Do you like the idea of living totally off-grid? Some people are thrilled with the idea, while some simply are not. However, whether your goal is to live daily off of the grid or not, there are times when going off-grid is not an option.
For instance, when a bad storm rolls through your residential area and the power is out for days at a time. I think we’ve all been there. Those are the moments when we need to have back up plans.
So how do you cook during those times?
Well, I’m going to give you multiple ways that you can still cook without power. Here they are:
1. An Open Fire
Cooking over an open fire is not just something that cowboys do. It can easily be accomplished in these modern times.
So when your power goes out, you may want to have a few of these options readily available. Or if you are someone that is planning on going off the grid, then you might want to seriously consider this as a permanent cooking option.
But you can’t just go outside and start a fire in a random location. I mean, you could, but I wouldn’t recommend it. It is always better to have a designated space and a plan laid out as to how you will function if modern convenience isn’t available.
So with cooking over an open fire you could use a fire pit, have a barrel in place to start a fire inside of it, or you could have your own fire ring ( a space with sand in the bottom and stones around the outside to contain the fire, like the cowboys did in the desert.) Just make sure these items are readily available to you when and if they are needed.
The main goal is to have a safe space to cook and contain the flame of an open fire.
2. Wood Burning Stove
I already told you all of the great benefits of burning with wood. This reason was actually one of the reasons I listed that having a wood burning option in your home was wonderful.
If you didn’t already know, a wood stove makes a wonderful cook stove too. Now, one day I hope to have a legitimate wood cook stove.
However, until then, I cook on my wood burning stove every time I get the chance. The reason is because it does a great job and it requires no power.
So if my power goes out, I still have a way to cook a hot meal for me and my family. If I ever decide to live completely off-grid, I’ll be sure to install a woodstove because it is such a convenient cooking option.
You see, you don’t even have to go out of your house with this option. You can still cook a meal right in your kitchen. They make wood cook stoves available with ovens in them, or you could simply buy a regular wood stove for the purpose of heating your home and cook on it (as I do.)
Plus, it makes some wonderful pinto beans and soups. I place all of my ingredients in my cast iron soup pot, and I have dinner ready within a few hours.
3. Rocket Stove
Rocket stoves are wonderful fuel efficient options for cooking food without power. They can be as compact as you need them to be.
Plus, they don’t require a ton of fuel to get them going. So if an emergency happens, and you don’t have a lot of firewood, then this option would be great because you only have to grab a few twigs and smaller pieces of wood to have enough heat to cook a whole meal.
So if you are on a budget but still need a powerless option to cook your food, then consider a rocket stove. They can be made quite quickly, very inexpensively, and are absolutely efficient.
4. Barbeque Grill
A few years ago, we had a really bad wind storm blow through our area. It knocked down all kinds of trees on our private road and a huge tree in our front yard.
Because we are so rural, we were without power for days. At the time, we didn’t have our woodstove installed yet. We installed it the very next winter.
However, if it wasn’t for our gas grill, I’m not sure what we would’ve done. We had no power, we couldn’t even make it off of our road though we were cutting wood with a vengeance, and I had 6 people in my home looking to me for food.
So thankfully, we had a gas grill that I was able to power up and cook all kinds of great foods on. I made coffee every morning with a percolator. We had delicious breakfast sandwiches in the morning. I was also able to make full blown meals for lunch and dinner.
5. Camping Stove
Would you believe that there was a time in my life I would’ve never even gone camping and now I’ve adopted the homesteading lifestyle?
Well, that is the truth. Yet, now I love the outdoors. When we go on vacation, I don’t want to go to crowded cities. Most people call Disney World the happiest place on earth. To me it was torture. I just love to be in a cabin off in the woods somewhere for a while, or even a tent. I’m really not that picky.
But I digress, if you are like me, and love quiet get a ways, then you probably have a camping stove. If not, you are in luck because you can buy them online for very little money.
So if you are trying to live off grid, or need a powerless cooking option for camping or emergencies, then this might be a good fit for you. The reason is because these are easy to store and take along with you.
However, I wouldn’t recommend them for a larger off-grid family because it would take a lot of resources to power a smaller grill like these to feed a larger family for a longer period of time.
6. Gas Stove Top
Do you have gas appliances in your home? If so, that is a great feature to have. Growing up we never had gas appliances.
However, my parents do now, and they love them! As a matter of fact, those appliances are what saved us when I was a young adult. We had a nasty ice storm come through and thankfully, I could get to my parent’s house.
Because of their oversized fireplace and gas appliances, we were able to eat and stay warm for almost a week and a half while we waited for the power to be restored.
So if you are thinking of living off grid, then you might want to consider having your home set-up for gas appliances.
But if you are just looking for a means to cook without power if needed, keep in mind they do make gas burners that can be set-up and cooked on easily. I have a few of these that I use when I host get togethers in the fall. We just place the burners outside on tables and use them to cook and keep soup warm.
So remember to keep gas cooking appliances in mind when trying to cook powerless.
