How to Cook Without Electricity- Indoor and Outdoor Options

Do you want to learn how to cook without electricity?  Whether it's to save money or to use in an emergency, we've got you covered.  I've made a list of both indoor and outdoor options to get your meals hot and on the table.  | non electricity cooking | how to cook without electricity | emergency cooking |
Photo Credit: Szkurlatowski

Do you want to learn how to cook without electricity?  Whether it’s to save money or to use in an emergency, we’ve got you covered.  I’ve made a list of both indoor and outdoor options to get your meals hot and on the table.

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How to Cook Without Electricity

Here are some great options for cooking without electricity.  I recommend picking at least one indoor and one outdoor that fits your lifestyle.  A few things to consider and ask yourself when determining a method of cooking without electricity:

  • What appliances would you be using with MOST of your planned food storage meals?  (crock pot/insta pot, oven, stove, microwave)
  • What type of fuel are you willing to buy and store safely?  (wood, candles, charcoal, propane, butane)
  • How much space do you have to store extra cooking devices?
  • How much money are you willing to spend for something you may only occasionally use?
  • What type of weather will you most likely be needing to cook in?
  • What do you already use now to cook with?
  • How much time do you have to learn how to cook with it?

With those questions in mind, it’s important to mention that there is a HUGE variety of “non electric” cooking options.

Click to download my Winter Prep Checklist

Outdoor Options

Dutch Oven– This is a tried and true over the years method of cooking.  There are many delicious meals that come out of the dutch oven.  The downside is it takes time to learn how to cook with.  Time to figure out how much coals you need.  It takes longer to cook the meals, and you’ll probably need more than one dutch oven.  Melissa K Noris from Pioneering Today has a great tutorial on how to cook with a dutch oven.

Outdoor Camp Stoves-  These are typically gas or propane powered and there is a huge variety of these you can purchase from Amazon or other camping/outdoor stores.  They have many sizes and weights so you can find a stove that’s compact and fits your families needs.  A few things to think about when using an outdoor stove.  1.  They are great for boiling water and reheating food.  2.  They are not so great for making bread, cooking casseroles or longer meals.

Outdoor Oven– This is one of our personal favorites.  It has a stove on top, and an oven.  So you can bake cookes, muffins, breads, casseroles.  Anything in the oven!  It does take extra time, and you’ll need to keep it outside with the propane.  These run over $100 and are expensive, but in my opinion, worth it if you’ll need it for more than a few days.

Solar Ovens– These things will save you a TON of time and energy.  They also work like an oven, so you can make breads, baked potatoes, pizza, all kinds of things in these ovens.  The only downside is if you don’t live on the sunny side.  If you don’t live where it’s sunny 110% of the time, then your food will take a long time to cook.Do you want to learn how to cook without electricity?  Whether it's to save money or to use in an emergency, we've got you covered.  I've made a list of both indoor and outdoor options to get your meals hot and on the table.  | non electricity cooking | how to cook without electricity | emergency cooking |

Over the Fire- One of the most basic ways to cook.  Make sure you have a separate set of pans, as cooking over the fire tends to blacken the bottom.

Volcano Stoves– These are small, versatile stoves that allow you to cook with wood or charcoal.  You can also use the attachment and hook it up to a propane tank. We personally don’t have a volcano stove yet, but I’ve read a ton of reviews and people LOVE them!

Propane and Grill-  Most people tend to have some type of grill, whether small or large.  They are a great way to cook outdoors and easy to learn on.  The downside is you are limited to only grilling and stove top options (which can get boring for long periods of time)

Rocket Stove–  These are small stoves where you feed in wood at the bottom, and cook with a pan on top.  You can purchase some high quality ones, or there are tons of DIY tutorials on Pinterest as well.

Mini Folding Camp Stove– These use small cans of heat (which you can find at the Dollar Store) and are compact.  They work great for 72 hour kits as well.  The downside is they are best for warming up and re-heating food, not for cooking big meals.

Click to download my Winter Prep Checklist

Indoor Options

Tea Light Ovens– These can be used indoors and use tea lights as your heat.  I love the idea because they are so small and can be found at most stores, the downside is it takes longer to cook.  Here is a DIY Tea Light Oven Tutorial in case you don’t want to purchase one.

Portable Butane Stove– I was really excited when I learned that these can be used indoors too (I don’t want to be having to cook outside in a blizzard).  These work like the basic stove top on top of your oven.  They put out plenty of good heat to make a meal from scratch on the stove.  They aren’t an oven, so you are limited in what you can cook with it.

Wonder Ovens– These ovens are great for cooking while you are out of the house, and kind of act like a crock pot.  Once your food is heated, you can put it into the wonder oven to finish cooking.  The downside, is you have to heat up the food prior to putting it in.

Portable Cooking Bag–  Have you heard of MRE’s where you can put the bag of food into the heating and it warms it up?  This is the same thing.  With this bag, you add a little water and can put your canned soup right into the bag to warm up.  Portable cooking bags are great for 72 hour kits and small meals, but not ideal for cooking with family.

Fireplace- Yep, put it to good use if you have one.  You’ll probably need some aluminium foil, skewers, and a cast iron skillet; but it will definitely work when in a pinch.

Sterno Stove– These use canned heat (which you can find at the dollar store).  They work well for heating up water and soups.  You can even use it for rehydrating food as well to turn it into a large meal.  Freeze dried meat is already cooked, so re hydrate that, and some sauce and veggies, and you’ve got a complete meal!

Kerosene Heater– These are safe indoors and can double as survival  gear to keep you warm!  Beware, the top of the heater gets hot, so place water in a stainless steal can on top, and start cooking.

***Your gas stove top may be another method of cooking indoors.  Thanks to a readers comment, there’s more information on how to safely do that in the comments section below.***

In conclusion

There are a TON of options to choose from when deciding how to cook without electricity.  Most likely, you’ll need a few different items so you can count on a variety of meals.  Start by thinking about what you have now, then build on that.  Learn how to cook with your emergency food, here are 4 tips.

What do you use for emergency cooking?  Comment below.

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Further Reading:

How to Know What to Prepare for

5 DIY Fire Starters from basic household items

How to Make an Emergency Plan

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This post contains affiliate links.  Read my affiliate link disclosure here

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2 thoughts on “How to Cook Without Electricity- Indoor and Outdoor Options”

  1. For indoor cooking, don’t forget that gas stoves (depending on how they were made) may just keep working as long as you have matches to light the gas. It pays to check now by turning off the circuit breaker attached to your stove, but my unit works just fine as long as I have a way to ignite the gas coming out the burners. Long matches or those long necked butane lighters work great.
    The oven is pointless without power, but the top burners work just fine…at least until natural gas stops flowing. But everyone has more than one way to cook, right? I just want to make sure I’m using my resources efficiently – and using natural gas would help delay my use of the limited fuel supplies in my home.

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