Survival Must-Haves: 19 Ways To Cook Without Electricity

Make sure that you can still cook for your family even during a long-term power outage by learning how to use alternative cooking methods like a rocket stove or a solar cooker. (h/t to

Since many of these methods use fire and produce a lot of smoke, you must learn how to cook safely after SHTF.

Keep fire safety in mind before starting a fire or cooking over an open flame. Start a fire in a safe area without any flammable material hanging overhead or close to the heat source.

Don’t start a fire in very dry areas or on windy days. Under these conditions, a single ember can start a fire that might eventually destroy the area around you.

Always have a fire extinguisher nearby. If you don’t have a fire extinguisher, get several containers of water or soil that can be thrown onto a fire. When using a gas grill, check the connections on the propane tank between the fuel line and the tank itself. After you’re done cooking or with the heat source, check that the heat source is fully cooled or the fire is completely out before leaving.

Consider getting some of the tools used for these alternative cooking methods so you can prepare meals for your family even if you don’t have electricity.

Alcohol stove

Alcohol stoves are simple and you can make an improvised one using common items like a sturdy canister filled with high proof alcohol. It also needs a support system that is set up above the canister so you can cook.

To turn off an alcohol stove, place a cover over it to snuff it out.

Barbecue grills

There are two basic types of grills: charcoal grills and gas grills.

A charcoal grill is a metal tub that contains charcoal so you can cook food on a grill over it. If you don’t have charcoal, you can use other biomass as fuel.

Charcoal grills are dirtier, they take a while to warm up and temperature regulation can take some getting used to.

Meanwhile, a gas grill uses gas like propane. This type of grill may be easier to operate as it works like the stove in your kitchen. Gas grills heat up quickly, are cleaner and easier to use.

Gas grills also cool down quicker and the temperature is easier to control. But they’re also more expensive, not as portable and they need a fuel tank.

BioLite CampStove

A BioLite CampStove comes with a thermoelectric generator (TEG) that stores energy in an onboard battery. This energy then powers a small fan which keeps a constant flow of air circulating through the stove to produce a very hot fire.

Earth oven

Use an earth oven if you’re cooking something large or slowly over a period of time.

It consists of a hole in the ground with hot coals or stones lining the bottom. You then place a layer of green vegetation on top of the heat source followed by the food, then more green vegetation. The whole thing is then covered with soil or sand.

The coals and soil help cook the food inside the earth oven while the steam created from the green vegetation is trapped inside of the oven.

Fire pit

Once you start a fire, you can cook food on sticks, racks, in cookware or even directly on the coals.

Fresnel lens

A Fresnel lens is a compact lens that you can use as a magnifying glass. It can be made out of glass or plastic.

The plastic lens comes in different shapes and sizes. A large lens can focus more sunlight and this means the focal point will be hotter.

If conditions are right, you can quickly instantly ignite a piece of wood to start a fire. One downside is you need sunlight before you can start a fire with a Fresnel lens.

Hobo stove

A hobo stove is another easy DIY option if you want to cook quickly after SHTF. All you need is a can with some holes in it.

Follow the steps below to make a hobo stove:

Find an empty soup can.
Use the pointy end of a bottle opener or another sharp tool to poke some holes around the base and around the top rim of the can.
Cut a door-like opening towards the bottom of the can so you can feed fuel through.

Since aluminum cans are available in different sizes, you can make a small, medium or large hobo stove.

Hot springs

Cooking in a hot spring may seem unusual but when disaster strikes you need to learn how to adapt to whatever situation you’re facing.

Hot springs can often reach temperatures of 120 F and above. If it gets hot enough, you can place cookware in a shallow section of a hot spring to cook food.

Be careful when cooking in a hot spring since their temperatures can fluctuate very quickly from warm to scalding hot.

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