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How to build a Bamboo Solar Cooker for less than $1

Bamboo solar cooker

A bamboo solar cooker which only costs $1 to make. Here is proof that solar cooking needn’t be an expensive affair. One of my readers Krishna – rkrao, kindly sent in the above picture showing the simplicity and beauty of a bamboo solar cooker. Here are Krishna’s notes for building such a simple and effective solar cooker.

Materials used: -

  • Baskets made from bamboo
  • Food serving plates
  • Cooking vessel

And that’s it. In less than one minute of assembling parts which can be gathered in no time at all you can have your very own solar cooker. See I told you solar cooking wasn’t that difficult. :-)

The bamboo solar cooker is a simpler version to that of the parabolic solar cooker.

Further information from Krishna: -

  • Baskets are used in villages for carrying hay and other agricultural produce. Similar baskets made a little sturdily are used in urban areas to carry the bride in marriage ceremonies!
  • Food serving plates are made of thick paper/thin cardboard and upper surface is covered by a water resistant film of thin aluminium foil/silver coloured polythene.
  • Well-to-do families eat food on silver plates and use silver tumblers for drinking water even to-day (perhaps due to its antibacterial properties) and silver vessels are used in all auspicious occasions, so these plates are covered in silver film, good for us solar enthusiasts! These plates are available in all provision shops and can be as cheap as one Rupee.
  • A glass vessel for cooking is not the best, as they are not available locally (India), besides they are expensive and liable to break. An aluminium vessel with a thick black polythene bag should serve. The recycled black garbage bag was tried, but melted due to the heat.
  • The cooker is intended for the very poor, however the limitation is that they are mostly daily wage workers and will be in the work-spot in mid-day when the cooker works best. This is one reason solar cooking has not become popular in poor communities across the world, but they can be uses to kill pathogens and purify drinking water by reaching only 65 degrees centigrade.

pullquote openThis cooker with water in a vessel can be left in the sunny part of the backyard and the family can get safe water for cooking and drinking by evening.pullquote closed

Krishna is currently on the look out for low-cost solar LED lantern designs for general lighting inside of 10′x10′ huts, cost approx $3-$4.


So, what are your thoughts? Can you think of any improvements to the bamboo solar cooker? Have you built a similar solar cooker? If so then we would love to hear from you. Drop me an email  if you would like your solar cooking pictures and article posted here.

21 Responses to “How to build a Bamboo Solar Cooker for less than $1”

  1. mantizNo Gravatar Says:

    wow a solar cooker for 1$! and I always thought they cost a fortune! great stuff!

    mantiz’s last blog post..Here Comes The Measles!

  2. kimNo Gravatar Says:

    I love the ingenuity of humans…this is very cool!!!

    kim’s last blog post..Food 4 Thought………………Thanks Stimulator!

  3. SolNo Gravatar Says:

    I guess it is one blessing we can be thankful of.

    It’s just a shame we are beings dumbed down by the powers that be. :-)

    Many thanks for dropping by Kim

  4. SolNo Gravatar Says:

    Some solar cookers can be quite expensive. But like everything in life, most of the time you get what you pay for.

    The higher priced solar cookers perform at higher temperatures and are also more efficient than the lower end market cookers.

    Having said that, I think Krishna’s $1 bamboo solar cooker is an inspiration to us all. Simple, easy to use and it works. And all for one dollar.


  5. KumarNo Gravatar Says:

    “Simple living – High Thinking” — Very amply demonstrated

  6. colleenNo Gravatar Says:

    can be more explicit? just put the food in the middle one and leave in the sun and in a while it will be cooked? what about bugs falling in etc?

    colleen’s last blog post..StumbleAudio: a great way to discover new tracks

  7. G@ttoGialloNo Gravatar Says:

    Why not just a basket with some metal cooking paper ?
    As Colleen I’d like to know what happens then…

  8. R D ReddyNo Gravatar Says:

    wonderfull Idea.The meteriel and method; is cheap and easy.
    We cannot expect very high temperatures, since we have not spent much.
    We need to put the suggestion of Mr R.K.Rao, into practice and see to what applications we can put the system.
    Congratulations sir,
    R D Reddy.

  9. sharp mindNo Gravatar Says:

    hahahaha thats quite funny u have to wait till evening to get a drop of water!! why can’t u cover the whole thing with silver foil and cover it with a silver foil this will fasten the heating plus..if it rains…????

  10. sharp mindNo Gravatar Says:

    cover the vessel with silver foil tooo

  11. green blogNo Gravatar Says:

    This one looks like a neat idea. Maybe I should try after all. It may not function like a super cooker but at least it saves the every little bit of energy and by the looks of it, not bad at all.

    green blog’s last blog post..10 More Ways To Stop Bleeding At The Pump

  12. Barber ChairsNo Gravatar Says:

    Hehehe, when I found this site in google, I thought it was some big fancy cooker… but I find even this one quite useful.
    I’m a big fan of solar cookers and solar barbecues, but I never tried to build one.
    After looking at your $1 bamboo cooker, I’m one step closer to taking action and trying to make a solar cooker.

    Wish me luck :)

  13. chicago salon equipmentNo Gravatar Says:

    A friend of mine sent me this site link by email and I just LOL’ed when I saw the page :)

    Could you use aluminum foil instead of those plates?
    What about the food, where do you put the food – is it hanging somewhere in the middle, above the basket, or do you put it in the basket?


  14. SolRekaNo Gravatar Says:

    I’m really glad to hear that the $1 solar cooker has given you some inspiration. The sole purpose of the bamboo solar cooker is to show you how easy building a solar cooker can be.

    If you would like some more ideas on building a solar cooker, why not check out

    @Chicago Salon Equip

    Once again the bamboo cooker shows how simple the process of solar cooking really is. Aluminium foil, Mylar, reflective vinyl, even mirrors, are all suitable candidates which can replace the plates.

    For this design of solar cooker, the food should be placed in an oven bag, then placed on a platform inside the basket. To gauge the best place to put food, simply put your hand into the cooker, and find the ‘hot spot’. Don’t worry, this design won’t melt your hand. It’s the parabolic cookers you want to worry about :-)

    PS About to write a post: How to build a parabolic solar cooker. Part Two

    SolReka’s last blog post..SolReka Website Launch

  15. Cindy NgNo Gravatar Says:

    This is very fantastuic

  16. RadiatorsNo Gravatar Says:

    What a clever idea! This would be fabulous for the camper and or sailor who likes to travel simply.

  17. SolRekaNo Gravatar Says:

    KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid. The best ideas are usually the simplest ones.

  18. mertyelNo Gravatar Says:

    where do you put the hotdog? i want to try it but i dont know how. they didnt say!

  19. mertyelNo Gravatar Says:

    im doing a project in science and i need to make a hot dog cooker. im going to try this i hope it works!

  20. mertyelNo Gravatar Says:

    Does the basket have to be made out of bamboo?

  21. merdleNo Gravatar Says:

    i hope this works!!! im doing it for a science project so fingers crossed!! :)

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