lose power

7 Ways To Cook When You Lose Power

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Today it’s all about 7 ways to cook when you lose power. Yes, we will all lose power at some time or another. It may be a day, three days, three weeks, or three months. You may know September of every year is National Preparedness Month and it’s a great time to take inventory of our own preparedness efforts.

But this year I was packing up my home to move north closer to family and friends so I didn’t have time to write a post on this preparedness holiday, so to speak. I’m actually updating one from September 2017.

Here’s the deal, there may be some items today you can use and some you will not be able to use, for instance, the Sun Oven. If your location has limited sunshine you would not want to purchase a Sun Oven, it needs a lot of sunshine.

In Southern Utah, I think we had close to 350 days of sunshine a year. It’s a perfect place to use one year-round. I have now moved up to Northern Utah, but it should work fine on the majority of the days here too. Here are my favorite cooking devices when we lose power.

7 Cooking Items When You Lose Power

7 Ways To Cook When You Lose Power

Sun Oven


No purchased fuel is required, only sunshine is needed. You can bake anything in a Sun Oven that you can bake in your conventional oven if you can get the Sun Oven up to the temperature required to bake your meal. I gauge my cooking using the sun from around 10:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. when it tends to be at its peak.

I have the most consistent sunshine during this time period where I live. No special recipes are required, if the pan fits inside the Sun Oven, you can bake it. It will pay for itself very quickly because you need zero fuel to cook a meal.


It won’t work without adequate sunshine. Make sure you use glass baking pans or dark pans. Shiny pans will reflect the heat away from the item being baked. It won’t fry chicken, actually, it will only bake, so don’t plan on frying anything for your meals using this device.

You can use other cooking devices if you want to fry some food. Some may think it’s a bit pricey, but you may want to consider buying the Sun Oven without any accessories. If you have pans that fit inside the oven you don’t need to buy the package that includes baking pans.

What can I cook in a Sun Oven?

  • Bread
  • Dinner Rolls
  • Biscuits
  • Casseroles
  • Baked Chicken
  • Roast Beef
  • Pork Tenderloin
  • Cakes
  • Cupcakes
  • Muffins
  • Breakfast Casseroles
  • Whatever you bake in your regular oven now (if the pan fits in the Sun Oven it will work fine)

Volcano Stove


The great thing about a Volcano Stove is the fact that you can use wood, charcoal, and propane. Please check if you decide to buy one because there are two different adaptors for using the Volcano Stove if using propane.

Read More of My Articles  101 Reasons Why I Recommend A Sun Oven

The unit will come with either the small propane canister adaptor or the large propane tank adaptor. I have both, but I prefer using the large adaptor. So, just check on the package to see which size comes with the one you are purchasing. I love buying things I can use for emergencies, like when we lose power or if we go camping.

Mine came with a zippered bag and other handy items, but the fuel fits compactly inside the larger heavy-duty bag if you want more options for transport and storage. This is a perfect camping item because you can cook on top of the picnic table if it’s sturdy. Adaptor for Volcano Stove


The Volcano Stove must be used outside because it uses propane, wood, and charcoal.  I guess it’s really not a con, but I want to make sure you realize it’s perfect for cooking outside only. Some people may think they are a bit pricey, but I see it this way, it can use three different types of fuel. Until you run out of fuel this is a great stove option.

What can I cook on a Volcano Stove?

  • Hamburgers
  • Hot Dogs
  • Bread (if you use their tent)
  • Steaks
  • Cast iron pan: 12 inch Cast Iron Pan
  • Anything you would barbecue

Thermal Cooker


It uses very little fuel, once you bring the food to a boil (I use a butane stove) use the inner pan for four full minutes, then quickly put it in the outside Thermal Cooker and lock it closed. It now becomes like a slow cooker. Please don’t put frozen food in this gem, it will not defrost AND cook the food. You don’t need any particular recipe because it works similarly to a slow cooker. 

I have a few of the Saratoga Jack’s Thermal cookers. Plus, with what’s going on with the shortage of many products that need parts, I would buy whatever you can now.

It’s great for frying sloppy joes, and it will keep them warm for 4-6 hours after the four full minutes of boiling. You can make chili as you do now with cooked beans, and fried meat and bring it to a boil for four full minutes. Place the inner pan inside the outer thermal cooker, set, and forget. It will keep it warm for 4-6 hours.

Bonus, if you make a salad, place the salad inside the inner pan and place it in the refrigerator overnight. The next morning, place the inner pan inside the thermal cooker and lock it closed. It will keep your food cold for 4-6 hours. Perfect for family reunions.

It’s perfect for ball games, busy families, and traveling. It uses very little fuel. I love it for traveling and for those times we lose power.


