Alternative Cooking Methods – Part 2

These alternative cooking methods require some type of fuel to be purchased and stored.  Be sure to be familiar enough with them to know how to use them safely.  Some should never be used indoors.  Try them out before you need to use them.

In case you missed it Alternative Cooking Part 1

Storing and using fuels for cooking and heating.


I have one of these!  After a power outage in January many years ago and no way to cook other than the grill outside I checked into indoor cooking methods.  From what I read butane is safer than most fuels for indoor use.  Always have adequate ventilation!

Butane is available in canisters that look similar to a can of spray paint.  Just pop it in the stove and turn it on.  No matches necessary.  I have not yet used mine for emergency purposes but I have used it many times when camping.

Butane Stove

Denatured Alcohol

This is not actually a stove but a way to use denatured alcohol with other stoves.

Remove the cardboard tube from a roll of toilet paper.  Place the roll inside a clean empty paint can (available at hardware stores or paint stores).  Fill the can with denatured alcohol (also available in the paint department).  Securely attach the lid.  Store until  use.

Denatured Alcohol


There are many types of kerosene stoves.  Some are heater/stove combinations.  Kerosene is one of the less expensive fuels and can be purchased in 1 gallon, 5 gallon, and possibly larger containers.

Kerosene Stove


Propane is available in sturdy tanks of various sizes – 1 lb up to 100 lbs or more.  This small grill (on the right) uses the small 1 lb canisters of propane.  The larger tanks are refillable.

White Gas, Propane, Sterno

White Gas

Never use indoors! The stove to the left (above photo) is one gas stove that uses white gas (also sold as Coleman Fuel).   Many Coleman camping stoves also use white gas but an adaptor can be purchased for using propane tanks instead.


Sterno is a fuel made from denatured alcohol and gel alcohol.  In my experience they do not store very well for long.  This stove (below) is a double burner if you use a sterno under each side.

There are a couple stoves in the photo above (in the middle) which could be fueled with sternos or charcoal.

You can also build sterno stoves of various types.

Double Sterno Stove

Backpacker Oven – Bemco

This backpacker oven is fueled by a gas stove.  It folds up nicely so may be a good option if you were hauling your equipment.

Backpacker Oven – Bemco

More information about fuels for cooking and heating


Alternative Cooking Methods – Emergency Preparedness

I was invited to attend an alternative cooking demonstration to show methods of cooking in case of disaster.  I tried foods cooked using several of these methods.  I don’t know how long each took to cook but they all tasted wonderful and you would not be able to tell they were not cooked or baked in an oven or on a stove.

This first post will cover the methods that do not necessarily require the purchase and storage of fuel.

Be safe when using these methods – never use charcoal indoors!  Keep water nearby in case of flair ups.

Be sure not to miss my next post which covers additional methods of cooking.  Subscribe to this blog. See Follow This Blog By Email (on the right side) —————————->

Solar Cooking – This was a purchased Solar Cooker (don’t know the brand).  Cinnamon buns were cooked in this and tasted great!

Solar Oven

Directions to make a solar oven.

Rocket Stoves – Rocket stoves can be fueled with wood such as collected sticks or with charcoal

Rocket Stove – Purchased

These homemade Rocket Stoves were made with cans.  The larger uses a 4 gallon metal bucket, the smaller uses a #10 can.

Homemade Rocket Stoves

Rocket Stove directions

Another Rocket Stove site

Apple Box Oven

Base is either cement or a layer of brick.
Cover with sheets of aluminum foil.
Place 4 cans (15 oz size) –  one in each corner and top with grate – this one was from a small       gas grill.
Cover apple box lid with aluminum foil.
Use chimney charcoal starter to light charcoal briquettes.  (I love these for starting charcoal – haven’t bought lighter fluid for years)
After briquettes are ready, place briquettes along the long sides on top of the aluminum foil.  I believe 15 briquettes were used.
Place items being cooked in pans on top of grate.
Cover with apple box.

In this case two loaves of bread were baked in glass bread pans.  The bread was delicious!

Apple Box Oven

Cardboard Box ovens are a similar idea:
Cardboard Box Oven
A Simple Box Oven

Thermal Cookers – To use these you do have to heat your food to boiling and then place in the thermal cooker.

Purchased – Saratoga Jacks  rice was cooked in the bottom pot and soup in the top. pot

Thermal Cooker – Saratoga Jacks

Homemade – For this one you use your own covered pot and place between two bean bag like pillows which have indents in them for the pot.  Another type of soup was cooked in this one.

Thermal Cooker

Dutch Oven Cooking – Sorry, I was too busy enjoying the food cooked in the Dutch Ovens to get photos before everything was put away.   In case you want photo of dutch ovens.
Fire building was not covered at this demonstration.  Fire building is a skill that should be developed for another method of emergency cooking and heating.

Dakota Stove

Building a Fire