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Make a Solar Hot Dog Cooker

SAFETY FIRST: Ask an adult to help with tools you haven't used before.

If you curve some aluminum foil just right, you can cook hot dogs with the sun’s heat.



  • Utility knife
  • Tape
  • Saw
  • Drill
  • Roofing nails
  • Glue
  • 2 sheets of corrugated cardboard, 7 1/2 inches by 30 inches
  • 2 2-by-2-by-12-inch connector boards
  • Piece of poster board large enough to cover the bottom of the cooker
  • 12-inch-wide aluminum foil
  • 2 1-by-1-by-13 1/2-inch wood uprights
  • Small wooden dowl, sharpened at one end


Step 1. Using the utility knife, cut a curve from the two pieces of cardboard.

Step 2. Connect the curves together using the 12-inch connecting boards, glue and roofing nails.

Step 3. Bend the poster board over the curves, mark with a pencil and cut to size. Glue and tape in place.

Step 4. Spread glue evenly onto the poster board. Carefully glue down the aluminum foil. Make it as smooth as possible.

Step 5. Drill a hole in one upright, cut a notch on the other and glue in place.

Step 6. Aim the cooker at the sun, skewer your hot dogs, and get the rolls and mustard.


The sun reflects heat off the parabolic curve and concentrates it at a single point.


Check out these photos of the completed project sent to us by Boys’ Life readers. If you have a photos of a BL Workshop project, please use the form below to send them to us.

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53 Comments on Make a Solar Hot Dog Cooker

  1. how hot does it have to be???

  2. COOL I WANT TO TRY!!!!!!!!!!!!

  3. CUCKOO MONKEY // July 16, 2013 at 9:27 am // Reply

    This is like the solar powered pizza oven I once made!!!

  4. Weblo scout cole // July 6, 2013 at 8:15 pm // Reply

    Cant wait to try it a campout but I will modafy it a little

  5. I love me some hot dogs

  6. the scout // July 1, 2013 at 7:06 am // Reply

    i have a solar powerd oven that cooks smores

  7. Wow

  8. I’ll try it on my next campout

  9. How hot will it get in 15 min.?

  10. mathiselle // March 14, 2013 at 7:03 pm // Reply

    How do you know where to place the hotdog skewer? In other words, how do you determine the focal point…or do you just wing it? curious. I do a similar project but we use copy paper boxes. The kids have to keep the focus in the box. I think I want to modify the project and use your idea but tie more of the math to it. And is there a reason you chose the dimensions you used?

  11. wow.i will try it.

  12. I can’t wait to try it 😀

  13. I just like building it

  14. 🙂

  15. Hey this is cool.I made one.It works well.I like it.Thanks for the instructions.

  16. Our teacher told us we had to make a hot dog cooker..thanks so much…but does anyone know how many degrees it goes to? the minimum we are required is 100C

    • Hey, just wondering if this worked for you 😛 I’m doing the same thing, and wanted to know how hot it got, and how well it worked. Thanks 🙂

  17. 🙂

  18. Eagle Scout Grampa // August 23, 2012 at 8:58 pm // Reply

    If you want to get really creative you could figure out a way to connect an electric motor to the skewer to slowly turn it so the Hot Dogs cook evenly on all sides. 🙂

  19. Does this work in the Moonlight?

  20. Its only a hotdog, most are fuly cooked in the package dude,

  21. How to get the proper curve
    A math specialist could make a program to print it up from a computer over a couple pages of paper
    Then the rest of us could download the printouts, Print them and use them for templates

  22. Awesome I am so using this for my Solar cooker project THANKS SO MUCH TO who ever got this idea

  23. weinerchef23 // May 10, 2012 at 9:40 am // Reply

    how long does it take to cook?

  24. jonwanton // May 8, 2012 at 2:32 pm // Reply

    i am using this for a science fair

  25. hotdoglover // May 8, 2012 at 9:35 am // Reply

    how long will it take to cook a hotdog?

  26. this project is the best

  27. How long does it take to cook?

  28. any suggestions as how to draw a perfect parabola curve onto the cardboard?

  29. this looks kool. i should make it some day

  30. simple but effective

  31. Second Class Scout, Troop 550 // March 22, 2012 at 3:50 pm // Reply

    This is really neat. Will this solar hotdog cooker work in the winter when the temperature is below 40 degrees Farenheit. Hot dogs will cook on an asphalt parking lot in July or August on a piece of aluminum foil when the temperature of the asphalt has been heated to about 95 degrees Farenheit.

  32. Shaggyeagle // March 18, 2012 at 7:11 am // Reply

    Cool we are supposed to make one of these in science and now that I have an idea of what to do imma volunteer to be team leader in our group, as I always do

  33. awesome

  34. Not complcated

  35. How long do you have to wate for it to cook


  37. this things pretty usefull

  38. Zach the Man // January 1, 2012 at 9:03 pm // Reply

    This gives me an idea for an invention!!:)

  39. bro this is actually a good project, so far i hav gotten passing grades on mah project :p

  40. if it gets me a A on my project it will be cool i guess.!!

  41. wow

  42. this is easy and fun to do!!

  43. how hot should the hot dog cook to?

  44. nice & simple project.

  45. how many minutes does the hotdog need to be cooked with that project?

  46. Anonymous // July 7, 2011 at 7:28 am // Reply

    can also use a old satellite dish (the curved surface) covered with tin foil! even the gottom of a soda can will suffice for cooking experiments (a piece of hot dog). this is part of a survivalist kit!!

  47. this was a cool project

  48. love it the best ever in the world going to do this project 🙂

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