High-performance parabolic solar cookers can attain temperatures above 290 °C (550 °F).
They can be used to grill meats, stir-fry vegetables, make soup, bake bread, and boil water in minutes.
Conventional solar box cookers attain temperatures up to 165 °C (325 °F).
They can sterilize water or prepare most foods that can be made in a conventional oven or stove, including bread, vegetables and meat over a period of hours.
Solar cookers are less useful in cloudy weather and near the poles so an alternative cooking source is still required in these conditions.
Solar cooking advocates suggest three devices for an integrated cooking solution: a) a solar cooker; b) a fuel-efficient cookstove; c) an insulated storage container such as a basket filled with straw to store heated food.
Very hot food may continue to cook for hours in a well-insulated container.
With this three-part solution, fuel use is minimized while still providing hot meals at any hour, reliably.