Paper Box Reflector Oven

This small homemade box oven is just big enough to bake a 9 x 13 casserole or cake. It is simple and inexpensive to make.

It uses less charcoal than the apple box oven to achieve the same results. It is easier to bake in than the apple box design and it stores nicely.

It bakes using only 8-10 briquettes. It is an effective way to bake using charcoal. Charcoal is inexpensive and stores well. The paper box oven is for outdoor use only!

NEVER, NEVER, use charcoal indoors as it produces deadly carbon monoxide!

The original idea for this oven came from Brigham Young University Professor Steven Jones. We have modified his design to come up with one that works well for us. Let us know what you try to make it even better!

How to Make a Paper Box Reflector Oven

Materials Needed

Paper box, heavy-duty aluminum foil, aluminum tape, two wooden dowels or metal supports, spray adhesive (optional), pie pan, small baking sheet or disposable grill liner, and a small blanket for insulation.


Cut two round holes on each side of the box a little more than halfway up for the support rods. Cut two holes ¾” x 3″ to 4” on each side close to the bottom to provide air for the charcoals.

Cover paper box and lid inside and out with aluminum foil. Spray the box with adhesive first, then attach the foil, and securing with the aluminum tape. If your supports are made from wooden dowels cover them with aluminum tape. The trick is to make sure that none of the cardboard is showing as it will burn.

Invert a pie pan or a disposable grill liner on the bottom of the box. You can use anything that will keep the charcoals from sitting directly on the box. If the coals sit directly on the bottom the box will burn. Insert the supports and you are ready to cook.


Takes only 8-10 briquettes to bake for 60-75 minutes at about 350°. Start coals and place evenly in the bottom of the oven, put food in a pan on dowels (a 9×13” pan fits perfectly) and cover with the lid. Insulate by covering with a blanket. When using in cold weather you may need to increase the number of coals that you use.

A paper box reflector oven is an inexpensive solution to baking in an emergency. Charcoals are safe and inexpensive to store. Never use charcoal inside!!

Learn More About Cooking with Charcoal

Check out these posts to learn more about using charcoal as an emergency cooking fuel:

Charcoal: Inexpensive Fuel for Outdoor Emergency Cooking

Charcoal – The Biggest Bang for Your Fuel Buck


Kylene Jones is a blogger, content creator, published author, motivational speaker, homesteader, prepper, mother, and grandmother. She practices self-reliance, provident living, and emergency preparedness in her everyday life. She loves working with her husband, Jonathan, and is committed to helping our community be prepared to thrive during the challenges that lie in our future.

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