Seven Ways to Cook without Power

Most people are at a loss when it comes to cooking during a power outage. How do you prepare a hot vegan meal without the oven or stove? Well, here are seven different options you can make use of to get dinner on the table when there is no power.


It’s a blackout cooking classic, and probably one of the easiest non-electric options that nearly everyone already owns. Just fire up the barbeque. You can grill with it, or use pots over the flames like a standard indoor stove burner. Just remember that even a small propane BBQ is not intended for indoor use. Keep it outside to be safe.

Open Fire

Another version of using a BBQ is to just light up an outside “campfire” and do your cooking over that. Depending on outside conditions and the size of your outdoor space, it may or may not be a good option for you. Try not to set the yard on fire by doing this during very dry weather conditions. If you are not familiar with campfire cooking techniques, you may want to practice a little bit and make sure you have the right tools (skewers, tripod, fire-safe pots) on hand. For outdoor cooking away from home, carry a reliable fire starter with you at all times.

A Rocket Stove

This is close to campfire cooking, with a little extra sophistication. You can buy small rocket stoves or make your own with a coffee can or two. You do still need to light a fire for these to work but they are more efficient and you can produce enough heat for cooking with just small twigs instead of a full-size campfire. A great option when wood is limited or you are in a situation where you don’t want a big obvious fire roaring. Probably too small for cooking meals for several people, but ideal for a one-man bug-out scenario.

A Wood Stove

Another example of how an old-fashioned appliance still has a place today. Definitely an at-home survival cooking option, any sort of wood stove can work. It doesn’t need to be a true cookstove. As long as the top is flat and large enough for a pot to sit on, it can work. You can also open it up and cook right in the fire or coals if that works better for you.

Solar Oven

Not as universal as the options already given, but this can work nicely when the weather is sunny. It will take practice to use, so don’t just leave a solar oven in the closet until a disaster hits. This gadgets use large mirror panels to reflect sunlight into the central box, and it can get hot enough to actually bake or cook food. If nothing else, it can at least warm things up when needed.

Self-Contained Meals

I’m talking about the survival classic: the MRE. That stands for Meals Ready to Eat, and they are originally a form of military ration that contains a heating element included so you can cook without any other tools or equipment. They actually come in a large range of dishes, including some that are vegan. Good quality MREs aren’t easy to find though, and don’t be confused by simple freeze-dried camping food. Not the same thing.

Avoid Cooking

Perhaps this suggestion is cheating a little, but something to plan for. Not all food must be cooked, and being truly prepared for an lights-out scenario means having easy access to food whether you can cook or not. Shelf-stable foods like dried fruit, crackers, peanut butter, trail mix, dry cereal, chocolate and vegan jerky are just a few ideas to stock up on. Nutritious and easy to eat, whether you have power or not.