Homegrown Science: Make a Pizza Box Solar Oven

Capture the power of the sun to make an afternoon snack or camp-worthy dessert.


Photo: Nicole Ladonne Blair

The Science

Heat and light from the sun create solar energy to cook food. The foil reflects sunlight, and the black paper absorbs heat. This concept is similar to Earth’s greenhouse effect.


  • Pizza box (the larger, the better)
  • Foil
  • Scissors or utility knife
  • Black construction paper
  • Ruler
  • Colored construction paper for decoration
  • Disposable chopsticks or wood skewer
  • Shipping or black electrical tape
  • Glue

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  1. Clean out the pizza box. On the lid, measure and draw a square that is1 inch inward from the edge. Cut the front and two sides of the square.
  2. Fold back the flap.
  3. Trace the flap on the foil. Cut and glue foil to the inside of the flap.
  4. Line the bottom of the box with black construction paper.
  5. Top English muffins with cheese and other favorite pizza ingredients, or stack graham crackers with marshmallows and chocolate for s’mores. Place food on the black paper.
  6. Prop open the box lid with a chopstick at an almost 90-degree angle.
  7. Aim the foil at the sun. Check every few minutes until the snacks are melted and ready.

Our Tips

  • For quicker cooking, roll up newspaper and line the sides of the box. Close it when cooking.
  • To trap more heat inside the box, and keep bugs out, attach plastic wrap or clear transparency paper to the underside of the lid.