- 1 Apple Box or Cardboard Box
- Packing Tape
- Heavy Duty Aluminum Foil
- Spray Adhesive or Masking Tape and Shiny Metal Repair Tape or Elmer’s Glue
- Reynolds Oven Bag
- Scissors and Utility Knife or Box Cutter
- Something to put the coals on (Cookie Sheet, Pie Pan, Foil)
- 4 Soup Cans or Soda Cans
- Cookie cooling Rack (Smaller than the box)
- High Temperature Meat Thermometer
An Apple Box Oven is a nickname given to this alternative, low-cost cooking method. Spend a few bucks and put this bad boy together and when the electricity goes out you’ll be the only one in the neighborhood not worrying about how you’re going to cook dinner for your family. So get your creative juices flowing and let’s get to work!
Step 1: Get a Box
The first step in creating your Apple Box Oven is finding the right box. Obviously, the name gives reference to one option – an apple box. You can pick one of these up for free at any of your local grocers. If you don’t have an apple box, any sturdy box will do. Just make sure it’s thick and durable cardboard – no flimsy garbage. If you’re using an apple box make sure to keep both the bottom and the top. We will be using both pieces to make this baby double insulated.
Step 2: Reinforce with Packing Tape
Make sure that your box is secure by taping the inside and outside along any loose corners or open flaps. Also tape over the handles of the outside piece to your box. If you don’t tape the handles you run the risk of someone easily puncturing through the aluminum foil – making your oven useless.
Step 3: Cut the Window
Once you’ve got your box, now it’s time to cut your window. Make a rectangular cut (mine is about 4″x8″) on your outside box. Then stack your inside box within the outside piece. Trace your window rectangle. Pull out the inside piece and cut along your tracing lines.
Step 4: Insulate with Aluminum Foil
Now we’re going to magically transform this box into an insulated oven. First grab your heavy duty spray adhesive. Spray one section of the box and overlay your heavy duty aluminum foil over top. Repeat this process inside and out both box pieces until they are completely covered.
TIP: DO THIS OUTSIDE! The spray adhesive fumes are very strong and will leave a sticky residue on everything – including you.
This part of the Apple Box Oven is the longest piece of construction. It took us a good hour and 45 minutes to do this – the brunt of the 2 hour construction time.
Step 5: Cover Window with Oven Bag
Next, the window. Cut two pieces of the Reynolds Oven Bags to cover the size of your windows plus a couple of inches on each side. On the inside of both boxes, spray the adhesive around the edge of the window cut. Carefully place one of your oven bag pieces on top of the adhesive and press firmly. Make sure the window is completely sealed off by the adhesive and oven bag.
Step 6: Stack em’ Up
Stack the smaller box piece inside the larger box section to create a double insulated oven. It might be a little snug fitting them inside each other but just give it a little push and they should slide together just fine.
As a final touch, stick your meat thermometer through both boxes. This will allow you to tell what temperature you are cooking your food.
When you are ready to cook with your Apple Box Oven, get your cookie sheet and place hot briquettes in the middle.
TIP: A single briquette will heat the oven to about 35℉. So if you need to cook at 350℉ you will use 10 briquettes. For you to cook with your Apple Box Oven for a year, you will need approximately 16 bags of briquettes.
After placing the briquettes, place a soda or soup can on each corner and put a cooling rack on top.
Simply place your food on the cooling rack and cover with the Apple Box Oven. You’ll be able to check on your food through the cut out window and gauge the temperature with the meat thermometer.
TIP: After you’re done putting this together you will have a whole new layer of epidermis on your fingers of that nice stick spray adhesive. Just put some nail polish on a towel and it’ll rub right off. Be careful though, working with the aluminum foil will most likely leave your hands with a handful of micro-cuts. So the acetone may sting a little.
Hopefully that wasn’t too hard and everyone will enjoy their brand spankin new ovens when the lights go out! Word to the wise, try using your Apple Box Oven a few times before an emergency happens. In the case of an emergency, familiarity is key. Good luck and happy prepping!