My Two Favorite Powerless Cooking Tools

Chances are you cook something most every day in your family, am I right?  And if I had to guess, I’d say it is pretty likely that you use electricity to do so.

Powerless Cooking Tools


Do you know how you would continue to cook if you were to lose power to your home, neighborhood, or entire city / county?  A widespread power outage is the one “emergency” that almost everyone will experience in their life time.

Even if it only lasts for a few hours, it can cause a hiccup in your meal plans if you can’t go grab fast food (b/c their power is out too).  And if it last for a few days, what then?  How are you planning on cooking?

There are lots of tools out there.   In fact, there are lots of very high quality tools out there.  You could use a Sun Oven, Volcano, Dutch oven, Camp Chef, Rocket Stove among others

Each has it’s pros and cons, but one con all the above options share is this:

A learning curve

While they aren’t all necessarily hard to use, experience definitely helps.  If you’ve never used them before and suddenly try to during an emergency….hello stress!

Today I’d like to tell you about my two favorite powerless cooking tools.  They are my favorite b/c they have very small learning curves: they function pretty much like the tools you are currently using (an oven and a stovetop).


Replacing Your Stovetop

Some of you may have gas stove tops that you could continue to use in a power outage as long as you still had gas to your home.  But if that gas supply was cut off (such as after a natural disaster) or you don’t have a gas stovetop, you will want an alternative.

The Solution:  The single butane burner

butane stove

Why I like it:

  • Butane is more stable than propane (it can safely be shipped)
  • Safe to use indoors (with a cracked window).  Used by many restaurants and food shows etc.
  • Stove is inexpensive.  You can find a bunch HERE on Amazon for $30-ish.  I have three of the Camp Chef Brand
  • Simple!  Easy!  Works just like a gas cooktop.  No learning curve.

What I don’t like:

  • I have to store fuel. 50-70 cans would give me about a years supply (at 20-40 minutes cooking per day) and that takes space.
  • Butane is typically more expensive and harder to find than propane.  I did find a decently priced source HERE on Amazon, but I don’t know how long it will be available.  I’ve also been told you can get them for $1 – $2 per bottle at Asian stores.  The bottles are half the size of a propane canister though so they burn around 2-4 hour each which comes to around $0.60 per cooking hour from the Amazon source I found.  It is worth the slight extra cost for me since butane is more stable


Replacing Your Oven

Replacing an oven is tougher than replacing a stove top.  But after years of looking, I have finally found an option that meets all my needs.  YAY!  I am probably more excited about this emergency preparedness product than any other I’ve ever found!

The Solution:  The Herc XXL Tea Light Oven


Why I like it:

  • I can use it indoors
  • I can use it anytime I want to b/c I don’t have to rely on the sun (like with a Sun Oven…which was my previous favorite option)
  • Super stable fuel source (tea lights will never explode)
  • Easy to store large amounts of fuel (One 6 gallon bucket of tealights = 300-400 cooking hours)
  • Tea lights last forever
  • Can be used as a dehydrator (just light half the tea lights)
  • Folds down flat so takes very little storage space
  • Inexpensive fuel (cost to use is around $0.30 per cooking hour)
  • Will accommodate up to 15 x 11 inch pan or three 9×5 in bread pans
  • It works just like my oven!  Cooks around 300° – 350° F, I simply open it, put a pan in just like I would my oven, close it an wait while it cooks
  • Very little learning curve (since it folds flat, you do have to learn how to put it together, but it is simple)
  • Works as a 2nd oven on busy (Thanksgiving, Christmas) cooking days

What I don’t like:

  • Nothing!  I truly recommend this product without any reservations

Notes / Other:

  • You can buy a HERC XXL HERE  and I’ve gotten my tealights HERE on Amazon for around $8 / 100 (1700 or so will fill a 6 gallon bucket), but I they are far less expensive at Ikea if you have one near you.
  • Watch videos on the oven HERE and find more details about it HERE
  • The smaller HERC Eco oven works like a crockpot



powerless cooking tools


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Becky is a wildlife enthusiast and pet and livestock care expert with a diploma in canine nutrition. With over a decade of experience in animal welfare, Becky lends her expertise to Simple Family Preparedness through insightful info about pets, livestock, bee keeping, and the practicalities of homesteading.

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