7. Solar Oven
Plus, they require no power and don’t cost an arm and a leg either. Anything that is dependable and affordable, I’m all about.
So a solar oven is a piece of equipment that is built and meant to attract the heat from the sun, but it does take longer for items to cook in it.
For instance, rice normally takes around 20 minutes to make. In a solar oven, it takes a few hours.
However, it is a powerless cooking option, affordable, and something that anyone can use as long as they have some sunlight.
8. Wonder Box Oven
This is a very creative idea. The Wonder Oven basically looks like a bean bag. It is designed to cook food and keep it hot without burning it, or to keep cold foods cold.
So you use this cooking option by bringing your food to a boil and then place it in the center of the Wonder Oven (aka Wonder Box) and put the cushion on top of it. The food will continue to cook without using any power what so ever.
Plus, you can make it yourself for very little money. Again, if you are someone looking for powerless cooking options but are working on a budget, then this might be something worth considering. It is basically a powerless crock pot which is something I had only dreamed of until now.
9. Outdoor Wood Burning Grill
Do you have an outdoor grill? Well, that’s great and certainly a viable option for powerless cooking. Obviously since I’ve already mentioned it here in this post.
However, I have a wood burning grill as a solid back up in my outdoor kitchen. After being caught that time with no way to cook besides my gas grill for all of those days, I have made preparations to not be in that predicament again.
As mentioned, I now have a wood stove, and we still have our gas grill too. Yet, I kept thinking the whole time during that storm, “What am I going to do if my gas runs out?”
Then I thought after we installed our wood stove months later, “What am I going to do if I’m in the dead of summer with no power?” Our woodstove gets HOT!
So that is when my husband and I came up with the idea of an outdoor kitchen area. We made an outdoor wood burning grill from an old barrel with a lid. We painted the outside, placed a grill grate inside of it, and have a lid to contain the heat.
Then we have a little crate that we keep down next to the wood burning grill, with our grilling tools and firewood when we need it. This is our third go-to for powerless cooking when we don’t feel like using electricity, or if we have a power outage and we need to cook for our large family.
10. Camping Oven
My mother-in-law gave me her camping oven around the time that we built the outdoor wood burning grill. She never used it and thought I would. I’ve still hung on to it after all of these years because it would work wonders if I’m found without power.
See, these ovens allow you to bake bread, baked goods, or heat items up over an open fire. All you have to do is place this metal box over the fire and let it do its thing. Mine even came with a timer. They are very neat items to have and don’t cost very much either.
So this is another powerless cooking option that might help you have some variety if you are off-grid, or be easy to store in case of a power outage as well.
11. Earth Oven
An earth oven is one of the oldest cooking techniques that we know about. It is built from basic material under your feet and is constructed like a giant mud pie. Here is a great tutorial on how to build your own earth oven.
So if you are working on a budget and need a way to cook outdoors without power, then this might be worth your consideration.
12. Tea Light Oven
A tea light oven is something that you may not be very familiar with because it is still relatively new. Basically, it is an oven that is powered by tiny tea lights. It is able to heat and cook your food using zero electricity.
13. Volcano Stoves
A volcano stove is a collapsible stove that is also very versatile. It can be heated with propane, charcoal, or wood.
Plus, it can be used for baking, cooking with a dutch oven, wok, and a lot more. So if you’d like a versatile and compact powerless cooking option, then this could be it.
14. Hay Box
Hay box cooking is basically the off-grid version of a crock pot. You’ll begin by bringing the food to a boil.
Then you’ll place it inside an almost airtight wooden box that is filled with hay. Then close the box and let the food continue cooking for a few hours. Learn how to make your own hay box here.
15. Solar Dehydrator
Do you love dehydrated foods? I’m writing this as I have deer jerky dehydrating in my kitchen. Needless to say, my family is a dehydrating bunch.
16. Using Your Car
You might not think of your car as a cooking mechanism, but if you are in a true survival situation, it can easily be one of your only cooking options.
Basically, it works by heating up the engine of the car. It then makes the hood a hot cooking surface. Granted you will need enough gasoline to keep your car running in order to use this as a viable cooking option. So keep that in mind if you are choosing this as a cooking back-up.
17. Canned Heat
Canned heat is what you see used at catered events. It is tiny cans of flammable substance that is safely contained and used to cook over or keep food warm.
So you can purchase canned heat here and learn how to use it to cook on here. This would a good back-up to have. However, I’m not sure how great it would be for constant off-grid living as it isn’t very sustainable.
18. Outdoor Pizza Oven
If you aren’t sure how to cook on an outdoor pizza oven, here is a great site to help you get started cooking lots of different dishes.
Well, there are the 18 powerless cooking options that I hope will inspire you to be prepared for an emergency without power, or help you if you are looking to live off-grid.
As mentioned, I actually have 5 of these options in place at my own home. We have a wood burning stove, a wood burning grill, a gas grill, a fire pit, and a camping oven. Surely, we will be better prepared for our next power outage.
But I want to hear your thoughts. What other powerless cooking options do you use? Do you have any preparations in effect in case your power goes out and have no way of cooking with electricity?