For anyone looking for an eco-friendly, energy-efficient way to bake and cook outdoors or during a power outage, the All American Sun Oven is an attractive option. In this sun oven review, we will give an in-depth look at the features of this product, put it to work, and discuss whether it is worth buying.
I’ve owned a Sun Oven for years, and because the food tastes so good when it’s cooked in a Sun Oven, I use it a few times a year here at home. It’s basically the same as cooking something in a crock pot. You prepare the meal earlier in the day and let it sit outside until you’re ready to eat.
When I purchased my Sun Oven back in 2015, I made the video below that goes through everything you might want to know about this solar oven. I start with unboxing and showing what came in the package, and then a tutorial on how to use the Sun Oven. In this video, I cooked some lemon garlic pork roast and veggies that came out delicious.
What is a Solar Cooker?
An All American Sun Oven is an innovative solar cooking device that can be used to cook food without the need for electricity or gas. Harnessing energy from the sun with solar cookers is a great way to save money on your utility bills and the perfect option for emergency preparedness, camping, and traveling. The only fuel you need is the sun.
A solar cooker is an appliance that uses the free energy of the sun to cook and prepare food. They come in many shapes and sizes, from small personal devices to larger models meant to feed whole communities, such as the Villager Sun Oven. Solar cookers vary in efficiency, cost, and materials used, and all can be used year-round with some minor adjustments.
Why Use a Solar Cooker?
Solar cookers are convenient, easy to use, and affordable. They require no fuel or electricity, so they’re cost-efficient in the long run. Solar cookers also prepare food without releasing any pollutants or waste into the environment. And, because they don’t generate excessive heat like an oven or range top would, solar cookers can help keep your home cooler during hot seasons!
Solar ovens provide an efficient and sustainable cooking solution for many people worldwide. Here in the U.S.A., a solar oven might not be meant to replace your kitchen stove top, but it is a very useful cooking appliance nonetheless. There are times when we could be without power for extended periods of time, and a solar cooker allows you to cook better-tasting meals than you would be able to otherwise.
With the price of gas and electricity continuing to rise, if you use the Sun Oven a few of times a month, it would actually pay for itself in a couple of years. On top of that, just having a Sun Oven gives me comfort in knowing that if the grid goes down for one reason or another, I have options. Long-Term food storage is fine, but nothing beats a home-cooked meal with fresh ingredients.
Who Would Benefit From Using a Sun Oven
People who live in sunny climates where there is plenty of sunlight will find the most benefit from using a solar oven. If you frequently camp or spend a lot of time outside and need to cook food, this is also a great option. If you want an easy way to cook sustainably, then a solar oven could be perfect for you! Solar ovens are also ideal for outdoor activities such as picnics, BBQs, family gatherings, and more.
A good rule of thumb is that if you can see your shadow, you can cook in a solar oven. While it’s optimal to have complete sunlight, you can cook when it’s occasionally cloudy out. On a sunny day, the All American Sun Oven can consistently reach temperatures of 350°F to 400°F by using the sun alignment tool. On overcast days that might be reduced to around 300°. On overcast days you would need to add some cooking time to your meal.
The Sun Oven is quite popular in the preparedness community because of its versatility and ability to cook almost anything you would cook in your kitchen oven if the power were out. I say almost anything because you can’t fry food in it. But with a little practice, anything you cook on your stovetop or in an oven can be cooked in a Sun Oven.
Another benefit for preppers (or anyone preparedness minded) is that you can heat and purify water by using the included WAPI. This is not only important to have safe drinking water, but most prepackaged long-term food storage requires you to add water and boil it. This would be a challenge if the power was out or you were out of propane for the outdoor grill.
Podcast Interview With Sun Oven’s Paul Munson
Below is an interview I did with Paul Munson (since retired) a few years ago about all the benefits and features of using the Sun Oven. Some of the information is a little old, but the sun oven itself and its functionality remain the same. Download and listen to it if you can; it will answer most questions you might have about this solar cooker.