Don’t use a tough piece of meat because it may still be tough after you use a thermal cooker. I have a friend, Kendra, who made a small pork roast that turned out delicious. But it was a small roast and she added potatoes, carrots, and onions.

She covered it with liquid to within one inch of the top of the thermal cooker. You need some type of stove (I use a butane one) to bring the roast, carrots, potatoes, and onions with some liquid to a boil for four full minutes.

Then place the inner pan inside the outer thermal cooker and lock it shut. Buy tender meat, just giving you the heads-up here. It will be cooked in 4-6 hours.

Read More of My Articles  Being Prepared: These Are My Favorite Things

What can I cook in a Thermal Cooker?

  • Small pot roasts with potatoes, carrots and onions
  • Soups
  • Stews
  • Chili
  • Baked Chicken
  • Lasagna
  • Macaroni and Cheese
  • Spaghetti Sauce and Noodles
  • Oatmeal
  • Bread
  • Applesauce
  • Anything you can cook in a slow cooker

Kelly Kettle


I love my Kelly Kettle because you can use twigs, dry leaves, or pine cones to cook outside with this awesome stove. The fuel is practically free if you have some pine cones near where you live. I store them in buckets. It boils water and food very quickly. Mine came with a bag that I can use to store the unit and help protect it.


I have to give a con only because you can only use it outside. It will not hold a heavy pan on top, it would be a little unstable. But, you can make small pans of soup or boil water within minutes, literally.

What can I cook on a Kelly Kettle?

  • Boil Water
  • Make Chocolate (with heated water)
  • Instant Coffee (with heated water)
  • Make soups
  • Heat up a cup of chili
  • It has a small cooking surface, but it works well

Butane Stove


I like my Butane Stove because I use it indoors. I’m a Nervous Nellie, so I crack a window. Now, the box on some butane stoves says they must be used outside. Please refer to the instructions on the one you purchased.

I taught so many classes inside stores with a butane stove and everything was fine. Just use your own judgment. I gave all four of my daughters one of these so that in case they lose power they can still boil water or cook a meal. Butane Fuel


I love these, so the only con I can give it is once you run out of fuel, you can no longer cook a meal. I used one canister of butane for six weeks, cooking one meal a day. I only cooked food for two, so keep that in mind. Please remember, your pan CANNOT go over the grill plate, it’s a safety issue.

What can I cook on a Butane Stove?

  • Boil Water
  • Heat a can of soup or stew
  • Make Mac and Cheese
  • Cook anything you would on a small burner on your stove

Camp Chef Stove/Oven


The positive thing about this stove/oven combo is I can make pancakes, bake bread, and boil water all with one unit. Keep in mind, that I use only the large adaptor for the larger tanks of propane. The oven will hold a 9-inch by 13-inch baking pan, perfect for lasagna or your favorite casserole. Camp Chef Stove/Oven


The only con would be if you run out of propane you can’t use the stove/oven combination. No fuel, no cooking or baking.

How can I use a Camp Chef Stove/Oven?

  • Bread
  • Dinner Rolls
  • Casseroles
  • Brownies
  • Cakes
  • Cupcakes
  • The griddle on top: grilled cheese sandwiches
  • The griddle on top: pancakes
  • Anything you cook or bake in your oven or on your stove right now, if the pans fit.

Lodge 6-quart Dutch Oven


You can bake bread, and biscuits or make just about any recipe you want if you have charcoal stored. You can boil water, make soups, and make peach cobbler, to name a few of my favorites. I buy charcoal briquettes without lighter fluid because they will be stored indefinitely if stored in air-tight containers.

I prefer a Lodge 6-quart Dutch Oven because they are not as heavy for me to carry or move as an eight-quart Dutch oven.


If you run out of fuel, you can’t bake or cook anything.

What can I cook in a 6-quart Dutch Oven?

  • Boil Water
  • Breakfast Casseroles
  • Pizza
  • Peach Cobbler
  • Short Ribs
  • Carnitas
  • Fry Taco Meat
  • Bake Chicken
  • Almost everything you can cook on your stove or in the oven

Prepare Your Family For Survival by Linda

Final Word

I hope today’s post gives you a few tips on how to cook when you lose power, there are many other ways as well. These are the 7 ways to cook when you lose power I wanted to show you today. May God Bless their world, Linda

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  1. with a dutch oven you can also use it over a fire and put hot ambers over the top just like charcoal so you can use it all the time

  2. I love my thermal cooker. One of the best inventions, I have found. I also use my wood stove to cook on, in the winter.

