The Hot Box

The Hot Box

What is a Hot Box?

A hot box is used to continue cooking food after the food has been partially cooked on a stove.  This is done by insulating a container and placing the pot of food in the container to be sealed up.  The purpose of using this method is to reduce the time the food is prepared on a stove, which saves fuel and ultimately saves money.  It is an easy solution to use in any community as it can be made out of household and recycled materials.  Hot boxes can be purchased, but they are simple to make.

How to Make a Hot Box (Ward,2008)

How to Make a Hot Box (Ward,2008)

How Do You Make a Hot Box?

Materials Needed:

  • Cardboard box just big enough to fit a typical pot in
  • Recycled newspaper
  • A towel or blanket
  • A pillow


  • Line the cardboard box with recycled newspaper.
  • Crumble up more newspaper and line the bottom with it.
  • Use towel or blanket to wrap around pot and place in box.
  • Place pillow on top of the pot
  • Close the box and leave the pot to finish cooking for as long as necessary.

Testing a Hot Box

The hot box we made used: a cardboard box, recycled newspaper, a towel, and a bag used for the sandbags for construction of eco-beam sandbag structures.  We stuffed newspaper into the bag to use as a pillow to put on top of the pot that is placed in the hot box.  To test it, we brought two and half cups of water to a boil with a cup of rice and let it simmer for five minutes on low heat after.  Immediately following the five minutes, we put the pot into the hot box.  After forty five minutes the rice was cooked, and after five hours in the hot box, the rice was still steaming. After testing the hot box we discovered that this design is successful in cooking food after it is first heated on a stove.

Implementing a Hot Box

Implementing the hot box as a supplemental cooking source in Monwabisi Park is a difficult task that may take a long time, simply because of the skepticism of it being effective. In order to successfully implement a hot box into Monwabisi Park, we feel workshops must designed to show residents how to make their own hot box as well as use it with their current cooking source. These workshops could take place in the community centre since it has ample space and is a central location in the park.  If residents can grasp an understanding of how the hot box works and the fuel savings it will provide them, it could potentially take off throughout Monwabisi Park, although this process will not be a quick one.