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Features of the All American Sun Oven
The All American Sun Oven comes with many features and benefits that make it a standout appliance. Its patented thermal mirror technology helps direct sunlight into the oven, allowing it to reach high internal temperatures.
Additionally, with its adjustable legs, you can angle the Sun Oven to catch more of the sun’s rays. This helps retain heat within the oven and maintains optimal cooking temperatures, and increases its cooking efficiency.
Multi-Level Cooking Racks
There is a multi-level dehydrating & baking rack (four levels) included in the Sun Oven that pivots to ensure that your cooking stays level no matter what angle you set the Sun Oven at. This is where the Sun Oven separates itself from other solar ovens on the market.
Important: there are two available Sun Oven packages. One with the multi-rack and one with just the leveling rack.
Sun Alignment Tool
Another helpful feature is the sun alignment tool. Along with the adjustable legs, this helps you ensure you are lined up with the sun as it moves through the sky. If you realign the Sun Oven once or twice every hour, you can easily maintain temperatures of 350°F to 400°F on a sunny day.
WAPI – Water Pasteurization Indicator
Included with the Sun Oven package is what’s called a WAPI (Water Pasteurizing Indicator), which is a reusable transparent tube that contains wax. The wax melts and drops to the bottom of the tube when it reaches 150°F for 6 minutes, indicating that the water has been pasteurized and is now safe to drink.
Pros & Cons of the All American Sun Oven
The Sun Oven is a great emergency preparedness tool and great for clean, sustainable cooking. The food cooked in this solar oven tastes great, and You can cook just about anything in a Sun Oven. Another benefit is that you can’t smell anything unless you open the glass door. This means you won’t be ringing the dinner bell for the neighbors, and your pets will stay away from it.
The biggest drawback of cooking with a solar oven is that you need to live in a state that gets quite a bit of sun. If you live in Washington state or Oregon, solar energy might not be something you want to depend on in an emergency for power. Here in Colorado, we get quite a bit of sun, but also have some days where using a solar oven isn’t an option. This means that on those cloudy days, I may have to pull out the long-term food storage.
- You can cook even when the power is out
- Saves money on energy bills
- Cooks anything you would cook in and on the stove (no fried food)
- Packs away neatly
- High-quality materials and design
- Doesn’t attract animals or pests (no smell)
- Food never burns because of the even cooking temperature
- Larger family-sized solar oven
- You can only cook on mostly sunny days
- Can be a little pricy initially
- Larger than some other solar oven options
Testing the All American Sun Oven
In the video, at the beginning of this post, I tested the Sun Oven and reviewed some of the accessories included and sold separately. I can honestly say I have never been dissatisfied with the final product. I’ve made bread, made beef jerky, baked a chicken, and made a number of other meals. After seven years, the sun oven still looks and works just like it did on day one. I clean it after every use and store it in the garage in the box it came in.
The only drawback I have run into when cooking with the Sun Oven is the time it takes to cook a meal on overcast or partly cloudy days. It’s not a deal breaker, but the family might have to wait a little longer for dinner. On partly cloudy days, I usually use it like a slow cooker, put the oven out earlier in the day, and let it cook. With the even temperature in the Sun Oven, there is no need to worry about overcooking or burning.
Is the All American Sun Oven Worth It?
Coming from a preparedness perspective, this is an emergency cooking option I’m glad I have. It gives me more flexibility than relying on fuel to cook, like firewood, electricity, and propane. On the other hand, it isn’t what I would consider an “essential” prepping supply. If it fits within your budget or lifestyle, it’s a great tool to have, and if it doesn’t, it’s not the end of the world.
I will say that if you do decide to purchase an All American Sun Oven, you won’t be disappointed. It really lives up to the advertising, and Sun Oven makes a high quality very efficient product that will last for years and maybe decades. After seven years, I have yet to order any replacement parts, but you can if need be.
If you found this All American Sun Oven Review helpful, or you own a Sun Oven, leave a comment below. Your experiences with the Sun Oven or your questions about it may help others on the fence about purchasing a sun oven.
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