The Best Ways to Cook a Hot Meal
in a Power Outage

Survival Cooking

How have you prepared for survival cooking so that your family will have a hot meal if there is no electricity?

During World War II, the army discovered that men fighting in the bitter cold would do well if they had one hot meal a day. Without it, they would die from living out in the cold. In certain disaster situations, your family needs a hot meal also.

Let's list the ways you can provide hot meals when there is no electricity or natural gas coming into your home.

Solar Oven Cooking

iconAll American Sun Oven
All American Sun Oven

Solar cooking! This is the most fuel-efficient way to cook - emergency or not.

Use it any day or take it camping. No fuel to pack. No messy charcoal or flammable liquids. It even folds down to the size of a small suitcase - very portable!

Cook every type of food using only heat from the sun. It bakes/stews all meats, poultry and fish; steams vegetables; bakes breads, cakes and cookies; cooks rice, beans, lentils, and pasta.

This particular solar oven, the All American Sun Oven, is specially designed to maintain steady, moderate (360° - 400° F) cooking temperatures that produce tender, tasty and healthy foods. Even if left alone, it will never burn or over cook your food.

Solar cooking is so easy because all you do is place the food in a pot and point it towards the sun and forget it for several hours. TIP: Use black enameled cookware — it works better than any other type of cookware.

Learn how to cook with a solar oven and let the sun provide meals that are nutritious with deliciously blended flavors.

Cooking Systems and Stoves

Volcano II Collapsible Stove

Volcano 3 Collapsible Stove

This is an awesome set-up. The Volcano 3 Collapsible Stove can use wood, charcoal briquettes, and propane to cook anything. You can even do your canning on it.

It's so versatile that you can grill right on the stove, or use a skillet, griddle, pot, wok, or a Dutch Oven cooker (up to 14"). This bundle design comes with a Kevlar Convection lid that even allows baking.

Solo Stove

Solo Stove

If you want a stove that is easy, needs no special fuel, small enough to pack into a backpack, then this Solo Stove is the one you want.

This efficient little stove will burn dry twigs and tinder you find on the ground while camping or backpacking. Heat water for chocolate, coffee, or a freeze dried meal — even roast marshmallows.

The Solo Stove doesn't just burn the wood, it actually cooks the smoke out of the wood and then burns the smoke not once, but twice! The cooking ring has an angled lip which also increases efficiency by directing heat towards your pot minimizing heat loss. It also acts as a windshield while still allowing oxygen to flow in through the vent holes.

The Solo Stove comes in three sizes: Solo Stove Lite (pictured) can cook enough for 1-2 people; Solo Stove Titan - for 2-4 people; Solo Stove Campfire - for 4 or more.

Kelly Kettle Camp Stove

Stainless Steel Kelly Kettle Large Base Camp Stove

With an endless supply of sticks, grass, and pinecones for fuel, this handy Stainless Steel Kelly Kettle stove makes cooking while camping or in an emergency quick and easy. It's very lightweight too.

This Large Stainless Steel Kelly Kettle boils approximately 9.5 - 6 oz. Mugs of water at a time. Suitable for base camps, car camping, Scout camps, picnics, hunters, outfitters outposts, emergency preparedness kits, humanitarian aid stations, or anyone working in the forests or the great outdoors.

GAS ONE 10,000 BTU Portable Gas Stove

This little one-burner stove works with butane canisters and is one of the few types of stoves that can be used to cook (with caution) inside the home.

It is a simple little burner with a Piezo ignition, safety lock and pressure sensor with auto shut-off.

The controls are user-friendly, the flame is easily adjusted from low to high. It measures approximately 13-4/5 by 12-1/2 by 3 inches.

CSA certified for safety; fuel sold separately.

Emberlit Backpacking Stove
EmberLit Stainless Steel Stove

Camping/Backpacking Stoves

In a pinch, a backpacking stove is light-weight and easily stored.

Some can be used with either sterno canned heat, solid heat tabs, charcoal briquettes, or even pieces of wood. Others may use white gas or Coleman fuel.