    1. I have 2 cookstoves. One is my cookstove that goes in the house and the other is what I call my summer Cookstove. It was probably a stove for a apartment in the day that wood cooks stoves were used regularly. I use it out on my back porch to cook on in summer. I love the way a cookstove cooks. I can cook better on that than I can on any other stove including my electric stove. I don’t like electric stoves but that is what the house was made with and I am stuck with it. You can’t compare a turkey cooked in a cookstove and a turkey cooked in a roaster or electric oven. Now I do love to use my crock pot to cook chicken in because it just makes it more juicy.

  3. What size Thermal cooker do you recommend? And is Saratoga Jacks the best or are other brands comparable? It’s just me but I hope to have a family someday, would it be silly to buy a small only to get a bigger one later? Also what are your thoughts on Rocket stoves? They seem similar to the Kelly Kettle as they use twigs, pine cones, etc but the one’s I’ve found on line look heavy duty and can tolerate a pan ontop. I have a big pine tree in the back yard so that makes it easy to get fuel.

    Also off topic, what do you use to cover /wrap your home made portable washing machine. I finally got two made but don’t know what to cover it with to store in my garage so bugs don’t get in it. And along with that I want to make the homemade laundry detergent and ran across another recipe that has more then yours and wanted to get your thoughts. I”m not sure I need the extra ingredients so wanted your opinion. 76 ox box borax, 3lb washing soda, 4lb baking soda, 60 ox BIZ detergent booster, 2lb Foca and 3.5lb Oxyclean. it makes about 20lbs of laundry detergent.

    Thanks for all the awesome posts. I’m slowly working on adding things to my storage.

    1. Hi, Kimmy, I would recommend the larger thermal cooker because you can fill it with more or and it has a better latch. I bought a Saratoga Jacks Thermal cooker only because I got a discount at the store I was teaching classes. I have since seen several thermal cookers that look exactly the same and almost half price. I taught a class last night in fast and the stores here in Southern Utah sells an off brand and I would buy it. I love my Kelly Kettle for boiling water or making a cup or two of soup. if you put a pan on top it would tip. But some of the sets come with a rocket stove, so you score two stoves in one. As far as the recipe for the detergent, I have never heard of Foca. It sounds awesome if you don’t have to grate the bars of soap! LOL! That’s the hardest part. I forgot to mention last night I saw a rocket stove, I guess you could call it that, but I have never seen one that sturdy. It’s stronger than anyone I have ever seen. I better go get one so people can see them. It has a small plate on top for heating just a cup of cocoa, water or coffee. The stove is small but extremely well made. You can even put small pieces of two by fours through a slot. It can hold a large pot as well. The bags I buy to store my stuff in I buy on Amazon or Bed Bath and Beyond. I get two different sizes, one for two sweaters and the larger ones I store my emergency toilets and 72-hour kits. If you can see a know on my portable washer 6-gallon buckets those are clear 33- gallon garbage bags I can tie around them to keep them dust free. I’ll let you know about the stove, Linda

      1. If you have a Ninja blender I cut the bar soap in half and pulse it a few times and it’s a fine powder (NO grating necessary!) I love the laundry soap I make I use Fels Naptha bar soap,

  4. Thanks so much for your quick response Linda. I’ve been working through your book and trying to get more prepared. I love your idea of storing items in the garage because in Vegas there is not alot of room inside , no basements and it is hot outside.
    Thank you so much for the book and all your amazing posts, it’s an ongoing effort but I think I have a good start on my water and food, working on cooking methods (I have a sun oven, Dutch oven, 2 burner camp stove, and a small backpacker cooker that just boils water) I’ve started my first aid kit, have a commode chair and a portable toilet and now working on laundry stuff already have the portable washers. So chipping away trying to check mark off more areas.
    Thanks for the inspiration and knowledge!

    Kindest Regards – Dinah & Dr.Pat Howden. At 84, I’m somewhat phone-deaf so I prefer E: dhowden78@hotmail.com
    Also try our 1-word GOOGLE: DRPATSAWESOMELIBRARY, 2nd page of result shows FREE Library access + download. Includes our 4,849 FREE Inventions & Discoveries in many fields; formerly countless were patented…
    You can never solve a problem with the same kind of thinking that caused the problem. – A.Einstein. By implication; nor by any thinking that knowingly ignores the problem, or suppresses efforts to solve it.

  6. You can build a rocket stove out of cinder blocks that can support large pans. Plenty of YouTube videos on this check it out. Very inexpensive

  7. Linda:

    Looked at your book on amazon. It is a great price. I might ask my daughter to order it for me as my Christmas present. She also got me a brand new Canner. She didn’t buy it (will make her dad happy) she won it in a contest she does not even remember entering. I will keep the older canner because is is one of the things he bought me just before he was killed. When I use it I think of him

  8. We could not have a regular funeral for our son because his body was so smashed up by the car accident. It took me the longest to get over the anger at the Trucker that killed him. It still bothers me when I think that he didn’t get a scratch and the police didn’t even give him a ticket for the illegal U-Turn he made that killed my wonderful son. But I know everything is in Gods timing and it was his time to go home. I would not ask that he be brought back to this horrible country we live in now.

