atomiclizard6 months ago

Kudos for a great Instructable, I can't wait to try this with my 5-year old! And Double-Kudos for causing such a heated debate on snack food health. It was just as enjoyable reading the comments as it was reading your instructions. ;)

Bill WW6 months ago

Very nicely done, I love it.

Who would have guessed that this could become a political issue.

Cats Science Club (author)  Bill WW6 months ago

Thank you!

I know, who would have thought?

One word: GENIUS!!! :P

Thank you!

synthola6 months ago

If you wet the can with charcoal starter and set it on fire as the hotdog is completing its warming stage, you can impart a nice chargrilled texture to this delectable dog. Nothing like searing to keep the juices in.


Just a thought- if you split two can cozy insulators and wrapped them around the pringles can but not over the opening it would hold in the heat and probably cook even faster. I insulated the side walls of my solar oven design and got a 25% increase in heating speed and temperature.

DTOM_Bear6 months ago

Suggestion: Rather than cutting out the rectangular section, cut
flaps that open like the cargo bay doors on the shuttle. Properly
positioned, that will give you greater light collection area, which
translates to higher heat.

Cats Science Club (author)  DTOM_Bear6 months ago

Thanks for the suggestion. How big do you think the opening should be?

To keep the cooker sturdy, I'd say not to open it up more than about halfway.

But to improve cooking even more (for instance, I live fairly far north, and would need all the sun I could get), you could open it up so that there is a 1 or 2 inch strip left connecting the can ends. Shape the flaps into a parabola with the focus on the hotdog skewer.

This should give you an idea what I mean:

Either way, the idea is to get as much light area as you can cover with the plastic wrap.

Agreed. It would be harder to seal but probably more efficient even unsealed if you could get the parabolic shape right. Alternately, just enlarging the opening to 180 degrees would increase the collecting area substantially. Also, if instead of gluing the scrap piece to the bottom, you cut it in half across the curve and then put a notch in both halves, you could use them as cradles so you can aim the cooker directly at the sun for faster cooking.

sdrenth106 months ago

perfect science activity for me with my son!

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