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

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.

Step 4: Extras

Picture of Extras

We like magnets. So we put a magnet on the bottom of this solar oven. It helps keep it in place and allows for many different angles. We had it hanging on the back of a metal chair out in the yard. Just seemed to be the thing to do lol.

We added plastic wrap to one to keep heat in. We need to experiment to see which oven cooks hotdogs better.

Step 5: Success?

Picture of Success?

Today was a very humid day and cloudy. When we brought the oven up from the basement, the thermometer read around 70 F after about 10 min it was up over 115 F. Outside temp was 82 F.

I don't know if that was much of a success but I know on a sunny day we had the thermometer reading over 170 F on an 80 F day.

Remember to keep adjusting / moving can as the sun moves.

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Coin of Gold made it!2 months ago

Hey, this is a little bit late, but over the summer, I made the cooker. I had a few problems with the sun not staying out long enough, as well as some condensation building up... Is there a way to prevent that?

Great Instructable by the way! Thanks for sharing!

Cats Science Club (author)  Coin of Gold2 months ago
WOW that is nice!!

As far as the condensation building up, we have not found a solution for that. We have built a huge solar oven that could hold a pot or 50 plus hotdogs. Not like this one but with large rectangular boxes. The plastic was always covered with condensation.

We do recommend having the item cooking be as dry as possible by getting rid of any extra water.

Hopefully someone wiser will also answer your question.

Good luck and great oven you have there!

Thanks! Though credit goes to you for creating this Instructable!

That massive oven sounds awesome! I'll take into consideration what you said about having dryer hot dogs. Thanks!

brandt e9 months ago

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

brandt e brandt e9 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 e9 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. :)

DavidC4610 days ago

Got it to 115 F on a 70 F day in less than 10 minutes!!! Thank you so much!!

Cats Science Club (author)  DavidC466 days ago


Pretty easy huh?

Yes! very easy. Thanks again.

DavidC4610 days ago

This is awesome!!!!! Great Instructable! Thanks!!!!!

Brilliant idea, can you cook other things in it?

JackyL2 months ago

PLEASE ANSWER ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

My Q:How hot does the oven need to get to cook a hot dog

Cats Science Club (author)  JackyL2 months ago

Hot dogs can be eaten raw. There is no set temperature they have to get to to eat safely. I hope that answers your question.

But I need a temperture for my sc project

Cats Science Club (author)  jackeline_L2 months ago

Unless you live near the equator or the southern hemisphere, getting high temperatures in the oven is going to be difficult at this time of the year.

and also what size of skewer do I need and also what kind of knife

Cats Science Club (author)  jackeline_L2 months ago

An utility knife works well or a x-acto knife. Skewers were just a bit longer then the Pringles can. Measure the can you will be using and go from there.

JackyL JackyL2 months ago

I put a 1 insted of a !

JackyL2 months ago

Can you attach foil to the in side of the container with tape , and then cook flat food like cookie dough?

Cats Science Club (author)  JackyL2 months ago
I do not think it will get hot enough to bake cookies. But you could heat items at the bottom. The key is to have the cooker always facing the sun. Once the sun is off of the cooker, the cooker cools down quickly.
nissan07129 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)  nissan07129 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.
willsmith1233 months ago

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.
ijtw697 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)  ijtw697 months ago
Great idea! Thanks for sharing!!
omikeo9 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 omikeo7 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)  omikeo9 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
rwalton48 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!9 months ago

S'mores anyone?

Cats Science Club (author)  nodcah8 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!
scottdave8 months ago

Looks like a fun and fairly easy project.

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