    1. Hi Jackie, oh this is so sad to hear. I would feel the same way. I sometimes question our judicial system for this very reason. I better not say much more because it gets me grumpy. LOL! I just can’t imagine losing a child. I’m sure the trucker feels terrible because he took a life. That would be hard to live with for sure. Yes, it is in God’s hands, but our heart still aches. Hugs, my friend. Linds

  9. Another indoor alternative is a Sterno Cooking stove. I have the old style folding square stove, but there is a new one that is meant for backpackers. Not great for full cooking, but it can boil water and reheat canned foods, so it’s fine for short term emergencies. And since the fuel is just cans of Sterno it’s easy to use indoors safely. Useful for emergencies when it’s not safe to go outside for a while (nuclear emergency, bio terror incident, chemical spill, etc.)
    I’ve tested it by reheating canned soup and canned ravioli, as well as boiling water that can be used to rehydrate freeze dried foods. Or pair it with a thermal cooker and you have even more options.

  10. Remember the stoves we made in Scouts using a #10 can? They would burn about anything, & they were very good at keeping sparks from escaping. Dig out your old Scouting field books for more ideas.

    Then there were the small folding pocket-sized hexamine stoves for heating your canteen cup in the military.

    And the folding Sterno stoves, both 1 & 2 burner.

    Or the Whisper-Light white gas stoves that would fold up to a very small volume.

    Welders make woks from worn disc-harrows. The worn discs can also be used to make a fire basin.

    Or dig a hole, burn fire wood or anything dry in the hole, place your covered Dutch oven (filled with whatever you wish to cook) down in the hole on top of the hot coals & ashes, bury your Dutch oven, come back 4 to 8 hours later, & dig up your slow-cooked meal.
    Remember the stoves we made in Scouts using a #10 can? They would burn about anything, & they were very good at keeping sparks from escaping. Dig out your old Scouting field books for more ideas. Then there were the small folding pocket-sized hexamine stoves for heating your canteen cup in the military. And the folding Sterno stoves, both 1 & 2 burner. Or the Whisper-Light white gas stoves that would fold up to a very small volume. Welders make woks from worn disc-harrows. The worn discs can also be used to make a fire basin. Or dig a hole, burn fire wood or anything dry in the hole, place your covered Dutch oven (filled with whatever you wish to cook) down in the hole on top of the hot coals & ashes, bury your Dutch oven, come back 4 to 8 hours later, & dig up your slow-cooked meal.

  11. Linda,
    One more cooking method, made right here in Texas, is the Deadwood Stove (they may be closed now-updated 11-16-23). I haven’t gotten mine yet, but it is on order. Check it out. You can cook on it with a pan or skillet or grill small items directly on the top grill.

    1. Hi Harry, I have one similar to that one I bought in St. George, Utah. It was about $200.00 similar in price like the Dead Wood Stove. I bought it because it was small but works great when cooking outside with “dead wood”. It’s very heavy but I love it. Thanks for sharing that link that would be a great stove for every family. The store only had two of them and I bought one. We think the the same Harry, glad you ordered one. Linda

  12. I’ve got several of these but rarely do I go any further than my propane bbq grill. It has a side burner and I just cook on it.

  13. Another way to cook with no power: Line your kitchen sink with aluminum foil. Place one or two large candles (three wick candles work the best) in the lined sink. Take the rack out of your oven and place it over the sink. Light the candles and place a pot over the candles on the rack. It takes a while but you can heat water and soups. NOTE: lining the sink is a must to insure no wax goes down the drain. I use 3 wick candles that are in glass containers because the glass contains the wax and it would only be a problem if the glass broke – you could probably use pillar candles but with only one wick, it might not get hot enough to be efficient.

    I have also used a butane stove inside. I have everything ready to go before lighting the stove. And I only heat soup and water (for tea, coffee or hot chocolate and washing up). I do use it close to a window that opens for ventilation!!

    I have 3 cast iron camp dutch ovens: 12 inch, 10 inch and 8 inch. I have used them while camping using charcoal, over the fire, and hot coals from the fire.

    The best thing I can say about cooking with no power – don’t wait until the power goes out to figure out your best way! Have fuel on hand – butane, propane, charcoal, sticks, candles, whatever you choose – make sure you have plenty of fuel to feed your “stove”!!!

    1. HI Leanne, you nailed it with your comment, “don’t wait until the power goes out to figure out your best way”!! Practice as if your life depends on it. Because it will depend on your skills. Linda

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