You won't be cooking any gourmet meals on this little stove, but they are capable of boiling water and warming ready-to-eat foods.

It wouldn't hurt to have several of these in your storage, along with a couple of small pans to use on top, as they are inexpensive and easy to use.

PowerPot V Portable Generator
PowerPot V Portable Generator

The PowerPot produces 5 watts electricity while you boil water. The pot will charge any device that has a USB adapter such as cell phones, batteries, lights, speakers, GPS systems and more.

Take it camping, backpacking, hiking, skiing. Use it for quick hot chocolate, instant coffee, or hot water for those lightweight freeze dried food pouches.

When you are camping or experiencing disaster, having a power source could be the difference between life or death as batteries to your communication devices, lights, and other tools die. 

thermos cooking
Thermos Cooking

A thermos is an indispensable piece of emergency preparedness equipment. Boil some water and pour it into a thermos and use it throughout the day for hot chocolate, soup, reconstitute dehydrated food, a relaxing cup of tea — all without starting up the camp stove or home stove. Save time, fuel, and water. In fact, get a supply of thermoses — different sizes for different uses. Try cooking an entire meal in a thermos.

Liquid Fuel Camp Stoves

If you are a frequent camper, you probably have a camp stove on hand that uses either propane or liquid fuel such as white gas or Coleman fuel. There are several sizes and brands available on Amazon or other camping supply websites or stores.

Camp stoves are worth the investment to have on hand in case of a power outage.

Wonderbag Non-Electric Portable Slow Cooker
  • Eco-friendly slow cooking. No plugs, no fuss: Slow cooks your food, unplugged, by retaining the heat from an initial simmer on the stove
  • Stress free holidays. Perfect for the holidays when stove and counter space are at a premium. Many uses: keeps items cold or frozen, too!
  • Buy One, Donate One. For every Wonderbag purchased in the US, one is donated to a family in need in Africa. One Wonderbag per year saves 1.7 trees, 1000 liters of water, 1,248 hours not spent collecting firewood
  • Works with 2-9 Quart pots with short handles and lid; metal and cast iron work best
  • Electricity free and worry free. Away at work or play? Keep your dish cooking for up to 12 hours without electricity, ready-to-serve when you are. No overcooking, no burning. Great for beach outings, potlucks, BBQ's, camping, or entertaining ? anywhere, anytime, any occasion

folding camp stove
Folding Camp Stove

Compact and collapsible metal stoves are ideal for cooking with a 36-hour compact candle, compact Eco-Fuel canisters, or Gel fuels like Sterno.

Propane Barbecues

Many of us already have a barbecue in our back yards so the cooking fuel of choice here would be propane, of course. The kind that uses charcoal briquettes would work also. If your patio barbecue is your emergency preparedness cooking choice, plan ahead now and figure out how you'll make it work during potentially stormy weather.

If your barbecue is not in a covered area, you may have to rig a roof or windbreak in order to use it. Are you prepared with a piece of plywood, an awning, or maybe a patio umbrella to shelter it? A heavy tarp held up with a makeshift frame of 2x4s would work, if you have some 2x4s in your storage plan. Being creative is the answer to solving this dilemma.

Wood-Burning Stoves

If your cooking fuel of choice is wood, these stoves can be practical, economical and wonderful to have in an emergency. If you buy one, make sure the model you choose allows for cooking on top, as well as heating your home, so it can be used in an emergency to cook hot meals.


If you need to use your fireplace for cooking, a grill or rack is essential, unless all you want to eat is something you can cook on a stick. Hot dogs are fine except they're probably not in your food storage as they are perishable.

Camp grills to use in a fireplace can be purchased in a sporting goods store. They consist of a heavy-gauge metal and most have legs that fold away for storage.

Another essential item would be some thick potholders that protect your arms. Be sure to have a ready place to set hot pans as you remove them from the flames so you don't burn the flooring around the fireplace.

More Portable Cooking Stoves

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