Dashboard Pizza – Cooking With The Sun (FAK Friday)

Dashboard Pizza - Solar Power Cooking | Will Cook For Friends


This summer has had a lot of ups and downs so far. It’s been cold, then sweltering hot, then nice and cool again. Last week was a real heatwave — not record breaking, by any means, but the heat was unceasing and inescapable. There were days on end where it barely got below 80 degrees F. at night, and was well into the 90’s during the day.

One afternoon I got into my car, and instantly broke into a heavy sweat. “It’s like an oven in here!” I thought to myself… and that gave me an idea.

Without any air conditioning in our house, it had been far too hot to cook inside… but I wondered, could I bake in my car?

The next day, I took my point-and-shoot thermometer out to my car, and this was the reading it gave off the dash: 188 degrees F.

Dashboard Pizza - Solar Power Cooking | Will Cook For Friends

Holy macaroni, Batman!

I should note that on this particular day, it only got up to 90F outside — one of the coolest days that week. Inside my car, however, it was nearly hot enough to boil water (212 degrees F), and as it turns out, well over the temperature needed to cook an egg (158 degrees F).

Now, I realized this wasn’t going to be hot enough to cook very many things… the raw dough of a pizza crust, for instance, would need significantly higher temperatures, especially if I had any hope of it being crispy. So instead, I opted for a pre-made naan flat bread as the base for my pizza, and decided to only rely on the heat of the car to melt the cheese and warm everything through. This was just an experiment, after all, and I still wanted to eat afterwords!

Dashboard Pizza - Solar Power Cooking | Will Cook For Friends

Well, there’s a photo I never imagined myself taking.

I prepped the flat breads with a bit of tomato sauce, cheese, a few slices of fresh tomato, and some basil leaves. I set the baking sheet on the dashboard of my car ahead of time to pre-heat (words I never thought I’d be saying), then carried the pizzas out and slapped them down, almost burning myself on the pan in the process.

If my neighbors saw me going to-and-from my car with my camera, food, and oven mitts… chances are they think I’m crazy. Not that they needed any more reasons to think that.

Dashboard Pizza - Solar Power Cooking | Will Cook For Friends

Twenty minutes later, I came back out to check the progress. Amazingly, the cheese had already become melty, and the basil had actually dried up and become almost crunchy! Note to self, if it isn’t too humid out, the car can work as a dehydrator.

That’s what I call solar-power! Little did I know when I purchased my car, I was actually getting a high-tech piece of outdoor cookware. Had I planned ahead a little better, I probably could’ve set up some kind of aluminum foil reflectors to intensify the heat even further, but as it was my pizzas appeared to have turned out  just fine.

I pulled the tray from my car (hoping my neighbors weren’t watching…) and sliced into one of the pizzas. The cheese was melted, and just shy of being completely gooey. The flat breads themselves were warmed all the way through, and the tomatoes were hot and full of flavor.

Dashboard Pizza - Solar Power Cooking | Will Cook For Friends

Success! Not only did I have a tasty dinner without turning on the oven or stove, but my car also smelled completely delicious. Double win!

Next time it gets over a 100F,  I’m makin’ cookies!

(Note: I’m still jealous of all you people with air conditioning, who can cook in your homes all year-round. I also wish I had a grill or other outdoor cookware… you know, besides my car. *sigh*)

What are some of your crazy ideas, and have you put them to the test? Share in the comments below!


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18 Responses to Dashboard Pizza – Cooking With The Sun (FAK Friday)

  1. Foodie Stuntman July 27, 2013 at 4:02 am #

    Hot damn! I think this dish belongs on my website. hahahaha! Glad it was a success and happy that you were able to have a hot dinner without heating up the kitchen.

  2. Rachel Hull July 27, 2013 at 4:27 am #

    You are too cool for words. Love the unique post – and yumtastic pizza! LOVE your brilliance!

  3. shannon weber July 27, 2013 at 11:31 am #

    hahahaha YES!!!! because we all talk about doing the “i’m cooking this on the sidewalk” during the summer, but you went and did it. i love you, willow. :)

  4. Cassandra July 27, 2013 at 1:26 pm #

    Brilliant idea, I could even call it dash-ing ;) If your neighbors give you a weird look, just offer ’em a slice to change their mind.

    Let us know when you try out dashboard cookies!!

    • Willow Arlen August 10, 2013 at 1:43 am #

      Haha — here, have a slice of pizza, I baked it in my car!

      I am really curious about how hot it will get in there when the temperature gets to be over a hundred… if it’s hot enough, I might just try it!

  5. robin lorraine williamson July 27, 2013 at 2:15 pm #

    so cool wish I still had my car to try this method. It’s hot enough here in california

  6. What's for dessert? July 27, 2013 at 2:21 pm #

    I can’t believe it! Fantastic idea and pizza looks yummy!

  7. Miss Foodie Fab July 27, 2013 at 5:17 pm #

    That’s really interesting, but I like!

  8. Anonymous July 27, 2013 at 5:54 pm #

    You made a naan pizza in your CAR!!!!
    I have the naan, still haven’t made the pesto pizza I talked about making.

  9. movita beaucoup July 28, 2013 at 11:18 am #

    Should 2.0 ever learn to use the interwebs, and see this post, I’m totally screwed.

  10. Kelly Blackwell @ Heres My Take On It August 4, 2013 at 5:20 am #

    Very cool. I’ve always thought of doing a solar oven, but never thought about the dash of my car. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Sunday Morning Banana Pancakes August 9, 2013 at 3:23 pm #

    This is why I love you Willow- you are so awesome! This is such a cool experiment, do you always keep your car so sparkling clean? impressive :) The vision of you running back and forth from your car to kitchen is hilarious- even though we have AC we do everything in our power not to heat up the house- (Justin basically has an oven ban in affect anytime the temp goes beyond 80*) that is were the grill comes in super handy!

    • Willow Arlen August 10, 2013 at 1:46 am #

      Haha, thanks! And no, I don’t always keep my car sparkling clean… in fact, it’s rather messy. I figured it was worth tidying up a little if I was going to put food in it, though. :P

      T-Hubs is the same way, too… no cooking if it’s over a certain temperature! So jealous of your grill… I can’t wait to get one so I can keep cooking all year round.

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