Kitchen / Garden / Sanctuary - Urban Homesteading to Nourish Body + Spirit

Dashboard Croutons & Other Car Cookery Ideas

Up here in our little 3rd floor attic Homestead In The Sky, the summers are sweltering. We forgo almost all oven use during these months, relying instead on the solar oven or the stovetop (see my Baking Cookies on the Stove post). Or, sometimes, the car. Actually we don’t have a car anymore — the old ’71 Jeepster finally reached a point where putting more money into it wouldn’t make sense. (Don’t worry, we gave it to someone who could completely appreciate it and at least part it out.) The last year we had it, it wasn’t running — but it served as a really handy oven during the summer months.

I made croutons that turned out great. They made the car smell really good too.

To cook things in your car, just park it in a sunny place where the interior will get nice n’ hot. Slide your cookie sheet of croutons (or whatever else) onto your dashboard or back seat, and check on it every now and then. This is a very fun way to cook!

The back seat works, too...


Need to dehydrate some food? Use the car! Cook something at low heat? Use the car!

Making fruit leather? The car! Roasting pumpkin seeds? Car!

Bet those kale chips would even work in the car, too.

If you go to work and park in a hot parking lot, put your lunch container on the dashboard in the morning, and it’ll be warm for you at lunchtime.

Another thing I like to do is make crackers out of sprouted grain tortillas, like these:

Cut them up and spread on a cookie sheet. Bake in your car till very lightly browned and crunchy (or in an oven or solar oven at about 250°). Be careful that they don’t get too brown or else they won’t taste as good.


I bet there are so many other fun car-cooking ideas out there too — do you have any to share??



  1. snowpeas

    You are TOO FUNNY!!! This “car cookery” is sooo funny and yet soooo smart!! Now I’m thinking of all that heat energy going to waste in my sun-baked car in the parking lot when I could be making crackers or croutons! hehe!! I LOVE this idea!! And love your description of your “homestead in the sky,” which says to me it’s a mindset, not a piece of land. 🙂

  2. Lindsey

    Snowpeas, Haahaa! Yes, all the hot car heat going to waste for all these years! 😀 And yeah, it’s a mindset isn’t it, but the land would be nice too! 🙂

  3. Taryn Kae Wilson

    I never thought to cook in the car before! This cracks me up! You could write an article about this for mother earth news!

    Where we are it would be a little more of a challenge. A little more inland and it would work great!

  4. Lindsey

    Heehee! Yeah it would be a little hard to do solar cooking without the solar part wouldn’t it!! 🙂

  5. Dallasmom

    Croutons are a great idea! I’ll be enjoying seeing your other experiments in car cookery as well. I’ve been writing about our own adventures in car cookery on my blog We live in Dallas, and we’re having a heat wave this summer.

  6. Lindsey

    Dallasmom – your car cooking looks awesome!!! Great job! We actually don’t own a car anymore, but I’ve been keeping busy with my solar oven…another fun project 🙂

    Best to you,

  7. Carolyn

    we dried edible flowers, and rose petals and rosebuds in the car on flyscreen off the window

  8. Hillary

    Hi! I’ve never read your blog before, but was glad to find some solar cooking ideas.
    I just wanted to share something I’ve heard about the insides of very hot cars – that they can be particularly toxic, what with the off-gassing plastics.
    I just bought a solar oven today and am very happy to have a – hopefully – very toxin free way to cook with the sun.
    Geez, now I want to look up what solar ovens are made of…

  9. Lindsey

    Hillary! Oh!! You’re so right! Our car was really really old, so there wasn’t that problem, but my goodness you’re so right — with that “new car smell” I hate when I open the door… I don’t think I’d want to cook anything in there!
    Thanks for bringing up this point.

  10. Patch

    Hot cars are also really good for dyeing fiber and yarn! 🙂

  11. 3GoatMom

    Don’t forget drying clothes! – especially those that you don’t want to fade out on the clothes line – have used my van for that several times – I just leave one window barely cracked to let the moisture out – but it gets so hot it usually doesn’t matter.

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